Archive for The 1980s

The Rise of Christian Rock

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2017 by 80smetalman

Normally, I don’t write three posts in a week unless in exceptional circumstances which this is. Nothing major, I’m just going to be in Blackpool for the weekend and working a lot next week so I won’t be able to post again until next Friday. However, this doesn’t excuse any of you from your homework assignment from the last post. Only kidding.

1984 was the golden year of heavy metal but it also saw a huge rise in the interest in what has become known as ‘Christian Rock.’ With the onslaught of accusations of rock music being Satanic, Christian youth needed something they could listen to without their beliefs being affected. What emerged was a large number of bands and artists who were Born Again Christians and wanted to use music to spread their word and entertain the flock. I remember back in 1984 a lot of bands of this nature coming on the scene. In fact, early Sunday mornings, my local radio station had a four hour slot called TCN Hot Rock, where they would play music from Christian groups. When I did listen to it, I immediately dismissed the false belief that Christian bands were second rate musicians who were only using religion as a gimmick because they weren’t good enough to make it mainstream. Really, some people actually thought that. No these people could really wail and the music was very good and to shoot down another myth, not all the songs were in your face about Jesus.

You’d be surprised how many bands there are who are considered Christian Rock, even some of those who were popular among us heathens. Did you know that three of the four members of U2 were Born Again Christians? Adam Clayton is the only non believer in the band. Needless to say, their music got a lot of air play on TCN. As did another band who I featured here not too long ago, The Alarm. Other artists also came onto my radar thanks to this radio programme, including former Kansas star, Kerry Livgren. I’ll be featuring his album two posts from now. There was Mylon LeFevre, (no relation), Petra, the Daniel Band and it was here that I got my introduction to some heavy metal band called Styper. You might have heard of them.

The Alarm

U2

I remember one song getting a lot of airplay on TCN Hot Rock during the summer of 1984 so I thought, I would share it with you. It’s by Steve Taylor and it’s called “We Don’t Need No Color Code.” The song actually is a rant against a supposedly Christian College in the South who was accused of racist practices.

Like with everything to do with religion, the concept of Christian Rock is great. Like I said on other blogs, I can listen to Stryper and Mercyful Fate in the same sitting. There are some pretty amazing musicians who are Born Again Christians and I think that’s cool. However, like with everything else, people mess it up and make it look bad. The rise of Christian Rock gave rise to the arrogance in the attitudes of those who listened to it. Some would take this to extremes and if you’ve read “Rock And Roll Children,” (shameless plug), you’ll know what I mean.

Next post: Originally, I was going to put a song by the Daniel Band on this post but when I listened to their 1984 album, “Rush Out of the Darkness,” I was so impressed that I’m going to make it my next post.

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1505466016&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Triumphs and Other Happenings in 1984

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2017 by 80smetalman

 

Evidence that heavy metal had truly established itself in 1984 can be sited with the 1984 Monsters of Rock Festival at Donington Park, in England. This was the first and probably only Donington to feature seven artists and you can only look at the poster here, see which bands played on draw your own conclusions as to whether or not it was a kick ass day. I wasn’t there but I know people who were and they can confirm it. The only negative comment I heard about the day was that Motley Crue had bottles thrown at them for making too many comments about sex, drugs and rock and roll. Something an opening band should probably not do. Anyway, to see Ozzy, Van Halen and AD/DC all on one stage must have been mind blowing.

I must apologize for Youtube not having any individual songs recorded from this memorable day.

Cyndi Lauper

You are probably asking yourself, “What is she doing here on an 80smetalman’s post?” Well, some misguided individuals thought that Cyndi Lauper had replaced Joan Jett or Pat Benatar as the Queen of Rock in 1984. Nonsense, I say. I will never recognize Cyndi Lauper as such and will go to my grave stating that fact. Yes, I liked “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” the very first time I heard it but afterwards, I wanted to take an Uzi to the television every time the video came on MTV. The only song from of hers I nearly liked since was “Money Changes Everything” and a few years later, grew to like “I Drove All Night” a little.

So, why is she here you ask. Back when I posted about my weekend at Download, where I went to see wrestling, I mentioned that the Rock and Wrestling Connection began in 1984 and it began with Cyndi. At the time, wrestling manager, Captain Lou Albano, claimed she managed Cyndi Lauper on wrestling shows. Cyndi refuted that claim and without going into great details, she made a challenge to Captain Lou that she could manage a wrestler better than him. So, while Lou took Women’s World Champion The Fabulous Moolah under his wing, Cyndi managed challenger Wendi Richter. I’ll leave  you to watch the video to see who won but the Rock and Wrestling Connection started here.

There was a tragedy too in 1984 but that happened at the very end of the year, so I’m saving it for the end of the 1984 tour. So here, let us reflect on the happy times with all the great heavy metal and some wrestling too.

Next post: My Underrated Band

To Buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1505042182&sr=8-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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: REO Speedwagon- Wheels Are Turnin’

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2017 by 80smetalman

With the explosion of heavy metal onto commercial airwaves in 1984, it is not surprising that there would be casualties left in its wake. For me, my love for the music of REO Speedwagon would come to an end in this year. In my eyes and ears, their 1984 album, “Wheels Are Turnin’,” was a sell out and I came to the conclusion that the band had abandoned their more hard rock roots and had become a top forty band. The exact phrase I used at the time was “They went from being good and settled for being popular.” Thinking back, was my assessment of them and this album accurate? It is now, thirty years on, that I am revisiting “Wheels Are Turnin'” with a fresh set of ears and a much more open mind.

My very first impression at the time was that they had stayed true to their roots with their first single, “I Do’ Wanna Know.” This lively track is classic REO Speedwagon as I had always known them. It’s a fast hard track where lead guitarist Gary Richrath and keyboardist Neil Doughty show their musical talents off. In fact, if I were to compile a list of my favourite REO songs, “I Do’ Wanna Know” would most certainly be in the top five. Unfortunately for me, came their second single, their ultra successful mega hit, “Can’t Fight This Feeling.” While I have come to appreciate this song more in my mellowing old age, in 1984, I thought that the band where just trying to recapture the success they had with a previous successful song, “Keep on Loving You” from the “Hi Infidelity” album. At the time, that was a big turnoff for me.

The two singles after that were even bigger turnoffs to me. “One Lonely Night” didn’t fire me up in any way nor did “Live Every Moment.” It was here that I went off REO Speedwagon and found myself content to listen to their earlier classics, especially my all time favourite of theirs, “Nine Lives.” As I write this, I am feeling a little bit like a hypocrite. I have said on countless posts of albums that I don’t judge them by their singles, so why did I here? I think the reason was that on so many of their albums, including my fave, the singles from them were some of my favourite songs. I know that sounds a bit weak and that’s why I am asking if anyone knows where I time machine is located so I can got back to 1984 and tell my 23 year old self to give the “Wheels Are Turnin'” album a chance.

Unlike those other albums, some of the best tracks aren’t the singles, “I Do’ Wanna Know” being the exception. That will always be the best track on the album for me. However, with some of the other songs, they do go back more to their harder rock roots. “Thru the Window” and “Gotta Feel More” are great examples of this as is the title track at the end. However, on these songs and even the singles, the guitar talents of Gary Richrath aren’t ignored as he does wail on many of them. “Gotta Feel More” is probably Gary at his best on this album.

Gary Richrath

Track Listing:

  1. I Do’ Wanna Know
  2. One Lonely Night
  3. Thru the Window
  4. Rock N’ Roll Star
  5. Live Every Moment
  6. Can’t Fight This Feeling
  7. Gotta Feel More
  8. Break This Spell
  9. Wheels Are Turnin’

REO Speedwagon

Kevin Cronin- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Gary Richrath- lead guitar

Neil Doughty- keyboards

Bruce Hall- bass, backing vocals

Alan Gratzer- drums, percussion, backing vocals

So the big question here is did REO Speedwagon sell out with the “Wheels Are Turnin'” album? My answer is possibly. They did have four singles from this album and only one of them I truly liked. However, there is plenty of evidence on the album to show that they hadn’t fully turned away from their harder past. My conclusion is that while I enjoy this album more in my older age, it still doesn’t match up to classics like “Nine Lives,” “Hi Infidelity,” “You Can Tune a Piano But You Can’t Tuna Fish” or “Good Trouble.” For me, those are the greatest REO albums of all time.

Next post: Great Rock One Hit Wonders 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=1504429543&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Big Country- Steeltown

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2017 by 80smetalman

After much contemplation, actually thirty plus years of it, I have arrived at the conclusion that Scottish rockers, Big Country have been given a bad rap by many in the rock world. I think that because of their first big hit “In a Big Country” from their 1983 album, “The Crossing,” which sounded a little new wave pop to some and the fact that MTV played the video to death. What also didn’t help them was that on this, their 1984 album, “Steeltown,” they went on tour with Hall and Oates, which led me and many others to conclude they were simply a top forty band. In truth, they weren’t and had some interesting sounds that metalheads and those not into trends could like together.

What they do so well on this album and their others as well is to blend the hard rock, new wave with their Celtic roots. Blended together, it makes a very interesting but enjoyable sound. The title track is the prime example of what I mean. One minute you are gently rocking away to it and the next you find yourself lost in the Celtic melody of the song. An added bonus is the political/historical message in the lyrics. “Steeltown” is about the town of Corby where many local Scots went to work in the newly opened steel mill in 1935 only to find themselves unemployed when it shut down in the early 1980s following the decline of the steelworks. The song was very apt for that time.

The rest of the album follows along in the same vein. Hard rock with great local melodies entwine themselves in every song. One thing I find on a personal note is that “East of Eden” was their only top 20 single from the album but I think that there are better songs on it and with me, that’s usually the criteria for a good album in my twisted mind. As far as singles go, I prefer the non top 20 reaching one, “Where the Rose is Sown.” That only made it to 29  but it has all the things I like on the album. “Come Back to Me” is also an interesting one. It’s kind of a ballad but it’s not but it does have some nice drum work on it. “Rain Dance” also stands out for me and “The Great Divide” is the hardest rock track but I can’t say there’s a bad song on here.

Track Listing:

  1. Flame of the West
  2. East of Eden
  3. Steeltown
  4. Where the Rose is Sown
  5. Come Back to Me
  6. Tall Ships Go
  7. Girl With Grey Eyes
  8. Rain Dance
  9. The Great Divide
  10. Just a Shadow

Big Country

Stuart Adamson- lead vocals, guitar, piano

Mark Brzezicki- drums, percussion, vocals

Tony Butler- bass, vocals

Bruce Watson- guitar, mandolin, sitar, vocals

For the reasons I mentioned at the start of the post, this album largely passed me by in 1984. Don’t worry, I’ve already given myself 40 lashes for it. It would be the next album when I would stop and say, “Hey wait a minute, these guys are pretty good.” Still, better late than never and I can say that this album is the real deal.

Next post:  REO Speedwagon- Wheels Are Turnin’

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=1504208727&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Survivor- Vital Signs

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2017 by 80smetalman

Back in 1984, Survivor, in my mind were a band who were only known for the “Eye of the Tiger” album compliments of the film, “Rocky 3.” For some reason totally unexplainable to me, their 1983 album, “Caught in the Game,” never made itself known to me. However, from what I have heard about it, people said at the time that it was proof that the only reason Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” album was successful was on account of Sylvester Stallone and they weren’t up to much without that. Then in 1984, they recorded the “Vital Signs” album and any talk of this band needing Rocky to succeed was silenced.

Survivor did make a change when recording the album. Out went lead singer David Bickler and in to take over the mike duties was Jimi Jamison. From my recollection of history, Jimi gave the band the lift they needed to make “Vital Signs” a successful album. His vocals on all of the songs are solid and versatile. He can sing ballads like “The Search is Over” and rockers like “Popular Girl” without breaking a sweat. In the eyes of song writers Frankie Sullivan and Jim Peterik, he was a god send.

On that subject, the two men I’ve just mentioned are very good song writers and just as good musicians. Together, with the rhythm section of Stephan Ellis and Marc Droubay, they make a good band and therefore a cool album. You can’t fault four singles and the thing is, I like them all. Was I on drugs at the time? Probably but I do like the first four songs on the album, which were the singles. Even thirty years plus on, I can’t decide which I like better between “I Can’t Hold Back” and “High on You.” However, I wouldn’t call the other tracks filler. “Broken Promises” steers the album to more hard rock waters after the very well done progressive rock of the first four songs. There is a good guitar solo on it. Then, probably the hardest song on the album, “Popular Girl,” for me is the hidden gem. If a metal band covered this song or if Survivor hadn’t held back, it would have the potential to be mind blowing. The next track, “Everlasting” is a cool power ballad with a great metal like guitar solo intro and some noticeably cool drumming. Great stuff.

Track Listing:

  1. I Can’t Hold Back
  2. High on You
  3. First Night
  4. The Search is Over
  5. Broken Promises
  6. Popular Girl
  7. Everlasting
  8. It’s the Singer, Not the Song
  9. I See You in Everyone

Survivor

Jimi Jamison- lead vocals

Frankie Sullivan- guitar, vocals

Jim Peterik- guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals

Stephan Ellis- bass

Marc Droubay- drums

You get two songs because I can’t decide which one I like more

Survivor silenced their critics in 1984 with Vital Signs and proved they could make good music on their own without the assistance of Mr Stallone. Proof that the album is so good is in the fact that even though it has a more progressive rock sound, a metal head like me likes it.

Next post: Big Country- Steel Town

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=1503940272&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Blackfoot- Vertical Smiles

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2017 by 80smetalman

Another great Southern Rock or in my view Southern metal band who went for a more commercial rock sound in 1984 was Blackfoot with their album, “Vertical Smiles.” Keyboards player Ken Hensley from Uriah Heep became a permanent member and guitarist Charlie Hargrett left over disagreements with the band and management. However, I have always believed Charlie’s departure to be fairly amicable because written on the album cover is “Special thanks to Charlie Hargrett for fourteen years of agony and dedication.”

The move to more commercial rock comes out in the very first song, “Morning Dew,” which was released as the album’s only single. I remember it getting limited airplay on radio. While I have always liked this song, it was certainly a departure from traditional Blackfoot. The keyboards lead into the song and it’s present throughout, although this isn’t a bad thing. I also love the military sounding snare drums complements of Mr Spires and Rick Medlocke pelts a good guitar solo on it. So there is a lot to like with “Morning Dew.”

Things go decisively harder for the next few songs after. “Living in the Limelight” is a pure belter and Medlocke’s signature vocals are present. The song rocks! The same can be said for “Get It On.” This too is a good rocker from the more memorable days of Blackfoot. The song in between them, “Ride With You” isn’t bad either. It’s just too much keyboards where some good guitar stuff should be and that lets it down a little. Then, the album slows right down with two power ballad type songs, “Young Girl” and “Summer Days.” It does show a more tender side to the band and both songs are done very well. Happily, things go back to more familiar ground with the blazing “A Legend Never Dies.” I have always thought “this is more like it.”  It proves that Blackfoot can effectively employ guitar and keyboard together in a song. But the most true old style Blackfoot track is the pen ultimate, “Heartbeat and Heels.” This song casts aside any doubt that Blackfoot have completely abandoned their past. It is the hidden gem on the album. I’ve never been too sure about the closer. You would think that any song titled, “In For the Kill” would be a hard rocker and though this song has moments, it doesn’t move me in for any kill. Still, it’s probably the best song to close the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Morning Dew
  2. Living In the Limelight
  3. Ride With You
  4. Get it On
  5. Young Girl
  6. Summer Days
  7. A Legend Never Dies
  8. Heartbeat and Heels
  9. In For the Kill

Blackfoot

Rick Medlocke- guitar, lead vocals

Ken Hensley- keyboards, backing vocals

Greg T Walker- bass, backing vocals

Jackson Spires- drums, backing vocals

Sherri Jarrell- backing vocals

Note: This was a band photo from the last album but I thought I’d use out it of respect for Charlie Hargrett

All in all, “Vertical Smiles” is a pretty decent album. True, they incorporate keyboards where a harder guitar sound should be in places but it’s not bad. The album does have good songs. Still, it’s not near the same level as their three famous albums, “Strikes,” “Tomcattin'” and “Marauder.”

Next post: Survivor- Vital Signs

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=1503603657&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre