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

The Record Vault – Australian Crawl

There is no way you could have lived in the land of Oz and not known Australian Crawl. They had their own unique merge of Aussie pub rock, The Police, The Eagles, Reggae and Pop. Add to the mix, musicians who could really play their instruments, a guitarist who didn’t mind shredding pentatonic lines and a vocalist who had a unique singing style which at times you couldn’t make out what he was saying, which made it even more fun. 

I didn’t get these albums until the 90’s because I didn’t feel the need to own any Australian Crawl in the 80’s because every radio station played em, every music video TV show played em and when they split up in 1987 and singer James Reyne went solo, the same thing happened with his solo career as his solo songs were everywhere along with his Australian Crawl songs.

And my favourite song is “Reckless” and I don’t even own it. Also, the first ever song I wrote was called “The Final Wave” taken from the title of their last album, which I saw was out via a commercial on TV, but I didn’t buy it. At the time, the album was competing with a lot of big releases from the U.S for my hard earned dollars. But their most famous song, is “Boys Light Up” because everyone associated it with weed smoking. And it is a song you don’t need to own, because it’s still played on radio to this day, plus I used to cover the song in various 90’s cover bands I was in.

“Sirocco” is the first album I dropped the needle on. It came out in 1981 and it got its title from a boat which Error Flynn used to own. If you don’t know who Errol is, then read on below. 

“Things Don’t Seem” kicks the album off, dealing with a relationship where the girl’s mother has a bird’s nest hairdo, her brother gets plenty of action and her father thinks he’s a weirdo and all he wants to do is just get some action with the girl.

“Unpublished Critics” is the song that everyone in Australia reckons Axl Rose and Slash ripped off for “Sweet Child O’Mine”. And Axl Rose did have a like for Aussie music, covering songs from Rose Tattoo in Guns’N’Roses club days. Lyrically, I always thought it dealt with their critics, with the lyrics;

The singer in the band, he sweat on a pose
And he’s really such a jerk
Thinks he can call me stupid
Because he gets a lot of work

“Oh No Not You Again” is probably the best Eagles song not written by “The Eagles”. It’s got that “Take It Easy” feel. Actually “Take It Easy” was written by Jackson Browne, so… And if you think, Tommy and Gina had it hard in “Livin On A Prayer”, these two lovers in this song had it even harder or he had it hard for someone else.

Don’t own no swimming pool, not even a colour TV
He work awful hard some days and she lets him be
Things ain’t looking good for them, no love no more
Some friends are comin’ round tonight
He’s out on the town, knockin’ on the wrong door

“Lakeside” was also all over the radio. The sound and feel of the song puts you at the lakeside and the lyrics sum up the suburbia, with the lyrics;

I got a terrific Torana
A green hand going to wave bye-bye
I got a C.B. shuffle and a dashboard muffle
Pilot’s twitch my eye

My older brothers mates had yellow and black Torana’s, while my brother had a Holden V8 Calais, all done up. The cars looked super cool and they always had pretty woman in the passenger seat.

“Trusting You” is one of their best constructed songs, with so many different stylings when it comes to playing the guitar; like guitar leads, arpeggios, power chords, off beat reggae upstrokes, natural harmonics and some whammy bar action. And the verse riff is similar to “Rockin In A Free World”, albeit in a different key. Which song came first?

Your time will come and go
For a while you’ll have control
Take your pound of flesh
Feed your greed and leave guiltless

Is it about a relationship, a bad business partnership or the record label bosses?  In any two way relationship, regardless if its peer, business or romantic, there will be someone making more decisions than the other party.

“Errol” is about a good ol’ Aussie womaniser called Errol Flynn, an actor who took Hollywood by storm with his legendary 12 inches. Musically, this one reminds of “The Police”.

Convict state
It just don’t rate
He want to get higher
Apple Isle
The inbred smile

Errol didn’t want to stay in Australia, he had bigger dreams and the U.S was the place for him.

He want to pounce
Like an animal
To girls he just can’t say no
He had them all
Screamin’ for more
He play the wild scene
Ah scandalise
No compromise

Errol, the boy from down under is showing Hollywood how it should be done.

They build him up
They took it all
And then they
Just cut him down

And like all entertainment careers, the movie studios who made him, took it all away, because they held the power and I think at that time, they would sign actors to long term contracts and then they wouldn’t give them any movies to do, and they wouldn’t release them either to go work for another studio. These kind of contracts got abolished when they were challenged in court by an actress, who was also in a similar predicament.

“Easy On Your Own” builds on their acoustic Eagles vibe. This one brings back memories of “Sweet Home Alabama” and because of their diversity to cover different styles, it is a big reason why Australian Crawl became so popular. Like for example, the guitar solo is a slide guitar solo. In other songs, it’s a rock solo, a reggae solo, a country solo, a blues solo and so forth.

Shirt tails flapping in the wind
Waiting for my train to come in
Ticket reads like a faithful friend
Run the gamut back again
Rounds completed there’s no more crowds
Towel around my neck-it’s finished now
Stumbles blindly to the door
Impending Monday morn

The end of a weekend, the end of a night, catching the train home as not a lot of people had cars. These days, people still catch the train but with fear. It wasn’t like that once upon a time.

“Love Boys” has this verse riff, which is a lot like “Long Way To The Top”, played in a clean tone with a chorus effect and it sounds heavy.

Kings Cross cruiser
Late night bruiser
The tattooed love boys
The tattooed losers
She’s ready for him
She’s pretty pretty
He’s pretty bent and
He’s bashed her silly

Those big bikie bouncers at Kings Cross in Sydney, always up to no good and in and out of jail. If you’ve ever been to the Cross, you will know what I mean.

“Resort Girls” kicks off with a lead break which sounds very familiar but I can’t put my finger on it. And that’s why I love music, taking your influences and making them your own.

Holiday resorts are really quite amusin
If ya don’t watch out you can really take a bruisin
Lots of pretty girls in very scant bikinis
With rum, boyfriends too busy with their surf skis

“Sons Of Beaches” is up next, released in 1982 and does anyone remember that Jersey kid called Jon Bon Jovi, wanting to call the follow up album to “Slippery When Wet” exactly the same. That son of a ….

Anyway, for us Australians, which is a land surrounded by water and sand, the title is perfect.

“Runaway Girls” starts the album off and it is another fast paced rocker, in the same vein as “Things Don’t Seem” from the previous album and it deals with a girl headed for big bright lights, use on the way but that’s alright, seems like there’s some things you got to sacrifice to get where you want to go.

“Daughters Of The Northern Coast” has a riff which again sounds familiar to something I already know, but I can’t put my finger on it.

Daughters of the northern coast
Sons of beaches, don’t deliver the post

“Shut Down” is my second favourite and we used to cover it in various bands I was in. That lead break that kicks the song off and repeats in the Chorus, is simple, yet so emotive. And the lead break in the middle, hooks me in only to end when I think it’s going to go for a bit longer. The beauty of music, make a statement and leave the listener wanting more.

The outro section, we would play games as to what was sung. I always thought that “Alimony” was always repeated and after a few beers, my listening apparently got better and it sounded like “out of money” and then it morphed to “hey there honey”.

Lyrically, it deals about a girl with a slim waist, who is addicted to the swing jet set lifestyle and likes to go slow and pick up the pace. And then she moves on to another, hence the reason why the outro vocals are singing alimony.

“Downhearted” appeared on the first album, but it got a second wind on radio and appeared on the third album as well. Along with “Shut Down”, this song got played relentlessly on radio. Huge songs, that appealed to both rock heads and pop fans.  Lyrically it deals with a relationship left behind in Bali, and the empty feeling upon the return home to Australia.

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The Record Vault – Arcade

EMI really wanted this album to work.

Stephen Pearcy’s previous band RATT splintered. Some say it was due to dwindling sales (500K units in the US is not a small amount for their “Detonator” album, but then again the labels reckon it was, especially after moving 3 million units for their previous albums) and others say it was due to Grunge.

Regardless, Pearcy didn’t wait around and he hooked up with Fred Coury from Cinderella on drums, Johnny Angel played guitar originally and wrote songs for the debut, but was dropped and in came Frankie Wilsex and Donny Syracuse, while Michael Andrews is on bass.

EMI even paired up Pearcy to write with Jim Vallance of Bryan Adams and Aerosmith fame, and they also got producer Dave Prater, who at this point in time had some serious chart success with Firehouse and Dream Theater.

But it didn’t work, and nobody really knows why. Good music is good music and it should find an audience. But it didn’t. Well it didn’t like how the label wanted it to.

So what happened to all of those rock and metal fans from 1984 to 1990?

Why didn’t they lap up this album?

Well, the base wasn’t as big as people thought. The bulk of the fans shifted between rock and pop and metal, so when it came to 1993, it was no surprise that some fans had shifted their allegiance to other styles. Maybe they just thought that Stephen Pearcy was done and dusted or he’s a one hit wonder or because fans became hip now, into more mellow music, like how Mark Wahlberg cut his hair in Rock Star, it wasn’t cool to like rock music anymore. I knew a few people like that, and if they existed in my circle, I am sure they existed in other circles as well.

I purchased the CD but I can’t remember from where. But I do remember the “Cry No More” single which I purchased via a second hand store, complete with ONE song. Yep, you read that right, one SONG on a CD which can hold 70 minutes of music.

And the album is not on Spotify, which is a shame. A real shame.

Calm Before The Storm

It has a wicked open string riff as good as any metal like riff at the time. It’s credited to Vallance, Angel, Pearcy and Coury.

But I dream of rising light
A sign it’s time to be reborn

And a Pearcy was reborn but ignored.

Cry No More

It’s written by Johnny Angel, Fred Coury and Stephen Pearcy.

And man, when a guitarist spends time being the main songwriter and then doesn’t get to play on the album or plays on the album and is fired before the tour, I see that as a low act by said band mates and management.

When I was young my daddy always taught me
To speak the truth and never tell lies
Now that I’m old and no one ever told me
The life you live, the truth you can disguise

We are living it everyday, trying to make out what is real and fake.

Down and out, I need a friend
Who’ll be there until the end

You don’t know who will be there at the end. And it scares people.

Messed Up World

A sign of the times we live in.

Greedy little fingers
Dirty little lies
Diggin’ themselves in deeper
Wearing their disguise
Crooked preachers sell religion
Underhanded politicians

Artists have written about corruption from when I can remember and it’s still happening without any end in sight.

And I ask myself why?

Maybe Geoff Tate was right all along, the holy dollar rules everybody’s lives and everyone has got to make a million, it doesn’t matter who dies.

I don’t wanna believe what they tell me
I ain’t gonna buy what they sell me
I ain’t gonna take what they’re givin’
It’s a messed up world that we’re livin’ in

Damn right and it is only going to get worse, because if you have school children who can’t vote, striking from school for climate change, imagine the changes coming when they can vote. The current powers that be will fight tooth and nail to keep the world messed up.

World peace and religion
Well you know that’s what they teach
But their arms hold up their halos
They never practice what they preach

Wearing masks is the name of the game. It’s all messed up, but that’s how we survive.

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The Record Vault -Accept

I had an “Headbangers Heaven” compilation album which had “Screaming For A Love Bite” on it, so that was my second introduction to the band, with the first being the “Balls To The Wall” film clip. I actually traded the 4 LP compilation for “QRII” with Randy Rhoads.

And my ownership of Accept material started with “Metal Heart”, “Breaker” and the “I’m A Rebel” album.

I didn’t feel the need to own the bigger albums in “Restless and Wild” and “Balls To The Wall” but those albums did enough to make me buy “Metal Heart”.

The title track starts of excellent but the classical Beethoven lead was just too much for me. “Midnight Mover” has a head banging riff but the vocal melodies in the verses don’t do enough to capture the commercial vibe of the music.

I know that a lot of people didn’t like the new mainstream MTV sound to their music and I was like what the fuck are you talking about?

It’s still distorted, it’s still rooted in their metal and rock.

“Up To The Limit” reminds me of AC/DC and is the best song of the first three. “Wrong Is Right” is pure speed metal and my answer to the people who said Accept sold out with this album.

“Screaming For A Love-Bite” is the reason for my confusion. Musically the song is brilliant, very melodic rock, but the vocal delivery doesn’t do the song justice. Why would you write a song musically like this and expect UDO to sing it like Def Leppard.

And that’s what is wrong with the album overall, the expectation that a gravelly like vocalist is expected to deliver MTV friendly vocals.

“Too High To Get It Right” is hard to listen too, “Dogs On Leads” is a bad rewrite of “Balls To The Wall” and “Teach Us To Survive” sounds like a rejected “Pink Panther” song,

“Living For Tonite” and “Bound To Fail” are great musically but the vocals don’t do the songs justice.

And it’s these songs that should have been easy to listen too because they are Accept.

“Breaker“ is a good album. The rise started here.

“Starlight” has cool riffs as Udo deals with the bright lights of Hollywood. “Breaker” is a part of the history of speed metal. “Burning” is a 12 bar blues metal tune in the vein of “Born To Be Wild” from Steppenwolf.

“Feelings” has Hoffman galloping his way to glory and delivering a tribute to AC/DC as well.

“Midnight Highway” is an AC/DC cut that Angus and Malcolm Young didn’t write because they didn’t have Judas Priest and Slade as influences.

The “I’m A Rebel” album is not on Spotify but YouTube has it, so I listened to it as I couldn’t really remember a track from it.

And I remembered I enjoyed listening to it, and I still didn’t remember a song from it apart from the title track.

Many years later I came across the Accept debut album and the “Restless And Wild” album on CD. The debut is not on Spotify however “Restless and Wild” is.

“Fast As A Shark” is fast and I was wondering if a young James Hetfield or Dave Mustaine were listening. Then again, the song owes its roots to Motörhead and Judas Priest.

“Restless and Wild” immediately hooked me in with its “Barracuda” galloping riff.

“Ahead Of The Pack” continues the riff assault.

“Neon Nights” is excellent, with a cool bass groove, melodic riffs, a verse that reminds me of “Welcome To My Nightmare” and a Chorus as good as any pop chorus doing the rounds at the time.

“Flash Rockin Man” intro is part of the “One Riff To Rule Em All”. In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about, I did a post a while go about the riff which I know as “Two Minutes To Midnight” and how for a period between 1976 to 1986, that riff was rewritten into different derivative versions by a lot of different artists.

“Princess Of The Dawn” has a riff which should be part of the melodic metal canon if it isn’t already.

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The Record Vault – Alice Cooper

This is going to be a long one. For me, Alice Cooper’s career was discovered backwards.

I knew “I’m Eighteen”, “Schools Out” and “No More Mr Nice Guy” are tracks from his early career, but the versions I had heard were all covers of these songs.

Plus, I am a horror movie fan and I knew he did a song called “He’s Back” for a “Friday The 13th” movie.

Trash

It all started with this album. For the year it came out and my hard rock mindset, this album fit the criteria to a tee. Plus we used to play games to see how many times, Alice Cooper sang “baby” throughout the whole album.

I have the LP, plus the singles “Poison”, “Bed Of Nails” and “House Of Fire”.

“Poison” kicks it off, with a guitar riff that’s stood the test of time and I bet ya no one knows who John McCurry is or the guitar work he did on albums or the songs he co-wrote for others. You can tell that Desmond Child is involved because of the Chorus. It’s his style down to a tee.

“Spark In The Dark” immediately hooks me in with its sleazy bluesy guitar riff and I was surprised to see that no guitar player was involved in the songwriting of it as it’s listed as an Alice Cooper and Desmond Child cut.

“House Of Fire” is catchy and I swear it’s on the album to increase the “baby” count. Written by Alice Cooper, Desmond Child and Joan Jett, even Bon Jovi gave the song a go for their “New Jersey” album.

“Why Trust You” fires up, and like “Spark In The Dark”, it’s written by Alice Cooper and Desmond Child and it’s a dead set rocker.

“Only My Heart Talkin’” is next and I’m reminded of Aerosmith straight away, so I wasn’t surprised when Steve Tyler made an appearance on the outro. Even the feel of the song is different, and it’s the only song on the album which doesn’t have Desmond Child as a co-writer.

“Bed Of Nails” kicks off side 2, and muscled up guitarist Kane Roberts from Alice’s band before “Trash” has a co-write along with Alice, Child and Diane Warren. The way this song starts off, with the backwards guitar effect, I thought Sammy Kerr from the “Trick or Treat” movie would arrive in my lounge room. For those who don’t know, in the movie, a grieving fan plays the album of his favorite artist backwards and resurrects him back from the dead.

“This Maniacs In Love With You” is written by Alice Cooper, Desmond Child, Bob Held and Tom Teeley. The only reason I included the whole shebang of writers is to show how far and wide Alice went, to get the songs he needed for this album. This song could have worked with any artist.

“Trash” is written by Alice Cooper, Desmond Child, Mark Frazier and Jamie Sever. Again, there is a songwriting committee.

How good is that little riff after each line is sung in the verse?

“Hell Is Living Without You” is written by a songwriting committee of Alice Cooper, Desmond Child, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.

The emotive solo break hooks me in this song.

“I’m Your Gun” ends the albums and it’s the same writing team as the opening teach “Poison” with the classic lyric line of pull my fiddle.

And for the “baby” count, we all had different counts, ranging from 30 to 70.

I even borrowed “Alice Cooper Trashes The World” on VHS tape from a friend of a friend of friend and dubbed it into blank VHS tape.

After “Trash”, I needed more Alice Cooper. The live video opened up my eyes to classic songs everywhere. And I purchased “Welcome To My Nightmare” and “Billion Dollar Babies” together based on the covers.

Welcome To My Nightmare

And I’m transported to the sounds of 1975.

Man the acoustic start, the “hit the road” feel, the shimmering tones and we are off on some musical journey that’s a cross between rock, jazz, blues and whatever else they could chuck in, like a saxophone solo.

And I liked it.

Then that riff that kicks off “Devils Food” should be iconic but it’s not, because the opening track took that glory.

And here, my prize, the black widow, isn’t she lovely.”

And how good is that “Black Widow” riff?

It puts most of the bands who call themselves “Metal” to shame. It you want to see menacing, this is the song and Bob Ezrin as producer took this album up a notch, while Dick Wagner as one the guitarists and main co-writers is basically unheard of today.

And that outro. Fuck, what a song. It follows no formula, no structure and it’s memorable.

Then when the cabaret feel of “Some Folks” kicks in, it feels dissonant, but as the song plays on, it fucking works.

And you need to remember in 1991, I’m listening to this and I’m like, “god damn, they don’t make music like this anymore”. The variations between each song, the different styles, the influences from other popular songs and how they are merged seamlessly into a coherent little song.

And that outro, I’m hooked and I pressed repeat on my CD player just to hear it again.

It’s knockout punch after knockout punch.

“Only Women Bleed” has an awesome guitar intro and that section after the bridge at about 2.28 to 2.38 is perfect.

And the knockout punches kept coming.

“Department Of Youth” kicks off with a riff that sums up a generation and the lyrics which confirm it.

And we ain’t afraid of high power
We’re bullet proof
And we’ve never heard of Eisenhower
Missile power, justice or truth

And that’s the Youth summed up. The issues and leaders of the world that concerned our parents didn’t concern the youth of the times.

And then “Cold Ethyl” keeps the punches coming, with a bluesy riff and a super melodic chorus.

“Years Ago” is just a circus tinker box like riff which is menacing and when you’re used to guitar heavy music, it’s a “ah-huh” moment.

And this leads into “Steven”, the best song on the album. That piano riff is enough to hook me in as it reminds me of horror movies but hearing a grown man sing like a little child about to lose his shit is scary enough.

And the musical groove when everyone sings “Steven”. Fuck, I still get goosebumps writing about it.

And that whole musical passage after it, sounds depressing, and I know the song is about to end and I had my finger on the repeat button.

I would have been happy if the album ended there. “The Awakening” is a little piano jam, which is haunting. “Escape” closes the album with an uplifting major key riff in the similar key and feel of “Department Of Youth” which is perfect.

And by the end of it, I’m bloody and bruised from all of the knockout punches.

Billion Dollar Babies

This was up next and man it had a lot to live up to. The first three songs were cool and “Elected” got me going, but after hearing “Department Of Youth” first, “Elected” had themes and style too similar for me.

And it took an iconic drum intro on track four which is as good as any classic guitar riff I’ve heard to hook me in. That my friends is the title track.

And when the guitar riff comes in, i was shocked again at how good these 70s albums are and the way the musicians write songs, following their muse and sticking a middle finger to the label guy.

And the labels hated this period because they couldn’t control the artists and they felt they should be the ones who could drop and sign anyone they wanted, but also scared to drop any artist or a disobedient successful artist, just in case they had a hit with another label.

“Unfinished Sweet” is 6 minutes long and they just try shit out. There is this section where all they are doing is hitting a chord with an effect on it and just letting it shimmer out. After that section, a simple 4/4 beat is played, and the song builds to a conclusion.

“No More Mr Nice Guy” was already a favorite and Megadeth’s version for the “Shocker” soundtrack was in rotation already for me.

“I Love The Dead” is brilliant. On the live VHS tape I have of the “Trash” tour, these 70s songs get an awesome modern sounding upgrade. And the repeating “I Love The Dead” is spot on and when you chuck in some cool pentatonic based lead lines, well what can I say. Once they added horns and violins, it’s a perfect ending.

In 1991, I don’t think any band at the height of MTV would sing or write a song called “I Love The Dead”, except an extreme or death metal act. And here is Alice Cooper in his ascendancy, writing about zombies, babies and what not.

I felt like I needed a proper original VHS video of Alice, so “Prime Cuts” was available and I purchased it, watched it once, the footage was crap and never watched it again.

Hey Stoopid

There is not a song on this album that I don’t like. And like “Trash”, Alice and his team went searching far and wide for songwriters to co-write and have them jam on the album.

Slash is on it, Mick Mars is on it, Nikki Sixx is on it, Joe Satriani is on it, Steve Vai is on it, Vinnie Moore is on it, Ozzy Osbourne is on it, Stef Burns from Y&T is on it and future Jovi bassist Hugh McDonald is on it.

For songwriting, the bulk of the songs are written by Alice Cooper, Vic Pepe, Jack Ponti and Bob Pfeifer.

Zodiac Mindwarp and his buds contribute “Feed My Frankenstein”, Sixx and Mars contribute “Die For You”, Dick Wagner contributes to “Might As Well Be On Mars”, Desmond Child also contributes to the Wagner track and “Dangerous Tonight”, Jim Vallance contributes a few and the list just goes on.

The beauty of it is, regardless of the different writers, it’s still an Alice Cooper album in sound and feel and when I heard “Wind Up Toy”, I knew the psychotic Alice from the 70s was still there along with “Steven”.

Constrictor

Back to 1986 and Kip Winger is on bass and “He-Man” Kane Roberts is on guitar and as co-writer for the album.

“Life And Death Of The Party” sounds like the song that would launch the career of Ghost as the style and feel is similar to what Ghost would bring forth many decades later.

“The World Needs Guts” is a great title and I wanted the song to be great but it was okay.

And then you have the synth driven “He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)” which sounds cool and for the movie it works.

Muscle Of Love

“Muscle Of Love” and “The Man With The Golden Gun” are the tracks I still remember, with “Muscle Of Love” being the one which still gets played today.

The Last Temptation

For me, this album is excellent. I became a fan because of the MTV friendly “Trash” album. I discovered his back catalogue after that. This album is a combination of the “Trash” era commercialism, merged with the 70s “Welcome To My Nightmare” and “Billion Dollar Babies” albums, merged with the sonic production qualities of the mighty “Black” album from Metallica.

Guitarist Dan Wexler from the band “Icon” is on hand to co-write most of the songs as a few years before Alice Cooper did guest voiceovers on Icon’s 1989 album. Shaw-Blades, Chris Cornell, Jim Vallance and Bob Pfeiffer are other writers who make an appearance.

“Lost in America” is basically a rewrite of “Fight for Your Right (to Party)” in the verses. And how good are lyrics, about how Steven can’t get a job, because he aint got a car, and he can’t get a girl, because he aint got a car and he’s looking for a girl with a job and car. But it never made it as a hit, much the labels dismay, because it’s a god damn album cut.

“You’re My Temptation” is one of his best 90’s tracks and it’s unfortunate this co-write with Shaw and Blades is largely unknown.

The album has three different producers in Andy Wallace for “Side Show”, “Stolen Prayer”, “Unholy War” and “Cleansed by Fire”, Don Fleming on “Lost in America” and Duane Baron and John Purdell did the remaining three tracks.

Brutal Planet

The first album of the Bob Marlette era.

The title track is a stand out by far and the sound was very heavy, industrial and gothic. And what a live track it makes. Check out “A Paranormal Evening”.

And those riffs and dissonant leads in the intro,

We’re spinning round on this ball of hate
There’s no parole, there’s no great escape
We’re sentenced here until the end of days
And then my brother there’s a price to pay

It takes Alice to tell us that we have no escape or chance of parole during our lives.

Right here we stoned the prophets
Built idols out of mud
Right here we fed the lions
Christian flesh and Christian blood
Down here is where we hung ya
Upon an ugly cross
Over there we filled the ovens
Right here the holocaust

That’s only a drop in the ocean of the brutality that Mother Earth has seen.

Dragowntown

The second album of the Bob Marlette era.

And of course I was still seeking out the past albums, but as I started hearing em, I realized that I maybe had the best ones already.

For the “Schools Out” album, the title track is the only song I liked and what hasn’t been said about it or how it captured a perfect moment for a whole new generation, liberated from the social shackles placed on their parents.

For the “Killer” album, “Under My Wheels” is the song which stands out on this album. “Goes To Hell”, “From The Inside” and “Lace And Whiskey” came and went without impact.

A live album called “A Fistful Of Alice” didn’t set my world on fire and neither did an album of original material called “Dirty Diamonds”.

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1979 – V – It’s Just A Game

If you are super keen to see the previous 4 posts, here they are;

1979 – The Highway To Hell Begins

1979 – II – Somebody Get Me A Doctor

1979 – III

1979 – IV – Lights Out In America

And here is part five.

Toto – Hydra

Toto got success with their debut, and there were expectations they would repeat the hits. I guess no one told the Toto guys, who went and tried something different.

The band came into my life because of Steve Lukather. He was always in the guitar magazines and he interviewed really well. But I didn’t start buying or getting access to the albums until well into the 90s.

There are a few songs on this album which are progressive and man, they work great in Rock and Metal circles and credit to Dave Paich for bringing the prog.

Hydra

At 7 minutes, this song shows a band following their muse and not conforming to what the label desired.

Like all good songs, the intro hooks me in.

And seriously, you wouldn’t expect lyrics about a Dragon lord, a summer solstice and a young man in love with a lady who descends down into darkness, especially after they hit the charts with “Hold The Line”.

99

It’s a love song about a futuristic movie made by George Lucas before Star Wars. You can hear the embryo of “Africa” in this.

The piano arpeggios with the subtle jazz fusion lead break works good.

All Us Boys

It’s just a feel good technical rock and roll song. And that repeating line from 3.10 up to the end (with a lead break chucked in) is super melodic and addictive.

Molly Hatchet – Flirtin’ with Disaster

The cover didn’t give me the impression that this album or band would be a rock and roll boogie band.

One Mans Pleasure

The intro musically blew me away. It started off with a “Another One Bites The Dust”, before morphing into an Aerosmith groove like “Sweet Emotion” and a Chorus from “Sweet Home Alabama”.

One man’s loss is another man’s gain.
One man’s pleasure is another man’s pain.

It’s about hitting the road with the band and leaving your woman behind. Your loss is another mans gain, because she ain’t waiting around.

Boogie No More

It’s got this Rolling Stones vibe merged with Bowie’s “Suffragette City” in the intro. Then it morphs into a speed blues jam song with a guitar solo that references “Free Bird”.

Flirting With Disaster

The way the song starts off with the drummer playing a 16th high hat beat hooks me in. It’s unconventional from the Southern Rock vibe and very Rush like.

I’m out of money, out of hope, it looks like self-destruction
Well, how much more can we take with all of this corruption

Corruption and money go hand in hand. People will lie, cheat, kill and steal for it and the ones who have it would also lie, cheat, scheme and kill, just to keep it.

And the way we run our lives, it makes no sense to me

Living from pay to pay, building someone else’s dream and believing that if you put in more hours, you might just get your turn to make it.

I’m travelin’ down that lonesome road
Feel like I’m dragging a heavy load
Yeah, I’ve tried to turn my head away
Feel about the same most every day

In the end, the road is lonesome and you might walk it with a lot of regrets or “what if’s”.

Long Time

It’s got this “Don’t Fear The Reaper” vibe in the verses which hooks me in.

Triumph – Just a Game

Ric Emmett, underrated guitarist and songwriter. Like, Toto and Asia and Yes, Triumph came into my life because of interviews in the Guitar mags I purchased with their prospective guitarists.

Moving On

That intro riff is in every 70s song. Free, Bowie and Rolling Stones immediately come to mind.

And that section when the backing vocals are singing “on and on”, the tempo is slowed down, Emmett is in the groove bending and picking those strings and I’m reminded of The Beatles “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” but its just a small reminder.

On and on and on
You’ve got to keep on movin’ on

It’s what life is about, moving on, taking chances, failing and succeeding, embracing changes and doing it all again.

Lay It On The Line

A simple catchy repeating chorus line with chords that would become famous with “I Love Rock N Roll” and you have the gift that keeps giving royalties.

Young Enough To Cry

I once thought that only the Brit guitarists could play this kind of blues rock. Emmett shows that Canadians are more than capable.

And how good are the lines “I’m too old to get hurt baby, Oh but I’m young enough, young enough to cry”.

Just A Game

And that slowed down tempo from “Movin On” which reminds me of The Beatles kicks off the title track. It has enough of a progressive touch to make me listen. And the lyrics are the reason why this song grabs me.

But the corporate strings that make them dance
Lead up to an ivory tower

We sing the song of the corporation daily, so we turn to music as an escape, only to see our heroes suffer the same fate.

And those bosses who we dance for, and pretend to like, live in a world so fake and so out of touch with reality.

Try hard to remember all that glitters is not gold
You can pay the piper, but you cannot buy his soul

Remember the legend of the Pied Piper who abducted all of the children in the village because the people of the town refused to pay him for catching all their rats. Well if you don’t pay your debts, someone will come and collect.

It’s just a game, and all I can do…is play

Play the long game. More so now. Streaming pays over the long run and it pays forever. Be in it and get your fans to stream because no one wins by dominating the news or being the social star or TV star for a month.

Who remembers “The Voice” winners?

And the labels are here to sell the same mainstream pop, hoping that sales and dollars makes them winners. Hell, this derivative method alone killed hard rock, hair metal and whatever kind of metal you want to call it back at the start of the 90s. A market saturated with rubbish is due to be cleaned up.

What you do choose, now, what do you believe, now
Who are you gonna trust?
All you dreams and fancy schemes
Just crumble into dust

To me it’s about free will and free choice. And it’s a touchy subject. People believe because they live in a democracy they are free. But they have a loan, which they need to pay monthly for the next 30 years. It doesn’t sound so free right now when you have a 30 year sentence. And I get it, they had freedom to make the choice to get into debt. But to counter-argue, that choice wasn’t so free because the only way a person could enter the housing market is to get a loan, or a large family donation or an inheritance.

And then in order to pay the loan, they need to ensure they have a job which pays a steady income. Which if they lose the job, all of their dreams and fancy schemes just crumble into dust.

Calm and cool and computerized to calculate and collect
We wait and watch and wonder
Just which puppet they’ll select

Like the movie “Dark City”, their are people we cannot see who manipulate and control what happens.

Science tells us global warming is real and leaders from democratic nations ignore it and call it a lie. Someone with deep pockets controls the narrative, and money rules this game.

Like the moth, too near the flame,
Who learned his truth too late
We’re all too deep into the game
That is the master of our fate

Learn to play the game better than others and maybe we’ll succeed. But remember our time on Earth is limited, and the game ends when we take our last breath.

Blackfoot – Strikes

The melodic rock side of the band is what I liked.

Left Turn On A Red Light

And as I buy myself another ticket, Lord
For somewhere else on down the line
Well I’ll always be a rambler
Well the ones I love always keep tellin’ me

It was a rite of passage once upon a time, to leave home and go your own way. It’s why so many songs with those themes connected. Today, the majority stay at home, because it’s comfortable and risk free.

Wishing Well

How good is this song from Free?

It’s been covered to death, but, what can I say, you can’t keep a good song down. So kick off your shoes and lose yourselves.

Highway Song

The lead breaks from about 4 minutes to the end is the reason why this song is here.

“Solo to the end” was a musical sectional once upon a time. Lost when MTV took power. In saying that, Skid Row brought out the “solo to the end” section in “Quicksand Jesus” and “In A Darkened Room” from “Slave To The Grind”.

Blue Öyster Cult – Mirrors

The album is ordinary except for “Lonely Teardrops”.

That funky riff which reminds me of “Superstitious” and “Play That Funky White Music White Boy” is catchy.

I seem to see a rose
I reach out then it goes
Now in its thorns I roam

Brilliant lines to describe the pain of being away from home.

38 Special – Rockin’ Into the Night

For me, only “Stone Cold Believer” is the highlight.

I speak my mind. I don’t hold it back,
That’s how I am, and I’m hopin’ that’s where you’ at.

Do we really speak our minds?

Research out there reckons that Google and other search engines know more truth about us via our search results than our partners know.

And these days what is truth?

We have battle lines drawn, our view points backed up with our research and away we go, trying to shout louder than the others. It makes great viewing, it might be fun, but it will not change the other persons view.

Viewpoints can change, but not by picking a fight.

Wanna climb that ladder, y’ wanna make it to the top,
Takes only one thing, gotta give it all y’ got.
Knew a man who couldn’t lose, ’cause he never gave in,

You get to the “top” or to your “defined top” by being a lifer. You need to be in it, even when the times are tough and you feel like you should leave.

In saying that if the business venture is costing you money, you’ll need to walk away and cut your losses, but still be in the game and restart again.

Amazon walked away from developments that cost them billions and restarted again. It’s okay to fail and succeed.

Well that’s it for another 1979 section. I think I have a few more to do before 79 is a wrap and I move to 78.

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

The Record Vault – Asia

The cover artwork for the albums I have is created by Roger Dean. His art made the “Yes”, “Uriah Heap” and “Asia” albums iconic. He even sued James Cameron for using one of his covers as an inspiration for an Avatar scene.

So how did Asia come into my life?

It started with the magazines “Guitar World” and “Guitar For The Practicing Musician”. Steve Howe always made an appearance and the storytelling in the interviews always revolved around the influential “Yes” albums and his pop “Asia” career.

So into the 90s when everyone traded in their record collection and purchased CDs instead, I managed to pick up the first three “Asia” albums and most of the “Yes” catalogue up to the early 80s at a very cheap price.

By cheap, I mean each record was $3 but buy 10 records for $20.

And when I got home, I played “Asia” first because hey, those albums came out in the 80s and I was an 80s child.

Asia

The debut album released in 1982.

Heat Of The Moment

I dropped the needle and I heard “Heat Of The Moment” and I was like, fuck, is this Asia. At that point in time I’d heard the song heaps but never knew the artist.

Only Time Will Tell

I love the way it starts. Then it’s AOR Journey like in the verses and very Euro like sounding in the pre-Chorus.

You can hear why Asia had huge sales in 82, as fans of rock music gravitated to this style.

Time Again

It’s progressive rock mixed with jazz and it’s perfect. It could have been a format to go with but it didn’t seem to be.

Wildest Dreams

It has this middle jazz like drum solo with some simple chords behind it which gets me playing air drums.

Without You

That guitar lead from 3.05. Yeah, it’s the most simplest lick Howe has played, but the most powerful.

Cutting It Fine

The intro leads are brilliant, going over three octaves.

Asia – Alpha

“Alpha” (released in 83) sold a lot but it was still seen as a failure by the record label.

For me, Steve Howe was in the band, but he wasn’t really part of the song writing, so you don’t hear his progressive jazzy bluesy fusion vibe in the songs.

John Wetton and Geoff Downes did most of the songwriting and it’s pop rock all the way.

Don’t Cry

For some reason the start just hooks me in. It’s like a REO Speedwagon song merged with the groove/chord progression from “Stand By Me”.

Musically and melodically it connects. Lyrics, not so much.

The Heat Goes On

Again how cool is the intro. It reminds of the “Staying Alive” movie which Stallone directed, merged with Aldo Nova and Billy Squier. I dig the melodies and music, but as bands overused the word “rock” in song titles, Asia overused the word “heat”.

True Colors

As soon as I heard the start of the song I thought of Marillion, but Asia came first.

And all those people you call friends
See who defends you when you’re down again
Don’t count on money-spinners then

The truth is no one defends you when you’re down. Everyone is serving their own interest.

Open Your Eyes

And see the world that stands before you now

So true. Open your eyes people and see what stands before you. Do your own research. Read far and wide and listen to arguments for and arguments against your views.

Astra

Released in 1985 and Steve Howe is missing, because of a power play by vocalist John Wetton, as part of his return to the band. Mandy Meyer from Krokus is on guitar duties for an album which is really lacking.

A song called “Rock and Roll Dream” had no rock and roll. And when Brits write a song called “Voice Of America”, well it comes across as a money grab for the US market. So it was no surprise the album failed commercially and the tour was pulled.

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

The Record Vault – Autograph

It pisses me off how some hard rock albums are not on Spotify. Maybe it’s an RCA label thing, or a Steve Plunkett thing, because the 80s recorded output of Autograph isn’t on the streaming service.

Autograph were either loathed or liked. There was no in between. I liked the first album and loathed the second album. I guess I fit that description.

I didn’t get their records until well into the 90s via the usual second hand record stores and record fairs.

Sign In Please

Before I dropped the needle on this, all I knew was “Turn Up The Radio” and a few interviews with Steve Lynch in the guitar mags I purchased.

Send Her To Me

Its basically a simple keyboard driven song like Night Ranger. It rocks, it’s melodic and it’s fun.

And that outro lead.

Steve Lynch starts off with a super melodic repeating lick and then he puts the pedal to the floor and shreds.

Turn Up The Radio

Again, it’s a simple riff made gold worthy by some keyboard chords over it.

And again, Lynch and his 8 fingers hammer-on technique is the star. Maybe it was a California thing as Jeff Watson also had that technique down.

Deep End

How can you not like this song?

To me, it’s got the riff which I call the “LA riff”.

But it was finally made super popular with “Fight For Your Right (To Party)” by the Beatsie Boys.

And again, Steve Lynch steals the limelight with his lead break.

Thrill Of Love

The melodic riff in the verses could have come from Vinnie Vincent, the Chorus is a let down and the lead break again steals the show.

Friday

Yep, it’s a song about the start of the weekend. It’s got that vibe and the riff reminds me of EVH merged with Loverboy.

Did I mention the lead break is fucking good?

Yeah, it’s good.

In The Night

It reminds of Kiss “Unmasked” era and I like it.

All I’m Gonna Take

The best song on the album and it’s the closer. The melodic lead is AAA and when Steve Lynch decides to burn, he burns.

“That’s The Stuff” came next and it really wasn’t the stuff, while the second track “Take No Prisoners” is a rewrite of “Turn Up The Radio” and basically this is an album that is lacking in ideas and very hard to listen to.

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