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

1985 – Part 4

Kiss – Asylum

My son asked me yesterday, “what decade of Kiss do I like for new music released?”

I grew up on the 80’s Kiss, with the exception of the “Dynasty” and “Unmasked” albums. So my go to albums from Kiss are the 80’s albums, along with “Revenge”.

My first proper “Alive” experience was “Alive III”, then “IV” and then I went back to listen to “I” and “II”. But I like “III” better.

In the last 20 years, Kiss haven’t really set the world alight with new music (“Hell Or Hallelujah” will beg to differ and it’s up there as one of the best tracks for me), nor have they really dug into the vaults. Then again, Gene Simmons did raid his vault and from the reviews I read over at 2Loud2OldMusic, Simmons did a pretty good job at it.

Now in Australia, Kiss was larger than life. They always had an interview on TV or a music video clip on TV or a song played on radio. And they had their loyal following, plus any fly by nighters who would fall in and out of fandom with the band.

This album has Paul Stanley pulling quadruple duty on song writing, guitar playing, production duties (which even though Gene is listed as co-producer, Stanley did 90% of it) and bass playing. And I gravitated to the Stanley tracks, because they were just better.

This album also sticks out because it’s part of the era of bad jackets. Like very bad glam like jackets. If you’ve seen posters or press photos of bands during this era, you would know what I mean.

And it needs to be said, that Bruce Kulick is a guitar hero. He doesn’t get the “shred cred” he derserves, maybe because he played with Kiss. But his solos, from “Animalize” to “Revenge” are nothing short of guitar hero shred.

“King Of The Mountain” is written by Stanley, Kulick and Desmond Child and it gets the album off to a good start.

“Tears Are Falling” is a Stanley cut and although generic, it proved very popular for Kiss on MTV. “Who Wants To Be Lonely” is another cut that sticks around, this one being a co-write with Stanley, Child and Jean Beauvoir who would become well-known with the song, “Feel The Heat” from the Cobra soundtrack.

And let’s not talk about “Uh! All Night” even though some brain dead label rep thought it was a good idea to also release it as a single.

White Lion – Fight To Survive

I didn’t hear this until the 2000’s post Napster era was happening.

It wasn’t available at all in Australia and I didn’t know anyone who had a copy of it.

And it’s a forgotten album but it shouldn’t be, because it showcases Vito Bratta. While Bratta didn’t get back into the music business once White Lion broke up, his recorded output and musical legacy is down to the four White Lion albums and the backroom label dealings and stabbings which would affect Bratta.

They got signed to Elektra in 1984 and they record the album. Elektra refuses to release the album and terminates the bands contract. So now they have an album recorded, which they can’t access as its owned by Elektra and they have no deal.

Then a Japanese label releases it in Japan, and another label in the US release it under license to Elektra and the band tours on it, but the label in the U.S goes bankrupt. And the band is going through changes in the bass and drum department.

They did get singed to Atlantic in 1987, but that’s another story for another year.

Stand Outs with Great Bratta Moments

“Fight To Survive” is brilliant musically. Lyrically it’s about street life and fighting to be alive each day.

Great tapping intro that breaks down into the bass groove for the verse, with the volume swells and then it picks up for the big chorus and I love the delay in the solo section.

“All The Fallen Men” is influenced by “Rocking in the Free World” in the verses. Then again this came before Neil Young, and it’s a pretty generic chord progression, so..

“El Salvador” is the best song on this first album. The flamenco intro moving into the distortion riff is brilliant. You can hear Al DiMeola’s “Mediterranean Sundance”. And once the song kicks it’s all Thin Lizzy. Phil Lynott would be proud.

Clichéd Songs with Great Bratta Moments

“Broken Heart” has typical 80’s lyrics from Mike Tramp. Bratta shreds in the solo section with finger tapping and tap bends.

“All Burn In Hell” reminded me of Twisted Sister’s “Burn in Hell”. Musically it is typical of the 80’s. But the syncopated interlude before the solo. Brilliant.

There is a modern alternative rock metal vibe. And the solo section to me is a song within a song. A great Bratta moment.

Bad Songs with Great Bratta Moments

“Where Do We Run” – reminds of a 100th rate AC/DC song in the verse. Tramps lyrics and melodies are lame. It’s a shame because it has a killer solo, very much in the vein of Randy Rhoads – “Flying High Again” and George Lynch – “Tooth and Nail”.

“In The City” – up until the interlude and solo section, where Bratta wails, the song sounds like a Y&T rip off lyrically.

Firehouse also did a song, where the vocal melody was similar.

Does anyone remember “The Dream”?

Actually does anyone remember Firehouse the band?

Filler Songs

“Cherokee” – The lyrics are tacky, “Cherokee, riding free”. Maybe because I heard it after Europe’s “Cherokee”, which I also didn’t like.

“Kid of a 1000 Faces” – the less said about this song the better.

“The Road To Valhalla” – with that title I was expecting something epic.

AC/DC – Fly On The Wall

I love the cover art. I drawed it in Art Class. I wish I still have my art journals. The teacher hated it, as he was anti-rock/metal.

Malcolm tried really hard to remove AC/DC from the overproduced and super focused Lange albums. And although their worldwide sales especially in the U.S market didn’t set the world on fire post Lange, in the land of Oz, they couldn’t do no wrong.

We lapped up the 7 inch singles, their songs got played on radio and the music video clips for “Shake Your Foundations” and “Sink The Pink” got played relentlessly.

See me leaning, on the bar
I got my head in a whiskey jar

It’s the Australian way of life to be leaning on the bar, intoxicated. I wouldn’t have it any other way. And maybe it’s a big reason why the music videos resonated with Australian fans. They are both filmed in a bar/pub and people are playing pool while drinking. It’s the Australian way of life.

ZZ Top – Afterburner

How do you follow up “Eliminator”?

By continuing on with using synths, sequenced beats and midi samples with their blues boogie riffs.

A new take on an old sound.

I called it “New Wave Blues” (NWB). And I meant it as a compliment.

How good is the cover?

It was enough to hook me in.

And while “Sleeping Bag” kept in that NWB department, “Stages” is a melodic rock gem that I didn’t see coming.

“Rough Boy” has some of Billy Gibbons most melodic and emotive lead breaks. Check out the intro lead break and the outro lead break. He brought long guitar solos to the mainstream.

“Can’t Stop Rockin’” is “Got Me Under Pressure” a 12 bar blues boogie with sequenced drum beats. “Planet Of Women” rocks out of the gate, and man, this song has Gibbons putting in some serious playing in the riffage department.

The album is a product of its time and era, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Gary Moore – Run For Cover

It was the mid 90’s when I heard this album. And it’s one of his best albums.

“Empty Rooms” and that lead break is one of his best lead breaks, better than “Parisienne Walkways” and “Still Got The Blues”. “Military Man” has Phil Lynott singing, while “Out In The Fields” is a duet between Lynott and Moore.

The mighty Glen Hughes sings on “Reach For The Sky”, “Nothing To Lose” and “All Messed Up”, while Moore sings on “Run For Cover”, “Empty Rooms”, “Once In A Lifetime” and “Listen To Your Heartbeat”.

And Moore also has Lynott, Hughes and Bob Daisley playing bass on the album. Four different producers in Andy Johns, Peter Collins, Beau Hill and Mike Stone. In other words it’s an expensive album, but it did nothing sales wise in the U.S, while in Europe, it did a lot better.

But the piece d’resistance is “Empty Rooms”. The lead break from Moore was talked about a lot in guitar circles. And it’s a re-recording. He released it on “Victims Of The Future”. A longer version of 6 plus minutes. This one is more concise at 4 minutes.

And the way “Run For Cover” starts off, you know that Moore means business,. There isn’t a bad song on this album. The cuts that Hughes does vocals on are favourites and I need to do a playlist of songs Hughes has done over his career, like how I did with Ronnie James Dio, covering Rainbow, Sabbath and his solo career. The only album missing on that list is the “Heaven And Hell” band album from the two thousands because it’s not on Spotify Australia.

Phil Collins – No Jacket Required

His voice is one of the best.

It’s like Soul Rock and I like Collins when his also bluesy with a touch of rock.

The “hit songs” on this album are not my favourites. The brass instruments are just too much for me on those. But with any Collins release, there is always something to sink your ears into.

“Long Long Way To Go” is a favourite. It’s the mood and the repeating guitar/synth lick.

Then there is “I Don’t Wanna Know” which is a melodic rock masterpiece, with a great outro guitar solo.

“Don’t Lose My Number” reminds me of Marillion for some reason. It has a feel that Marillion would explore later on when they changed vocalists.

“Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore” has this driving beat to kick it off before it subdues in the verses, but the drums still roll on.

And there’s so much more music to get through for 1985, but that will be for other posts.

So into the time machine we go and I’ll see ya at 1977 for Part 4.

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

Friday Rambles

Another Dokken track was released today from the album is known as “The Lost Tapes” which is more or less modern day re-recordings of these songs, instead of the original tracks re-mixed and mastered.

So far it’s a zero from two strike rate.

And of course, Don Dokken’s ex band mate, is also Re-Imagining his early works, in this case, George Lynch is redoing “Wicked Sensation”. Its him and Oni Logan, with the help of Robbie Crane on bass and Brian Tichy on drums.

“The term ‘re-record’ makes me cringe, this is not that. We re-invented the wheel on this record. It’s really a different animal than the original! Fans won’t be disappointed!”
George Lynch

Interesting to hear what reinvention he’s talking about. I remember a Lynch Mob album called “Revolution” in which Lynch reinvented some Dokken songs with different grooves. It’s not something which I have played a lot since I purchased it.

Since I have every single thing Lynch has released on my shelf, I would probably buy this, but I will wait to hear it on Spotify.

You see, when a different artist does a song from another artist, it’s known as a cover, but for some reason, when the same artist re-does their earlier stuff, it was always seen as a forgery.

The only time a forgery was done to an excellent standard was with the 1987 self-titled Whitesnake album. John Kalodner cracked that whip and David Coverdale along with Sykes on “Crying In The Rain” and Sykes/Vandenberg on “Here I Go Again” or Dan Tuff on the radio friendly version delivered in gold. Because two years later, the Steve Vai version of “Fool For Your Loving” didn’t cut it.

Then again, every artist from the 80’s who has a deal with Frontiers is encouraged to re-record their successful 80’s music for the label.

Even Def Leppard did it them selves while they had that ongoing dispute with their label over what they should pay the band to have their music on digital services.

And in relation to payments and digital services, Don Henley wants the U.S Government to pass laws so that anyone who plays his music, pays money for the use of his songs.

Regardless.

He mentioned how his label, Universal has over 60 people patrolling the internet to take down unauthorised uses of his songs. On occasions these automated takedowns, take down legitimate uses as well.

And I’m thinking, their wages are paid by the monies the label receives from exploiting record music. Shouldn’t those monies be paid to the artists who create the music.

Then there is the other side of the debate, people who actually use music from artists to promote the artists music on YouTube.

What is fair use, and when should their popular YouTube video earnings be handed over to the label?

A site I follow, made mention of another site called totalfollowers.com, which I checked out. Since I was writing about Dokken, Lynch Mob And Def Leppard, I thought I should check out their reach.

I typed in Lynch Mob and there are 240,313 followers.

I typed in Dokken and there are 552,280 followers.

I typed in Def Leppard and there are 11,571,109 followers.

I guess that’s the difference between having diamond certifications to platinum certifications to no certification.

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

11th May 1992 Australian Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Charts Snapshot

I posted last week about the albums that made up the Top 20 in Australia back in 1992.

Here is the Singles List.

Number 1
Under The Bridge – Red Hot Chilli Peppers

The Hendrix “Little Wing” inspired intro from Frusciante converted a lot of rock heads to the RHCP. Their album was on top and their single was on top.

Number 2
To Be With You – Mr Big

Their worst song by far, but it cashed in on the Unplugged acoustic craze. It worked for Extreme and it worked for Mr Big. But those ballad fans who cross over for the song are fly by nighters.

Number 3
Nothing Else Matters – Metallica

The variety on the self-titled “Black” album is a big reason why it sold. There was enough there to please metal heads, rock heads, thrash heads, country heads and pop heads. And this song is a perfect example of it. Plus it has a killer James Hetfield lead break.

Number 4
Alive – Pearl Jam

I get why it was popular, but I didn’t like it when it came out and after I purchased the album, I preferred a lot of the other tracks to this.

Number 5
Let’s Get Rocked – Def Leppard

So you wanna get rocked…. I guess we still wanted to get rocked.

Number 6
Thought I’d Died And Gone To Heaven – Bryan Adams

This is from the “Waking Up The Neighbours” album that went to number 1 everywhere.

Adams has a lot of fans down under, so it’s no surprise his songs chart well. And what a run he had between 1983 and 1999. And he made some big choices, like moving from Jim Vallance to Mutt Lange and the momentum just kept getting bigger.

Number 7
November Rain – Guns N Roses

You get three emotive Slash solos.

What more could you want?

Number 8
Viva Las Vegas – ZZ Top

It’s a cover song, but at this point in time there was nothing that ZZ Top could do wrong. This is one of the two new tracks, the other being “Gun Love”. Like Adams, they were on a winning plus decade.

Number 9
Dream Alone – Killing Time

An Australian hard rock band, which had a band name, the same as the U.S hardcore band and after this single release they would change it to Mantissa.

They supported bands like Janes Addiction, Baby Animals and Pantera on National tours but they had a constant turnover of musicians which felt like a momentum killer.

Number 10
Sister’s Crazy – Candy Harlots

This band story is a combination of Anvil and Motley Crue.

They had a deal offered in 1987 but their manager refused to sign it, because he wanted a bigger cut and then signed the band to a four year management deal, which suppressed the band from signing the record deal themselves. No other label wanted to get involved in this legal mess. They finally did sign a deal in 1991.

They had a massive Club following like Motley Crue. There was tragedy when one of their main songwriters Ron Barrett died before they even got their deal. In the 90’s, Barrett’s death was reported as a drug overdose, while these days, its reported as an asthma attack. And the evolving door of musicians just kept on happening, with drummer Tony Cardinal being the only founding musician in the band when they got their deal.

And as soon as they released their “Five Wicked Ways” album in 1992, within a year it was over.

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A to Z of Making It, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

11th May 1992 Australian Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Charts Snapshot

Number 1
BloodSugerSexMagik
RHCP

I’m not an overall fan of RHCP albums but I am a fan of some of their songs and their resilience to keep at it, and to create a whole soundtrack of music for people.

On this album, the groove riff in “Suck My Kiss” and the Hendrix inspired intro in “Under The Bridge” got my attention.

Number 2
Adrenalize
Def Leppard

While it wasn’t as strong as the previous two albums, they still had enough goodwill with their fans.

Number 3
Ten
Pearl Jam

A slow burner, this album would be around for a few more years, on the backs of album cuts like “Black”.

Number 4
Vulgar Display Of Power
Pantera

I heard this album and totally avoided it for a very long time. I couldn’t believe that after “Cowboys For Hell”, the vocals turned into hard core screaming. But I gave it a shot, circa 2005, and although I hate Anselmo’s vocal delivery, Dimebag delivers musically.

Number 5
The End Complete
Obituary

My cousin is a Death Metal fan. I liked the cover, heard it and forgot it.

Number 6
Nevermind
Nirvana

Like it or not, there is some good riffage on this album. The psychedelic “Come As You Are” still gets me.

Number 7
Wasted In America
Love/Hate

I still haven’t heard it.

Number 8
The End Of Silence
Rollins Band

I still haven’t heard it.

Number 9
Badmotorfinger
Soundgarden

This was my first introduction to Chris Cornell and his voice. And I liked it.

Number 10
Baby Animals
Baby Animals

One of my favourite hard rock records. Suze DeMarchi and crew deliver on this debut.

Number 11
Metallica
Metallica

This album is still charting. In 2020.

Number 12
Bleach
Nirvana

No one cared for this album, until “Nevermind”. Sort of like the old Whitesnake and Metallica catalogues after “1987” and “Black” album. We all went back to listen.

Number 13
Body Count
Body Count

Ice T stirred the pot with “Cop Killer” but it’s the 70’s Classic Rock influenced “The Winner Loses” which grabs me. If you haven’t heard, you should get to it. The whole 6 minutes.

Number 14
User Your Illusion II
Guns N Roses

There was always the debate, which album is better. The first one or the second one. Based on sales in Australia, the second one.

Number 15
Hysteria
Def Leppard

Five years later, this was still selling in the land of Oz.

Number 16
Fire and Ice
Yngwie Malmsteen

Australia has a Power Metal fan base and Malmsteen at this point in time serviced it well. And you couldn’t tell the Elitist Power Metallers about any blues based players. They would change their views years later.

Number 17
Use Your Illusion 1
Guns N Roses

I like the first album better.

Number 18
Vae Solis
Scorn

I haven’t heard it nor do I know anything about the band.

Number 19
America Must Be Destroyed
GWAR

I just saw them as a fad, but they had a career that spanned over 20 plus years. And I still haven’t listened to em.

Number 20
Blind
Corrosion Of Conformity

There isn’t a stand out cut, but each cut has a groove that I can latch onto.

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

Take To Create

I guess I’m back in the “New York Groove” today.

So what’s an original riff these days?

One Direction – “Midnight Memories” borrows from Def Leppard – “Pour Some Sugar On Me”.

And it borrows from Joan Jett – “I Love Rock N Roll” and it borrows from Ace Frehly – “New York Groove”.

Take a little bit from here and a little bit from there to create something a little bit different.

All good songs and part of my Sunday listening.

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

The Record Vault – Pat Benatar

Although Pat Benatar was promoted as a solo artist, Benatar had a consistent set of band members, for her career. Guitarist Neil Giraldo (who would become her husband) and drummer Myron Grombacher did time with Rick Derringer’s touring band. Other band members put in decent stints as well throughout the years in original bassist Roger Capps and original rhythm guitarist Scott St Clair Sheets who were involved in writing some of the big songs.

And they all did their time in previous outfits before Benatar, honing their chops and song writing abilities.

In The Heat Of The Night

The debut album released in 1979 and you see, on this album, what A&R reps used to do once upon a time.

Which is to find songs for an artist to record. If that meant taking songs recorded previously and re-doing em, so be it. The only original songs on this album are “My Clone Sleeps Alone”, “So Sincere” and “We Live For Love”.

“Heartbreaker” has a wicked riff and a lead break. Plus one of the best voices in rock music. And it’s a cover. The song appeared originally on the 1978 album “Queen Of Fools” by Jenny Darren, who appeared in the 12th season of Britain’s Got Talent, at the age of 68, singing “Highway To Hell”. Her record label was also a publishing company and they knew they had a song to shop around, and shop it they did.

While John Cougar Mellencamp delivered a 5 minute song, Pat Benatar delivered a concise pop rock song with “I Need A Lover”, which made Mellencamp a lot of money.

Fun fact is that “I Need A Lover” was a hit in Australia first, when it came out in 1978 on John Cougar’s debut album. It was then re-included on his 1979 album with the U.S market in mind. This time the U.S fans took to it and Pat Benatar helped it along with her version.

“In The Heat Of The Night” has this bass and drum groove with palm muted pentatonic lines which got me interested. And Benatar is oozing with sexuality in the vocal delivery. This is a Smokie cover, and they also covered “If You Think You Know How To Love Me” which was a hit for Smokie in the UK, but it did nothing in the U.S, so the label assumed that if it was done by a female vocalist, it would probably cross over in the U.S. But even Benatar’s version of “If You Think You Know How To Love Me”, which was the first single of this album, proved to be unsuccessful in the U.S.

And while the album is produced by Peter Coleman, the Mike Chapman tracks are produced by Mike himself, as he didn’t want anyone else messing with his tracks and the sound of this tracks, hence the title of Dictator Mike.

And both of these Smokie songs are written by Mick Chapman and Nicky Chinn, who had a run of hit singles between the years of 1970 and 1978. And another song that these two dudes wrote for Sweet also appears on the album called “No You Don’t”.

“We Live For Love” has this Blondie New Wave vibe which Neil Giraldo wrote.

“Don’t Let It Show” reminds me of The Beatles and Benatar delivers a soulful lead, while Neil Giraldo delivers a simple and emotive lead break. The song is written by The Alan Parsons Project songwriters in Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson.

Finally Rated X was a song on a Nick Glider solo album released on Chrysalis. Glider was a glam rocker in a Canadian band called Sweeney Todd. And another fun fact, when Nick Glider left Sweeney Todd to pursue a solo career, he was replaced by an unknown 16 year old called Bryan Adams. And yes, it’s that Bryan Adams.

And with all of this work going on to find songs and what not, it proved successful. The album sold well.

Crimes Of Passion

Released a year later in 1980 and produced by the great Keith Olsen. It also makes the appearance of Myron Grombacher on drums, who would become a mainstay and song writing partner in the Pat Benatar band. Bassist Roger Capps and rhythm guitarist Scott St. Clair Sheets are also there.

“Treat Me Right” is written by a Doug Lubahn (who played bass in The Doors, worked with Billy Squier and Ted Nugent). This song appeared on a “Riff Raff” album, which Lubahn was the bassist and vocalist and it kicks off Benatar’s album, with an arena rock Chorus.

“You Better Run” is a cover of “The Young Rascals”, a song they released in 1966. Benatar and Giraldo gave it a new life in 1980. “Never Wanna Leave You” is a Giraldo and Benatar cut with a reggae feel and a new wave type of vocal. But its sandwiched between four great tracks.

“Hit Me With Your Best Shot” is written by Eddie Schwartz, a Canadian solo artist and song writer who had some hits with Benatar, Paul Carrick and The Doobie Brothers in the 80’s plus he wrote tracks that ended up on Honeymoon Suite, Helix, Meat Loaf and Joe Cocker albums. The riff reminds me of “Since You’ve Been Gone”.

“Hell Is For Children” is a great title to get people thinking. Giraldo, Benatar and bassist Roger Capps went with the heavy theme of child abuse on this song. And it feels weird to write that it is a great song because of the theme. But it is. It’s been covered by a lot of metal and rock acts.

Billy Steinberg is on hand to write “I’m Gonna Follow You”. Steinberg is a few years away from teaming up with Tom Kelly and writing “Like A Virgin”, “True Colors”, “Alone” and “I’ll Stand By You”.

Then there is a Kate Bush cover of “Wuthering Heights”. I didn’t like the original so this one didn’t do anything for me.

“Prisoner Of Love” is written by bassist Scott St. Clair Sheets. It’s got this John Cougar Mellencamp Americana theme .

“Out-A-Touch” is a Giraldo, Benatar and Myron Grombacher cut. The first of many to come.

And like the debut, all the hard work to find songs to cover has paid off, as this album sold better than the debut. 4 million plus U.S sales and one of Benatar’s most streamed songs. Keith Olsen has the Midas touch.

Precious Time

For all of these out of touch and clueless musicians who whinge about releasing music too frequently, here is Pat Benatar releasing an album each year. This one came out in 1981, produced by Keith Olsen and Neil Giraldo.

“Promises in the Dark” is written by Neil Giraldo and Pat Benatar. It kicks off the album and when it starts to rock, how good is Giraldo on the guitar. That dude has gotten a lot of riff based songs onto the mainstream charts.

“Fire and Ice” is written by Tom Kelly (yes, the Tom Kelly that would go on and write with Bill Steinberg who also wrote a song for Benatar on the previous album and on this album called “Precious Time”), Scott St. Clair Sheets and Benatar. It’s like all of these song writers connected over a Pat Benatar album.

The drums kick it off, then the guitars and bass come in. And then then sultry vocal line from Benatar kicks in. And you’re thinking the song can’t get any better, but it does in the Chorus.

“Just Like Me” is a cover of a 60’s song by Paul Revere And The Raiders. Wikipedia tells me that the tune was written by Rick Dey and Rich Brown of the Longview-based band, The Wilde Knights. The Raiders manager Roger Hart then paid them $5,000 for the use of the song and this fee would give Roger Hart a song writing credit. But he didn’t write anything.

“Precious Time” is a Billy Steinberg composition.

The reggae influenced “It’s a Tuff Life” is written by Giraldo. And in the Chorus it moves into a New Wave Rock Chorus.

“Take It Anyway You Want It” is another cut written by Giraldo with the help of a Martin Briley who also wrote songs for Night Ranger, Michael Monroe, Michael Bolton and Jeff Healey, just to name a few. “Evil Genius” is a Giraldo, Benatar cut.

“Hard to Believe” is written by Giraldo and Myron Grombacher. And those major key chord voicings hook me in as it reminds me of songs like “I Need A Lover”.

“Helter Skelter” is written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. I’m a fan of the song, so I enjoy the various cover versions. Motley Crue did a killer version and so did U2. And those blues boogie riffs from Lennon and Harrison, Giraldo and Sheets cover em brilliantly.

Get Nervous

Released in 1982. This one is produced by Neil Giraldo and the producer from their first album, Peter Coleman.

Rhythm guitarist Scott St. Clair Sheets left and was replaced by keyboardist Charlie Giordano who ended up playing in “The E Street Band” after the death of original organist Danny Federici in 2008. St Clair left to focus on his own musical projects. One of the projects, a glam metal band called John Scott, finally got a deal in the early 90’s and then lost it when Grunge took over.

Sheets also formed a band in 1990’s called St Clair, and their self-titled debut album had Rudy Sarzo on bass and Jimmy Crespo on guitar with Ron Corbett on vocals.

“Shadows Of The Night” sounds like it influenced a young Jon Bon Jovi or Desmond Child, because god damn, it sounds like “Edge Of A Broken Heart” was born from it. The track is written by a person called D.L. Byron who also brought a case of Copyright Infringement against Rascal Flatts and their song “No Reins” for sounding very similar to “Shadows Of The Night”

Now we start the Giraldo and Billy Steinberg cuts to close of side one.

“Anxiety (Get Nervous)” has this staccato palm muted riff from Giraldo that Jake E Lee would use in songs like “Waiting For Darkness”. “Fight It Out” moves between piano ballad and power rock with Benatar’s voice carrying it. “The Victim” is a rock tour-de-force.

“Little Too Late” is written by Alex Call, who performed it in a band called Clover between the years of 1970 and 1979, which also had members like Huey Lewis and Jeff Porcaro in the band and they did work with a certain Mutt Lange in the 70’s.

Everyone is paying their dues.

“I’ll Do It” is a Giraldo and Benatar cut with a hooky and jangly guitar riff and melody. “I Want Out” has this “Flash” Queen vibe and it’s another cut written by Giraldo and Steinberg.

And I love the little connections and stories to different artists that Benatar and Co, introduced via the songs they selected to include on the album.

I don’t have the “Live From Earth” album (which was released in 1983) but it needs to be mentioned here, because it includes a studio track called “Love Is A Battlefield” which has 62 million plus streams on Spotify.

Tropico

Released in 1984.

Another change in the band department, with original bassist Roger Capps leaving and Donnie Nossov (who played with Jon Waite) replacing him. And it’s the album which sees Neil Giraldo take the reins of song writing, co-writing 8 out of the 10 tracks.

It wasn’t as loud as the previous efforts, more Madonna”ish and Cyndi Lauper ”ish. It was full of midi samples. And probably the album I don’t go back to even though it had “We Belong”.

Seven The Hard Way

A 1985 release and in seven years, Pat Benatar released an album each year. All in the aim to get her name and music out there. Artists seem to forget this cycle nowadays.

Once upon a time, artists had an album released, year after year. The labels cannibalised their sales of older product with new product. As a by-product, the artists built up careers.

Ronnie James Dio always comes to mind. From the first Rainbow album, to Black Sabbath and to the Dio “Sacred Heart” album, Dio had released album after album, each year. And people wonder why he was playing in arenas. You need to strike while you are hot, because it disappears quickly. More so today than ever before.

According to Benatar, “Seven the Hard Way” cost the most to make and sold the least. It’s also the last Pat Benatar album to feature bassist Donnie Nossov, who along with drummer Myron Grombacher went on to play with Lita Ford on her breakthrough album, Lita (1988) and on the supporting tour. However, Grombacher would return to Benatar’s band for the follow-up album.

And it’s not an album I go back to.

Wide Away In Dreamland

Three years between albums, this one was released in 1988.

One song.

“All Fired Up”.

It was huge in Australia.

Massive.

The music sounded like it came from the Aussie Pubs and it resonated quickly with Australian audiences. And I was curious as to how this Aussie Pub sound made its way to Pat Benatar. Looking at the credits, the song is written by Kerryn Tolhurst. Back then, that meant nothing to me, because I didn’t have an easy way to research things. But fast forward many years, later, and I find out that Kerryn Tolhurst is Australian, who was in an Australian country rock band called “The Dingoes”. When that band broke up, he formed a few others, and “Rattling Sabres” is the band that recorded and released “All Fired Up” in 1987.

And it did nothing in Australia.

Zero.

A year later, with Benatar and Giraldo taking the reins on it, the song got a new lease of life.

Choice Cuts DVD

A DVD which more or less covers the huge music video career of Benatar.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

What Do You Do?

It’s possible that your job is to make music. Or your job is something you do to get by in life and your real passion is music.

If that’s what you do, what would it mean to you to write more music and release it frequently?

Where would that put you in a year?

Is that more of a hassle or less of a hassle?

Is the drama worth it or not worth it?

Every person in the workforce asks themselves, how can we do our work better.

If you write music for a living, what would happen if you had the same mindset. How can you write better songs?

And the definition of better is yours to define.

Not the record labels, the manager or the public. It’s your definition. Define it and get cranking.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Towards Better

Winning streaks don’t last forever. It doesn’t happen in sport and it doesn’t happen in music either. Artists might have a commercial come back in between.

Aerosmith did it.

They had success in the 70’s, then barely survived their addictions by the end of that decade. In the early 80’s no one cared about em and when MTV started to rule culture, Aerosmith was absent until the Run DMC collaboration and then “Permanent Vacation” gave them another winning title. And this kept rolling with “Pump”, “Get A Grip” and “Nine Lives”. Another decade on top between 1987 and 1997 and then it started to dissipate again.

The draw they had in the live arena didn’t translate to high sales of their newer material. And like evert artist who had public acceptance of their music in the record label gatekeeper model, they didn’t know where they fitted in, post Napster. So they withheld their new music for a long time, until they released it (the “Music From Another Dimension” album in 2012) and no one cared about it, to talk or write about it.

But they did enough in their revivals to have a 50 year career in the music business.

Twisted Sister battled hard to get a record deal and make it. They finally got to the top with “Stay Hungry” and their cultural MTV anthems, only to disappear three years later in 1987, to resurface again almost 15 years later in 2002.

So the line from one spot to a better spot is rarely straight. It has its ups and downs and arcs. Even the hard work and the slog doesn’t last forever. Because every day you will be faced with opportunities, which are more or less problems that need to be solved. And you will have a choice, do nothing or to work through the problem.

Imagine if bands like Ratt, Dokken, White Lion and Skid Row worked through their problems instead of breaking up.

What would they be like today?

Because moving on and working towards something better is a habit and if you don’t have that habit, you might miss the chance that appears.

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A to Z of Making It, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Learning

Dee Snider once said “nothing lasts forever”. You are on top today and forgotten the next. The news cycle is so fast that no one even remembers what happened last week.

And I’m constantly in a state of learning. I like to read and learn new things. I like to acquire new skills. More so now than ever before.

I’ve always told everyone that Maiden made me want to learn, because of their songs. And I always got blank stares when I said that.

So I started to explain.

I read the Bible because of “Revelations” and “Number Of the Beast”.

I researched “Alexander The Great” because of the song. I read the poem of the Ancient Mariner because of them and the story of the “Phantom Of The Opera” and the mythology of the “Flight Of Icarus”.

I got an A when we studied Ancient Egypt because “Powerslave” made me interested in that era. I read up on the Battle Of Britain because of “Aces High”. I got to understand the Doomsday Clock and what it actually meant to forecast “Two Minutes To Midnight”.

“Mother Russia” got me reading up on the Tsars. “The Trooper” got me reading up on the “Crimean War” and “Where Eagles Dare” got me interested in World War II again, hence the reason why I kept getting A’s in history. Plus let’s not forget Churchill’s speech which is used to great effect in “Live After Death”. As I type this I’m hearing “we will never surrender” as the band launches into “Aces High”.

“Genghis Khan” was an unknown name back then so I had to check it out and I had to look up the meaning for “Purgatory”.

And the covers. I stared at em for long periods of time and tried to draw em myself. Another source of learning a new skill. Same deal with the logo.

That band was huge in getting me curious.

And I see that same sense of learning happening with my children today. From the TV shows and movies they’ve watched, they have built their own LEGO creations, wrote their own stories and filmed their own stop motion movies.

Be influenced and never stop learning.

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

Volbeat

I’ve been following a site called “Stream N Destroy” for a while now and I dig these emails, full of numbers about stream counts, YouTube views and sales for artists in the metal and rock genre. I subscribe to the free tier and of course there is a paid tier which goes even more in depth.

So in the current email, which can be found here, there is a mention of VOLBEAT and how their 2013 album “Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies“ is certified Gold.

And that’s important to note, because he music from artists used to take a while to break through. Black Sabbath didn’t set the world on fire with sales of their 70’s albums.

  • “Black Sabbath” released in 1970 was certified Gold a year later in 1971, and then Platinum in 1986.
  • “Paranoid” released in 1971 was certified Gold that same year and then Platinum in 1986 and by 1995 it was 4x Platinum.
  • “Master Of Reality” released in 1971 was certified Gold that same year and by 2001 it was 2x Platinum.
  • “Volume IV” released in 1972 was certified Gold that same year and then in 1986 it was certified Platinum.
  • “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” released in 1973 was certified Gold in 1974 and Platinum in 1986.
  • “Sabotage” released in 1975 was certified Gold in 1997.
  • “Technical Ecstasy” released in 1976 was certified Gold in 1997.
  • “Never Say Die” released in 1978 was certified Gold in 1997.

“Ride The Lightning” from Metallica took two years to get a Gold certification while “Kill Em All” took six years to get a Gold certification.

For Volbeat, this is a 7 year case.

And it doesn’t look like they will disappear anytime soon. Their 2012 album, “Beyond Hell, Above Heaven” was certified Gold in 2016, 4 years since its release. Their streaming numbers are high, although Queen takes the trophy this week, with 15.9 million streams of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Not bad for a track released in 1975.

Their current album, is still selling, it’s up to 45,500 sales in the U.S. It’s anaemic compared to the past, but then again, how many of the past artists that had big sales in the 80’s are still around and selling these kind of numbers today. Hell, the 80s artists couldn’t even get these numbers in the 90’s.

Their song “Leviathan” is also in the Billboard charts.

People are still interested in the band.

It’s a longer road than before, but it’s a road still worth taking. You just need to be patient and you will need to have another line of income to pay the bills. For a lot of artists, this was the road, but that will change.

The labels don’t like it because they got used to making a quick buck, especially when MTV turned culture into a monoculture, the labels wanted every release to be an instant pay day.

And when it wasn’t, heads rolled.

Artists would get dropped and A&R department heads would also disappear. Because the labels didn’t want to waste time on artist development. And today, that is even more prevalent.

In relation to the weekly streams, while Queen is on top of the world, “Thunderstruck” from AC/DC is sitting at 11.8 million streams for the week.

And what I took out of it all, is that the big streaming songs (apart from some Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold and Disturbed) are all pre 2006, with “Stairway To Heaven” the oldest track at 1971.

Music lives on for a long time, hence the reason why the labels wanted Copyright terms to last 70 years after the creators death. And that same rule that they wanted is also getting em undone in court cases from the heirs of the artists.

Keep creating because you’ll never know when it’s time for your creation to take over the world.

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