Archive for U2

Great Rock Albums of 1984: U2- The Unforgettable Fire

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2017 by 80smetalman

Unlike the Greg Kihn Band, after their successful 1983 album, “War,” followed by a successful live album, U2 didn’t vanish into obscurity. Maybe Greg Kihn should have released a live album. That’s all hindsight anyway. What is history is the fact that U2 followed up their success with the really cool album, “The Unforgettable Fire.”

I don’t think I’ve said this in previous posts about U2 but the one thing their music definitely did was appeal to Metalhead and Duranie alike. For those who don’t know, a Duranie is someone who was into Duran Duran and similar type music. Those people listened to U2 and did not feel that they were going too weird in their music tastes while Metalheads could do the same without any feeling of selling out and going mainstream. “The Unforgettable Fire” album continues this trend for the band as both of those groups bought this album up.

Reading the history behind the making of the album, the band has said that they were trying to steer a different direction with it as they didn’t want to be labeled as another arena rock band. Let me be totally honest here, I have never heard anything different in the sound of “The Unforgettable Fire” than what they had accomplished with their previous three studio albums. What U2 had been able to do very well with all four of their albums to date was make different sounding songs without having to change their overall style. I have always believed it was a case of more of this with the fourth album.

With “The Unforgettable Fire” the hits come out straight away, probably because I heard the first single, “Pride in the Name of Love” on the radio before I bought the album. History states that the single was released first so that’s probably why. Still, it ranks up their among my favourite U2 songs of all time. The second single, “Bad” is the second single released and that stands out as well while at the same time, you know it’s a good U2 song. I could never fathom why the title track never charted in North America as it’s a really cool track as well. If anything, I would rate it above “Bad.” But if you know me by now, albums aren’t about the singles on them and there has to be some hidden gem in the album. For me, that track is “Wire.” If I had my way, that would have been released as a single. I like the little guitar lick The Edge uses at the beginning before it goes into a good rocking song. In fact, The Edge shows his guitar skills all through the song. Actually, “Indian Summer Sky” is a really good song and that’s what you need for a good album.

The other thing which definitely appealed to me back in 1984 was U2’s use of politics in their music. This continues with this album, especially as two songs are dedicated to the late Martin Luther King Jr, one of them being the first single. “Bad” was about heroin addiction and the idea for the title track came when the band was visiting the war museum in Hiroshima, Japan. Put these things in with the music on the album and it’s no wonder why I liked it so much.

Track Listing:

  1. A Sort of Homecoming
  2. Pride in the Name of Love
  3. Wire
  4. The Unforgettable Fire
  5. Promenade
  6. 4th of July
  7. Bad
  8. Indian Summer Sky
  9. Elvis Presley and America
  10. MLK

U2

Bono- lead vocals,

The Edge- guitars, keyboards, backing vocals

Adam Clayton- bass

Larry Mullen Jr- drums

New feature: Seeing what has been done on other blogs and now that I know that I don’t have to pay WordPress ridiculous amounts of money for the privilege, with every album post, I will include a track from said album. Typical me, last on the bandwagon. In this case, since I have sung the praises of the track “Wire,” it will be featured here.

Heavy metal was going strong in 1984, so was U2. This album is clear evidence of that fact.

Next post: Steve Perry- Street Talk

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Great Rock Albums of 1984: U2- Under a Blood Red Sky

Posted in Concerts, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2017 by 80smetalman

Maybe U2 were trying to follow in the lead of Blackfoot in the sense that after three albums, release a live album. The difference here is that the three Blackfoot albums are all considered classics while the same can’t be said for the three U2 albums. Now don’t get me wrong, I like all three of these albums, “Boy,” “October” and “War.” However, the first two didn’t propel them to stardom the way “War” did. “Boy” turned my head in their direction but when I mentioned U2 to others, I mostly got blank stares. “October,” on the other hand, is U2’s best kept secret. Not a lot of people seem to know too much about the album but I’ve always liked it. “War” goes without saying, it made the band a worldwide name. It is on the back of “War” that the live “Under a Blood Red Sky” album was released.

When most people think of this live album, they automatically assume it’s from the filmed concert “U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky,” it’s not. The songs are live but recorded separately from concerts in Colorado, Boston and Germany. Furthermore, the filmed concert is nearly and hour and a half long while the album consists of just eight songs and is just over thirty-five minutes.

Ironically, the album starts with the best known song from the “October” album, “Gloria.” Probably a good opener as any for U2 at this stage of their career. What’s more, the next two songs are off the “Boy” album but then, “I Will Follow” is my all time favourite U2 song and it’s played very well. The crowd really get into it and if I had been there, I would have too. The fourth song, “Party Girl,” doesn’t appear on any of the albums but it’s still okay. Remember, back in 1983, U2 were still hungry and making their mark on the music world and all of the songs reflect that on the album.

It’s not until song five we get anything from the “War” album and that is the phenomenal “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” My second favourite U2 song and the way it’s played here is pure magic. Next is another good song from the debut album in the form of “The Electric Co.” For me, it’s played just as well live as when I hear it on the “Boy” album. Were there studio fixes here?  I can’t say. The last two songs from “War” take the album out brilliantly. First is the fantastic “New Year’s Day” and there is no better song for them to close a concert with than “40.” When I saw them in 1985, they would close the show with that song and it was mind blowing. I have to say that “Under a Blood Red Sky” takes me back to another time and almost seemingly another U2 because they were actually good but it hadn’t gone to their heads yet.

Track Listing:

  1. Gloria
  2. 11 O’Clock Tick Tock
  3. I Will Follow
  4. Party Girl
  5. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  6. The Electric Co
  7. New Year’s Day
  8. 40

U2

Bono- lead vocals, guitar

The Edge- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals, bass on “40”

Adam Clayton- bass, guitar on “40”

Larry Mullen Jr- drums

“Under a Blood Red Sky” may not go down as one of the greatest live albums in history but it’s still a good album. Especially if you like U2 when they were more hungry and less with the ego.

Next post: Julian Lennon- Valotte

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Great Metal Albums of 1983: Diamond Head- Canterbury

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2016 by 80smetalman

diamond_head_canterbury_cover

It is quite possible that my mind is well and truly going. My memories from when I saw Diamond Head at the 1983 Monsters of Rock Festival at Donington Park in England, I thought that this band played some really hard metal. However, when I listen to their 1983 “Canterbury” album, which was released two months before their Donington appearance, I find myself asking, “Is this the same band?” The “Canterbury” album isn’t that straight forward in your face metal I remember from when I saw them all those years ago. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a cool album and there are a couple of hard tracks on it, however, the album takes a more progressive rock, artsy direction.

The first two tracks are definitely in the progressive vein but still decent tracks. For some reason, the opener, “Makin’ Music” reminds me a little of the opening track from Pat Travers’ live album. Things go gradually harder with the tracks that follow. The first metal track in the sense of the word for me is “One More Night.” That song does knock your socks off. I could say the same thing for the next track as well but the vocals remind me too much of early U2. I don’t want to insult lead singer Sean Harris but he does sound like Bono a little on it. One could say that this track might be what U2 would sound like if they went metal, as if. Then again, maybe I think too damn much.

Thoughts of U2  don’t disappear immediately on the very next track. They linger for the first half of “Knight of the Swords” but they do go away when Brian Tatler lays down his best guitar solo on the album. For me, that alone makes it the best track on the album. You know all this thinking about U2, I have to remember that back in 1983, they were good in my eyes and ears as they were with many others. So, the comparisons shouldn’t be seen as a harsh criticism. After “Knight of the Swords,” things go more melodic hard rock with “Ishmael.” It’s an okay song but I don’t find it anything to get too excited about. With “I Need Your Love,” Diamond Head goes kind of new wave/metal. It is a good track to bop your head along to and it hosts the second best guitar solo on it, so pluses all around. The title track closes the album and this is definitely an artsy progressive rock tune. It begins with a piano to which Harris sings a ballad like tune for the first two and a half minutes. While the song doesn’t go crazy power metal after, it does pick up the tempo. There is some fine musicianship on it and it turns out to be a good way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Makin’ Music
  2. Out of Phase
  3. The Kingmaker
  4. One More Night
  5. To the Devil His Due
  6. Knight of the Swords
  7. Ishmael
  8. I Need Your Love
  9. Cantebury
Sean Harris and  Brian Tatler who made up Diamond Head

Sean Harris and Brian Tatler who made up Diamond Head

Sean Harris- vocals

Brian Tatler- guitars

Additional Musicians:

Colin Kimberly- bass

Mervyn Goldsworthy- bass

Duncan Scott- drums

Robbie France- drums

Jamie Lane- drums

Chris Heaton- keyboards

Back in the early 1980s, Diamond were the best kept secret of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, (NWOBHM). While Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Saxon to name some had established themselves as big names in the US, most Americans never heard of Diamond Head. One such person, when reading my Donington t-shirt thought that because the name Diamond Head was on it, the concert had taken place in Hawaii. I put him right on that one. “Canterbury” might not have been the metal album one would expect from Diamond Head, but it’s still good album nevertheless.

Next post: Saxon- Power and Glory

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Great Rock Albums of 1983: U2- War

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2016 by 80smetalman

220px-U2_War_album_cover

My original intention was to post U2’s breakthrough album “War” in succession with Todd Rundgren and Bryan Adams. However, with the death of David Bowie, I felt the need to abandon that intention in order to pay proper homage to a true rock icon. The idea for my original intention came about because back in 1983, there was a chance to see Todd Rundgren, U2 and Bryan Adams together. They were playing a concert in Charlotte, North Carolina and the local radio station in Jacksonville, where I was stationed, was running a bus to it. I would have loved to have gone but unfortunately, the Marine Corps stuck me on duty that day so I couldn’t. It’s no wonder why I didn’t re-enlist.

Like I said a second again, u2’s third album, “War” was the album where they finally got the attention they deserved in the US. In 1983 and I’ve probably said this before, commercial radio didn’t totally suck, so when the monster hits, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Year’s Day,” blew me away when they got played, I naturally had to get a hold of the album. Especially, having heard their first two albums, “Boy” and “October.” U2 was one of those bands where I could tell the johnny come lately’s that I was listening to them before they got famous.

What I have always liked about War is that, at least in my ears, it’s not much different to their first two albums. They didn’t have to change to get accepted, (something they would forget in the years to follow.) U2 brought a different sound to the table which many people liked when they got to hear it. The fascinating thing about “War” is that the album has been enjoyed by both metalheads and Duranies (people who worshiped Duran Duran) alike. In fact, they have often been labelled ‘punk’ mainly because there was no other category in which to put them.

So many great things have been said about the “War” album, I would just be repeating them and even now, I find it difficult to find my own words. I know I just really like this album. The two singles already mentioned are my joint second favourite U2 songs of all time, “I Will Follow” takes the top slot. However, I was more than slightly disappointed when they didn’t play the third single from the album, “Two Hearts Beat as One” when I finally got to see them live in 1985. While all of the songs are good, I would have to pick “Surrender” as my favourite of the lesser known songs on “War.”

Track Listing:

  1. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  2. Seconds
  3. New Year’s Day
  4. Like a Song
  5. Drowning Man
  6. The Refugee
  7. Two Hearts Beat as One
  8. Red Light
  9. Surrender
  10. 40
U2

U2

Bono- lead vocals, additional guitar

The Edge- guitars, piano, backing vocals, lead vocal on “Seconds”

Adam Clayton- bass

Larry Mullen Jr- drums

In 1983, U2 finally broke into the big time with a fantastic album “War.” This album was a milestone for the band and fans like me in so many ways. In fact, often times I think that the band should go back and listen to this album and remember what got them to where they are.

Next post: Supertramp- Famous Last Words

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80smetalman’s Choices for National Anthems

Posted in Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2015 by 80smetalman

National Anthems inspire love for one’s country. Every one I’ve heard definitely does that. Some are hard driving like the US, UK or Canada while others are more somber like Japan or Wales. Even Italy’s which reminded me of a parade or Spain’s which sounds like a sixteenth century dance still can inspire love for the country. However, most national anthems are over a century old and while there’s nothing wrong with that, since they still inspire nationalistic feelings, I wonder if more modern ones could be used. See, I have come to associate certain songs by certain bands with the country they come from and that has me thinking. Maybe these songs should be national anthems for their country.

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Lynyrd Skynyrd

USA: Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd (I’m talking the full fifteen minute live version)

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin

UK: Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin

Rush

Rush

Canada: Tom Sawyer by Rush

Bonfire

Bonfire

Germany: Proud of My Country by Bonfire

TNT

TNT

Norway- Seven Seas by TNT

Yngwie Malmsteen

Yngwie Malmsteen

Sweden- As Above, So Below by Yngwie Malmsteen

Hanoi Rocks

Hanoi Rocks

Finland- Tragedy by Hanoi Rocks

Golden Earring

Golden Earring

The Netherlands: Radar Love by Golden Earring

U2

U2

Ireland- Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2

Loudness

Loudness

Japan- Crazy Nights by Loudness

AC/DC

AC/DC

Australia- Highway to Hell by AC/DC

Note: For Brazil, it would definitely be something by Seputura and France would be a suitable song by Gojira.

While this is meant to be a little bit of fun, I’m sure some of you are cracking your knuckles and limbering your typing fingers to contribute some of your own suggestions. Well, I’m waiting.

Next post: The Scorpions- Blackout

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Great Rock Albums of 1982: Utopia- Swing To The Right

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2015 by 80smetalman

Swing_To_The_Right

Back in 1982 or there about, I remember reading a review on a Utopia album, not sure if it was this one or their next one, where the reviewer stated that Todd Rundgren was being pulled down by the rest of the band. I never agreed with that statement because I have always thought that Powell, Sulton and Wilcox were all talented musicians and song writers in their own right. For me, this was purely the case with their 1980 album “Adventures in Utopia,” although that is their best album.

Let me say straightaway that “Swing to the Right” is not quite as good as the 1980 classic but it’s not that bad. They do venture away from the more hard/progressive rock sound of the classic and adopt a more new wave approach. For the most part it works and even before U2 made it popular in 1983, the album is full of political lyrics aimed at corporations, religion and war mongers. My impression was that it’s a dig at the Regan administration which embraced all of the things that Utopia were having a go at. It is also the reason why Bearsville Records were reluctant to release the album at first.

The opening title track is the most progressive rock like song on the album and it boasts an excellent guitar solo from Rundgren. “Lysistrata” is also a good track and the swing to the more new wave sound definitely begins here. “Junk Rock” goes even more new wave and is a dig at synth pop which was rapidly gaining a foothold in the early 80s. “Shinola” does go back to a more progressive sound and Rundgren’s vocals remind me of some of his 1970s solo albums. The next few tracks are all what I have already spoken about, lyrics about political issues played to a new wave sound. For the most part, I like it and the standout track from these is “Last Dollar On Earth.” The closer, “One World” goes a little ways back to the more known Utopia sound and that ends the album rather nicely.

Track Listing:

1. Swing to the Right

2. Lysistrata

3. The Up

4. Junk Rock

5. Shinola

6. For the Love of Money

7. Last Dollar On Earth

8. Farenheit 451

9. Only Human

10. One World

Utopia

Utopia

Todd Rundgren- guitar, vocals

Roger Powell- keyboards, synthesizer, vocals

Kasmir Sulton- bass, vocals, keyboards

John ‘Willie’ Wilcox- drums

Todd Rundgren deserves to be in the Rock Hall of Fame both as an artist and a producer. It’s an act a sacrilege that he isn’t. The argument that his playing with Utopia demeans his talents is totally rejected by me and many others. It could be said that he should be there a third time with Utopia because they have made some good albums over the years. “Swing to the Right” is one of them.

Next post: Survivor- Eye of the Tiger

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

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Great Rock Albums of 1982: U2- October

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 2, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-U2_October

 

U2’s second album “October actually came to my attention at the tail end of 1981 when I saw it at a record store. However, I was still listening to their debut album “Boy,” so I wasn’t quite ready for their new album. That all changed while I was early into my second deployment to the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean when a fellow marine played the album opener “Gloria” that was on his self made cassette of punk tunes. Fact: believe it or not, back in 1981 and 2, U2 were considered punk by the mainstream. I’ve said this before and I know I’ll say it again, back then, anything new or that mainstream commercial radio just didn’t get was classed as punk.

Whether or not U2 were ever punk was not really an issue for me, all I know was that they were quickly growing on me. One reason why was that if I were to choose another name for “October,” I would call it “Boy II” because to me, the second album sounds very much like the first. That’s not a particularly bad thing by the way. Like “Boy,” “October” begins with the best know single from that particular album. I won’t make comparisons because “I Will Follow” will always be my favourite U2 song. Therefore I will not take anything away from the opener here. “I Fall Down” is a good follow on and I’m not sure what to make of “I Threw a Brick Through a Window” but it does stand out in the sense that I didn’t hear anything like it on “Boy.” For me, the album goes down the same road as its predecessor and you could argue “If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it.” Even the end of the album slows down in the same way the closer on “Boy,” “Shadows in Tall Trees” does. While I won’t go as far as saying the two albums are completely identical, they are quite similar.

Track Listing:

1. Gloria

2. I Fall Down

3. I Threw a Brick Through a Window

4. Rejoice

5. Fire

6. Tomorrow

7. October

8. With a Shout (Jerusalem)

9. Stranger in a Strange Land

10. Scarlet

11. Is That All

U2

U2

Bono- lead vocals

The Edge- guitar, piano, backing vocals

Adam Clayton- bass

Larry Mullen Jr- drums

As I said earlier, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. What U2 did with “October” is take their first album as a blueprint and made another album along the same vein. However, it is done in a way that doesn’t put the listener off. “October” would prove to be a small stepping stone towards the next album which would lead them to ultimate greatness in the golden decade. One thing I have always said about U2 was the fact that they were one band that metalheads and trendies both liked.

Next post: Loverboy- Get Lucky

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