We’ve moved from 2019 to 2020 and it felt like, meh. Time will tell how significant some of the things were, like James entering rehab again in 2019 and Motley reforming again to tour and if Def Leppard made the right move to attach themselves with Motley, and all the court cases involving influences in music.
Anyway, I was comparing 2019 in relation to other years like 2009, 1999, 1989 and 1979.
So let’s start with 1979, the year of transition. While some bands were on their last legs, some were just starting to find their own.
Led Zeppelin were coming to an end while Thin Lizzy was on the ascendancy. The Scorpions had bigger things waiting with “Rock You Like A Hurricane” and “Winds Of Change” while Fleetwood Mac and Bad Company delivered stellar albums that unfortunately got compared to their previous mega gazillion selling albums.
Aerosmith became a shell of the band they were with “Night In The Ruts” and Joe Perry left the band after they played the World Series of Rock concert in Cleveland, with Journey, Ted Nugent, Thin Lizzy, AC/DC and Scorpions, while Motorhead after a few up’s and downs with record label crap, got included with the NWOBHM starting off and started their brief commercial rise. Journey kept telling us they are evolving, while Acca Dacca didn’t care about evolving as they rode that highway to hell to the top.
Uli John Roth left Scorpions and created Electric Sun, but in all honesty he should of stayed with Scorpions. He was replaced by Michael Schenker who was being used by his brother Rudolph to lift the profile of the band, so when Michael figured it out, he left and was replaced by Mattias Jab, which became the line-up that would take Scorpions into the 80’s and platinum success, while a supergroup of “musicians who all had small record deals” got together and called themselves Survivor. “Eye Of The Tiger” was a few years away, but you get to hear a band allowing their influences to shape their sound.
Black Sabbath with Ozzy was at an end, along with the Dio fronted Rainbow version. These small changes, led to two stellar albums, a year later in “Heaven and Hell” and “Blizzard of Ozz”.
The “Blizzard” album had a young guitarist from LA called Randy Rhoads who would cement his legacy over three short years with the help of his song writing partner Bob Daisley. Dio of course would go on to bigger platinum sales with “Holy Diver” and “The Last In Line”.
David Coverdale kept his white snake out of his pants and became a love hunter while his old partner in crime was still having troubles with lead singers, this time looking for a replacement for Ronnie James Dio and his Rainbow project. That replacement proved very interesting when Graham Bonnet got the gig.
Before they had their balls on walls, Accept were just Accept and they dropped their debut album. Kiss created disco rock to platinum glory with “I Was Made For Loving You” and Kansas told all their wayward sons to carry on.
Judas Priest dropped “Unleashed In The East” (an album marketed as a live album, with studio embellishments) which showcased the new progressiveness and heaviness of the band. Even older bluesy cuts sounded huge when sped up and it gave Priest an even larger fan base. Def Leppard released their E.P and a year later, released the very underrated “On Through The Night” album. Of course, we all know how high Def Leppard went in the 80’s with “Pyromania” and “Hysteria”, but their most diverse and grown up album “Slang” is ignored.
Iron Maiden, Samson and Angel Witch share a bill and the concert is watched by Geoff Barton, who then describes the bands as the “New Wave Of British Heavy Metal” in his review of the show for Sounds magazine, otherwise known as “NWOBHM”.
Maiden releases “The Soundhouse Tapes” and also gets signed to EMI, hire Dennis Stratton as their second guitarist and replaced drummer Doug Sampson with Clive Burr from Samson. And Clive Burr wouldn’t be the last member Maiden got from Samson with Bruce Dickinson to follow a few years later.
Van Halen released their second album and kept the LA Sunset Strip alive and rocking while Motley Crue was nowhere at this point in time but Nikki Sixx had formed the band London in 78 and by 79 he was already looking for a way out as keeping committed band members proved to be a problem. Blackie Lawless would move from Sister to London during this period as well (funny that, because Blackie fired Nikki from Sister and now Blackie was joining a band that Nikki formed), while George Lynch was still in The Boyz.
Quiet Riot would go to number 1 in 1983, but by 1979, they were finished because RR left the band to join Ozzy.
Pink Floyd in its current incarnation was also coming to an end, even though “The Wall” hit the streets after so much delay and bickering in its creation to mega sales.
And all the artists just kept on creating, regardless of their status on the record label commercial tree. Because that’s why people get into music, to create. Not because copyright terms are forever or because some label said I will give you money to create.
Finally, the greatest ever invention that was going to make music portable for me went on sale in Japan, the Sony Walkman.