The war was on, as rock bands, especially hard rock bands who got classed as hair bands started to fight for survival against the flannelette armies of Seattle and the changing A&R personnel at the labels who wanted to cash in on the Seattle tide.
To understand how quickly the support for hard rock music was abandoned, White Lion was given a million bucks to record “Mane Attraction” and after it was released, some more money was spent on a few music videos and the album didn’t set the charts alight and when the band decided to call it quits, there was nothing from the label. Not even a phone call. Except for Vito, who got an offer for a new project, but after demoing some material, the offer also disappeared.
But there was rock music. It wasn’t as polished as some of mid 80’s albums, but the roots of this rock music was with the classic 70’s.
The Black Crowes are still at Number 1. The chorus lyrical message of looking for a remedy to fix our worries resonated with everyone on the planet old enough to remember this song, even though the verse lyrics are pretty silly about a dead bird from the window sill and why can’t his girl sit still.
And their Grateful Dead jam ethic had them record this album over a weekend, and you can hear the fun and the love in the notes and the space and the performances.
Under The Bridge
The Jimi Hendrix influenced guitar intro got a lot of people, like me, interested and the lyrical message of addiction and homelessness under an catchy vocal melody, took this song to the top. Actually, it took me a while to get used to the voice of Anthony Kiedis and I’m glad I did.
By the way, John Frusciante is also another underrated guitar hero. You don’t need to play solos with your head looking at the heavens to be a good guitarist. You need to be able to write riffs, memorable ones at that, and this dude could do that with the Peppers.
Both of the songs have gospel like backing vocals, which enhance em nicely.
Road To Nowhere
Ozzy and Zak are still riding high on the back of the “No More Tears” album, with their Southern Rock anthem sitting pretty. I like this song more than “Mama I’m Coming Home”. The opening arpeggios and Zack’s pentatonic Skynyrd solo is brilliant.
And those opening lines;
When I was looking back on my life
And all things I done to me
If we just did the same abuse to someone else’s body that we gave to our own bodies, we would be locked up as it would be borderline criminal.
The wreckage of my past keeps haunting me
It just won’t leave me alone
Sometimes our past deeds supersede our current deeds. There is no redemption from them, even though people say there is.
Because it’s impossible to be liked by all.
And for the haters and the ones who believe they were wronged, the past is never forgotten.
Make Love Like A Man
It’s not the best Def Leppard track, but they had enough goodwill because of their first four albums that we still gave them a lot of love for “Adrenalize”.
I think they tried to re-write “Pour Some Sugar On Me” with this one.
Musically the song works, but I can’t say I am a fan of the lyrics. But then again Def Leppard was allowed to get away with this kind of cheesiness because of the first four albums.
To show how powerful a jam album became in the charts, The Black Crows have another song in the Top 5.
The album showcases a band in love with the blues, grooving and jamming their way to the top of the charts and our minds and our hearts.
And it also shows an audience who was sick of the over polished sounds of hard rock and the generic sound-a-likes.
If you feel like a riot, then don’t you deny it
Put your good foot forward
No need for heroics I just want you to show it
Now’s the time to shine
I have no idea what the overall song is about, but the opening four lines connected immediately especially the call and response vocal line, where Chris Robinson sings the first and third lines and the backing singers sing the second and the fourth lines.
And that verse riff which moves between the G chord, to the F, to the C and back to the G chord is excellent, as it doesn’t follow the usual power chord route, and instead it moves along with single notes and arpeggios.
Living In A Dream
They made no dent in Australia.
Which was strange for a Geffen act, as Geffen was renowned for its scorched earth marketing policy.
Especially for a group that was sort of like a super group. It had two individual guitarists/singers fronting who had decent solo careers and the rhythm section of SRV’s “Double Trouble”.
This song has that “When The Levee Breaks” feel in the music and of course, the singing is a cross between Robert Plant and Chris Robinson.
Come As You Are
Another Geffen act, Nirvana already smashed the charts with “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and they starting coming for a little bit more.
For me, it’s that dropped D, chromatic riff, over a ringing A pedal point which sets the ominous feel.
57 Channels And Nothing On
I’m not a fan of the song, but I do like the message, that we pay to surround ourselves with crap.
The song starts off with two people buying a large place in the Hollywood Hills and connecting a Pay TV service to the house.
I know when I had my Pay TV subscription, I would scroll through the “scheduled” programming and I couldn’t watch anything.
Imagine if I had the choice to select what I could watch, instead of waiting for the allocated timeslot. But innovation was too hard for the Pay TV corporations and then they cried foul, when Netflix came and blew away their business model.
Life Is A Highway
Tom Cochrane won big with this song. He is still doing victory laps from it, as it’s licensed everywhere from commercials to movies to TV shows.
When I googled “life is a highway lyrics”, it came up with the Rascal Flatts version.
What happened to Tom Cochrane?
Life’s like a road that you travel on
When there’s one day here and the next day gone
No road trip is ever the same and no day you live is ever the same. What is certain, is that the day comes and then it goes. You can’t get it back.
Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
It was the message of freedom. That is what getting a drivers licence meant. A ticket to travel wherever you wanted to.
I didn’t like “Alive” and “Even Flow” in the beginning. For me, “Jeremy” and “Black” sealed the deal. Afterwards I went back to listen to the other songs.
But that was many years later.
I’m not a fan.
Now More Than Ever
The song is nothing like the classic Mellencamp songs, but the message in the lyrics resonate. And people were looking for these kind of messages.
If you believe
Won’t you please raise your hands
Let’s hear your voices
Let us know where you stand
Remember when artists used to take stands on issues, like Dee Snider standing against the PMRC and censorship. In the process, he got ostracised by the metal community for being a glory seeker.
And MTV cashed up the labels, and the labels used that cash to sway the artists and in the process, the artists became further slaves to the machine. The days of Roger Waters or Jim Morrison, telling the label to go and shove it, became a page in history.
Now more than ever
The world needs love
This was relevant back in 1992 and 28 years later, it’s still relevant today. I am working from home because of COVID-19.
I’m not panic buying and I’m trying to do my best to help. But I put on the news and I’m not seeing the same.
Now more than ever
I can’t stand alone
We live in tribes. No one wants to be ostracised. So that scaffold support network is super important. And we need to remember that others feel the same way, so you are not alone.
Tangled In The Web
This song is one of George Lynch’s best songs.
His guitar tone, which isn’t as heavily distorted like his Dokken days, is quality, the Gm riff is bone crunching and swingy at the same time and those brass instruments just add to the quality.
And Keith Olsen (RIP) did a stellar job in the production, even bringing in the brass instruments.
Make You A Believer
It made no dent on the Australian charts and the first time I heard this song was today, when I put it on the Spotify playlist.
Love Is Alive
His abrasive yet melodic vocals are really good and this bluesy rocker works.
You can see quite a few songs on this list have lyrical messages of love, loving each other, finding love and what we need is a little bit of love to share around and make the world a better place.
This is a big song and the way “The Edge” just keeps decorating the song is brilliant.
Plus Bono with his vocal melody and the message of one life, one love and how we need to care for it, share it and make the world a better place.
What You Give
It aint whatcha give, it’s how you live is the catchcry here. And Tesla was on their way to another successful album and tour, against the grain of the market forces.
Every Time I Roll The Dice
Never heard of Delbert, but his derivative version of “Old Time Rock’N’Roll” which is also a derivative version of standard blues is cool to listen to.
Mama Im Coming Come
I really like the music written by Zak Wylde here. That whole Southern Rock crossover with Heavy Metal works and Lemmy really nailed the lyrics on this one.
Plus did I mention that the guitar solo is pretty awesome.
You’re Invited But Your Friend Can’t Come
What does Tommy Shaw, Jack Blades and Vince Neil have in common?
It’s a killer song title, as good as “You Give Love A Bad Name”, “I Love Rock And Roll” and “Pour Some Sugar On Me”. And the song is probably the best Motley Crue song that wasn’t written and released by Motley Crue that featured Vince Neil on vocals in the 90’s. Then again, I am a fan of “Primal Scream” and “Angela”.