Finally I have wrapped up the year that was 1979.
The first post came out in February, 2018. The second post came out in November, 2018. The third post came out before the second post in September, 2018 because I forgot to schedule the second post. The fourth post also came out in November, 2018. The fifth post came out in February, 2019 and here we are.
If you are interested in the previous posts, here they are;
Here is the playlist for 6.
Dire Straits – Communique
“Money For Nothing” and “Walk Of Life” were the songs that took Dire Straits into the stratosphere. MTV loved em, so they kept playing em. And I was interested. Guitarist and singer Mark Knofler didn’t appear in magazines a lot in the 80’s, maybe because his look was seen as old by the magazine editors and feared that the youth would not buy, but when the guitar mags did get a chance to interview him, he came across as really keen to talk about music, his sound, his finger picking guitar style and I was sold.
And suddenly on the radio, I was hearing songs like “Lady Writer” and “Romeo and Juliet” and I was all in.
Once Upon A Time In The West
The reggae rhythm, the country/western leads and a subdued vocal line, all come together into a perfect song.
Some people get a cheap laugh breaking up the speed limit
Scaring the pedestrians for a minute
Crossing up progress driving on the grass
Owning a car, keeping it clean and mean was a rite of passage once upon a time in the 80’s. Now the kids are quite happy to drive their parents car, as long as they have all the tech they need. Hell, my 12 year old son is already complaining his iPhone 6 is too old and he needs a new one.
Yes it’s no use saying that you don’t know nothing
It’s still gonna get you if you don’t do something
Sitting on a fence that’s a dangerous course
More so today than ever. You need to exercise your vote, use your voice and own it. But the media companies want to bully you into supporting their viewpoint and the social media companies want you to be liked and suddenly you begin your day to accumulate likes, instead of being who you are. Then again, if likes is what you want to be, then all the best to it. China’s social credit system is looking for people like you.
Oh, you could even catch a bullet from the peace-keeping force
Even the hero gets a bullet in the chest
Oh yeah, once upon a time in the west
Everyone thought Ned Stark would save Westeros, instead he lost his head. Heroes are always written after the fact.
Mother Mary your children are slaughtered
Some of you mothers ought to lock up your daughters
Who’s protecting the innocents
Heap big trouble in the land of plenty
Tell me how we’re gonna do what’s best
Most are pushing their own agendas and are doing what is best for their pockets and lives. And who is protecting the innocents when you have corporations running the government and the media pushing their own agendas to the people.
I dig the clean tone riff in the verses. It’s why I love music, it places a feel or a memory to a time, to a date or to an era.
And that outro solo from Knofler.
Single Handed Sailor
It’s the groove. I was blown away how a band that plays mostly in clean tone can groove and swing like this.
Ted Nugent – State of Shock
So what do you do when you had a hit with a song called “Stranglehold” a few years before. Well if your Ted, you would just re-write it for all the albums which came after. Case in point, “Paralyzed” is a derivative version of “Stranglehold”. But it has a section from about 2.25 minute mark, which hooks me.
Ian Hunter – You’re Never Alone With A Schizophrenic
I didn’t know who Ian Hunter was before I heard this and I immediately gravitated to a few songs.
When The Daylight Comes
The riff is familiar and the vocal line is also familiar. It’s like all the song writers of the time were listening to the same influences. To me it sounds like something John Cougar Mellencamp would write.
And the familiarity is the big reason why this song is in the list.
But when the daylight comes, I’ll be on my way
The song to me feels like it’s about a cowboy life, however i didn’t pick up on that vibe when I first heard it.
Breath is my witness and roads are my life
When you are alone and travelling, the sound of your own breath becomes your best friend.
When the wind grows cold, when the sun grows old, Nothing holds the outsider
Changes happen because of outsiders. The ones who operate on the fringes, honing their craft and building it day by day, person to person.
Just let me be the outsider
They ain’t far behind, they’re always on my mind
Sometimes, the outsiders can’t handle being on the inside. It gets to them and they want out. So many have taken their own lives because of it, or succumbed to an addiction which would eventually claim their life. And I interpret the “they” as the people in power who don’t want to let the outsider in. They want to crush the outsider because of the change they represent.
For example, you know that Netflix is no longer the outsider when Steven Spielberg speaks out against it. Netflix is the new emperor in tow.
Eagles – The Long Run
To some it is sacrilegious, but I got into “The Eagles” in the 90’s a few years before their “When Hell Freezes Over” reunion.
The Long Run
We can handle some resistance
If our love is a strong one (is a strong one)
Most relationships don’t last the long run. And in some cases, neither does the second one or the third one. Because if the person stays as the same person they were when they got together, well that person hasn’t really grown. And when that happens, resentment sets in and when you introduce financial pressures, kids and time away from each other, suddenly you have a bomb ready to go off.
People talkin’ about us
They got nothin’ else to do
There is no escape from people talking. It’s one of the first things humans did. Get together around a fire and talk. But when your friends talk to your ex, you feel pissed, because they should be on your side.
I Can’t Tell You Why
The Eagles could all sing well and they all took turns. To me, it’s a big reason why they didn’t sound so stale. So many different vocalists, different ideas, different songwriters and when you all put it together, you get an Eagles album.
But it’s the guitar solos in the songs, which always hook me.
In The City
I heard this track for the first time at the end of “The Warriors” movie. A connection is made straight away.
King Of Hollywood
I like the intro licks in this. It’s a lead guitar line, which is like a riff.
And the outro. The emotion in the licks.
Mick Taylor – Mick Taylor
I just heard this album recently, and the song “Leather Jacket” stood out straight away. Maybe it was the familiarity to other songs.
Put your leather jacket on when it’s time to be moving on
When you leave, it’s that piece of clothing that comes with you.
All your leather jackets and your faded jeans is all you have left of your rock and roll dreams
And you started your path with the same clothing you leave it.
REO Speedwagon – Nine Lives
REO knew how to rock but it was a power ballad which broke them to the masses, so they got labeled as a power ballad band.
Heavy On Your Love
When this song started off, I thought of “Do You Like It” from Kingdom Come.
Only The Strong Survive
Another rocker that gets the foot tapping and the head nodding.
Back On The Road Again
The outro, from the 4 minute mark.
The drums and the claps start it and then the vocal line of “I Am On My Way” comes in.
Then the riff kicks in, and my foot is tapping, and when the outro guitar solo kicks in, its hands in the air and time to play some air guitar.
John Mellencamp – John Cougar
His early career is chock full of good songs.
How good is the intro in this song?
I’ve always said I need to learn it on the guitar and make it metal/Thin Lizzy like. Even the drums how they come in, its very “Eye OF the Tiger” like, and this is before “Eye of the Tiger”.
And in the Chorus, the guitars come in, exactly how I thought they would. In harmony and with distortion.
I Need A Lover
For almost 2 minutes we get washed and rolled with music. And then the iconic chorus melody kicks in. So different to what happens today, when beats dominate and music is a distant third. But it’s Pat Benater’s version I remember more.
Pray For Me
How good is that intro guitar lead?
And the lyrics about God giving Moses a few rules, and told him to go and have a good time but humans being humans just took it a little too far.
Sammy Hager – Street Machine
To me, this album is a shrewd marketing move from Sammy and his team to tap into the gear heads of the US.
An album with the title “Street Machine” and an opening song called “Trans Am”.
Plus he couldn’t drive 55 either, but we didn’t know that until 1984. However, if this album bombed I honestly believe there would be no “I Can’t Drive 55”.
Trans Am (Highway Wonderland)
The syncopated staccato riff kicks it off and Sammy’s Golden tones take over.
She’s American made, you know what I mean?
Red on black, she’s a street machine.
Set’s ten inches off the ground with a custom plate
That says I-E-A-T Z28
For those who don’t know, the Z28 refers to the Chevrolet Camaro, which was in competition to the Trans Am.
Come on, catch me if you can
The challenge is set.
Feels Like Love
The sleazy riff must have been heard by a young Nikki Sixx, because he re-wrote it and called it “City Boy Blues”. Then again, the riff from Sammy is influenced by an artist I can’t remember.
Sammy also re-wrote the lyrical them for “When It’s Love”.
Cause it feels like
It feels like love
I love “Plain Jane” as it has a plain AC/DC style riff in the intro, then a plain acoustic strummed verse which sounds like an Eagles song crossed with John Cougar.
Never Say Die
How good does this song start off?
Just play that intro riff with the distortion cranked to 10 and you will hear how heavy it sounds.
Pat Benatar – In The Heat Of The Night
How good is Pat Benatar?
One of the best female rock voices period, a wicked riff and lead break as well.
I Need A Lover
While John Cougar delivered a 5 minute song, Pat Benatar delivered a pop rock song in the 3 minute range which made John Cougar a lot of money.
Don’t Let It Show
It’s a ballad, reminding me of The Beatles and Benatar delivers a soulful emotive vocal lead and I love the lead break. So simple, emotive and stylish.
Santana – Marathon
Carlos Santana either had me hooked with albums or he had me trading them. On “Marathon” he brings the rock.
The music is excellent especially the riff in the verses and the lyrics resonate about standing up for something.
And that wah talkbox solo is perfect.
The start of the song reminds me of something else, the verse riff reminds me of something else and the Chorus reminds of something else. All of these reminders makes me press repeat on the song.
And the lyrical message, of all we need is love, is not new, but god damn, it’s what the world needs right now.
For both “Stand Up” and “Love”, co-guitarist, keyboardist and backing vocalist, Chris Solberg was a co-writer with Carlos Santana. And no one would even know who Solberg is, hell I don’t even know. But these songs deserve more.
And vocalist Alex Ligertwood who wrote the closer “Hard Times” has one of the best voices which is not even known.
Also, how good is “Hard Times”.
Status Quo – Whatever You Want
They wrote songs in the 110 to 120 beats per minute range which is perfect for running to.
Whatever You Want
It’s a jingle now, appearing on TV commercials for places who sell goods, because it’s perfect for the message they want to say, come and buy from us, because we have whatever you want.
It’s not a cover, but an original song with a cool riff to sink your ears into.
April Wine – Harder Faster
I didn’t hear this until well into the 90s.
I Like To Rock
The intro hooks me.
The whole interlude before the solo is perfect and the pentatonic lead break brings it.
And the outro is basically “Satisfaction” from the Rolling Stones, hell it even has the riff in the song towards the end.
Nice touch. Now i feel like listening to “Satisfaction”.
Before The Dawn
The clean town intro arpeggios hook me in. The lyrics don’t connect but the music gets me rocking.
Babes In Arms
The intro riff connects.
Better Do It Well
The intros on all the songs just connect with me straight out from the gate. It’s like all the bands tried to outdo each other with killer intro riffs.
21st Century Schizoid Man
A King Crimson cover and since I’m a fan of the Crimson, I dig it, plus it got me interested to check this album out.
Jefferson Starship – Freedom At Point Zero
From being interested in music, I always searched far and wide for new music. This band came into my radar because of an interview I saw in Guitar World with guitarist Craig Chaquico.
My ears can’t tell what the difference is between “Jane” from Jefferson Starship released in 1979 and “Fantasy” by Aldo Nova released in 1981.
The way it just builds works for me. It has leads in the first two minutes. The vocals come in much later.
At six plus minutes, I like it when artists don’t follow formulas.
Just The Same
It has a section which is influenced by “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” which gets me.
Well that’s a wrap, moving on to 1978 next.