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

Forgotten 80s Part 4

I read an article about how a computer system was only shown how the pieces move in a chess game. Then the system was told to learn how to play the game. 24 hours later, the system had all the chess moves worked out and it was beating strong chess programs convincingly.

Then I watched the “Metalhead” episode from Black Mirror and then I read a story about how Nissan wants to create a car that reads your mind and it got me thinking of the original Terminator movie and suddenly I was in the mood for 80’s music.

So here is another list of forgotten songs from the era. Just click on the number for the previous Forgotten lists, one, two and three.

Better Days
Taking On The World
The Feeling Within
Gun

Way underrated and way under-appreciated, it’s almost criminal. With their debut album, GUN got lumped in with the hard rock/glam rock style of bands because that’s the only way the record labels knew how to promote music. Compare it to something else which is popular and hopefully you get 10% of that audience to buy blind. 30 years later, it’s still the only way record labels know how to promote music.

Better Days

The groove captures me instantly and the vocal melody is so far removed from the LA Sunset strip, it’s perfect.

Living in the same scene way too long
Everybody hopes that one of these days
Everything you want is gonna come your way
Everybody knows what they have to do
Everybody dreams like me and you

Dreaming and hoping is easy. Deciding how to make those dreams and hopes come true is hard because making decisions is exhausting. It means you need to investigate, analyse and most importantly take responsibility for making a decision. We all know what we need to do, but so few do it.

Things could be heaven but this feels like hell
So hold your head high cause you know I’d die
For better days

And sometimes, decisions made with good intent could end up going bad. It doesn’t mean it’s the end. It just means a re-calibration is necessary and further analysis is needed, because our dreams and hopes for better days, make us push through the worry and fear.

Taking On The World

The acoustic strumming sets the sombre tone, but it’s the vocal melody which is captivating. It’s unique and catchy.

When you feel that life is dragging you down day by day
You’ve gotta break away
You’re taking on the world

Life is a process. You try things and you fail. You get into a relationship and you separate. In ten years’ time you would be using a technology that hasn’t been developed yet. The world evolves and you need to evolve with it, if you want to take it on.

And the lead break is full of thought out phrases that outline the chord progression under it.

The Feeling Within

The vocal tone of this song sounds like a cross between Jim Kerr (Simple Minds singer) and Michael Hutchence (INXS singer RIP).

You don’t know what silence means (you can pray for me)
You don’t know about shattered dream
You don’t know that I can’t run (you can set me free)
Set me free from the feeling within

Those lyrics in the brackets are sung by vocalist Mark Rankin’s cousin Sharleen Spiteri, of the band Texas.

Now Forever After
Stargazer
Kingdom Come

The most well-known version of the band only lasted two albums and one touring cycle. By the late 80’s the record labels didn’t care about artist development. It was all about platinum certifications. If the band got one, they had another shot. If they didn’t get one, they got dropped. Kingdom Come went platinum with their debut and their follow up didn’t set any sales record alight, even though it was better musically than the debut.

Musically, Kingdom Come had three sides. One side was the 70’s inspired classic rock of Led Zeppelin. The other side was the blues rock of AC/DC, while the third side was the Euro melodic rock inspired by Deep Purple, Scorpions and Rainbow combined with a little bit of Toto and Styx.

Now Forever After

“Now Forever After” is from the debut album released in 1988 and it falls into that melodic rock side of the band.

It’s now, forever after
Now, sharing our laughter
For better or worse
Until we die
Now, forever after
Now, sharing our laughter
Until the end of time

If only it’s true. Actually for some it is, for others it takes a few goes to get it right.

Stargazer

“Stargazer” is from “In Your Face” released in 1989. That keyboard intro which blends into the guitar lead just works brilliantly. This is another that falls into the Euro melodic rock side of the band.

Ooh, just to know what’s the reason for making us
Is what I would like to know

How did we come to be? So many theories out there, rooted in science and religion.

Stargazer
Live it out
Meet the Maker

Our ancestors looked to the stars for answers. Then they changed to religion. As humans got wiser they turned to nature and science for answers. Everything ends, including you and me. We thought we would live forever, but this proved to be untrue. And you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

I Believe In You
Knock You Out
Hands Of Time
Y&T

For many, “Earthshaker” was a landmark album. In my opinion, it also became a major influence to any hard rock musician around the world who heard it. It you took all of the different rock stylings happening at the time, and put them into the Y&T blender, “Earthshaker” would be the result.

For Y&T, they were just happy to have a deal with A&M, after two albums on a different label who had had no clue what to do with the band. Coming into the album, Y&T had already played the songs live quite a bit, hence the reason why everyone who heard the album said, “wow, these songs would really work live”.

By 1981 bands didn’t really do ballads or power ballads. They did songs with slower tempos that just kept on building up to a huge ending.

I Believe In You

“It’s a song I wrote a long time ago. Well along time before it got put on a record, which is kind of a drag in a way, because our original managers ripped us off for our publishing on the first two Yesterday and Today records. We haven’t received a penny publishing to this day from those two records. I wrote” I Believe in You” about the time they were managing us, so when I put it on the “Earthshaker” record; well after they were gone they still took my publishing and never gave me a cent for “I Believe In You”. Anyway it was written a long time ago about a break up that I had with a long-time relationship so the song inspired itself more or less.”

Dave Meniketti

The music business is full of rip offs. There are so many stories of former managers claiming the rights on songs from artists written while they managed the artist, but released many years later, while the band had new management. So many people who contribute nothing to the Arts make money from the Arts.

Even record labels do it. They sign an artist and they will spend some money for the artist to record a demo. They might give the go ahead for the songs to be recorded for a release or they might not release them at all. If they are not released, the artist is in limbo. Ask Tom Keifer, Dee Snider and Joe Lynn Turner, just to name a few. And if they leave the label they need to buy back their songs at an extortionist fee the label sets themselves.

Your phony friends, they all counsel you
The things they say
Oh, you know aren’t true

Ahh, yes, who doesn’t have friends like these in our lives?

Breaking up with your partner is a lot more than just breaking up with one person. When a relationship ends, people take sides. Suddenly the friends you believed you had are not there anymore.

Knock You Out

How good is the riff that kicks off this song?

Up against the ropes
I’ve been there before
I’ve been hit by the best, but never hit the floor

Proving you’re at the best when you do it your way. Never forget that. You can make your own decision. Awards are irrelevant. It’s the art that remains. Y&T remain more relevant than some of their 80’s peers who achieved platinum sales. Y&T never did.

Hands Of Time

This appears on “Down For The Count” released in 1985. I swear that intro riff was used by Winger in “Headed For A Heartbreak” to platinum glory. Progress is derivative right.

Don’t be a prisoner of your memories
They steal from your future
And fill you with lies

Negative thinking stops us from taking action. And our tendency to attach an emotion to a past event is our biggest downfall.

‘Cause you can’t turn back the Hands Of Time

What is done, is done, so move forward because time keeps marching forward.

Abandon
Heartbreaker
Dare

Both songs are from the “Out Of The Silence” album released in 1988 on A&M records. Wikipedia tells me Dare was formed in 1985 by former Thin Lizzy keyboard player Darren Wharton after Phil Lynott had dissolved the band. They had some success and when their second album “Blood From Stone” released in 1991 tanked in the sales department, the band was dropped.

Abandon

I can’t forget the things that you said to me

We rarely forget. We move on but we don’t forget. Actually, we can’t forget, because if we do forget, then how did we learn from those events.

I wish I could say that the rest of the song had some earth shattering lyrical message but it didn’t. A lot of the problems with the 80’s rock bands are the lyrics. Even Dare, coming from some experienced musicians couldn’t get decent lyrics written. Some people are good with words and others not so much. But the music is still good.

Heartbreaker

It’s got a riff that reminds me of “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” merged with “Fantasy”.

She got no money and she got no pride
Don’t let her tell you she got nothing to hide
So full of passion with a wounded heart
I still remember when our love fell apart yeah
And when everything’s right, how could I be so wrong? so wrong?

While it was right for you, it was all wrong for the other half. They just haven’t had the courage to tell ya yet.

Lovers
Fate

It’s from the “Cruisin’ For A Bruisin’ album released in 1988. A friend of mine had this album and he dubbed it on a blank cassette for me around 1992. I knew nothing of the band back then and I still don’t know anything about the band today, but what can I say, I’m a sucker for a derivative and clichéd melodic rock song and as soon as the Aldo Nova “Fantasy” influence kicked the song off, I was hooked.

Future World
We Came To Rock
Yellow Rain
Loud’N’Proud
Rodeo
Pretty Maids

They should have had more mainstream success. Not sure if the band name helped their chances or hindered them.

Future World

It’s the title song of their 1987 album.

Oh future world
There’s nothing left to save
They blew it all away

We will in troubled times and even more so today where “stable geniuses” are in power.

In troubled times
We saw the writing on the wall
We heard the fools
Who brought the human race to fall?

The human race always suffers because of a few individuals. Released in 87, this would have been referencing the Cold War between the US and USSR. Today, it’s the US vs North Korea. Leaders out of touch with reality and the people they claim to support and serve.

We Came to Rock

It’s from the “Future World” album and it’s one of those clichéd songs about going to the rock and roll show and joining the cavalcade.

If you’re feeling out of nowhere
If you got no place to go
If you’re feeling lost and lonely
When you’re down the open road

The heavy metal community is the most loyal and there is always a place for you and everyone else.

We are the faces
We are the guardians of the night
We’ll rock the ages
It’s all right
We’ve seen the fire
We are defenders of your rights
We’ll take you higher
Gonna take you to the sky

It’s easy to say in words that you are a defender of our rights, but only Dee Snider went to the US Senate hearings and defended the rights of US metal head citizens. It cost him dearly at the time, but today, he’s seen as the defender he set out to be in “We’re Not Gonna Take It”.

Yellow Rain

Also from “Future World” and this one references Vietnam. Musically it starts off acoustically, like Gary Moore’s “Victims Of The Future” before it becomes a speed metal song.

Left home as heroes
Fools when they returned
Blamed for all the damage
And the villages they burned
Betrayed by their leaders
Murderers they were called
Denounced as crazy maniacs
And locked behind the walls

It was the first war that was all over TV and the prime time news. Everyone saw the burning children, the napalm bombs and Agent Orange. And the poor soldiers didn’t come home to a ticker tape parade. They came home in pieces, mentally and physically.

Loud’N’Proud

It’s also from “Future World” and it wouldn’t be out of place on the “Screaming For Vengeance” album.

Gonna hit this town tonight
Let your troubles out of sight
Scream out, spread the word around
Get all up and stand your ground

Again, it’s all about going to the rock and roll show, being part of community and don’t let institutions get in your way of living out your dreams.

Rodeo

Also from “Future World”

I was born and raised on the street
I grew up in a jungle of stone

Like all of us. All social circles have become concrete jungles.

I walked my own directions
For fortune and fame

The ones, who made it, walk their own path and the ones who follow might make it, but they don’t last.

Life is a rodeo
Somebody makes it
Somebody don’t
And even though
You feel like losing
Don’t ever let it go

It’s the unwritten rule of life. Never give up, keep on going. From when we are born, we fight for every breath, for every step, every single day.

And sometimes when I came to a crossroad

Should I stick to the left or the right?

We always try to make the best decision with the information we have at the point in time. It might be right, it might be wrong, but we still make it. Because we need to.

Under The Gun
Turn It On
Danger Danger

For a band formed in 1987, they had Al Pitrelli on guitar for a brief time, then after they got a recording contract, Pitrelli left and was replaced by Saraya guitarist Tony “Bruno” Rey (who actually played on the debut album) before returning to Saraya and Andy Timmons replaced him and played on the rest of their debut album, which was released in the same year.

Under The Gun

From the debut album released in 1989 and its the same lyrical theme as “Runaway” and “Fallen Angel”. But musically and melodically it’s addictive.

Turn It On

Also from the debut and the guitar playing from Andy Timmons is what hooks me. The way he colours each bar with arpeggios, power chords, palm-muted pedal tones and double stop inversions is brilliant.

Long Way From Home
Angel In My Heart
Britny Fox

Carbon copy of Cinderella, Britny Fox formed in 1986 in Philadelphia. In fact, the band had former members of Cinderella in its roster and their connections to Cinderella allowed the band to secure a major recording contract.

Long Way From Home

The debut album is not on Spotify, however the follow-up “Boys in Heat” released in 1989 is.

My love’s with you always, oh yeah.
Long way from home.

On the road is a killer. You are away from friends and family and the band mates are suddenly not as likeable as you thought they were when you saw em only a few hours a day for practice.

Angel In My Heart

Also from “Boys in Heat”, it’s a simple hooky song.

Misery Loves Company
Nobody Knows
Hard Luck
Letters In The Rain
Lillian Axe

Formed in 1987, they caught the attention of Ratt’s management which led to a record deal with MCA and Ratt’s Robbin Crosby producing the band’s first album, Lillian Axe.

As Wikipedia tells me, neither the debut nor the 1989 follow-up, “Love + War”, met commercial expectations and the group was quickly dropped.

Misery Loves Company

The song is from the self-titled debut released in 1988.

The intro riff is a derivative version of “Breaking The Chains” from Dokken.

The poor get nothing while the rich get fat
Start living good, the I.R.S. takes that
I kinda wonder if there’s really any good at all, at all

While the rich pay nothing and hide their billions in offshore tax havens.

Nobody Knows

The song is from the self-titled debut released in 1988.

Nobody knows when there’s clouds in the skies
When there are tears in your eyes
Nobody knows when you’re hurting so bad
So what if they had?

Exactly. So what if people knew how bad your hurting or how low your feeling. What can they do to change it? How people deal with pain and disappointment is very subjective. Each person has their own unique way of overcoming obstacles.

Hard Luck

The song is from the self-titled debut released in 1988. The lyrics are forgettable, but the music and melodies work.

Letters in the Rain

From the follow up, “Love + War”, released in 1989, the lyrics deal with a person reading letters his ex-partner left in the rain, and after being heartbroken for so long, he finally moves on, only to have the ex-partner return asking for a second chance. But the music and melodies are cool.

The Right To Rock
United Nations
King Of The Rock
Don’t Say You Love Me
Keel

The rock is strong with Keel.

The Right To Rock

Released in 1985, it’s the title track.

All my life I’ve been fighting
For the right to make my stand

So what happened? How did we go from fighting and making a stand, to not caring?

Don’t internet users in the U.S care about net neutrality?

Don’t people in Australia care about the power corporations have with the courts and our leaders?

Don’t let anyone tell you
How to live your life

But they do tell us how to live our lives. If you have a credit card, you are being told how to live your life with each monthly repayment. If you have a mortgage, you are being told how to live your life with each monthly repayment. God forbid if you are late. If you have are employed, you are told how to live your live every single day, just so you get that fortnight or monthly pay into your account.

‘Cause it’s our way of life
I’m fighting for freedom
For the golden rule
The right to say what I feel

But we are too scared to say what we feel in case we get ravaged by the social media righteous police.

United Nations

From the self-titled album released in 1987.

We are the new generation
We got the inspiration
We’re feelin’ strong so spread the news
The youth of every nation
Will make this declaration
This is the way of life we choose
Together we will rock
Forever we will roll

We thought hard rock would last forever but it didn’t. All great empires fall, and rock was no different.

And someday we will rise
To take control

1986 was the year metal and rock took control.

We are united nations
Under the flag of rock and roll
We are united nations
United we will stand

If only we remained united, but we didn’t.

King Of The Rock

From the self-titled album released in 1987.

In the arena is the kingdom I call home
This coliseum is my dome, whoa!
I make my own rules, I call the shots
I’m not afraid of you and I’ll fight for what I’ve got

By 1987, we had moved on. The call to arms about the rock and roll show got old.

This concrete battleground is where I’ll make my stand
If you’re with me, raise your hands

We had splintered by now. Metallica went on tour with James Hetfield having a sticker on his guitar that said something like “Kill Bon Jovi”. Mustaine called Queensryche “Yuppie metal”. Any artist that introduced keyboards or had keyboard players got labelled as sell-outs. Any artist that brought in outside writers also got labelled sell-outs. The label marketing machine was in overdrive creating new genres. We had Glam Rock, Pop Metal, and Glam Metal.

We had hard rock, progressive rock, psychedelic rock and pop rock. We had thrash metal and speed metal. We had heavy metal and technical metal and progressive metal. Death metal was becoming a thing. Europe was having their own thing happening with power metal, progressive classical metal, folk metal and the embers of a black metal scene were beginning.

In the states, hard core was a thing and when it became heavy, grindcore became a genre. Punk was just punk, once upon a time. Then it became post punk, punk rock, punk metal and punk pop.

It’s like that scene in “The Warriors” with Cyrus trying to unite the gangs. It didn’t end well.

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

Random Listening 2.0

A few of the people I follow on WordPress had their 2017 lists up and it got me interested to check out the music which made their lists.

So these random listens are from the WordPress site ….THUNDER BAY.

Greta Van Fleet – From The Fires

For the last four months, people have been telling me to check this band out. And when I did, I thought it was Wolfmother, an Aussie band who had a similar 70’s classic rock/metal feel to their music. All I know of them is that they are young. That’s all. How different to before, when we read the interviews in the magazines, saw the advertisements and basically knew how the album was made before we even purchased it or listened to it or dubbed it from a mate.

“Edge Of Darkness” is the song that hooked me. It’s feel and groove, which is a cross between Southern Rock and Led Zep’s style of rock is infectious. “A Change Is Gonna Come” is heavy in Led Zep influences vocally, but musically, I am not sure if people have heard the song “Jealousy” by Frankie Miller. Well it sounds like that crossed with a little bit of Bob Seger.

“Highway Tune” is another one of those songs that sounds familiar, but it’s done in such a way, it sounds unique. “Talk On The Street” could have appeared on a Blue Oyster Cult album. “Black Smoke Rising” is a more dirtier and up-tempo “Dyermaker” from Led Zep.

Anyway, even though the album was released in 2017, the songs above have been added to my 2018 playlist. Let’s see which ones remain until the end of the year.

Headstones – Little Army

The lyrics. Wow. Check out some beauties.

  • “We’ll I’m a red meat eater, liar and cheater”… from “Devils On Fire”.

Take that all you politically correct wannabes.

  • “We’re fundamentally broken, we no longer question ourselves and nobody noticed the quiet is a call for help”… from “Broken”.

Truth in these words, but we deny it, posting the happiest pics onto our social media account, so everyone can see how great our life looks.

  • “You won’t lift your finger to get your s!!t out of this” … from “Little Army”.

Blaming others when something goes wrong and doing nothing to fix the problem.

  • “Driving now with no headlights until the sunlight kills the stars” …. “Sunlight Kills The Stars”.

Sometimes in life you just don’t want to be seen or noticed.

  • “It’s so hard to find the positive again and again, it’s so hard to really listen to your friends when your mind just spins”… from “For Your Consideration”.

Picking yourself up from a hole you are in.

  • “You’re singing the same old song, it’s called “sucking the life outta me”… from “Dead To Me”.

You gotta love relationships.

Cheap Trick – We’re All Alright

“Brand New Name On An Old Tattoo” is an excellent song title and the song is pretty cool as well. “Floating Down” rocks hard for a mid-tempo song, and the vocal line is infectious and “If You Still Want My Love” is a bonus track on the deluxe version that probably no one would hear.

I was never a Cheap Trick fan.

Bands I liked always mentioned them as influences, but when you have limited funds to purchase music, I usually avoided Cheap Trick until the 90’s and I picked up their LP’s up to “Lap Of Luxury” for $2 each.

And youngsters won’t care about this album and the millions who purchased “Lap Of Luxury” because of “The Flame” won’t care either. But there are people who will care!

Europe – Walk The Earth and The Final Countdown 30th Anniversary live

I really enjoyed “The Final Countdown” 30th Anniversary show. Europe nailed it. They started off with the whole “War Of Kings” album and then played the while “The Final Countdown” album. When Joey Tempest screams, “Are you ready London?” the answer is a unanimous cheer.

And for “Walk The Earth”, my thoughts on the album are already on this blog. Europe’s creativity is at an all-time high and I’m loving it.

Stephen Pearcy – Smash

Does anyone care if Stephen Pearcy is running solo, the same way Vince Neil is running solo? Okay bad comparison, because Vince is just playing Motley songs live, while Pearcy is still being creative.

The “Unchained” sounding “Ten Miles Wide” is cool while “Rain” is interesting musically and it has some decent lyrics. “Want Too Much” works but the piece d’resistance is “Passion Infinity”. Everything just fits and works brilliantly together. Finally “Summers End” is another song that surprised me with its epic “Kashmir” feel. Not bad from the Rattster.

Collective Soul – Live

It took me a while to get into this band. It was actually a guitar transcription in Guitar World or Guitar School magazine for the song “Disciplined Breakdown” that got me interested.

After playing it through without hearing it, I enjoyed it so much, I went through a few earlier editions of the mag and found another transcription for the song ”Precious Declaration”.

So I sat down and started playing the riff the way it was transcribed and I’m thinking, man, this sounds like “Walk This Way”. Anyway, the song moves into different sections for the pre chorus and chorus and I was like blown away at the groove. So I went out and purchased. Afterwards, I was hooked.

Moving forward, I sort of forget about the band after “Dosage” was released in 1999. And I never thought of them as a live band however the Thunder Bay blog had the live album in a 2017 list, so I was interested to hear it.

They don’t disappoint and they have the catalogue of songs to keep the live show ticking over. I also dig the change to have “Shine” starting off with the piano and how they jam it out “Lynyrd Skynyrd” style at the end, turning one of their biggest songs into a 7 minute jam epic is worth the price of admission alone.

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Metallica and Bob Rock

I ended up re-watching the Metallica documentary around the making of the “Black” album.

The album is what it is because of Bob Rock. He drove it, he knew from the start exactly what every song needed, he pushed Metallica to the limit and I can understand why Metallica invested so much trust in the direction of the band with him.

Hell, the Producer role should be expanded to state, dealing with egos and arguments.

The demo of “Sad But True” (I had a drummer who always thought it was called “Sad Patrol”) was heaps quicker. Bob heard a “Kashmir” feel and asked James to slow it down and make it crunchy.

Rock kept on telling James to re-write lyrics to songs. He told him to use fewer words in the choruses and to use stronger words. He questioned James on what the song is about. He asked him how the verse lyrics referenced the song message. James didn’t like this line of questioning. If James couldn’t explain it simply, it means he hasn’t nailed the lyric.

Rock told Lars to take drum lessons and he told James to take singing lessons. In my view, Metallica needed that kick up the butt and the amount of physical product the “Black” album has moved is a pretty good indication of that butt kick.

Personally, I would have loved to have seen a doco on the making of the “Load” album just to see the influence Bob Rock had on that album and how those studio sessions went.

Rock’s mentor was another Canadian called Bruce Fairbairn. Most of the records Bob engineered, Bruce was the producer. Fairbairn produced “Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet” and “New Jersey”. Total sales of over 30 million for both albums and Bob Rock engineered both of these albums.

Without Bob Rock, Metallica wouldn’t be as big as they are today and without Metallica, metal music would not have become as mainstream as it is today.

However, having said that, Metallica’s demise music wise (my opinion) during the following years is also attributable to Bob Rock and the reasoning comes from this;

  • The songs designed for the “Black” album were originally designed following the process of good old fashioned Metallica songs.
  • The style of the “Black” album songs weren’t too far apart from the old Metallica songs that appeared on “Justice”, “Master” and “Lightning”, heavy with thrash elements.
  • The song writing process was that James and Lars would take all the riff ideas they accumulated in between albums and go away and listen to all of the ideas. They would make notes as to what riffs where good and take the good ideas and start to turn them into songs. The returned to this songwriting process with the “Hardwired” album.
  • So when Bob Rock came in after the songs were written and added his influence, changing the songs tempo and asking for better lyrics and melodies, he created what I call the “gap” between the earlier albums and the “Black” album. But because the songwriting process was the same as the earlier albums, the songs still are Metallica.
  • However following the “Black” album, when Metallica designed the songs for “Load/Reload”, they didn’t follow the original good old Metallica song writing process. Rather they wrote songs from the place I call the “gap” which is now influenced by commercial expectations.
  • So when Bob Rock gets involved this time around, he amends the sound and feel of the songs even further, creating a greater divide from their original sound then the “Black” album. In other words, the “gap” got bigger.
  • Coming into “Load”, Metallica has never written 30 demos for an album. They always wrote enough songs for the album. For the “Black” album, they had 12 songs, nothing more. For “Justice”, all the songs they wrote for that album are on the album, no leftovers, same for “Master” and “Ride The Lightning”. So when a band writes 30 songs for an album they are writing for a hit.
  • I also think there were other motivators behind the influence of the sound of “Load” and “Reload” as well, and that had more to do with the longevity of the band, I remember seeing an interview with Lars years ago which gave this impression on me, basically following the “Black” album, Metallica became one of those all-time great bands like the Rolling Stones and potentially they can be riding the waves of this success in their 60’s. BUT, when they are 60 years old, how are they going to tour playing thrash all the time? The songs the Stones produced are not that hard to pull off when your 60+, but how is Lars going to cope drumming “Battery” every night on tour when he is 60+? How is Hetfield going to growl every night when he is 60+?

It’s very rare I play any songs from “Load” or “Reload”, and I’d say that would be the same for the majority of Metallica fans, whether they are hardcore or new, the album sonically might sound awesome but the songs would be ranked at the bottom of their entire inventory, other than 5 or 6 songs.

I think James summed it up with the following comments about the whole Load and Reload era…

“Lars and Kirk drove on those records. The whole ‘We need to reinvent ourselves’ topic was getting discussed.  Image is not an evil thing for me, but if the image is not you, then it doesn’t make much sense.  I think they were really after a U2 kind of vibe, Bono doing his alter ego. I couldn’t get into it. The whole, ‘Okay, now in this photoshoot we’re going to be ’70s glam rockers.’ Like, what? I would say half — at least half — the pictures that were to be in the booklet, I yanked out. The whole cover thing, it went against what I was feeling.  Lars and Kirk were very into abstract art, pretending they were gay. I think they knew it bugged me. It was a statement around all that. I love art, but not for the sake of shocking others. I think the cover of Load was just a piss-take around all that. I just went along with the make-up and all of this crazy, stupid shit that they felt they needed to do.” James Hetfield

Is Hetfield passing the buck with his comments?

He recorded the songs, wrote the riffs, he did the vocals and so on. Whether he lost interest or passed the controlling influence to Lars, regardless he was on board with the direction, it’s his band, regardless of who’s pulling the strings in the background. Without James, there is no Metallica, all the rest can be replaced in my mind.

I also watched “Get Him To The Greek”, Lar’s gets told off by Russel Brand. “Go sue Napster and your fans”, and that is the stigma that will forever stick with Metallica. They got so out of touch with reality that they sued their own fans for sharing their music. Nicko McBrain sums up piracy in Flight 666 “We sold out in Costa Rica but haven’t sold an album in this country…“

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

Randy Rhoads And The Blizzards

It’s a new year and I’m listening to songs from yesteryear. After overdosing on a Dio playlist I created that covered his Rainbow, Black Sabbath and solo career up to “Lock Up The Wolves”, between Xmas and New Year, I returned to one of my biggest influences, Randy Rhoads and the “Blizzard of Ozz” album. Hell, the project could have been called just that. Randy Rhoads And The Blizzards.

It all started when Ozzy auditioned Randy in LA. Afterwards they jammed for a few days with Dana Strum and Frankie Banali. Then Ozzy went back to England and he met Bob Daisley. Ozzy and Daisley jammed with another guitarist and drummer however Daisley mentioned that they needed better players. Ozzy mentioned Randy Rhoads, however the label wanted a well-known British guitarist, but no one was interested to join because of Ozzy’s reputation. Gary Moore was Ozzy’s first choice and he rejected the offer to audition. Eventually the label relented and Randy was flown over to London. Rhoads and Daisley started writing music and it worked well. Lee Kerslake came towards the end of the writing process.

At that point in time, Ozzy was still married to Thelma Osbourne and Sharon had just taken over as Ozzy’s manager. Don Arden, her father, was the manager of Jet Records. David Arden (Sharon’s brother) was taking care of the managerial side of things during the Blizzard album cycle and Sharon got involved for “Diary of a Madman”.

I Don’t Know

Black Sabbath was just a rock and roll band from Birmingham, England, however fans of the band saw them as seers. Stories abound of fans asking Ozzy, what’s the future of mankind? Or when is the final day? And his answer was always, he doesn’t know. He’s just a rock and roll singer. Daisley was inspired by this story and fleshed out the lyrics.

The “A” pedal point riff in the intro is the first thing people heard and what an introduction riff it is. It is a simply ascending pedal point riff which Randy flourishes with harmonic pinches, artificial harmonics, legato licks and whammy bar dives.

This is Randy Rhoads announcing to the world that there is a new guitar hero in town.

Crazy Train

After getting blown away by “I Don’t Know”, the ear drums were assaulted once again with “Crazy Train.” The F#m demonic intro is a sing along riff and immediately identifiable. You can call this song Ozzy’s biggest hit and according to the chart makers back in the day, it never registered. But not on Spotify and YouTube it’s huge. The new paradigm shows us what is being listened too.

Bob Daisley provided the title while Randy Rhoads had the riff and the chord structure. For the lyrics, Bob Daisley used Ozzy’s vocal melodies and referenced what was happening in 1979/80. The Berlin Wall was still up and the Cold War between the USSR and USA was still going on. It’s pretty crazy when you think of how many millions of people are affected by religion and power hungry leaders from both sides.

And then you have that logically laid out, super melodic and shred happy solo section. What more can be said?

Listen and enjoy and play air guitar.

Goodbye To Romance

It’s a one-two-three knockout punch.

“Goodbye To Romance” was Ozzy’s title and it came from an Everly Brothers song called “Bye Bye Love.”

The lyrics were written by Bob Daisley and the subject matter was Ozzy’s “divorce” from Black Sabbath.

On the “Don’t Blame Me” video, Ozzy mentions he was humming the vocal melody, and Randy heard it and developed the chords around the melody. Ozzy’s revisionist take makes it sound that Bob Daisley was not involved at all in the song writing process, which is obviously not true at all.

It’s the piece d’resistance in guitar playing. The jazz like chords in the verses, the arpeggio chorus riff and that guitar solo. This song connects from the very first note but it is that descending chorus riff that is pure gold.

Listening to the studio version of the song with its many layers and then hearing the way Randy composed his live performance is awe inspiring.

Dee

Randy’s acoustic instrumental. Though Rhoads is best known for the heavier side of his guitar playing, his ambition was to devote his time to classical music. “Dee” served as an example of his devotion to classical/flamenco music however it was songs like “Goodbye To Romance”, “Revelation Mother Earth” and “Diary of A Madman” that showcased how powerful classical is in a heavy metal setting.

“Suicide Solution”

Ozzy borrowed the opening line “Wine is fine but whiskeys quicker” from somewhere else and Bob Daisley wrote the rest about Ozzy’s addiction to alcohol. The song ended up in the courts when the parents of an 18 year old kid wanted to blame someone for their son committing suicide. Suddenly, the song when played backwards had subliminal messages on it, which could convince kids to harm themselves.

The whole intro riff is just full of attitude and defiance. If you are familiar with the work that Randy Rhoads did with Quiet Riot, you would have noticed the influence of the QR song “Force of Habit”.

Mr Crowley

Mr. Crowley was Ozzy’s idea to cover the darker occult things in life however Daisley wrote the words.

The “was it polemically sent” part before the outro solo is just goose bumps stuff. I love the way the harmony guitar lines interweave over a classical chord progression. It’s the calm before the storm.

From a lead guitarist point of view, Mr Crowley served as a showcase of the talent that is Randy Rhoads.

No Bone Movies

For a last minute addition to the album, the song rocks hard in a live setting. It’s sleazy and perfect for the era.

Revelation Mother Earth

Daisley wrote the lyrics, taking inspiration from the Book of Revelation.

The finger picked part at the start is breathtaking, the interlude is subdued and relaxing but that outro is breathless.

On the “Tribute” live album, the tempo is increased, further increasing the status of the song to legendary.

Steal Away the Night

That intro is similar to the chorus riff in “Suicide Solution” at a higher tempo. Whereas in “Suicide Solution” it is a climbing motif, in “Steal Away the Night” it is a repeating motif.

There is also another nod to the Quiet Riot song “Breaking Up Is A Heartache” in the riff that comes after the chorus.

Remember that progress is derivative and Randy Rhoads was very good at that technique. Sometimes he would take bits and pieces from a lot of different songs to form one cohesive riff.

You Looking At Me, Looking At You

It’s a B-side and this song doesn’t get the attention it deserves. An argument can be put forward as to why “No Bone Movies” made it on the album and not this song.

The intro is Seventies Arena Melodic Rock. I can understand why the song didn’t get included on the album as it could have been deemed to poppy from the very metal sounding Blizzard album, however the riff is infectious.

Even in the pre chorus Randy Rhoads plays palm muted arpeggios (like Eddie Van Halen) and something that Vito Bratta employed on a constant basis. And that lead break just comes out of nowhere like another song within the same song composition. Again it reminds me of what Vito Bratta would end up doing.

By the way, if anyone is familiar with the work that Randy Rhoads did with Quiet Riot, they would have noticed the rhythm guitar riff coming from a Quiet Riot song called “Kiss of Death”, that was only performed live, and the lead intro part is from the Quiet Riot song called “Trouble.” Also, the same structure can be heard on the song “Breaking Up Is A Heartache” also from Quiet Riot.

This song shows what a band “Blizzard Of Ozz” was. Yes, that band had Randy Rhoads on guitar, Bob Daisley on bass, Lee Kerslake on drums and Ozzy Osbourne on vocals.

Jet Records put a picture of Ozzy on the front cover. This didn’t sit well with Randy Rhoads, Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake who wanted a picture of the band. As far as they knew, they signed up to be in a band not as backing musicians for a solo artist. But record label politics always get in the way and self-interests of others take advantage of the situation.

You Said it All

The first time I heard this song was on the “Mr. Crowley Live EP.”

Randy had the basic riff and the song was put together musically by Rhoads and Daisley. Drummer Kerslake came up with the vocal melody while Ozzy crashed under the drum riser and Daisley then took the tape of Kerslake’s melody back to the hotel and wrote the lyrics.

These day’s guitarists can do unbelievable and very advanced things on the guitar but none of them have the magic and song sense of Randy Rhoads.

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

Random Listening

Happy new year to everyone. 2018 is here, so let the listening begin.

I started off my working day with Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Trilogy” album. I really dig the songs “You Don’t Remember (I’ll Never Forget)”, “Queen In Love”, “Magic Mirror”, “Fire” and the instrumentals “Crying” and Trilogy”. So many great riffs and leads in those songs. Hell chuck in “Liar” and “Fury”.

Actually does anyone remember the plane incident with Malmsteen where he said to the flight attendant they’ve unleased the fucking fury?

I am sure there is an internet meme out there.

When the U.S record labels went anti shred in the 90’s, the Japanese and South American markets kept his career going. But there is no denying his 80’s output and it’s a shame that a rumoured collaboration with Ronnie James Dio never happened. Actually not sure how true that was as it was in the rumors section of Metal Edge or Hot Metal.

Then I moved to “Trash” from Alice Cooper. It’s been a long time since I heard the full album from start to finish and man I still dig it. I know its commercial sounding and that Desmond Child is producing, but man, its chock full of good songs.

And it’s Alice Fucking Cooper singing. How can it not be good?

The real gems are “Spark In The Dark”, “This Maniac Is In Love With You”, “I’m Your Gun”, “Why Trust You” and “Trash”. They are Alice all the way and when you add the pop metal tunes in “Poison”, “House Of Fire”, “Only My Heart Talkin”, “Bed Of Nails” and “Hell Is Living Without You”, you get to understand why it the album was so popular and moved a lot of units around the world.

Afterwards, “Operation Mindcrime” from Queensryche got a listen. This is a monster concept album. It’s funny how Mustaine once called em “Yuppie metal” and at the same time Metallica put them as openers on their “Justice” U.S trek. Maybe having the same management team in Q Prime helped. But there is no denying the power of the album and the lyrical message.

“Revolution Calling”, “Operation Mindcrime”, “Speak”, “The Mission”, “Spreading The Disease”, “Suite Sister Mary”, The Needle Lies”, “Breaking The Silence”, “I Don’t Believe In Love” and “Eyes Of A Stranger” all have excellent guitar playing and the album gave me a tonne of great ideas and phrases to use as influences in my own song writing.

It was only ten past eleven (just before noon) and I clicked on Spotify’s recommendations. “Flesh and Blood” from Poison was recommended. Even though I listened to the vinyl a lot in the 90’s, I haven’t cranked it on Spotify at all.

It starts off with the pointless “Strange Days of Uncle Jack”, before it goes into “Valley Of Lost Souls”, which to me is one hell of good song and the best on the album. “(Flesh and Blood) Sacrifice” comes next and it’s a one-two knock-out punch. The pointless “Swampjuice” (Soul-O) is up before “Unskinny Bop” starts rolling. I know it was a single and one of their big songs, but I wasn’t really a fan.

“Let It Play” could have been on a John Cougar Mellencamp or Bryan Adams album while “Life Goes On” is a good power ballad and CC plays a tasty intro lead to the song and in the main lead section. “Come Hell or High Water” is another underrated tune in the vein of the Classic Rock of the 70’s that doesn’t get its dues.

“Ride The Wind” is another sleeper, while “Don’t Give Up An Inch” is a bit derivative of “Come Hell or High Water”. “Something To Believe In” copies the “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” country bluesy vibe, however this time, the piano is the main driver instead of the acoustic guitar.

“Ball And Chain” is unfinished. “Life Loves A Tragedy” is another sleeper song that deserves more attention. “Poor Boy Blues” sounds like a drunken 12 bar blues jam which ended up on the record.

“Blow My Fuse” from Kix was up next. Now this album is a perfect example of the “progress is derivative model”.

It starts off with “Red Lite, Green Lite, TNT” which sounds very familiar like something from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. “Get It While It’s Hot” is heavily influenced by “You Shook Me All Night Long” from AC/DC. Actually it’s very heavily, heavily influenced.

“No Ring Around Rosie” is a beefed up “La Grange” from ZZ Top in the verses. “Don’t Close Your Eyes” is taking its cues from “Home Sweet Home” and “Dream On”. “She Dropped Me The Bomb” is again heavily influenced by AC/DC with a touch of The Who.  “Cold Blood” is a very similar to “Long Way To The Top” from AC/DC in the verses.

“Piece Of The Pie” is very heavily influenced by Aerosmith. “Boomerang” is influenced by Led Zeppelin. “Blow My Fuse” is such a good track where the influences are not as obvious as the other tracks. “Dirty Boys” is influenced by “Let There Be Rock” by AC/DC.

Finally, Winger is up, with “Kip Winger” becoming a face on a dartboard when Metallica was recording the “Black” album. All in all, Winger (the band) was a powerful unit of brilliant musicians. If you purchased Winger for earth shattering lyrics, this wasn’t the band. But if you wanted to hear great music and good melodies and arena rock choruses, well you wouldn’t be disappointed.

The groovy “Can’t Get Enough” kicks off the album and it’s followed by “Loosen Up” which probably should have been lost from the album. When “Miles Away” came on, I wasn’t sure if it was Bad English or Def Leppard. It’s one of those slow tempo melodic rock songs. “Easy Come Easy Go” has a cool groove and I dig the horn section in the verses.

The next two songs are two of my favourite songs. “Rainbow In The Rose” is an interesting song, a cross between Toto and Journey. It’s very mature musically. “In The Day We’ll Never See” is another mature song and to be honest it’s a shame that these kinds of songs get lost behind the generic MTV songs that each band recorded.

There are a few misses and then the title track bookends the album, which again is another mature track lost behind the more commercial tunes.

I must say, not a bad day at work.

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

Livin’ On The Chain Gang  

I sang this song to my little guy when I was driving and he’s now obsessed with it. Because he’s playing it over and over and over and over again on his Spotify account, he’s hooked me back into it.

Because of the truth in the lyrics.

You get a power chord and then a vocal melody. Did Skid Row try and recreate “Still Of The Night”?

It follows the same structure and in truth Coverdale and Sykes tried to recreate “Jailhouse Rock” with “Still of the Knight”.

Turn on the TV, Cause I got nowhere to go
Seems that there’s a little trouble down in Mexico
A 13-year-old boy robs a store so he can eat
And they got him doing time while killers walk the streets

Has anything changed in Mexico since this song was written?
Drug cartels obliterate families and villages while the killers still roam at large. Hell, some of them might have passports to enter Australia or the U.S. Meanwhile, small petty crimes get punished.

Once Bach sings “streets” he holds the note forever while the single note riff kicks in. Like “Still Of The Night”.

A hungry politician is the wolf that’s at the door
Hell-bent on submission and feeding’ on the poor
We could stare into the sun if we would open up our eyes
But we paint ourselves into a corner coloured in white lies

So true. Politicians want applause, want to be liked and want to please their donors. So while they seek submission from the poor, they then submit themselves to their donor and the corporations who are paying them millions to introduce laws to benefit their business model.

Busted on a rock pile
Getting dusted in the heat
Shackled to the system
And dragging’ my feet

Once you borrow money from an institution, you need to pay it back. And before long, you realise you are shackled to the system. If you don’t pay it back, you start to default. Default a few more times and your name is added to a credit database. And suddenly life becomes harder. The system is designed to benefit the rich and only the rich.

I’m riding on a breakdown
Another white knuckled shakedown
Feels like I’m living’ on a chain gang
I’m riding on a breakdown
A suicidal shakedown
Feels like I’m living’ on a chain gang

There are so many cool combination of words to unpack.

Riding on a breakdown means trying to live your life while the system of authority collapses all around you or your relationship goes bad or your mental state starts to border crazy.

A white knuckled shakedown means squeezing your hand into a fist because you’ve been conned, lost money or had some injustice done to you by a corrupt law enforcement officer or a corrupt corporation.

A suicidal shakedown means doing something dangerous or undertaking something dangerous because you’ve been conned, lost money or had some injustice done to you by a corrupt law enforcement officer or a corrupt corporation.

Living on a chain gang is comparing modern life to being a group of prisoners chained together to perform physically challenging work as a form of punishment.

A con man’s intuition can wash your sins away
Send your contribution and he’ll save your soul today
What can he know, has he been through hell and back
He takes the cash and drives it home in a brand new Cadillac

Ponzi schemes, religious preachers and shady business people litter our lives. And everyone wants to make money. Swipe your credit card here and your soul will be saved. Send a few dollars and your soul will be saved. Give someone $20K and they promise to turn it to $100K. Everyone is scheming and dealing.

I guess it does feel like living on a chain gang.

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

Daily Mix

My Spotify daily mix was full of niceties today. It started me off in 1994 (Motley Crue), went back to 1986 (Van Halen), then to 1987 (Whitesnake), then back to 1986 (Tesla), then back to 1988 (Europe), then back to 1987 (Dio and Twisted Sister), 1991 (Skid Row) and back to 1987 (Great White)

Power To The Music

The Motley Corabi line up kicks off my day. Tommy Lee kills it behind the kit as he grooves this song to perfection. The self-titled album is the forgotten album in the Motley Crue revisionist history. It’s like 1993 to 1996 never happened.

Power To The Music
Who said the music’s dead in the streets?
Don’t know what they talk about.
They gotta put a bullet in my head if they want to keep me down

When I first heard this song, the message was load and clear. The record labels might have put their support behind new musical movements, but rock music was far from dead.

Good Enough

“Hello baby”, screams Sammy, before the Van Halen brothers and Michael Anthony thunder in and Sammy starts singing about how a fine woman is like U.S prime grade beef. Totally 80’s and totally male.

Wow, U.S. Prime, grade A stamped guaranteed
Grease it up and turn on the heat
You gotta throw it down and roll it over once, maybe twice
Then chow down, down, down, down

Don’t Turn Away

It’s a forgotten song from the mega selling 1987 album. I love it because of the up tempo ending. It reminds me of the ending of “Still Of The Night” and you don’t want it to end.

Rock Me To The Top

Tesla’s music to me is timeless. It doesn’t sound dated or tied to a particular era. Yeah, I know they got lumped in with the Sunset Strip bands, but Tesla was so much more. And they proved it in the 90’s, when all of the Sunset Strip bands got dropped, Tesla continued to make records and tour to great success. They took risks and backed themselves to deliver acoustically. Not a lot of bands could have done that to the quality Tesla did.

“Rock Me To The Top” is written by vocalist Jeff Keith and estranged guitarist Tommy Skeoch. The riff is foot stomping hard rock to a tee.

I’ll take command, take control
Now I see you comin’ back for more
I see you like it, but you don’t need it
Ooh you wanna feel it

Yep, I’m pretty sure Jeff Keith is singing about driving a car.

Sign Of The Times

That keyboard riff is as iconic as “The Final Countdown” riff. It’s a tragedy the song is not well known.

All The Fools Sailed Away

What a voice? Rest in peace Ronnie James Dio, you’ll be forever missed.

The drumming is epic, great vocal melodies, great movements between loud and soft and when the chorus comes in with the backing vocals; it’s time to sing along.

We are the innocent
We are the damned
We were caught in the middle of the madness
Hunted by the lion and the lamb

Society is founded on the persecution of races. And as we get more advanced, persecution exists between the have and the have nots.

And all the fools sailed away
All the fools sailed away
Sailed away

People need to move and find new lands/cities to thrive and survive.

Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)

It’s another anthem for the SMF’s, the black sheep and the down trodden to wake up and stand together against corruption and oppression.

Who the hell are they to say?
What we can do and how we can play
We got the numbers, yeah,
We got the might
We got the strength and
We got the right
We got the reason, yeah,
We got the night
So wake up the sleeping giant

It’s the war cry against censorship. Freedom comes with a choice and sometimes, we sign away our freedom because we like to create an enemy, someone to blame when it all goes to hell.

It’s our rights they’re abusing,
It’s our right to fight back
So rally the troops and
Let’s start the attack

Around the world, our internet is under attack from governments and corporations. They want to control it, regulate it and charge a premium for it. The Net Neutrality war is real and it’s happening and only a handful of people are speaking up against it. The rest are ignorant.

Slave To The Grind

It’s the thrash metal title track from album number 2, which went straight to number 1 on release. Skid Row could do no wrong musically, even though the internal politics and bickering between Bach and Bolan/Sabo had reached Don Dokken/George Lynch volume levels.

Rock Me

After a few verses, I was thinking what’s next and then the Chorus kicked in. I became a fan instantly.

Rock me, rock me, roll me through the night

Today two versions exist, Jack Russell’s Great White and Mark Kendall’s version of Great White. And unfortunately, they are more remembered recently for the Station nightclub fire in 2003 that killed a lot of their fans when pyrotechnics set off by the tour manager ignited plastic foam used as sound insulation in the walls and ceilings surrounding the stage.

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