Archive for The 1980s

Great Metal Albums of 1985: Warlock- Hellbound

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2018 by 80smetalman

Keeping with 80smetalman tradition, I am posting an album from an artist I’m about to see live in the imminent future. Tomorrow, I shall be heading to Bloodstock and on Friday, I fully intend to see Doro Pesch headlining the Sophie Lancaster Stage that night. Now, some might call this cheating but Doro didn’t have an album out in 1985. Back then, she was with her band Warlock and it’s their second album, “Hellbound,” that gets the posting this time.

This was another album I listened to following the event. My first experience of Warlock came when I saw them open the Donington Festival in 1986. Even then, I thought there was something about this band and more so about the lead singer. Therefore, it was a no brainer that I check out the works of this band and for me, their output on vinyl, (actually it was cassette,) matched what they had shown me on stage on that historic day in August of 1986.

“Hellbound” starts very fast paced, in fact, I was convinced they were more speed metal when I first heard the opening and third tracks on the album. Both of those songs just get stuck into ripping your eardrums to pieces and the track in between, “All Night,” while not as fast is still a ferocious tune to head bang away to. I’ve always thought it surprising that it was released as a single because it trendies would consider it too metal for mainstream radio. Still, I like the song.

With the fourth track, “Wrathchild,” the pace is set for the rest of the album. It’s more like the second track beginning with a great guitar solo. It’s killer, not losing any of the edge set by the first three tracks. It definitely gets a vote for hidden gem on the album and if I had anything to say, that one would have been the single, especially with the cool guitar soloing throughout the song. “Down and Out” is ideal for heavy metal purists because it is pure metal. Some more great soloing begins “Out of Control” and that grabs you by the ears and makes you enjoy the rest of the song, which is why it too can be called a hidden gem. “Time to Die” goes more back in the speed direction but with this song, that’s only natural. Normally, a song called “Shout It Out” opens an album and it could have on “Hellbound,” but it sounds just as good in the eighth position. That leads to the closer which lures you into a false security by pretending it’s a power ballad but not long in, the mask comes off and it blows you away. Still a great song to end the album on.

There is absolutely no argument in my mind that the main reason for why this album is so good is the vocal talents of Doro. She has always had a great singing voice and here’s where it started. However, I must also sing the praises of her guitarists who both play very well on the album. They go a long way in making her sound that much better and makes this album great.

Track Listing:

  1. Hellbound
  2. All Night
  3. Earthshaker Rock
  4. Wrathchild
  5. Down and Out
  6. Out of Control
  7. Time to Die
  8. Shout it Out
  9. Catch My Heart

Warlock

Doro Pesch- lead vocals

Rudy Graf- guitar

Peter Szigeti- guitar

Frank Rittel- bass

Michael Eurich- drums

The big question is, Will Doro play any songs from “Hellbound” when she ascends the stage at Bloodstock? I hope so and I’ll be particularly over the moon if she plays “Wrathchild.” But if she doesn’t, this is still a great album to headbang away to.

Next post: Bloodstock- The Thursday

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: Lone Justice

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2018 by 80smetalman

My first hearing of the band Lone Justice in 1985 came not through MTV or the radio, nor did it come from anyone recommending I buy their debut album. I first heard about them when I was told they were supporting then legends, U2. Then two days before I was going to see them, my local radio station played their first single, “Ways to be Wicked.” I liked it and that gave me a greater expectation of the band when I finally did see them and on that night, I wasn’t disappointed! In 1985, U2 and Lone Justice made a very good combination.

Lone Justice are listed in Wikapedia as country rock and I don’t disagree with that assessment. Thre is definitely a country music influence and the album is too rock to be considered country. Have a listen to “Don’t Toss Us Away.” However, I think a better assessment is Southern Rock meets new wave. When listening to the rock guitars you can hear what was then called modern synths compliments of one Benmont Tench from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Mike Campbell from the same band lends his guitar skills as well and there is even contributions from Little Steven who most of the world knows from Bruce Springsteen’s band. With this accompaniment assisting, it’s no wonder the album is so good. Not that I am taking anything away from the band because those players weren’t with them when I saw Lone Justice live and the band was quite capable of holding their own. Not only did they play material from this album, they also delighted the crowd to covers of CCR’s “The Fortunate Son” and “Sweet Jane.”

“Ways to Be Wicked” has always been my favourite Lone Justice song, probably to the exposure on radio and eventually MTV. Other songs which really stand out for me are “After the Flood” and “Soap, Soup and Salvation” which is about the extreme poverty that was rising in America during the mid 1980s. Again, I take nothing away from the rest of the album and while the musicianship is first rate, the driving force behind each and every song is the vocals of Maria McKee. She may be small in height but her vocal range makes her ten feet tall. Thinking about it, I’m rather disappointed that more wasn’t said about her vocal ability back then because she is phenomenal.

Track Listing:

  1. East of Eden
  2. After the Flood
  3. Ways to be Wicked
  4. Don’t Toss Us Away
  5. Working Late
  6. Sweet, Sweet Baby (I’m Falling)
  7. Pass It On
  8. Wait Til We Get Home
  9. Soap, Soup and Salvation
  10. You Are the Light

Lone Justice

Maria McKee- guitar, harmonica, vocals

Ryan Hedgecock- guitar, vocals

Marvin Etzioni- bass, backing vocals

Don Heffington- drums

Additional Musicians:

Mike Campbell- guitar

Tony Gilkyson- guitar

Bob Glaub- bass

Little Steven- guitar

Benmont Tench- piano, organ, synthesizer, backing vocals

Three years after seeing Lone Justice and hearing their debut album, I mentioned to someone who was heavily into the band that I had seen them support U2. He responded that U2 should have supported Lone Justice. I wouldn’t have gone that far but I can appreciate his feelings. Lone Justice should have achieved much more than they did and this album proves it.

Next post: Warlock- Hellbound

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: Eric Clapton- Behind the Sun

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2018 by 80smetalman

In my last few posts, I have recollected how back in 1985, I thought several great rockers from the 1970s had sold out and gone too commercial only to realize that I was wrong when finally getting around to listening to their album. However, I never said this about guitar god Eric Clapton when his “Behind the Sun” album came out in the same year. Ironically, all the music critics at the time said he did exactly that, citing his collaboration with Phil Collins on the album. One said that Eric was in danger of turning his back on his faithful following and liable to end up playing his greatest hits on the Vegas circuit. What do critics know?

It was on tour for this album when I finally got to see Eric Clapton in his full glory in concert. I do make a passing comment about it in “Rock And Roll Children.” Memories from that piece of history have brought up two items from that night. One, Eric did play a lot of his greatest hits that evening but he did play some from the album too. The other and I think this might be down to management, his two female backing singers were dressed kind of new wave but that didn’t affect his brilliant music played that evening. If anything, I thought the biggest act of sacrilege from the show was that he let the rhythm guitarist play a solo on “Cocaine.”

If Eric Clapton sounds new wave or too commercial on the “Behind the Sun” album, I sure as hell don’t hear any evidence of it. To me, this was Eric Clapton at his usual best. Even looking at the two singles released from the album, “She’s Waiting” and “Forever Man” do not give me any thought that he was trying to go too commercial 80s here. “She’s Waiting” is everything I had always remembered and liked about his music and “Forever Man” reminds me of his great hit with Derek and the Dominoes, “Layla.” So again, I shoot down the accusation that Eric was trying to sound too commercial. One song that totally refutes that claim is my vote for hidden gem, “Same Old Blues.” Here, he shows how he got the nickname ‘Slow Hand’ as he solos all through the song, classic blues guitar at its very best.

Some my counter claim by citing his cover of the 1979 disco hit by one hit wonder Amii Stewart, “Knock on Wood.” Clapton’s version of this song sounds nothing like the original disco tune. He puts his own spin on the song, that’s a certainty. If there’s any variation from traditional Clapton, it has to be with “See What Love Can Do” which sound rather calypso but it’s played very well with a classic Clapton guitar solo it. In fact, what I love about the album is the fact that he solos his way all the way through it and that’s what I have always liked about him. He is truly a guitar god.

Amii Stewart

Track Listing:

  1. She’s Waiting
  2. See What Love Can Do
  3. Same Old Blues
  4. Knock On Wood
  5. Something’s Happening
  6. Forever Man
  7. It All Depends
  8. Tangled In Love
  9. Never Make You Cry
  10. Just Like a Prisoner
  11. Behind the Sun

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton- lead guitar, lead vocals

Phil Collins- drums (tracks 1,3,4,9,10), shaker (tracks 7 & 9)

Donald Dunn (From the Blues Brothers)- bass (tracks 1,3,4, 7-10)

Jamie Oldake- drums (tracks 1,3,4, 7-10)

Chris Stainton- synthesizers, organ, piano (tracks 1,3,4, 7-10)

Marcy Levy- backing vocals (tracks 1-3 and 6-9)

Lyndsey Buckingham- rhythm guitar (track 5)

James Newton Howard- synthesizer (track 5)

Jerry Lynn Williams- backing vocals (tracks 2 & 5)

Lenny Castro- congas, percussion (tracks 2 & 6)

Ray Cooper- percussion, gong, bongos (tracks 1,3,7,8)

Nathan East- bass, backing vocals (tracks 2,5,6)

Steve Lukather- rhythm guitar (tracks 2 & 6)

Shawn Murphy- backing vocals (tracks 1,3,7,8)

Michael Omartian- synthesizer (tracks 2 & 6)

Jeff Procraro- drums (tracks 2 & 6)

Greg Phillinganes- synthesizer, backing vocals (track 5)

John JR Johnson- drums (track 5)

J. Peter Robinson- synthesizer (tracks 1,3,4 7-10)

Ted Templeman- shaker, tambourine, timbales (tracks 5 & 6)

When “Behind the Sun” came to my attention, I was glad that a classic album from a great musician was able to fill the gap in what was a few metal starved months for me. This album was never too 80s pop in my view, it just cooks.

Next post: Lone Justice

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers- Southern Accents

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2018 by 80smetalman

My first thought when the “Southern Accents” album from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers first came to my attention in early 1985 was that they hadn’t gone into obscurity. It turns out that their 1981 and 82 albums had totally passed me by. I blame being in the service at the time. The second thought I had came via the video on MTV for the first single, “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and that was that Tom Petty had sold out and gone commercial, especially since he plays The Mad Hatter in the video which has an “Alice in Wonderland” theme. The further fact that Tom co-wrote the song with Dave Stewart from The Eurythmics only cemented that belief further. Thankfully, I am glad that I was completely wrong on both accounts.

I think my motivation behind me belief was that I was still remembering the band for their excellent “Damn the Torpedoes” album and expected the single to sound somewhat like “Refugee” or “Don’t Do Me Like That.” “Don’t Come Around Here No More” doesn’t sound like either and although I’m more open to it these days, at the time, I was looking for power chords. So listening to it recently with a more open mind, I am able to deliver a more favourable report on “Southern Accents.”

Let’s start with the not so positive: “Southern Accents” doesn’t topple “Damn the Torpedoes” from the top spot in my mind. Does that make it a bad album? Certainly not! There is many a good jam to be had on it. The first two songs, especially the opener, “Rebel,” really cook. Then again, Mike Campbell plays his best guitar solo on the second song. The irony here is that Petty also co-wrote that one with Stewart and likewise another great song, “Make It Better (Forget About Me.)” So, it’s been thirty years in coming but I must apologize and withdraw my accusation that Dave Stewart was trying to turn Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers into an 80s synth pop band. He wasn’t in any way.

Other tracks on “Southern Accents” go further in highlighting the band’s diversity and talent. The title track is a decent ballad and I like the Southern rock leanings of “Spike.” However, my vote for hidden gem has to be “Dogs on the Run” because it’s the song which reminds me of my favourite album the most. That song alone is proof that the band didn’t sell out in 1985. “Mary’ New Car” does come a close second.

Track Listing:

  1. Rebel
  2. It Ain’t Nothin’ to Me
  3. Don’t Come Around Here No More
  4. Southern Accents
  5. Make it Better (Forget About Me)
  6. Spike
  7. Dogs on the Run
  8. Mary’s New Car
  9. The Best of Everything

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Tom Petty- lead vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards, percussion

Mike Campbell- lead guitar, backing vocals, Dobro, keyboards

Benmont Tench- piano, keyboards, vibraphone

Stan Lynch- drums, percussion, backing vocals

Howie Epstein- bass, vocals

If I was so wrong about the “Southern Accents” album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1985, I wonder how many other albums I was wrong about. Don Henley for one. Still, I was a different person back then and the lack of heavy metal played on the radio and MTV back in early 1985 only poured fuel on those feelings. This is a great album!

Next post: Eric Clapton- Behind the Sun

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: Van Morrison- A Sense of Wonder

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2018 by 80smetalman

Here’s another example of how I was so focused on heavy metal in early 1985 that I didn’t fully appreciate a good non-metal album. I have to admit, back then I didn’t have much experience of the legend that is Van Morrison. My most memorable experience of him was his performance in the film, “The Last Waltz” where he sang with The Band. Other than that, what I knew of him was virtually zero.

While by 1985, I had become totally fed up with commercial radio, I have to thank it for this one. The single from the 1985 album, “A Sense of Wonder,” “Tore Down a la Rimbaud” got a considerable amount of airplay in the early part of the year. It was only after a few listens that I got past my “it’s not metal” mentality and realized that “Hey, this song is pretty good.” However, for some reason, I never bought the album, which was a bit of a shame because I missed out on a good one.

Wikapedia puts Van’s “A Sense of Wonder” album in the category of Celtic Soul. Well the man is from Northern Ireland and he does put his soul into the album so it’s hard to disagree with that label. Back then, I would have put it into either or both of the categories of soft rock or mellow out rock. It covers both. While the deafening power chords I was so into in 1985 and still am today are absent, one can’t fault the quality of the musicianship on it. Here’s another myth I believed about Van which this album has obliterated. I thought that he only sang because that’s what he did in “The Last Waltz.” But he plays guitar and piano and rather well judging from the instrumentals “Evening Meditation” and “Boffyflow and Spike,” the latter sounding like true Irish folk music.

While the single remains my favourite song on the album, the rest of the album keeps up as well. In my opinion, “Ancient of Days” could have been released as a single too because it’s almost as good. After the first mentioned instrumental, he goes very almost gospel soul softer though I think the title track goes on a bit too long for me. The second instrumental does pick things up a pace after and “If You Only Knew” keeps that pace going with “A New Kind of Man” closing the album out with a good feeling.

Track Listing:

  1. Tore Down a la Rimbaud
  2. Ancient of Days
  3. Evening Meditation
  4. The Master’s Eyes
  5. What Would I Do
  6. A Sense of Wonder
  7. Boffyflow and Spike
  8. If You Only Knew
  9. Let the Slave (Incorporating the Price of Experience)
  10. A New Kind of Man

Van Morrison

Van Morrison- vocals, guitar and piano

John Allair- organ

Bob Doll- trumpet

Tom Donlinger- drums

Pee Wee Ellis- tenor saxophone

David Hayes- bass

Chris Michie- guitar

Pauline Lazano- backing vocals

Bianca Thornton- backing vocals

The group Moving Hearts performs on tracks 6 and 7

I’m now a believer. Again, it could be me mellowing a tiny bit with age but I now appreciate how good the “A Sense of Wonder” album from Van Morrison really is. Perhaps I should delve into his discography a little more.

Next post: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers- Southern Accents

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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

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Great Rock Albums of 1985: Don Henley- Building the Perfect Beast

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2018 by 80smetalman

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that I was not as musically open minded as I thought I was in the early part of 1985. While I make no justification for this, I do think the reason might have been that I was in longing after the wave of heavy metal that was played on commercial radio throughout 1984 became non existent in the early part of the following year. That was probably why I poo-pooed the “Building the Perfect Beast” album from Don Henley. Being honest, I was in Eagles mode (even though they had split up five years earlier) with not just Don but all former members of this iconic band. I expected all of their solo material to resemble the classic “Hotel California” and the singles from this album didn’t do that. So, I ignored it until a friend lent it to me and I had a listen. Then I realized what I fool I had been.

Sure, the big single “The Boys of Summer” doesn’t sound like “Hotel California” but the musicianship on the song is simply fabulous. There is some great guitar work from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and Don’s voice is clean on this and all of the tracks. I have really come to like this track in my later years.

Upon further reflection back to 1985, I think that I put music into categories of heavy metal and synth pop. “Building the Perfect Beast” not being metal, I put it into the other category. Again I say “Fool!” at least to myself anyway. There is absolutely nothing synth pop about this album. If anything, there are tracks that take me back to The Eagles more country rock sound from the early 1970s. Tracks that bear evidence to this are the fast paced “Man With a Mission” and my vote for hidden gem, “You’re Not Drinking Enough.” For some reason, that track reminds me of the Eagles’ classic, “Take Me to the Limit.” But it does say “Early Eagles” all through the song. Thinking back to early 85, at the time I was dating a woman who had a drinking problem and now I’m linking this song with that. “Not Enough Love in the World” is another example of what I am trying to talk about. In fact this track would have fitted perfectly on the Eagles’ “Long Road From Eden” album.

One reason for why this album sounds as good as it does is that Don got a load of well known singers and musicians to guest on it. While you know it is definitely Don Henley on every track, these guests, have a look below to see who, add to the quality of the album for sure.

Track Listing:

  1. The Boys of Summer
  2. You Can’t Make Love
  3. Man With a Mission
  4. You’re Not Drinking Enough
  5. Not Enough Love in the World
  6. Building the Perfect Beast
  7. All She Wants to Do is Dance
  8. A Month of Sundays
  9. Sunset Grill
  10. Drivin’ With Your Eyes Closed
  11. Land of the Living

Don Henley

Don Henley- lead vocals, percussion (tracks 5,6,9), drums (tracks 2-4,7), keyboards (track 6)

Danny ‘Kootch’ Kortchmar- guitars, organ (4), synthesizers (tracks 1,3,6), percussion (tracks 6,9,10), keyboards (9), synthesizer guitar and horn solos (8), ormichard (4), horns (3)

Additional Musicians

Mike Campbell- guitar, synthesizer track 1

Lyndsey Buckingham- guitar, backing vocals track 2

Charlie Sexton- guitar track 3

Tim Drummond- bass (tracks 4&5)

Pino Pallindino- bass (tracks 2,9,10)

Larry Klein- bass track 1

Jim Keltner- drums track 8

Ian Wallace- drums track 5

Kevin McCormick- African drums track 6

Randy Newman- synthesizer track 8

David Paich- synthesizer (track 7) piano (track 4 & 8)

Steve Porcaro- synthesizer (track 1 &4)

Benmont Tench- synthesizer (track 8), keyboards (track 2&5)

Albhy Galuten- synthesizer, Synclavier track 6

Michael Boddicker- synthesizer track 8

Bill Cuomo- synthesizer, percussion track 10

Backing Vocals:

Belinda Carlisle- track 3

Michael O’Donahue, Waddy Watchel, JD Souther, Carla Olson- track 6

Patty Smyth- track 6, 8-10

Martha Davis- tracks 6&7

Marie Pascale Elfman, Dominique Manicelli- track 9

Sam Moore- track 4

Brian Dear, I owe you a thanks for giving me this classic Don Henley album to listen to. Otherwise, I would have been enslaved to my ignorance that “Building the Perfect Beast” was another 80s synth pop album. It is clearly not and full marks to Don for it.

Next post: The Wrestling Album

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