Archive for Tom Sawyer

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Greg Kihn Band- RocKihnRoll

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 17, 2014 by 80smetalman



“Tom Sawyer” by Rush lifted my spirits while I was on mess duty in 1981. In the summer of that year, “The Break Up Song” by the Greg Kihn Band made air alert more bearable. For those who never served in the military, when a marine¬†battalion is placed on air alert, that means the president at any time can order them to go where he needs them to. In 1980, President Carter ordered my battalion to Key West Florida to deal with the influx of Cuban refugees (actually it was Castro emptying his prisons.) In 1981, Regan never ordered us to go anywhere but that didn’t stop the top brass from playing (sorry but I have to use the real term here so I apologise to any who might be offended) fuck fuck games with us. Things like getting us up at two in the morning and putting us on trucks to drive forty miles to the air base just for someone to say, “Good job boys.” We couldn’t go more than fifteen miles from the base and had to let the duty NCO know where we were at all times. Of course, because we were limited to where we could go, we went to the field a lot. So it’s no wonder I needed something to raise the spirits a little and “The Break Up Song” was it.

I think what first caught my eye to the song was the guitar sound along with those famous lyrics “ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah.” Although at the time, I thought each of those “ah’s” started with a “b.” It was another three years before I learned I was actually singing the wrong thing. Saying that, I did mentally compose my own x rated version but I won’t go there. The rest of the “RocKihnRoll” album goes along the same vein. Like the big single, the great majority of the songs on the album have that catchy guitar intro that turns your head to it and makes it worth a listen. While the rock doesn’t go too heavy, it’s there and you definitely notice it. Even the ballad “Sheila” which starts with a keyboard, suddenly goes into a hard rock moment. I found it difficult to pick tracks other than “The Break Up Song” that stand out and that isn’t a bad thing for this album. However, I would vote for “Womankind” and “Trouble in Paradise” as other songs of note. The Greg Kihn band shows that they were a good tight band here.

Track Listing:

1. Valerie

2. The Break Up Song (They Don’t Write’ Em)

3. Womankind

4. Can’t Stop Hurtin’ Myself

5. Trouble in Paradise

6. Sheila

7. Nothing’s Gonna Change

8. The Girl Most Likely

9. When The Music Starts

10. True Confessions

Greg Kihn Band
Greg Kihn Band

Greg Kihn- vocals, guitar

Dave Carpender- guitar, vocals

Larry Lynch- drums, vocals

Steve Wright- bass, vocals

Gary Phillips- keyboards, vocals

In my quest to list guitarists who may not have had the respect they possibly deserve, I must add Dave Carpender. Watching the live performance of the album closer “True Confessions,” I must say that he can bend the six string a little bit. That only adds to what a good album this is. It was just what was needed back in 1981, not only for me, but I think for music in general.

Next post: The Who- Face Dances

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to

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

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Rush- Moving Pictures

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2014 by 80smetalman


Sorry but I’m going to have to relate yet another experience from my military days to this album. Mess duty in the service involves long hours in sweaty conditions in order to feed marines who really don’t want to eat the military slop and are first to complain if you do anything wrong. I was on one of the serving lines during those five weeks of mess duty in 1981 and was in a constant struggle between those who complained that we weren’t giving them enough food and superiors who complained we gave them too much. No wonder I wanted to smash my head against the wall at times. Then one evening meal, the mess sergeant had the local radio station playing in the mess hall when the song “Tom Sawyer” came on.¬† I was hooked on it straight away and every time I heard it, I would be uplifted by the fast guitar and the drums after the guitar solo. Now, it would be untrue for me to say that “Tom Sawyer” got me through mess duty, I would have made it through anyhow. However, it did give me a massive boost and made a crap duty a little bearable.

Naturally, I went and bought the album. I was already taken by the opener to “Moving Pictures” so that was a bit of a given there. My worry back then (and I would get burned on this two years later) was that if I bought an album on account of one song and the rest of the album sucked, then I would be a little miffed at wasting my money. Needless to say, that is definitely not the case with my all time favourite Rush album. “Red Barchetta,” a song about an restored antique car is also a cool song with some great guitar riffs and I’ve always considered the instrumental “YYZ” a great song to have on in the car while on a long trip. The music in that song just brightens the journey up throughout its duration. “Limelight” is another great one for me and I can understand why after listening to these first four songs, some people back then thought Rush was heavy metal. They should have listened more to the last three songs. Side two, (since I mainly bought cassettes back then, is more of a progressive rock sound. Still, all three of those songs, especially “Witch Hunt,” are all good listeners.

Some of my favourite Rush lyrics appear on this album. Most songs have something for me.

Tom Sawyer- His mind is not for rent to any God or government

Red Barchetta- lyrics about cruising in an old car with your old uncle definitely work here.

Limelight- All the world should be a stage and we are merely players, performers and portrayers

Vital Signs- Everybody’s got mixed feelings on the function and the form, everybody must deviate from the norm

Witch Hunt- The entire song made perfect sense to me a few years later when the likes of the PMRC emerged. Did they foresee their coming with this song?

Track Listing:

1. Tom Sawyer

2. Red Barchetta

3. YYZ

4. Limelight

5. The Camera Eye

6. Witch Hunt

7. Vital Signs



Geddy Lee- vocals, bass, bass pedals, synthesisers

Alex Lifeson- all guitars, moog Taurus

Neil Peart- drums, percussion, all bells

“Moving Pictures” highlights the problem I had with people’s mind set throughout the 80s. This is the tendency to put music into nice, neat little categories and because of tracks like “Tom Sawyer” and “Limelight” on this album, people believed that Rush was heavy metal. I believe it is that categorising that influenced them into a more synthed out sound later on. So, when you dust this album off to play it again, (I know some of you haven’t stop listening to it and I don’t blame you) do so without trying to categorise. Just enjoy it for the great album it is and appreciate what fine musicians the members of Rush are.

Next post: Rory Gallagher- Stage Struck

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to

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