Quiet Riot – II
I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this in a second hand record shop in the early 90’s for $10.
It’s part of Randy Rhoads origin story.
And what a strange cover, with the guys in the band, dressed up in glam outfits in a locker room with American Football jocks.
What the !!
“Slick Black Cadillac” kicks it off, a song which QR would redo with Carlos Cavazo and release it on “Metal Health”. But you need to hear the RR version.
The piece d’resistance is the solo sections of “Trouble” and “Face To Face” which reminds me of bits and pieces from “Mr Crowley”, “Over The Mountain” and “Flying High Again”.
And my other favourite is “We’ve Got The Magic”.
Listen to the little melodic leads RR plays in the Chorus.
And who said that RR couldn’t be bluesy. Check out the lead break in this song.
Boston – Don’t Look Back
How good is that melodic lead break during the Chorus of “Don’t Look Back”?
“A Man I’ll Never Be” has a similar lead break like “Don’t Look Back” just before the Chorus.
“Party” sounds like they just turned up, plugged in, had a party and jammed.
And that’s it for me. Boston has always been a two to three song band per album.
Van Halen – Van Halen
So many good songs for a debut.
It’s the same old saying, you have a lifetime to write your first album and a few months for the second.
But Van Halen in their early days were very prolific writers, so even though the first album is full of good moments, a lot of other songs from these days appeared on albums afterwards, all the way up to the reunion with Roth in the two thousands.
“Running With The Devil” kicks it all off with the iconic riff and in the Chorus, Michael Anthony’s backing vocals take centre stage. “Eruption” is now set in stone as one of “the instrumentals” on the Ten Commandments and The Kinks introduced “You Really Got Me” as a Van Halen cover after Van Halen rockified it.
Then the Am to F to G palm muted arpeggiated intro begins for “Aint Talking Bout Love” and another iconic riff is born.
“I’m The One” is the embryo of songs like “House Of Pain” and “Get Up”. “Jamie’s Cryin” was a hit twice, once with Van Halen and once with Tone Loc who sampled the riff and beat for “Wild Thing”.
“Atomic Punk” has that slashing like intro that inspired Slash for the “Mr Brownstone” intro. “Feel Your Love Tonight” could have come from an ELO record and Michael Anthony’s backing vocals are so precise and powerful. “Little Dreamer” has got this rumbling like riff that is cool to play. “Ice Cream Man” didn’t satisfy, but “On Fire” is full of good riffs to enjoy.
Bruce Springsteen – Darkness On The Edge Of Town
I always have time for Bruce Springsteen and this album rates as one of his best.
I love the way “Badlands” starts off. The riff is so rock and roll and pop rock all in one. Bands like “ELO” and “Styx” built careers on riffs like these. Then that bluesy sleazy rhythm kicks off “Adam Raised A Cain”. “Something In The Night” was written in 78, but the intro riff would become a number 1 chart topper in 84, when it became “I’m On Fire”.
The intro piano riff of “Racing In The Street” must have influenced Jonathan Cain as he would write many songs that went to platinum levels of success with a similar vibe and feel. “Promised Land” is about Springsteen’s beliefs in the life he is living, in the country he is born in.
And “Streets Of Fire” is still relevant today as it was back in the Seventies. “Prove It All Night” or “Because The Night”, as there is no difference between them really, especially in the music around the Chorus.
Rainbow – Long Live Rock N Roll
The drum roll snare, the words “All Right” and off we go, into the mystic lands of Rock and Roll, screaming deep into the night, “Long Live Rock And Roll”.
And Richie Blackmore is all over this album, with guitar riffs gifted to him from the “Lady Of The Lake”. If you don’t believe me, check out the verse riff and then that vocal melody in the Pre-Chorus/Chorus from Ronnie James Dio.
And we caught the “L.A Connection” to the “Gates Of Babylon” just to “Kill The King”, hiding out in “The Shed” because our “Rainbow Eyes” are “Sensitive To Light”.
Queen – Jazz
Some of the best riffs from Brian May are on this album.
The guitar riff in “Fat Bottomed Girls” makes the world go around. “If You Can’t Beat Them” has this pop like riff which reminds me of other acts, but Brian May makes it his own.
Listen to “Dead On Time”, it’s basically got a speed rock riff. “Dreamer’s Ball” kicks off with a harmony solo, before it morphs into an acoustic 12 bar blues. Listen to “Leaving Home Ain’t Easy”, with its acoustic riffs which sound full of power.
The drum beat in “More Of That Jazz” is perfect and once Brian May starts with the syncopated riff, it was time to pick up the guitar and learn it. And the Chorus at first sounds metal before it morphs into something like cabaret.
Dire Straits – Dire Straits
Mark Knofler’s guitar tone is brilliant. “Down To The Waterline” is a perfect example of it as he decorates the track with licks and riffs.
By the time I had heard this album, I had already overdosed on “Sultans Of Swings”. It’s one of those tracks like “The Final Countdown”, “Were Not Gonna Take It” and “Livin On A Prayer”. They have been played so many times, so while they are great tracks, you tend to ignore them. Still the finger picked lead break from Knofler is brilliant.
The Cars – The Cars
As I was writing The Car’s section, news hit Twitter that Ric Ocask was found dead in Manhattan at 75 years of age. I was very late getting into “The Cars” but I am glad I did. And what a debut album.
“Good Times Roll” kicks it off with its iconic riff, lyrics and synth lines. Let the good times roll in deed. And they continue with “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “Just What I Needed”.
So many songs in the 70’s about their best friends partners. Eric Clapton wrote Layla because he was in love with George Harrison’s wife, which he eventually married. Rick Springfield topped the charts with “Jessie’s Girl” and so did The Cars. And neither song took away from the other. These days, everyone will be suing each other for copying their feels.
“Moving In Stereo” has a metal like riff in the vein of Judas Priest. No one will believe me, but they need to check it out. And the synth lead is perfect.
Well that’s it for the first post. More to come in Part 2.