Archive for The Last Waltz

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 Soundtracks of 1980: Up The Academy

Posted in 1980s, films, Humour, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2013 by 80smetalman


There is many a film out there where the film itself wasn’t up to much but it had a kick ass soundtrack. One I covered already with “The Last Waltz” although the film itself was a concert and there are more out there which will appear here. One such film from 1980 was the film from Mad Magazine called “Up The Academy.” One doesn’t need a college degree to figure out that Mad Magazine made this film in an attempt to cash in on the success of their rival National Lampoon whose film “Animal House” is one of the forever classics. Unfortunately, there is no comparison between the two films, “Animal House” wins hands down.

This is not to say that “Up the Academy” is a bad film. Actually, I thought it was funny in many places. The film is about four teenage boys who are sent to military school by there parents on account of things the boys have done to bring dishonour to the family. One got his girlfriend pregnant and his father is a politician campaigning on the anti-abortion platform. One, played by a young Ralph Machio, is the son of a mafia kingpin and is not interested in the family business. Then there is the son of the Arabian Sheik and the pot smoking African American boy whose father is a TV evangelist. Without going into full details, the main characters immediately fall foul of the gung-ho commandant and there is a lot of funny moments as they try to get one over on him. For months after I saw the film, one of my marine buddies who I saw it with, (he went by Mooch,) would impersonate the commandant with “Say ageeen, say ageen.”

A scene from the film

A scene from the film

What stood out for me more than the laughs was all the great songs that were played in the film. Now classics like “One Way or Another” from Blondie and Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” lead a string of cool rock tunes. There are also contributions from Pat Benatar, Sammy Hagar, The Kinks, Dwight Twilley and a ten minute song from the legendary Lou Reed. Ok, they only played a small part of the song. As the case with many soundtracks, there is some unknown band that makes its mark. On this soundtrack, it is the band Blow-Up. Three of their songs appear on the album and I was impressed with all of them. The opener, “Kicking Up a Fuss” reminds me of The Ramones or The Dead Kennedys and the other two, while less punk are still good rock tunes as well. This is definitely a cool soundtrack.



Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick


Track Listing:

1. Blow-Up- Kicking Up a Fuss

2. Iggy and the Stooges- Gimme Danger

3. Dwight Twilley Band- Trying to Find My Baby

4. Blondie- X Offender

5. Eddie and the Hot Rods- Do Anything You Wanna Do

6. The Kinks- Yes Sir, No Sir

7. Ian Hunter- We Gotta Get Out of Here

8. Lou Reed- Street Hassle

9. Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers- Roadrunner

10. The Boomtown Rats- Rat Trap

11. David Johansen- Girls

12. Blondie- One Way or Another

13. Cheeks- Coquette

14. Blow-Up- Local Hero

15. Sammy Hagar- Bad Reputation

16. Iggy Pop and James Williamson- Night Theme

17. Cheeks- Bony Moronie

18. Nick Lowe- Heart of the City

19. Pat Benatar- We Live for Love

20. The Babys- Midnight Rendezvous

21. Cheap Trick- Surrender

22. Blow- Up- Beat the Devil

So if you want a good laugh while rocking out to some great tunes then your task is simple. Watch “Up the Academy” and then listen to the soundtrack, it’s definitely worth it. But it does seem a shame that Blow-Up never seemed to make it big.

Next post: Great Rock One Hit Wonders of 1980

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Rest In Peace Levon Helm

Posted in 1978, films, Music with tags , , , , , on April 21, 2012 by 80smetalman

Blog entry- star date 21-04012, Supplemental

Not very long ago, I visited the soundtrack to the film, “The Last Waltz,” which depicted the final concert by The Band. Regrettably, I am saddened to learn of the passing of The Band’s drummer Levon Helm this past Friday. According to official reports, Levon died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 71.

Natrually, I am now reflecting back to the film, which I saw in 1978 and remember him very well. Not only was he a great drummer, he also sang lead on such famous songs as “Up on Cripple Creek” and “The Shape I’m In,” both hits for The Band. Tributes have already been pouring in from all over the music world, including Bob Dylan and I am expressing my deepest condolences for Levon’s family.

Rest in Peace Levon Helm


Great Rock Albums of 1978: Bob Dylan- Street Legal

Posted in Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 3, 2012 by 80smetalman

I am convinced that Bob Dylan took note of going electric on “Hard Rain” and used it in the making of “Street Legal.” This album marked a major departure for Dylan as he used a complete rock style band and included female backing singers. For some, including many critics in the American press, this was too much and many slammed him for it. Some even accused Bob Dylan of selling out. However, I definitely don’t agree with that. Back in 1978, there was disco and there are no disco sounding tracks on “Street Legal.” If anyone went disco that year, it would have been the Rolling Stones with “Some Girls.”

All I know was when I heard the album back then, I liked it. I believed it was a natural progression from “Hard Rain” and his rocking performance in “The Last Waltz.” Furthermore, I did read some good reviews in some good music magazines and others I talked to liked the album as well. Since, I have concluded that critics of this album were stuck in the mind of seeing Bob Dylan standing alone by the microphone, playing an accoustic guitar and singing through his nose. This was a bold change in direction and I think it was good.

Track Listing:

1. Changing of the Guards

2. New Pony

3. No Time to Think

4. Baby, Stop Crying

5. Is Your Love in Vain?

6. Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)

7. True Love Tends to Forget

8. We Better Talk This Over

9. Where Are You Tonight (Journey Through Dark Heat)



First, Bob Dylan will never don denim and leather and totally rock out, but “Street Legal” shows a different side to him. His willingness to pick up an electric guitar and incorporate it in his songs shows that he could adapt. This album is a good cross for die hard Dylan fans who also love a little rock.

Next post: Wings- London Town

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Great Rock Albums of 1978: The Band- The Last Waltz

Posted in films, Music, soundtracks with tags , , , , , , on January 18, 2012 by 80smetalman

There were many movie soundtracks before 1978, I know, I had to endure my sister listening to such soundtracks as “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” and “Lady and the Tramp.” Even in this pivotal year of 1978, there was “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease,” but for me, it was the soundtrack from the film, “The Last Waltz” that made me ever want to listen to a soundtrack.

I went to see this film when it came out, only one cinema in the area even showed it and I must concur with the friend who I went to see it with. The movie sucked, the music was great. Seeing such great legends as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, the guitar talents of Eric Clapton and the finale with Bob Dylan rocking away on “Baby Let Me Follow You Down” totally blew my then seventeen year old mind.








The Last Waltz was the final concert by The Band after sixteen years on the road. Eight years in bars, the other eight years playing arenas. The concert actually took place on Thanksgiving Day in 1976 and there were numerous guest stars in addition to the ones pictured here, to help them take it home. From what I saw from the film, it was a great night of music and the soundtrack bears witness to it.

Track Listing:

1. Theme From the Last Waltz

2. Up On Cripple Creek

3. with Ronnie Hawkins Who Do You Love

4. with Neil Young Helpless

5. Stagefright

6.  wtih Joni Mitchell Coyote

7. with Neil Diamond  Dry Your Eyes

8. It Makes No Difference

9. with Dr John Such a Night

10. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

11. with Paul Butterfield  Mystery Train

12. with Muddy Waters  Mannish Boy

13. with Eric Clapton  Further On Up the Road

14. The Shape I’m In

15. with Bobby Charles Down South In New Orleans

16. Ophelia

17. with Van Morrison   Tura Lura Lura (It’s an Irish Lullabye)

18. with Van Morrison Caravan

19. Life is a Carnival

20. with Bob Dylan  Baby Let Me Follow You Down

21  with Bob Dylan  I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Met)

22. with Bob Dylan  Forever Young

23. with Bob Dylan  Baby Let Me Follow You Down (reprise)

24. with all the guests plus Ringo Starr and Ronnie Wood   I Shall Be Released

The Last Waltz Suite

25. The Well

26. with Emmylou Harris  Evangeline

27. Out of the Blue

28. with The Staples  The Weight

29. The Last Waltz Refrain

30. The Last Waltz with Orchestra

The Band:

Robbie Robertson- guitar

Rick Danko- bass

Garth Hudson- keyboards

Richard Manuel- organ, piano, dobro guitar

Levon Helms- drums

This album definitely changed my view of movie soundtracks and since then, I have purchased and listened to a good number since. The Last Waltz is definitely a piece of music history which I would encourage everyone to listen to at least once in their life time.

Nest post: Jefferson Starship- Earth

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