Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault – Peter Criss

It’s filed under C.

The cover was interesting and that got me interested in the album. Todd Schorr is the creator and his take on surrealism fused with pop proved interesting.

Released in 1980 it did nothing commercially.

I don’t think the lack of sales had much to do with the album overall, but more because of the “too much of Kiss” marketing, as “Unmasked” also didn’t do great numbers.

The title track “Out Of Control” has a catchy piano riff and the bluesy voice of Peter Criss. “In Trouble Again” sounds like it could have come from the “Dressed To Kill” album.

“Where Will They Run?” was a surprise, with that hooky piano riff in the Chorus and subdued pop vocal.

And that is all for me.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

The First Post

The first post I did on the site was back in July 2012.

It was titled Motley Crue – Sex.

It was a short post which said:

I just heard the new Motley Crue song – Sex.  It looks like Nikki Sixx was listening to Stevie Wrights, “Evie” when he wrote the opening riff and verse melody.

Anyone made the link yet.

I would also like to add “Mississippi Queen” from Mountain to the list of influences. Then again the band Dust’s first album has a song called “Chasing Ladies” and it sounds like “Mississippi Queen” in the intro guitar riff.

Not sure what came first.

And if you read the write up on Songfacts, Leslie West mentions the link between “Up On Cripple Creek” from The Band and how the feel of the vocal and groove inspired “Mississippi Queen”.

Nikki Sixx does mention a fair bit in interviews and Twitter to take from your influences.

And as a by-product of having a post with “sex” in the title, I got a shitload of spam from sex sites because of it.

So how does the Crue song stack up?

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories

Music Scales

There was a line of thinking in the early 2000’s that the value of recorded music would be zero. That the album would be used purely as a promotional tool to get the artist on the road. That no one would make music anymore because why would they, if they can’t make any money from album sales.

Time Warner got so scared of these kind of conversations and Napster and illegal downloads and peer to peer sharing, that in 2004, they sold their music division of Warner Music/Atlantic/Elektra and their many associated labels for approx. $2.6 billion. In 2018, that same division, is valued at $15 billion.

Today, we have so much new music that it’s hard to keep up. The money received from recorded music is going up, because of streaming. And apart from the ones who made it or had public acceptance of their music or the oldsters, no one really creates to be paid.

They create because they need to create. It’s an outlet for them. It’s a way to express who they are, to put their thoughts and ideas into characters and into stories in the songs. If they do get paid afterwards, well that’s a by-product of their need to create.

And music gets bigger. If the artist has a song that connects or becomes a hit, it costs the label or the artist nothing to continue to sell that hit. Word of mouth would do that.

Think about the first two Black Sabbath album’s. Both albums were recorded and mixed in a short amount of time. The costs would have been minimal. And fast forward 50 years later, “Paranoid” has 362 million streams on Spotify. “Iron Man” has almost 220 million streams. “War Pigs” has 122 million streams. “N.I.B” has almost 50 million streams.

In other words, the costs of making the album evaporate quickly and the rest is almost pure profit, especially in the era of digital, where music lives forever and pays forever. So the labels have assets that will never go down to zero.

A few weeks ago I was thinking how Frontiers from Italy is constantly putting money out to get artists to record new music. From looking at the metal and rock genre, Frontiers have the most releases from any label that I am aware off. They even get artists from different bands to work together, like Michael Sweet and George Lynch. Well, the Frontiers execs are aware that by having assets like the copyright of the music in their building, those assets will never go down to zero.

And Frontiers is thinking, we need to have a catalogue of songs like Universal and Warner’s.

Warner Music has the history of recorded music as an asset. Led Zeppelin. They have it. Prince. They have it. Twisted Sister. They have it.

You get the drift.

And people will always want to listen to songs from artists, so Warner will get paid for decades, until the copyright runs out, which in my lifetime will never happen. In other words, music is a better investment than anything else. If you buy physical property, you would need to maintain it, renovate it and keep paying bills for utilities, however music just scales.

And people will keep on creating and the labels will get bigger if they are the ones funding the creating. But creators are smarter these days and they know that if they give up their copyrights for a fee right now, they might miss out on millions later.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1985 – Part 6

Fates Warning – The Spectre Within

I picked up their first three albums really cheap in the early 90’s via a second hand record shop. The youthful exuberance approach to song writing is clear, with extravagant structures and riff-a-ramas in each song. Better albums and songs would come later however those songs would not be possible if they didn’t get these early albums and the styles out of the way. Put simply, this is Fates Warning, sounding heavier, faster and more complex.

The band is also different to the band that I would come to like. John Arch is on vocals, Victor Arduini and Jim Matheos are on guitars, Jim Arch is on keyboards, Steve Zimmerman on bass and Joe DiBiase on drums.

“Orphan Gypsy”, musically is an underrated progressive metal cut. If it appeared on a Megadeth or Metallica or Slayer album, it would be seen as a classic. Lyrically, the melodies are hit and miss, but the music is a thrash-a-thon. “Without A Trace” has an intro riff which could have come from Malmsteen’s “I’ll See The Light Tonight” before it morphs into a galloping riff like Iron Maiden.

But its “The Apparition” which fuses their Maiden influences (especially “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner”) with their other influences which really gets my attention. Even the vocal delivery, could be said to inspire Midnight from Crimson Glory.

Musically, the piece d resistance is “Epitaph”. It sounds like its inspired by “Heaven And Hell” from Sabbath. And at 12 minutes long, it has different movements and moods and it’s a great way to close the album. This song is a giant leap for progressive metal. 

Vocally, John Arch, is a tenor, a cross between Geoff Tate and Dickinson, with a bit of Robert Plant, Rob Halford falsetto and King Diamond chucked in for good measure. But his choice of melodies are a bit of a let down on some of the songs.

Loverboy – Loving Every Minute of It

If you listened to rock music, there is no way that you would have not heard of Loverboy and their songs. This is their first album to not feature Bruce Fairbairn in the producers chair, and Tom Allom was hired.

The album is not on Spotify Australia which irks me, but hey, YouTube has it.

Mutt Lange is on hand to write the big hit, “Lovin’ Every Minute Of It”. This dude couldn’t do nothing wrong for a long time.

Jonathan Cain from Journey is on hand to co-write the soft rock influenced “This Could Be The Night” with Paul Dean, Mike Reno and Bill Wray.

Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance are on hand to write “Dangerous”, a melodic rock classic.

The riff in “Friday Night” is to my liking. This one is written by Bill Wray, Paul Dean, Davitt Sigerson and Patrick Mahassen.

And the lyric, “Friday Night, I just got paid, no sleep till Monday”. Truth right there, folks.

The good songs keep coming, with the hard rocking “Too Much Too Soon” and the ballad like “Destination Heartbreak” (with its heartbreak emotive guitar solo). But it’s the Lange penned title cut that moved units.

Heart – Heart

This album was massive in the U.S with 5 plus million in sales and a who’s who of songwriters behind it. Not sure if that was the intention of the Wilson sisters or the label, but the addition of songs from outside writers enhanced the band. 

“If Looks Could Kill” is a perfect opener. There is a “Live In Memphis” release on Spotify which is recorded in 1985 for a radio broadcast, and this opens it. Its raw rock and roll without all the studio polish and perfect. It’s written by Jack Conrad and Bob Garrett. And Conrad played bass in The Doors after the death of Jim Morrison and became a songwriter later on.

“What About Love” is a cut written by Sheron Alton, Brian Allen and Jim Vallance. I like the verses more than the Chorus. “Never” and “All Eyes” are written by Holly Knight and Gene Bloch, along with Nancy Wilson, Ann Wilson and Sue Ennis. “These Dreams” is written by Elton John’s song writing partner Bernie Taupin and Martin Page. It was a hit, but it’s not on my radar.

“The Wolf” (the side 1 closer) and “Shell Shock” (the side 2 closer) are written by the band with Sue Ennis. Both songs are aggressive and loud and I like em, but they wouldn’t push the album past the 5 million mark in sales. 

DLR – Crazy From The Heat

Roth got a lot of money to go solo, but the real solo album would come with “Eat Em And Smile”, then again, that album also had a lot of cover songs on it as well, so the real solo album, free of covers was “Skyscraper”.

For “Crazy From The Heat”, I own it on cassette and LP, but I never play it.

Warrior – Fighting For The Earth

The title makes me laugh now, but in the 80’s it was badass. Even the band name referenced my favourite movie, “Warriors”. They had the whole dystopian metal look happening, and that intro riff, used in a million songs, but so effective in this song. 

And vocalist Paramore McCarty is one hell of a vocalist. If you haven’t heard Warrior, then you would have heard his singing with Steve Stevens Atomic Playboys. In 2017, he resurfaced with the band “Radiation Romeos” and released an album on Frontiers. If the name sounds familiar, well it appeared in the lyrics of the song “Atomic Playboys”. Musically, it sounds very similar to the song.

And when you want to talk about connections, Robin Crosby from Ratt kick started his career by getting him to sing in his pre-Ratt bands and getting him noticed. 

And Joe Floyd is an excellent guitarist/songwriter. If you’ve seen a Bruce Dickinson or Rob Halford album, well he is listed in the production credits as either a mixer or engineer.

Immortal enemy, has come to challenge man / Secret science out of control

Who knew the immortal enemy is a virus. We cannot eradicate it, so we need to learn with it.

We are fighting for the earth

But no one is listening. As long as money rules the game, the Earth suffers.

Blood and corruption, hideous crimes / Lying leaders, controlling our minds

It feels like the rich and powerful don’t have to answer to anyone. Rules don’t apply to them. Then you have the news outlets who no one seems to fact check, also spreading lies like our elected leaders.

“Defenders of Creation” starts off with a riff that reminds me of “It’s Not Love” by Dokken. What came first, we will never know.

Leatherwolf – Endangered Species

In Europe it was released as “Leatherwolf” and in America it was released as “Endangered Species”. To confuse matters even more another self-titled album was released in 1987, which is different to this one.

But it was “Streetready” released in 89 that really got me interested in the band and I couldn’t find any of their early stuff at that point in time. But many years later, the internet made sure I did.

And this album is not on Spotify Australia but it’s on YouTube.

Musically, it’s metal the way I know it from a band trying to find where they fit into things. The tracks I like are “Endangered Species”, “Season Of The Witch” and “Leatherwolf”. But better songs would come after.

Mr Mister – Welcome To The Real World

Like Loverboy, but lighter in rock and roll. Like Marillion, but more poppy. Like Toto and their Africa period. Like U2 but not big on the social conscience lyrics.

That’s basically how I described em.

And there was no denying “On Broken Wings”. It was everywhere and I liked it. 134 million streams on Spotify demonstrates how big it is. And maybe because it reminded me of U2, I gravitated to it.

“Kyrie” is another song which still does the rounds at 33 million plus streams. This one reminds me of “Africa” from Toto and Marillion and I like it.

The labels tried their best to break up the band by offering vocalist Richard Page the vocalist gig in Toto to replace Bobby Kimball and then to replace Peter Cetera in Chicago.

But Page refused both offers.

In the end, this album (their second) was its biggest.

Once album number three “ Go On” stalled in sales a few years later, the writing was on the wall. Guitarist Steve Farris left in 88 and the remaining members went to work on album number 4 with session guitarists.  This was ready for release in 1990 but the label refused to release it and that was that. 

John Fogerty – Centrefield

I had no idea at the time the troubles he had with the labels and his old CCR songs but there was no denying that John Fogerty is a star. And the songs, “Vanz Kant Danz” and “Mr Greed” sum it up nicely about his struggles.

That opening lick in “The Old Man Down The Road” gets the foot tapping. Its instant and memorable. “Rock and Roll Girls” transports you back to those 60’s movies, hanging out on the boardwalk. “Mr Greed” is a blues rock slap down of his former label boss and the title track is a 12 bar blues romp. 

And that’s a wrap for 1985 part 6, and I’m off to 1977 for part 6.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Radiation Romeos

I was writing a post on 1985 as part of my yearly series and the band Warrior came up. I’m a fan of Paramore McCarty on vocals.

He did the album “Fighting For The Earth” in 1985 and then was in label limbo land, until he got the vocalist gig for Steve Stevens Atomic Playboys. The aggressive melodic rock and over the top Vinnie Vincent style of guitar playing really got me into the band. But when a label throws millions at a release, they want a return on those millions and more. And that didn’t happen. So Atomic Playboys got dropped.

And McCarty disappeared for a long time. I now know via Wikipedia that he went back to Warrior and did a few more albums with them.

And then he sort of disappeared again.

But in 2017, he resurfaced with a new band called “Radiation Romeos”. If the words sound familiar to you, they should, as they are lyrics in the “Atomic Playboys” song. And the song “Radiation Romeos” is a derivative cut of the “Atomic Playboys” and by far the best rocker on the album which is basically a new take on an old sound.

“Ocean Drive” is a slower melodic rocker, more anthemic and 80’s influenced. “Promised Land” is a cross between a Dio cut and Gary Moore, think “Egypt The Chains Are On” and “Blood Of Emeralds”. “Til The End Of Time” is another melodic rocker which is cool for a listen and “On The Tight Rope” could come from an AC/DC album.

Only one album has been released on Frontiers and I’m not sure if anymore will come.

P.S. 

There has to be money in music and streaming, because Frontiers wouldn’t be throwing money at artists to get them to write and record for them. They have been a very prolific record label.

P.S.S.

Then again, the money is in holding the copyrights for songs for the life of the artist plus 70 years after death. In some countries its 90 years.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

2000 – Part 6

I still have quite a few more posts to do for 2000. I think I’m half way through it.

My musical likes were all over the place depending on my mood and what inspires me to pick up the guitar and play it.

Pantera – Reinventing The Steel

I didn’t hear this album when it came out. I moved away from Pantera after the hard-core vocals on “A Vulgar Display of Power”. Musically I liked it, lyrically I liked it, but the vocals I didn’t like. I knew eventually I would get back into listening to their catalogue because Dimebag is that good, that you need to listen to him. Plus he’s a mega Kiss fan, with Ace Frehley being an idol, along with Randy Rhoads.

Each song has some cool guitar moments, like “Hellbound” with its downtuned and flanged riff. Or “Revolution Is My Name” with its steroid infused blues rock riffs, like ZZ Top, down-tuned, and sped up.

What is my name?

Well, it’s revolution baby….

“Goddamn Electric” is like a Sabbath cut, musically, moving between so many different grooves and “I’ll Cast A Shadow” has an awesome intro riff and chromatic breakdown section full of brimstone and fire and moshing bodies.

Shadows Fall – Of One Blood

Musically, its heavy metal as I know it. To the reviewers and critics, they called the band copy cats of the Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal scene.

Vocally it’s a cross between death metal growls and abrasive Hetfield like vocals. The soaring and melodic clean tone vocals would come on later albums. Original vocalist Phil Labonte was out of the band because of musical differences and dreadlocked singer Brain Fair was in. And for those that don’t know, Labonte went on to form All That Remains and on occasions he filled in for Ivan Moody in Five Finger Death Punch.

Guitarist Jon Donais has been in Anthrax since 2013, appearing on “For All Kings”. Other guitarist Matt Bachand plays bass in various other bands like Hatebreed and Act of Defiance.

In relation to this album, better albums would come later.

RPWL – God Has Failed

They started off as a Pink Floyd cover band and then got a deal to make original music. For me, they took up the mantle that Pink Floyd was leaving behind with their lack of recorded output in the 1990’s and 2000’s. If you like “A Momentary Lapse Of Reason” then you will like this.

“Hole In The Sky (Pt 1: Fly / Pt 2: Crawl To You)” opens the album. Its melancholic guitar arpeggios and Dave Gilmour like voice instantly hooks me in.

“Who Do You Think We Are” is the best cut for me. It’s the most accessible. It starts off with an emotive guitar solo, sounding more like a Beatles cut than a Pink Floyd cut with a Chorus that Oasis would be proud off. And that solo at the 3 minute mark, its Clapton like in the emotion stakes.

“In Your Dreams” sounds like “Sorrow” from Pink Floyd in the first part. This is the one that really got under peoples skins. And the chorus has a clear Genesis influence and it’s a nice mix of their influences in an accessible format. For someone to listen to this song and not be aware of the Pink Floyd and Genesis catalogue, this would sound original. And that is originality.

“Hole in The Sky (Pt 3: The Promise)” takes the riffs from the first two parts and adds an excellent one minute guitar solo. Set up a playlist and put both songs together, just to listen to how the song sounds complete.

This album got negative reviews because it lacked originality, but my view of originality is taking something that came before and using it to make something different.

When Kingdom Come appeared towards the late 80’s, they were marked as Led Zeppelin clones. I remember the critics blasting them, but the album sold. Because people want to listen to Led Zeppelin and Kingdom Come were doing songs that Led Zeppelin were no long doing.

RPWL was also doing things that Pink Floyd were no longer doing in 2000.

Joe Satriani – Engines Of Creation

He went industrial with this album.

Sampled drums and loops more or less kick off every song on the album. Satriani has enough goodwill in my book, that there will always be a bias towards his work. But there has to be a song that makes me want to pick up the guitar and learn it.

In this case, the ballad like “Until We Say Goodbye” is the song. Otherwise, the album is a miss.

Nickelback – The State

I think this album was released in 1999 in the Northern markets, and 2000 in the Australian market. It’s a forgotten album now when you look at the success which came after.

Two songs dominate this album.

“Breathe” is one of the best songs Nickelback has written. Just press play and listen to it. It has a riff which is recognisable, a drum pattern which is dominant and the vocal melodies from Chad Kroger are brilliant.

“Leader Of Men” is another great song as it rolls along with the acoustic in the intro and verses as it builds until the whole band comes in.

But there are some other cool sections within songs. “Diggin’ This” has a heavy groovy riff. “One Last Run” starts off with a double time metal like riff. “Hold Out Your Hand” also has a heavy dirge riff which I like.

Check out pre chart topping Nickelback.

Well that’s a wrap for another 2000 post. Off to 1985 for Part 6 we go.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault – Candlebox

Self-Titled debut

I was late to the party on these guys. 

Guitar World and Guitar For The Practicing Musician had guitar tabs of the songs “Far Behind”, You”, “Cover Me” and “Change”. And I learned em without listening to the song and I liked what I heard.

I read the reviews in the U.S mags who gave it good reviews and how they have become Madonna’s darlings as their label Maverick Records is owned/run by Madonna and her team. The band basically put Maverick Records on the map as they were the first successful act on the label which signed Deftones and Alanis Morissette later. 

Peter Klett on guitars really knows how to decorate a song with his little melodic riffs and licks. Just listen to “Far Behind” and how he takes a stock standard chord progression of G, Em, C, D (like “Stand By Me”) and really decorates it with diads, arpeggios, hammer ons/pull offs and single note licks to make it sound unique.

Happy Pills

This is their third album.

One song, “Sometimes” defines this album for me. It’s that good, I had it on repeat consistently.

I’ve written about the song before.

You can read it here. 

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Death Magnetic

12 years old. In Australia it would be graduating Year 6 this year and moving to high school next year.

So how does it stack up compared to other albums?

For me, it stacks up well.

“The Day That Never Comes”, “Cyanide” and “The Unforgiven III” became favourites right away.

The structure of TDTNC is like those old songs that appeared as track 4 on the first five albums. An arpeggio guitar intro, a Kirk Hammet lead break which builds into the the Verse riff.

“Cyanide” and that riff which comes in at the 26 second mark after the bass groove. It’s perfect combination of all the things I like about Metallica.

And the lyric, “suicide, I’ve already died”. You know that it’s going to be a good Metallica album when Hetfield is writing the lyrics again.

The Ennio Morricone inspired “The Unforgiven III” is emotive and captures my interest. And it rolls along like a movie score instead of metal song but it’s a metal song through and through.

And the other songs like “That Was Just Your Life”, “The End Of The Line” and “The Judas Kiss” keep me interested. Even “Broken, Beat And Scared” and “All Nightmare Long”..

Three years later they released a 4 song EP of cuts that didn’t make the album called “Beyond Magnetic”.

The actual tour lasted three years but they kept on touring for a lot longer. In essence the album gave the band a 7 year victory lap before they went back in the studio to do “Hardwired”

The only thing that i don’t like is the high volume mastering. Then again, the “Loudness Wars” was happening with all of the releases on major labels at the time, so of course Metallica had to win it.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Progress Is Derivative

Coney Hatch released “Friction” in 1985.

The song “Monkey Bars” has a riff and vocal melody that sounds like a Beatsie Boys tune called “Fight For Your Right (To Party)” which came out in 1986.

Kingdom Come released their self titled debut in 1988.

“Get It On”, takes the entire chord progression from “Kashmir” and “What Love Can Be” takes from “Since I’ve been loving You” and “The Rain Song”.

Bon Jovi released Slippery When Wet” in 1986 and Desmond Child just took the music and melodies of a song he wrote for Bonnie Tyler called “If You Were A Woman (And I Was A Man)” and used it for “You Give Love A Bad Name”. Then Belinda Carlisle and her team came out with “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” a year later.

Basically be influenced and take what came before and make it better.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

1977 – Part 5

Styx – The Grand Illusion

I got this album in the 90’s and all because of Tommy Shaw. Believe it or not, my first exposure to Tommy Shaw was via Damn Yankees. I had heard of “The Nuge” and Jack Blades, but Tommy Shaw was an unknown to me, until I started reading interviews that mentioned Styx.

And the internet today can tell you that this album was a smash, but back then in the 80’s, this information was not available. Nor did I know that Styx had progressive overtones in their songs. But the 70’s rock music was all about blues rock with some experimentation. 

Being a Kansas fan and hearing Kansas before Styx, at times I felt like I was listening to Kansas. Case in point, the title track.

Welcome to the grand illusion / Come on in and see what’s happening

Stardom and being a star was in every teenagers mind, and when MTV brought the super stars to our TV rooms, the dreams of stardom just kept growing. And that’s the theme of the album. Stardom.

Musically, the song is excellent, with a lot of progressive movements and top shelf playing.

“Fooling Yourself” has nice progressive keys, with lush acoustic guitars in the background and then coming to the fore in the verse, just as you would expect from a Tommy Shaw song.

“Superstars” musically could have come from a Kiss record, but vocally, it’s like a Queen song, with multiple harmonies and what not.

“Come Sail Away” was the song that pushed this album. These days, a song like this wouldn’t do anything as the majority are fascinated with hip-hop and pop music made to a beat instead of music.

“Miss America” sounds like it’s from a Kiss record and “Man In The Wilderness” has a memorable intro guitar lick

“Castle Walls” is a tour de force, my favourite, with its “Jason Myers Halloween style” keyboard riff. I’m not sure if I’m listening to The Alan Parsons Project or Styx. And then it stops, with the bass guitar providing a pulse like groove. And the harmony leads kick in, then a normal guitar lead and the rhythm guitar just keeps the groove going.

And listening to STYX, the thing that appealed to me is the diversity that the members brought especially DeYoung, Shaw and Young.

At times, it felt like a Kansas record, then a Yes record, then a Genesis record, then a Queen record, then a Kiss record, then a Led Zeppelin record, then an ELO record and at times a Supertramp record.

And Supertramp is up next. 

Supertramp – Even In The Quitest Moments

I used to hear their songs as TV jingles, but at that point in time I had no idea it was Supertramp. I just thought they were jingles.

“Give A Little Bit’ could have come from the STYX album as well, it’s got that acoustic feel that is similar to “Fooling Yourself”.

Pink Floyd – Animals

I heard this album in the 2000’s. And I was picking up the guitar to learn, “Pigs (Three Different Ones)”. Terrible title, but one hell of a song.

The synth intro and then the guitar riff in the first minute. It gets me interested.

At the 4.20 minute mark, another guitar riff kicks and then the drums and bass come in.

A mood and a groove is established. It slowly percolates, and some fuzzed out talk box licks kick in.

At 7.16 is back to the synth intro and guitars, with a bass solo from Roger Waters.

But the piece d resistance is from 9.40 when David Gilmour starts to wail.

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

I kept seeing this album listed on lists from different artists during various interviews. But I couldn’t get into Fleetwood Mac. Then in the late 90’s, I saw a documentary on TV about “The Dance” live/reunion album which also showed live performances and I became a fan. 

All from the documentary. 

“Dreams” has this sexy swinging bass groove, with a basic drum beat and some guitar volume swells. Then the vocals start and I was all in. “Don’t Stop” is overplayed and some is “The Chain” but its “Go Your Own Way” which got me hooked, more so from the live performance on “The Dance” with the outro guitar solo extended by Buckingham.

Steely Dan – Aja 

A work colleague kept telling me to check out Steely Dan in the 2000’s but I never did. Then “The Night Flight Orchestra” dropped their debut album “Internal Affairs” and Bjorn Strid mentions “Steely Dan” as in influence. So I’m interested.

Lucky for me, this wasn’t the first album I heard from em, otherwise I would not have gone further. “Josie” is the only song here which musically got me interested. It’s a rocker but it doesn’t sound like a rocker, because of the 7th and 9th chords they chuck in. Replace them with power chords and you get a rocker.

And I’ve watched the BBC Classic Albums documentary on the album, how it was stressful to have so many different musicians and how the label was worried with it. The main thing I got out of the documentary was how this album took the recording engineering techniques of making an album to a new standard. 

Heart – Little Queen

One song. 

“Barracuda”.

That riff to kick it off, it’s on the same level as “Immigrant Song”. But it was inspired by a Nazareth song called “This Flight Tonight”  which is a cover of a Joni Mitchell song. The Joni Mitchel song strums the E but when Nazareth covered it, they introduced the palm muted triplet feel.

And the song’s lyrics came about from their poor treatment from Mushroom Records, who took out ads in magazines that looked like newspaper articles, talking about an incestuous relationship between the sisters. This in turn led to a male DJ to ask one of the sisters where her lover was. 

Wikipedia tells me “that “Barracuda” could be anyone from the local promotion man to the president of a record company. That is the barracuda. It was born out of that whole experience.”

“Love Alive” rolls along with its acoustic riffs as it percolates until the drums kick in. A Led Zeppelin influenced cut, which Badlands would do similar a decade later.

“Little Queen” is a funk blues rock tune. It grooves and stomps its way from start to finish. Half way through it changes to a ballad and the groove is like “Kings And Queens” from Aerosmith, just a bit slower, before the blues rock kicks in again. Now, the songs came out at the same time, so there is no way they could copy each other, but it’s a good lesson for the artist who thinks their idea is so original and free from influence. Remember, there is another artist thinking just the same and another artist thinking almost the same and so forth. 

And the last track, “Go On Cry” is almost progressive in its composition and riffage. This kind of experimentation bands don’t do that often or at all anymore.

Well that’s a wrap for another post of 77, back to 2000 for part 6.

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