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

2000 – Part 2

Motley Crue – New Tattoo

Three Crue members plus Randy Castillo, who was a very competent drummer in his own right, but he’s not Tommy Lee nor would he have had the same input and pull as Tommy Lee would have had on the Crue music.

Actually, Lee himself decided to not participate in the song writing for the “Saints of Los Angeles” album. Then again, if you just heard the two songs he dropped recently, maybe that’s a good thing. But as an artist, you need to have different outlets to explore different creative sides.

This version of Motley Crue and this album acts as a music bridge between the eras.

After the excellent self-titled Corabi led album, they brought Vince back and pushed the industrial sonics on “Generation Swine”. This didn’t sit well with a lot of their existing fans, and it didn’t gain them any new fans either. So Nikki Sixx, forever the marketing guru, knew that a return to hard rock would be on the cards.

Musically, it’s okay.

The AC/DC influenced “Hell On High Heels” and “Punched In The Teeth By Love” are typical Motley, while the title track “New Tattoo” carries on the spirit of the 94 Corabi album. “Fake” has a heavy F#m groove which I dig and the punky “Porno Star” has some of the funniest lyrics from Sixx, about his credit card being in debt due to visiting too many dot cum websites.

But the year 2000 isn’t 1980 and some of these lyrical themes just didn’t resonate.

Pretty Maids – Carpe Diem

“Seize The Day and living their life” is what the Pretty Maids (aka founding members Ronnie Atkins and Ken Hammer) did with this release and their brand of Euro Hard Rock.

“Violent Tribe” is on steroids while “Tortured Spirit” shows you can be heavy and melodic. “Poisoned Pleasures” and “Until It Dies” shows what a great songwriter and guitarist Ken Hammer is.

And track number 5, “Clay”, for a ballad which doesn’t get cheesy is a great track.

And the last three tracks, “They’re All Alike”, “Time Awaits For No One” and “Invisible Chains” makes you press repeat.

Cold – 13 Ways To Bleed On Stage

I picked this one up in a bargain bin, 3 for $20 and I was surprised by how good it was. But I didn’t get any of their other music afterwards.

Maybe because guitarist Terry Balsamo left to join Evanescence.

I just did some reading on this album and was surprised to read how people called it a low-budget album (which it wasn’t, as Geffen financed it and had people like Adam Kasper who was doing Foo Fighter albums involved).

Basically if you are a fan of modern hard rock and alternative rock, then you will like this album.

Racer X – Technical Difficulties

Racer X is a band which was needed, so that all of its members could get a start and then go out and take over the world with different bands. You can call it an origin band. An origin story.

Paul Gilbert is now more famous for his Mr Big gig and his solo records and his instructional videos, plus his amazing list of guest appearances and tribute album appearances.

Drummer Scott Travis got the Judas Priest gig for the “Painkiller” album, then went to Fight with Rob Halford and he returned to Judas Priest for the “Jugulator” album in 1997 and has remained there since.

Vocalist Jeff Martin ended up as the drummer for Badlands for the “Voodoo Highway” album and since then he has done stints with Dokken and The Michael Schenker Group. Plus he had an excellent Judas Priest like band called “Surgical Steel” which appeared in a very underrated movie called “Thunder Alley” before “Racer X”. It definitely is a long way to that invisible line which symbolises the top.

Bassist Juan Alderete went into The Scream with guitarist Bruce Bouillet and after Corabi fled the coop for Motley Crue, he started working with others and ended up in “The Mars Volta”.

This album came out in 1999, however I am pretty sure it got a release in Australia in 2000, so it’s in the 2000’s for me.

And it’s their best album by far with the stand out track being the title track and Paul Gilberts guitar prowess.

Check it out and you will know what I mean.

Yngwie Malmsteen – War To End All Wars

The cover is a Frank Frazetta painting so Molly Hatchett came to mind immediately.

When you get tracks with titles like “Molto Arpeggiosa” and “Instrumental Institution”, you know what you are gonna get. Malmsteen and the rockets in his fingertips, tap dancing on the fretboard.

And in “Bad Reputation”, Malmsteen gives his self-defence counter argument in the lyrics.

So if you like overdone guitar leads at the expense of other instruments and cheesy lyrics by Malmsteen, with a crap production, then you will like this album.

And I remember looking at the CD booklet at my cousin Mega’s place, with 20 or so photos of Malmsteen in various self-love poses, thinking, this must be a new record of artist shots for an album.

But…

There are some good songs here, which are lost in the mush that “The Fury” created.

I would really like to hear songs like “Crucify” and “Bad Reputation” with a better production and mix like he had on “Odyssey” and “Marching Out”.

David Coverdale – Into The Light

What can an artist do after being in the game of making music for 26 plus years with Deep Purple, Whitesnake and Coverdale/Page?

What can an artist do in a musical climate dominated by Nu-Metal and Alternative Rock, which proved to be very hostile to the artists who had success in the 80’s, courtesy of MTV and their music videos?

When in doubt, you go back to the beginning, and to the blues.

If you want to read a review I agree with, check out the fantastic blog 2loud2oldmusic by clicking here.

So into the time machine I go and set course for 1985.

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

The Record Vault – Breed 77

“Cultura” (released in 2004) is an interesting and diverse album. But I had no idea about it when I just picked it up to make my quota of so many albums for a certain price.

It’s metal from Gibraltar.

But with influences of a lot of different styles. Like Middle Eastern/Arabic and Latin/Flamenco and Classical.

“Individuo” has this solo break that reminds me of the work Uli Jon Roth did with Scorpions.

“La Ultima Hora” sounds like a System Of A Down song.

“A Matter Of Time” is one of my favourite tracks. No one was really writing hard rock songs like this in 2004, with kick ass leads, so it was refreshing to hear.

“Numb” is an acoustic track and in its feel it reminds me of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.

And it wasn’t a big budget production and I liked it.

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

May 2020 – Part 3

December
Highway To Paradise
Gathering Of Kings

I really need to sink my ears into this album and learn more about the project because even though their brand of melodic rock is derivative, I like it.

On their debut album, it had a lot of guest vocalists, and because Bjorn Strid from Soilwork and The Night Flight Orchestra was involved, I was interested.

These tracks are from the follow up.

The Shift
10 Years

I’ve been a long time fan of 10 Years.

There form of groove rock, which in the beginning, had a nod to Tool but in a concise 4 minute package, got me interested.

And since then, they have kept on morphing into a unique rock band.

Darker Thoughts
Ghosts
Paradise Lost

I became a fan with the “Draconian Times” album and then they lost me with their Depeche Mode style album in the late 90’s.

Since the start of the 2010’s they have started to creep back in. “Darker Thoughts” is sombre, as it percolates with just an acoustic guitar, violins and cellos. Then it kicks in, and that riff from 2.18.

House On Fire
Asking Alexandria

This band did a covers EP once, and they had songs from artists I grew up with.

For example, on the “Life Gone Wild” EP from 2010, they covered “18 And Life” and “Youth Gone Wild” frim Skid Row.

Then in 2012 they dropped another EP called “Under The Influence: A Tribute To The Legends Of Hard Rock” which had, “Separate Ways” from Journey, “Kick Start My Heart” from Motley Crue, “Here I Go Again” from Whitesnake and “Hysteria” from Def Leppard.

This track is from their new album and its different, bordering on the sounds of “Imagine Dragons” in the verses with a massive Chorus, which gets the foot tapping.

Check it out.

Uninvited
Earshot

“Earshot” is another band that found a niche combining the angst of bands like Korn with the progressiveness of Tool, into concise 4 to 5 minute rock songs. This was between 2004 and 2008. Then they disappeared, while similar bands like 10 Years and Chevelle kept on going.

“Uninvited” is a great return.

And I’m interested.

It has this epic, Middle Eastern/Arabic feel as it percolates and rumbles through, with a kicking guitar solo.

The following songs, I have already written about on some of the Release Day Friday playlist posts.

Make It Out Alive
Tell Me How You Really Feel
Trapt

The cover for “Make It Out Alive” is a skull with the American flag painted/engraved into the bone, wearing a gas mask all on a black background. It’s a great piece of art and the song portrays that angst.

Dark Necessities
Luca Stricagnoli

This dude can really play an acoustic guitar.

This is a cover of a RHCP song and what you get, is the guitars, the vocal lines, the bass lines and a percussive beat all played on the guitar.

He also has his own special designed acoustic guitar with three necks which allows him to play these songs live.

Watch his YouTube videos to see him in action.

And it was two of those YouTube videos that made me a fan.

“Thunderstruck” and “Fear Of The Dark”.

Watch em and be in awe.

There is so much talent in the world today, that deserves to be heard and seen, the same way guitarists in the 70’s and 80’s were heard and seen. And Luca Stricagnoli is one of those artists.

Prove Me Wrong
Dee Snider

After 40 years in the business, Dee Snider is still proving people wrong. His recent batch of releases, which takes a stab at modern pop rock with “We Are The Ones” and modern groove metal with “For The Love Of Metal” has returned him to the throne of the black sheep’s, the SMF’s.

And “Prove Me Wrong” has a foot stomping metal riff that could make it on a Metallica album with Dee at his metal best.

Atlas Falls
Shinedown

I am a fan of Shinedown.

Their last two albums moved away from the hard rock sounds that got me into em, but they have enough goodwill in my book, for me to remain a fan, plus they had enough tracks on the last two releases to keep me interested.

So when this track was released, a left over from the “Amaryllis” album released in 2012, I was hooked, because this is the Shinedown I like.

Skyfall
Vandenberg

This tune just smoulders, like those epic 70’s tracks from Rainbow and Deep Purple.

Yep, that’s the vibe I get, a Ritchie Blackmore vibe.

Invasion
Haken

The vocal delivery reminds me of Styx and the sounds in the first minute are like an 80s video game.

Musically, it ticks all the boxes for me.

And just like that, they are back in my life as I became one in 2016, then I was on the fence in 2018 and now I’m back.

Voices
Long Distance Calling

They have no singing, it’s all instrumental, but instrumental music built on a groove or a riff and they just keep building it with derivative versions of the same riff.

You need to listen to it, to understand what I mean.

Change For The Better
FM

I knew about FM from the 90’s but never heard anything from em. And in the 2010’s they started to come into my life.

And then they really came on my radar because of “Shot In The Dark”, the song which is known as an “Ozzy” song.

You see, Phil Soussan wrote that song while he was in a band called Wildlife with the Overland brothers (before FM was created). According to the Overland brothers, they helped develop a lot of the concepts and progressions and lyrical melodies, including the keys for “Shot In The Dark”. But they didn’t get the credit and even questioned what Ozzy Osbourne actually did to the song to get a credit.

So they re-recorded the version they had done with Soussan back in the Wildlife days as a bonus track to their 2016 EP.

Give it a listen on Spotify and or go on YouTube.

And as Wikipedia states, “this authorship issue has become a source of contention over the years, and in spite of its success, the song has rarely appeared on Ozzy Osbourne greatest hits compilations as a result.”

As for “Change For The Better”, it’s a mix of Journey and Toto when they used to rock a little bit.

Blackened 2020
Metallica

It was great to see James Hetfield again on the YouTube video of this.

And what a comeback song for him, with a pretty cool acoustic rewrite in the Ennio Morricone style for one of their most progressive and powerful tracks.

To me, the “Justice” album is an unbelievable record. I don’t care that the bass is missing and that the guitar sound has too many mids or the drums sound too compressed. Because a great song is a great song regardless and the “Justice” album has a lot of great songs.

And man, didn’t “One” really shake up MTV.

For a band that didn’t do any clips, they did two versions, one with the film footage and the other with just the band performing in the warehouse. Suddenly you had a million kids buying a double bass drum kit and off they went to practice the double kick “landmine” section.

But “Blackened” opened the album and it’s 7/4 time signature for the intro riff grabbed me by the throat instantly.

“Termination (termination)”

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

May 2020 – Part 2

Here we are with May Part 2.

The Black Serenade
Gunfire
Sign Of The Times
The End Of The Line
Bad Reputation
Wings Of The Storm
Into The Fire
Axel Rudi Pell

As soon as I saw the song titles and how un-original they sounded, I wasn’t really keen on this, but I’m glad I bit, because it’s a good metal album (metal being, the way I know metal) and Johnny Gioeli who has had vocal duties for over twenty years, delivers.

If you like good riffage plus lead breaks that sound like they came from the 70’s classic rockers and melodic vocals, then this album should be on your list.

“The Black Serenade” has the synth choirs happening while Axel Rudi Pell emotes and then burns for the minute and thirty seconds album lead track. “Gunfire” has the same venom of “Ace Of Spades” with a lead break that goes for almost two minutes, but never gets boring.

“Sign Of The Times” is epic, “The End Of The Line” is just one of those songs that could have come from a Rainbow album, about a “valley far away” and “Bad Reputation” has this major key vibe.

“Wings Of The Storm” is a blues tune, a metalized version of “Fool For Your Loving” and “Into The Fire” is epic, “Kashmir” like.

Cut Me Down
Ryders Creed

From the UK. That’s all I know. So I let the music do the talking and the song ended up in my playlist. They have an album out as well, which I will check it, as I’m interested to hear more.

Mysterious
DeVicious

From Germany.

This is why I like the recording industry and Spotify. Every artist can participate and somehow their music finds a way. From the artists mentioned, there are two German acts and an UK act.

All For Love
Joe Satriani

Satriani wrote a song once called “The Enigmatic” (it was called that because of the scale he was using was the Enigmatic scale) and that is how he has remained with me.

An enigma.

I’m on the train and I’m off the train.

“All For Love” is one of those slower tempo songs that will remain with me for a long time. So I’m back on the train.

Can’t Stop This Train
Hartmann

This song sounds a like those early 90’s songs that hit the charts, which focused on a blues like groove but still rocked hard. And the vocals remind me of David Coverdale so much on this one.

I also really like the lead break on this one, so I need to check out who the guitarist is.

Hollow Convictions
I Feel Alive Again
Prophets Of Treason
Killswitch Engage

Killswitch Engage live in that world between aggression and harmony, between screaming and melody. In purgatory. It’s a balance. “Hollow Convictions” is excellent musically and it connects the balance for me, with a melodic Chorus. “I Feel Alive Again” also achieves that balance, along with the aggressive “Prophets Of Treason”.

Eternity Now
Love Is Alive
New Event Horizon
Everything You Want It To Be
Big Sugar

I had never heard of “Big Sugar” at all. But thanks to the blogging community and Deke at “Thunder Bay” I now have.

“Eternity Now” sounds like it could come from a Rush album. “Love Is Alive” sounds like the best Don Henley song that Henley didn’t write. “New Event Horizon” sounds like a reggae/Latin song which could be appear on an Enrique album. “Everything You Want It To Be” sounds like a funk song, until that ELO like Chorus kicks in.

Basically if you like variation in your artist, then Big Sugar delivers it.

That’s it for Part 2. May Part 3 is coming up.

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

May 2020 – Part 1

Dark Four Door
A Few More Hours At YYZ
Hell Or High Water
Billy Raffoul

Billy Raffoul came on my radar via the excellent blog, 2loud2oldmusic. Mr John Snow buys a lot of physical recorded product and an album by Billy Raffoul was one of his purchases. Check out the blog here.

So I called up the artist on Spotify and these three songs really stood out to me.

He doesn’t have a Wikipedia page (while a lot of the 80s bands do), but he has a song which has 34 plus million streams on Spotify and other songs all over 2 million plus streams (which a lot of the 80s bands I like don’t have).

In other words, the new artists don’t need an encyclopedic entry as their music is doing the promoting. Furthermore, the majority of music consumers these days don’t really care about this information. My son learnt the solo to “Comfortably Numb” and doesn’t even care to know who the guitarist is.

Until then I’m still looking for you in every dark four door
From Dark Four Door

I should have known, I should have tried to hold on
From Hell Or Highwater

An acoustic and a voice. You can’t get any more simpler than that.

Paper Sun – Live
Def Leppard

The intro is one of my favourite Def Leppard riffs and when I tell people who “liked Def Leppard in the 80’s” about this song, they don’t know of it, as it appeared on “Euphoria” released in 1999.

From the live recordings I have heard, Joe Elliot is pretty conservative with his voice, singing more in a bass baritone voice. It’s a smart move as there is no point in straining the voice each night when a lot of shows are coming his way.

Rodeo – Live
Pretty Maids

Pretty Maids is one hell of a rock band. And they deliver live as well.

“Somebody makes it and somebody don’t” because in the end, life is a rodeo, in which we need to perform publically each day in order to participate in society.

I even associated the rock and roll live show to a rodeo, as the trucks start to turn up to the venues, the road crew then gets the stage ready and the band turns up and performs publically.

I’ll Be Waiting
Believe In Us
Hell Or Highwater

I’ve been a fan of this band since their first EP release. For those that don’t know it’s a another outlet for the drummer from Atreyu (who also does the clean vocals for Atreyu) to showcase his songwriting and vocals.

And it’s all rock songs.

Canary Yellow
Haken

This one took a few listens to grow on me, and I’m glad I invested the time in it.

Haken has been an interesting journey for me. Their 2016 album “Affinity” made me a fan, but “Vector” in 2018 didn’t really cement it for me. The new album “Virus” is coming out in two weeks and suddenly I’m interested again.

Polar Bear
Alcatrazz

Joe Stump came out in the early 90’s and was labelled as an Yngwie clone.

When you have solo albums with the titles like “Guitar Dominance!” (1993), “Night of the Living Shred” (1994) and “Supersonic Shred Machine” (1996), he was an anomaly in the grunge musical landscape and the “no guitar solo nu-metal” movement.

And when I heard the latest song from Alcatrazz, I thought Yngwie Malmsteen re-joined with Graham Bonnet. Because all the guitar parts sound like Malmsteen. But then I read a bit more, and found out that the guitar player is Joe Stump.

And I’m thinking, what a brilliant move by Bonnet.

So if you like the first Alcatrazz album, then you will like this song.

Check it out.

Addison
Birds Of Tokyo

How could you leave me here, my friend?

Relationships either romantic or friendships or family, have an end. Sometimes nothing needs to be said, as life and society is enough to tear it all apart and once months and then years go by, it becomes harder to reconnect.

Birds Of Tokyo rule the charts in Australia with each release.

Ian Kenny from the excellent progressive Karnivool is on vocals, and it was sort of a side project for him, but I think these days, it’s his main project with Karnivool becoming a side project.

And on this album, he’s written the turmoil and angst of his marriage breakdown.

Rainbow In The Dark
A Conversation With Death
Khemmis

The Dio cover is down tuned, sludgy and the way its delivered, it would give Ghost a run. Then it picks up for a shred lead break.

Plus there is an original cut, which sounds like a conversation at the crossroads with death himself.

The New Pandora
Hands Of Time
Line And Sinker
We Don’t Need Them Here
Destination Unknown
Angel Of Dawn
The Unity

This album surprised me at how good it is. “The New Pandora” sounds like it came from Dream Theater’s “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence” and “Hands Of Time” sounds like it came from a Pretty Maids album.

I had to do some reading on them. From Germany, the guys in the band are from various power metal acts and this is their third album. And this album has done enough to make me a fan.

The Way Back Home
Spoken

This band is down tuned and aggressive on the music side, and the clean tone vocals remind me of James Durbin. If you like melodic rock done a bit different from the Euro melodic rock doing the rounds at the moment, check out Spoken.

Give Me All Your Love -2020 Remix
Whitesnake

I suppose Whitesnake will always be in a playlist for me.

The End
Watch Me Drown
Blacktop Mojo

They came into my radar because I saw in some article how they won an opening spot on a Bon Jovi tour a few years back, so I thought I should check em out, plus their name sounded cool.

And I was greeted with a refreshing hard rock sound, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Plus they do a pretty awesome cover of “Dream On” from Aerosmith.

Alive And Kicking (Quarantine Sessions)
Nonpoint

I have always enjoyed the brand of rock that Nonpoint bring and this is a cool acoustic session for a song which is 15 years old.

“Alive and Kicking” was originally released in 2005 on their fourth album. And they have been around since 1997. 23 continuous years in the business.

Stay tuned for part 2.

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Jeff Pilson Talks

Blabbermouth always has clickbait headlines that hook me in. If I was a fish, I would have been someone’s dinner a long time ago. This story is from April 2020, and I’ve had it sitting there to write a blog post on.

“If there’s one record for me with DOKKEN, it would be the ‘Tooth And Nail’ [1984] record, just because we were still very hungry.

It’s a pretty raw record, but there’s a lot of great writing on there. It’s not the best-sounding record we ever did, sonically. We kind of changed horses in the middle of the stream, so we had to do some damage control, sonically.

But there’s something about it that’s very real and it’s very hungry, like I said. There’s energy and angst in that record that we never quite matched again. So that’s probably the record I’m most proud of, but there’s [other] great ones.”
Jeff Pilson

Changing horses in the middle is another word for changing producers because one bailed (Tom Werman) due to the aggressive wrestling and punching between two band members. So others (Roy Thomas Baker and Michael Wagener) got brought in to finish off the recording as producer and mixer.

On “Tooth And Nail”, Pilson is a co-writer on all of the 10 tracks and he is the true unsung hero of this album, the glue between George Lynch and Don Dokken. And if you listen to the album, you will hear speed metal (“Tooth And Nail” and “Turn On The Action”, heavy metal (“Don’t Close Your Eyes”, “When Heaven Comes Down” and “Bullets To Spare”), hard rock (“Just Got Lucky” and “Heartless Heart”), ballads (“Alone Again”) and mixtures of all those styles in (“Into The Fire”).

“We did a record in 1999 called ‘Erase The Slate’ that I was actually very, very proud of, with Reb Beach on guitar. A fabulous record.

Then there was a DIO record that I did called ‘Strange Highways’ [1993] that I still think was just a hugely underrated record, because when it came out, people were expecting a more traditional DIO record, and I think over time, people have come to appreciate it more.

But that was such an inspired period, and working with Ronnie [James Dio] at that point was such a game changer for me. And the chemistry of that band and the writing chemistry that we had was so powerful and I still think ‘Strange Highways’ really holds up.”
Jeff Pilson

“Erase The Slate” is a perfect comeback album for Dokken after the terrible “Shadowlife” album they did with George Lynch. Reb Beach gave the band an injection it really needed and with all of the songs written by the four dudes in the band, my favourites are “Erase The Slate”, “Change The World”, “Maddest Hatter” and “Voice Of The Soul”.

Meanwhile George Lynch went from bad to even worse with his reboot of Lynch Mob into a nu-metal rap act. I purchased it, listened to it and never played it again.

“It’s a crazy world we live in and I’m leaving it today”
From Strange Highways

It sure is crazy. The protests happening in the U.S and now other parts of the world, all under the cloud of a pandemic show just how crazy and desperate it is. Time will tell how all of this plays out. Then again, history is always written by the winners, so…

“Strange Highways” released in 1993 from Dio is a heavy comeback album. I guess the time Dio spent with Black Sabbath and the “Dehumanizer” album brought out a more heavier approach. And Pilson again rises to the occasion with 9 co-writes on this album out of 11 tracks. But the surprise to me was Tracy G on guitars, who co-write the music on all of the 11 tracks. I had heard of his WWIII project from 1990 and seen the ads in the music mags, but never heard any music from it.

A soccer mate, “Nick The Stick”, was (and still is) a mad Dio fan, so he dubbed the CD on a cassette for me as I wasn’t sure I was back on the Dio train. I enjoyed “Lock Up The Wolves” (1990) and “Dehumanizer” (1992) so I don’t know why I wasn’t interested in a new Dio album. But I do know that my musical tastes were developing and looking for different ways and styles to learn and incorporate into hard rock.

The search for something different was linked to my journey as a practicing guitar player. It’s a big reason why “Images and Words” from Dream Theater (1992), “Undertow” from Tool (1993) and “Promised Land” from Queensryche (1994) resonated with me.

Do the crime, then write the law, there’s no wrong, you can change it
From Here’s To You

It sure seems that way. The people in power and their advisors keep breaking the laws and then after a few years they are in a position of power to write new laws. The GFC villains/architects all went on college speaking tours, while millions around the world lost their homes.

And the purpose of this post was to bring back some great albums that an artist holds up high. Plus it’s always cool to hear and read interviews from artists who talk about their previous works.

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

1977 – V1

All of these albums I got many years later. Actually all of my 70’s music came well into the 90’s

AC/DC – Let There Be Rock

I knew the songs before I even heard the album. There was no way you could escape AC/DC.

“Dog Eat Dog”, “Let There Be Rock”, “Bad Boy Boogie”, “Hell Aint A Bad Place To Be” and “Whole Lotta Rosie” were always on in car stereos and jukeboxes. The only tracks that were new to me, were “Go Down”, “Overdose” and “Crabsody In Blue” (which was substituted by “Problem Child” for the North American market.

And some of favourite AC/DC riffs are on this album, along with the lyrics, especially the social conscious themes of “Dog Eat Dog”. Plus for a blues based rock band, “Let There Be Rock” is an early precursors of speed metal.

Meatloaf – Bat Out Of Hell

In Australia, this album was still massive in the 80’s and it got even bigger in the 90’s when Meatloaf dropped Part 2. Like 25x Platinum like massive for Australia. And my favourite track (apart from the title track) is the ballad, “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”.

It was also weird for me to read that another songwriter who is not part of the band solely wrote all the music.

I believe that the success of this album around the world is also down to the resilience that Steinman and Meat Loaf showed to get the album recorded, the band signed and eventually the album released.

Because the project started in 1972 and the songs got rejected because the label heads wanted to hear the typical “verse – chorus” arrangement, which as we know, Jim Steinman didn’t really abide by. Instead he relied more on the theatre/opera style of arrangements and the rest is history. In the US alone, the album is 14 x Platinum.

Queen – News Of The World

How do you follow up two successful albums with multi-tracked harmonies?

You go back to basics and rock out, which is exactly what Queen did with “News Of The World”.

There was no escaping “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions” but my favourite track on this album is the John Deacon penned “Spread Your Wings”.

And a bonus mention for the Roger Taylor penned “Fight From The Inside”. Listen to it and you will hear how groovy and hard rock Queen could be. “American Woman” also comes to mind when I hear it. Slash said the guitar riff on this song is one of his favorites and it’s not even played by Brian May, but by drummer Roger Taylor, who also plays bass on the track.

Kansas – Point Of Know Return

I picked up the first five Kansas albums all in one swoop for less than $10. The covers got me interested and all I knew about the band was a few mentions by other artists in interviews from the progressive rock family.

That was it.

I had no idea about “Carry On My Wayward Son” and “Dust In The Wind”. And I played “Point Of Know Return” first because the cover was the best of all em and the song titles interested me.

So I dropped the needle and listened and read the credits and lyrics and became a fan.

Musically it’s a fusion of so many styles, blended in with the distorted sounds of hard rock and a band in top form.

Without Wikipedia or any form of internet to guide me, I had no idea how successful this band was or how their songs became radio staples in America. But it didn’t matter to me, because it these kind of discoveries when you go record hunting that remain.

Rush – A Farewell To Kings

After I was exposed to “Exit Stage Left” I was hooked and I started to seek out the Rush records I could find at the used record shops as CD’s in Australia, were still selling for $30. At one stage they got to $38. Seriously, the recording industry really over estimated their value.

This is album number 5 and the follow up to “2112” which was their make or break album. This fertile period of Rush would last to “Moving Pictures” in 1981 and then the synths would take over for about six years before they brought back the three piece sound.

And as a prog fan, I am always into songs which have sections, so “Cygnus X-1” was on my radar, but I was surprised by “Closer To The Heart” and that arpeggio guitar intro.

Foreigner – Foreigner

No one knew Mick Jones until this album dropped. No one knew the pipes on Lou Gramm until this album dropped.

Released in 1977, no one was sure if disco was ending or rock was starting.

And the album has some songs which are forgotten, but they rock as hard as anything I have heard.

A song like “Starrider” would work on any Deep Purple/Rainbow/Whitesnake album. Even on an Y&T or Scorpions album.

“The Damage Is Done” has this outro solo ending that reminds me of Santana or even “Winds Of Change” from Y&T. “At War With The World” could have come from a Rush album. There is so much variety on this album. It’s a shame that the first two cuts ruled everything.

Did I mention that “Cold As Ice” is also on this album?

Check out the debut.

That’s it for 1977 Part 1 and now we go back into the future for 2000 Part 2.

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

1985 – V1

Two releases come to mind immediately for 1985, that I can never forget. They are “Live After Death” from Iron Maiden and “Come Out And Play” from Twisted Sister. I’ve written about these albums before and will probably keep on writing about them.

Iron Maiden – Live After Death

It’s the best live album ever and my first proper exposure to Iron Maiden, as prior to this it was just the few video clips I taped from the music TV shows.

Because this was my first proper exposure, I got to hear Bruce Dickinson sing the DiAnno era songs before Paul DiAnno and I didn’t know it at the time, but the tempo of the songs had a small increase compared to the recorded versions. So when I eventually got to the first two albums, DiAnno’s voice (along with Blaze Bayley many years later) proved to be a struggle, but when Bruce did those songs live, wow.

P.S.

Maiden hit the bullseye again with the “Rock In Rio” release, especially the live footage in the DVD release. And on that “Rock In Rio”, Bruce Dickinson also gave the Blaze era songs a new life.

P.S.S.

Maiden did it again with “Flight 666” which is a great memento for me for the two nights I watched em perform the same set.

Twisted Sister – Come Out And Play

I just remember dropping the needle on this, laying in my bed, reading the lyrics of each song and looking at the graffiti art on the back cover.

So what was happening in the Twisted Sister department?

By the time this album hit, Twisted Sister was on an album per year cycle and while the “Stay Hungry” album was written during the recording of “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll”, this one was written after the “Stay Hungry” tour.

And it didn’t sell as much as “Stay Hungry” and “You Cant Stop Rock N Roll”, because everyone were still buying those albums.

And just because the sale didn’t match the label expectations, it didn’t mean that this album is not a quality album.

But I wasn’t a fan of the singles like “Leader Of The Pack” and “Be Cruel To Your School”. All of the other tracks definitely resonated and the bonus track “King Of Fools” is one of my favourite Sister tracks. But those two singles proved to be a bad decision.

And they didn’t soften their sound just because they made it with “Stay Hungry”. They came out all guns blazing with the title track and “The Fire Still Burns” is a speed metal classic.

Dee said to “join our cavalcade” and join I did.

P.S.

But the cavalcade that jumped on the ship with “Stay Hungry” didn’t all come back in 1985, but they would return ten fold in the 2000’s.

P.S.S.

One more album later in 1987 and the band would cease to be until the 2000’s.

Dokken – Under Lock And Key

It was the “Unchain The Night” video release which got me interested. My cousin Mega dubbed it off some other guy who dubbed it off some other guy. And I dubbed it off my cousin. The video sounded dodgy, with that white noise effect running in the background, due to it being copied so many times.

So I didn’t get this album until two years later, because the cover didn’t scream out “buy me” either.

There are songs which do sound like they are written for the charts, but its tracks like “Unchain The Night”, “Lightning Strikes Again”, “Will The Sun Rise” and “Till The Living End” which showcase the metal side of the band and still to this day, stand out as favourites. And when you add the rock tracks like “The Hunter”, “In My Dreams”, “Its Not Love” and “Don’t Lie To Me”, well, you have a pretty solid little album even though it was made from punch-a-thons, arguments and arm wrestles.

P.S.
Pilson likes this album, but in a recent interview he said that “Tooth And Nail” is his favourite. And he had a co-write in all of those tracks. The true unsung hero of Dokken.

Yngwie Malmsteen – Marching Out

One of the bands I was in, the co-guitarist was a devoted Yngwie fan. He would make fun at my tastes of guitarists because according to him, none of them came even close to the maestro level of Malmsteen. It was this elitism from him that made me hate Malmsteen at the start, but I also understood that in my journey to be a guitar player, I would need to check out some of the Malmsteen recordings.

And.

This is a good album.

Jeff Scott Soto on vocals brings it on songs like “I’ll See The Light Tonight”, “Don’t Let It End” and “Caught In The Middle” which he also co-wrote with the man known as the Fury. The other standout to me is “On The Run Again” which Malmsteen originally wrote while he was in Steeler with Ron Keel. At the time it was called “Victim Of The City”.

And I became a fan up to the “Fire And Ice” album. As soon as grunge hit and his albums were not available in Australia, he wasn’t on my radar anymore. I’ve heard a few albums since on Spotify and I can honestly say those 80’s and early 90’s albums are the go to albums for me.

P.S
Malmsteen would use JSS for one more album, “Trilogy”, and then many years later would diss him by saying that he (Malmsteen) came up with everything and JSS did nothing.

P.S.S.
Malmsteen is the fury.

Motley Crue – Theater of Pain

Only two video clips came out to support the album. And it was enough because the Crue generated enough controversy to remain in the press permanently.

“Louder Than Hell”, “Tonight”, the Bad Company sounding “Raise Your Hands To Rock”, “Fight For Your Rights” and “Save Our Souls” are some of my favorites.

Even tracks like “Keep Your Eye On The Money” and “City Boy Blues” are worthy tracks. So to me, there isn’t really any filler on this album. Actually I would put “Smokin In The Boys Room” as a filler track.

P.S

Was there really an imposter pretending to be Nikki Sixx during this period?

P.S.S.

Mick Mars, riffs away on this album and he’s playing is so underrated, it’s criminal. And Tommy Lee is a pocket drummer, something he doesn’t get enough credit for.

Ratt – Invasion Of Your Privacy

“Lay Me Down” and “You’re In Love” sold this album as the clips got a lot of TV time in Australia.

And when you drop the needle on it, you are greeted with a triple knockout punch. It kicks off with that LA Sunset riff for “You’re In Love” and it moves to “Never Use Love” and “Lay It Down”.

P.S.

The album came out too early as “Out Of The Cellar” was still selling a lot, so people would have had to choose between those albums. In other words, Ratt and their label cannibalized their sales.

P.S.S.

It’s a solid album.

And that’s it for 1985 part 1. Now I’m off to 1977.

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

Release Day Friday

A few surprises in the Release Day playlist from Spotify.

The 2020 Remix of “Still Of The Night” kicks it all off. And for those who don’t know who Chis Collier is, he is the one, doing the mixing. Recently he’s worked a lot of with George Lynch on his KXM, Ultraphonix, Lynch Mob and Sweet Lynch projects. And he’s been in the biz for a long time, especially as a mixer.

Even though I have overdosed on “Still Of The Night”, I can’t skip it. My fingers don’t allow me to. And the solo from Sykes has an effect added which wasn’t needed.

“Step Into The Light” from Dokken is next. I didn’t even know that Dokken had any new music in the works. Or what version of Dokken it is. So I had to Google for more information. And it’s not really new music at all, but old music that’s never been heard and before the band Dokken got a record deal. I actually have an EP of this version of the band called “Back In The Streets”.

Anyway, these songs that Don Dokken wrote in the early days will be released on an album called “The Lost Songs : 1978-1981”. And the song is forgettable but if you are fan and you want a prequel of what Don Dokken was like before Dokken, then it will be a good start. I already have the Lynch early days on a CD. The songs that Lynch and Brown wrote in The Boyz are the songs that Don Dokken used to get himself signed, which started the resentment between Lynch and himself.

There are live songs from Def Leppard, Rush, Black Crowes and Pretty Maids with “We Belong”, “A Passage To Bangkok”, “Sister Luck” and “Long Way To Go”.

Then there are some Warner Music Archives releases, so I got White Lion, Winger and Saigon Kick show up in the list, with “Wait – Extended Remix”, “All I Ever Wanted” and “Dear Prudence”. The White Lion track is over 6 minutes long and Reb Beach with Winger is always enjoyable to listen to, like the section before the solo and then his guitar solo.

And one of my favourite guitarists these last five years is Andy James, and his latest track “Dual” is on the playlist. He can play, he can shred and the difference between him and other guitarists/shredders is the song. Andy James writes songs with killer riffs, and then the solos he plays are melodic, even sing-a-like in the verse/chorus structure of instrumental music. And when it’s time to shred in the solo section, he delivers.

Blacktop Mojo have been pretty consistent with their songs, but “Leave It Alone” didn’t resonate today.

Vandenberg drops “Let It Rain” as the album also drops today, so this will take up my listening today, as I’ve enjoyed all the pre-release songs so far.

Trapt dropped another song, a ballad called “Far Enough Away”.

Aldo Nova dropped a groovy and bluesy tune which I like called “When All Is Said And Done”.

The Gathering Of Kings had another song called “Revelation” appear in the playlist, and I saw that their new album had dropped as well. So this would take some of my time to sink my teeth into.

The piece d’resistance is “Death Diviner” from Soilwork, because on this song Bjorn Strid brings his clean tone hard rock voice that he uses for The Night Flight Orchestra to the metal music of Soilwork. Previous albums and songs had him moving between death and melodic vocals, but on this song, he’s all melodic.

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

2000 – V1

I’ve been doing these yearly revision posts on and off for the last four years. Basically when I’ve felt like it.

I started with 1980, as that was a pivotal year when it all began for me. And then I went forward and back at the same time. I did a post for 1981, and then a post for 1979. Then a post for 1982 and a post for 1978.

Currently I am up to 1985 and 1977 for those eras. They are in a various states of drafts and on hold for a little bit because I get excited about other posts and it felt like I was just writing about the same bands (like AC/DC, who had releases on both sides of the 80’s and 70’s).

So I wanted to start up another year and work my way forward on that one.

Plus other bloggers who I follow have also been summarizing various years from their own personal experiences.

So a few days ago, I had a vision and in my madness I decided to also kick off a 2000 series.

So there will be a 2000, 1985 and 1977 series running in parallel.

Then there will be a 2001, 1986 and 1976.

But when I started to write the 2000 post, the world has a funny way to show me, that I’m still writing about the same bands I was writing about in the 80’s with a few additions here and there.

So h is Part 1 of 2000.

Bon Jovi – Crush

“It’s My Life” was everywhere. The single got a lot of traction in Australia. It was on radio, on the music TV stations and the various CD single editions were selling out quickly.

The resurrection of Bon Jovi was complete after a pretty relaxed period between 1996 and 1999. Then again, Sambora and Jovi did release solo albums in between and toured, so maybe it wasn’t so relaxed.

Songsmith Max Martin got a co-write, however it’s hard to know what he actually did because Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora didn’t use him again. Also just ask Steven Tyler, how much song writing some of the outside writers did. Holly Knight got a writing credit for “Rag Doll”, and all she did was come up with the song title. Thanks Deke for that one.

And although I like the derivative sounding “It’s My Life”, my favourites (like most of the Bon Jovi albums) are more of the deeper cuts, like “Just Older”, “Two Story Town”, “Mystery Train”, the six plus minutes of “Next 100 Years”, the laidback feel of “She’s A Mystery” and probably the best live song they have written in “Old Wild Night”, which gets no love these days but it should.

Disturbed – The Sickness

There was a sticker on the CD, which had a quote from “Ozzy” calling Disturbed “the future of Heavy Metal”. I don’t know if Ozzy actually said that, but it was a cool bit of marketing, because I bit and handed over $20.

The thing that got me from the start, is the staccato vocals from David Draiman, which was so different from the 80’s type of singers I was used to plus it helped that the music was pretty cool as well. And I kept listening, became a fan, seen em live on two occasions and today, I hold David Draiman in some unique company of metal voices and Disturbed as one of my favourite acts.

And this album really put em on the map. In the U.S alone (and if you like to use the RIAA sales metric as a gauge for success) then 9 million is the number so far.

For me, the cross between groove metal and heavy metal and that thing people called Nu-Metal is excellent and it got me out of a rut.

“Voices” talks about some freaky shit, and that vocal delivery from Draiman was so unique it captured me. Then “The Game” starts off with the NIN style of electronics, and when the guitar riff comes in, its heavy metal all the way.

“Stupify” has this guitar riff that takes the style of Korn and guitarist Dan Donegan has this ability to make it sound like a metal riff.

And his ability to take influences from what was current like NIN, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Tool and put it into his metal influenced blender, that’s the magic brew of Disturbed. By the way check out the section from about 2.52 for a breakdown.

“Numb” is taking the moodiness of Tool and making it accessible in a 4 minute song. “Shout 2000” gives an old 80’s song a new lease of life and the title track “Down With The Sickness” is that song in the concert when the musician looks at the sea of faces jumping up and down and head banging, like an ocean swell about to hit the stage.

Fates Warning – Disconnected

I was always on the fence with Fates Warning. My cousin Mega loved em and he had all of their albums. But for me, I just taped the songs I liked from those albums and never really got into a whole album.

But this album changed all of that. As soon as the first ringing guitar notes started which to my ears mimicked a warning siren, I was hooked.

For me, it feels like a perfect blend of what was current, like Tool and Porcupine Tree and a nod to what Dream Theater was creating (they even have Kevin Moore guesting on keyboards) and it’s all surrounded by a hard rock progressive feel.

Also while the earlier albums showed guitarist Jim Matheos evolving with each release from raw NWOBHM, to Power Metal, to technical thrash metal, to Queensryche style rock to atmospheric progressive rock and on this one, he is digging deep into his well and bringing out everything he knows into well-structured songs and a cohesive album.

And the album is ignored by the masses.

But not by me.

“Disconnected, Pt 1” kicks it off with its ominous warning siren guitar bends. And the synth keys make it sound even more dystopian. Then again, if you look at the cover of the album, its people in gas masks under an orange sky. For me, it’s like our Australian summer, which had orange and red skies, and our air quality was crap, for a very long time.

“One” blasts out of the gates with its Porcupine Tree/Tool influenced riff.

“So” is groove heavy, with a hint of a Tool influence, but Jim Matheos makes it sound metal. When it quietens down in the verses, it just reminds me of the song “Black Sabbath”. The bridge section from about 4.30 also quietens down and then that Tool like groove from 5.50 hits you like a sledgehammer. “Pieces Of Me” is a derivative version of “One”, with small changes here and there to make it stand on its own.

And the two big bookends.

“Something For Nothing” and “Still Remains”. They are quality, as a melancholic and atmospheric groove leads the way. It’s progressive and it doesn’t have or need a thousand notes per second nor complex time signatures pieced together and added like fractions. On both songs, it’s a feel and a groove which lays the foundation and the songs keep building from there.

The album closes with “Disconnected, Pt 2”, with the guitar warning siren bends and some nice keys.

Iron Maiden – Brave New World

There was “The Ed Hunter Tour” of 1999, which announced the latest and upgraded hardware version of Iron Maiden from 5.0 to 6.0. And it’s been the same line up since.

And no one really knew how this 6.0 upgrade would go with new music. But they delivered.

Each song has a section which makes it connect.

From the opening Em chord of “The Wicker Man”, the song is full of the things that make Maiden great, like the repeating chorus line of “your time will come” and the singalong “woh-oh-oh” in the outro which is then followed by harmony guitars.

And I like the “Fear Of The Dark” section between 5.00 and 5.42 in “Ghost Of The Navigator” and the harmony solos in “Brave New World”.

“Blood Brothers” is a classic Maiden song, driven by an awesome bass riff, synth strings, harmony guitars (especially that harmony section from 3.29 to 3.57 and again from 4.22 to 6.20) and a vocal performance from Bruce Dickinson to rival his 80’s output. It feels like only a few singers could pull off repeating the same chorus line over and over again and make it sound unique. Dio comes to mind, Dee Snider as well and Bruce Dickinson.

“The Mercenary” has a head banging intro to rival the “Two Minutes To Midnight” intro. And that Chorus, when Bruce starts to sing “Nowhere to hide, nowhere to run”. Brilliant. “Dream Of Mirrors” and that “Phantom Of The Opera” intro. But when it quietens down and it’s just the bass rumbling along, with the closed high hats and a clean tone guitar melodic lick. That’s when the hairs on the back of my neck rise up. And by the end of it, I’m also dreaming in black and white because Bruce repeats it so many times, you get hypnotized. Also listen to when Bruce sings woh – oh from the 7.20 minute mark.

“The Fallen Angel” with its “Wrathchild” style intro. Then that open string pull of lick in the Chorus. The intro in “The Nomad” which is also the Chorus riff and then that epic sounding exotic/barbarian/viking like lead from about the 4 minute mark. The intro to “Out Of The Silent Planet”.

Version 6.0 was off to the good start and the “Rock In Rio” DVD put any doubt to rest.

Everclear – Songs From An American Movie, Vol 1: Learning How To Smile

This is another album that got my attention.

The song “Wonderful” was all over the charts in Australia, and I suppose that “Star Wars” poster on the bedroom door lyric got me to bite. And the album is excellent. Again, it came at a perfect time to get me out of a rut, musically. It was different and removed from the 80’s and 70’s music I was so into. Then again, I was still overdosing on Maiden, but that’s another story.

“Here We Go Again” has these jazzy 7th style chords played in a pattern like “I Love Rock N Roll” in the verses, and it got me interested straight away. And there is a horn section which reminded me of “Tangled In The Web” from Lynch Mob. And that bridge section about sitting on a mattress in the corner and eating Chinese food. Its conversationlist and I like it.

“AM Radio” has a lot of great lyrics about the 70’s and listening to that AM Radio or just laying in bed with the radio on and listening to it all night long.

The VCR and the DVD
There wasn’t none of that crap back in 1970
We didn’t know about a World Wide Web
It was a whole different game being played back when I was a kid

Even if you weren’t born then, you already get a picture in your head of some of the technology that wasn’t around.

Flashback, ’72
Another summer in the neighbourhood
Hangin’ out with nothing to do

Even in the 80’s, we had days like these with nothing to do. It changed in the 90’s when parents had an agenda of things their kids had to do or achieve or attend.

Cruisin’ with the windows rolled down
We’d listen to the radio station

Damn right.

I remember 1977
I started going to concerts and I saw the Led Zeppelin
I got a guitar on Christmas day
I dreamed that Jimmy Page would come from Santa Monica
and teach me to play

There is always a defining “aha” moment, which sets of the correct adrenaline kick.

I like pop, I like soul, I like rock, but I never liked disco

Not many who liked pop, soul and rock liked disco. Remember Bob Seger and his old time rock and roll to soothe the soul.

“Learning How To Smile” is my favorite track on the album.

Five miles outside of Vegas when we broke down
Threw my keys inside the window and we never looked back
Got all drunk and sloppy on a Greyhound bus
We passed out, all them losers they were laughing at us

Youthful enthusiasm, leave the past behind (the car) and move forward to something new. The oldsters would have organised a tow truck to retrieve the car and then spend money to fix it, because every possession was precious. Tell that to the throwaway generation, who upgrade their Tech yearly or bi-yearly.

We got lost in Phoenix, seemed like such a long time
Seven months of livin’ swimming on those thin white lines
Did some time for sellin’ acid to the wrong guy
Life just keeps on gettin’ smaller and we never ask why

Taking and selling drugs and doing what they could to get by, with no safety net.

Why there is no perfect place, yes I know this is true
I’m just learning how to smile
That’s not easy to do

Life is not all sunshine and a bed of roses. And the more older we get, the harder it is to smile sometimes, even though you want to smile.

We was broke outside of Philly when the storms came
I was working in New Jersey, hitchin’ rides in the rain
You was happy talkin’ dirty at that phone sex place
Life just keeps on gettin’ weirder for us every day

Tommy and Gina have nothing on Art and his girl.

We can leave it all behind like we do every time
Yes we both live for the day
When we can leave and just go runnin’ away

Escapism. I remember when I first got my car license. I felt a freedom, I’d never felt before.

Five miles outside of Vegas, five years down the line
We got married in the desert and the sunshine

Through all the ups and downs, I guess they learned how to smile.

And to close off the album, “Thrift Store Chair” has this acoustic 70’s feel, which reminds me of Bad Company and “Wonderful” kicks off with a simple drum groove, and then the piano which outlines the chords. And the song just keeps on building.

Well 2000 is officially kicked off. Now I’m going back in time to 1985. And then 1977. And then back to 2000, in ludicrous speed.

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