Archive for Rick Derringer

Great Rock Albums of 1985: Weird Al Yankovic- Dare To Be Stupid

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2018 by 80smetalman

After the big success of his 1984 album, “In 3D,” it was only expected that the King of Parody, Weird Al Yankovic, release an album in 1985. Therefore, many people like me eagerly awaited and grabbed “Dare to be Stupid” as soon as it came out. Even though some critics said that the new album wasn’t as good as its predecessor, (what do they know?), I still really like this album.

First let us start with the parodies. Opening the album is what has been said one of his best songs, “Like a Surgeon,” which is a parody of the then Madonna classic, “Like a Virgin.” For all the things I might say about Madonna, I have to give her credit here. Not  only did she give Weird Al her blessing to make a take off on her song, she collaborated on “Like a Surgeon.” Reportedly, this was the only time that he used ideas from outside artists on any of his songs. Whatever the case,  the song is a hoot and so is the video for it.

Other artists who gets the parody treatment are Huey Lewis and the News, the Kinks and Cyndi Lauper. The Huey Lewis song which gets it is “I Want a New Drug” in the form of “I Want a New Duck” and the song is actually about a duck. Listen to the lyrics and you’ll be rolling around in laughter but that’s what Weird Al does best. Back in 1985, some Star Wars fans took offense at his parody of the Kinks classic, “Lola” with “Yoda.” The song shows that at least he saw the film. No 80smetalman points for guessing which Cyndi Lauper song he would parody. Thinking about it, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” was probably to golden of an opportunity for him and “Girls Just Wanna Have Lunch” is a great send off. It sounds like he’s singing off key on the song but I think that’s just the weird in Weird Al.

Something which always gets overlooked in regards to Weird Al is the fact that he does have musical talent. All of his parodies sound like the original. “I Want a New Duck” and “Yoda” sound almost exactly as they could have been done by the original artists. It’s his seemingly non parodies where his talent can be seen more. I shouldn’t call some of these non-parodies because they are parodies in a different way. The style in which the title track is that of Devo and the very funny “One More Minute” sounds like an Elvis Presley ballad. However, the lyrics in that song will crack you up. Staying with that one, it sounds like a lamentation of a guy who has been dumped by his girl but in typical Weird Al style, he goes above and beyond. Sure, I’ve been dumped but I never considered burning down the malt shop we went to because it reminded me of her.

If his songs aren’t spoofing an artist’s song or musical style, they’re doing it to aspects of life. “This Is the Life” is a send off on rich people’s life style and “Slime Creatures From Outer Space” pays hilarious tribute to 1950s Sci-Fi films. However, my favourite in this category is “Cable TV” which by 1985 was becoming a nationwide household phenomenon. Nowadays, most Americans have hundreds of channels but often times still nothing to watch. There’s also a cover of the theme song to the cartoon “George of the Jungle,” I like it and like “In 3D” he puts popular contemporary at the time songs to polka music. ZZ Top and Twisted Sister along with many others get the polka treatment. Only this time, it closes the album and probably the most appropriate song to do so.

Track Listing:

  1. Like a Surgeon
  2. Dare to be Stupid
  3. I Want a New Duck
  4. One More Minute
  5. Yoda
  6. George of the Jungle
  7. Slime Creatures From Outer Space
  8. Girls Just Wanna Have Lunch
  9. This is the Life
  10. Cable TV
  11. Hooked on Polkas

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic- lead vocals, accordion, keyboards

Rick Derringer- guitar, production

Steve Jay- bass, banjo, backing vocals

Jim West- guitar, backing vocals

John ‘Bermuda’ Schwartz- drums percussion

Ignore the critics, to me “Dare To Be Stupid” is just as zany and well done as any of Weird Al’s other albums. While songs will have you in stitches, try to appreciate just how musically talented he really is.

Next post: Petra- Beat the System

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1537086656&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: The Wrestling Album

Posted in Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2018 by 80smetalman

Big question: Is my memory not as good as I thought or is Wikopedia not as accurate as they are believed to be? For more than thirty-three years, I was convinced that “The Wrestling Album” came out in the early part of 1985. However, Wikopedia claims it came out in the November of that year. Anyway, when in 1985 the album came out doesn’t really matter, it did and it provided an amusing alternative. Besides, it was still better than a lot of the commercial synth crap that was around.

“The Wrestling Album” came out in a bid to take advantage of the “Rock and Wrestling Connection” which was established the previous year with Cyndi Lauper. She doesn’t sing on this album, with the exception of Rick Derringer’s “Real American,” the wrestlers do. Many of the big WWE, although back then it was still the WWF, who were around at the time have songs, some of them are quite good. The best ones in my view are “Grab Them Cakes” by Junkyard Dog and credit where due, “Eat Your Heart Out Rick Springfield” by bad guy manager Jimmy ‘The Mouth of the South’ Hart. Wrestling commentator Mean Gene Okerlund does do a pretty good rendition of “Tutti Fruitti.” Derringer’s song, like most of the ones sung by the wrestlers is done in a punk/new wave fashion but he does do a reasonably cool guitar solo on it. After all, that’s what makes Rick great! Furthermore, all the main WWE wrestlers perform on the first track, “Land of a Thousand Dances” which got considerable airplay on MTV. But the album isn’t just music, in between the tracks, you get some funny commentary from Vince McMahon, Gene Okerlund and wrestler, actor and the man who would eventually come to be governor of Minnesota, Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura.

While it’s very easy not to take the album seriously, I can also see that those behind the album, especially Cyndi’s then manager David Wolf, made sure the songs were done right. He got Derringer and Meat Loaf producer Jim Steinman to produce the album. I have to admit, they do a good job on it, no matter how much I want to burst out laughing whenever I hear “Captain Lou’s History of Music/Captain Lou” by Lou Albano. Then again, I have never dismissed humour in music and there’s a lot to be had with “The Wrestling Album.”

Track Listing:

  1. The Wrestlers- Land of a Thousand Dances
  2. Junkyard Dog- Grab Them Cakes
  3. Rick Derringer- Real American
  4. Jimmy Hart- Eat Your Heart Out Rick Springfield
  5. Captain Lou Albano and George ‘The Animal’ Steele- Captain Lou’s History of Music/Captain Lou
  6. WWF All Stars- Hulk Hogan’s Theme
  7. ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper- For Everybody
  8. Mean Gene Okerlund- Tutti Fruitti
  9. Hillbilly Jim- Don’t Go Messin’ With a Country Boy
  10. Nikolai Volkf- Cara Mia

Rick Derringer

Jim Steinman

Frank Zappa once asked, “Does humour belong in music?” My answer to this has always been an emphatic, “Yes!” “The Wrestling Album” is a very fun album and you can’t fault the quality of the songs even if the singers aren’t “ahem,” top notch. It did provide a humourous break in the action back in 85.

Next post: Van Morrison- A Sense of Wonder

To download Rock and Roll Children for free, go to: … .cf/olddocs/freedownloadonlinerock-and-rollchildren-pdf-1609763556-by-michaeldlefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Hit Wonders of 1984 and Another Significant Songs

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

Its that time again where I look at some of the one hit wonders of the year I am visiting. There were some interesting ones in 1984 with others who were wrongly considered such by the so called mainstream public. Some great heavy metal acts fell under this misbelief. So without further ado, let’s start with what was the most successful hit, “Missing You” by John Waite.

John Waite

What I couldn’t believe was that after doing a bit of research, that John Waite had a pretty impressive discography. However, the only song I and many others will remember him for would be this great soft rock ballad that went to number one. Although many metalheads wouldn’t admit it back then, they did like it. It can be found on quite a few soft rock compilation albums.

Dwight Twilley

The next one comes from American songwriter Dwight Twilley. He had been around for years as I have learned but he is best known for his 1984 top 20 hit “Girls.” This mid tempo rock tune takes me back to the time when the build up to the metal explosion in 1984 was just about to happen. I haven’t heard this song for years but listening to it for the purposes of research was very pleasant. I wonder if this one is on any compilation albums.

Dog Police

In 1984, MTV had a monthly segment called “Basement Video.” The premise was six videos from unsigned artists would be played and the winner would go onto the grand final. In January, a video from a Memphis Tennessee outfit called Dog Police won with their self titled single. I even phone up and voted for it. What I remember about them was that upon the introduction to the video it was said that Dog Police wanted to become the Frank Zappa of music video. Unfortunately, that never happened and they only finished fourth in the grand final. Still, it’s a great video and song.

Rick Derringer

All I know for sure with this next one was that I first heard the song  “I Play Guitar” by Rick Derringer in 1984 when I saw the video for said song. I loved it straight away! Now, I’m not sure if this song actually came out in this year but because 84 was when I first heard it, I’m including it here just because it’s such a kick ass song. Before this, I had only heard how great a guitarist Rick was but this song proved it. And because I can’t find the official MTV video on Youtube, you get this really cool live version.

Naff song of 1984

Tracey Ulman

In the eyes of most of the world, Tracey Ulman is a brilliant comedy actress. I love her wit. But in 1984, she put an album and MTV treated the world to the single from it, “They Don’t Know.” I had the misfortune of hearing it on the car radio a couple of months ago. The song is totally naff, with a 1960s pop feel and even the guitar solo sounds naff. Don’t worry, I won’t inflict it upon you, my readers, but rest assured, I am glad that she stuck to comedy. The rest of the world is probably glad too. However, I can identify with her sense of humour with the title of her album “You Broke My Heart in 17 Places.” I have this habit of picking out numbers like that.

Next post: Music News of 1984

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1504721323&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Weird Al Yankovic- In 3D

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

Michael Jackson did two things in 1984 which rose him up a few points in my estimation, both of which were linked to his top selling song, “Beat It.” First, when accepting a Grammy for the song, he had the decency to include Eddie Van Halen in his list of thank yous. After all, it was Eddie’s guitar solo on the song the reason why metalheads, bought the single. The other act was to allow Weird Al Yankovic to record a parody of “Beat It” called “Eat It.” That would be Weird Al’s best known single and even charted in the UK and it helped his 1984 album, “In 3D” become his biggest album. In fact, he was allowed to use many of the same dancers Michael Jackson used in the “Beat It” video for “Eat It.”

Weird Al Yankovic has always been known for his parodies of other great songs and there are plenty of those on “In 3D.” His second single from the album, “I Lost on Jeopardy” is a parody of the Greg Kihn Band’s 1983 hit, “Jeopardy” as well as making fun of the TV game show of the same name. I do wonder how many people went on game shows and looked stupid on national television. Greg Kihn makes an appearance in the video for this song. “King of Suede” parodies the classic from The Police, “King of Pain” and is about a clothing store owner. “Rocky XIII” is a funny parody of Survivor’s hit from the film “Rocky III” “Eye of the Tiger” about how Rocky Balboa gives up boxing to be delicatessen owner. I love the lyrics: “It’s the rye or the kaiser, it’s the thrill of one bite.” A lesser known track but one of my favourite is “The Brady Bunch,” a parody of the Men Without Hats’s only hit, “Safety Dance.” It is believed that from the lyrics, Weird Al didn’t care too much for the 1970s American sit com his song is named after.

It’s not just famous songs that come under the comic roast of Weird Al. He parodies other subjects as well. The second track, “Midnight Star” takes the rip out of grocery store tabloids. However, some of the headlines he mentions for his tabloid, “Midnight Star” aren’t too far fetched in the real ones. I do remember headlines like, “They’re Keeping Hitler’s Brain Inside a Jar,” “Aliens From Outer Space are Sleeping in My Car” and “The Ghost of Elvis is Living in My Den.” Another of my favourites is “That Boy Could Dance” which is about a nerdy geeky loser who is a great dancer, so all his shortcomings are overlooked. Trust me, the song is much funnier that my attempt to explain it here. Then there is the Bob Marley influenced reggae track, “Buy Me a Condo” which is about a Jamaican boy who wants to come to America and live a middle class existence. Even my least favourite track on the album, Mr Popeil is funny. Probably because I remember all the Popeil adverts for things like the Ginsu Knife and the Pocket Fisherman.

In 1981, there were two singles called “Stars on 45” and “Stars on 45 II.” The former took Beatles’ songs and made a medley out of it. The latter did the same with Beach Boys songs. So what Weird Al did was to take classic rock songs and make a medley out of those but instead, set to polka music. Some great rock classics like “Smoke on the Water” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” get the polka treatment.

When I bought this album and saw the track listing, I thought the closer, “Nature Trail to Hell,” might be a parody of the AC/DC classic, “Highway to Hell.” Instead, it lambastes blood and gore horror films. “Nature Trail to Hell” to quote the song, is about “A homicidal maniac who finds a cub scout troop and hacks up two or three in every scene.” This was particularly relevant at the time because “Friday the 13th Part 4” was in the cinema then. You know, the one advertised as the film where Jason meets his grisly end. Well done by Al, it makes a fantastic closer.

Track Listing:

  1. Eat It
  2. Midnight Star
  3. The Brady Bunch
  4. Buy Me a Condo
  5. I Lost on Jeopardy
  6. Polkas on 45
  7. Mr Popeil
  8. King of Suede
  9. That Boy Could Dance
  10. Rocky XIII
  11. Nature Trail to Hell

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic- vocals, synthesizer, accordion, piano

Jim West- guitar

Steve Jay- bass, banjo, talking drums

John ‘Bermuda’ Schwartz- drums, percussion

Rick Derringer- guitar, mandolin

Weird Al Yankovic hit the big time 1984 with this album, “In 3D.” I dare anyone to listen to this album and not laugh their heads off at least one song. For me, it’s nearly all of them. Anyone who doesn’t find any part of this album funny, then they have no sense of humour.

Next post: Randy Newman- Trouble in Paradise

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Bonnie Tyler- Faster Than the Speed of Night

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2016 by 80smetalman

Bonnie_Tyler_-_Faster_than_the_Speed_of_Night

When I first heard the big single, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” from Bonnie Tyler back in 1983, I thought it was okay. Nothing spectacular, just okay. On some occasions, back then when I was in a bar where a top 40 covers band was playing or just had the same on the juke box, it was a welcome break from all the Michael Jackson stuff. In any case, the song wasn’t enough to make me go out and buy her album, “Faster Than the Speed of Night.” Recently, however, someone suggested that I post about it, so being a fair minded person, I gave it a couple of listens and am ready to deliver my verdict.

To be very honest, I don’t think I missed much by not purchasing the album, still if I had, I wouldn’t have beaten myself up over making the same mistake as when I bought the Chris De Burgh album. The album starts out well enough with a decent cover of the CCR classic, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain.” Again, I say it’s a decent cover but it doesn’t make me want to put my CCR albums away and never listen to them again. I do have the title track to the album on a rock compilation CD. It doesn’t stand out from the other songs on that album but it does on Bonnie’s album of the same name. I like it more than her most well known hit, which I’ve already named.

The rest of the album is nothing is nothing spectacular. Like Credence, I still prefer Bryan Adams’s version of “Straight From the Heart.” The one thing I did pick up on and liked is that there are some good guitar sounds on this album. It redeems run of the mill tracks like “Goin’ Through the Motions” and “Tears.” Naturally, I had to look and see who the guitarist was and to my surprise, it was none other than Rick Derringer. That explained it all. It is Rick who manages to save what would have been a lackluster album.

Track Lsting:

  1. Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
  2. Faster Than the Speed of Night
  3. Getting So Excited
  4. Total Eclipse of the Heart
  5. Its a Jungle Out There
  6. Goin’ Through the Motions
  7. Tears
  8. Take Me Back
  9. Straight From the Heart
Bonnie Tyler

Bonnie Tyler

So, there’s my verdict on Bonnie Tyler’s album “Faster Than the Speed of Night.” It’s not the first album I would pick up after listening to Anthrax and Slayer in conjunction in order to give a melodic balance to things. I never rated Bonnie Tyler as a brilliant singer. There are a few of her songs I liked but this album doesn’t convert me into a Tyler fan.

Next post: Quarterflash- Take Another Picture

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: DNA- Party Tested

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, video games with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2015 by 80smetalman

dnapartytested

We all have songs and albums that we listened to many years ago which still pop up in our minds after all these years. For me, when I began to reflect back to the music of 1983, there was one such band that immediately came to mind. I remember DNA getting plenty of air play in the spring of said year although it was only when I refamiliarised myself with them that I remembered the song in question was “Doctors of the Universe.” Now, this could have qualified them as one hit wonders but I did hear the album “Party Tested” once upon a time and remember liking it. Why I never bought it is something I can not understand. Besides any album made by guitar great Rick Derringer and drumming ace Carmine Appice has to be worth, not only a listen but a post on its own.

Let me tell you that listening to “Doctors of the Universe” after more than thirty years did get me in a party mood. I forgot just how catchy that song was then and now. It starts with a hard guitar riff then comes the hook of the keyboards. They sound clean without going totally synth pop, which was the bucking trend at the time. Then there’s the chorus which you want to sing again and again.

“We are the doctors of the universe, we twist your DNA we like our work”

Needless to say, the guitar solo by Rick, while not a belter, is sufficient for this song.

Listening to the rest of “Party Tested” is like seeing an old friend whom you haven’t seen in years. The old familiarites come back instantly. Most of the songs gave me the distinct impression of “Oh yeah, I remember this one.” That is especially the case of the following track, “Intellectual Freedom for the Masses.” But even more so with track three, “Rock and Roll, Part 2.” I definitely heard that one before and fairly recently. It took me a few minutes of laying nude in the grass in deep contemplation, okay maybe not the nudity in the grass, too cold for that but I do remember where I heard it. It was from an episode of South Park where the new kid brings dance to the school. However, he would rather play basketball but his father makes him dance and bitch slaps anyone who opposes him. They play “Rock and Roll Part 2” at the basketball game at the end to which the father gets up and gets into the song. Of course, that song could have that effect on people.

The bitch-slapping dancing father

The bitch-slapping dancing father

Track four, “The Song That Wrote Itself” is the first noticeable one where Rick Derringer shows why he should be counted among the guitar greats. He really jams out here and while his guitar presence isn’t as in your face as the mentioned song, it is enough to hook you. The title track is definitely one for that and I have to say that “What About?” is a better than decent closer. One thing I must point out is that if you’re expecting major drum solos from Carmine, there are none to be had on “Party Tested.” He doesn’t need to as his drumming is as good as ever on the album. In fact, I will venture forth the opinion that he and bassist Jimmy Johnson make a damn fine rhythm section.

Track Listing:

  1. Doctors of the Universe
  2. Intellectual Freedom for the Masses
  3. Rock And Roll Part 2
  4. The Song That Wrote Itself
  5. Party Tested
  6. The Recipe For Life
  7. What About?
Rick Derringer and Carmine Appice

Rick Derringer and Carmine Appice

Carmine Appice- drums, vocals

Rick Derringer- guitar, vocals

Jimmy Johnson- bass

Duane Hitchings- keyboards

I am hoping that when people read about this album, they respond with, “Oh yes, I remember them, that song/album” but I fear that it might draw a blank. Therefore, your assignment should be to have a listen to “Party Tested.” It will get you in the party mood and what a better way to do that in the run up to the holiday season.

Next post: Christmas

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London