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

Nov 9, 1985

I follow Circus Magazine on Twitter. Every day they mention hard rock or metal albums that came out on the same day. And back on Nov 9, 1985, the following albums came out;

  • Y&T – Down For The Count
  • Dokken – Under Lock and Key
  • Twisted Sister – Come Out And Play
  • W.A.S.P – The Last Command

In Australia, we had to wait. A geographical windowed release is the business name for it. And it’s funny how the labels still want to revert to these kinds of releases for music in the digital world. They don’t like world-wide releases. Hell, one of the main drivers of piracy was windowed releases. Fans of music in other parts of the world, wanted access to new music on the same day, U.S fans had access to it.

One thing that is common across all four albums is the sequencing and how the albums flow.

TRACK 1 – The Killer Opening Track

“In The Name Of Rock” has a great riff to kick off the album about a kid who heard a guitar scream and he knew he wouldn’t be the same.

“Unchain The Night” musically is unbelievable, but Don Dokken’s lyrics of running around in circles and never crossing some line and then not wanting to touch someone and then never wanting to unchain the night.

Seriously, how much blow was Don doing?

And how can you chain the night up to then not wanting to unchain it.

“Come Out And Play” starts off with an ode to “The Warriors” movie before Dee starts telling people to not be afraid of the night as it builds into an anthem for the SMF’s to join the Twisted Sister cavalcade and enter the world TS made. It’s basically a speed metal song.

“Wild Child” is a classic. It’s a simple riff, it sounds massive and it builds nicely under the Em, D, C chord progression. And Blackie had a certain lyrical style that worked about riding winds that bring rain because he’s a wild child who needs to be loved.

The winner here is “Wild Child”.

TRACK 2 – The Relaxed Track

“All American Boy” is cool musically and lyrically it might have worked in the U.S but it didn’t really work in Australia. Then again, Bruce Springsteen sold 10 million plus by telling everyone he’s born in the U.S.A. So there goes that theory.

“The Hunter” is a cool track musically and lyrically.

“Leader of the Pack”. Next.

“Ballcrusher” is just one of those songs that’s a blast lyrically about a vicious voodoo woman who crushes balls and manages to skull all of his JD. Hell, Steel Panther has made a career of using lyrics like these.

The winner here is “The Hunter”

TRACK 3 – Meant To Be the Big Hit

“Anytime At All” is a cool melodic arena rock song about a woman who can call Dave anytime at all.

“In My Dreams” is also a cool melodic arena rock song about a relationship that still works in Don’s dreams but not in real life. I believe Jeff Pilson wrote the lyrics to this song, so they make way more sense than Don’s lyrics.

And that solo from Lynch, it’s like he knew this song was going to be a single so let’s put every melodic idea and technique into it. And it works.

“You Want What We Got” is a cool sing along arena rock song about a person called you, who wants something that Twisted Sister has got and because that person called “you” can’t have it, the person called “you” constantly puts them down.

“Fistful of Diamonds” musically sounds like it’s from The Rocky Horror Show. And how relevant are the lyrics about money and how people go crazy for it because they want it all.

The winner here is “In My Dreams”.

TRACK 4 – The Ballad Song or Experimental Song or We Don’t Know What to Do With Song

“Anything for Money” is good musically and let down by crap lyrics.

“Slippin’ Away” just doesn’t work for me.

“I Believe In Rock N Roll” is a great song, musically and lyrically. Hell, one of my first band names “Iron Fist” came from the lyrics. The best line is pledging allegiance to the United States of Rock. The pre-chorus sums up life about working hard and constantly being told what to do.

“Jack Action” musically is like “You Got Another Thing Comin”. Lyrically it’s a mess.

The winner here is “I Believe In Rock N Roll”.

TRACK 5 – The Killer Side 1 Closer

“Face Like An Angel” has a cool musical groove and a top notch lead break. Even the vocal melodies are good, but those lyrics “she’s got a face like an angel but the devils inside her again.” Seriously. What the?

“Lighthin’ Strikes Again” has awesome riffage, so musically it’s pretty strong and the vocal melodies are spot on as well. Lyrically, is it about lightning striking you for inspiration? I’m not sure, but I think it is. Anyway, the music is perfect.

“The Fire Still Burns” burned so bright that it spawned the extreme black metal scene of Europe. The song is a masterpiece that could rival thrash speed metal tunes. And the lyrics deal with the pain and anger in Dee’s brain to last a whole lifetime and how he can’t have peace of mind because the fire still burns.

I’m a big fan of the “Widowmaker” song. The whole intro sounds epic and when the whole band kicks in, it’s breaking desk time. It’s the only way to kick off a song about some entity that has roamed the desert plains for thousands of years.

The winner here is “The Fire Still Burns”.

TRACK 6 – The Killer Opening Track of Side 2

Track 6 is always the first track on SIDE B. So it had to be a strong one. Kids these days will not understand how sequencing an album was super important back in the day.

“Summertime Girls” I heard in a movie. I can’t remember if it was a Porky’s movie or one of those other 80’s flicks that mimicked the Porky’s formula. Anyway the movie is set in summer, girls are wearing very short shorts and it was perfect for the scene. It’s probably the reason why the song has remained a favourite. Then I heard it on the “Baywatch” TV series. So how can you not forget it?

The video clip to “It’s Not Love” remains with me because it reminded me of ACCA’s “Long Way To The Top”. The riffs grab me again and the lyrics work with the melodies.

“Be Chrool To Your Scuel” just didn’t work for me. And the zombie film clip got banned from MTV for being too violent and gore which didn’t help its cause.

“Blind In Texas” is your basic 12 bar blues drinking song. Blackie is very creative with his lyrics, referencing Texas towns.

The winner here is “Summertime Girls”.

TRACK 7 – The Song That Will Not Be Played Live

“Looks Like Trouble” is excellent musically. But I hate the lyrics about how Dave gave a woman his Ferrari and got no response, because he’s a fool in love who doesn’t know when to give up.

“Jaded Heart” rocks musically. And you know what, even the lyrics work, about a jaded heart that looks and can’t see the beauty of life in front of it.

“I Believe In You” is a ballad that actually has Don Dokken doing some ohhhs and ahhhhs during the Chorus. Lyrically it’s about looking for acceptance.

“Cries In The Night” is actually a pretty cool tune about a person hearing cries in the night that tell no lies.

The winner here is “Cries In The Night”.

TRACK 8 – The “Cover” Song or The “We Are Running Out Of Ideas” Song or The” Melodic Rock Song We Are Not Sure Our Fans Will Like”

I’m not a fan of “Your Mama Don’t Dance”. I didn’t even like Poison’s version. I was like, why would you cover that song. It’s a timestamp of an era and not relevant at all in the 80’s.

“Don’t Lie To Me” is a great melodic song, with a great harmony that mimic’s the vocal line and even the lyrics work.

“Out On The Streets” to me is a pretty cool melodic rock song and one of those TS songs that are forgotten.

For a title track, “The Last Command” is very different for WASP’s 1985 standards as it’s in a major key. Lyrically I believe it’s about the sounding of the seventh trumpet before the end begins.

The winner here is “Out On The Streets”.

TRACK 9 – The “We Ran Out Of Time” Song

Musically, “Don’t Tell Me What To Wear” feels like it’s a carbon copy of “Blackout” from Scorpions. Lyrically, it works for me, about a kid who likes to wear his blacks and is constantly told what to wear.

“Will the Sun Rise” is another classic that doesn’t get enough love. I also don’t mind the lyrics about setting sail to find new wonders and memories.

Musically, “Looking Out For Number 1” is a rewrite of “You Got Another Thing Comin”. Lyrically, Dee is re-using themes of a person doing what they want to do and living a life they want to live.

“Running Wild In The Streets” should be retitled running out of time.

The winner here is “Don’t Tell Me What To Wear”.

TRACK 10 – “The Killer Speed Metal Closer to Side 2” and Album” or “The Killer Epic Power Ballad Closer to Side 2 and Album”

“Hands Of Time” closes the album and that palm muted harmony guitar riff just blows my mind for how massive it sounds and how simple it is to play.

“Till The Livin End” is basically a speed metal song and that is the beauty of Dokken that I liked. They could be metal, hard rock, blues rock, pop rock and speed metal all on one album.

“Kill Or Be Killed” is also a speed metal song about fighting the good fight, throwing punches in the name of rock first and asking questions later.

“Sex Drive” is basically a re-write of “Blind Of Texas” and “Fistful Of Diamonds”. A big miss here to close the album with a killer tune.

The winner here is “Till The Livin End”.

TRACK 11 – The Bonus Track

“King Of The Fools” is probably the best power ballad from Twisted Sister about how stardom, while great, is also pretty lonely and frightful because people are now looking at you to lead them.

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Diary Of A Madman

Back in the 80’s, I remember when songs of the 60’s and early 70’s used to come on the radio and I used to say, “really, play something more current.”

They sounded old. Fast forward to today and all I play is old tunes. Actually 70 percent of the music I listen to is pre 1995. More specifically; 1980 to 1992.

It’s hard to believe that “Diary Of A Madman” is 36 years old. 

Like the “Blizzard” album before it, “Diary” is a listening experience from start to end. And because of my addiction to the “Tribute” album, I was blown away by the depth of material on “Diary” that didn’t appear on the live album, like “Over The Mountain”, “SATO”, “You Can’t Kill Rock N Roll”, “Tonight” and the unbelievable title track.

To top it off, it clocks in at 43 minutes which meant back in the 80’s I could dub it one side of a 45 cassette tape and the other side I could devote to the “Blizzard” album. Those other 80s cassette dubbers will know how cool it was to dub.

Over The Mountain
The underrated drumming of Lee Kerslake kicks off the album, before Randy kicks in with the G#m pedal point riff. At a high level, the song is the evolution of RR covering Sabbath songs. The main riff is inspired by “Children Of The Grave”.

When it morphs into the instrumental interlude, the key moves to D#m and it’s a standard harmonic movement in baroque music. This time however, pull offs and hammer-ons are added to the 16th note pulse. 

Did anyone pick up on the “Black Sabbath” riff used before the solo break?

The bridge is very Rush sounding, which is simple power chords played over a shimmering and ringing of the open E and B strings.

The melody is pop all the way.

It is infectious and did anyone pick up Daisley’s reference to songs from the past like “Ticket To Ride” from Beatles, “Magic Carpet Ride” from Steppenwolf and “Shooting Star” from Bad Company. Maybe it was coincidental.

“Over the mountain, take me across the sky”
“Don’t need no astrology; it’s inside of you and me”
“You don’t need a ticket to fly with me, I’m free, yeah”

And that solo. It’s a masterpiece of Randy’s guitar style, combining Vivaldi inspired lines with tremolo bar dives, open string pull offs like in “The Lemon Song” from Led Zeppelin or like “Jeff’s Boogie” from Jeff Beck and combining it all with chromatics.

Flying High Again
The AC/DC style groove allows Randy to colour the spaces. I also do recall reading that Lee Kerslake came up with the vocal melody for “Flying High Again”. I am sure if I Google it, I would be able to find the link.

When Grunge came out, a lot of the reporters wrote articles that expressed how the Grunge players played with feel. And they generally compared these grunge players to all of the guitar players in the 80’s. What the reporters should have done is compared the “Grunge” feel players to the guitar players they wanted to compare them too, instead of generalising because Randy Rhoads played with feel and melodicism.

This song is a beautiful example of “compositional” guitar work. The solo is constructed and performed in the tradition of a classical piece.

“Got a crazy feeling I don’t understand
‘Gotta get away from here
Feelin’ like I should have kept my feet on the ground
Waitin’ for the sun to appear”

You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll
Daisley wrote the lyrics over an Ozzy hummed melody. Lyrically, it deals about record companies being greedy and trying to tell the artist what to do.

“Leave me alone; don’t want your promises no more
‘Cos rock and roll is my religion and my law”

Believer
The bass line is hypnotic and sets the tone for RR to colour and decorate a song about moving mountains with the power of belief. And there are some good lyrical lines from Daisley.

“Watching time go and feeling belief grow, Rise above the obstacles”
“You’ve got to believe in yourself, Or no one will believe in you”
“Their disbelief suppresses them, But they’re not blind, It’s just that they won’t see”

Little Dolls
It’s a track that belongs on an Alice Cooper album of the seventies, like “Billion Dollar Babies”.

Musically, it’s a derivative version of “Suicide Solution” in the main riff, a pre-chorus that sounds the same from “Over The Mountain”, a chorus section that sounds like it belongs on an ELO album and a bridge section ripped from “I Don’t Know”.  

Randy Rhoads did say in an interview that this song felt rush or the solo felt rushed (like he had to do it in one take). Whatever the case, this is probably the least known songs from the Randy era with Ozzy.

“The pins and needles prick the skin of little dolls”

Tonight
This song has two killer leads; the usual middle solo section and the outro solo.

“I hear the questions surface in my mind, of my mistakes that I have made
Times and places I have left behind and am I ever gonna make the grade?”

Daisley’s bass playing is also unique. It’s like a lead instrument over the arpeggios and piano lines.

S.A.T.O
Is the song, the initials of Ozzy’s two love interests at the time?

As good as the song is it’s the solo section that takes the song out of the stratosphere.

First, it’s over a 12/8 shuffle used more in the Blues genre (which Zakk Wyle used again in “Perry Mason” and it’s got all of Randy’s trademarks, from how he starts it off in the E Major Pentatonic scale and then he shifts into the C#m Aeolian scale which allows the listener to still believe it’s in E major, however RR has shifted diatonically to C#m.

It’s well known RR was no stranger to music theory, but he was one of those few individuals that put much of what he studied into practice.

Wind is high, so am I, as the shore sinks in the distance
Dreams unfold, seek the gold, gold that’s brighter than the sunlight

Diary Of A Madman
It’s a prog metal tune before prog metal became a term and a giant leap forward in composition and technicality.

“Diary of a madman, walk the line again today
Entries of confusion, dear diary, I’m here to stay”

At a high level, it is experimental music. The whole song is like a Randy Rhoads master class. Stand out sections is the whole intro section up to the first verse, and the heavy distorted riff before the dissonant solo break.

Bob Daisley wrote lyrics that referenced his own life.

“Enemies fill up the pages, are they me”

Daisley and Kerslake did not get any credit for having played on the album. On the sleeve, Rudy Sarzo is credited as playing bass and Tommy Aldridge is credited as drummer, however both people have come out and said that they didn’t play a note on the album.

13 years after its release it crossed the 3 million sale mark in the U.S. It took its time but all great things do take time to rise.

“A sickened mind and spirit, The mirror tells me lies, Could I mistake myself for someone, Who lives behind my eyes?”

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Whitesnake 30th Anniversary 

I’ve been listening to the 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of the 1987 self-titled album from Whitesnake since it hit Spotify on Friday.

The whole deluxe version is available for streaming, so kudos to David Coverdale for not punishing Whitesnake fans who prefer to stream. From time to time, bands release deluxe editions however they only put part of the release on a streaming service, withholding the rest for the physical edition with the hope people would go out and buy it.

So the original album kicks off the 30th anniversary edition. It’s still a solid album from start and finish. Coverdale might have racked up a $3 million plus debt recording it, but I am sure Geffen Records recouped their investment and Coverdale got to make some coin himself.

Then again, Sykes was hired in 84 with a million dollar sign-on fee. I would presume that also came from Geffen, which would then turn out to be another amount Coverdale had to pay back. Because, you know, labels recoup everything before they start to pay anything out.

The original LP version I have is the North American edition, which has a different track list.

1. Crying in the Rain ’87
2. Bad Boys
3. Still of the Night
4. Here I Go Again ’87
5. Give Me All Your Love
6. Is This Love
7. Children of the Night
8. Straight for the Heart
9. Don’t Turn Away

And to be honest, I prefer the above better. I guess John Kalodner would have had a say on how the album was sequenced. I also purchased the European version because it had the two extra tracks not on the North American version. And then I purchased some of the 7 inch singles like “Give Me All Your Love” and “Is This Love” and 12 inch singles for “Still Of The Night” and “Here I Go Again” because they had tracks from earlier albums on em. Then I purchased the CD of the album. What else was I going to do with my money?

There is no denying the knock out punches in the above track list. But I also like how they have “Straight For The Heart” in the middle on the 30th Anniversary edition. That’s where it belongs.

The album track order on the 30th Anniversary Edition goes like this.

1. Still Of The Night
2. Give Me All Your Love
3. Bad Boys
4. Is This Love
5. Here I Go Again ‘87
6. Straight For The Heart
7. Looking For Love
8. Children Of The Night
9. You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again
10. Crying In The Rain
11. Don’t Turn Away

The live tracks from a gig in Tokyo that followed the album were disappointing. Live shows are about selling an experience. If you record a live gig, it’s riddled with errors. Most live albums from the past that I enjoy like, “Live After Death” and “Tribute”, well they had some things redone in the studio to make em sound better. In saying that, I like how Coverdale gets the crowd involved in a sing-a-long. Apart from seeing the artist in the flesh, the “sing-a-longs” and the “extended jams” are the experiences the live show sells.

But the Evolution demos are gold. Pure Gold.

The way Coverdale has edited them together to demonstrate the evolution of each song is excellent. It just shows how a good chorus or a vocal melody evolves into a song. In some of the demo’s Coverdale is lost for words, but he’s hearing the melody and he repeats the same lines so he has something on tape to go back to later on.

Sykes on those jam versions; solo’s and riffs like hell. He’s unrefined and spontaneous and just trying stuff out, seeing what sticks and connects. The beauty of demos are the mistakes. There are no maps but the artist sort of knows where they are going. So they try and try and try until they get there. Coverdale is pure evidence of trying out vocal melodies and vocal phrasings.

But once they establish the hook or the chorus or the verse riff or just a groove, they start to map it out. That’s the beauty and rawness of music.

For example, in “Still Of The Night”. In the first minute, Coverdale is drumming on his legs, singling and adlibbing while Sykes is playing a riff over the normal F#5 chord. Then the phone rings and the next bit you hear from the minute mark to 1.45, I believe is from another song writing session. Then it evolves into a band rehearsal. And it just keeps on evolving from there. It’s edited to show an evolution. And of course, Sykes is shredding like a maniac in the band rehearsal. So originally, I believe the expectation was to have an up-tempo lead break which then morphs into the solo riff. At the 4.48 minute mark it evolves into another band rehearsal session, which this time showcases the embryo of what would become the moody interlude and how the outro came to be.

“Give Me All Your Love” was interesting to hear. It’s basically an embryo of what the song would become. At 1.38, I believe it evolved into a different take. This time we hear the Chorus we know and the tempo is a bit quicker. Then from 3.17 it evolves into a band rehearsal and the tempo again is just a bit quicker. This time we get a Chorus and some lead improvisations from Sykes. At 4.12 it evolves into another band rehearsal. With each evolution, the song is getting closer to the version we all know and love. This time we get the Chorus again before the lead break and Sykes again is improvising. At 5.20 it evolves into another band rehearsal.

“Bad Boys” original demo is to a drum machine. Yep that massive pedal point riff is played a lot slower to a drum machine. But Coverdale and Sykes had the Chorus melody from the outset albeit with som different words. From 1.39 the song morphs into a different song writing session (with the drum machine going again). This time we get the Chorus again, very similar to what we know and the riff is getting closer to being the metal pedal point monster we know. Then at 2.49 we get a band rehearsal version. This kicks in at the lead break section which is very different to the one committed to tape. Then at 3.25 it evolves into a different band rehearsal and the riff is there as we know it. The tempo is also quicker. Maybe a bit too quick.

“Is This Love” version starts off with the words;

“This is the Chorus to take over the world”

Coverdale and Sykes had the hook. They repeated it over and over again and over again because it was that good. And then they built the song around it. I am pretty sure from 1.37 when the verse riff is played it’s from a different song writing session. Then from 2.01 the song is performed with a drum machine. Again, the chorus is repeated over and over again.
I can go on and on and on about these “Evolution” versions. It’s best to invest time and check em out yourself. 

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Release Day Friday

What a release day October 20 2017 is turning out be. Apart from the normal 2 hour release radar playlist, these albums also dropped in their entirety.

Trivium – The Sin and the Sentence

This was the first cab of the rank on Spotify and on the few listens I gave it before I moved on to Europe, the 7min “The Revanchist” is my clear favourite, especially the section from 4.38, that reminds of the Maiden “Somewhere” and “Seventh Son” albums. “Betrayer” also has a very Maiden sounding Chorus and a sing along guitar harmony. “Other Worlds” has the same commercial feel from “Until the World Goes Cold”.

The one thing that stood out for me on tracks like “Beyond Oblivion” and “The Sin and The Sentence” is the T-1000 drummer. The amount of drummers Trivium have gone through is going onto Spinal Tap proportions but with Alex Bent pounding the skins, maybe they’ve found their guy.

But in the end, there is a lot of Maiden like passages and feel throughout the songs and I dig. \::/

Europe – Walk the Earth

Europe is always at its creative best when they are left to their own devices to write what they want. That’s what got them signed in the first place and that’s what gave them their first number one album. But like everything that becomes popular, record label honcho’s believe they know better and start to hijack the creative process which culminated in a 12 month song writing process for the “Prisoners in Paradise” album which more or less ended the band.

But they returned in the early 2000’s, on their own terms and in charge of their own career and copyrights.

And 15 years later, they are still continuing on, releasing new music along the way. “Walk The Earth” continues to show their 70’s roots. All the songs sound epic and exotic. If you are looking for another anthem like “Rock the Night”, “Superstitious” or “The Final Countdown”, you will not find it on this album. If you want to hear a band jamming on all cylinders and having fun, then you will enjoy this album.

Sons of Apollo – Psychotic SymphonyThis is pretty good and no matter how proggy it gets, Jeff Scott Soto’s voice brings it back to reality with his Dio/hard rock style phrasing. In the end each song has this epic 70’s vibe.

“Coming Home” was already well known to me as I played it to death. “God of the Sun” is classic prog and a great album opener. “Alive” is one of those slower tempo songs that connects lyrically and when it ends I feel the need to press repeat. And then you have “Labyrinth”.

What can I say?

You need to listen to it and enjoy the combination of Portnoy, Sheehan, Bumblefoot, Sherinian and Soto. It works well and it rocks hard. \::/

Revolution Saints – Light In The Dark

It’s a fucking good album. A real good melodic rock album. The song “Freedom” is just one of those tracks you will press repeat over and over again. 

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Tribute

It’s my bible.

I played the cassette tape to death trying to learn every riff and lick. And when I couldn’t pick it all up, I shelled out $50 on Wolf Marshal’s transcription of the “Tribute” album and I spent a lot of hours woodshedding to it. Even though Ozzy re-cut his vocals for the release there is no denying Randy Rhoads and his love for his instrument. The way he re-imagines his multi-layered guitar riffs from the studio versions and turns it all into one definitive guitar cut is brilliant. For any guitarist, new or old, this is it. It gets no better than this.

I Don’t Know

The “A” pedal point riff in the intro is an example of effective simplicity that Randy flourishes with harmonic pinches, artificial harmonics, legato licks and whammy bar dives.

Crazy Train

The demonic scary F#m intro merges into an A major trippy/happy major key verse before it morphs back into the minor key for the pre-chorus and chorus. How can you not like it?

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.

Believer

The bass line is hypnotic and sets the tone for RR to colour and decorate.

Mr Crowley

This is the first song I got stuck into. It has two shred leads and the way Randy combined those guitar lines into one definitive track for the “was he polemically” section is brilliant. 

Then the outro lead is just one of those songs within a song lead breaks.

Flying High Again

The AC/DC style groove allows Randy to flourish the spaces with trills and little licks. Again the solo section is one of those lead breaks that just blows you away.

Revelation (Mother Earth)

The finger picked part at the start is breathtaking, the interlude is subdued and relaxing but that outro is breathless. And the live tempo is much better than the studio tempo. 

Steal Away The Night

I love the intro riff and how the outro of Revelation (Mother Earth) transitions into this song. Unfortunately I can’t say the same thing for drum solos or guitar solos just on their own. I would rather hear those things along with music. John Petrucci on the live Budokan album nails it with his extended guitar solo as part of “Hollow Years” song.

Suicide Solution

The riff and the groove just nails it for me, plus the lyrics from Daisley about Ozzy’s addictions are brilliant. Again, would have loved to hear Randy solo while the band played the main riff of “Suicide” instead of being on his own.

Iron Man

Would you believe that the first time I heard these Sabbath song’s is via Ozzy?

Children Of The Grave

After “Mr Crowley” this was the next song I needed to devour. I loved the way Randy plays the riff in C#m on the 5th string. That’s how I learned this song. It wasn’t until many years later I heard the Sabbath version and Iommi is down tuned to C#. I must say, I love the tempo of this live version. 

And that outro improv lead is brilliant especially when Randy starts to reference Ace ala “Love Gun”.

Paranoid

Again, Randy goes to town on the lead and he fills the spaces of the main riff with trills and licks. Brilliant improv.

Goodbye To Romance

The piece d’resistance in guitar playing. The jazz like chords in the verses, the arpeggio chorus riff and that guitar solo.

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.

The album ends with some outtakes of Randy playing his acoustic instrumental “Dee”.

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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1983 – IX 

The playlist.

There was a brief moment in the 80’s where we all had a similar vision of our world which involved standing up against the institutions and fighting for our rights. Maybe it was all fake (but man it felt real) and maybe we all stood together because there was nothing else. But between 1983 and 1985, metal and rock fans stood together as one.
 
But then bands started to run into trouble. Those platinum highs between 1983 and 1985, started to disappear. The vision wasn’t shared anymore. It wasn’t rock and metal anymore standing as one. There was rock, hard rock, glam rock, heavy rock, thrash rock, technical rock and the same deal happened with metal. The record label PR machine just kept the different genre’s coming. Different magazines came out that focused on genres. Don’t expect to see a Whitesnake interview in a thrash metal magazine.
 
Suddenly it wasn’t cool to like death metal and glam metal bands. Elitists popped up in each new record label created genre that basically bullied others if they had eclectic musical tastes. But I seriously believe the reason why metal and rock grew to become a commercial force is because we all made connections with each other. The tribe is what made the records great. We talked about them, we traded them, we dubbed them for our friends. And when connections happen, the movement keeps on growing. Until we became divided. 
 

Hanoi Rocks – Back To Mystery City

I can’t say I am a fan of the solo work of Michael Monroe, however this album has that 60’s rockabilly vibe that Volbeat is renowned for today. I remember watching a documentary about how 60’s music from the US and UK made its way into other European countries in the 70’s, so it was no surprise in the 80’s to get rock bands from Finland, Norway and Denmark that had influences from the 60’s.
 
It’s unfortunate that most people know of Hanoi Rocks because of drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley’s death in a car accident while being drunkenly driven by Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil. All death is tragic. If Razzle’s injection in 1982 never happened, the band probably would have broken up. And his death in 1985 ended the band.
 

“Malibu Beach Nightmare”
has got that “Surfing In the USA” drum feel and if it was released in the 60’s it wouldn’t be out of place. Hell, it’s not even out of place in the 80’s. You can picture yourself on any beach enjoying this song.
 

I wanna stay in the sun
I gotta have my fun

 
Who didn’t want to stay in the sun once upon a time? Then people started dying from skin cancer and suddenly long exposure to the sun became a bad thing. Still, when summer rolls around, all we want to do is stay in the sun.
 

“Until I Get You”
is an interesting song. It’s a mixture between glam, rock and new wave and the feel of the song is intoxicating.
 

I’ve seen you many times before
For each time you mean more

 
You have seen the person on various occasions and various places and with each viewing, the heart grows fonder. But the feelings are not reciprocated.
 

Until I get you…
I’ll be dreaming of you every night
And all of my time

 
But the other half is not interested right now, so all we have is our dreams.
 

“Beating Gets Faster”
is also another interesting song with it’s mixture of so many eras. A love-song written by Monroe and McCoy.
 

I never dream of being a millionaire
Money can’t buy a love affair

 
We think by being loaded we’ll be happy. A look at the ones who are loaded and all you hear and see are the various break ups and what not. And after this album, Hanoi Rocks secured a major label deal with CBS which eventually led them to that fateful night in 1985. I guess money can’t buy everything.
 

Talking Heads – Speaking in Tongues

David Byrne is in the news because of his views/lawsuits over the lack of royalty payments from streaming services instead of anything creative. Which is a shame, because copyright has allowed artists to rest on their past successes when it was never intended to do so.
 
“Burning Down the House” is the song that sold this album. It was everywhere. One of my hard rock bands in the 90’s even covered the song in a rock context.
 
And it’s for this song that David Byrne has gone to war against streaming services. But his war should be against the label that holds his copyright and the publishing company. Not against the streaming service. If anything, the streaming service is providing a basic service that the record labels should be responsible for providing. And remember, copyright’s original intention was to give the creator a monopoly on his works for a limited time (so they can monetise their work and if popular make some money) so they have an incentive to create more works. Under the original Copyright terms, this song would be out of Copyright in 2011.
 
But Copyright is a corporation controlled business. They would give popular artists a few million for the rights to administer their catalogue of songs which would please the artist in the short term and reap massive dividends for the corporations in the long term. And then when the artist passes away, the corporations would give a few million to the heirs which would please the heirs in the short term and reap massive dividends for the corporations in the long term. But Copyright was meant to protect the artists while they alive and creating. Not when they are alive and not creating or dead and not creating.
 

Streets – 1st

Streets was the creative musical outlet for Steve Walsh in between his departure from Kansas and subsequent return. It’s a band made up of Walsh on vocals and keys, guitarist Mike Slamer, bassist Billy Greer, and drummer Tim Gehrt. The debut LP was released 1983 on Atlantic Records. The deal was negotiatied with one manager and subsequently destroyed by another manager. Neil Kernon was on hand to produce, however he bailed on them and guitarist Mike Slamer finished it off.
 

Atlantic just threw our Streets albums against the wall, and if they stuck, fine. But they weren’t willing to go out on a limb and do any kind of promotion for it, so they didn’t stick. We’re talking “hair god” days, back in 1984. Well, we weren’t “hair gods,” we were guys who were really good. That band was and is real good. Atlantic won’t even release them on CD. Neither Streets album is out on CD and don’t ask me why. Somebody really upset them greatly.

Steve Walsh (Walsh actually got a lawyer to get the albums back from Atlantic and Rock Candy re-released the Streets albums recently) 
 

We got our deal with one manager and Doug Morris came to see us and we did a showcase, and he signed us. Steve decided that he didn’t like this manager and we got Derek Sutton, who used to be Styx’s manager. As it turns out, from what I understand, Derek (Sutton) got into it with Doug and the rest is history. We got pretty much canned. We did the album (Crimes In Mind) and there was no push behind it. There are so many people who wonder why that band didn’t do better. I thought we had a good album.

Billy Greer 
 

Streets manager had pissed off the president of Atlantic Records, Doug Morris, and he said ‘screw this band’. If he didn’t like the manager, then he was known to do that. We kind of got dropped through the cracks.

Billy Greer 
 
You might have come from a big name band, but that didn’t mean you had any power. The record label bosses, if wronged, could destroy a career at will. Ask Dee Snider and how Elektra destroyed his Desperado project. Even though the internet distribution chain was meant to level the playing field, the record labels still have control over who makes it or who doesn’t.
 

“Cold Hearted Woman”
is written by an outside writer called Marty Conn. The origins of the song go back to 1978, when Marty Conn, fresh off a tour with the Whitford-St.Holmes band took a few musician friends into the studio to record a few tunes he had written. “Cold Hearted Woman” was one of those tunes and the bass player on the original recording is Billy Greer.
 

You said you wanted a lover
Now I know there have been quite a few

 
When it all goes to hell in a relationship, the past is used as the final insult. And guys really can’t handle that the person they love was with someone else.
 

“So Far Away”
is written by Steve Walsh.
 

We came so close to love
Before you walked away
Now broken promises
Are all I’ve got today
Chalk it up to a lesson learned
Maybe next time love will stay
So close, so far away

 
We all want to be loved but man sometimes its so taxing on our heart and mind, we want love to be close but so far away.
 

“Fire”
is written by Gehrt, Slamer and Walsh. This song is a pretty cool progressive number. The keyboard intro is good enough to hook me in and when the whole band comes in, the foot is tapping and the head is nodding. It’s almost like Rainbow meets Kansas.
 

The worlds on fire

 
Let’s look at our world in a nutshell. The rich control the government and the laws while religion is still causing wars and people still kill in the name of god. Then you have racial tensions between different colours even though we all bleed the same colour. In each democratic country we are seeing more examples of corrupted capitalism. And when it comes time to vote in new leadership, we vote the better option of two bad options.
 
And with all of the invasion of privacy of our governments, they still can’t stop a terror attack or a mass shooting. If an Islamic person carried out the shooting in Vegas, the U.S would be on high alert and travel warnings would be in place. Instead, it’s one of their own and it’s business as usual.
 
How cool is that progressive interlude/solo section from the 2 minute mark?
 

This place is where no man should be

 
Sometimes the social jungle around us is so toxic, we need to get out.
 

Eric Martin Band – Sucker for a Pretty Face

I had Paul Gilbert on my radar because of Racer X and the Shrapnel label, and of course Billy Sheehan was on my radar because of his work with Talas and then his high profile bass playing gig with David Lee Roth on “Eat Em And Smile”. So when I heard a new band was getting put together with these two guys, I was interested to know who the singer was and to be honest, back then, Eric Martin was an unknown. But 6 years before Mr Big became platinum darlings, Eric Martin was just another artist trying to make it in a world of similar artists.
 
This album is a great piece of AOR Melodic rock. Actually, the first time I heard this album was well into the 2010 + decade. Yep, that’s almost 30 years from when it was released.
 

Sucker For A Pretty Face

It’s a cool melodic rock song that just works for me. The lyrics are old and overused, but who cares.
 

She’s as fast as a train in the station
Like a dangerous drug from a pharmacy

 
Cool lyrics.
 

Well, I’m a sucker for a pretty face
I can’t judge a book by its cover
Sucker for a pretty face
The same old story

 
Who isn’t a sucker for a pretty face?
 

I know my time will come when she leaves me
For another sucker for a pretty face

 
Yep, it’s only a matter of time before they move on.
 

Private Life

I dig the piano riffs and the vocal melodies on this song. It works perfectly.
 

Almost everything I do
Seems to get back to you
Almost everything I say
Has its day in court

 
These days, everything is out on social media. There is no escaping the copy society the internet has created. So if you want to be famous, expect your private life to become a public life. And don’t take photos of yourself in different stages of undress.
 

Ten Feel Tall

Again the intro just hooks me in. I swear “Revolution Saints” must have used this album as a template for their debut.
 

Oh, you don’t remember me
I’m the man without a name
It’s always the same, I get lost in the shuffle

 
It’s never easy trying to get the attention of someone.
 

She’s got a nerve
You’ve gotta stand up, down
Look like you’re ten feet tall
Show a little pride, you overcome some
Sadness inside before you fall
Gotta look ten feet tall
 

The Chorus is hooks galore.
 

Just Another Pretty Boy

I heard “Just Another Pretty Boy” in the excellent “Thunder Alley” movie. For a movie on wanting to be a rock star, I think it puts the actual “Rock Star” movie to shame.
 
The intro again just hooks me in.
 

Many times I know love is blind
You’ve gotta take it slow I know he’s the kind

 
The pre-chorus works with the melody and the riff doing a great build up to the chorus.
 

Just another pretty boy, just another pretty boy
He’ll use ya like a toy, just another pretty boy

 
Yeah the lyrics are dumb, but you can’t help but sing along.
 

Shooting Star – Burning (1983)

How wasn’t this album a big hit?
 
Maybe because they were on Virgin Records, a label known for new wave and low on funds, so when a rock album landed in their laps they had no idea how to promote.
 

Our first managers were stealing us blind, so we fired them. They were record promotion guys and I think they blackballed us to a lot of radio stations. Another thing that happened was that we signed to Virgin and they had absolutely no money at the time. We did not know that when we signed with them.Later, we signed with Geffen and we put out Silent Scream and Geffen got in a fight with all the radio promo guys and they fired them the week our album came out. We had 200 ads on radio, out of 300 reporting stations the first week. “Summer Sun” was being added everywhere and it looked like the album would be a smash. After the fight with the promo guys it dropped to 40 stations. What do you do?

Van McLain – Shooting Star 
 
Imagine yourself dreaming of making it. The roads you take are all part of the journey to make it. Sometimes for days, months or even years, you have no clue where you are going. But then you get some breaks, a bit of luck and you get a record deal. You spend months in the studio, then the record comes out and the label that signed you, doesn’t care about your music as much as you do.
 
So what do you do?
 
Do you give up or continue?
 
So many people who contribute nothing to culture make money from the artist who actually creates art that culture consumes. And it’s an unfortunate world that these faceless people can either destroy or make an artists’ career.
 

Straight Ahead

This song is just like life, with more questions than answers, but you’ve got no other option than to keep on moving on.
 

Moving straight ahead
Straight into the fire

 
It’s the only way to live. Moving forward never stalling as intent opens the door to forward motion.
 

Don’t tell me to slow down
I got no time to wait
Don’t tell me to hold back
Gotta keep running

 
Isn’t it a life lesson for us all?
 
We are a short time alive and a long time dead. We need to keep moving as time waits for no one.
 

Go For It

The music is brilliant in this song. It’s like a cross between Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down” and Led Zeppelin. Then there is a section that is progressive and very reminiscent of Kansas.
 

Let me tell you go for it

 
Life… It’s about experiences. Live long enough and you’ll realize you get stronger with the lessons you learn. And you rue the days when you failed to go for it. When fear stopped you from reaching higher.
 

Burning

“Burning” could have appeared on a Journey album before “Don’t Stop Believin’” pushed Journey through a different door and into a different musical direction. However once upon a time a version of Journey existed which wasn’t scared to jam and take you on a musical journey. “Shooting Star” capture that vibe here.
 

The fire is burning in everyone

 
To change is to take a journey. And that journey is not pain free or stress free. You can’t change without the stress. They go hand in hand. And the fire to change and be somebody is in all of us. But a lot of us, take a stress free journey and waste away.
 

Winner

“Winner” has this Euro-vibe “Deep Purple” meets “Kansas” vibe happening which I dig.
 

Tough
You gotta be tough
Or be broken in two

 
We all have to pick ourselves up off the floor at some point when we don’t win and this song is a great soundtrack.
 

Feel it in our hearts
We’re the winners

 
A lot of other important things matter more than the results, like relationships, families, laughter and memories. You have those, you’re a winner.
 

Train Rolls On


I don’t need a reason to feel like I do
I live like I want to, I can’t wait for you

 
We don’t always have all the answers, but we make the best of life.
 

My life is like a freight train
Running down the track as the train rolls on

 

Everybody needs a friend
And the touch of a lovers hand

 
You’ve either been in relationships or you’re afraid of them. So many hold back, stay away as they don’t want to share as they are scared of change. And people do change you. When there is a connection it’s exhilarating and when there’s a disconnection, it takes years to recover. And some never ever do.
 

Dreams


Hold on to your dreams

 
Sometimes it’s all we’ve got especially in a world spiralling out of control.
 
The lead break in the outro is too short. It needs to go longer and fade naturally.
                       

Meatloaf – Midnight At The Lost and Found

“Bat Out Of Hell” was such a monster album both commercially and critically, anything that came afterwards just couldn’t compete. Meatloaf was the most imperfect front man you could get. But he put so much energy into his performance, it was genuine. 
 

Midnight At The Lost And Found

It’s written by Marvin Lee Aday, Steve Buslowe, Paul Christie and Danny Peyronel. Meatloaf was a performer. Other people wrote his songs. Jim Steinman is the man behind the big ones, however the song writing committee on this album is not bad either.
 
Put your hand up if you knew that Marvin Lee Aday is Meatloaf. Bassist, Steve Buslowe worked with Paul Stanley, Jim Steinman, Bonnie Tyler, Aldo Nova and many other artists. Paul Christie is an Australian bassist/songwriter, who worked with a lot of Aussie acts like AC/DC and Mondo Rock, while Danny Peyronel is a Juilliard School trained keyboardist and associated with a string of high profile acts like UFO and Pink Floyd.
 

Hey Ricky, now mine is empty
How about one for you
We could set it out together
Seems tomorrow’s overdue

 
The scene is set. We are all drinking at the bar.
 

Midnight at the lost and found
Lost souls in the hunting ground
A remedy for all your ills
At the lost and found

 
Mmm, is the remedy, alcohol?
 

Wolf At Your Door

It’s basically a re-write of “Hurt So Good” John Cougar Mellencamp. This song is written by Marvin Lee Aday and Steve Buslowe.
 

Workin’ your life to the bone
There’s a wolf at your door
He wants your money, wants your soul
A wolf at your door
You give it all, he wants more
There’s a wolf at your door

 
There is so much truth in the above. The wolf comes in many different disguises, the bank man, the tax man, the gas man, the electricity man, the ISP man, the grim reaper man, the lawman, the government man and so forth. So many wolves are waiting to take away your life’s work.
 

Aldo Nova – Subject

“Fantasy” was such a massive song, anything else that came after would be compared to it.
 

Cry Baby Cry

It’s very similar musically to “Fantasy”.
 
It’s a perfect example of melodic rock, especially the harmony guitars that kick it off and lead in to the shredalicious solo break.
 

Always Be Mine

This is a keyboard heavy Journey style AOR rocker.
 

Let’s talk it over now
We both have a lot to say
Let’s get it over now
We can’t let it go this way

 
Sometimes talking it over, leads to more talking about the words said in the talking it over part.
 

It’s just a game we play
We look at love through eyes so blind
So don’t give your love away
Cause in my heart you’ll always be mine
Baby, you’ll always be mine

 
As Yoda said, “No, another there is”. Relationships are the same.
 

All Night Long

The chorus guitar riff is very similar to a certain song by Journey called “Don’t Stop Believin’”. I dig it and it rocks.

That’s it for Part 9 and I will close off 1983 with Part 10 soon.

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

Forgotten 80s List Part 3

Here is the playlist.

Forgotten songs from the Eighties are still on my mind. Here is another list of songs that should end up on your playlist one way or another.

The problem with the below songs is they were dwarfed by other “MTV” single songs or just bad promotion from the record label.

Out On The Streets
King Of The Fools

Twisted Sister

Twisted Sister knew which road they needed to take to make it. Now that they made it, what was next? Which road should they take? Bob Ezrin was approached to produce the album and after hearing the demos he didn’t hear a hit, so he passed. Hindsight and the passage of time points to Dee losing his way and anger at the world, but to me, the songs on “Come Out and Play” (except for “Leader” and “Be Cruel”) are as strong as the songs on “Stay Hungry”.

I believe it was poor record label decisions to release “Leader of the Pack” as the opening single. And to be honest “Be Cruel to Your School” is one of the weaker tracks on the album for me and never should have been a single.

“Come Out And Play”, “The Fire Still Burns” and “I Believe In Rock’N’Roll” are favourites of mine from the album and they got played live. “Out On The Streets” and the bonus track “King Of The Fools” do not get any love, hence they are on this list.

I’ve always dug a song that starts off with bass and drums. Then the vocal melody kicks in and then the guitars. “Lost Behind A Wall” from Dokken also comes to mind.

Searching for something in this human zoo
Kaleidoscope of faces, maybe, it might be you

I had to look up “kaleidoscope” in the dictionary. I had no idea what it meant. After I digested the meaning, it made the lyric even better.

Someone listen to my prayers
Can’t help feeling no one cares

The biggest fear is loneliness. We want someone to care for us, even more so for people who reached the top in their chosen field.

You’re out on the streets, living on your own

I’ve always taken this lyric to mean; away from home and the comforts of our loved ones. Look at any lyric from a rocker who spends a lot of time on the road touring and you will see how much it pains them. They turn to drugs as a supplement and sometimes when they are alone in their hotel room, away from everyone, their thoughts get the better of them.

My cousin Mega is a huge Twisted fan. He even tattooed the logo on his shoulder. So Mega had the album upon release, plus the VHS video. So I dubbed the LP on cassette and I also dubbed the VHS video onto a blank video tape until I had enough funds to purchase the original. So a few months after release, I purchased the LP. Many years later, well into the 90’s I came across a CD version of “Come Out And Play” via the second hand record shops. The almost faded sticker of “Bonus Track” was enough incentive. And “King Of the Fools” is that bonus track and man what a track it is.

The harmony guitars to kick it off, remind me of “Bringin On The Heartbreak” by Def Leppard. They sound epic, grand and they set the tone for a monster of a song that for some reason, the guys in the band nor the record label didn’t see fit to put on the normal album release. Sort of like how Bon Jovi left “Edge Of A Broken Heart” off the “Slippery When Wet” album and left “Social Disease” on it.

Look around me all I see
Thousands of faces wanting me
How can I lead?
How can I rule?
When I’m the king of the fools

We strive to make it, to be successful. And when we get there, we suddenly have people waiting to see what our next word will be, our next song and so forth. Suddenly doubt is everywhere. Conflict is everywhere. We turn to addictions to numb the pain. We want to be on the road, we want to be adored, we want to play shows, yet we don’t want to be away from our families.

The outside world can’t understand
Just who we are or what I am
Well, we don’t want their life or rules
I’ll be the king, king of the fools

Again, it’s the us (the SMF’s) vs them (the institutions, the government, the mainstream) mentality. It’s the expectations of society vs the dreams of youth. We have different viewpoints, we have different needs so we are seen as fools by the institutions. If the institutions see us as fools, then our idols are our Kings’.

Fight For Your Rights
Motley Crue

Sometimes it makes you wonder how a band with so many addictive personalities can get it together to churn out an album. “Theater of Pain” and “Girls, Girls, Girls” have a certain reputation as the “more filler” albums in Motley Crue’s 80’s output. It comes as no surprise that these “more filler” albums occurred at the height of the bands addictions.

But putting aside people’s viewpoints, each album has a few cult like gems. On a previous “Forgotten” post, I sang the praises of “Dancin On Glass” from the “Girls” album. On this post, “Fight For Your Rights” from the “Theater” album gets some love.

How good is the intro/verse riff?

Who wrote the Bible?
Who set the laws?
Are we left to history’s flaws?

We live in a world created by the religion institutions’ and the ones who control the wealth. And throughout the ages of times, documents got produced on how people should live. Eventually those documents became important to the detriment of any other document that challenged it.

Fight (fight) for your rights

Dee Snider turned up to the hearings against censorship, others wrote songs about it.

Martin Luther
Brought the truth
The color of our blood’s the same

So true. We all bleed red.

So break the chains
And solve the pains
And we all become one race

It’s easier said than done. These days it’s everybody against everybody. People of the same colour are against people of their own colour as well as people of different races. Then you have people against people because of religious beliefs or relationship preference. Then you have people against people because of social status. In my view, money is a bigger evil today.

Waiting For Darkness
Ozzy Osbourne

Even though Ozzy Osbourne is listed as the only songwriter, it’s well known that Bob Daisley wrote the lyrics and Jake E. Lee along with Daisley wrote the music. The guitar playing is what hooked me onto this song. The palm muted staccato lines in the verses from Jake over a syncopated bass/drum groove is just brilliant. So once I unpacked the riffage, I started listening to the lyrics and the vocal melodies.

Waiting for darkness
Why doesn’t anybody see now?
Deafened by silence
Why doesn’t anybody hear?

It’s easy to place this lyric with the lifestyle of Ozzy. Due to his addictions and constant toxic state, you can imagine many days and nights spent in a drug induced darkness. Deafening silence means a lack of response that reveals something significant, such as disapproval or a lack of enthusiasm from those who surround you or love you. So you have Daisley writing about a darkness to come, and everybody is too busy to care. Sort of like how people don’t care how their private data is gathered and sold by the large internet corporations. Sort of like how people don’t care about net neutrality. Until it’s too late.

We’re hardwired to believe and understand the things we experience, so we experience the internet and we like it. But there is a battle happening over the control of the internet and people just don’t care.

I know what they’ll find
It’s in their mind
It’s what they want to see
Spare me from the light
Here comes the night
And here I’ll stay waiting for darkness

This is all about people who don’t care to see the truth. What they’ve been told from birth and from their tribe is what will remain with them forever.

Promise me rebirth
And then you tear me from the womb
Give me my freedom
And then you lock me in a tomb

The way of the world is more pure in books of fiction. The non-fiction reality version is very different. A lot of the songs I like deal with how “we believe we are free but really are not”. It’s not coincidental. The more I get older, the more I realise how free I’m not. Like how Hetfield sang in “The Unforgiven”, “New blood joins this Earth and quickly he’s subdued”.

That’s The Way I Wanna Rock ‘ N’ Roll
AC/DC

From 1988’s “Blow Up Your Video” album. It was released as a single, however “Heatseeker” was doing a decent job taking all the limelight, this little ditty got ignored.

Party gonna happen at the union hall
Shaking to the rhythm ’til everybody fall
Picking up my woman in my Chevrolet
Glory hallelujah, gonna rock the night away

The scene is set. We have Brian picking up his woman, to take her to a party at Union Hall and rock the night away until they fall.

Told boss man where to go
Turned off my brain control
That’s the way I want my rock and roll

There it is again. The “We’re Not Gonna Take It” call to arms. We will not be used and we will not allow the people in power to control us.

Young Lust
Aerosmith

Like “Permanent Vacation” before it, “Pump” had some monster songs that stole all the glory like “Love In The Elevator”, “Janie’s Got A Gun”, “The Other Side” and “What It Takes”. And when that happens, it’s easy for songs to get lost or become forgotten. But “Young Lust” is the opener. In the minds of Tyler and Perry, it was good enough back then to open the god damn “Pump” album and today it gets no listens. To me, it’s just a pure party rock and roll anthem and Joey Kramer again goes to town on the drums, with his double kick underpinning the groove and tempo of the song.

A little bit o’ nasty
You look a little sleazy
But don’t get any on you

Is that what Bill said to Monica?

Young lust
Once you had it you can never go back

It’s totally wrong this lyric.

Checkin’ out the ladies
Who didn’t bring their boyfriends
Who love to get in trouble
I got to say I’ll see you later, meet me in the elevator

Tyler’s elevator fetish gets a prequel.

Young lust
I’m a-pushin’ and a-shovin’ it

Only Tyler can get away with lyrics like these.

One In A Million
Guns N Roses

This one is from the “Lies” EP released I think in 1989. I can Wikipedia it, but screw it, I’m running on fumes at the moment. I remember reading the stories about the “controversial” lyrics, especially the lines around “Immigrants and faggots” and “police and niggers”. But really, are the lyrics that controversial. There is always someone who gets upset at something. Basically, there is just no way one person/artist can make every single person in the world love them. It’s impossible.

Police and Niggers, that’s right
Get out of my way
Don’t need to buy none of your
Gold chains today

Is Axl a racist?

Maybe.

Is he trying to address some social ills with the verse above about a class divide?

Maybe.

You need to remember, this song came out in 1989 and there is a good chance the lyrics were written sometime in the 80’s. The L.A police during this period made a name for themselves as being pretty heavy when it came to dealing with citizens. And from the stories we kept seeing on the news, the police in L.A didn’t do themselves any favours. NWA wrote a cult classic about doing something with the police in LA. All of this bubbled to the surface when a video was released of the police beating Rodney King with clubs. What happened after that? Riots in L.A. A “Hooligan’s Holiday”. The nigger part is playing to a stereotype and a better word could have been used, but Axl was never about conforming.

You’re one in a million
Yeah, that’s what you are
You’re one in a million, babe
You’re a shooting star
Maybe someday we’ll see you
Before you make us cry
You know we tried to reach you
But you were much too high

The Chorus didn’t make much sense due to the extreme nature of the verses, but many years later it does. It’s basically saying, if you want to be a star, you are one of many in this world. And if you want your 15 minutes of fame, you are in competition with all of the problems of the world for people’s attention.

Immigrants and faggots
They make no sense to me
They come to our country
And think they’ll do as they please
Like start some mini Iran,
Or spread some disease
They talk so many goddamn ways
It’s all Greek to me

What a verse?

Talk about moving a conversation forward. I remember reading how ignorant Axl is and what not because of this verse, but in the end he was speaking a truth that he saw.

Isn’t that the artists credo, to knock down doors and be yourself.

I am sure millions will agree with what Axl meant about “starting a mini Iran”. Each race has a small faction of people who are so far removed from the conversation, their ideology is the only way. The problem is when that race has 100 million people worldwide, 10% is a small faction as a percentage, but in people numbers it’s large. And I always wonder. People come to democratic countries to escape the horrors of their own home and then they try their best to turn the streets of the democratic country that took them in, into the war torn streets of their homeland.

Radicals and Racists
Don’t point your finger at me
I’m a small town white boy
Just tryin’ to make ends meet
Don’t need your religion
Don’t watch that much TV
Just makin’ my livin’, baby
Well that’s enough for me

If we want a better future, it helps to be able to see the world as it is. Watching a news program is seeing the world as the news program wants you to see it. Reading a news article is seeing the world as the writer of the news article wants you to see it. Seeing a Travel video is seeing the world as the people who made the travel video want you to see it. You need to get out and see with your own eyes the world. Just don’t get run over by a mad man in a van.

Mine All Mine
Van Halen

I know it was a single, but in all seriousness, a lot of the singles from “5150” were still on the airwaves along with “When It’s Love” and “Finish What Ya Started” from “OU812”. “Jump” and “Panama” also had traction. So “Mine All Mine” just percolated outside the Van Hagar Halen hit factory.

The drumming is frantic, making a clichéd keyboard riff sound heavy as hell.

Oh, you’ve got Allah in the east
You’ve got Jesus in the west
Christ, what’s a man to do?

The problem with the world summed up in three lines. And it all boils down to a belief system.

Stop lookin’ out, start lookin’ in
Be your own best friend
Stand up and say, “Hey! This is mine!”

There it is in a nutshell. Stop looking out and start looking in. Don’t worry about what the person next door does or what they have. Focus on what you have and focus on what you can control. In the end, if you don’t like the state of the world, with the whole world at your fingertips, you will be able to find other voices to stand up with you when the time comes to raise your voice.

How good is the guitar solo from EVH?

Sometimes he goes all crazy and plays leads with reckless abandonment and sometimes he delivers melodic gems within his own theatrical style.

Standing In The Shadow
Guilty Of Love
Kittens Got Claws
Wings Of The Storm

Whitesnake

Is there a more broken hearted person than David Coverdale?

“Standing In The Shadow” is from 1984’s “Slide It In” album and it’s written by Coverdale.

I’m running away from a feeling
Hiding my face in the sand
I’m scared to love and lose again
I don’t know if I can

It’s that moment in time after a relationship has ended. You are hurting and you feel betrayed. Then you come across someone who rekindles the fire. But you are still hurting and after being burned once, you are fearful to jump in, just in case it leads to another broken heart.

Life is short, so you need to live it. And that means, putting the fear away.

Too many people
Standing in the shadow
Standing in the shadow of love

It’s like sitting on the sidelines and assessing the situation for the right time to re-join the game.

“Guilty Of Love” is from the same album and how cool are the guitar harmonies at the start, which again are written by Coverdale.

I believe my love for you
Is a love that will last forever?
And I’m here to testify
I’m a prisoner of your heart

When you fall in love, your heart becomes a captive to the other half. And when the relationship ends, it hurts.

Baby, don’t you believe when I tell you I love you
That I really mean it
Don’t you walk away?
Don’t you turn your back on me?

I guess we don’t really know what we got until it’s gone.

“Kittens Got Claws” is from “Slip Of The Tongue”, the follow-up to the mega 1987 self-titled album. Coverdale selected Adrian Vandenberg as his co-writer for this album. It would have been interesting to see how the songs would have sounded if Coverdale used Vivian Campbell as well, but it was not to be. Regardless, Vandenberg as co-writer is involved in some epic songs. Let’s not forget the title track “Slip Of The Tongue”, “Judgement Day”, “Sailing Ships”, “Now You’re Gone” and “The Deeper The Love”. But to me “Kittens Got Claws” is just a fun track to listen to and tap your foot to.

Walking down the street
You’re the center of my universe
You got the world in your pocket,
My manhood in your purse
You ain’t a bad girl, honey,
No matter what the neighbours say,
It’s just that you were those skin-tight dresses
With your G-string tuned to “A”

How good is the “G-string tuned to A” line?

Brilliant.

“Wings Of The Storm” is another little gem largely forgotten. It’s heavier and speedier and far removed from the blues based Whitesnake but man it’s a pretty good listen. It’s pedal point heaven for a guitarist.

On an’ on, the road goes on,
An’ it’ll go on forever,
Time will show if you and I
Will walk that road together

Almost 6 years later, Coverdale is still in a spot of bother when it comes to his love life.

It’s unfortunate that Geffen Records became a label that focused more on the results, totally ignoring the community and what customers of their artists could like. David Coverdale built a community around Whitesnake and a trust with the fans. And the labels just abandoned the artists at will. To me community and trust is more important than results, hence the reason why Whitesnake still rolls today.

Rock Me To The Top
Before My Eyes

Tesla

“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 the original meaning of rock and roll and not the musical form.

“Before My Eyes” is written by guitarist Frank Hannon, along with Jeff Keith, Tommy Skeoch and drummer Troy Luccketta. To me, it’s the feel of the song that captures my attention more so than the lyrics. It reminds me of Y&T and it feels sad and spacey. Lyrically I’m not a fan, but musically I am all in.

Tomorrow
Naked City
Exciter
I’ve Had Enough
King Of The Mountain
My Way
Silver Spoon

Kiss

Kiss didn’t sell a lot of recorded music product compared to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and other large 70’s acts. But they are still seen as one of rocks biggest groups in the 70’s and maybe the entertainers of that decade. But by the end of 70’s and the start of the 80’s they got eclipsed by Disco, New Wave Pop, the NWOBHM and the L.A scene. Suddenly it looked like the band was in the rear view mirror. Original band members “officially left” even though they really left recording new music with the band a long time again. But with each album they dropped in the 80’s, they continued their evolution. “Lick It Up”, “Creatures Of The Night”, “I Still Love You”, “I Love It Loud”, “Crazy Crazy Nights” and “War Machine” are concert staples.

Here are a few gems a bit outside of Kiss’s comfort zone which had enough rock in em to keep me satisfied.

“Tomorrow” and “Naked City” come from the “Unmasked” album released in 1980. Both tracks merge the current pop trend with the distorted rock they are known for. I was late to the party on this album, hearing it in its entirety in the early 90’s.

“Tomorrow” is written by Paul Stanley and Vince Poncia and Stanley even plays bass guitar. You need any more evidence of dysfunction, here you have it.

I didn’t know just what to say
When you turned and you looked my way
It doesn’t happen to me every day
Can we talk a while?

I used to think that all of the rock stars had all the lines and moves covered when it came to love. In the end, they are all tongue-tied and error prone like all of us when it comes to love.

You didn’t have to say a word
I tried to tell you, but I lost my nerve
You know I wanted just to slip away
For a little while

An opportunity missed. Who hasn’t been there?

“Naked City” is written by a song writing committee of Gene Simmons, Vince Poncia, Bob Kulick and Pepe Castro. This one is an interesting track. It’s got a super heavy bass riff and that riff continues throughout the song. However the guitars set the vibe. In the Chorus its all “Arena Rock” and in the intro/verses it’s a “reggae shuffle”. And when it comes together it all works.

In the naked city (in the city)
There are ten million stories (naked city)

Once upon a time, stories travelled by word of mouth and the press. Now stories travel via a cable all around the world in a matter of seconds. It each city, millions of people live their lives and a new story is created every second.

Lonely people looking’ for someone
Lonely people going’ their way

It sums up life to a tee. We are all lonely people looking for someone to be with us to the end. We are all lonely people trying to find our way in life. Hopefully with someone.

“Exciter” is the opening track to the “Lick It Up” album in 1983. It’s a speed metal song and Vinnie Vincent brings out the metal and the shred and the delay. Actually what a waste of a great talent the Vinnie Vincent story is. His ego burned so many bridges; eventually people just turned away and refused to work with him. Even his record label turned him down and dropped him.

Passion and fire, lust and desire
Exciter
Pleasure and pain, this is my name
Exciter

Enough said. The lyrics are a waste and fail to deliver justice to the riffage.

“I’ve Had Enough” is also the opening track from “Animalise” released in 1984. It’s written by Desmond Child and Paul Stanley. Stanley was always an underrated guitarist who actually churned out some killer riffage in his 40 plus years creating music. Mark St John (RIP) just copied what Stanley wrote and played it on the album. Or maybe Mark just did the leads, while Paul did all the rhythm, sort of like how James Hetfield does all the harmonies and rhythms, while Kirk does all the solos.

How many times have they lied with the truth in their eyes?
Treat you like dirt, wasting the days of our lives
They try and deny it, ain’t gonna buy it, just look around
Before it’s all over, it’s gonna get rough
I’ve had enough

I always assumed the “they” in the song are people who abuse their power, people who put you down, people who make your life hell, people who you trust the most talking crap about you behind your back and so forth.

(Out of the cold, into the fire)
Nothing and no one is stopping me now

Attitude is the most important choice we have to make every single day. We have the choice to be optimistic, the choice to participate, and the choice to challenge the powers that be and find hope when fear and uncertainty is rampant. We select these attitudes. It’s our choice and when we do, nothing can stop us.

Wishing’ and hoping’ won’t get you nothing’
Praying’ and scheming’, no time for dreaming’
I’ve got the power, this is the hour now

You need to take action. If you don’t take action, nothing will transpire. A small change today leads to a large change in the future. Are you ready to make the change?

“King Of The Mountain” is the opening track from “Asylum” released in 1985 and the first album to feature Bruce Kulick. Kulick actually co-wrote the song with Desmond Child and Paul Stanley and the music is very close to “Creatures Of The Night”. It’s funny how a simple guitar riff sounds so heavy because of the drum groove laid down by Eric Carr.

I’m gonna climb the mountain
I’m gonna hit the top
I wanna go where nobody’s ever been
I’m never gonna stop

Isn’t that the spirit of human adventure? Reach the top, go where nobody’s ever been.

I’m the king of the mountain
And the winner takes it all

The bane of any existence is laziness and fear, the belief that we can’t make it so were better off not trying. We can make excuses because we are surrounded winners doing everything. In reality, nothing in our daily lives is a winner takes all competition. Yeah, there always be someone smarter, faster and more popular than you. And you will be smarter, faster and more popular than others. And those others you are far ahead are far ahead of others and so forth. The difference is how high is each individual mountain?

How good is the lead break from Kulick?

Man he shreds tastefully. Still his moment of guitar hero glory came on the much hated, or tolerated or loved album (depending on which side of the fence you sit) “Crazy Nights” which came two years after “Asylum”.

“My Way” is written by Desmond Child, Paul Stanley and Bruce Turgon (he played bass in Warrior, played bass and co-write most of the songs on Lou Gramm’s solo releases plus Shadow King’s 1991 release and Foreigner’s 1994 album) and it comes from the keyboard heavy “Crazy Nights” released in 1987. Depending on your point of view, this album is hated, tolerated or loved. And this song is also hated, tolerated or loved.

Oh the heat is on
And my back’s against the wall
You know it’s tough to be strong
In a world that makes you crawl

Clichéd. Yes. Original. No. Commercial. Yes. Sounds like Kiss. Umm, it sounds like Kiss in the 80’s. The lyrical message has been done to death about being strong and being yourself in a world that’s controlled by institutions who want you to be something else.

I’m gonna talk like I talk
Walk like I walk my way
I’m gonna go where I go
Ain’t takin’ no, my way

It’s easy to silence your voice. We’ve been battered by all the noise, problems and hassle that come with raising our voice. So sometimes we just sit back because it’s easier. Eventually, we find our voice again and as the Chorus goes, we will talk like we talk and walk like we walk and we will do it on our terms and our way.

What about Stanley’s highs in this one. Do you reckon he had someone in the studio squeezing his balls to hit those highs?

“Silver Spoon” comes from 1989’s “Hot In The Shade” and Paul Stanley had come full circle writing with Vince Poncia again. Like “Crazy Nights” this album is hated, tolerated or loved.

In a city where the buildings rise
I was just another face
But mama told me when somebody dies
No one else can take your place

It’s a really cool verse. I don’t know who came up with those lines but they are pretty solid and full of truth. In cities that have millions of people, we are all just bodies and faces in a sea of faces. But each person is unique and they bring their own light to this world. Our thoughts are all different and when we pass, our light goes out and no one can replicate it.

It’s a shame the rest of the song didn’t follow a similar lyrical thread. Instead it went to a girl, with an attitude because she was born with a silver spoon.

Had Enough
Mr Big

It’s the feel of the song. It’s like a ballad but it’s not a ballad. Having super shredders like Gilbert and Sheehan colouring the song with some great rhythms is great to hear.

Ain’t like any other day
Finally comes a time to decide
I won’t spend another day
Stuck here in the same old bind

The first two verses could be about any life situation and then the song devolves into a relationship situation. Missed opportunity to connect much wider.

What’s It Gonna Be
Ratt

It’s from 1988’s “Reach For The Sky” album and it’s written by Robbin Crosby, Juan Croucier, Warren DeMartini, Beau Hill and Stephen Pearcy.

The promises were empty and your blood runs cold
So tell me
What’s it gonna be, sweet Elena
Just give it to me straight, is it him or me?

I can’t remember if Elena was Peacy’s wife, but the question is simple, what’s it gonna be?

Rock And Roll’s Gonna Save The World
Y&T

Y&T is one of those bands that just hook me with their sense of melody and feel. “Rock and Roll’s Gonna Save The World” is from their 1984 album called “In Rock We Trust”.

Kings and queens and presidents
Are tryin’ to take the world in hand
Jokers and freaks and Arab sheiks
Are fightin’ over chunks of sand

The same problems that exist today existed 30 years ago and way before that. Guess they never really went away.

Rock & Roll’s gonna save the world
Don’t you know that’s the way we’re gonna change it?
Rock & Roll’s gonna save the world
Rock & Roll

We believed we could change the world. Then we got jobs and got loans and became exactly what the institutions wanted us to be. Slaves by choice.

Tin soldiers march around the world
No matter what the people say
One man makes all the policies
While the rest of us get blown away

It’s what our leaders are fighting about right now. Who should make the policies? Who should tell others what to do? And democratically elected leaders want to dictate how people should live and then they take up arms against dictators. Ironic isn’t it.

Gutter Ballet
When The Crowds Are Gone
Hounds
Summer’s Rain

Savatage

All the songs are written by the holy trinity of Criss Oliva (RIP), Jon Oliva and Paul O’Neill (RIP).

Another sleepless night
A concrete paradise
Sirens screaming in the heat
Neon cuts the eye
As the jester sighs
At the world beneath his feet

It’s that click track piano that makes it unique as Jon sings about the way of the streets in a circus setting.

Another death to mourn
Another child is born
Another chapter in the play

The cycle of life, a death, a birth and a new story to tell.

How good is the instrumental lead break section in the song?

“When The Crowds Are Gone” is the song that sealed the deal, the song that made me love the album. It’s the vocal outro, the lyrics and Jon Olvia’s vocal delivery. The outro is that good, Savatage used it for other songs on future albums. It’s easy to get caught up in it.

I don’t know where the years have gone
Memories can only last so long
Like faded photographs, forgotten songs

Artists who have been on the road for a long time, miss out on so much from their personal lives. It’s a sacrifice.

Where’s the light, turn then on again
One more night to believe and then
Another note for my requiem
A memory to carry on
The story’s over when the crowds are gone

When the crowds are gone, the career of an artist is over. When the show is over and the crowds are gone, the night is over and the journey begins to a new city and a new show.

All my friends have been crucified
They made life a long suicide true
Guess we never figured out the rules
But I’m still alive and my fingers feel
I’m gonna play on till the final reel’s through
And read the credits from a different view

It’s about a clarinet player who chooses to retire from playing on his own terms. But in the song, his own terms are too late, because as the song goes, the crowds are no longer there.

I never wanted to know
Never wanted to see
I wasted my time till time wasted me
Never wanted to go
Always wanted to stay
Cause the person I am are the parts that I play
So I play and I plan
And hope and I scheme
To the lure of a night
Filled with unfinished dreams
And I’m holding on tight
To a world gone astray

The big ending and it works so well with the music, the vocal melody and the pain in Jon Oliva’s voice as the clarinet player finally understands it’s all over.

In “Hounds”, Criss Oliva becomes a guitar hero with some wicked riffage and wicked shredding.

Do you hear the hounds they call
Scan the dark eyes aglow
Through the bitter rain and cold
They hunt you down
Hunt you down

The word “hounds” is just another word for the predatory people in our lives. And if we are not too careful, eventually they will hunt us down. Of course the song is about hounds, but it’s very easy to interchange the two.

How good is that melody lead under the chorus vocal melody in “Summers Rain”?

Standing alone in a dream
Where nothing is real
But oh how real it feels
There were times I lost my way
I was alone, lost in a haze
Where are you now
I’ll find you somehow

A song about a relationship that doesn’t sound clichéd and lazy.

And do I stand alone
Like a fool out in the rain
Hanging on somehow
To an ancient vow
Where there’s nothing left to gain
And do you know
How it feels inside
To be all alone
A fool and his pride

When you don’t want to let go, even though the other half has already moved on. But life is more about doors closing, not opening. And when doors close and new opens open we are forced to go in a certain direction.

Metal Heart
Accept

It is 1999
The human race has to face it
They are confronted with the truth
It’s secret — mysterious

For Accept the truth is and always will be heavy metal. But in all seriousness, the human race needs to confront the truth and make some changes. Our planet is warming. There is no way people can deny it. The normal winds we get are more destructive and last longer than ever before. The rain that falls is a lot more destructive than ever before.

Downhearted
Reckless – Don’t Be So
The Boys Light Up

Australian Crawl

I left my heart back in the Orient
Down on Bali bays
It’s not the way that I should feel
But it’s the way I’m gonna stay
Downhearted
Broken dreams that never really started

Holiday romances and the feeling of loneliness when you get back home. Back in the 80’s once you left, the connection was lost. Not like in today’s connected world. And Australian’s always go to Bali for a holiday. It’s seen as a cheap overseas holiday.

In “Reckless”, the band maps out the journey into Sydney from Manly via the ferry via the first verse.

Meet me down by the jetty landing
Where the pontoons bump and sway
I see the others reading, standing
As the Manly Ferry cuts its way to Circular Quay

Anyone who has done the ferry journey can relate to the above.

So, throw down your guns
Don’t be so reckless

The iconic chorus lines. Don’t be so reckless to destroy a relationship that took years to build.

Finally, we have the pub rock classic. In steel city Wollongong, we always assumed “The Boys Light Up” meant lighting up a reefer. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I really unpacked the lyrics and found some brilliant lines.

Silently she opens the drawer
Mother’s little helper is coming out for more
Strategically positioned before the midday show
Her back is arched; those lips are parched, repeated blow by blow

Mmm, I wonder what mothers little helper is. Zzzzzzzzz…

Later at the party
All the MPs rave
About the hummers she’s been givin’
And the money that they save
To her it is skin lotion
Him promotion to
That flat in Surfers’ Paradise with the ocean view

For all of the political scandals that made headline news from the late Nineties onwards, the above verse seemed prophetic to say the least. Seriously, what a creative, tongue in cheek verse. And all Australians know Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.

The boys light up

I guess the boys lighting up is all about getting hard and coming alive.

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