Archive for The Police

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Weird Al Yankovic- In 3D

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

Michael Jackson did two things in 1984 which rose him up a few points in my estimation, both of which were linked to his top selling song, “Beat It.” First, when accepting a Grammy for the song, he had the decency to include Eddie Van Halen in his list of thank yous. After all, it was Eddie’s guitar solo on the song the reason why metalheads, bought the single. The other act was to allow Weird Al Yankovic to record a parody of “Beat It” called “Eat It.” That would be Weird Al’s best known single and even charted in the UK and it helped his 1984 album, “In 3D” become his biggest album. In fact, he was allowed to use many of the same dancers Michael Jackson used in the “Beat It” video for “Eat It.”

Weird Al Yankovic has always been known for his parodies of other great songs and there are plenty of those on “In 3D.” His second single from the album, “I Lost on Jeopardy” is a parody of the Greg Kihn Band’s 1983 hit, “Jeopardy” as well as making fun of the TV game show of the same name. I do wonder how many people went on game shows and looked stupid on national television. Greg Kihn makes an appearance in the video for this song. “King of Suede” parodies the classic from The Police, “King of Pain” and is about a clothing store owner. “Rocky XIII” is a funny parody of Survivor’s hit from the film “Rocky III” “Eye of the Tiger” about how Rocky Balboa gives up boxing to be delicatessen owner. I love the lyrics: “It’s the rye or the kaiser, it’s the thrill of one bite.” A lesser known track but one of my favourite is “The Brady Bunch,” a parody of the Men Without Hats’s only hit, “Safety Dance.” It is believed that from the lyrics, Weird Al didn’t care too much for the 1970s American sit com his song is named after.

It’s not just famous songs that come under the comic roast of Weird Al. He parodies other subjects as well. The second track, “Midnight Star” takes the rip out of grocery store tabloids. However, some of the headlines he mentions for his tabloid, “Midnight Star” aren’t too far fetched in the real ones. I do remember headlines like, “They’re Keeping Hitler’s Brain Inside a Jar,” “Aliens From Outer Space are Sleeping in My Car” and “The Ghost of Elvis is Living in My Den.” Another of my favourites is “That Boy Could Dance” which is about a nerdy geeky loser who is a great dancer, so all his shortcomings are overlooked. Trust me, the song is much funnier that my attempt to explain it here. Then there is the Bob Marley influenced reggae track, “Buy Me a Condo” which is about a Jamaican boy who wants to come to America and live a middle class existence. Even my least favourite track on the album, Mr Popeil is funny. Probably because I remember all the Popeil adverts for things like the Ginsu Knife and the Pocket Fisherman.

In 1981, there were two singles called “Stars on 45” and “Stars on 45 II.” The former took Beatles’ songs and made a medley out of it. The latter did the same with Beach Boys songs. So what Weird Al did was to take classic rock songs and make a medley out of those but instead, set to polka music. Some great rock classics like “Smoke on the Water” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” get the polka treatment.

When I bought this album and saw the track listing, I thought the closer, “Nature Trail to Hell,” might be a parody of the AC/DC classic, “Highway to Hell.” Instead, it lambastes blood and gore horror films. “Nature Trail to Hell” to quote the song, is about “A homicidal maniac who finds a cub scout troop and hacks up two or three in every scene.” This was particularly relevant at the time because “Friday the 13th Part 4” was in the cinema then. You know, the one advertised as the film where Jason meets his grisly end. Well done by Al, it makes a fantastic closer.

Track Listing:

  1. Eat It
  2. Midnight Star
  3. The Brady Bunch
  4. Buy Me a Condo
  5. I Lost on Jeopardy
  6. Polkas on 45
  7. Mr Popeil
  8. King of Suede
  9. That Boy Could Dance
  10. Rocky XIII
  11. Nature Trail to Hell

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic- vocals, synthesizer, accordion, piano

Jim West- guitar

Steve Jay- bass, banjo, talking drums

John ‘Bermuda’ Schwartz- drums, percussion

Rick Derringer- guitar, mandolin

Weird Al Yankovic hit the big time 1984 with this album, “In 3D.” I dare anyone to listen to this album and not laugh their heads off at least one song. For me, it’s nearly all of them. Anyone who doesn’t find any part of this album funny, then they have no sense of humour.

Next post: Randy Newman- Trouble in Paradise

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

 

 

 

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Great Rock Albums of 1983: The Police- Synchronicity

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Police-album-synchronicity

When I returned home from the marines on the last day of June of said year, the album “Synchronicity” by the Police was the one I came home to. It seemed every time I turned on the radio, the song, “Every Breath You Take” was playing and if I left the radio on for any amount of time, rest assured, it would be played again. While that song may have been a big hit, (number one on both sides of the Atlantic) it wasn’t one to me. In fact, when I heard it, I began to pine for such Police classics as “Roxanne,” “Message in a Bottle” and my all time favourite Police jam, “Don’t Stand Too Close to Me.”

Fortunately, one song does not an album make. I will be posting about a reverse situation in the very near future but enough of that for now. The great thing about Police albums is that it was guaranteed there would be at least one song that I really love. In the case of “Synchronicity,” it is “Synchronicity II.” That is a really catchy up-beat jam and recently, I have began to wonder how it would sound if metalized. Plus, the lyrics, “Another working day has ended, another Russia has to face,” has always amused me. “Synchronicity II” definitely ranks up there with the classics previously mentioned.

In addition to the two tracks already named, the album had several other radio friendly hits, “King of Pain” and “Wrapped Around Your Finger” being the most prominent. In spite of this, with “Synchronicity,” The Police pretty much remain true to their reggae based roots. “O My God” is the best example of this and “Murder By Numbers” another one. The latter did get some air play as well. At the same time, I did have a good laugh when listening to “Mother,” a very amusing song with Andy Summers doing the lead vocals. Furthermore, the great musicianship still remains on this album. Now, some people have been quick to assume that with all the radio hits on “Synchronicity,” The Police sold out on the album. I was, at first, ready to assume that on account of “King of Pain” and “Every Breath You Take.” However, those might be radio hits but the album itself is everything The Police were known for.

Track Listing:

  1. Synchronicity
  2. Walking in Your Footsteps
  3. O My God
  4. Mother
  5. Miss Gradenko
  6. Synchronicity II
  7. Every Breath You Take
  8. King of Pain
  9. Wrapped Around Your Finger
  10. Tea in the Sahara
  11. Murder By Numbers
The Police

The Police

Sting- bass, lead and backing vocals, oboe, saxophone

Andy Summers- guitar, keyboards, lead vocal on “Mother”

Stewart Copeland- drums, percussion, xylophone, co-lead vocals on “Miss Gradenko”

“Synchronicity” would be the last album The Police would record together. The band would split after the tour. Apparently, Sting’s ego became bigger than the rest of the band. Joking aside, from what I heard, Sting and Stewart Copeland just couldn’t stand one another. In any case, it could definitely be said that they went out on a high.

Next Post: INXS- Shabooh Shoobah

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: The Police- Ghost in the Machine

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Ghost_In_The_Machine_cover

Normally, I start each year with the very first album or song from an album I heard at the beginning of said year. But my brain isn’t what it used to be and I only realised this mistake after this album was announced. So, you’ll get that one next post. I can’t even blame being caught in massive amounts of traffic and roadworks today while going to and from a supply teaching assignment that was miles away where my “Iron Man 2” soundtrack got scratched. Maybe it was all for the best because “Ghost in the Machine” by The Police might be a good place to start.

Tempting as it may be to once again mention my suspicion about albums whose hit single is the opening track being a ploy by one hit wonders, I won’t. True, the very first two tracks on “Ghost in the Machine” are the two singles from the album but I get a different impression here. “Spirits of the Material World” and “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” are both good songs in their own right and worthy of being singles, my impression is that the idea behind putting them first was to say, “Now, you’ve heard the singles, now listen to the rest of our album.”

The rest of the album is no less inferior, in fact, I only like it more. “Invisible Sun” gives me a dark brooding feeling while I listen to it but I like it. Then things go the complete opposite way with the next two songs. “Hungry for You” and “Demolition Man” are almost party atmosphere songs and definitely make things come alive. With the latter, I hear a bit of fingerboard smoking from Andy Summers which is probably why it’s my favourite track on the album. So once again I ask, why did they not just give him one song to just shred? Answers on a post card please. “Too Much Information” sums me up perfectly at times and is an enjoyable song and “One World” sticks out as well. With “Ghost in the Machine,” The Police stick with the standard reggae-rock roots but at the same time weren’t afraid to venture out of their comfort zone a little. The result is a great album.

Track Listing:

1. Spirits in the Material World

2. Every Little Thing She Does is Magic

3. Invisible Sun

4. Hungry For You (J’aurais toujours faim de toi)

5. Demolition Man

6. Too Much Information

7. Rehumanizer

8. One World (Not Three)

9. Omegaman

10. Secret Journey

11. Darkness

The Police

The Police

Sting- vocals, bass, saxophone, keyboards

Andy Summers- guitar, guitar synth, keyboards

Stewart Copeland- drums, percussion, keyboards

It might not actually have opened 1982 for me musically but I think that perhaps “Ghost in the Machine” by The Police was a good place to begin the journey through the year.

Next post: The actual first album I heard in 1982, actually it was a couple of songs.

Rod Stewart- Tonight I’m Yours

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

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1981: The Police- Zenyatta Mondatta

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 22, 2013 by 80smetalman

220px-Police-album-zenyattamondatta

This classic album from The Police first came to my attention when my ship had pulled into Rota, Spain for the final stop before sailing across the ocean and home. I didn’t clock it at first when I went in the PX although it was there, I heard about it when the ship got a two month out of date tape of old Casey Kasem who presented the US chart show back then. On that episode, he showed the video to the album’s first single “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and I must say that I liked it. Although I have to say that a friend of mine liked it more because he used to sing it a lot, even one night when after a bit too much to drink, tried to dance while singing and ended up on his bum. God, the things that trigger memories.

Casey Kasem, anyone remember him?

Casey Kasem, anyone remember him?

With “Zenyatta Mondatta,” The Police once again prove that the rock/reggae fusion works well. The fusion is very plentiful throughout the entire album, the only possible exception being the penultimate song “Shadows in the Rain” which sounds rather spacey to me. Still even that’s not a bad song. What I find more interesting and I didn’t really notice it when I first heard the album all those years ago is that Andy Summers does bend the six string a little bit on a couple of songs. The most noticeable is the third track “When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around” and it leaves me to wonder what Andy would have actually sounded like if he had been given more autonomy on the guitar. Still, he does play well as does Stewart Copeland on the drums. Back on the subject of the album, I found the track “Canary in a Coal Mine rather good too and of course there is the other big single, the one I used to call “The baby talk song:” “De Do Do Do De Da Da Da.” There are also a couple of good instrumentals on it which, shoots down the myth believed by younger Police fans who never heard them until their last album that they were all about Sting. What rubbish!

Track Listing:

1. Don’t Stand So Close to Me

2. Driven to Tears

3. When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around

4. Canary in a Coal Mine

5. Voices Inside My Head

6. Bombs Away

7. De Do Do Do De Da Da Da

8. Behind My Camel

9. Man in a Suitcase

10. Shadows in the Rain

11. The Other Way of Stopping

The Police

The Police Sting- lead vocals, bass, synthesiser Andy Summers- guitar, guitar synthesiser Stewart Copeland- drums, percussion, synthesiser “Zenyatta Mondatta” is a good steady rock album with songs that are consistent throughout. Like other musical trios whose albums I’ve visited here, it shows plainly that three can sometimes be enough. I won’t get on here again till after Christmas Day so I’ll wish everyone a Merry Metal Christmas now! If you’re stuck for something Christmasy to listen to, you could try the Christmas album I visited this time last year, tee hee.220px-Bob_Rivers_-_I_Am_Santa_Claus_cover

Next post: Fleetwood Mac- Live 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 1979: The Police- Regatta De Blanc

Posted in 1979, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 17, 2012 by 80smetalman

I was first introduced to The Police when a marine buddy suggested I listen to the song “Message in a Bottle” from this album. I won’t go as far as to say I was hooked or converted but I did like the song enough to check out the rest of the album. What I found was a sound that I thought was different at the time and for me it worked. The marines had opened my eyes to many forms of music and although I already knew the musical path I wanted to take, I found myself liking this new sound called reggae, thanks to Bob Marley. Therefore, when the reggae-rock fusion from The Police reached my ears, I liked it.

“Regatta De Blanc” has not one but two number one singles on it, for those who think that’s important. The track “Walking on the Moon” also reached that plateau although I feel it’s not as good as “Message in a Bottle.” What I like about this album is how the tracks seem to alternate between a rock and a reggae sound. There is a definite reggae influence in the two hit singles but a more rockier feel in songs such as “Its All Right For You,” “Contact” and “Ne Time This Time.” With my old man’s head on, I theorize that The Police were still looking for which direction they wanted to go with this album. My belief is this album should have been the direction they eventually went. 

Track Listing:

1. Message in a Bottle

2. Regatta De Blanc

3. Its All Right For You

4. Bring on the Night

5. Deathwish

6. Walking on the Moon

7. On Any Other Day

8. The Bed’s Too Big Without You

9. Contact

10. Does Everyone Stare

11. No Time This Time

The Police

Sting- bass, lead and backing vocals

Andy Summers- guitar, piano

Stewart Copeland- drums, guitar on verses and chorus of “Its All Right for You”, lead vocals on “On Any Other Day”

A few years after this album, in my mind and the minds of many others, The Police would eventually sell out and become another top forty band. However, this album reminds me of another time and it’s these memories that I will always keep. 

Next post: Fleetwood Mac- Tusk

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