4 Years Ago (2017)
The final blog post of my devotion to the year known as 1983 involved an eclectic bunch of artists.
Like “Modern Love” from David Bowie,
“One Of The Few” from Pink Floyd, “Sirens” from Savatage and “Cuts Like a Knife” from Bryan Adams.
“Alpha” from Asia which sold a lot but it was still seen as a failure by the record label because it didn’t match the sales of the debut album a year before.
“Head First” from Uriah Heep, another 70’s act that had to re-establish itself in the 80’s MTV world. So it was no surprise the band delivered a very pop sounding 15th album.
“Nemesis” from Axe was also on the list. Remember “Rock ‘N’ Roll Party In The Streets”. It’s from Axe’s 1982 album “Offering”. The name “Axe” didn’t really market the band to its full potential.
Axe was touring with Mötley Crüe in 1984 when their guitarist was killed in a vehicle accident. Another member was badly injured and the band broke up after the accident.
Michael Bolton was a rocker first and a balladeer later. He was in a hard rock band called Blackjack with Bruce Kulick between 79/80, so it was no surprise to see Bruce Kulick on lead guitar when Bolton went solo on his self-titled debut. Even Bruce’s bro, Bob Kulick makes an appearance. Another favourite guitarist of mine, Al Pitrelli replaced Kulick for the tour which was cancelled after four shows.
U2 and the “War” album was on the list along with Divinyls and the “Desperate” album. The song “Boys In Town” was all over the TV and the radio in Australia.
Eurythmics had me hooked with “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”, “Here Comes The Rain Again” and “Who’s That Girl”.
Being the long haired lout I was, I hated the way Spandau Ballet looked, but man they could write a good pop tune that worked well in a rock context. “Pleasure”, “Gold” and “True” are such songs. Great to re-interpret on guitar for a rock setting and it was interesting learning sax solos for lead guitar.
Elton John along with Bernie Taupin wrote pop songs that worked well as rock songs. “Kiss The Bride” and “I’m Still Standing” are two such songs I covered in various bands I was in.
Jim Steinman moved from Meatloaf to Bonnie Tyler. Big production, big songs and a lot of piano lines ripped off from classical music. But the best song on the album is “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” a cover of a Creedence Clearwater Revival song.
“90125” from Yes was album number 11 and the band was a very different beast from its Seventies incarnation.
If an artist is creating songs and making those songs difficult to get, the audience would surely move on to something else.
If a person talks for 70 minutes we will hear nothing. If an artist releases 70 minutes of music, we will remember some of it and forget the rest.
Most of my favorite albums lasted between 30 to 40 minutes in total.
All new music is competing with the history of music, plus TV shows with movie budgets, plus blockbuster movies, plus technologies and social media, plus AI created news stories and the history of print.
Maybe music is better when it is released frequently and when an artist tries to say one thing at a time, instead of 10 different things at once.
8 Years Ago (2013)
Spotify came into the market with the idea that they need to compete with free. And compete they did. The service even started to break artists to the masses, something that the record labels couldn’t do or were clueless to do.
But the mass media still focuses on the sales in the first week and the chart position. This is so old school and not a great measuring tool of reach or success, especially for new acts starting out.
But we get headlines like this.
Loudwire: Dream Theater’s new DVD ‘Live At Luna Park’ recently entered at No 1 on the Soundscan music DVD chart.
Loudwire: Volume 2 of Five Finger Death Punch’s ‘Wrong Side Of Heaven; lands at No. 2 on Billboard 200.
Blabbermouth: “Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones” sold 42,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 7 on The Billboard 200 chart.
“Our audience are fans first and customers second. We really try not to annoy them.”
The above quote is from Stefan Mennerich, Bayern Munich Director of New Media, Media Rights & IT.
So how can a band turn fans into satisfied customers that keep on coming back, again and again?
My favorite tracks from the DT album are still…
“The Bigger Picture” and “Illumination Theory”.
Megadeth was in the news sections of the metal and rock websites a fair bit back then.
Regardless of what people think about Dave Mustaine or Megadeth, they can never take away the historical fact that Megadeth were early web pioneers.
Does anyone remember their old “Megadeth, Arizona” site that was launched in 1994 and then re-designed and re-launched for the “Cryptic Writings” release two years later?
Apart from the normal pieces of information, it was also a place for fans to check in, hang out and interact with the band along with other fans. Something that social media has built on and improved.
Well the year was almost over and it was time to look back at the albums that connected and hit the mark for 2013 for me.
- Protest The Hero – Volition
- Avenged Sevenfold – Hail To The King
- Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Vol 1
- Killswitch Engage – Disarm The Descent
- TesserAcT – Altered State
- Trivium – Vengeance Falls
- Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman – Descension
- Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Vol 2
- Volbeat – Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies
- Alter Bridge – Fortress
Audrey Horne – Youngblood
Mutiny Within – Synchronicity
Hearts And Hands – My Own Machine
Love and Death – Between Here and The Lost
Sound Of Contact – Dimensionaut
Faith Circus – Turn Up The Band
Final Notable Mentions
Due to my kids overdosing on the music I placed on their iPods certain classic rock albums have come back into my life.
Twisted Sister – You Cant Stop Rock N Roll
Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry
Kiss – Lick It Up
Kiss – Asylum
Kiss – Destroyer
Deep Purple – Machine Head
Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet
Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger
Europe – The Final Countdown
White Lion had the balls to tackle the subject of apartheid.
The Eighties mainstream Metal and rock had degenerated into a state of generic and clichéd derivative lyrical themes and subjects involving sex, partying and drugs.
When bands branched away from that, it was very hit and miss.
White Lion fell into that crowd of misses as the label “Atlantic” would still push them as pop metal or pop rock.
The tours and marketing had White Lion sandwiched amongst bands like Motley Crue, Skid Row, Kiss, Whitesnake, Alice Cooper, Blue Murder and Badlands.
Randy Rhoads is a huge influence.
My first introduction to Randy Rhoads was the “Tribute” album and the tablature book that came with it formed my bible for a long time.
He was just unique.
Rhoads formed Quiet Riot when he was 16 years old however as good as Randy Rhoads was, the band couldn’t get a record deal in the U.S and they ended up releasing two albums (QR I and QR II) in Japan. Of course this incarnation of Quiet Riot was a totally different line up that sang “Cum On Feel The Noize” which in turn brought metal to the mainstream.
Most people know his musical legacy from the two landmark albums he made with Ozzy Osbourne.
The post covers my Top 10 songs from Randy Rhoads.
And that’s another wrap for another week.