Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Nov 9, 1985

I follow Circus Magazine on Twitter. Every day they mention hard rock or metal albums that came out on the same day. And back on Nov 9, 1985, the following albums came out;

  • Y&T – Down For The Count
  • Dokken – Under Lock and Key
  • Twisted Sister – Come Out And Play
  • W.A.S.P – The Last Command

In Australia, we had to wait. A geographical windowed release is the business name for it. And it’s funny how the labels still want to revert to these kinds of releases for music in the digital world. They don’t like world-wide releases. Hell, one of the main drivers of piracy was windowed releases. Fans of music in other parts of the world, wanted access to new music on the same day, U.S fans had access to it.

One thing that is common across all four albums is the sequencing and how the albums flow.

TRACK 1 – The Killer Opening Track

“In The Name Of Rock” has a great riff to kick off the album about a kid who heard a guitar scream and he knew he wouldn’t be the same.

“Unchain The Night” musically is unbelievable, but Don Dokken’s lyrics of running around in circles and never crossing some line and then not wanting to touch someone and then never wanting to unchain the night.

Seriously, how much blow was Don doing?

And how can you chain the night up to then not wanting to unchain it.

“Come Out And Play” starts off with an ode to “The Warriors” movie before Dee starts telling people to not be afraid of the night as it builds into an anthem for the SMF’s to join the Twisted Sister cavalcade and enter the world TS made. It’s basically a speed metal song.

“Wild Child” is a classic. It’s a simple riff, it sounds massive and it builds nicely under the Em, D, C chord progression. And Blackie had a certain lyrical style that worked about riding winds that bring rain because he’s a wild child who needs to be loved.

The winner here is “Wild Child”.

TRACK 2 – The Relaxed Track

“All American Boy” is cool musically and lyrically it might have worked in the U.S but it didn’t really work in Australia. Then again, Bruce Springsteen sold 10 million plus by telling everyone he’s born in the U.S.A. So there goes that theory.

“The Hunter” is a cool track musically and lyrically.

“Leader of the Pack”. Next.

“Ballcrusher” is just one of those songs that’s a blast lyrically about a vicious voodoo woman who crushes balls and manages to skull all of his JD. Hell, Steel Panther has made a career of using lyrics like these.

The winner here is “The Hunter”

TRACK 3 – Meant To Be the Big Hit

“Anytime At All” is a cool melodic arena rock song about a woman who can call Dave anytime at all.

“In My Dreams” is also a cool melodic arena rock song about a relationship that still works in Don’s dreams but not in real life. I believe Jeff Pilson wrote the lyrics to this song, so they make way more sense than Don’s lyrics.

And that solo from Lynch, it’s like he knew this song was going to be a single so let’s put every melodic idea and technique into it. And it works.

“You Want What We Got” is a cool sing along arena rock song about a person called you, who wants something that Twisted Sister has got and because that person called “you” can’t have it, the person called “you” constantly puts them down.

“Fistful of Diamonds” musically sounds like it’s from The Rocky Horror Show. And how relevant are the lyrics about money and how people go crazy for it because they want it all.

The winner here is “In My Dreams”.

TRACK 4 – The Ballad Song or Experimental Song or We Don’t Know What to Do With Song

“Anything for Money” is good musically and let down by crap lyrics.

“Slippin’ Away” just doesn’t work for me.

“I Believe In Rock N Roll” is a great song, musically and lyrically. Hell, one of my first band names “Iron Fist” came from the lyrics. The best line is pledging allegiance to the United States of Rock. The pre-chorus sums up life about working hard and constantly being told what to do.

“Jack Action” musically is like “You Got Another Thing Comin”. Lyrically it’s a mess.

The winner here is “I Believe In Rock N Roll”.

TRACK 5 – The Killer Side 1 Closer

“Face Like An Angel” has a cool musical groove and a top notch lead break. Even the vocal melodies are good, but those lyrics “she’s got a face like an angel but the devils inside her again.” Seriously. What the?

“Lighthin’ Strikes Again” has awesome riffage, so musically it’s pretty strong and the vocal melodies are spot on as well. Lyrically, is it about lightning striking you for inspiration? I’m not sure, but I think it is. Anyway, the music is perfect.

“The Fire Still Burns” burned so bright that it spawned the extreme black metal scene of Europe. The song is a masterpiece that could rival thrash speed metal tunes. And the lyrics deal with the pain and anger in Dee’s brain to last a whole lifetime and how he can’t have peace of mind because the fire still burns.

I’m a big fan of the “Widowmaker” song. The whole intro sounds epic and when the whole band kicks in, it’s breaking desk time. It’s the only way to kick off a song about some entity that has roamed the desert plains for thousands of years.

The winner here is “The Fire Still Burns”.

TRACK 6 – The Killer Opening Track of Side 2

Track 6 is always the first track on SIDE B. So it had to be a strong one. Kids these days will not understand how sequencing an album was super important back in the day.

“Summertime Girls” I heard in a movie. I can’t remember if it was a Porky’s movie or one of those other 80’s flicks that mimicked the Porky’s formula. Anyway the movie is set in summer, girls are wearing very short shorts and it was perfect for the scene. It’s probably the reason why the song has remained a favourite. Then I heard it on the “Baywatch” TV series. So how can you not forget it?

The video clip to “It’s Not Love” remains with me because it reminded me of ACCA’s “Long Way To The Top”. The riffs grab me again and the lyrics work with the melodies.

“Be Chrool To Your Scuel” just didn’t work for me. And the zombie film clip got banned from MTV for being too violent and gore which didn’t help its cause.

“Blind In Texas” is your basic 12 bar blues drinking song. Blackie is very creative with his lyrics, referencing Texas towns.

The winner here is “Summertime Girls”.

TRACK 7 – The Song That Will Not Be Played Live

“Looks Like Trouble” is excellent musically. But I hate the lyrics about how Dave gave a woman his Ferrari and got no response, because he’s a fool in love who doesn’t know when to give up.

“Jaded Heart” rocks musically. And you know what, even the lyrics work, about a jaded heart that looks and can’t see the beauty of life in front of it.

“I Believe In You” is a ballad that actually has Don Dokken doing some ohhhs and ahhhhs during the Chorus. Lyrically it’s about looking for acceptance.

“Cries In The Night” is actually a pretty cool tune about a person hearing cries in the night that tell no lies.

The winner here is “Cries In The Night”.

TRACK 8 – The “Cover” Song or The “We Are Running Out Of Ideas” Song or The” Melodic Rock Song We Are Not Sure Our Fans Will Like”

I’m not a fan of “Your Mama Don’t Dance”. I didn’t even like Poison’s version. I was like, why would you cover that song. It’s a timestamp of an era and not relevant at all in the 80’s.

“Don’t Lie To Me” is a great melodic song, with a great harmony that mimic’s the vocal line and even the lyrics work.

“Out On The Streets” to me is a pretty cool melodic rock song and one of those TS songs that are forgotten.

For a title track, “The Last Command” is very different for WASP’s 1985 standards as it’s in a major key. Lyrically I believe it’s about the sounding of the seventh trumpet before the end begins.

The winner here is “Out On The Streets”.

TRACK 9 – The “We Ran Out Of Time” Song

Musically, “Don’t Tell Me What To Wear” feels like it’s a carbon copy of “Blackout” from Scorpions. Lyrically, it works for me, about a kid who likes to wear his blacks and is constantly told what to wear.

“Will the Sun Rise” is another classic that doesn’t get enough love. I also don’t mind the lyrics about setting sail to find new wonders and memories.

Musically, “Looking Out For Number 1” is a rewrite of “You Got Another Thing Comin”. Lyrically, Dee is re-using themes of a person doing what they want to do and living a life they want to live.

“Running Wild In The Streets” should be retitled running out of time.

The winner here is “Don’t Tell Me What To Wear”.

TRACK 10 – “The Killer Speed Metal Closer to Side 2” and Album” or “The Killer Epic Power Ballad Closer to Side 2 and Album”

“Hands Of Time” closes the album and that palm muted harmony guitar riff just blows my mind for how massive it sounds and how simple it is to play.

“Till The Livin End” is basically a speed metal song and that is the beauty of Dokken that I liked. They could be metal, hard rock, blues rock, pop rock and speed metal all on one album.

“Kill Or Be Killed” is also a speed metal song about fighting the good fight, throwing punches in the name of rock first and asking questions later.

“Sex Drive” is basically a re-write of “Blind Of Texas” and “Fistful Of Diamonds”. A big miss here to close the album with a killer tune.

The winner here is “Till The Livin End”.

TRACK 11 – The Bonus Track

“King Of The Fools” is probably the best power ballad from Twisted Sister about how stardom, while great, is also pretty lonely and frightful because people are now looking at you to lead them.

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Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

RDFriday

This Is War – Audrey Horne

My favourite supergroup of extreme metallers (along with “The Night Flight Orchestra”) is back with a new album that brings back memories of the Seventies and Eighties. Once the harmony guitars that sound like “Fear Of The Dark” from Maiden kick in, I’m ready to throw my computer screen at the window.

It’s brilliant.

We will never be silenced or divided

This is war

My 2017 call to arms.

Beyond The Pale – Machine Head

The verse groove is heavy and it works.

And that lead break, where two lead breaks are happening is brilliant, it works and it doesn’t sound muddled. They actually complement each other.

Beyond the pale I found salvation, emancipation

Beyond the pale I found my heroes for freaks and zeroes

Walk On Water (Acoustic) – Thirty Seconds to Mars

I hated the original version. It sounded over produced and there was nothing to differentiate it from all the pop garbage that sounds the same. But this version works. It’s almost gospel churchy like.

Do you believe that you could walk on water?

At the end of it I believed I could walk on water.

Miracle – Story of the Year

This band is a favourite of mine. They can be rock, metal and pop all on one album. Their label stuffed em up, by labelling them that whole emo rock/hard-core tag.

I need this more than you know

I need a miracle

Tell me I’m not alone

Please don’t let me go

You are in the situation where change is needed. Your old self needs to be washed off and a new being needs to rise. But you need to make hard choices.

Are you ready for what will come after?

Are you read to let go of what you know?

American Soul – U2

I actually like this song. I would have loved if the keyboard riff was played by the distorted guitar, because it would have given the song the rock and roll edge that’s mentioned in the lyrics.

You are rock and roll

You and I are rock and roll

You are rock and roll

I came here looking for American soul

Cherry Blossoms – Joe Satriani

The Alien that likes to surf just keeps on creating new music.

What a brilliant concept that is?

This one is more like a ballad and I like the way Satriani composes his leads. You can put words to them.

Alone (ReRecorded) – Toto

I am a fan of “Hold the Line”.

Meadow – Stone Temple Pilots

Who’s singing these days?

Imaginary – Evanescence

I prefer the original. Amy Lee is a great vocalist and has a unique voice. She should release new music instead of re-hashing past glories. Let other artists cover and re-imagine your songs.

All or Nothing (Acoustic) – Art of Dying

2011’s “Vices and Virtues” hooked me in. Then they lost me with “Rise Up” and “Nevermore”. The songs were there, but the production ruined it. In saying that, I dig this acoustic version. Maybe the next album will win me back.

Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming – Edit – Deep Purple

It looks like Deep Purple have a compilation album called “A Fire In The Sky – Selected Career Spanning Songs” out, hence the reason why this one appeared on my Release Day Friday playlist. This one is from “Purpendicular” released in 1996. Steve Morse kills it on this song, especially in the verses.

Surrender Your Heart – The Radio Sun

Melodic rock from Melbourne, Australia. I still think they have a hard bluesy rock album in them, like Whitesnake’s 87 self-titled album.

Feel the Heat – Pretty Boy Floyd

I didn’t really get into the band back in the late 80’s and this song does nothing to make me commit.

Wake Me Up – Operation: Mindcrime

A mess. It’s the only way I can describe this.

Upper Falls – The Used

I don’t mind this one.

Since You’ve Been Gone (Live 84) – Alcatrazz

I don’t think its Malmsteen playing so it must be Steve Vai. Anyway, it’s a pedestrian version with fake crowd noise and what not.

Gift (Live) – Hellyeah

We are all outcasts here because we fail to conform to normal society.

It’s how the song is introduced. Musically, “Gift” feels like “Children Of The Grave” to me.

Down In A Hole – In Flames

When you hear Alice’s version there is a pain and angst with each lyric when Layne and Jerry sing it. It’s like something ominous and threatening is about to happen. I don’t get that feeling with this version.

Brave – Skillet

I like this band when they rock. When they sing these kinds of pop songs, while there is an audience for these types of songs, it’s not for me.

The Boy Who Fooled The World – G String – Gun

This is so far removed from the version of Gun that I am a fan of.

It’s No Good – The Poodles

The song is pretty good, but seriously, who calls a hard rock band “The Poodles”.

Everlasting – Houston

Wow, this sounds like it came from 1985.

Riding On Fire (2017 Version) – Iron Saviour

You need to be in the mood for power metal. But at the moment, I’ve got my swords and shields and horses and castle all packed away.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Convergence of Forces in 1986/87

After touring with AC/DC and Aerosmith for a year, I felt a little more aggressive. Some nights I would come up with something pretty, but after seeing Angus bash it out, I would say “Fuck pretty”.
Vito Bratta GW September 1989

This quote has remained with me for ages.

Vito Bratta is a guitarist who understands music and loves his instrument. His soloing is liquid joy and his rhythm work is complex.

So how does a musician who uses complex chord inversions and arpeggios to color a song compete for people’s attention against the blues based rock of AC/DC and Aerosmith, especially when those two bands had a head start of 15 plus years building up an audience.

Furthermore while Aerosmith sang about a dude who looks like a lady and a rag doll cutie, White Lion via Mike Tramp sang about the sinking of a Greenpeace ship. While AC/DC sang about woman as fast machines, White Lion sang about broken homes and violence in the home.

I remember a magazine reporter writing about how Mike Tramp introduced “Little Fighter” to metal kids when White Lion was opening for Ozzy. It went something like this;

Tramp: “You like to go to the fuckin’ Jersey Shore?” 
Crowd: “Yeah!” 
Tramp: “Don’t you get pissed off when you can’t swim because of the pollution?
Crowd: “Yeah!” (half-hearted)
Tramp: “Well, here’s a song about a group that’s doing something about it.”

White Lion toured with blues based hard rock bands for 12 months during the “Pride” period and there is no doubt that the rock vibe and party connection with the audience would have influenced Vito with the writing process of “Big Game”. But he didn’t want to just follow blindly what others have done before him so he tried to create something new, something interesting. But the majority of the pop music consumers don’t want interesting. They want carbon copies of what came before, something they can sing too, and something that is very uninteresting.

So “Big Game” was rushed. All because the label wanted to capitalize in the new-found interest in the band. But the label must have forgotten that MTV still controlled the public interest metric. If MTV played your band on the channel, you would sell a million plus. If they didn’t, you wouldn’t sell as much as you expected regardless of the quality of the music.

So with great power, comes great responsibility and MTV became a powerful and corruptible gatekeeper and for all its evil ways, it was still the best marketing tool to turn acts into global superstars.

But MTV didn’t play the video clips from “Big Game” as much as it played the clips from “Pride”.

And it’s funny when you look back to the 1986/87 period, the artists who had their biggest hits and sales during that period, never replicated those numbers again.

Bon Jovi never topped “Slippery When Wet”. Europe never topped “The Final Countdown”. White Lion never topped “Pride”. Whitesnake never topped their “self-titled” debut. Guns N Roses never topped “Appetite For Destruction”. INXS never topped “Kick”. Joe Satriani never topped “Surfing With The Alien”. Def Leppard never topped “Hysteria”. U2 never topped “The Joshua Tree”. Stryper never topped “To Hell With The Devil”.

There was something of a convergence during these years. MTV was well established by 1986 and massive, CD’s had taken hold by 1987, artists that had been around for a while had enough experiences on the board to write their masterpiece and fans of the 60’s/70’s rock movement had teenage families, so suburbia had cash to spend on entertainment due to low employment.

But with all things great, disaster was just around the corner. Black Monday happened on Monday, October 19, 1987, when stock markets around the world crashed. The single day drop was enough to scare people from spending and make people lose their jobs. Maybe it put a dent into the recording business for a few years, because from 1989 to 1999, the labels turned over billions.

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Music, My Stories, Copyright, Stupidity

Ride The Copyright Until Forever

I have a Google Alert set up for Copyright news stories and there is a lot of em, every single day.

In Australia/NZ, there has been coverage about Eminem’s copyright win against the New Zealand National Party for using a track called Eminem Esque in a political advertisement.

So the courts found a political party guilty of infringing Eminem’s copyright on “Lose Yourself” even though they paid a license fee for a “sound-alike” song called “Eminem Esque” to a production music company.

I’m curious to know why the production music company who created the track “Eminem Esque” escaped punishment.

Didn’t the production music company create a work and then fraudulently claim it as their own work?

Didn’t the production music company pocket a license fee for their fraudulent song?

So shouldn’t that production music company who wrote the song “Eminem Esque” be in trouble as well.

Instead the deviousness of the political party to seek out a song which sounds similar to “Lose Yourself”, so they could pay a cheaper licensing fee is why the case is in the courts.

While the rest of the world worries about job security, it’s so pleasing (loaded with sarcasm) to see the Copyright industries securing their future with the courts.

In the U.K, Copyright complaints take up most of the High Court’s time. The world is dealing with all forms of crime, but intellectual property crimes are more important. It’s probably why the Commonwealth Bank of Australia invested via a tax haven into the performing rights income of popular artists. Thank god for the Paradise Papers which sheds some light on how the elite avoid paying taxes?

Copyright disputes are not just in the courts. They are in the local bars, the coffee shops, the sandwich shop and any other mum and dad place which play music or might have live music at the venue. Basically, if music is played anywhere, the collection agencies want to be paid via a license. Don’t be surprised if the price of the car you purchase is loaded with a music licensing tax based on how many people could listen to music for free in the car. Because, you know, for a five seater care, five people in the car could be listening to music at any point it time. And don’t be surprised if your car service fee is loaded with a music tax.

In a lot of European countries, blank media like CD’s and portable drives and USB keys already carry a music tax in their price. The lobby groups argued hard that every blank CD, USB or Portable Drive sold would be used to store copyrighted material, so a tax must be paid. The Courts believed them; maybe got influence by them in other ways and a law was passed for these devices to carry a copyright tax.

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Music, My Stories

Systems 

The Playlist is here.

Systems of play are everywhere. Before the internet became a commercial force and one of the best copy systems ever, humans served different systems like the royal system, the democratic system, the communist system, the fascist system, the slavery system, the social system, the tax system, the credit system, the workforce system, the pension system, the religious system, the criminal system, the police system and so forth. We went from working in assembly lines to being the cogs in the assembly line. We went from using paper and pens and put files away in shelves to typing into a digital screen and saving files.

Everything we do today is controlled, stored and read by a machine.

Yes they’re making lists of people interested in this
And they’re scanning all their databases, hunting terrorists
Yes they’re making lists of people interested in this
And anyone who speaks their mind is labelled anarchist
“Are You Interested?” By Cog

Freedom is raped by war like whore like technology
Technology, technology of materialism
Personal freedom only an obstruction
“Figure It Out” by Serj Tankian

There is no doubt that technology rules our lives. Our posts are tagged, our books have ISBN numbers, our purchases have barcodes, our searches are saved, our electronic transactions are logged to be analysed, our mobile calls are stored, our email/text messages are stored and everything is optimised for marketing and obedience. In other words everything we do becomes a piece of data stored in a database.

For how long this data will be stored will never be known. What security this data has and who controls it, will never be known.

You want the world to be free? WHAT THE HELL IS FREE ABOUT IT?
“Come Whatever May” by Stone Sour

The Government has passed a lot of laws that allow organisations to store our information in the name of national security. And guess what, we have given up so much of our privacy and the laws have failed to stop the attacks. We vote our leaders in, but they serve the corporations who pay the most. We pay our taxes while the elite pay none via off-shore tax havens and dodgy deals.

Why pretend that we don’t know
CEOs are the disease
“Figure It Out” by Serj Tankian

If machines controlled the world right now, we would be pigeon holed into categories.

Up here in space
I’m looking down on you
My lasers trace
Everything you do
You think you’ve private lives
Think nothing of the kind
There is no true escape
I’m watching all the time
“Electric Eye” by Judas Priest

Hell, my Spotify.me algorithm tells me I must be a traveller.

Did it make that assertion based on the length of my playlists or is it taking into account my location/s when I’m listening to music. If it’s using my location, then it must have a tracking tool that runs in the background. I don’t recall giving the app permission to track my location.

My “Maps” app on the iPhone tells me if there is a traffic incident every Monday to Friday on my route to work. It tells me this before I have even left home.

How did it come to this knowledge?

Well it’s tracked the route I take to work. Since I’ve done it thousands of times it’s worked out my route. Should I care that a machine knows what time I leave home for work and what time I get to work. I also don’t recall agreeing to share this information. I even checked my security settings and I cannot see anything that gives the machine approval to track me. But it does.

It’s pretty scary if you ask me.

And scary is only getting faster.

Messages will travel faster and more people will be sending them to even more machines. The time we spend on devices would increase and the time we spend on other activities will decrease.

At the end of the day I know,
That we work all our lives to pay for a cage they own
It ain’t no coincidence that the whole world is caught in an endless debt
“Problem Reaction Solution” by Cog

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A to Z of Making It, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

RD Friday

There is a saying “Just because you can make it, doesn’t mean anybody cares”. And with music these days, there are so many artists creating, how do they make people care. If the goal of the artist is world-domination, maybe they need to re-assess their goals. All artists have to operate in their niche and maybe they will cross over to the mainstream. And even then, once you crossover don’t expect everybody to know. 

Release Friday is upon us and my Spotify playlist is up and cranking.

Sweet And Lynch – Unified

Another song appeared on my Release Friday playlist today, so I figured I would check to see if the album is out. I clicked here, clicked there and 11 new tracks appeared. Brilliant, because back in the day, I would need to leg it, train it and leg it again only to find out the record store didn’t have it in sold out of it.

The first album caught me by surprise how good it was. It was creative, nostalgic and modern sounding. The second one on its own is a good album but compared to the first album, it’s not as good. But that’s okay, because there’s still good tunes to unpack.

“Promised Land” is the opening track and the first single in the lead up to the album release. This song deserves more attention, but it’s hard to break through the noise. Each new track is competing against all the hit records plus everything in between.

“Take my hand, the promised land”.

“Unified” has this cool Lynch jam like groove that appears a lot in his work post Dokken.

“Defiant we stand, united we will fall”

“Bridge Of Broken Lies” has a cool lyrical theme about strangers hiding behind the faces of trusted people. It’s a ballad, that rocks hard.

“I never guessed you would be someone I’ve never known”

“Better Man” is a clichéd title. Pearl Jam probably has the definitive take, but Art of Anarchy’s version is not that far behind, especially when Scott Stapp sings, “it’s time to come home”. This one is more like a love song.

The first thing that hooks me is the riff. It’s classic Lynch with a lot less distortion.

“When I’m not with you baby, I want to be a better man”

Babylon A.D – Revelation Highway

Their self-titled major label debut I have on LP and man it got a lot of spins. It was a perfect blend of hard rock and melodic rock. I even own it on CD. “Nothing Sacred” is also a favourite, and I have that on CD. And that blend of hard rock and melodic rock heard on the first two albums is evident on “Revelation Highway”. Also, because I’ve been cranking “Whitesnake 87” and “Diary Of A Madman”, I’m hearing influences from both albums on this one.

“Rags To Riches” is one of the singles released in the lead up and it hooked me in with its “Atomic Playboys” style riff. Musically its excellent and that solo break with that riff underpinning it, is just brilliant.

“Rags to riches, young girl got her wishes”

With the whole #METOO movement and people speaking up, maybe the young girl didn’t get what she really wished for. It’s a relevant lyric line regardless in what context you read it.

“One Million Miles” is a pretty cool mid-tempo melodic rock track. “She Likes To Give It” is also cool and basically a clone of “One Million Miles”. Nothing wrong with that at all.

“Floating on a Jetstream with the cool wind in my face, sinking in the green grass in the calm of your embrace”

“Last Time For Love” sounds like the best Def Leppard song that Def Leppard hasn’t written. It immediately transports me back to 1987.

“Last time for love, I won’t be hanging around your door”

And the lead break with the underpinning riff just works a treat. I press repeat just to hear it again.

“Saturday Night” reminds me of those “Saturday Nights” from a time long ago.

“On a Saturday night, we will rock to the morning light”

Shakra – Snakes & Ladders

They are from Switzerland. When I Googled them, I was surprised to read that they’ve been around since the mid 90’s and their first album dropped in 1998. It’s been a long time, but they are playing the game to succeed and picking up fans day by day.

“Cassandra’s Curse” is a terrible song title, but the song is awesome. The music is foot stomping and the melodies are perfect.

“Snakes & Ladders” has one of the most simplest but truthful lyrical lines.

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you fall, snakes and ladders”.

“Rollin’” is one of those bluesy hard rock style songs which you can listen too driving your car.

“I Will Rise Again” is the bomb. It’s tempo and foot stomping / back breaking drum beat work brilliantly.

“Open Water” is a ballad but not a clichéd. Lyrically it’s got that Euro Purple/Whitesnake vibe like “Sailing Ships” meets “Lost Without You” from Three Doors Down.

Artists don’t operate in the old world anymore. 

MTV might have made artists global superstars, instantly, but they fell back to earth just as fast as they got outside the atmosphere. Now streaming rules and anybody can play, but only a limited number of artists get attention. Today, these three artists had my attention. Tomorrow it will be someone else. They might come back at another time and get my attention. Maybe they won’t.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Diary Of A Madman

Back in the 80’s, I remember when songs of the 60’s and early 70’s used to come on the radio and I used to say, “really, play something more current.”

They sounded old. Fast forward to today and all I play is old tunes. Actually 70 percent of the music I listen to is pre 1995. More specifically; 1980 to 1992.

It’s hard to believe that “Diary Of A Madman” is 36 years old. 

Like the “Blizzard” album before it, “Diary” is a listening experience from start to end. And because of my addiction to the “Tribute” album, I was blown away by the depth of material on “Diary” that didn’t appear on the live album, like “Over The Mountain”, “SATO”, “You Can’t Kill Rock N Roll”, “Tonight” and the unbelievable title track.

To top it off, it clocks in at 43 minutes which meant back in the 80’s I could dub it one side of a 45 cassette tape and the other side I could devote to the “Blizzard” album. Those other 80s cassette dubbers will know how cool it was to dub.

Over The Mountain
The underrated drumming of Lee Kerslake kicks off the album, before Randy kicks in with the G#m pedal point riff. At a high level, the song is the evolution of RR covering Sabbath songs. The main riff is inspired by “Children Of The Grave”.

When it morphs into the instrumental interlude, the key moves to D#m and it’s a standard harmonic movement in baroque music. This time however, pull offs and hammer-ons are added to the 16th note pulse. 

Did anyone pick up on the “Black Sabbath” riff used before the solo break?

The bridge is very Rush sounding, which is simple power chords played over a shimmering and ringing of the open E and B strings.

The melody is pop all the way.

It is infectious and did anyone pick up Daisley’s reference to songs from the past like “Ticket To Ride” from Beatles, “Magic Carpet Ride” from Steppenwolf and “Shooting Star” from Bad Company. Maybe it was coincidental.

“Over the mountain, take me across the sky”
“Don’t need no astrology; it’s inside of you and me”
“You don’t need a ticket to fly with me, I’m free, yeah”

And that solo. It’s a masterpiece of Randy’s guitar style, combining Vivaldi inspired lines with tremolo bar dives, open string pull offs like in “The Lemon Song” from Led Zeppelin or like “Jeff’s Boogie” from Jeff Beck and combining it all with chromatics.

Flying High Again
The AC/DC style groove allows Randy to colour the spaces. I also do recall reading that Lee Kerslake came up with the vocal melody for “Flying High Again”. I am sure if I Google it, I would be able to find the link.

When Grunge came out, a lot of the reporters wrote articles that expressed how the Grunge players played with feel. And they generally compared these grunge players to all of the guitar players in the 80’s. What the reporters should have done is compared the “Grunge” feel players to the guitar players they wanted to compare them too, instead of generalising because Randy Rhoads played with feel and melodicism.

This song is a beautiful example of “compositional” guitar work. The solo is constructed and performed in the tradition of a classical piece.

“Got a crazy feeling I don’t understand
‘Gotta get away from here
Feelin’ like I should have kept my feet on the ground
Waitin’ for the sun to appear”

You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll
Daisley wrote the lyrics over an Ozzy hummed melody. Lyrically, it deals about record companies being greedy and trying to tell the artist what to do.

“Leave me alone; don’t want your promises no more
‘Cos rock and roll is my religion and my law”

Believer
The bass line is hypnotic and sets the tone for RR to colour and decorate a song about moving mountains with the power of belief. And there are some good lyrical lines from Daisley.

“Watching time go and feeling belief grow, Rise above the obstacles”
“You’ve got to believe in yourself, Or no one will believe in you”
“Their disbelief suppresses them, But they’re not blind, It’s just that they won’t see”

Little Dolls
It’s a track that belongs on an Alice Cooper album of the seventies, like “Billion Dollar Babies”.

Musically, it’s a derivative version of “Suicide Solution” in the main riff, a pre-chorus that sounds the same from “Over The Mountain”, a chorus section that sounds like it belongs on an ELO album and a bridge section ripped from “I Don’t Know”.  

Randy Rhoads did say in an interview that this song felt rush or the solo felt rushed (like he had to do it in one take). Whatever the case, this is probably the least known songs from the Randy era with Ozzy.

“The pins and needles prick the skin of little dolls”

Tonight
This song has two killer leads; the usual middle solo section and the outro solo.

“I hear the questions surface in my mind, of my mistakes that I have made
Times and places I have left behind and am I ever gonna make the grade?”

Daisley’s bass playing is also unique. It’s like a lead instrument over the arpeggios and piano lines.

S.A.T.O
Is the song, the initials of Ozzy’s two love interests at the time?

As good as the song is it’s the solo section that takes the song out of the stratosphere.

First, it’s over a 12/8 shuffle used more in the Blues genre (which Zakk Wyle used again in “Perry Mason” and it’s got all of Randy’s trademarks, from how he starts it off in the E Major Pentatonic scale and then he shifts into the C#m Aeolian scale which allows the listener to still believe it’s in E major, however RR has shifted diatonically to C#m.

It’s well known RR was no stranger to music theory, but he was one of those few individuals that put much of what he studied into practice.

Wind is high, so am I, as the shore sinks in the distance
Dreams unfold, seek the gold, gold that’s brighter than the sunlight

Diary Of A Madman
It’s a prog metal tune before prog metal became a term and a giant leap forward in composition and technicality.

“Diary of a madman, walk the line again today
Entries of confusion, dear diary, I’m here to stay”

At a high level, it is experimental music. The whole song is like a Randy Rhoads master class. Stand out sections is the whole intro section up to the first verse, and the heavy distorted riff before the dissonant solo break.

Bob Daisley wrote lyrics that referenced his own life.

“Enemies fill up the pages, are they me”

Daisley and Kerslake did not get any credit for having played on the album. On the sleeve, Rudy Sarzo is credited as playing bass and Tommy Aldridge is credited as drummer, however both people have come out and said that they didn’t play a note on the album.

13 years after its release it crossed the 3 million sale mark in the U.S. It took its time but all great things do take time to rise.

“A sickened mind and spirit, The mirror tells me lies, Could I mistake myself for someone, Who lives behind my eyes?”

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