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

1979 – The Highway To Hell Begins

I’ve been doing a lot of 80’s reflection on this blog and currently I am up to the year, 1984. As I type up the first blog post for 1984, I also decided to start a 70’s one in tandem. But with a different touch. While the 80’s post ascend yearly, the 70’s posts will descend yearly. So when I start 1985, in tandem I will also start 1978.

So here is the kick off from 1979.

AC/DC – Highway to Hell

Who would have thought that six months after the album release date, Bon Scott would be dead. There is no denying what a massive force he was in the band and since his departure, AC/DC got stuck in recreating the formula of Bon’s intensity with the band. Even down to the lyrics Bon wrote in 1979. Yes, the version of AC/DC post Bon, just wrote songs which had knees rhyming with please and what not.

Mutt Lange is on board to produce at the strong insistence of their U.S record label and it was the start of the holy trinity of albums. Malcolm was less than pleased because it meant older brother George, was no longer involved.

I never purchased this album until the early 2000’s. I just went over to a friends place with a bunch of blank cassettes and I taped every album he had, while we drank beers.

“Highway To Hell” is a rite of passage. It might have been about touring, however timeless songs have lyrics that can be interpreted in many different ways. The riff to kick it off is iconic. Credit Malcolm.

Livin’ easy, Livin’ free

Those words are exactly how we want to live life. Easy living. Free living. But it isn’t so. Nothing is free in life and nothing is easy. The people born between 1948 and 1962 inherited a rich country and bankrupted it. They first got into government by the early 80’s and by the mid 90’s they had the power.

What did they do when they had the power?

Pass laws and regulations to benefit their bank accounts and the bank accounts of their sponsors. If they did something wrong, the taxpayer would bail them out.

I’m on the highway to hell
On the highway to hell

The Satanic panic begins. If this was played backwards, the subliminal message would say, “lleh ot yawhgih eht no”. Ohh, it’s so dangerous.

No stop signs
Speed limit
Nobody’s gonna slow me down

Nobody does this anymore. I tell my kids they go to school to learn, not to get a job. But people I speak to always tell me that schools are there for people to get a job. You see, money is more important than developing yourself and experiencing life.

Payin’ my dues
Playin’ in a rockin’ band
Hey, mamma
Look at me
I’m on the way to the promised land

It’s why music was great. People paid their dues. It didn’t mean they would make it, or be global superstars. Hell, it didn’t mean they would make a living wage. But they could have. Bon’s lyrics are a lifestyle and six months later, Bon Scott, would be on his way to the promised land.

“Girls Got Rhythm”

I been around the world
I’ve seen a million girls
Ain’t one of them got
What my lady she got

Only Bon could get away with confessing his cheating ways to his real love back in Oz via a song and still be in a relationship.

Love me till I’m legless
Achin’ and sore

Is this even possible anymore?

Everyone is too busy parading on social media, joining movements of empowerment. There is no time for loving until the morning light.

“Touch Too Much”

Seems like a touch, a touch too much
Too much for my body
Too much for my brain

Only Bon can put his bedroom ways into a song like this. In this case, the woman is just too much for him. He can’t handle her.

“If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”

It’s animal
Livin’ in the human zoo
Animal
The shit that they toss to you
Feelin’ like a Christian
Locked in a cage
Thrown to the lions
On the second page

Quick, call in the political correct activists.

Life is like living in a cage that you pay for, your whole life and you never really own it. The crap they toss at us, is the wage we get for building someone else’s dream and we have three options, leave and try to build our dreams, stay and work on the side to build our dreams or just stay and be a slave. Because the system is designed to benefit the companies. If you don’t have a weekly wage, you cannot get a loan.

Pink Floyd – The Wall

“The Wall” is Roger Waters lasting legacy. But the best song on the album to me is “Comfortably Numb” written by Gilmour and Waters. Credit producer Bob Ezrin for persisting to get Gilmour’s music on the record. But it was “Another Brick In The Wall Part 2” that was all over the radio.

“Another Brick In The Wall, Pt 2”

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control

The rally cry against the institutions. Producer Bob Ezrin also produced some of Alice Cooper’s earlier work. On “School’s Out”, Ezrin had children sing on a chorus. On the “Destroyer” album from Kiss, Ezrin used his own kids to tell horror stories, on “God of Thunder”. It worked before and with “Another Brick In The Wall” it worked even better.

All in all you’re just another brick in the wall

More so today than before. We might have had stricter teachers and parents in the past, but we still explored and made our own way. The kids these days are told they need to go to University to get a job. It wasn’t the case when I was young. People went to higher education to expand their minds and walk different paths. Instead today, our universities are factories to produce like-minded individuals.

All I hear today is how education rules, but once upon a time people became self-educated without education, and they had the heart and voice to question authority and all the established norms.

“Goodbye Blue Sky”

It’s the inspiration for “Fade To Black” from Metallica.

Did did did did you see the frightened ones
Did did did did you hear the falling bombs
Did did did did you ever wonder
Why we had to run for shelter
When the promise of a brave new world
Unfurled beneath a clear blue sky

I studied WWII in History, however our focus was more on Australia’s involvement. But we still read the text about the London Bombings. And if we didn’t read the text, we had “Aces High” to listen to and digest, which also covered the London Bombings. And who can forget “Churchill’s Speech”. Only a metal band can take a politicians speech and make it even more legendary.

“Goodbye Cruel World”

You can hear the inspiration for “In the Presence Of My Enemies” by Dream Theater, and lyrically, you can hear similar themes and rhymes appearing in Metallica’s lyrical output on the “Ride The Lightning” album.

Goodbye cruel world
I’m leaving you today
Goodbye
Goodbye all you people
There’s nothing you can say
To make me change
My mind
Goodbye.

So many people are checking out these days.

Is it the upbringing?

From the 90’s, every kid was told how perfect they are, how great they are and even when they failed or didn’t succeed, they still got told how great and perfect they are.

How is a child meant to build resilience and a growth mindset if there is no challenge set in front of them?

There are no easy answers.

“Hey You”

Hey you, out there on the road
Always doing what you’re told
Can you help me?
Hey you, out there beyond the wall
Breaking bottles in the hall
Can you help me?
Hey you, don’t tell me there’s no hope at all
Together we stand, divided we fall

So much power in the final verse. It covers obedience, living a life controlled by the state and dreaming of a revolution.

“Comfortably Numb”

It’s written by Dave Gilmour and Roger Waters and my favourite song because of the excellent outro lead break.

Hello
Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone home?

The mind, the spirit and the soul are three powerful revolutionaries. They need to be suppressed if governments want to exist.

O.K.
Just a little pinprick
There’ll be no more aaaaaaaah!
But you may feel a little sick

The injection to numb and control.

I have become comfortably numb

Nothing else needs to be said and then the end lead break from Dave Gilmour kicks in. Just sit back, close your eyes and enjoy.

“I banged out five or six solos. From there I just followed my usual procedure, which is to listen back to each solo and make a chart, noting which bits are good. Then, by following the chart, I create one great composite solo by whipping one fader up, then another fader, jumping from phrase to phrase until everything flows together. That’s the way we did it on ‘Comfortably Numb.’”
David Gilmour https://www-guitarworld-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.guitarworld.com/.amp/artists/100-greatest-guitar-solos-no-4-comfortably-numb-david-gilmour?

Judas Priest – Hell Bent for Leather/Killing Machine

This album had two different titles depending on the region it was released. “Killing Machine” all around the world and “Hell Bent for Leather” in the U.S. I didn’t get this album until well into the 90’s.

Delivering The Goods

It’s written by the holy trinity song writing team of Rob Halford, K. K. Downing and Glenn Tipton. The first time I heard this song was via Skid Row’s “B-Side Ourselves” EP. I enjoyed the Skid’s live take on it, so I went seeking for the album in the second hand record stores. I actually own both copies, the “Killing Machine” version and the “Hell Bent For Leather” version.

Shake down, rock ’em boys, crack that whip strap mean
Pulse rate, air waves, battle lies in every place we’ve been
Stealing your hearts all across the land
Hot blood doing good, we’re going to load you with our brand

It’s exactly how heavy metal and hard rock took over the world in the 80’s. Place by place, city by city, house by house.

Leaving your heads
Crushed out on the floor
Begging for mercy
Be careful or we’ll do it some more

Quiet Riot might have had a hit song with “Bang Your Head” and Drowning Pool in the late 90’s/early 2000’s hit the mainstream with “Bodies” and the catchcry, “Let the bodies hit the floor” but Judas Priest from day zero always had moshing and head banging in their songs.

You better watch out and hold on tight
We’re heading your way like dynamite
Uhhh, Delivering the goods

And the live show was just that. A band, turning up and delivering the goods. AC/DC’s first U.S show was played to less than ten people. After the first set, those people vacated the building only to return minutes later with many more. And the rest is history.

Hell Bent For Leather

This one is written by Glenn Tipton.

The riff is iconic. If you want to understand how iconic and how many derivative versions this derivative riff spawned, check out my post on it..

Wheels! A glint of steel and a flash of light!
Screams! From a streak of fire as he strikes!

Any fan of “Under The Blade” from Twisted Sister would also know the above lyric.

Hell bent, hell bent for leather

Simple and effective.

Black as night, faster than a shadow
Crimson flare from a raging sun
An exhibition, sheer precision
Yet no one knows from where he comes

The song’s story has been re-written many times by Judas Priest. A few that come to mind are “Screaming For Vengeance”, “The Sentinel” and “Painkiller”.

In relation to guitar playing, Glenn Tipton always kept an eye and ear out for what was hot in guitar circles and he would go away, master these new styles and incorporate those influences and styles into his guitar playing. In this case, he breaks out a tapping lick which was obviously influenced by EVH. On albums from the mid 80’s, Tipton would start to incorporate sweep picking courtesy of Yngwie Malmsteen’s influence.

Burnin’Up

How can you not like the “Walk This Way” riff merged with the “Superstition” riff from Stevie Wonder merged with the “Play That Funky Music White Boy” riff?

The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown)

It’s a Fleetwood Mac cover song written by their original and largely forgotten guitarist Peter Green, and it works pretty cool in the hands of Judas Priest. It’s not out of place at all in the pantheon of songs written by Judas Priest.

I had to Google “manalishi” and the first search item that comes up is a Wikipedia page for the song. This is what Wikipedia tells me;

“The song was written during Green’s final months with the band, at a time when he was struggling with LSD and had withdrawn from other members of the band. While there are several theories about the meaning of the title “Green Manalishi”, Green has always maintained that the song is about money, as represented by the devil. Green was reportedly angered by the other band members’ refusal to give away their financial gains.”

There was something really out there about the late 60’s and early 70’s period. Every songwriter was experimenting with different narcotics so they could tap into some state of the brain, which would help them be even more creative.

Running Wild

The intro riff is another riff to rule them all. You can hear where Iron Maiden took inspiration from for the “The Wicker Man”. Quick call the lawyers. Then again, i am sure someone will. It’s another cut written solely by Glenn Tipton and he covers themes which in the 80’s became the norm.

No chains can hold me down
I always break away
I never hear society
Tell me what to do or say

The idea of being able to live your life the way you want to live it is our greatest invention. It is the bedrock of our culture. And these days more than ever, these ideals and rights have become inconvenient to our leaders who only serve the corporations or come from the corporations. And it’s precisely why we have to work so hard to defend them.

I rebel but I walk tall
And I demand respect

Fitting in seems like a good way to earn trust. How many people sit back and don’t do anything to draw attention to themselves, just in case they are left out. The philosophy is simple, go along with the crowd and you will get ahead. But the truth is, no one can fit in all the way. People can choose to stand out, be respectful and challenge the status quo.

Journey – Evolution

It has “Lovin, Touchin’ Squeezin’” but it’s not my favourite. The three listed songs are for various reasons.

Lovin’ You Is Easy

The music is upbeat and infectious and it’s always good to hear Schon rocking out.

Do You Recall

The melodies in this song appear in a lot of Jovi songs.

Yes, it’s the lovin’ things
That keeps us wondering

Lady Luck

This song grooves, taking its cues from the hard rock stylings of Led Zeppelin.

The Police – Reggatta de Blanc

The Police to me, didn’t really write a perfect album from start to finish, but man could they write classic tracks.

Message In A Bottle

The intro is the first thing that hooks me. And it’s guitarist Andy Summers who saves the day with his add9 chord voicings over a simple bass groove.

I’ll send an SOS to the world

Sending out a message to the world today is easier than ever. We are all hooked up, ready to go.

Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

Who knows, but to participate, we need to give away some of our privacy and people get a look into our lives.

Walked out this morning, I don’t believe what I saw
Hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore
Seems I’m not alone in being alone
Hundred billion castaways looking for a home

Today we live in a social media society. We have friends and likes. For some, this is fulfilling and for others they feel even more isolated and lonely. In the end, we all castaways looking for a home. Sometimes we find it, sometimes it takes a few turns to find it. Eventually we find our home.

Whitesnake – Lovehunter

I didn’t hear this album until very late in the 90’s. Hell, I was buying so many second hand LP’s from record fairs and second hand book shops, I can’t even place a memory as to when I purchased it. I was always a sucker for the $1 bins.

Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues

Written by David Coverdale and the underrated Bernie Marsden.

I love the blues, they tell my story
If you don’t feel it you can never understand

It all started with the blues. Rock was built on the bones of the 30/40’s blues artists. Metal was also built on the bones of those same artists, along with the defiance and rebellion of rock music. Without the blues, the music I listen to, would not be possible.

‘Cause I love the life I live, I’m gonna live the life I choose

My Dad knew what he was talking about, but I was too full of youthful energy to really listen and heed his warnings. You only have one life, so live it the way you want to live it. It’s easier said than done, but achievable and it starts with control.

Do you have control of your life, so you can make the right decisions or is your job and your commitments to banks and credit companies controlling you?

Once you give up control, your life path changes.

All of my life I’ve had the same reputation
I’ve been the black sheep of the family all along
I never know if in my heart I’m really guilty
But I’ve been accused of never knowing right from wrong

The themes are still relevant. When the youth don’t conform to the wishes of the elders, they are always seen as black sheep’s.

Medicine Man

It’s written by David Coverdale who is a pretty cool guitar player in his own singer/songwriter way. Lyrical, he’s the doctor of love, the medicine man who is always there to satisfy. Musically, it’s just a feel good jam song.

Mean Business

Lyrically Coverdale has his love gun loaded and ready to fire if the lady he’s with doesn’t mean business. Musically, it’s very “Ballroom Blitz” like in its pace and feel.

Love Hunter

In “Love Hunter”, DC is needing a woman to treat him good and to give him everything a good woman should, because she would be waiting for her brown eyed boy to come home and treat her right.

Do you reckon these lyrics will work today?

Maybe not.

Then again what about this one?

In my time I’ve been a back door man

Outlaw

I took to the highway,
Chasing my dream down the line

Does anyone do this anymore?

I keep on reading reports of kids staying at home with their parents well into their 30’s. Is this because parents have too much control and have taken away the right for their child to make a decision.

Outlaw – born outside of the law,

All the rockers and metal heads are outlaws.

I’ve always been a dreamer,
Dreamers find it hard to survive

You need to act if you want your dreams to come true.

Rock N Roll Women

About groupies.

I’m looking for the promise of a one night stand
So I’m going looking for those rock ‘n’ roll women tonight

That’s all DC wants, a good time with no strings attached.

KISS – Dynasty

One of the first albums I owned from Kiss and i played it to death, so it’s no surprise I have a few songs from it on my list. Other friends I know hate this album and the debates between albums is always fun. I always saw the debates like this.

“Dynasty” is my first Kiss album, so by default I dropped the needle on it a lot. However, most of friends had “Love Gun” or “Destroyer” as their first Kiss album and they dropped the needle on those albums a lot.

“I Was Made for Loving You”

It was the obvious single, and the unexpected hit, written by Paul Stanley, Vini Poncia and Desmond Child. Stanley also performs bass duties on this one. Seriously, if you were a fan of Kiss before this song, how can you not like the poppy chorus. Some of the best pop songwriters hung up their pens and pads after this. (Maybe not, but you get the point).

For me, the melodies are great, but the lyrics are crap.

Sure Know Something

Written by Stanley and Poncia, this is another song hated by “fans” who cried sell out. To me, it’s a mixture between melodic rock, disco and new wave. In the end, it’s still Kiss. It has all the ingredients of crap lyrics and great melodies. The bass groove is unique and the lead guitar break from Stanley is worth the listen.

Dirty Livin’

This is an excellent track. It could have been on a Steely Dan album or a Doobie Brothers record. Instead it’s on a Kiss record and it rocks. Peter Criss sings, it and he co-wrote it with Stan Penridge and Vini Poncia.  It’s actually the only track that Peter Criss drums on. Anton Fig played drums on all of the other songs.

Magic Touch

Solely written by Paul Stanley this track comes loaded with a melodic riff and a pop melody. Still to this day it’s a favourite, purely for its sense of melody.

Hard Times

Ace Frehley wrote it, he sings it and he plays all the guitars. It’s another Kiss rocker. All the pieces are here.

The hard times are dead and gone
But the hard times have made me strong

Damn right they did.

Standard

3 thoughts on “1979 – The Highway To Hell Begins

  1. Martin Popoff has a bunch of books out pertaining to certain years….I actually bought the 1979 one as he did a in-depth review of the debut New England album and a bunch of other records from 1979 like Riot Narita/April Wine/Bad Company…not necessarily the hugest sellers but impact albums …Martin always does his homework and interviews the artists as well!
    Nice write up

  2. Pingback: 1979 – II – Somebody Get Me A Doctor | destroyerofharmony

  3. Pingback: 1979 – IV – Lights Out In America | destroyerofharmony

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