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

Revelation (Mother Earth)

So Ozzy gets fired from Sabbath because he’s apparently more wasted than the rest of the other guys in the band, and while he is wasted in L.A, all the people around him, manage to put a band together which involves Randy Rhoads, Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake.

And this separation between Ozzy and Sabbath wasn’t just tied to this band.

All of the bands that had success in the 70’s went through this. Aerosmith was experiencing their own dramas amongst wasted members, along with Kiss, UFO, Scorpions, Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, The Eagles and Styx. Deep Purple was already done, while Rainbow already experienced a turnover of musicians.

The record labels were always looking for their next cash cows and so many bands had artists in there, that could be successful on their own, so the sway of the dollar was causing a huge turnover of personnel. Ronnie James Dio is a perfect case, from Elf to Rainbow to Black Sabbath to Dio.

And from all of these movements of personnel, the Blizzard Of Ozz band came to be and man, they created some memorable masterpieces.

“Revelation (Mother Earth)” appeared on the “Blizzard of Ozz” album from 1980. But the definitive version is from the “Tribute” live album released in 1987 as the tempo is increased a little bit, plus you get the fake crowd noises added which weren’t really there and you get recut vocals from Ozzy.

Bob Daisley wrote the lyrics about how we are destroying our own planet. I guess not much has changed since 1979. Forty years later, the planet is definitely on a highway to hell and we keep finding ways to fuck it up. Some of the lyrics reference the book of Revelations in the bible and the word “Mother” in the title came from a John Lennon song called “Mother”.

The intro/verse riff from 0.00 to 1.24 is just pure Randy Rhoads. A classical piece, it can be a little song within a song. It’s timeless and it doesn’t sound dated at all.  

Mother please forgive them
For they know not what they do
Looking back in history’s books
It seems it’s nothing new
Oh let my mother live

How much more can Mother Earth forgive and forget?

In Australia we have just come out of fires and endless days of smoke haze and poor air quality only to enter into severe rain and flooding.

Heaven is for heroes
And hell is full of fools
Stupidity, no will to live
They’re breaking god’s own rules
Please let my mother live

Everything is a balance. Screw up the balance and things change.

Father, of all creation
I think we’re all going wrong
The course they’re taking
Seems to be breaking
And it won’t take too long

As a society, people are trying to move to more sustainable models, but nothing is easy when big business is involved. And people’s livelihoods are at stake here as well, who work in these industries. Then you have other countries who just don’t care, who will just burn their rubbish. If you travel, you would have seen it.

Children of the future
Watching empires fall
Madness the cup they drink from
Self-destruction the toll

Every great empire has fallen. Alexander’s Empire disintegrated, the Roman Empire fell, the British Empire is no more and currently, some of the large democratic countries are showing similarities to the Empires of the past, just before they crumbled.

I had a vision, I saw the world burn
And the seas had turned red (seas had turned red)
The sun had fallen, the final curtain
In the land of the dead

Those pictures from Australia got traction all around the world. There was no need for Photoshop to enhance the destruction as mother nature’s fury was enough.

Mother, please show the children
Before it’s too late (before it’s too late)
To fight each other, there’s no one winning
We must fight all the hate (must fight all the hate)

It’s too late. All the different races and colours still hate each other. All the ones who seek profit over nature, will lie and scheme to get their way.

Then 03.03 to 3.21 just before the acoustic interlude.

Then from the 5 minute mark to the end is just brilliant. It is a merge of heavy riffing and classical / baroque influenced lead break that twists and turns into each other.

A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Progress Is Derivative – What The!! – It’s Not Okay To Show Your Influences

Led Zeppelin became the biggest rock act in the world. They wrote songs based on their influences and some songs even sounded like the songs they were influenced by. From traveling the world, they were also exposed to exotic sounds and as technology got better, to new sounds.

Suddenly, thousands of wannabe guitarists and singers and drummers and bass players started to copy the licks and melodies and beats of the mighty Zep, forming an influential bond with the music, much in the same way, the members of Zep allowed other artists and songs to influence their music and melodies.

And Zeppelin wasn’t just an act with a geographical location. Their music was everywhere and there was no way that any teenager in the 70’s could escape the sounds of the Zep. Fast forward into the mid 80’s and suddenly a lot of bands on record deals had a lot of musical passages in their songs which paid homage to Zeppelin and in some cases too much homage. But Zeppelin never sued. These derivative versions of songs based on Zep cuts actually increased the value of the Zep cuts.

I’ve been listening to some songs recently, and the resemblance to other songs is a beautiful thing to hear. I know that these kinds of similarities are bringing forth a lot of court cases in pop music where a jury is asked to decide what is plagiarism and what isn’t.

In the Cult’s song “Peace Dog”, the middle part section has a similarity which comes from the “Stairway to Heaven” section before the solo section kicks in.

And on the topic of Led Zep, no one can forget Kingdom Come. “Get It On” basically lifted the whole “Kashmir” chord progression, and “What Love Can Be” is similar to “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and “The Rain Song”. Regardless, Kingdom Come made me want to listen to Led Zeppelin.

Whitesnake broke through in the 80’s on the backs of MTV and a sound that rivalled the Sunset Strip, but when they started off on the blues rock journey, David Coverdale was channelling Led Zeppelin in “Trouble”. Coverdale even looked like Plant and sounded a lot like him on this cut and along with Sykes they brought the Led Zep sound, filling the void for a lot of fans of that music.

And this was okay, to show your influences and pay homage to styles.

But Copyright kept changing and evolving, because the corporations kept pushing for perpetual laws, as they knew that if they lost the copyrights to valuable recordings and songs, they would be losing money.

And by pushing for laws that lasted 70 years after the death of the creator, it also meant that the heirs of the creator would also benefit as a by-product. And the heirs are now taking from the hand that gave them the right, because if copyright terms stayed the same (28 year term (14 years with the option to renew for another 14) or if the artist died before the 28 years, on death), the majority of these court cases would not even exist, because the songs would be in the public domain.

But it was still okay to show your influences and pay homage, because the record labels and publishers still paid the heirs and the artists for their rights, as the labels made 300% more profit due to CD sales. But when the record labels stopped paying, as mp3 ripping and then digital downloads and then streaming took over, suddenly, there was a problem for the artists or the heirs/organisations who owned the copyrights. The payments ceased or became dramatically less.

So with a combination of Copyright law changes and a change to the distribution model, a new situation was created with lawsuit after lawsuit, because every artist or heirs of the artist feels that their work is so original and free from influence, that they must be compensated.

And suddenly it wasn’t okay to show your influences or pay homage. But all progress made in music was to build on what came before.

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

Evil Wind

From the “Desolation Angels” album as Paul Rodgers is channelling what Santana should have sounded like at the turn of the decade. The first 4 songs of this album are a knock-out punch combo.

I’ve been gone such a long time,
I never thought I would return,
Now I found myself standing in the rain,
Waiting for your key to turn, yeah, yeah.

You been on the road for so long, it’s not the same when you get home. People have moved on because once you stop being around, you start to disappear. Out of mind and out of sight.

I remember reading a story about Bob Seger and how his kid didn’t recognize him when he returned from the road.

Evil wind, passed me by,
Troubled waters, pay me no mind.

You’ve gone through a difficult situation to return home only to find the situation is even more difficult.

I have crossed the waters
That will keep them miles apart,
Now I know the time has come
To make a brand new start.

Acceptance of the situation and acknowledging it’s time to move on.

By the end of the 70’s, those iconic bands were struggling to replenish their audience. And for the ones that didn’t look music video worthy, well, their career was at a standstill. They had to be in it to make music because they loved writing music. Some of the artists re-invented themselves and became even bigger in the 80’s. Aerosmith is one such band, but Tyler and Perry did have a pretty boy look.

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

Promised Land

What does the promised land mean for you?

That is the question that Chris DeGarmo, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield, Geoff Tate and Michael Wilton are asking on the overlooked eight-minute title track of their 1994 album after the mega success of “Empire”. It is a dark piece, full of space so the notes resonate in the atmosphere.

Do you see the promised land as success and your name in lights everywhere?

Do you see the promised land as being at home, surrounded by loved ones, doing your duty and having a laugh?

Do you see the promised land as some magical place that fame and success was meant to bring?

Or do you see the promised land as a place of loneliness, disillusionment and disappointment as it is not the utopian paradise you envisaged?

Because even though we all have ambitions to be successful, success also comes with drawbacks.

But what is clear, is that the promised land is something which is special to all of us and for us alone to discover. But it’s hard to quantify, because from birth, we are told that success relates to money and material possessions.

“Look at my house”.

“Check out my car”.

“Like my Rolex watch”.

We are conditioned to believe that we need to show people how we are successful because culture and society is setting the definition. “Making it” to me is not about how many houses and cars and money I have. It’s not something I want to teach my kids to strive and attain for because it’s so easy to get caught up focusing on attaining instead of living and life will just pass on by.

The promised land to me is all about balance. I want a family that I can spend time with, have laughs, watch movies, go to concerts and experience as many memories as I can. I also want to create art with words and music and I want to work and I want to spend as much time travelling as I can. I also want to keep coaching.

I appreciate each day, I love life (including all of its ups and downs) and I know each day is a blank canvas to create something. Sometimes, some things get more attention than others, but in the long run, it all balances out.

There is no unique riff to kick off the song, but a feel, with jarring bass and guitars coming in and out.

Standing neck deep in life,
My ring of brass lay rusting on the floor.
Is this all?
Because it’s not what I expected

“Operation Mindcrime” was released in 1988 and “Empire” was released in 1990. Those two albums saw Queensryche move from a cult following to a global following.

After a decade of slogging it out, they had finally reached a level of fame that was deserved. That ring of brass was given, but a few years later it was rusting on the floor, because it wasn’t what they expected.

And it wasn’t only Queensryche who experienced success like this.

David Coverdale via Whitesnake had seen a decade of hard work lead to mega success in 1987 and again with the “Slip Of The Tongue” follow up. Coverdale then folded the band.

Metallica went from cult thrash metal act to a mainstream metal monolith. This in turn led to them trying to emulate the success and when it didn’t happen, addictions took over.

Motley Crue had seen a decade of drugs and sex pay off in the mega selling “Dr Feelgood” and a global tour that would eventually break the band up and kill their personal relationships.

Bon Jovi was no different, with album and your cycle which led to Jovi putting the band on hold after the “Jersey” tour.

Basically, any act that got a music video on constant rotation on MTV experienced success like this. And then they had to see if the riches they earned gave them what they really wanted.

Somewhere along the way
Friends I once held close fled the fast lane.
I didn’t notice, I just had to make it.
Head down, nose in the grindstone

In the quest to be somebody, as Blackie Lawless said, the people they knew got let down and forgotten. So when they’d return home and expected a victory parade, there was none. No one even cared.

The lyrics of “Stay Hungry” from Twisted Sister come to mind because it is a song about the drive to make it, so when Dee Snider sings, “expect no sympathy, there’s none to be had”. And there isn’t any sympathy. You made the decision to pursue this dream, this quest to be a rock and roll hero and your all friends have moved on because they got left behind.

Life’s been like
Dragging feet through sand,
And never finding,
Promised land.

The promised land isn’t what you thought it would be. Your marriage is crumbling, there is a dispute over assets and your thinking, my life was so much better off when it was less complicated.

But it wasn’t, because there is no safety net in life. And if you want conformity, expect death. And we are getting so much better at re-evaluating our mindsets, finding new ways to set goals and to create our own promised land. Not someone else’s.

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

The Record Vault – Bon Jovi In The 90s

When I heard that Bon Jovi was back together and recording, I was looking forward to the “Keep The Faith” release.

I enjoyed what JBJ and RS did on their solo albums and of course I enjoyed NJ and SWW and the rest of their 80s output.

The “Keep the Faith” single dropped and although Jon Bon Jovi’s “Jennifer Aniston” hair moment took a lot of the conversation, their was no denying the power of the track. And I purchased the CD single.

The bass riff to kick it off, the piano chords, the U2 Edge Like Guitar in the pre Chorus and of course the massive arena rock Chorus.

Underpinning it all are the melodies and lyrics of trying to keep our heads up even when the world tries to knock you down. For some of the youth of the 80s who had grown up with metal and rock music, we needed a little bit of faith and hope at this time.

Then the album dropped and “Dry County” just got me hooked. The full 10 minutes of it, their opus and a song they never attempted to rewrite again.

Why have multiple 10 minute songs when one is enough?

And it’s also home to their worst song as well in “Bed Of Roses”. Well that was until the next album and “This Ain’t A Love Song” took its place. Jovi does Ballads well, but these ones felt just too orchestrated and lacked authenticity.

Plus it’s the home to some of their grooviest in “Save A Prayer”, a bonus track.

But “Dry County” (along with their earlier albums) is the reason why I still give Bon Jovi a chance, even after their last three current albums.

Then came “Crossroad”, a cash grab “Best Of” because it had a few new songs like the number 1, “Always” and top ten “Someday, Ill Be Saturday Night”.

“These Days” came out and although I wasn’t really enthused with “This Ain’t A Love Song” I was still a first day buyer.

And the first two songs “Hey God” and “Something For The Pain” kick it off nicely, until “This Ain’t A Love Song” ruined the flow.

Hey God, do you ever think about me

“These Days”, “Lie To Me” and “Damned” (which is “Keep The Faith” part 2) follow nicely and “Something To Believe In” and “If That’s What It Takes” are worthy editions but after that, the album becomes repetitive and a bit of a bore. “My Guitar Lies Bleeding In My Arms” has some moments. And I don’t like “Diamond Ring” at all.

For diversity and grown up lyrics, it’s one of Bon Jovi’s best albums. For the singles released, one of the worst A&R choices ever. And it sold more around the world than in the US because the whole world was in those same places that Jovi referenced in the lyrics.

We all needed something for the pain and something to believe in because what we did before wasn’t working anymore like working hard with the view that we will rise to the top.

Then came an expensive solo album in between movies for JBJ, which I enjoyed to listen to, as it captured the British popgeist that Oasis created and album closer “August 7” channeled Neil Young. But it did nothing in the U.S. while it saw success everywhere else.

For the record, the album had five producers, a shitload of engineers, a lot of musicians and Jovi got to write with some different writers this time, like Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics, Eric Bazilian (who wrote “One Of Us” for Joan Osborne) and Mark Hudson who wrote heaps with Aerosmith.

And Jovi realized that his strength and fame is with the Bon Jovi franchise as this became the last solo album he did.

Coming up next is Bon Jovi in the 2000’s.

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

Got To Give It Up

This one is written by Gorham and Lynott and I like the way it starts, with a simple strum of a chord and the chorus vocal line. Then when the distorted guitars kick in, how can you not play air guitar.

Tell my mama and tell my pa
That their fine young son didn’t get far
He made it to the end of a bottle
Sitting in a sleazy bar

He’s singing from experience and spinning a story around it.

I’ve got to give it up
I’ve got to give it up
That stuff

He knows he’s got to quit but he cant. The people around him, will not let him, all of those beggars and hanger-ons. So he’s in a vicious cycle of album and tour and hotel rooms, either partying or being lonely and taking drugs and alcohol to cope with the highs of the stage and the lows of loneliness.

James Hetfield is fighting a constant battle with it and no one knows how long that can continue. It’s been 17 plus years from the other public rehab stint that we all saw on “Some Kind Of Monster”.

Will he return for another stint?

I’ve been messing with the heavy stuff
For a time I couldn’t get enough
But I’m waking up and it’s wearing off
Junk don’t take you far

It didn’t take him far. It was only a matter of time before the junk creeped up and took him out, way too early.

And rock and roll history is littered with people overdosing. Nikki Sixx overdosed and came back to life as one of the lucky ones while Robin Crosby got AIDS because of the junk and passed away in the late 90’s, unknown and unrecognisable. Slash recovered.

And speaking of guitarists, how good is that outro lead break.

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

Crazy Circles

“Crazy Circles” is from the “Desolation Angels” album from Bad Company. While Led Zeppelin morphed into a band with synths in 1979, Paul Rodgers channelled his own Zep spirits and recreated what Zep might have sounded like if they stayed within their roots.

Life is like
A merry go round
Painted horses
Riding up and down
Music takes you
And you’re gone again
Crazy circles never seem to end

Damn right.

Music takes you on so many emotive rides.

We went to the show to connect. Our memento was the ticket stub and maybe a t-shirt, which once upon a time you could only get on tour.

Now people go to the show, to say they were there and take a selfie with the stage and the crowd in the background and to film it (like they are going to watch it back later). And ticket prices had an inflation rate that we wish our wages had. On top of bands scalping their own tickets.

But we still paid the price, and we still went.

Life is like
A game of chance
Some find riches
And some romance
Some find happiness
And some find sorrow
Some find it today
And some maybe tomorrow

Life in a nutshell.

Each day is a game of chance. Well it’s meant to be.

But maybe, we are too comfortable and in a routine, that we have forgotten to take chances. And we are constantly in a fight between happiness and sadness. Even in a relationship, there are ups and downs. It’s never perfect, nothing ever is, because humans always disappoint each other because of our own made up expectations as to what people should say and do.

If you don’t believe me, think back to arguments you might have had and how many times would you have heard the words, “you should have done this” or “how come you didn’t do this/that”.

In other words, we are flexing our own views and personality onto someone else.

Life is like
A carousel
You aim for heaven
And you wind up in hell
To all the world
You’re living’ like a king
But you’re just a puppet
On a broken string

So true.

How many of us crash and burn trying to be someone we’re not. You only have one life, so enjoy it and live it the way you want and not to show off in front of others what you have, or to spiral into debt to own possessions, which all get thrown away once you die anyway.

I’ve always said that an artist is at their best once they have lived and experienced.

Paul Rodgers at this time was 30 years old and he wrote some of the best lyrics of his career, summing up his life and experiences over the last 15 years.