Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

March 2020 – Part 3

Here is the final post of March 2020 releases that have interested me in some way. Here is the playlist.

Higher Ground – Reach
It was their song “Live Or Die” from a few years ago which got me interested in the band as it was a cross between all the good things I like from Muse and melodic rock.

“Higher Ground” has more of that pop vibe, a fusion of jazz/reggae in the verses and Swedish rock choruses inspired by classical music.

The First Time – Khymera
The intro just hooks me in. I’ve heard similar songs with these kind of melodic intros and still to this day I stay riveted and interested.

“You’ve got me running for the first time” is the hook and in the second verse, “the price of love is misery”.

What The Dead Men Say – Trivium
I’m really digging the first two single drops from Trivium.

“What the dead men say is just between us” is the hook here, and the music just goes for the throat at full throttle with some wicked shredding along the way.

Shadows of The Night – Vandenberg
Adrian Vandenberg knows how to write some killer songs and the dude can play, referencing some classic heavy metal riffs on this one. Plus he’s finally allowed to use his surname again, so gone is the Moonkings and its just Vandenberg again.

Verdict: I like.

Wings Of the Storm – Axel Rudi Pell
Here is another dude who can play.

The world we are in gets weirder every day

Damn right it does. Who would have thought that we would be in lock down. So many businesses that I thought were resilient are closing doors. Looks like nothing is left in reserves for a rainy day.

And we are working from home, the kids are doing school from home and we leave the house for essentials only.

Fly eagle fly
Far away on the wings of the storm

It’s easier said and done these days.

Shadowman – One Desire

This is a good song, the full 6 minutes of it.

One Desire came into my radar a few years ago and I saved a few songs and now they have a new album about to drop and I’m digging what I am hearing so far.

“A shadow in the window hiding”

It’s descriptive but hey who hasn’t seen a shadow when we’ve walked past a window which reflects back to us our surroundings.

Broken – FM
FM came into my life because of Phil Soussan. Soussan was in band called Wildlife with Steve Overland and Chris Overland who would go and form FM a few years later.

Soussan wrote “Shot In The Dark” with the Overland brothers who wrote the original lyrics and they demoed a version of the song. And Ozzy was gifted a hit that he somehow magically co-wrote and no credit was given to the Overland brothers.

And This is one good song.

Let’s not pretend there’s nothing to mend

Been reading how relationships are turning sour due to the COVID-19 lockdown. I guess people didn’t really want to be with each other

Devil You Know – Electric Mob
The bluesy groove is old and it’s been used by thousands of other songs. Electric Mob amp it up, modern it up and they get my attention with it.

I’m interested. What comes next.

Outlaws and Outsiders – Cory Marks
There are a few guest musicians here. Travis Tritt, Ivan Moody and Mick Mars all appear.

The riffs between “Devil You Know” mentioned above and this one are very similar, with a Nickelback/Shinedown style chorus.

I’m interested. What comes next.

Actually, I just listened to “Hangman Jury” from Aerosmith and the riffs are similar.

In The Blood – Dizzy Miss Lizzy
I’m really digging the groove on this song.

There is this bridge like section from about 2.54 to 3.07 which they bring back as a solo from about 3.40 to 4.05 which really gets the foot tapping and the head moving. And to top it off, they finish the song with it.

And I always like a song which makes me want to pick up the guitar to learn it and this song ticks all the boxes.

IWSYA – Voices
Footsteps – Voices
Unknown – Voices

Heavy Metal Overlord did a review of this album and it got me interested to check these guys out. Thank you HMO.

The acoustic riff in “IWSYA” is melancholic and the melodic vocals add to it. From about 2.55 it gets these scattered reverbed black metal like screams, but the song sounds like a progressive song that bands like Haken and Tesseract are known for.

“Footsteps” is the closer and a two note arpeggio riff rings throughout in the intro as the drums play a math metal like tom roll.

It kicks in after that and the song rolls forward with an unbelievable three note violin lead riff which starts to become prominent from the middle of the song and it keeps on repeating to the end.

“Unknown” has an intro which gets me interested.

I think it’s the bass that does it for me on this song. It drives the groove, while the drummer and the guitarist decorate, if that makes sense.

Mother (Album) – In This Moment
I am a fan of the “The Dream” and “A Star Crossed Wasteland” albums and that style of hard rock with melodic vocals. But those musicians on those recordings have moved on except for Maria Brink and guitarist Chris Howorth and the new band kept morphing their sound, into the atmospheric, tribal beat driven style they have now. And I wasn’t expecting much from this album, but I was blown away.

“Fly Like An Eagle” is a Steve Miller cover and its done in a way which is unique to “In This Moment”. The drums establish the tribal war cry and the song keeps building. “Legacy” has a vocal melody that could have come from either “The Dream” or “A Star Crossed Wasteland”. And the way the song rolls, with its Def Leppard/Journey style of guitar decorating works for me.

“We Will Rock You” is another cover, and again done in a way which is unique to In This Moment with guest vocals from Taylor Momsen and Lzzy Hale. “Mother” is powerful, as soon as the anguished “Mother” chant starts. “Holy Man” has this section which reminds me of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and I like it.

“Lay Me Down” sounds like it came from “The Hu” with an infectious chorus and a “Lay Me Down” gospel chant which I like. “Into Dust” is the third cover on the from alternative rock act Mazzy Star and like all of the covers on the album, it is done in a way which captures the tribal roots style drumming and atmospheric build of what In This Moment is like now.

When “In This Moment” signed with Atlantic, I thought their career would be over because labels are always willing to play the short-term game. Labels are willing to cut more corners, to make money now than in the future. But it looks like “In This Moment” is given freedom to do what they want, to build their career even further. There’s plenty of room to win if someone takes a longer view than the others.

And that’s a wrap for March.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

March 2020 – Part 2

And now for the releases that came into my life in March. By the way here is the overall playlist.

Future World (Live) – Pretty Maids
Pretty Maids have been making music for 35 plus years. Although they might not have the same superstar status as other acts from the 80’s, 35 plus years In the business is no small feat. The fire still burns to create and release new music and recently they have been mining their vaults for live recordings.

And “Future World” was written back in the late 80’s about listening to the fools who brought the human race to fall.

And in the era of COVID-19, we will come out of this much different to what we were before we went in. A new generation will be created and a new wonderland will come. A future world.

Signs (Live At Abbey Road Studios) – Tesla
Tied To The Tracks (Live At Abbey Road Studios) – Tesla

Do we need another Tesla acoustic album?

For me, anything from Tesla gets my attention.

If it’s good, it will get my attention for a lot longer.

“Signs” was a hit for the band, and “Tied To The Tracks” is a brilliant cut to bring out in an acoustic format and to show your audience that you are still writing great songs. In case you weren’t aware, this track is on their “Shock” album.

Signs and rules do restrict our freedoms. While it may not seem like a big thing these days, once upon a time, long haired people couldn’t apply for a job and not everyone could enter restaurants/eateries in the same way we can today.

The original song was written in the late 60’s and it was released as a B side by the group “Five Man Electrical Band”, but became bigger than all of their songs.

Fake News – Shakra
Thousand Kings – Shakra
Turn The Light On – Shakra
New Tomorrow – Shakra

These songs are from Shakra’s new album “Mad World”. 25 plus years in the business for these Swiss veterans.

“Fake News” has a riff which brings back the swagger of “Appetite For Destruction”. It’s funny how as a term used by legitimate news sources to describe the fake news of news outlets pushing the political agenda of their owner has been turned around to be used by people and organisations to describe every news source which is critical of them.

“Turn The Light On” has this Scorpions “Rock You Like A Hurricane” vibe.

All Eyes On You – Smash Into Pieces
This could have appeared on the new Ozzy album. It’s a pop rock / pop metal gem with lyrics about a mercenary.

Killer for hire, soldier of fortune
Gotta walk thru fire for what’s important

Again – Earshot
This is from 2004 and Earshot has come back into my life again this month. This band merged the grooves of Chevelle and Tool and the melodies of Staind into awesome modern rock songs ranging between 3 to 5 minutes in length.

As I ponder my
Thoughts and fears in life
I stand tempted to throw it all away

2004 seems so distant in 2020 and with all the problems happening.

Why would you want to throw your life away when the world is trying its best to take it from you?

Mr Big Shot – Collateral
Promiseland – Collateral

This band from the UK came from out of nowhere via a Spotify playlist.

Vocally the singer sounds like a cross between Sebastian Bach and Mike Matijevic from Steelheart. Musically, it sounds like Dan Huff’s Giant with an 80’s vibe.

All Over But The Cryin’ – The Georgia Satellites
Deke over at Thunder Bay posted a review of “The Georgia Satellites” barroom brawl, debut album from the mid 80’s.

“Keep Your Hands To Yourself” from the debut album in 1986, is the song which got them noticed and it’s a great song title. And the way the song is structured and performed, it has the crossover appeal into country/southern rock, which it did perfectly. Of course it was no surprise that in the 90’s, quite a few country artists rocked it up like these guys.

But my favourite song is from their third album, “In the Land Of Salvation And Sin” released in 1989. It’s like a cross between Tom Petty and something that Lynyrd Skynyrd would write. It sounds fresh today even though it is over 30 years old.

The War We Made – Red
I’ve liked Red since I heard their first album “End Of Silence” in 2006.

Hear a voice when the light is gone
Never know whose side it’s on
Think you’re gonna see someone
But you are the only one

I see this songs message as the war was made by the one person and the two voices within that one person.

The Reckoning – Silvera
This song has a wicked intro. And I have no idea who is in the band or their origins.

Desperado (Radio Edit) – Soilwork
Bjorn Strid is one hell of a vocalist, moving from his death metal voice to soaring melodicism.

The first person to do this was Rob Halford. He moved between baritone and falsetto. King Diamond took it to another operatic level. Then everything in the 90’s went to rap, melodic or guttural. There was no crossover. And then everything started merging again.

Lost (feat Sully Erna) – Stitched Up Heart
Sully Erna pops up everywhere as a guest vocalist.

It’s how this song came onto my radar. I am a Godsmack fan.

The thing with these kinds of song is that once Evanescene nailed it with “Bring Me To Life”, every band with a female singer started to try to recreate the formula. And 17 years later, people are still trying to recreate that same magic.

And “Lost” has a massive chorus.

Habit – Adelitas Way
This band is good. They’ve now put some serious years on the board and their growth as artists in evident in their song writing. This song has so many pop like elements, yet it still rocks hard.

I can’t help myself, I got a habit.

It’s a wicked line. So simple and yet so effective.

Yep, habits are hard to break. Some habits I don’t want to break even though the moral police and health police tell me to do so.

It’s got this lick in the intro and in the solo which lingers after the song is finished.

The Sweet Escape – Poets of The Fall

I really like Poets Of The Fall. The Alexander Theatre sessions is basically them playing some of their favourite songs in an acoustic setting. And the melancholy of those songs, comes through even more in this kind of set up.

Under a canopy of stars
Where thought and truth divorce
In that latticework of dreams we are shameless

Seriously, how good and descriptive are these lyrics.

There is no attempt to rhyme or to find words to rhyme, just a story to be told about making a sweet escape.

By The Blues – Conception

Now Conception came into my life in the 90’s with their album “In Your Multitude”. It had this concise form of song writing that took all of the best elements of progressive bands into 4 to 5 minute length songs.

And then they disappeared. I couldn’t find anything on em, although the internet many years later did highlight that they did a few more albums and then broke up or went on hiatus.

But in the last few years they have reformed and it’s good to have them back in my life. If you like metal and rock with a dose of Euro feel, then Conception is the band to check out.

Part 3 coming up.

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

March 2020 – Part 1

So my March listening started off with tracks from January and February that I liked. I have written about these tracks already.

Here is the March playlist.

Circle The Drain – Machine Head
I like the melodic metal side of Robb Flynn. And he crushes on this song, as it moves between melodicism, nu metal and groove metal.

Feeling Whitney – Royal Bliss
The original Post Malone version is pretty good as well, a cross between “Dust In The Wind” style fingerpicking and modern rock.

Royal Bliss turn it into a modern pop rock song. And that also works.

Naked City – Jorn
Running Up That Hill – Jorn
Lonely Nights – Jorn

What does Kiss, Kate Bush and Bryan Adams have in common?

Bubbles – Framing Hanley
“I hear the nervousness in every word that is said” and in these pandemic times, I hear it and I see it loud and clear as our leaders make panic policies and suspend the sitting of parliament. I guess the bubble has burst and what comes next no one knows.

We are in uncharted waters here.

Come Clean – H.E.A.T
Dangerous Ground – H.E.A.T

Melodic Rock at its best. The Chorus in “Come Clean” is super catchy, with a R nought of 2.

Under The Graveyard – Ozzy Osbourne
At this point in time, it’s on the playlist.

Will it be in 10 years’ time?

Maybe. And on the COVID-19 news front, writer, guitarist and producer of this album, Andrew Watt has been diagnosed as having it.

Let’s hope for a speedy recovery as other musicians have already died, from an ex-Riot member, Fountains Of Wayne bassist and a country songwriter/guitarist.

Catastrophist – Trivium
I have been a Trivium fan for 13 years now.

It’s funny how fast time goes and it’s funny how many haters this band gets as well, because the old school metal fans don’t like the screaming, the old school death metal fans think it’s too fake and they just can’t win. But they can play their instruments, and they can play it well.

Singer Matt Heafy even put in time with former Emperor guitarist and vocalist, Ihsahn, learning the art of Black Metal and progressive songwriting. Not a lot of artists can lay claim to that.

F8/Inside Out – Five Finger Death Punch
These two songs work brilliantly together.

“I stand alone, I guess I knew it all along” and it feels more like that these days than ever before. We look at our leaders and our heroes from music and entertainment to give us some insights, but in the end, the decisions made are ours to make alone. And our heroes are as clueless as us.

Because Of You – Storm Force
This song just refuses to go away from my life. The music, the verse lyrics and that chorus. All so familiar and i like it.

“The world is yours today always something going down”. For me 2020 has seen; devastating bush fires which brought forth air quality issues, then came the rains and the floods. And now, we are at the start of the biggest threat in my lifetime, COVID-19. So we look to our families, our partners, our children and our friends for inspiration and reflection.

Dear Agony – Breaking Benjamin
The mood of this song gets me. This song gives me hope, even though it’s a depressing song itself.

“Dear Agony, just let go of me, suffer slowly, is this the way it’s gotta be”.

No it didn’t have to be this way. Fighting for life is more important than anything else in the world.

Aeromantic (Album) – The Night Flight Orchestra
Let’s just say that this album would most probably appear in all of my monthly reviews, because it is so damn good.

Songs like “Aeromantic” and “Taurus” pick up the energy. My favourites are the closer “Dead of Winter” and “Transmissions” with that violin solo.

Change The World (Album) – Harem Scarem
Have I mentioned that Pete Lesperance is one hell of a guitar player?

Part 2 for March coming up.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Guitar World – August 1991

It’s November 1991 and the August 1991 “Guitar World” magazine hits the newsstands in Australia. It’s strange for people these days to understand because everything is available instantly today but once upon a time in the past, the US and European magazines came to Australia, three months after they got released.

So Scotti Hill and Dave Sabo from Skid Row are on the cover.

Skid Row were on top of the charts around the world with the release of “Slave To The Grind”. Even in Australia the album was in the Top 10, while the singles didn’t really make a dent.

They would eventually hit Australia with GNR in January 1993 for the “Use Your Illusion” tour, and play a set of 7 songs.

They kicked off with “Slave To The Grind” and went into “Monkey Business” which had a longer intro with a lead break. “Mudkicker” was up next, “Get The Fuck Out” and then “18 And Life” which also had a longer intro with a lead break and a longer outro with a lead break.

“I Remember You” came next and “Youth Gone Wild” closed the set, which had a crowd singalong after the solo, 20,000 plus people at an outdoor venue singing, “they call us problem child, we spend our lives on trial, we are the youth gone wild”.

Plus there was a lot of talking in between and passing around of glass beer bottles in the audience courtesy of Sebastian Bach, who was the source of the glass bottles, even when glass bottles were banned.

In the top right hand corner there is a picture of EVH with the title, “Exclusive Private Lesson, Hot Licks from The New Album”.

Van Halen dropped the excellent FUCK album in June 1991, a return to heavy guitar distortion for EVH and acoustic drums for AVH.

Nuno Bettencourt interviews Brian May and the magazine made sure it mentioned “Queen’s Brian May”. Because for a whole new generation of young guitarists, Queen was becoming irrelevant. The presumption was, that everyone knew Nuno Bettencourt because of “More Than Words” and no one knew that Brian May is the guitarist in Queen.

But a few things happened which brought Queen back into the public.

Freddie Mercury died in November, 1991.

Wayne’s World the movie came out in February 1992 and “Bohemian Rhapsody” re-entered the charts because of that car scene.

Then there was “The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert” in April 1992, which had Metallica, Extreme, Def Leppard, U2 and Guns N Roses appearing. Then Queen hit the stage for a 21 song set featuring guest singers and musicians.

Fast forward to 2020 and there is no doubt about Queen.

Extreme (Nuno’s main band) just didn’t recover from some poor album sales and the loss of their lead singer to the VHIII album. And it took them years to get back together to write new music and people had just moved on. Plus their crossover hit got them sales, but it didn’t really get the band any lifelong fans. Further proof that a sale does not equal a fan.

And it’s no surprise that “More Than Words” has almost 272 million streams on Spotify, while the other songs in the Top 5 have less than 7.5 million streams.

There is a round table discussion of the Titans tour, with Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax talking. Then there is an exclusive lesson on “How To Play Thrash”. Lars Ulrich was really interested in this tour and a bit pssed that he didn’t think of it and do it first or that Metallica was invited. Eventually he did organise it and called it “The Big 4”. Now he can rest easily.

R.E.M’s Peter Buck is interviewed and so are the Kentucky Headhunters who I still haven’t listened to. And I didn’t even read those interviews because there was a lot of rock and metal in here for me to digest.

Kyle Kyle has a small section, talking about “Dancin On Coals”, Bang Tango’s new album.

Plus there are the usual reviews.

Billy Squier’s “Creatures of Habit” got 3 starts out of 5, with the reviewer mentioning how “most of Creatures Of Habit” suffers from “Spot The Riff” syndrome.

Aldo Nova’s “Blood On The Bricks” got 2 stars out of 5 for two good songs, the title track and a Joe Walsh inspired song called “This Ain’t Love”.

Contraband also got 2 starts out of 5, with the comment, “strangely, the band sounds more like a typical young rock group-average to the point of sounding average”.

The 4 songs transcribed are;
Megadeth – Hanger 18
This is one of my favourite Megadeth songs, and the way Dave Mustaine took his arpeggio riff from “The Call of Ktulu”, amped it up, double timed it and created a classic song in the process.

Warrant – Uncle Tom’s Cabin
This is one of Warrant’s best songs. The serious subject matter probably scared off the Cherry Piers but hey, no one said that music was pretty.

Queen – We Will Rock You
This is more known for its foot stomp and clap groove than for any music, but there is music in this song and the magazine dedicated one page to transcribing it.

Chris Issak – Wicked Game
Stone Sour covered this song recently, and my second child likes it. You couldn’t avoid Chris Issak during this period as he was a number one artist in Australia.

Of course the magazine is sealed shut in a plastic sleeve so the only thing I can do is either buy it based on the cover or move on to something cheaper and printed in Australian.

Designing a cover (magazine, newspaper, album, new product) is an art form.

And I open up the magazine and on page 1, is Mr Big bassist, Billy Sheehan, advertising his Yamaha “Attitude” bass. Attitude all the way from Sydney to Thunder Bay.

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

The Way It Is

This song was great on “The Great Radio Controversy” and it was even greater on “Five Man Acoustical Jam”, the surprise hit album which was the inspiration for MTV “Unplugged”. But then again, so many other artists claim that “Unplugged” title as well.

It was the “Five Man Acoustical Jam” and their cover of “Signs” which got Tesla some mainstream press here in Australia and made us early fans say, “I told you so” to all of the detractors who called them Aerosmith copycats.

For me, “The Great Radio Controversy” is a special album. I learned every riff and every lick on it and one of my favorites to play was “The Way It Is”.

I love the movement of the major chords, the D major chord with the F# note then moves to the F major chord, so it has this cleansing chromatic effect and then it moves to the G major chord before it comes back to D major chord. It’s very Credence Clearwater Revival and Southern Rock”ish”.

The simple solo to kick it all off in the intro which is repeated again in the main solo.

The way it is
The way that it goes
Happening day after day
The way it is
The way that it goes
Working in the strangest ways

Right know we can’t leave home unless it’s for something essential. That’s the way it is.

Taking it day by day in a strange new world.

And the song is full of little lead breaks and the outro has the guitars wailing while Jeff Keith keeps singing, do you believe.

And I did believe.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Streaming in COVID-19

It’s strange how things work out.

In reality, most artists and the labels wanted a return to the old sales model for recorded music.

This meant that the labels acted as gatekeepers and they decided who got a chance to come into the walled gardens of a record deal.

As we know, then came Napster and everything changed. iTunes, torrents, YouTube, Pandora, Spotify and other streaming services all came.

The recording labels hated digital services, in the same way the book business and the movie business, and they all did everything in their power to stifle or kill the digital book and streaming services.

All because it meant they had lost control.

The record labels kept arguing about rising prices on monthly steaming rates and then they kept running stories everywhere about limited edition vinyl and record stores and the tradition of seeking out a vinyl and dropping the needle.

And now, COVID-19 is everywhere and suddenly physical sales are non existent and even online orders will not be delivered.

But this is when people can listen the most or read the most. And if you are championing physical, the problem is you can’t really buy anything as all of the stores are closed.

Suddenly streaming services are a source of income. In some cases the main source of income since all postal services are prioritizing essential deliveries over non essential. Somehow physical albums don’t matter when life and death is at stake.

Is this when streaming really takes over the world?

Because if there is a winner here, it’s the record labels, as they hold the majority of the copyrights, so they will keep getting paid forever. Yeah, I still see articles from the labels RIAA about people still obtaining music illegally, but hey, those people will never pay for recorded music in the first place.

And I haven’t heard of any label executive taking a pay cut during these unprecedented times.

But I have heard of artists doing it tough. And now we are getting artists dying as well from COVID complications.

And the labels are doing nothing to help their artists or even their former artists, the ones they still hold the copyrights for.

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

Kashmir

“Physical Graffiti” was released forty five years ago last month.

I really had no idea of the Led Zeppelin album until Nikki Sixx started talking about Motley Crue writing their “Physical Graffiti” in response to a question he was asked after “Decade of Decadence” came out and what would be next for the band. As soon as Sixx mentioned that, the album was on my radar.

Of course, we all know that Vince Neil got booted or left (depending on whose story you believe) and Motley Crue went to work, writing over 20 songs for what would become their “Physical Graffiti”, the self-titled “Motley Crue” album, otherwise known as Motley Corabi. My views of this album are all over this blog as one of the best Motley albums to date.

And I didn’t get “Physical Graffiti” until I picked it up at a record fair, for a very cheap price in the mid 90’s. I even heard Motley’s album before Led Zep’s. I know it’s sacrilege, but to have music at home, meant I needed to use my money for it and money was limited. And no one I knew had the album for me to dub.

The production team on this album is a who’s who of people that we all got to know from various hard rock albums.

Jimmy Page as usual is the producer, and you have Andy Johns engineering, Eddie Kramer engineering and Ron Nevison also engineering. These guys are all paying their dues, learning their craft from a master, which in this case is Page. It also has so many engineers because some of the songs which made the album are leftovers from previous albums.

But the stand out song on the album is KASHMIR.

I remember a time, when the riff was everything and there is no better definition of the riff being everything than this song.

I have already written about “The Kashmir Effect” before and again here. And man, i know it’s not right to say that I heard “Get It On” from Kingdom Come first. I even heard “Judgement Day” from Whitesnake before I even heard “Kashmir”. But that’s how it happened.

I didn’t own not one 70’s record until the 90’s.

And the older people I spoke to, said how “Kashmir” was one of the most popular songs in Australia, behind “Evie” (all three parts), “Stairway To Heaven”, “American Pie”, “Bat Out Of Hell” and “Hotel California”.

Not one of those songs is under 7 minutes.

An era in which artists did what they wanted and wrote what they wanted and FM radio had no choice but to play the whole damn thing.

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