Archive for The Beatles

Great Rock Albums of 1984: David Gilmour- About Face

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2017 by 80smetalman

Like Lennon and McCartney after the Beatles split and Henley and Frey after the split of the Eagles, I wonder if Roger Waters and David Gilmour were entwined in some music one-upsmanship after the imagined Pink Floyd split following the last album with Waters, “The Final Cut.” Early in the year, we were treated to Roger’s album, “The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking,” which I’ve already posted about. In the months that followed, Pink Floyd guitarist, David Gilmour, released his solo album, “About Face.”

One thing I will never do is allow myself to be dragged into any debate as to which was the better album between Waters and Gilmour. Don’t even ask because even after thirty-three years, I couldn’t give an answer. I like both of them very much.

Some critic back then stated that “About Face” had a commercial feel that Pink Floyd were never bothered with. I would never call this album commercial, even if in a 2006 interview, Gilmour stated that he thought that it was too 80s. Well, maybe it was for him. In my not so humble opinion, I think that the album doesn’t go too far from the Pink Floyd formula. While I wouldn’t call the opening track typically Floyd, I do think “Until We Sleep” a cool space rock tune. I can easily listen to it while puffing the magic dragon and might have done so. However, the next two tracks are definitely Pink Floyd style tracks. The first of these, “Murder” was written in angry reaction to the senseless murder of John Lennon. On the track, Gilmour really vents that anger with a hair raising guitar solo. “Blue Light” has a funky jazz beat with the horns and this song is probably the farthest song from the traditional Pink Floyd trademark. I like it regardless.

“Out of the Blue” goes back to more familiar territory, nothing wrong with that either, but the track after, “All Lovers are Deranged” is a bit of a rocker. The lyrics were written by Who guitarist Peter Townsend and you can hear a bit of early Who in the song. It had to have been put on the album to give the listener a shock after being absorbed by the mellower track before it. “Don’t Turn You Back” starts out like a Floyd-esque song but there’s some interesting stuff going on in the middle of it with horns. If there was any track on the album that sounded commercial 80s, then it would be “Cruise.” I have always wondered why it never was released as a single. With its more easy listening style, the trendy top forty types might have liked it even if they didn’t know anything about David Gilmour or Pink Floyd. Some good organ work behind a reggae tint makes this song. Another interesting song is the instrumental that is “Let’s Get Metaphysical.” This goes from being spacey type Floyd to jazzy horns to some very good progressive sounds. The thing is that with all of this mixed together, David pulls it off. That must be a tribute to his genius. Then he ends things in what I call typical Pink Floyd fashion with “Near the End.” A long sounded space out track with some great Gilmour guitar licks. It is the best song to end with.

One thing consistent on every song is the guitar work of David Gilmour. He does let himself go more and while I always liked his guitar work with Pink Floyd, he outshines himself on “About Face.” It also helps that he put a great band together as well as some cool guest musicians to play with him.

Track Listing:

  1. Until We Sleep
  2. Murder
  3. Love On the Air
  4. Blue Light
  5. Out of the Blue
  6. All Lovers are Deranged
  7. Don’t Turn Your Back
  8. Cruise
  9. Let’s Get Metaphysical
  10. Near the End

David Gilmour

David Glimour- guitars, lead vocals, bass

Jeff Procraro- drums, percussion

Pino Palladino- bass

Ian Kewley- organ

Additional Musicians

Steve Winwood- organ on “Blue Light” and piano on “Love on the Air”

Jon Lord- synthesizer

Anne Dudley- synthesizer

Bob Ezrin- keyboards, orchestral arrangement

The Kick Horns- brass

Luis Jardim, Ray Cooper- percussion

Roy Harper, Sam Brown, Vicki Brown, Mickey Feat- vocals

The National Philharmonic Orchestra

David Gilmour popped out onto the music world of 1984 with a great solo album. Okay, it didn’t have the chart success even if Dave thought it was too 1980s. Many Pink Floyd fans do like it and so do some who weren’t. A great effort from a fine musician.

Next post: The Bangles- All Over the Place

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=1499972446&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Pop Albums of 1984: Julian Lennon- Valotte

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2017 by 80smetalman

I’m taking a lead from a post from Rich and posting about one of my not guilty pleasures. By 1984, I was in full heavy metal mode and it might surprise some that I would even entertain a pop sounding album. My counter is that having been (and still am) a big fan of The Beatles, I thought an album by the son of the great John Lennon, whose life had been so tragically snuffed out just over three years prior, was worth a listen. To be frank, I do like Julian Lennon’s debut album, “Valotte.” While it’s called pop on Wikapedia, I have always and will continue to call it mellow out rock because that’s what it exactly is.

Julian’s old man’s influence can be heard straight away on the opening title track of the album and its head rises now and again throughout the album. My first reaction to the opening track was that he was trying to sound like his father and while there isn’t anything wrong with that, I was wondering on my first listen way back then that would there be any originality from the son. I can say there is. On the track, “On the Phone,” there is a venture near the waters of progressive rock and I do like the intro. The next track “Space” is an appropriate title for that song, It does sound rather spacey and goes even further into the prog rock zone.

“Well I Don’t Know” is for sure a pop tune but it does have the only true guitar solo I can discern on the album. (There is some lead guitar bridges in other songs but that’s all.) Unfortunately, as I am no longer in possession of the album and Wikapedia doesn’t say which guitarist plays the solo, we’ll never know. The next pop song is the big single from “Valotte” called “Too Late for Goodbyes,” which got a lot of play on radio and MTV at the time. Listening to it again after so many years, I do notice that he does walk the tightrope between sounding commercial pop and his father’s influences rather well. It is probably the best tune for a radio hit. But I much like better, songs like “Lonely” with the cool sax solo which is the highlight of this mellow tune. “Say You’re Wrong” goes more into 80s synth pop and while not terrible, is unspectacular. “Jesse” is the hardest track on “Valotte.” It’s not heavy, not even close, but there is an upbeat tempo and some cool guitar bridges on it. The closer, “Let Me Be” is interesting. It’s a kind of ragtime piano tune that’s only just over two minutes but it is the best way to close the album out. I think Julian might have been going for a non serious exit here.

Track Listing:

  1. Valotte
  2. O.K. for You
  3. On the Phone
  4. Space
  5. Well I Don’t Know
  6. Too Late for Goodbyes
  7. Lonely
  8. Say You’re Wrong
  9. Jesse
  10. Let Me Be

Julian Lennon

Julian Lennon- lead and backing vocals, bass, keyboards, drums

Justin Clayton- guitar

Carlton Morales- guitar

Barry Beckett- keyboards

David Lebolt- keyboards

Peter Wood- keyboards

Roger Hawkins- drums

Steve Holley- drums, percussion

David Hood- bass

Marcus Miller- bass

Carmine Rojas- bass

Robert Mac Donald- percussion

Rory Dodd- backing vocals

Eric Taylor- backing vocals

Jon Faddis- trumpet

Joe Shepley- trumpet

Michael Brecker- saxophone

George Young- saxophone

Lawrence Feldman- saxophone

Ron Cuber- saxophone

Guest Musicians

Jean ‘Toots’ Theilmans- harmonica on “Too Late For Goodbyes”

Martin Briley- guitar on “Too Late For Goodbyes”

Dennis Herring- guitar on “Jesse”

In one respect, Julian Lennon couldn’t win with the critics on “Valotte.” The either said he was trying to be too much like his father or not enough. While his father’s influence is there, he does have his own stamp on the album, even if it is a very mellow album. While I wouldn’t listen to it travelling to or from Bloodstock, if I was younger, I would use it in the same ways teenage boys used “Beth” by KISS in the 1970s or “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” in the late 80s. The album is all right.

Next post: The Alarm- Declaration

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 1982: Glenn Frey- No Fun Aloud

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2015 by 80smetalman

nofunaloud

 It was often speculated back in the early 1980s if Glenn Frey and Don Henley were engaged in a rivalry after the Eagles split. Many thought the same thing a decade earlier with John Lennon and Paul McCartney after the Beatles broke up. The evidence in this case was the fact that in 1982, both Frey and Henley put out albums around the same time. Don Henley’s album was visited in the last post so this time, I’ll take a look at Glenn Frey’s debut album, “No Fun Aloud.”

One big similarity between the two albums from the former Eagles is Glenn Frey also uses a shit load of musicians to record the album. In fact, I recognised at least one name from the Don Henley album although Glenn doesn’t use any members from Toto on his album. Another big similarity is the fact that while Glenn Frey does add put his own stamp on the album, there are still plenty of hints from his Eagle days on “No Fun Aloud.”

Frey’s stamp is immediately put on the album with the two opening tracks, both of which are introduced with horns. Both, however, do the job in hooking your attention. The opener, “I Found Somebody” is a more bouncier tune while its successor, “The One You Love” is more of a slow jazz sound. The Eagles influence comes with the next song, “Party Town.” “Sea Cruise” comes from way out in left field because it wasn’t something I would have expected from Glenn. The song is more of a reggae, calypso sound but fair play, he makes it work. One song that sticks out for me is “That Girl,” which Glenn co wrote with Bob Seger. It is definitely Glenn’s style of song but you can hear Bob’s influence on it as well. It had me wondering out loud if these two did any more collaborations and saying it’s a shame if they hadn’t. Furthermore, I do like the lead guitar intro in “All Those Lies,” a classic Eagles type jam, kind of reminiscent of “One of These Nights.” The closer, “Don’t Give Up,” is the hardest rocker on the album. Some impressive guitar and a couple of solos make sure this album goes out on a high.

Track Listing:

1. I Found Somebody

2. The One You Love

3. Party Town

4. I Volunteer

5. I’ve Been Born Again

6. Sea Cruise

7. That Girl

8. All Those Lies

9. She Can’t Let Go

10. Don’t Give Up

Glenn Frey

Glenn Frey

Glenn Frey- vocals, guitar, organ, synthesizer, bass, keyboards, piano, clavinet

Wayne Perkins- acoustic guitar

Duncan Cameron- electric guitar

Danny Kootch Korchmar- lead guitar

Josh Leo- lead guitar

Roger Hawkins- bass, drums

Bryan Garofalo- bass

Bob Glaub- bass

David Hood- bass

Roberto Pinon- bass

Michael Huey- drums

John J.R. Robinson- drums

Allen Balzeck- keyboards

Clayton Ivey- piano

David Hawk Wallinsky- organ, synthesizer

Al Garth -tenor sax

Greg Smith- sax, backing vocals

William Bergman- saxophone

Harvey Thompson- saxophone

Jim Coiles- saxophone

Ronnie Eades- saxophone

Jim Horn- saxophone

Ernie Watts- saxophone

Lee Thornburg- trumpet

John Berry Jr- trumpet

Jim Ed Norman- strings

Steve Foreman- percussion

Heart Attack- horns

It’s hard to say for sure if there was any sort of rivalry between Glenn Frey and Don Henley or if Glenn had the dilemma that some artists have when they are/were in a group and record a solo album. All I know is that “No Fun Aloud” is a suitable solo debut album from Glenn Frey.

Next post: Styx- Kilroy Was Here

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 1981: Pat Benatar- Precious Time

Posted in 1980s, Books, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2014 by 80smetalman

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Kings and queens of rock music have come and gone throughout the years but it can be safely said that in 1980 and 81, Pat Benatar was the undisputed queen of rock. She ascended to the throne in 1980 on the wings of her second album “Crimes of Passion” after the previous rock queen, Debbie Harry, in my view, abdicated. The more astute among you probably realise that I never visited Blondie’s “Auto-American” album and for good reason. While “Crimes of Passion” ascended Pat Benatar to her rightful throne, her third album in 1981, “Precious Time,” kept her firmly seated there.

“Precious Time” continues on in the same hard rocking theme that made Pat Benatar a household name in rock circles. I admit, when I first heard the introduction to the opener, “Promises in the Dark,” I thought she might be going a bit softer but about thirty seconds in, the guitars take over and that Benatar sound is back in full swing. The second track is the big single, “Fire and Ice” and contains what I think is the best ever guitar solo from Neil Giraldo. “Just Like Me” and the title track are both traditional Pat Benatar rockers and the track “It’s a Tuff Life” goes quite reggae but nonetheless is a great track. In all of these tracks and the following, “Take It Anyway You Want It,” the vocals of Pat Benatar combined with the guitar of Neil Giraldo definitely work well like they did with the two albums.

Now, if they were ever to make a film from either of my books, “Rock And Roll Children” would be filled with some great concert footage, but with my latest one, “He Was Weird,” I would insist that one song from this album, “Evil Genius,” be on the soundtrack. While the lyrics of this song don’t exactly fit in with the main character in the story, the song itself would greatly add to the ambiance of the movie. The lyrics are spot on here and that helps make the song even better for me. I can’t leave out the fact that this album proves that The Beatles wrote a song that had an impact on hard rock and heavy metal. This album provided me with my first opportunity to hear the classic “Helter Skelter” covered by a great hard rock act. Here, Pat Benatar, to quote Cheryl Cole, makes the song her own and no I don’t watch “X-Factor.”

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Track Listing:

1. Promises in the Dark

2. Fire and Ice

3. Just Like Me

4. Precious Time

5. It’s a Tuff Life

6. Take It Anyway You Want It

7. Evil Genius

8. Hard to Believe

9. Helter Skelter

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar- vocals

Neil Giraldo- lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Scott St Clair Sheets- rhythm guitar

Roger Capps- bass

Myron Grombacher- drums

With “Precious Time,” it is easy to see why Pat Benatar was the undisputed queen of rock in 1980 and 81. Come the following year, there would be a serious challenge to her rule but that is best left for another time. In the world of hard rock, 1981 was without a doubt Pat Benatar’s year and “Precious Time” backs this up.

Next album: Frank Zappa- You Are What You Is

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

To buy He Was Weird go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403623312&sr=8-1&keywords=he+was+weird

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

 

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Stevie Nicks- Bella Donna

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2014 by 80smetalman

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Stevie Nicks has one thing in common with George Harrison in a sense. I have already mentioned that George’s solo material his my favourite among The Beatles. Likewise, of the solo productions from the members of Fleetwood Mac, it is Stevie Nicks’s material that comes out number one for me. I have heard all of the comments about her having a voice like a sheep. In fact, I enjoyed South Park’s little parody about that. The thing is that I don’t care whether or not she sounds like a sheep, I like her voice and the music that accompanies it. The album “Bella Donna” being one of them.

snonsp

Thinking back to when the songs of this album were played on commercial radio, I am reminded why I don’t like it very much. Back in 1981, the two songs that seemed to get all of the air play were the two duets that appear on the album. One was done with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, okay not really a duet, but “Stop Dragging My Heart Around is a decent song. So is the other duet she performs with former Eagles drummer Don Henley, the mellower “Leather and Lace.” I heard this song played on radio several months back and at its conclusion, the deejay only attributed the song to Stevie Nicks. It made me quite cross the Henley didn’t get a mention in the credits, especially as it was a classic rock station and have played Eagles songs in the past. Okay, rant over.

The point I was wanting to make pre-rant was that while the two mentioned songs are decent and so are the other tracks on the album, one song stands head and shoulders above the rest. It is “Edge of Seventeen” that has me banging my head every time I hear it and that is quite often as it’s on one of my MP3s. For Stevie, this is a great rock tune and shows that she can sing rock with the best of them. It is also a song that I would love to hear covered by a metal band.

Track Listing:

1. Bella Donna

2. Kind of Woman

3. Stop Dragging My Heart Around

4. Think About It

5. After the Glitter Fades

6. Edge of Seventeen

7. How Still My Love

8. Leather and Lace

9. Outside the Rain

10. The Highway Man

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks- lead vocals

Lori Perry- backing vocals

Sharon Celani- backing vocals

Tom Petty- guitar, accompanying vocals (Track 3)

Michael Campbell- guitar

Don Felder- guitar

Benmont Trench- piano, organ, backing vocals

Stan Lynch- drums

Don Henley- drums, accompanying vocals (Track 8)

Fleetwood Mac may have been on a hiatus in 1981 but Stevie Nicks was tearing up the rock world with this great album. She showed that she was perfectly capable of making it on her own. Even if some people think she sounds like a sheep.

Next post: A New TV Station is Born

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

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

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1981: George Harrison- Somewhere in England

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2014 by 80smetalman

georgeh

Once again, I know that I’m repeating myself here because I did say this when I visited Mr Harrison’s self-titled 1979 album but I feel the strange need to say it again. Of all the solo work from the members of The Beatles, it’s George’s the I like the best. I did really like Paul McCartney with Wings in the early 70s but I felt he went too disco at the tail end of the decade. For the more astute, you may have realised that I never visited Wings’ 1979 “Back to the Egg” album, now you know why. However, George Harrison was consistent with his music throughout and didn’t bow to trends in music. While the 1976 album “33 1/3” remains my favourite of his albums, “Somewhere in England” has to rank up there as well.

Warning, this is not a bang your head rock album. George Harrison’s music has always appealed to my more mellower side and this album is no different. However, what comes through on most of the tracks is a subtle lead guitar in the background and for me, that makes most of the songs where it happens. Most notable is the opening track, “Teardrops” and “Unconciousness Rules.” Other tracks have this guitar sound on it as well and there are one or two tracks that make you think George is going to let loose, especially with some of the guitar intros on a couple of tracks but the song goes into the more melodic sound that I know him for. Even so, he makes it sound really good and since the album was released just a few months after former band mate John Lennon’s death, the single “All Those Years Ago” is not only a dedication to him, the other former band mates, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr appear on the song marking a true tribute to Lennon.

Track Listing:

  Blood From a Clone

Unconciousness Rules

Life Itself

All Those Years Ago

Baltimore Oriole

Teardrops

That Which I’ve Lost

Writing On the Wall

Hong Kong Blues

Save the World

George Harrison

George Harrison

George Harrison- Lead vocals, guitars, keyboards, synthesisers

Alla Rakha- tabla

Gary Brooker- keyboards, synthesisers

Al Kooper- keyboards, synthesisers

Mike Moran- keyboards, synthesisers

Neil Larsen- keyboards, synthesisers

Tom Scott-Lynicon- horns

Herbie Flowers- tuba, bass

Willie Weeks- bass

Ray Cooper- keyboards, synthesisers, percussion, drums

Jim Keltner- drums

Dave Mattacks- drums

 I probably appreciate this album much more these days as I’m mellowing with age, although play a Slayer or Amon Amarth song and I will be going full tilt. Over the years before his death, George Harrison put out some good light rock and “Somewhere In England” is one of the best.

Next post: Rick Springfield- Working Class Dog

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 1981: Johnny Van Zant Band- Round Two

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2014 by 80smetalman

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Whether it was the glam metal scene in LA or the thrash scene in San Francisco back in the 1980s, of all the bands from those areas who gained world wide popularity, there were many bands who were just as good but never fully broke out of the local scene. The same thing can be said of Southern rock in the earlier part of the decade. I was fortunate to have been stationed in North Carolina during this time, so I was fully able to appreciate it when Southern Rock was at the height of its glory. It gave me a good feeling whenever I trotted back across the Mason-Dixon Line to New Jersey, that many of my friends were listening to Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, The Outlaws and 38 Special. Unfortunately, not so many people heard of Johnny Van Zant when I mentioned them up north. They were mainly well known just in the south.

As all my British friends would say, this was a bloody shame because the Johnny Van Zant Band were a very good band and their second album, “Round Two” bears witness to this fact. There is a definitely influence from Johnny’s older brother on this album because I can detect some Lynyrd Skynyrd sounds here. But in no way does this band simply rip off the great Skynyrd. They bring their own brand of hard rock to tracks like “(Who’s) Right or Wrong,” “Shot Down” and “Standing in the Falling Rain.” Lead guitarists Robbie Gay and Eric Lundgren  know how to play on these songs as well as others. They also do a very hard version of the Beatles classic “Drive My Car.” The album does have a ballad in the form of “Yesterday’ Gone.” I must declare that of all the Van Zant boys, Johnny’s vocals are the most attuned for singing ballads. Not that he can’t sing harder songs just as well, maybe better. It’s just too bad “Round Two” has been allowed to lay dormant for so many years.

Track Listing:

1. (Who’s) Right or Wrong

2. Standing in the Falling Rain

3. Yesterday’s Gone

4. Let There Be Music

5. Keep Our Love Alive

6. Night Time Lady

7. Drive My Car

8. Shot Down

9. Cold Hearted Woman

10. Play My Music

Johnny Van Zant Band

Johnny Van Zant Band

Johnny Van Zant- vocals

Robbie Gay- lead guitar

Erik- Lundgren- lead guitar

Danny Clausman- bass

Robbie Morris- drums

As I progress through hard rock and metal history, I am discovering albums and bands that I took little notice of or missed completely. I can’t say that I missed the Johnny Van Zant Band because I saw them live in 1982 but that’s another story. I do regret not listening to this album more back in the time and I wish more people did as well. Here’s everyone’s chance to rectify that now.

Next post: Nantucket- Long Way to the Top

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