Archive for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

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: 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: 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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Rest in Peace- Tom Petty

Posted in 1980s, Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2017 by 80smetalman

Tom Petty

It seems that 2017 is determined to suck as much as 2016 with another great rocker going to the great gig in the sky. Tom Petty entertained us with some great music for four decades whether it be with his band, Tom Petty and the Heartbrakers, solo material and a brief stint with the Travelling Willburys who included Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and the late George Harrison.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/tom-petty-legendary-rocker-is-dead-at-66/

Not only was Tom a great musician, he was a great song writer and as someone pointed out to me recently, those skills were very underrated. So, I guess the best thing to do is to pull out any or all of his great albums, (my favourite has always been “Damn the Torpedoes”) and give them a listen to commemorate this great rocker.

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Stevie Nicks- The Wild Heart

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-Wild_heart

When I first heard the first single, “Stand Back,” to Stevie Nicks’s 1983 album, “The Wild Heart,” I have to admit that I was rather blown away. There was an energy behind this song that I can’t explain, especially as it’s not done with hard guitar power chords. Her voice matches this song very well and please, no comments about Stevie sounding like a sheep. Needless to say, “Stand Back” is my all time favourite Stevie Nicks song but I often wonder how it would sound if it guitars dominated the supporting music as opposed to keyboards and of course a cranking guitar solo.

Keyboards is the theme of “The Wild Heart” album since it was the oncoming trend of the decade. However, having the quality musicians who play on the album, the keyboards are  done intelligently. Then again, all of the songs have the same quality musicianship in each of them. The title track opens things very well and sets the tone for the rest of the album. This is quickly followed by the second single from the album, “If Anyone Falls.” Not a bad song, very over done with the keyboards but it doesn’t hold a candle to “Stand Back.” “Gate and Garden” is more of a ballad but there is a guitar solo on it and that saves the song. An interesting note is the track, “Enchanted.” This song is reminiscent of the song “Dreams” from the classic Fleetwood Mac “Rumours” album.

After my favourite song, Stevie once again teams up with Tom Petty like she did on her previous album, “Belladonna.” Written by Petty, “I Will Run to You” opens with a promising guitar riff but for me, it doesn’t quite have the magic they produced on “Stop Dragging My Heart Around” but it does have a few catchy hooks, so it’s not a bad song. The rockiest song here is “Nothing Ever Changes.” The only song where I can hear guitar over the keyboards. Then again, Don Felder does play guitar on the track and is allowed to play a small solo but it is the saxophone that stands out the most for this track. “Nothing Ever Changes” is the climax to the album because the final two songs don’t really do anything for me.

Track Listing:

  1. The Wild Heart
  2. If Anyone Falls
  3. Gate and Garden
  4. Enchanted
  5. Nightbird
  6. Stand Back
  7. I Will Run to You
  8. Nothing Ever Changes
  9. Sable on Blonde
  10. Beauty and the Beast
Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks- vocals

Lori Nicks- backing vocals

Sharon Celani- backing vocals

Guest Musicians

Tom Petty- guitar, vocals on track 7

Sandy Stewart- piano, keyboards, backing vocals on tracks 1,3,5,6,8,9

Mike Campbell- guitar on track 7

Benmont Trench- keyboards, organ on tracks 3-5, 7

Howie Epstein- bass on track 7

Stan Lynch- drums on track 7

Mick Fleetwood- drums on track 9

Steve Lukather- drums on track 6

Don Felder- guitar on track 8

Prince- keyboards on track 6

There were many session musicians on the album as well but the list would be extremely long.

In 1983, Stevie Nicks was probably the most successful of the members of Fleetwood Mac on solo projects, probably the most successful of all time. What was best about her voice was that it could stretch to sing a range of music. While she shows this with “The Wild Heart” album, I often wonder what she would sound like with a metal band.

Next post: Heart- Passionworks

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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 1983: Weird Al Yankovic

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Weird_Al_Yankovic_-_Weird_Al_Yankovic

Madness had finally broken through to America and Frank Zappa put out a fantastic album but if there was any more proof needed to forward the belief that 1983 was a good year for humour in music, it would be the debut album of Weird Al Yankovic. In fact, since this year, many people would forever compare Weird Al with Frank on account of their love of humour. So much so, that twenty years after this album, Weird Al would have a track on an album that if you didn’t know any better, you would think it was Zappa himself. As for me though, it would only be the humour and the fact that both are true musical geniuses being the only things they have in common. They have totally different styles.

Hearing the tracks “Ricky” and “Stop Dragging My Car Around” on the radio in the spring of this year would convert me to Weird Al forever and I don’t care if people think I’m sad for it, (some do.) Those songs had me rolling on the floor in laughter and when I heard it, so did the self titled debut album. Nobody, now or then, does parody better than he does. What’s even more impressive is how he is able to adjust to the musical style of the song he’s parodying even if he sometimes does it with an accordion. That’s another amazing thing about him, no one else has been able to employ an accordion in rock songs the way he does.

On the debut album, the parodies come thick and fast. Not only do many of them take the piss out of classic songs, they are also parody other things. Take the two already mentioned. “Ricky” is obviously a parody of one hit wonder Toni Basil’s “Mickey” but it also parodies the old “I Love Lucy” show. Same with “Stop Dragging My Car Around.” Yes, it’s a humourous version of the classic Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks duet “Stop Dragging My Heart Around,” but it also rips on the the culture of towing cars away. Other great ones are “Another One Rides the Bus,” which is a parody of a Queen classic and if you have ever ridden on a crowded bus, then you would appreciate the sentiments on this song. Others great parodies are “My Bologna” which pokes fun at The Knack’s “My Sharona and “I Love Rocky Road,” a dig at the famous Joan Jett and the Blackhearts song. However, not all of Weird Al’s songs parody other songs. Some are just simple digs about other things. “Buckingham Blues” makes fun of the Royal Family. “I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead” is a dig at the hippy culture. Then there’s “Gotta Boogie,” let me just say this song has nothing to do with dancing. In any case, unless you have no sense of humour at all, and there are people out there who do, you can’t stop laughing out loud at the songs from this album. Weird Al proves to the world just how weird he is.

Track Listing:

  1. Ricky
  2. Gotta Boogie
  3. I Love Rocky Road
  4. Buckingham Blues
  5. Happy Birthday
  6. Stop Dragging My Car Around
  7. My Bolgna
  8. The Check’s in the Mail
  9. Another One Rides the Bus
  10. I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead
  11. Such a Groovy Guy
  12. Mr Frump in the Iron Lung
Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic- accordion, vocals

Rick Derringer- guitar

Steve Jay- bass

John ‘Bermuda’ Schwartz- drums, percussion

Rich Bennett- ukulele, banjo, guitar

William K Anderson- saxophone, harmonica

Joel Miller- bongos

Mike Kieffer- percussion

Dorothy Ramsen- harp

Tress MacNeille- voice of Lucy Ricardo on “Ricky”

Dawn Smythey, Zaidee  Cole, Joan Manners- backing vocals

Weird Al Yankovic, along with Frank Zappa of course, proved to the world in 1983 that humour and music could go together. The debut album from Weird Al continues to have me in stitches each time listen to it.

Next post: DNA- Party Tested

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: Stevie Nicks- Bella Donna

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

220px-Bella_Donna_(album)

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

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