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

The Record Vault – Bon Jovi In The 90s

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why have multiple 10 minute songs when one is enough?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey God, do you ever think about me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Got To Give It Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will he return for another stint?

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

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

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

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

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

Crazy Circles

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

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

Damn right.

Music takes you on so many emotive rides.

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

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

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

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

Life in a nutshell.

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

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

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

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

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

So true.

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

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

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

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

Toughest Street In Town

It’s written by Scott Gorham, Lynott and Gary Moore.

Outside the window the neon flashes
In the morning light
Down on the sidewalk there’s a woman with a problem
But she don’t know how to fight
She’s destitute and broken down
She softly whispers, is there no one around
And no one hears the sound
Her knees give way and hit the ground

This is the toughest street in town

Growing up in the 80’s, there was no internet. We lived apart and you knew the people in the street, in the town and maybe some other people in another town. Long distance phone calls were expensive and people sent letters to relatives.

A lot of us felt there was something bigger, more exciting out there, so we wanted out. And then we had peers who were more than happy to sell narcotics or work in the steel mill.

And the streets were tough.

Tough in the sense, that people would bash you just for the sake of bashing you as new immigrants adjusting to life in a new world, with different cultures. But everyone eventually got on, as everyone had jobs and everyone worked hard.

People from all the different religions and races appreciate hard work and commitment to betterment. And it became fun to walk down to the local pub, play pool, listen to AC/DC’s “Back In Black” album on the jukebox, have a few drinks and anything else that came with going out.

Then when the banks and the copper mill started closing, the drug dealers and hookers moved into the main street. Suddenly, you had a seedy side. And the drug dealers brought with them all the addicts from every nearby town, who would urinate and defecate in front of shop doors, pass out in parks, break into houses and just be general troublemakers. And suddenly we had homeless people in the street and suddenly we had homeless people dying.

It’s just another black spot
Where far too many people have died
It’s just another graveyard
And there’s not too many people left alive

Every town developed black spots, but the people of the place cared enough to re-birth it. If it was a steel town once upon a time, it became a coffee artsy town or a tech town or a green town and so forth.

And the toughest street in town became the nicest.

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

Rock N Roll Fantasy

I didn’t hear “Desolation Angels” until I purchased it (along with the self-titled debut and “Straight Shooter”)  from a record fair in the 2000’s.

The Paul Rodgers cut “Rock’N’Roll Fantasy” opens the album. Before dropping the needle on the album, I remember reading countless stories in magazines about how Bad Company had been written off by the late seventies.

They had success with their first three albums, released over three years (1974,1975 and 1976). Then “Burnin’ Sky” came out in 1977 and it was competing with the first three albums for sales. They saturated and cannibalised their own market. And the album was ignored (compared to the first three), because for people of the era, the first three albums were still new releases.

But, then in 1979, they came out firing with a modern sound and a catchy song.

I love the music and I love to see the crowd
Dancing in the aisles and singing out loud, yeah

Rock N Roll music became an escape from the daily grind of life. The people attended the shows and the acts lapped it up. And rock and roll grooved, like this song. Because rock artists ruled over manufactured pop music artists, the record labels had no other option but to allow the rock artist to be creative.

And before music television, there was radio and we lived at the record store. A trip there was everything. Going to the concert was an event to let your hair down and connect with the music, whereas these days, people go to say and show they have been.

It’s their biggest single, but it’s never on those classic rock compilations.

If you want to hear dangerous, check out that bad boy sleazy riff from 1.15 to about 1.33. it’s dripping in rock and roll intoxication with its staccato style of playing.

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

Get Out Of Here

This one is written by Phil Lynott and Ultravox vocalist, Midge Ure.

I used to be a dreamer
But I realise that it’s not my style at all
In fact it becomes clearer
That a dreamer doesn’t stand a chance at all

Get out of here
Get out of here

We all wanted to leave our towns behind and head for the bright lights in the city. These days, kids don’t want to leave home. They are comfortable and comfort is a problem. But the parents are happy to have them home, even if we complain about them being home.

Because no wants to be lonely and parents are known to break up once the kids move out because they realize they have nothing in common anymore.

And the family plays a big part in decisions.

My grandfather told my father that if he left to go to Australia, he was going to kill the whole family that remained. I know, pretty drastic and my dad said he was scared for his brothers and sisters and his mum. But he left anyway, because Dad said, if he didn’t leave, he would have lived someone else’s life and not his. To him, that felt like death.

So my Dad left, while peers of my Dad, in the same predicament, stayed. Because in European culture, once upon a time, the eldest was meant to take over the household, and my Dad was the eldest. By coming to Australia, he broke centuries of tradition.

And my Dad felt stifled in post war, Communist Europe. He did his military service, got his ticket to leave and he was taking it, even though it was risky and out of his comfort zone and so far away from the only home he has ever known.

And he never returned until 2008, almost 40 years from when he left.

But if you let others influence your decision, then those dreams you have, don’t stand a chance at all. You will never get out of living someone else’s life.

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

Do Anything You Want To

My first Lizzy album was “Thunder and Lightning” because it had Sykes on it, and it was purchased a few years after the 87 Whitesnake album blew up all over the world. So “Thunder and Lightning” got me into Lizzy, because of Skyes and suddenly I started picking up their older records on vinyl when I came across them.

A “Black Rose: A Rock Legend” was album number 9 for the Lizzy. I didn’t end up hearing this until well into the 90’s and the only reason why I picked it up at a record fair was because Gary Moore stayed in the band long enough to record something, before he walked out on em again, like how he did in 74 and 77.

The drum and bass intro is enough to get me going and when the harmony guitars kick in, I was sold. It’s written by Phil Lynott and man, can he write a good lyric.

There are people that will investigate you
They’ll insinuate, intimidate and complicate you

Do you ever feel like you don’t fit in and that everybody else is too busy betraying you so they can get ahead?

Or they are passing judgement on you, telling you to do this, change this, if you don’t do this you will lose your job or if you don’t pay on time, you will lose your place.

My dad said to me once that people will disappoint you especially family. And now that you know that, don’t get angry when they do and you can still be friends.

You can do anything you want to do
It’s not wrong what I’m saying, it’s true

It’s the same war cry as the “We’re Not Gonna Take It” war cry from the mid 80’s. We needed to hear this back then. Today, these kinds of messages has become a billion dollar book industry, like “The Talent Code”, “Growth Mindset”, “Grit”, “Outliers”, “Peak”, “Bounce” and on and on it goes.

All of these scholars are sending the same message, if you put enough dedicated time into practice which is at the outer limits of your ability, you will learn a skill and get better. Nobody is born with a gift. That gift or natural ability people talk about is crafted and mastered through years of dedicated practice. So as Lynott was saying all along, you can do anything you want to.

People that despise you
Will analyse then criticise you
They’ll scandalise and tell lies until they realise you
Are somebody they should’ve apologised to
Don’t let these people compromise you

I like to hang with people, talk about things we like and exchange ideas. And sometimes I listen to people who don’t have a clue about anything and they just won’t shut up. And then there are people who know everything and they just won’t shut up. And in amongst these groups are people who want to break you, spread lies about you, criticise you or shake you down.

And if you want to be famous, expect the haters. You cannot be liked by everyone. It’s impossible. If you don’t want the haters, then recalibrate your expectations.

Hey you
You’re not that puppet on a string
You can do everything
It’s true

But a lot of people don’t believe they can do everything because they get caught up in a vicious cycle of borrowing to live and becoming puppets on a string to the various corporations they own money to.

Culture and society also fosters a fixed mindset and after so many years of being conditioned to follow, it’s hard to believe that you have the tools and abilities to lead.

I am sure people have heard things like; “You can’t play <insert the sport here like football> because no one played <insert the sport here> in the family. We are doctors, we are educated and that’s what you will be”.

Or “Why <insert arts field here like music>, you need to study, to get a job which pays the bills.”

It takes a few generations to break these kinds of mindsets. It took the military until the 1990’s to stop the hazing rituals of new recruits because they just didn’t work in creating brilliant recruits.

Elvis is dead
The king of rock and roll is dead

It’s fitting that the song ends with these words as Elvis’s death was still fresh in 1979, because in the end Elvis did what he wanted.

He sang black man music when he was told not to sing it. He danced and moved in a provocative way when he was told not to. He went into making movies when he was told to stick with music. He stopped making movies and went back to music when he was told to stick with movies. He did a Vegas residency when he was told to go on tour around the country. The king of rock and roll did what he wanted to do. And so can you.