Archive for Rock And Roll Children

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Rush- Grace Under Pressure

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2017 by 80smetalman

Nearly everyone and their sibling says that the “Grace Under Pressure” album was the beginning of Rush’s synthesizer period. In reality, the band had started to go in that direction with their previous album, “Signals.” What was popularly believed at the time was that as a result of my favourite Rush album, “Moving Pictures,” some misguided persons heard songs like “Tom Sawyer” and “Limelight” and called Rush a heavy metal band. Therefore, in reaction to that, they went for the more synthesizer sound to squash the stereotype. At first I believed it but now in my old age, I don’t really care if it was true at the time or not. I just like the album.

While Rush are not heavy metal, it doesn’t stop many metalheads like myself from liking them, a lot. In the opening pages of “Rock And Roll Children,” the main characters play “Grace Under Pressure” to mellow out a bit after an evening of heavy metal records. I have to admit, when I heard the first single, “Distant Early Warning,” I wasn’t too sure about them. Maybe they had sold out and gone commercial. I guess in my naivety, I expected them to continue in the same vein as my favourite Rush album. But believe me, “Grace Under Pressure” was no sell out and it was many levels above some of the other synthesizer music that was manifesting at the time.

What Rush did with “Grace Under Pressure” was take the emerging synth sound and made it into something of their own. I’ve said a number of times that all three members are talented musicians and together, they can create some fantastic music which all will enjoy no matter what camp you’re in. For me, sure I was slightly disappointed at first that the guitar takes a back seat on the album, but it doesn’t go away completely. You can clearly hear Liefson’s licks laying down the foundation along with Peart’s beat in support of Lee’s keyboard skills and vocals. I have always stated that Lee has been underrated as a keyboards player. As for Alex, he does nail solos on “The Body Electric”  and the closer, “Between the Wheels,” and I do like his intro on “The Enemy Within.” That has to be my favourite track on the album. Now, I won’t break down the album into individual songs because they all are good on their own and all compliment each other and that makes a good album.

Track Listing:

  1. Distant Early Warning
  2. Afterimage
  3. Red Sector A
  4. The Enemy Within
  5. The Body Electric
  6. Kid Gloves
  7. Red Lenses
  8. Between the Wheels

Rush

Geddy Lee- vocals, synthesizers, bass

Alex Liefson- guitars

Neil Peart- drums, percussion

I think that “Grace Under Pressure” achieves what Rick, Frankie, Jeff and Bob were going for in “Rock and Roll Children.” They were looking something to just kick back and listen to. The album allows you to do that because that’s when you begin to hear and appreciate all the small intricacies contained there in and that’s when you know how good it is.

Next post: Rod Stewart- Camouflage

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1984: The Golden Year of the Golden Decade

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2017 by 80smetalman

The 1980s was the golden decade of heavy metal but if there was any one year that stood out above all others in that decade, it was 1984. Why did this particular year stand out? Well let me answer this by quoting Dee Snider when I saw Twisted Sister in concert in the August of this year. “They’re even playing heavy metal on the radio.” I’m not sure if Dee used an expletive when he said it. He was known for using them quite liberally when he was on stage but I don’t recall him using it when he said that. I digress but he was right. Heavy metal did get played on the radio quite a lot in 1984 and even more so on MTV. That alone makes 1984 the golden year of heavy metal.

Twisted Sister come out and play, taken at Bloodstock 2016

Obviously not every metal band got airplay on radio or MTV but you might be surprised at some of the ones who did. They didn’t play any Slayer. That didn’t stop these bands from unleashing some kick ass albums onto our delicate ears. This is also the reason why I begin “Rock And Roll Children” in this same year. Warning, I will make even more references to the book in future posts. However, one can’t avoid the fact that there was so much great metal and some cool rock as well and I hope that my journey through the golden year will do the albums justice.

Next post: Van Halen- 1984

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 Metal Albums of 1983: Heaven- Where Angels Fear to Tread

Posted in 1980s, Books, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2017 by 80smetalman

heaven_waftt

When my household finally got MTV in the final month of 1983, one video I remember seeing getting a good amount of airplay was the one for the song, “Rock School” by Australian rockers, Heaven. The song itself was okay although at the time, I wasn’t too sure about the horns in it. What I did enjoy was the actual video. It cast the band as your typical high school hoods causing havoc at their school. My favourite part was when they whip the high school football team in a rumble. I think that was the highlight for many metalheads at the time.

Now, I am not anti- American football or school sports. After all, I officiate the game here in the UK and when I went to the states two and a half years ago, had the opportunity to officiate a high school junior varsity game. What I am opposed to is the mentality in schools that a boy isn’t anything unless he plays football and that football prepares a young man for life. It was around this time in the US that schools began pushing sports over learning and treating the jocks as mollycoddled gods. There is an instance in “Rock and Roll Children” about this when two football players try to pick on one of the character’s friends and a fight starts. When the smoke clears, the teachers, the PE teacher especially, seem to be more sympathetic to the football players’ side of the story. The PE teacher simply wants to dismiss the metalheads’ story and only a more fair minded teacher stops him. Trust me, things like this happened in school back then and probably still do so now. So, it would have amused many a metalhead in 83 to see one of their bands duffing up some football players.

Scenes from the video for "Rock School."

Scenes from the video for “Rock School.”

As for the rest of the album, “Where Angels Fear to Tread,” let me say that it is pretty much a good rocking album. The single, “Rock School” blends in well with the rest of the album. The opener and title track is quite good and the second track, “Love Child” pretty much goes hand in hand with the same hard, feel good vibe. Without a doubt though, my favourite track on the album has to be “Hard Life.” This is just a great standard rocker! Heaven just goes all out on it and it has the best guitar solo on it so double bonus points there. The closer, “Sleeping Dogs,” is a powerful rocker too and I don’t think it should be the closer. Maybe one of the two before it would have been better but who’s to say. “Where Angels Fear to Tread” is damn fine album.

Track Listing:

  1. Where Angels Fear to Tread
  2. Love Child
  3. Scream for Me
  4. Don’t Mean Nothing
  5. Rock School
  6. Madness
  7. Hard Life
  8. She Stole My Heart
  9. You
  10. Sleeping Dogs

heaven_b

Allan ‘Eddie’ Fryer- vocals

Kelly- lead guitar

Laurie Marlow- bass

Mick Cocks- rhythm guitar

Joe Turtur- drums

I wonder how many people who were living in 1983 actually remember seeing the “Rock School” video on MTV. Believe me, it was on quite a lot then and some people probably have Heaven down for one hit wonders. The “Where Angels Fear to Tread” album makes them much more than that.

Next post: Ozzy Osbourne- Bark at the Moon

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

 

 

 

 

 

Will Trump’s Presidency Usher in a New Wave of Heavy Metal?

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2017 by 80smetalman
Donald Trump

Donald Trump

I read a post on a blog, which my buddy 1537 reminded me of in his post last night, that the Presidency of the newly elected Donald Trump may usher in a new wave of heavy metal. With his ultra conservative politics, there will be a lot of angry musicians out there who will be inspired to write a lot of songs about Trump and the political/social climate that might generate from it. From that, a resurgence in heavy metal might just come about. Plus history can back it up.

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan

Let’s begin by going back to the 198os when the US President was another ultra conservative, Ronald Reagan. During the decade, for which he was in office for most of, there was a heavy metal explosion. First there was the new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBHM), which filled the early part of that decade. Inspired by that, many American metal bands emerged, I don’t feel I have to name them all. Towards the end of Ronnie’s presidency, we had the onslaught of thrash, a custom blend of punk and heavy metal. Even the PMRC, who operated with Reagan’s behind the scenes positive nod, failed to stop the heavy metal onslaught. It could also be why the 80s was the golden age of heavy metal. It also gave me good amount of inspiration when I wrote “Rock and Roll Children.”

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton

Reagan’s successor, George HW Bush was a liberal Republican and that coincided with a downward trend in heavy metal. That continued well into the presidency of the more liberal Bill Clinton. We had the grunge period and a lot of great 80s metal acts kind of drifted into near obscurity during the 1990s. I say near but not total, I do remember some great metal from old and new acts but metal was definitely stuck in a rut during this decade. In fact, I heard former Dead Kennedys lead singer Jello Biafra once say that many members of hardcore punk bands in the 80s, in the 90s, went back to California, got computer jobs and started driving BMW’s. Maybe, there wasn’t anything to be angry about during Clinton’s presidency.

George W Bush

George W Bush

That all changed with the election of George W Bush in 2000. A new wave of ultra conservative politics brought on a new wave of heavy metal. The fragmented factions of metal, whether it by nu metal, Viking metal, black metal etc, established themselves back on the world music stage. They seemed to put aside their differences and come together for the common metal good. Furthermore, gaining inspiration from their 1980s elders, many of the bands from the golden decade also made a comeback. Again, we see right wing politics ushering in a new surge in heavy metal.

Barrack Obama

Barrack Obama

Obama’s presidency did bring the heavy metal surge to a more calming trickle. Fortunately, the lessons of the 1990s were learned and heavy metal didn’t go underground. While no new ground has been gained during the more liberal years of Obama, none has been lost either. What may have happened is that metal had become insular with metalheads finding sanctuary with each other. Metal now rests upon a springboard, ready to jump into any direction. If the person, I voted for, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, had been elected, metal would have gone in a more artsy direction. Not much chance of that happening.

Now we have Trump, who many believe to be extremely right wing, racist, sexist and a few other ists as well. So the question to be asked is “Will Trump’s presidency lead to a new resurgence in heavy metal? The answer will soon be made known to us. Things are promising to heat up in the heavy metal world and I am very excited to see what will become of it.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compilation Album for 2016

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2017 by 80smetalman

Recently on Twitter, I commented that with all the great musical stars who passed on in 2016, that I wouldn’t put it past some morbid record producer to make a compilation album featuring all of them. One of my friends replied that with so many, it would have to be a box set and he’s probably right. Normally, I ‘m not a morbid person but I then thought, “Why don’t I come out with my own ideas for such an album?” Besides, if it was in the hands of some corporate record executive, their idea for the album would be totally different than mine, especially if the metal hating UK newspaper, The Sun, had anything to do with it.

In compiling such an album, I fear that had things been left to record execs, Jimmy Bain and Sandy Pearlman would have been left out totally. Jimmy would have been because he was only a bass player despite the fact that he played on all the greatest Dio albums. Sandy was simply a producer but without him, we would not have had some of the great albums delivered by both Blue Oyster Cult and The Clash. Use of semantics, the fact that Lemmy actually died in 2015, would have been used as an excuse to keep him off the album. I don’t do that because Lemmy’s death was the snowball at the top of the mountain which started the avalanche. Paul Kantner would have definitely been left out if the record producer was British but might have been included if they were American. After all, he did have a minor song writing credit on Jefferson Starship’s best known single, “Jane.”

Of course, I am tempted to exclude some too. I was never a big Prince fan. However, I didn’t hate his music. Whenever his songs came on the radio, I didn’t turn the volume up or down, nor did I change the channel. But credit where due, on the song I really like, he does shred a guitar fairly well and I remember in 1984, I fully endorsed his desire to play the role of Jimi Hendrix in a film about the guitar god.

George Michael is another problem. See, The Sun and other media have already been blubbering over how great an 80s icon he was. I can’t refute that. However, he wasn’t entirely the 1980s and the whole point of writing “Rock and Roll Children” and this blog was to rebut the belief that 80s music was entirely Wham, Michael Jackson and Boy George. We all know it wasn’t but George Michael stands as a symbol of my antagonism towards this warped view of the Golden Decade of Heavy Metal. So, I hope one can understand why I would be tempted to exclude him from my album. However, I am a better person than those at The Sun and not a corporate record executive, so I will allow one GM song onto my album. This song came out after his 1998 arrest in Los Angeles and was the springboard for a rather rude but funny joke.

Tribute Album to Musician’s Who Died in 2016

Lemmy

Lemmy

Motorhead

Motorhead

  1. Ace of Spades
  2. Killed By Death
  3. Iron Fist

175px-David-Bowie_Early

David Bowie

  1. Space Oddity
  2. Ziggy Stardust
  3. Mott the Hoople- All the Young Dudes
The Eagles

The Eagles

Glen Frey- The Eagles

Glen Frey- The Eagles

  1. Take it Easy
  2. Heartache Tonight
  3. New Kid in Town
  4. From Glenn Frey’s solo stuff:
  5. Smuggler’s Blues
  6. Sexy Girl
Jimmy Bain

Jimmy Bain

Dio

Dio

  1. Rainbow in the Dark
  2. The Last in Line
  3. Mystery
  4. Sacred Heart
  5. Sunset Superman

js

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

  1. Ride the Tiger
  2. Dance With the Dragon
  3. Stairway to Cleveland
  4. Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra (Paul Kantner solo)
I never saw them but  Emerson Lake and Palmer were said to be amazing live!

I never saw them but Emerson Lake and Palmer were said to be amazing live!

  1. Lucky Man
  2. Fanfare for the Common Man
Sandy Pearlman

Sandy Pearlman

Blue Oyster Cult

Blue Oyster Cult

  1. Don’t Fear the Reaper
  2. Dancing in the Ruins
The Clash

The Clash

English Civil War

Prince

Prince

Let’s Go Crazy

George Michael

George Michael

Outside

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen

Hallelujah

(I thought Leonard’s song would be the best closer)

True, my list would definitely be more metal oriented. That’s because most metal and rock acts would be passed over by a corporate record producer. Opinions will vary here and I know other songs would be chosen in place of the ones I have here, but if I had my choice. This is what it would be.

Happy New Year to all! Have a great 2017.

Next post: Suicidal Tendencies

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 Metal Albums of 1983: Iron Maiden- Piece of Mind

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2016 by 80smetalman

iron_maiden_-_piece_of_mind

One problem with me back in 1983 was procrastination. When I would hear about how good a particular band was or even heard a couple of songs I really liked from said band, I still wouldn’t rush out and buy their album. I put it down to me being too tight with my money back then. In the case of Iron Maiden, I heard a lot of good songs from them in the early years and even saw their kick ass live show in January 1985, which is highlighted in “Rock And Roll Children,” but the first Maiden album I actually bought was “Live After Death.” It was then that I started to delve into their backlog of studio albums and discovered what would be my all time favourite Iron Maiden studio album, “Piece of Mind.”

If I’m completely honest, I think what I liked most about “Piece of Mind” was that fact that it has many of the songs that I loved from “Live After Death” on it. What’s an added bonus is that the studio versions of those songs don’t sound too different from the live ones. Although when I hear “Revelations,” even after all these years, I still half expect Bruce Dickinson to shout “Scream for me Longbeach!” in the middle of the song. Still, you can’t go wrong with such great tracks as the one mentioned as well as two others near the top of my favourite Iron Maiden song list, “The Trooper” and “The Flight of Icarus.” The weird thing about those two songs is that “The Flight of Icarus” sounds shorter in length that what it actually is and “The Trooper” sounds longer. But hey, who cares about things like that? They’re both great songs, one written about a famous Greek fable while the other is about a tragic blunder in British military history, the charge of the light brigade. Both done very well set to music.

“Die With Your Boots On” is another cross over from the live album and I really like that one as well but those don’t lessen the effect the other tracks has on the album. “Where Eagles Dare” is a fantastic opener and “To Tame a Land” is a cool closer. The other three tracks on the album also contribute to “Piece of Mind’s” greatness although I never really get to hear what is said in “Nicko” which is a backwards message at the beginning of “Still Life.” It was included as a dig at the religious nuts who claimed Iron Maiden were Satanic on account of the “The Number of the Beast Album.” On the subject of Nicko, this was the first album to feature drummer Nicko McBrain, who replaced Clive Burr. What I never knew was that Nicko used to play with guitar great, Pat Travers. Man, you learn something new every day.

Track Listing:

  1. Where Eagles Dare
  2. Revelations
  3. The Flight of Icarus
  4. Die With You Boots On
  5. The Trooper
  6. Still Life
  7. Quest for Fire
  8. Sun and Steel
  9. To Tame a Land
Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden

Bruce Dickinson- vocals

Steve Harris- bass

Adrian Smith- guitar

Dave Murray- guitar

Nicko McBrain- drums

History has tried to state that the new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBH) was fading by 1983. I guess that Iron Maiden forgot to pick up the memo because they put out a stellar album in that year. One can’t fault “Piece of Mind” at all as it cemented their place as heavy metal legends.

Next post: Def Leppard- Pyromania

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: Night Ranger- Midnight Madness

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2016 by 80smetalman

Midnightranger

An huge argument raged throughout the mid 1980s and for some, it still does today. It is even briefly debated in “Rock and Roll Children.” Was Night Ranger heavy metal? Pure metalheads gave a resounding no because of the band’s use of keyboards and softer, more commercial rock, especially in regards to the album following this one. However, this didn’t stop the rest of the world from claiming they were. My opinion in this matter can be found in the title of this post. You probably noticed that I didn’t call Night Ranger’s “Midnight Madness” album a great metal album.

Listening to the second album from Night Ranger, it is quite easy to see why many of the less knowing would call it a metal album. Most of the first five songs do rock, although I still wouldn’t call them metal. Even the ballad, “Sister Christian” ranks up there as a very good power ballad. It did influence some metal bands who wanted at least one on their album to write their ballads in this style.

My first experience of the album came in the form of “You Could Still Rock in America.” Like the classic, “Don’t Tell Me You Love,” I thought this too was a Rick Springfield song at first. Another example of irony in my life, I first heard it after spending four weeks in London. My first musical experience there wasn’t great. The people I was staying with were all top 40 dance junkies and they tried to insist that there was no place in London to find the hard rock I loved so much. After lamenting the first two weeks, I did discover a really cool rock pub in Croydon in South London and things got better after that. Then I went to my first Donington Festival so my I ended up enjoying my London stay. When I returned, I heard this song playing on the radio and thought, “Damn right, you can still rock in America.” Saying that, I was glad that earlier reports about music in the UK were proved totally wrong.

Apart from “Sister Christian,” the only really commercial oriented tracks are “When You Close Your Eyes,” another hit single for the band and “Passion Play.” The latter is a bit harder than the former but doesn’t rock like the rest of the album. Tracks that really do rock, besides the opener, are “Touch of Madness” and “Chippin’ Away.” “Rumours in the Air” is pretty cool as well. But what makes this album rock, even the songs that don’t rock as much is the guitar duo of Brad Gillis and Jeff Watson. One or the other or both in some cases, lay down some serious guitar heat in every song, except the acoustic closer. When people talk of guitar duos, the ones mentioned are Tipton/Downing, Smith/Murray or Gers/Murray (same band), Ojeda/French and the original guitar duo, Walsh/Felder. After hearing this album again after so many years, Watson/Gillis needs to be included among the others.

Jeff Watson and Brad Gillis leading the way for Night Ranger

Jeff Watson and Brad Gillis leading the way for Night Ranger

Track Listing:

  1. You Can Still Rock in America
  2. Rumours in the Air
  3. Why Does Love Have to Change
  4. Sister Christian
  5. Touch of Madness
  6. Passion Play
  7. When You Close Your Eyes
  8. Chippin’ Away
  9. Let  Him Run
Night Ranger

Night Ranger

Jack Blades- bass, lead vocals

Jeff Watson- guitars, keyboards

Brad Gillis- guitars

Alan ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald- keyboards

Kelly Keagy- drums, lead vocals

True metalheads like me do not consider Night Ranger heavy metal. However, they did know how to rock as the album “Midnight Madness” clearly shows. In 1983, they did rock America.

Next post: Marillion- Script For a Jester’s Tear

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