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

Coverdale/Page, Cinderella and Winger

The Spotify AI is recommending artists based on Whitesnake.

Yesterday, the first recommendation was “Mechanical Resonance” from Tesla, then “Live At Sweden Rock – 30th Anniversary Show” from Europe, then “Meanstreak” from Y&T, then “Slave To The Grind” from Skid Row and then Coverdale/Page.

After Coverdale/Page it was “Euphoria” from Def Leppard, “Bent Out Of Shape” from Rainbow, “Standing Hampton” from Sammy Hagar, “Eat Em And Smile” from David Lee Roth and finally “Erase The Slate” from Dokken.

What, no Deep Purple?

Surely the AI is programmed to look at previous bands of artists?

I guess not.

Today, the AI recommended “Erase The Slate” from Dokken again, “Winger” self-titled debut as second, “Night Songs” by Cinderella as third. Then “Hysteria” by Def Leppard, “Absolute Hits” by Great White, “Slave To The Grind” by Skid Row, “Coverdale/Page” again (even after I streamed it a few times the day before), “Outlier” by Kingdom Come, “Simplicity” by Tesla and “Prisoners In Paradise” from Europe (which is not even available to stream in Australia).

And what the AI seems to be doing is just replacing the albums of artists. Like “Euphoria” and “Hysteria”.

Anyway, over to Coverdale/Page.

The album came out in 1993 and for me it was a stellar album. I loved the guitar work on it, like the opening string pull off lick for “Shake My Tree”. Simply, yet effective and Coverdale follows the riff with the vocal lead. Then when it gets heavy, it’s a cross between “Still Of The Night” and “Communication Breakdown”.

The lead break on “Waiting On You” is simple and effective and the riffs groove behind it. Plus I dig the lyric line, “till the rivers run dry”, a metaphor for change.

And although the song has nothing to do with climate change, it got me thinking how bizarre the situation is, our oceans are rising, getting ready to swallow coastal lands while the water on our lands via rivers and rainfall is drying.

Take Me For A Little While” is one of Coverdale’s best songs. Jimmy Page breaks out one of his best lead breaks and that little lead lick in the Chorus, makes me press repeat on this song.

Pride and Joy” could have come from Led Zep III, as Jimmy Page brings his open string tunings to David Coverdale. And while it rocks acoustically, it’s the heavy open string verse riff which connects, and when it goes back into the open tuning acoustic bit, it’s just perfect.

Four tracks in and I’m on the floor. When “Over Now” kicks in, I am digging the psychedelic nature of the vocals and the exoticism of the music. And artists tried to recreate their 70’s influences in the late 80s and 90s like Jake E Lee in Badlands, however, it still sounded like stuff they would have done within a modern rock context.

Because the 70’s artists, used their 60’s influences to create their 70’s sounds, hence why the songs from these artists like Page don’t follow the typical verse, chorus, verse, chorus. “Over Now” has  no real structure as it moves between verses and something which resembles a chorus and an outro which feels like a cool jam.

You talked to me of virtue
And sang a song so sweet
But all I know is I could smell
The perfume of deceit
And it’s over now

Coverdale is referencing his break up with the Jaguar dancer Tawny Kitaen. And there are quite a few songs on the album which reference the relationship.

Feeling Hot” is the sped up child of “Johnny Be Goode” crossed with “Hit The Road Jack”.

And the comparison to Led Zep is always going to happen, because Jimmy Page is Led Zep’s main musical writer and it doesn’t matter with who he works with, his riffs will always sound like Page and Page’s career is held within his work with Led Zep.

Like “Easy Does It”. It is one of the best Led Zeppelin tracks that Led Zeppelin didn’t write. And when it morphs into a rocking track from about 2.40 mark, it’s so cool to hear Coverdale steer away from the typical verse and chorus format.

Of course, songs which follow that format will give you success if they cross over into the mainstream, but for me, it’s these kinds of songs that get me to commit. Like for Whitesnake, it was “Still Of The Night” which got me to commit, and it didn’t follow the conventional verse and chorus format.

Absolution Blues” has David Coverdale delivering a near perfect Led Zep vocal line in the verses.

Come the dawn of judgement day
I’ll get down on my knees and pray
The Good Lord don’t send me away
I’ll never ever go

No one wants to leave the land of the living. They realize then how much living they really need to do.

Whisper A Prayer For The Dying” is one of my favourite songs on the album. That dropped D intro riff is excellent. Even System Of A Down used a very similar style riff for their awesome song “Aerials” from the mega selling “Toxicity” album.

Also the idea of the song happened back in 1982-83 as their is an acoustic demo of the song on the “Slide It In” Deluxe reissue. And when you combine various wars for lyrical inspiration and Jimmy Page”s dropped D riff, you get a classic.

The suffocating heat of jungles, burning desert sands
Where everything reminds you, you’re a stranger in a strange land
The soothing words of politicians, those bodyguards of lies
While guardian angels waste their time and every mother cries

There is a whole generation of people who wouldn’t even know about the Vietnam War or the Gulf War. And when leaders from around the world decide to send in their troops to a place, well those troops already have a target on their back, as strangers in a strange land.

Machine gun, battle cry
You pray to God when the bullets fly
The bombs fall like black rain
And all your dreams take you home again
Nothing but bad dreams

At the end of the first Gulf War, the Iraqi forces set an oilfield alight, which burned black toxic smoke for months. And when it rained all those black toxins came back down as black rain.

And the ones who survived, are struck with PTSD.

You can’t read, you can’t write
You’re so scared, you can’t sleep at night
You try to carry the heavy load
Walking down Armageddon road, oh, Armageddon road

In reality what did all of the Wars achieve?

Iraq invaded Saudi Arabia and all the democratic countries rushed to the Saudi aids so their young Prince could grow up and order the dismemberment of a journalist who spoke out against him. And Iraq along with Afghanistan is still a hotspot of violence and extremism.

Would you have gone there for a holiday when these countries were controlled by dictators?

Would you fly there now, that these countries have been liberated by the good democratic countries?

I’m pretty sure the answer would be NO to both questions.

How good is Cinderella?

They are a lot more than just a hair band, a stupid genre they got lumped in. Maybe it’s their fault for allowing their image to look like a hair band but then again when you are trying to make it, you will listen and do what the A&R department tells you to do.

Anyway, “Night Songs” opens the album which carries its name and it’s a hooky slow dirge.

Workin’ this job ain’t payin’ the bills
Sick and tired rat race takin’ my thrills
Kickin’ down the road not a dime in my pocket
Nightime falls and I’m ready to rock it

It’s a game of collusion. Governments and corporations ensure that the wages paid are just enough to live a frugal lifestyle, however as the cost of living goes up, the wages don’t seem to follow the same trajectory. My land rates go up 4% each year for the last 3 years. My wage has gone up 1% each year.

Which then means we need to find a second job, or a higher paying job or we need to borrow money from the banks.

And before payday, I used to have just a dime in my pocket but regardless of what state I was in financially, I always had my music and was always ready to rock it.

Forget the day ’cause we’re gonna scream

And that is exactly what we did.

Night songs
Makes the day right

Even in the comfort of your own home, when you drop the needle and the sound surrounds you and bounces off the walls, it normally happens at night and when you are alone with your thoughts.

When “Shake Me” rolls into town, you know the party is just getting started.

And Tom Keifer’s raspy voice is the difference. He didn’t sound like any other singer out on the market. Maybe a bit like Brian Johnson. Hell, the band Hinder had a career in the music business many years later because their singer had the same raspy voice like Keifer.

Then, those clean tone Am arpeggios start and “Nobody’s Fool” fills the room. For a debut record, Keifer has knocked me out with a triple left hook.

And how good is the vocal melody and riff in “Nothin’ For Nothin’”?

You got nothin’
Nothin’ for nothin’
You’re hurtin’ overtime
Nothin’ for nothin’
And we don’t need your kind
Nothin’ for nothin’
Pushin’, shovin’, got no time
Nothin’ for nothin’

Kids these days have a lot more rights in life and in the workplace than what their parents and grand parents had. But the mindsets are different. They always get something.

Once Around The Ride” is a classic heavy metal track, with an air guitar pedal tone riff, a wicked lead break from Jeff LeBar and a vocal melody from Keifer which sticks around long after the song has finished.

Hell On Wheels” could have come from any NWOBHM act, but with better melodies and vocals from Kiefer.

We’ve had enough of the raw deals
Hit the road and tell ya how it feels

Like hell on wheels

Somebody Save Me” is my favourite. The “Knock Em Dead Kid” riff merged with “Looks That Kill” works a treat and Keifer delivers vocally.

Somebody save me
I lost my job, they kicked me out of my dream

The Australian dream is to own your home. And once upon a time people did just that and then passed it down to their next of kin. And Governments didn’t like that because they didn’t get any tax on it, so they passed laws that to change the name on the deed you still had to pay a stamp duty tax.

But these days people are buying, paying the minimum repayments and then selling it when they need to move because they lost their job and the next job is in a different state or in a city hours away. And if they don’t sell it in time, the bank will sell it for them and kick them out of their dream.

And the house prices are so high it’s hard to even enter the market.

Well, everybody’s got opinions
But nobody’s got the answers
And the shit you ate for breakfast
Well, it’ll only give you cancer

So true. A while back, I was in a meeting at work and I had my opinionated vent in it. Then I was asked how I would do the job that needs to be done and I had no fucking answer. So I made a note to myself that if I’m going to question others I need to also have answers and solutions.

And what about all the research coming out about processed meats giving you cancer, how too much red meat will give you cancer and all those cereals that the corporations said were healthy in the 80s (backed by Government research financed by the cereal makers) proved to be full of sugar and bad for you.

Somebody get the doctor
I think I’m gonna crash
Never paid the bill
Because I ain’t got the cash

You can’t pay a bill when you don’t have the funds. And you don’t have the funds because you either don’t have a job or you have a job but are over committed to a lot of debt. Either way, it’s a pivotal moment in your life when you are in this place. And you understand that life is not fair and the game is rigged.

“In From The Outside” has an excellent outro and it’s the reason why I go through the whole song, just to hear the outro and how they fit in this metal like section to a 12 bar blues. Brilliant.

And “Back Home Again” is a great way to bookend the album. An open string riff kicks it off and the vocal melody from Keifer is brilliant.

I hit the road wide open at seventeen
Mama cried herself to sleep
Lost a dad I’d never seen
Took all my childhood friends
Guitar, and a dream

It doesn’t happen like that anymore or does it. These days it’s let’s hit the internet and build an online social presence and you play live if their is demand. Once upon a time you played to get better and you took what gig you could get in order to build your fan base.

And for the sake of it, I streamed Winger (released in 1988), because of Reb Beach. He is a phenomenal guitarist and he always interviewed well, with a great grasp of techniques when it came to the guitar. And the Winger debut is full of Reb Beach.

Madalaine” kicks off the album and the first time I heard it, I was really surprised at how good the vocals sounded.

Hungry” is one of my favourites on the album and I always compared it to “Hungry” from White Lion’s which is a bit more superior because that riff from Bratta rocks hard and is brilliant to play.

But the way, “Hungry” starts off with the violin like orchestra, then it morphs into a syncopated groove for the pre –chorus and in the chorus, listen to how Reb Beach takes a stock chord progression and decorates it.

Now the piece d resistance in this song, is the prog rock bit after the solo, which goes into an acoustic bit of the 1st verse, then Reb Beach and the drums take over, playing just the chorus riff and then the whole band comes in as they move into the ending of the song. For such a commercial sounding track with a big arena rock chorus, it has a lot of movements which people either didn’t notice because the band made it sound so seamless.

Seventeen” is the best Van Halen track that EVH didn’t write. Just check out the opening riff. But that lead break from Reb Beach. Wow.

Time To Surrender” has a wicked guitar riff and a 12/8 groove feel in the dreams. The vocal melody from Kip is also on the money, but man, the lyrics, about it being time to surrender because his love don’t live there anymore just didn’t do the music any justice.

Hangin On”. Listen to it, to hear Reb Beach decorate again.

Headed For A Heartbreak” is a song that is not forgotten easy. I think it’s that keyboard lick in the Chorus (after they sing “Headed For A Heartbreak”) which remains. Maybe even the solo section. Or that outro guitar solo from Reb Beach or the offbeat drumming. Whatever it is, something always remains with me after hearing this song.

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5 thoughts on “Coverdale/Page, Cinderella and Winger

  1. Brilliant reviews of three stand out albums.
    Funnily enough, been listening to SSM by Cinderella and kept thinking of reading your opinion of the ‘breakfast’ line!

    Also, agree that Coverdale Pages’ WAPFTD is a standout track, musically and lyrically. Always thought a Zeppelin album (had they continued) that was a cross of this and Plant’s ‘Fate Of Nations’ would have been ace.

    Winger too never got they credit they deserved for Seventeen or HFAH, so thanks for flying the flag!

    Excellent blog as usual, always love reading your opinions and thoughts.

  2. Thanks for reading Adrian.
    Hearing those three albums one after another seemed right and it flowed.

    For Reb Beach, i always have time. He’s a monster of guitarist, I was listening to his lead break on Mistreated on the “The Purple Album” from Whitesnake and man he goes to town on that solo as well.

    Plus the musicians in Winger were all seasoned and experienced, so it worked. But then Kip went and posed nude for Playgirl and Metallica made him into a dart board and Beavis shows him no love, and they knew it was the end.

  3. Awesome writeup! Great ear on the Cov/Page tracks that Cov has been noodling around since 1982! All of these acts I had on CD or Vinyl back than except for Rainbow Bent out Shape!
    Cinderella was so good, and when Kiefer played Tbay a few summers back he opened with Once Around The Ride! I was hooked! Shake Me was the third or fourth song played as well, which goes to show his depth as a songwriter!
    Lots of good stuff here as I have to dig out that COV/PAGE disc now!​

  4. Agreed, love Cinderella and Still Climbing is a fantastic record. So many good albums in 93/94 from ‘hair’ bands, like that, Ultraphonic by Warrant, Motley Crue’s S/T and Pull from Winger, that sadly got overlooked in the Grunge gold rush.

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