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

1979 – IV – Lights Out In America

I’m really enjoying revisiting this 1979 period.

For Parts 1, 2 and 3 just click on the numbers.

Here is the playlist for Part 4.

UFO – Strangers In The Night

Michael Schenker’s solo career was my first listening experience and UFO came much later in the 1990’s when I went seeking out the 70’s.

I got this album and “Lights Out” at a Record Fair in the late nineties for next to nothing.

Record fairs are very different beasts today, charging way too much and above retail. But once upon a time it was worth going.

Love to Love

How good is it?

The piano lines and how it all just builds and comes together. I do prefer the studio version because the guitar is more abrasive and higher in the mix.

Did you know that Schenker took his riff from this song and used it on “Desert Song”?

Quick, let’s get the lawyers on it.

Doctor Doctor

The first time I heard this song was on this album. And it reminded me of Maiden for some reason.

Lo and behold when I saw Maiden on the “Somewhere Back In Time” tour they had this song on the backing intro tape just before they started the concert.

Lights Out

The energy and attitude on this live version is electric and I dig.

And how good is that F#m riff groove from Schenker.

Damned If I Do – The Alan Parsons Project

It’s from the album “Eve” and I illegally downloaded his discography in the early 2000’s and before YouTube, because I was interested to hear the music of a person who was involved in capturing the sounds on such landmark albums like “Abbey Road” and “Dark Side Of The Moon”.

It was interesting to say the least.

Lyrically the song deals with loving someone else but that person you love doesn’t have the same feelings, hence the conflict of damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

And it’s the vocal melody that hooked me in, sung by Lenny Zakatak and while The Alan Parsons Project used more than one vocalist on each album, Zakatak was known as the real voice of the band.

Cold Cold Change – Midnight Oil

It’s from the “Head Injuries” album and the riff has a fuck you punk attitude that I like.

Is it a forewarning to climate change or a song dealing with the Australian political climate and using the weather as a metaphor or is it dealing with the Cold War (there is a lyric line that states;

We jumped in the air to see over the wall
No master plan, it’s a bad design
Significant time in spite of us all

Don’t Bring Me Down – Electric Light Orchestra

It’s from their “Discovery” album and man, it was huge.

It’s also the only good song on an album which was littered with strings and ballad like songs.

Styx – Cornerstone

Here is a review from Deke over at Thunder Bay Arena Rock that I totally agree with.

Lights

Tommy Shaw is on vocals for a song that sounds like it could have appeared on an ELO album.

Borrowed Time

It’s a prog Rock song with its Pink Floyd inspired intro. Then it’s ELO and Boston in the verses and in the chorus, the dudes must have worn the tightest leather pants as there is some of the highest pitch harmonies ever committed to tape.

Living high on borrowed time indeed.

Eddie

It’s “All Right Now” sped up and its perfectly all right with me about telling Eddie not to run because it’s the end of his fun.

Yep, that’s the lyrical theme, so thank god the music connected.

Love In The Midnight

Its that section after the acoustic intro that hooks me. The groove and feel is perfect.

And then that bass groove while the choir like chants and then that keyboard solo and the guitars come in with a solo straight from the book of pentatonics.

It’s progressive in the vein of Yes and I fucking dig it.

The Knack – Get the Knack

The album that spawned “My Sharona” onto the world has some pretty cool Sixties retro tunes as well. But no one would know em, because “My Sharona” was everywhere.

Oh Tara

It was different and it reminded me of those 60s movies but when I heard it, it actually reminded me of Hanoi Rocks.

My Sharona

You can’t deny it’s catchy. From the drum intro to the bass/guitar riff.

Even the simple lead break is a lesson on effectiveness and simplicity as it builds to the repeated pull off lick towards the end of it.

And for a song that went to Number 1, the lead break goes over a minute long.

Fucking AAA, if you ask me, because in the 80s we started to get singles edit cuts and the first thing cut or shortened was the lead break.

That’s What the Little Girls Do

Again it’s got that 60s vibe which is cool.

Supertramp – Breakfast in America

One of the best albums of 1979.

This is the one that Supertramp built a career on, the one album that allows them the victory lap many years later. And it’s also their sixth album, which goes to show you need to be a lifer. Your greatest work always comes after and very rarely with your first release.

And it’s funny how I gravitated to the songs with vocals by Roger Hodgson.

And for those conspiracy theorists, the cover has been said to have forecasted the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Towers. Sometimes people have two much time on their hands.

The Logical Song

That keyboard riff and the unique vocal melody is what music is about. Plus this song worked well as a hard rock cover.

When I was young,
It seemed that life was so wonderful,
A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical

The innocence of childhood and every day is an adventure.

But then they sent me away
To teach me how to be sensible,
Logical, oh responsible, practical

The schooling factory is all about dollars and conditioning. Whichever lobby group pays the most, gets the curriculum they want, that would benefit their business models.

And higher education was about expanding your mind and doing things differently until it changed as an essential qualification to get a job.

I said now what would you say
Now we’re calling you a radical,
A liberal, oh fanatical, criminal

And different viewpoints scare people, so we are given labels. If we don’t agree we are radicals, from the left or whatever other stupid term people come up with.

Breakfast In America

Another song that works well in a hard rock setting.

Take a jumbo across the water
Like to see America
See the girls in California
I’m hoping it’s going to come true
But there’s not a lot I can do

I’m pretty sure there was a time when every soul around the world wanted to go to America once upon a time.

Is it still the case today?

I’m a winner, I’m a sinner
Do you want my autograph

All winners have a dark side.

To win in sport, players are required to border on the dark arts, which means playing on the edges of the rules.

To win in music, for every famous musician there is an aggrieved musician, especially when bands start out, most musicians write and play some of their most famous songs with others.

CC Deville lifted the “Talk Dirty To Me” riff from his previous band and gave them no credit.

“Hit The Lights” was written by James and another person in his previous band before Metallica but it’s credited to Hetfield and Ulrich. Even the Dave Mustaine compositions should not have any Ulrich credits but they do.

Take The Long Way Home

When lonely days turn to lonely nights
you take a trip to the city lights
And take the long way home
Take the long way home

Love these lyric lines. I can’t recall how many times I’ve taken the long way home because the drive was relaxing and the music playing on the stereo or my headset was spot on. I was like just one more song and after that I’ll drive towards home.

One time I had to return a video to the video store. Yep, video rentals was a thing once upon a time. The video store was only 3 minutes away from my house at the time, so all up, it would be 6 minutes for a return trip.

Well after I dropped the video off, I proceeded to drive towards Sydney, decided to stop at Coogee for Pizza and eventually I would get home 5 hours later.

Take the long way home indeed.

Tycoon – Tycoon

Sometimes a band releases an album that should have been popular however their label didn’t really know how to market them.

I don’t even remember how this album came into my life. Maybe it was the Freddie Mercury look a-likes on the cover.

Anyway for me, “Such A Woman” is the track that sealed the deal. It’s melodic and better than the songs that made up the Billboard Top 10. But it’s generic lyrically.

And final say goes to Dean Sciarra, who posted the below review on Amazon for this album.

First things first – this album has gotten a bad rap from certain people, one that it doesn’t deserve in my opinion. It may not be the best Classic Rock album in the world but it certainly has its moments.

As does “Turn Out The Lights” – the second album even though Tycoon was forced by the label to make this record under duress to comply with what the label thought would fly with what the market was buying at the time. They were wrong and subsequently the band was bumped from the label.

What they had wanted to do instead is reflected in the album “Opportunity Knocks” which is a rockin’ masterpiece that no label at the time would sign off on because everyone wanted the new Talking Heads kind of bands. Bad idea!

On a personal note, lead singer and main songwriter, Norman Mershon passed away in November of 2007. He was one of my best friends and a more wonderful person you will never meet. His death was tragic and avoidable due to doctors’ error. I managed Tycoon after they left Arista and was a part of the recording of “Opportunity Knocks” which to this day blows away all other Tycoon recordings. This could have been a big band had Arista not gotten in their way. I saw the future back then and it certainly included Tycoon still being around today had it not been for unfortunate bad luck

Little River Band – First Under The Wire

The fifth album by the Australian act.

Lonesome Loser

Have you hear about the lonesome loser?
He’s a loser but he still keeps on trying.

That my friends is life in a nut shell. We fall down and we get back up.

Hard Life

How good is the start?

Man it reminds me of Y&T so much.

It’s a hard life
We’ve just gotta learn to understand
That we’ll be alright
If we help everybody here
It’s a hard life
We just gotta learn to understand
That we’ll be alright
We just got to lend everybody here a helping hand

The problem is we are more divided than other over religion, politics, race and social standing.

Well that’s part four done, stay tuned for part five.

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5 thoughts on “1979 – IV – Lights Out In America

  1. Thanks for the shout out Dude!
    79 was an interesting year in music for sure….
    I love that babble at the beginning of Love to Love when Mogg goes on about the mic…hahaha…What?? haha
    Little River Band got a lot of play on Lonesome Loser here in Canada ..it was on am radio al the time…
    The Knack/Styx and Supertramp all huge sellers.
    Seen my first show OCT 6 1979 KISS/John Cougar…supposed to be Judas Priest but they were a no show..

    • Happy to share Deke. No point in rewriting a review that I agree with and someone else has written.
      How much coke was Mogg on is the question?
      So this first show I’m presuming was meant to be Kiss and Judas Priest, and then John Cougar was added.

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