What a year?
It gave us so much and it set the paths for things to come in the future.
“Photograph” and “Rock Of Ages” from Def Leppard came out and rolled all over the charts, setting in motion the seeds to “Hysteria” and “Adrenalize”. And it also put Steve Clark onto a path that he wouldn’t return from tragically and Rick Allen with the help of MIDI technology would revolutionize how to play the drums with one hand.
“Cold Sweat” from Thin Lizzy was also released, which wrote the final chapter to Thin Lizzy’s recording career and in a few years’ time, Phil Lynott joined all of the other rockers in the sky. But this album also introduced John Sykes to the mainstream, as his bit part in Tygers Of Pan Tang was still unknown.
And as we know, John Sykes would go on to join Whitesnake and then co-write the best guitar heavy album of 1987, only to get booted before the album came out and then to see his new band Blue Murder get stiffed by record label politics.
“Cum On Feel The Noize” and “Bang Your Head” from Quiet Riot hit the charts, all the way to number 1. The success of this cover song made Kevin DuBrow a star, and his ego, loaded with his big mouth, would end up hurting the band, as he constantly got into verbals with band members, other bands, media and record label executives. And even though he got a multi-million dollar deal to be a solo artist in the mid 80’s, the label must have been on some serious juju because DuBrow’s two biggest hits were covers.
“Meanstreak” and “Midnight In Tokyo” from Y&T, appeared on an album that would go on to cement their status in Europe, however they still struggled to break into the US market at a higher level, even though the band’s music was very influential to a lot of wannabe musicians, especially the riffage and melodies from Dave Meniketti.
“Rainbow In The Dark” and “Holy Diver” from Dio came out, which cemented Ronnie James Dio as a bonafide star, after he delivered on the triple throwdown somersault, with Rainbow, Black Sabbath and now Dio.
This album also unleased a new guitar hero in Vivian Campbell, who would go on to leave the band bitterly, to then dis Dio off in the press, then join Whitesnake as a touring guitarist, then leave Whitesnake when David Coverdale told him he doesn’t want to write with him, only Adrian, then join Shadow King and then join Riverdogs, before grabbing the Def Leppard gig in the 90’s.
And for Dio, he did the quadruple backward somersault with “The Last In Line” a year later and by the time “Sacred Heart” came out, the love for dragons and magic wasn’t as great as it was a few years before.
“Looks That Kill” and “Shout At The Devil” from Motley Crue hit the streets and the baddest boys from LA started to rise to the top. With it came destruction and mayhem, which involved car crashes, homicides, drug overdoses and everything else that comes with a lifestyle that’s out of control.
And for all the cash they started making with this album, they spent it on products for the veins and the nose. So eventually when their bodies crashed and burned on the “Girls, Girls, Girls” tour, it set the tone for “Dr Feelgood”, the one album that the guys had to be sober/clean, up to a certain point.
“The Warning” from Queensryche hit the streets and a new anti-hero was created, who would blend the NWOBHM sounds, with progressive overtones and hard rock to an irresistible ear candy blend and call it “Operation Mindcrime”.
Where do I sign up to be indoctrinated by Dr X?
“You Can’t Stop Rock’N’Roll” from Twisted Sister showed what could happen to the “Loud Police” if they are exposed to loud music. They put wigs on and became metal heads. And while TS was on the ascendancy, it was this album and the title track video clip that put them into the scoring zone. And as we know, it also started the spiral that would end the band in 4 years’ time.
“Bark At The Moon” from Ozzy Osbourne was released and another new guitar god from LA was unleashed in Jake E. Lee however Ozzy takes all the credit for writing all of the riffs, words and melodies with one finger and a piano.
“Rebel Yell” from Billy Idol came out and a different technological guitar god was released with Steve Stevens.
“Every Breath You Take” from The Police came out, with Sting listed as the songwriter, but Andy Summers interpretation of how to play a basic “Stand By Me” progression is what hooked people in. And the song became well known with rappers, who overused it, which led to millions into Sting’s bank account.
“Balls To The Wall” from Accept came out and basically the band couldn’t capture the aggression, anger and attitude ever again because they were still laughing so hard at the cover of the album.
“Flight Of Icarus” and “Revelations” from Iron Maiden hit the charts, only so the band could hit the road again, while they planned their biggest album and biggest stage show the following year. And it is from these albums, that Iron Maiden still does victory laps on.
Kiss showed their faces without their make up for the first time on MTV only to realise a decade later that people wanted to see them with the make-up. “Lick It Up” also introduced another guitar hero in Vinnie Vincent. But just for a short time, as he proved to be a better song writing partner than a band mate.
“Tell Me What You Want” from Zebra hit the charts and the band was told to write more hit songs like that. Which they never did, because the band just wrote songs. The similarities to Robert Plant vocally and some songs musically to Led Zep set the tone for what would be Kingdom Come.
“Legs” from ZZ Top showed how Texans at one point in time liked women and synths more than guns, which led to multi-platinum sales.
“Rising Power” from AC/DC showed how dirty and anti-mainstream AC/DC could get while “Sister Christian” from Night Ranger introduced eight finger tapper Jeff Watson and shredder and temporary Randy Rhoads fill in Brad Gillis.
Dave Mustaine is fired from Metallica and a small step is made by Lars and James, towards the mega selling self-titled album 8 years later and as a by-product a new progressive technical thrash band is formed called Megadeth which would go on to inspire a host of progressive metal bands.
Also, Metallica dropped “Seek And Destroy” but the “Kill Em All” album was largely ignored until history was rewritten after the mega explosion of the “Black” album in the 90’s.
Judas Priest was still selling their 1982 release on the backs of “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin” while inspiring thousands of bedroom singers to bring in the Halford wail.
Yngwie Malmsteen left Sweden and set sail for L.A, to usher in a new era of shredability and fury.
Compact Discs went on sale in the US, which would change the album format, with more filler, and also change the profit lines of the labels, only for Napster to blow the greed away 16 years later.
Not all countries or fans would have heard these songs in 1983. Some would hear them in 1984 and others much later. It’s just the way it was back then. Music spread differently and geo-restrictions ensured that it was contained within borders.
It was quite a year.
Maybe the most revolutionary year since the 60’s and The Beatles invasion of the US and other parts of the world.
It’s also the year that metal and rock music started to become a commercial influence.
Culture changed dramatically when MTV transported the music stars from the live arena and into our lounge rooms. And 1983 was the year it started to get traction.