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

1976 – Part 4.9: Genesis – Wind And Wuthering

Why wait a few years for a new album when the new version of the band became successful with its new singer?

Released in December 1976, the band of Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett remained unchanged, however trouble was brewing on the horizons.

Success leads to the need to create more success. And for Genesis, they had four competent songwriters who thought they all had the songs to create more success. The question was, which songs would get chosen and which songs would be left out.

Eleventh Earl Of Mar

Written by Tony Banks, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford. Its progressive, competing with bands like Yes for complex time changes and yet it still sounds like foot tapping rock and roll.

That section that starts with the words “I’m fighting, gravity falling” is my favourite and while brief, the vocal melody from Collins is memorable.

It refers to the historical figure of John Erskine, Earl of Mar, a Scottish Jacobite.

One For The Vine

At 10 minutes, it’s not for everyone. Written solely by Banks, the keys dominate the track.

I like the section from about the 4.40 minute mark. It’s almost soundtrack like something which The Alan Parsons Project would do a lot with his instrumentals. And the quietened down section at 7.21 fits well after the long instrumental passage.

Your Own Special Way

Even though the song is written by Rutherford in open tuning, it’s a typical Phil Collins song. It also reminds me of Coheed and Cambria and a song from the “No World For Tomorrow” album.

Wot Gorilla

An instrumental which Collins brought to the band and one that he said is one of his favourite tracks as it brought in his influences of jazz fusion.

Meanwhile Hackett felt that the song was “good rhythmically, but underdeveloped harmonically” and didn’t want it on the album in place of his song “Please Don’t Touch” which Hackett would later use for his solo album of the same name.

All In A Mouse’s Night

Written by Banks, it’s a silly song lyrically about a 10 foot mouse with big teeth however the music reminds me of a section in Dream Theater’s “Six Degree Of Inner Turbulence” song.

Blood On The Rooftops

Written by Hackett and Collins, I like the classical/flamenco style guitar from Hackett to start off the song. Listen closely and you will hear a bit of “Dee” from Randy Rhoads there. Then again, classical is classical so everyone is borrowing from the same masters.

Banks and Rutherford have said that this was Hackett’s best song as a member of the group.

Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers…

Written by Hackett and Rutherford, it’s an instrumental which is in two parts. The guitar playing from Hackett is very flamenco finger picked liked and good enough to rival the masters of the genre.

In That Quiet Earth

Written by the band, this is the second part of the instrumental and Collins is playing a fast jazz fusion beat which allows the rest of the band to dance over.

The heavy metal like section from 2.50 is the reason why I press play.

Afterglow

Written by Banks, this a milestone song for the band, as it proved that they could write short songs that they all liked. And a sign of the direction they would take.

The album was another success and the tour was huge with the gigs in Brazil being attended by over 150,000 people and each member needing armed bodyguards during their stay.

But Hackett was not a happy camper.

The writing process for the album was argumentative and having his songs removed was also contentious. So once the tour ended, Hackett left the bend to pursue a solo career.

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1976 – Part 4.8: Genesis – A Trick Of The Tail

It’s their seventh studio album, released in February 1976 on Charisma Records. But Genesis didn’t exist for me until the 80s version of the band had mainstream success at the same time that Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel had super successful solo careers.

Who hasn’t played air drums to “In The Air Tonight”?

This album was the first to feature then drummer Phil Collins as the lead vocalist following Peter Gabriel’s departure in late 1974, midway through the tour for the album “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway”. Management and Gabriel’s bandmates wanted him to stay. It was more of a business decision as they were in debt to their label and his departure could jeopardise their chances at getting funding for future recordings.

Following the end of the tour, guitarist Steve Hackett recorded a solo album, “Voyage of the Acolyte”. And the other members weren’t sure if the band would continue. But they reconvened in July 1975.

While some members contemplated calling it quits, keyboardist Tony Banks had other ideas. He took the songs he had written for a possible solo project and decided they should be used on the new Genesis album. They started writing for a new album, however without a lead singer. An anonymous ad in the music paper Melody Maker for a “Genesis type singer” received 400 plus replies. But nothing came of it and they entered the studio without any idea as to who would sing the songs on the album.

Eventually, Collins was persuaded to sing “Squonk”. The performance was so strong, that the lead singer position in the band was put to bed, with Collins singing lead on the rest of the of the album.

Phil Collins is on drums, percussion, lead and backing vocals. Steve Hackett is on all things guitar related. Mike Rutherford is on bass guitar and Tony Banks is on all things keys related.

Dance On A Volcano

Written by the band.

I like the intro, a fusion of rock and blues and it’s a touch progressive as it moves between the verse and chorus. It was also the first song written for the album.

Entangled

Written by Hackett and Banks.

It’s got this chord in the song, in which they play the G# as the root note on the low E string, and an then an F# and A# on the 4th and 3rd strings with the open B and open E strings ringing out.

The first time I heard a chord like that was in the song “Another Day” from Dream Theater on their 1992 “Images and Words” album, but then when I started to go back and listen to the influences of Dream Theater, I started to hear that chord in the music of Rush and then Genesis, to name a few.

Squonk

Written by Rutherford and Banks.

I like the music feel on this. It was pretty obvious the band was trying hard to write their own “Kashmir”.

Lyrically it is based on the North American tale of the Squonk which, when captured, dissolves in a pool of tears.

Mad Man Moon

Written by Banks, it sounds like it could be interchanged with an ELP album. Its indulgent with the piano and if that is your thing, then this song is perfect for you.

Robbery, Assault and Battery

It’s like a theatre song, mostly written by Banks, while Collins, who also contributed to the writing, sang the song in character, inspired by his earlier role as the “Artful Dodger” in “Oliver!” before he became a professional musician.

If you like theatre music, then you will like this song.

Ripples…

It’s a combination of a 12-string guitar piece composed by Rutherford and a piano-led middle section written by Banks. “Tears” from Rush comes to mind, which is more superior.

A Trick of the Tail

Written by Banks it’s the best song on the record. It took form as a song many years before the band recorded it.

He was inspired from reading the novel “The Inheritors” by William Golding and “Getting Better” by the Beatles, and wrote about an alien visiting Earth. The pop rock of what Genesis would become in the 80’s is all here, albeit a bit more quirky than the 80’s polish.

Los Endos

The closer written by the band. It pays homage to the progressive past of Genesis while bringing in enough influences of where the band would go in the later years.

Collins came up with the basic rhythmic structure, inspired by his work in the side project Brand X and the song “Promise of a Fisherman” by Santana.

Banks and Hackett wrote the main themes, including reprises of “Dance on a Volcano” and “Squonk”, and Collins sang a few lines from “Supper’s Ready” (from the 1972 album “Foxtrot”) on the fade-out, as a tribute to Gabriel. The opening piece was actually recorded for a completely different song called “It’s Yourself”, which was later released as a B-side.

The track became a live favourite, and it continued to be played throughout.

Post album release, the group went out on tour with Collins as the front man and Bill Bruford as the additional drummer, and the resulting performances in the US raised Genesis’ profile there.

Chart wise, it charted high in both the U.S and U.K markets.

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1976 – Part 4.7: Lynyrd Skynyrd – One More For The Road

It was my first purchase.

Steve Gaines joined, making it a three guitar team again, with Allen Collins and Gary Rossington. Ronnie Van Zant is on Vocals, Leon Wilkeson on Bass, Artimus Pyle on Drums and Billy Powell on Keyboards. Sam McPherson is on harmonica. JoJo Billingsley, Cassie Gaines and Leslie Hawkins are the backing vocalists.

“One More from The Road” is a live album compiled from a few shows.

It’s also the only live album from the classic era of 1970 to 1977. And an essential album to own.

Workin’ for MCA

Written by Ed King and Ronnie Van Zant which more or less sum up the crap record deal they had with the label.

Slickers steal my money since I was seventeen
If it ain’t no pencil pusher, then there’s got to be a honky tonk queen
Well I signed my contract, baby, now I want you people to know
Every penny that I make, I wanna see where my money goes

The creative accounting from the labels. What they give you, they get back tenfold. Bon Scott comes to mind when he sang, “getting ripped off”.

I want you to sign the contract
Want you to sign the date
Gonna give you lots of money
Workin’ for MCA

I Ain’t the One

Written by Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant about a love affair between a whiskey swilling brawler and Daddy’s rich girl.

Saturday Night Special

Written by Ed King and Ronnie Van Zant.

How can you not like the intro and verse riffs?

Press play and enjoy.

Searching

My favourite song from the “Gimme Back My Bullets” album and written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant. The tempo is slightly increased and this version is my definitive version.

Travelin’ Man

Written by Ronnie Van Zant and Leon Wilkeson.

The intro bass riff from Leon Wilkeson gets me interested straight away.

Simple Man

A classic written by Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant. Also check out Shinedown’s cover in the 2000’s. Brent Smith delivers a stellar vocal.

Press play on this to hear the harmony lead breaks.

Whiskey Rock-a-Roller

Great song title, written by Ed King, Billy Powell and Ronnie Van Zant.

It was a rite of passage to consume whiskey and listening to rock and roll. The song is about hitting the road to the rock and roll show.

The Needle and the Spoon

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant.

I like the intro on this. And the verse riff that comes in is a cross between “Searching” and “Sweet Home Alabama”.

Gimme Back My Bullets

Written by Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant.

How good is that intro riff?

Its heavy and full of groove.

Tuesday’s Gone

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant and man didn’t Zakk Wylde take a lot of licks from this. As soon as I heard it, I thought of “Road To Nowhere” and a few songs from the Pride and Glory album.

A classic. The leads alone hook me in.

Gimme Three Steps

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant, it’s a 12 bar blues with a bit of country rock thrown in.

Call Me the Breeze

Written by J.J. Cale. Everyone was covering Cale around this period. Simple 12 bar blues rock and roll and they blew another amp in the process.

T for Texas

Written by Jimmie Rodgers and the “new fella” Stevie Gaines was introduced. And it’s more soloing over 12 bar blues chord progressions.

Sweet Home Alabama

The hit, written by Ed King, Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant. Inspired by Neil Young’s song “Southern Man” which was seen as a diss to the south. This didn’t impress Ronnie Van Zant and he meant every word when he sang, “well I hope Mr Young can remember, a Southern Man don’t need him around”.

And during the performance, Van Zant, interjects over the solo, “there are plenty of good people in the South, so make sure you tell Mr Young about it”.

Crossroads

A Robert Johnson cover that Eric Clapton has made his own, but Lynyrd Skynyrd also deliver a pretty mean version full of energy and power.

Free Bird

The big closer written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant. At almost 12 minutes long, it’s not for the faint hearted. The guitar interplay in the massive outro solo section is worth the price of admission.

For a first purchase I became an instant fan of the band.

And they reformed during this late 80s early 90s period so when I was getting into their old stuff, I had new content to listen to as well.

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1976 – Part 4.6: Lynyrd Skynyrd – Gimme Back My Bullets

If it wasn’t for Zakk Wylde, I wouldn’t have gone and purchased any Lynyrd Skynyrd. His love for Southern Rock, was on show for the “No More Tears” album. Check out his leads in “I Don’t Wanna Change The World”, “Road To Nowhere” and “Mama I’m Coming Home”.

In the interviews Zakk conducted with the Guitar Mag’s, he spoke about a technique called chicken’ picking that he picked up from learning Southern Rock songs and he demonstrated great knowledge on Southern Rock and the 70’s bands associated with the movement.

Then he dropped the debut “Pride and Glory” album a few years later, which is basically an amalgamation of Black Sabbath and Southern Rock. And it made me a fan, so I went searching for Southern Rock bands.

Enter “Lynyrd Skynyrd”. The story of the band should be a Netflix TV series. Working for MCA, the worst label in the business, the band was never going to make a profit regardless of how successful they became and how many records they sold.

The band for this album is Ronnie Van Zant (RIP) on Vocals, Gary Rossington and Allen Collins (RIP) on Guitars, Leon Wilkeson (RIP) on Bass, Artimus Pyle on Drums and Billy Powell (RIP) on Keyboards.

Guitarist Ed King, quit the band before this album, making them a two guitar band instead of three. King would pass away in 2018 due to various health issues.

There was a saying that the Wilkeson and Pyle (and before Pyle it was Bobby Burns) set a groove, which Collins, King and Rossington danced over. And Pyle has been ostracised from the organisation due to being a sex offender while original drummer Bobby Burns died in a single car crash after hitting a mailbox and tree on a sharp bend, Things don’t end well for these guys.

But the biggest tragedy was the plane crash on the “Street Survivors” tour.

Van Zant, new guitarist/vocalist Steve Gaines, backing vocalist Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray all died in the crash. The survivors had been seated toward the back of the plane and all of them were seriously injured with broken bones, crushed arms, sever facial disfigurements and severe burns.

And the plane was earlier inspected by Aerosmith’s tour crew for the band to use on their 1977 tour but it didn’t pass the Aero’s safety inspection.

But before the tragedy, the Skynyrds debauched their way through the U.S on the backs of whiskey, brawling and great music.

“Gimme Back My Bullets” is studio album Number 4, released on February 2, 1976. It reached number 20 on the U.S. albums chart and was certified gold on January 20, 1981 by the RIAA.

Gimme Back My Bullets

Written by Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant.

The staccato like count in reminds me of the “Back In Black” intro. After that, a funky blues rock riff kicks in, before the Southern Rock chord progression kicks in

Every Mothers Son

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant.

The acoustic riff grabs your attention straight away, an amalgamation of “Sweet Home Alabama” and blues rock songs like “Shooting Star”.

Trust

Written by Allen Collins, Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant.

It reminds me of The Rolling Stones and I like it.

(I Got The) Same Old Blues

Written by J.J. Cale. Every artist was covering his songs.

The 12 bars groove is heavy, yet funky. The slide guitar is simple yet effective.

Double Trouble

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant.

It follows the trend set with “(I Got The) Same Old Blues”. And the name used by Steve Ray Vaughan, could have come from this song. The blues on offer here is similar to what SRV would play, just more amped up and more technical.

Roll Gypsy Roll

Written by Allen Collins, Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant.

The acoustic riff to start it is campfire like, and riding on the greyhound to leave town was a rite of passage for the youth once upon a time. These days, the kids are over 30 and still at home.

Searching

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant.

My favourite song on the album. Musically and lyrically. Rossington and Collins steal the show here.

Cry For The Bad Man

Written by Allen Collins, Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant.

It starts off like a Kinks song crossed with “Mississippi Queen”. And I like it.

All I Can Do Is Write About It

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant.
Zakk Wylde basically took this song and wrote “Road To Nowhere”.

Press play and enjoy it.

It’s listed as “not their best” album, but if you like southern rock, you shouldn’t skip it and I see it as an underrated album.

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1976 – Part 4.5: The Mahavishnu Orchestra – Inner Worlds

The Mahavishnu Orchestra were a jazz fusion band formed in New York City in 1971, led by English guitarist John McLaughlin.

The group underwent several line-up changes throughout its history across two stints from 1971 to 1976 and 1984 to 1987.

The first line-up which consisted of musicians Billy Cobham, Jan Hammer, Jerry Goodman, and Rick Laird, the band received its initial acclaim for its complex, intense music consisting of a blend of Indian classical music, jazz and psychedelic rock, and its dynamic live performances between 1971 and 1973.

After the original group dissolved, it reformed in 1974 with a new cast of musicians behind McLaughlin:

“Inner Worlds” came out in 1976. It’s the group’s sixth album release and it would be the last album by them for nearly ten years, when leader and guitarist John McLaughlin re-formed the group in 1984.

All in the Family

The song is written by John McLaughlin who also plays guitar and guitar synth. Stu Goldberg is on all things keys related.

Ralphe Armstrong is on bass and the star of the song is Narada Michael Walden on Drums, congas, bass marimba and shaker.

And the reason why Walden is the star is because the song opens with a drum solo before it moves into a fast jazz like beat. Its chaotic as all the instruments come in and somehow it all makes sense. Progressive rock is the best way to describe it.

There is this section between 3.25 and 3.45 in which McLaughlin and Goldberg play this fast unison lead line and I like it.

Miles Out

It’s written by John McLaughlin who plays all things guitar and a special instrument called the “360” systems frequency shifter. It’s actually not an instrument, but an effect. These days, it would be in a stomp box, but back then it was a pretty large unit.

You hear it in action in the Intro and throughout the song. Stu Goldberg is on the Mini-Moog and Steiner-Parker synthesizers, Ralphe Armstrong is on bass and Narada Michael Walden on drums.

I like the bass intro from Goldberg, it’s creepy like, and funky. McLaughlin plays a staccato like guitar riff, which is more funk and reggae like. When he activates the frequency shifter, it sounds chaotic but the drumming of Walden is super-fast, technical and on point. Somehow it makes sense.

In My Life

Written by John McLaughlin and Narada Michael Walden.

John McLaughlin is on 12-string acoustic guitar, Stu Goldberg is on backing vocals, Ralphe Armstrong is on bass and Narada Michael Walden is on the piano and drums, along with the lead vocals.

It’s a poor song and the lyrics are very childish, like seriously, they sing “thank you for the fish in the sea”. A skip for me.

Gita

Written by John McLaughlin and it’s another song with vocals that doesn’t connect with me.

Morning Calls

A short one minute piece, written by John McLaughlin who plays guitar synthesizer and Narada Michael Walden who plays organ.

It sounds Oriental and Celtic like but it’s another skip for me.

The Way of the Pilgrim

Written by Narada Michael Walden and it’s got some intricate instrument sections, but this far in, these kind of passages are starting to sound same same.

River of My Heart

Written by Kanchan Cynthia Anderson and Narada Michael Walden.

There is no guitar on this, with Ralphe Armstrong on double bass and Narada Michael Walden on Piano, Lead Vocals and Percussion.

But it’s a skip for me.

Planetary Citizen

Written by Ralphe Armstrong, this song could have been on a Stevie Wonder album. It’s got that blues, jazz funk fusion happening.

And are you ready to be a planetary citizen?

Lotus Feet

Written by John McLaughlin. I like this instrumental.

There is a guitar that plays arpeggios and a MiniMoog playing a lead break with percussion as the foundation.I

It sort of reminds me of “Albatross” from Fleetwood Mac, the Peter Green version of the band.

Inner Worlds

The title track. Part 1 is written by John McLaughlin and Part 2 by Stu Goldberg. But it’s a bit of mess and that Frequency shifter gadget is just noise to me, however it would have been cool to have that whooshing effect back in the day.

In the end, there are better Mahavishnu Orchestra albums, which we will get to as I work my way back through history.

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1976 – Part 4.4: Grand Funk Railroad – Born To Die

The name “Grand Funk” and “Grand Funk Railroad” started to appear in interviews with guitarists via the Guitar mags circa 1988 to 1992, as bands started to incorporate more blues rock into their music. Then I purchased an encyclopaedia called “The Rolling Stones Encyclopaedia of Rock and Roll” and they are listed.

But I had never heard their music and it was only a few years ago that I started to listen via Spotify.

“Born to Die” is the 10th studio album, released in January 1976.

Released on Capitol Records and produced by Jimmy Ienner.

Ienner was briefly considered for the role of producer on the “Destroyer” album because he was the producer of one of Paul Stanley’s favourite bands, the Raspberries who had broken big on the backs of an Ienner produced album. While Ienner lost out to Bob Ezrin for the “Destroyer” gig, he did a job with Kiss, as Executive Producer on “Double Platinum”.

The band for the album was Mark Farner on Guitar/Vocals, Craig Frost on Keyboards, Mel Schacher on Bass, Don Brewer on Drums/Vocals, Jimmy Hall on Saxophone/Harmonica and Donna Hall on Background Vocals.

Born To Die

What a track with the feel of the song “Bad Company”, written by Mark Farner in memory of his cousin who died in a motorcycle accident.

The Hammond Organ has this tremolo style effect which makes it sound menacing. The bass playing grooves and the vocals are multi-layered in the Chorus.

Lived his life of freedom, exactly the way that he wanted to.
But there’s always that one thing, we never do count on.
You was born for it to happen to you …

Dues

Written by Don Brewer and Mark Farner. As soon as the syncopated bass and bass drum start off the song, I was interested.

I tried religion and some holy roller steals my tenth

Press play to hear the music played under the melody of “can we ever stop paying dues?”

And then the lead break kicks in and I’m playing air guitar to it. And they keep soloing until it fades out.

Sally

It’s the sugar gum commercial pop song for the album written by Mark Farner for his then love interest, the actress/singer Sally Kellerman.

But it’s a skip for me.

I Fell For Your Love

Written by Don Brewer and Craig Frost and there is too much soul and not enough rock.

Talk To The People

Written by Mark Farner and Craig Frost.

I’m not a fan of the music or the melodies.

But there is a great solo to end.

Take Me

Written by Don Brewer and Craig Frost.

Take me and make me feel your music..

And there is some great soloing .

Genevieve

I expected this to be a ballad, but I got an instrumental of fusion of jazz, funk and rock. And I like it.

Love Is Dyin’

Written by Don Brewer.

It’s got this “All Along The Watchtower” vibe, the Hendrix version vibe, not Dylan.

Politician

Written by Mark Farner.

Mr. Politician please don’t deceive us.
Mr. Politician you’re there to relieve us.
Just how can we tell, mister,
When to believe in you.

I guess some things never change.

Press Play to hear the solo break and the bass playing under it.

Good Things

It’s a slow Blues Rocker that starts off like a Bad Company cut, but once the intro lead melody kicks in, it feels like a Jeff Beck cut.

Written by Mark Farner there is plenty of guitar soloing happening.

The album just broke the Top 50 on the Billboard charts and was seen as a disappointment.

It’s not held in high regard by the hard core fans.

It was the last Capitol Records album they did so maybe the title was prophetic in a way.

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Australian Method Series: AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Released in 1976. This is the cover we know for the album and not the Hipgnosis one which came out on the International release.

This version of AC/DC rocked hard. Bon Scott is on Vocals, The Young Brothers are on all things guitar related, Mark Evans is on bass and Phil Rudd is on the Drums.

Production is handled by The Easybeats main songwriters in George Young (big brother of Angus and Malcolm) and Harry Vanda.

“Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” is the third studio album by AC/DC. While it hit the streets in Australia in 1976, it didn’t get a U.S release until 1981.

And that decisions by Atlantic A&R man Doug Morris to release the album proved to be unpopular with the band.

AC/DC had successfully reinvented itself with a new singer, Brian Johnson. The band was working on a new album, which would become “For Those About to Rock We Salute You”, released later that same year.

But Morris saw a financial opportunity to capitalize on the success of “Back in Black” which had already sold over five million copies. And due to those numbers, Morris estimated that “Dirty Deeds” would move at least 2 million.

But it also took away an opportunity for the new album.

“For Those About to Rock” would have sold a lot more if Morris had waited.

So the US release of “Dirty Deeds” was widely seen as damaging the momentum for that album, which it outsold. The band was also forced to add songs from the “Dirty Deeds” album to its set list on its subsequent tour, further taking the focus away from their new album.

But going back to 1976, Atlantic was unhappy with the vocals and the production. This infuriated Malcolm Young because the label was putting shit on his older brother.

Bassist Mark Evans assumed Bon Scott would be fired as a result. The band was on the verge of being dropped.

But “High Voltage” which was also released in the United States in 1976 was still selling and the sales of that album versus what the label paid for it, gave AC/DC a lifeline.

The Young brothers along with Bon Scott were very creative during this period. As was the norm, each year had a new AC/DC album. And they always overwrote for each album.

As a side note a song called “I’m a Rebel” was recorded for this album, with music and lyrics written by Alex Young, another brother of the Young’s. While the song was never released by AC/DC, Accept somehow got their hands on it and released it as a single, and also named their second album after it.

Dirty Deeds

The riff’s simplicity is its magic.

The drum groove was used by Lars Ulrich for the “Enter Sandman” intro.

The lead break is the embryo of the “Thunderstruck”.

And Bon Scott is menacing as he gave us a new phone number to call.

36-24-36.

Love At First Feel

It’s got that Chuck Berry 12 bar blues rock feel, which AC/DC used a lot of. The most notable song being, “Long Way To The Top”.

Press play to hear a very good and underrated Angus Young lead.

And I like how it quietens down after the solo, with the vocal melody of “Love At First Feel” repeated as they build the song back up.

Big Balls

There was a band in Australia called Skyhooks who had this kind of cabaret/stage show delivery in their songs.

Rocker

Well the songs a rocker alright.

It brings back memories of Val Kilmer performing a rockabilly song in the movie “Top Secret”.

Problem Child

A favourite because of the riffs and the vocal delivery. If there is a track to press play on, then this is definitely one of em.

And Angus delivers another underrated lead break.

In concert, Scott would often introduce “Problem Child” as being about Angus.

There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin’

The 12 bar blues is back. Bands like Status Quo would build a career on tracks like this.

The rhythm is also very similar to that of “The Seventh Son” by Willie Dixon.

Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round To Be A Millionaire)

It follows more of the same “Long Way To The Top” feel. But press play to hear the Chorus riff, as there’s a chord ringing out and then some arpeggios and single notes.

Ride On

It can be supercharged with other slow blues songs they have done, like “The Jack” and “Night Prowler”

Squealer

How good is the intro on this?

The bass plays a groove that is not typical of AC/DC. It’s almost funky like.

And when Bon Scott moves from his lower register to his higher register, the guitars become more aggressive and the drums get louder.

Angus again wails away on the guitar, delivering a very mature lead. It’s one of my favourite AC/DC cuts and it has been largely forgotten.

This is another track you shouldn’t ignore on this album.

In relation to sales it was a hit in Australia when it came out.

In the US, it was a different story.

Following the American success of “Highway to Hell” in late 1979, copies of the album began to appear as imports in the US.

Some of these were the original Australian edition on Albert Productions; however, Atlantic also pressed the international version in Australia, and many of these were also exported to the US.

Strong demand for both versions (in the wake of the even greater success of Back in Black) led the US division of Atlantic to finally authorize an official US release in March 1981. It went straight to No. 3 on the Billboard album charts.

In relation to sales, 6× Platinum in Australia and the US.

Crank it.

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1976 – Part 4.3: T-Rex – Futuristic Dragon

I didn’t know who T-Rex or Marc Bolan was until Nikki Sixx kept mentioning him as an influence between 1987 and 1990. And I had heard “Get It On” and “Children Of The Revolution” on radio before but the radio announcer never announced who the artist was and with so much hard rock coming my way, T-Rex just kept slipping from my mind.

“Futuristic Dragon” is studio album number 11 released in January 1976 everywhere else in the world except the U.S. The U.S release didn’t happen until 1987.

It’s listed as a T-Rex album, however when Mickey Finn left the band the previous year, Bolan said that “T-Rex no longer exists”. But the labels are always wise and they wouldn’t release it unless it was T-Rex.

The band is Marc Bolan on Vocals, Guitars and Moog, his partner Gloria Jones on Backing Vocals and Clavinet, Steve Currie on Bass,
Davy Lutton on Drums, Dino Dines on Keyboards and Jimmie Haskell on Strings.

George Underwood did the cover artwork who also covers for other T-Rex albums, along with Bowie, Mott The Hoople and alot of book covers.

Here is a snapshot of some from his website.

All tracks are written by Marc Bolan.

Futuristic Dragon

It’s almost two minutes of a bass groove like the one in “Crazy Train”, guitars on cocaine and a voice over from Marc Bolan. But part from the bass groove, I was like “what the…”

Jupiter Liar

The “Get It On” style riff is back as Bolan is vamping on a F5 power chord.

But this time there are gospel/soul like backing vocalists. And Marc Bolan has a talent for creating a catchy song without a proper Chorus.

Chrome Sitar

The groove on this song is addictive. It’s almost metal like in the riff, however the horns give it a blues/soul rock vibe.

All Alone

It’s a Blues Rock Soul cut, very Rolling Stones like in the blues rock department.

If the verse vocal melody and progression sounds familiar, it should as Nikki Sixx took for when Frankie died. “On With The Show” I say.

New York City

It was a single, a blues rockabilly tune with catchy gospel like backing vocals.

And there is a vocal melody here (the “I did, don’t you know” lyric) which reminds me of another song from another artist, which I can’t remember right now. I like it when that happens, but also hate it when I can’t remember the other artist.

My Little Baby

Another catchy tune, mixing blues rock with soul and a bit of ELO like strings. The vocal melody was definitely used by other artists in the 80’s and beyond.

Calling All Destroyers

The verse vocal melody inspired Phil Lynott for the verse vocal melody on “Cold Sweat”.

Theme for a Dragon

It’s soundtrack like with the strings carrying the melody.

Sensation Boulevard

This could have been on any 80’s pop album it’s that catchy. Press play to hear to bass groove that rumbles throughout the song.

Ride My Wheels

This one has too much soul and less rock. The first slip up on the album, but I still appreciate it for the experimentation of soul based rhythms.

Dreamy Lady

Another experimenting song, however the sugary 60’s pop works here. It’s even disco-esque. Was disco even a thing in 76.

Dawn Storm

It’s a perfect blend of soul and rock.

Casual Agent

A small misstep with too much soul and not enough rock and blues.

Overall, the album is enjoyable to listen to. Marc Bolan is very underrated as an artist and on this album, you will hear a lot of melodies and riffs that other artists have used afterwards.

The blend of rock and blues was always there in T-Rex’s music, and the strings also appeared, however with the addition of soul and a bit of disco, the album was definitely ahead of its time.

Futuristic. Yes.

But it was no match against “A Night At The Opera” from Queen. While T-Rex toured on this album, the overall turnout at the gigs was poor and the album didn’t do that great on the charts either. The glory days of just a few years ago seemed like decades ago.

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Music, My Stories

1976 – Part 4.2: David Bowie – Station To Station

I’m not the biggest Bowie fan, but his music got a second life in the late 90’s and onwards and I kept checking his albums out. I go in with an open mind with the hope to find something that I could use in my song writing.

Now, “Station to Station” is album number 10 for Bowie, released in 1976. It has been regarded as one of his most significant works, so it was on a list of album’s to check out for me.

The band for the album is stellar and on fire. Guitarist Carlos Alomar, bassist George Murray and drummer Dennis Davis all bring it, and guitarist Earl Slick contributes along with pianist Roy Bittan.

Bowie was too drugged out during this time and his memory of the album is vague. And with all the drugs artists do, they always find a way to create and the people around them, always find a way to get them to create. As their livelihoods depend on Bowie.

Station To Station

A 10 plus minute opening track which starts off with train noises created by the guitar. And somehow when it was released as a single, the song was creatively edited down to 3 minutes.

It’s typical of the era, blues rock and with arrangements that didn’t stick to a radio formula, because the artists ruled and the label execs didn’t really have a say, until they became more powerful than the artists in the 80’s because of MTV.

In keeping with the Blues Rock theme, Bowie was loaded up with cocaine and he kept asking Earl Slick to keep repeating a Chuck Berry lead over and over again.

Golden Years

This could have ended up on a Steely Dan album as it has this jazz rock fusion vibe.

Word On A Wing

It’s like a mid-tempo rock ballad, with a vocal delivery that reminds me of Joy Division.

TVC15

Bowie wrote this while he was filming “The Man Who Fell To Earth”. But it’s a skip for me.

Stay

I like the riff, it’s almost Santana like with a bit of Doobie Brothers thrown in and you should definitely press play to hear the bass groove.

But man, Bowie’s vocals are really not connecting with me at all on this album and in this song in particular, because musically, this song is gold.

Wild Is The Wind

Musically, the song is great. It’s like a rock ballad. Like all the previous songs, the vocals and melodies from Bowie just don’t connect with me on any level.

And while this album is held in high regard amongst Bowie’s fans, there isn’t enough there to make me a fan. Although there are a lot of lyrics to digest.

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

1976 – Part 4.1: Peter Frampton – Frampton Comes Alive!

Its listed as one of the definitive live albums ever.

“Frampton Comes Alive!” was released in 1976. It’s weird how his trajectory is so similar to Kiss. Following four solo albums with little commercial success, “Frampton Comes Alive!” was a breakthrough for Frampton, the same way “Alive” was for Kiss.

The album is mostly live except for the first verse of “Something’s Happening”, the rhythm electric guitar on “Show Me the Way” and the intro piano on “I Wanna Go to the Sun”. These were fixed in the studio.

In a genius marketing move, the double album was released in the US with a reduced list price of $7.98, only $1.00 more than the standard $6.98 of most single-disc albums in 1976.

And the band is on fire.

Peter Frampton is on Vocals, Lead guitar, but Bob Mayo fills up a lot of the space with his Rhythm Guitar work, plus he plays the Piano and Hammond Organ. Stanley Sheldon on Bass Guitar and John Siomos on Drums provide a solid foundation.

There is crowd noise, fake or real, I’m not sure and the GM of Winterland, Jerry Pompili starts off the concert with the words “If there was ever a musician who was an honorary member of San Francisco society, Mr. Peter Frampton”

Somethings Happening

The blues rock groove is clichéd and heard in many different songs, but it’s always cool to hear it.

This track and the next are from the “Something’s Happening” album released in 1974.

Doobie Wah

It follows on from the blues rock groove from the opening song. And with Doobie in the title, it does sound like Doobie Brothers.

Show Me The Way

From the “Frampton” album released in 1975.

When people talk about talk-boxes, this is the song that was listed as the definitive talk-box song, until an Italian American called Richie Sambora changed the game with “Livin On A Prayer”.

Musically, its excellent, a strummed guitar progression, a hooky vocal melody and that talk-box melodic lead.

It’s a Plain Shame

A blues rock dirge from the “Wind of Change” album released in 1972.

At this point in the set, it sounds okay and fresh.

All I Want to Be (Is by Your Side)

The album goes into ballad rock territory for the next three songs. This one is from the album “Wind of Change” released in 1972.

Wind of Change

An acoustic folk rock song.

Baby, I Love Your Way

From the “Frampton” album released in 1975.

It’s a song that I’ve heard on radio and TV commercials and movies and when I heard it here, I was like, ahhh, it’s from Frampton.

The song flopped when it was released in 1975, but it took on a new life when it was released as a single from this live album a year later.

I Wanna Go to the Sun

From the “Somethin’s Happening” album released in 1974, it could have come from any Southern Rock album released at the time. And Frampton is wailing away throughout the song in various solo spotlight moments.

Penny for Your Thoughts

The shortest track here at 1:23 and along with the next track are from the “Frampton” album released in 1975. It’s one of those major key finger picked campfire tunes. It doesn’t sound like “Albatross” from Fleetwood Mac, however it has this feel.

(I’ll Give You) Money

From the album “Frampton”, released in 1975 and its back to the hard blues rock.

I dig the “Stormbringer” and “Mississippi Queen” feel in the song. And 80’s Y&T comes to mind when I listen to this.

Check it out.

Shine On

From the “Rock On” album released in 1971. The blues rock dirge is sounding too much same/same.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash

A Rolling Stones cover which was released on “Wind of Change” from 1972 and given the 7 minute live treatment here. .

Lines on My Face

From the “Frampton’s Camel” album released in 1973. The fingerpicked clean tone intro hooks me. It’s very Eagles like when they played Folk Rock.

Do You Feel Like We Do

From “Frampton’s Camel” album released in 1973. The 14 minute closer of the album.

The intro riff will grab ya straight away. It’s Santana like, its bluesy and its rocking. But that whole section in the middle is unnecessary.

In Australia it charted to the top spot and was certified 3x Platinum. In the U.S, it also went to Number 1 and is certified 8x Platinum.

There is a theory that this album became so big in 1976, because the year was insignificant when it came to rock music and most of the artists who had fame prior to 76 had either stalled their careers with drugs or breakups or if they were still together they were running on fumes.

And Frampton never captured this glory again and the subsequent albums didn’t do anything great either.

It’s because his face and looks got more time than his guitar skills. Suddenly, his audience was more female than male and his musical credibility was questioned. All of those years honing his guitar chops and song writing abilities were ignored by a vicious press who saw him as a disposable teenage idol.

And while this was happening, he was hooked on morphine and his manager was ripping him off, leaving him bankrupt, along with a terrible decision to star in a film version of “Sgt Pepper” and to pose a certain way for the album cover of the follow up, “I’m In You”.

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