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

1977 – Part 6

Eagles – Hotel California
It was around 1994 when “Hell Freezes Over” was released that I purchased this album and listened to it in full.

18 years later.

Their first with Joe Walsh but it’s Don Felder who delivers the music for the iconic “Hotel California”.

Don Henley liked the chord progression, but it was in E minor, so a capo was added at the 7th fret and the song changed key to B minor.

But the reason why I liked the song is for the outro solos, when Walsh and Felder trade licks and then they kick into the harmony solo. It was these sections that made me pick up the guitar to learn the song.

At the moment it’s 8 times platinum in Australia. Now in relation to sales that’s 560,000 units moved, enough to earn a Gold accreditation in the U.S. Then again it’s sitting at 26 million in the U.S.

Apart from the title track, “Victim Of Love” is also a favourite, which also has a Felder contribution along with Glen Frey, J.D. Souther and Henley.

Seriously how good is that intro.

Then you get that stop start riffage in the verses with a simple Chorus line. When the Chorus rolls around, it feels like a song that David Coverdale would write in Whitesnake between 1978 and 1982.

And then there is “Life in the Fast Lane”, written by Henley, Frey and Joe Walsh.

How good is that intro riff?

And then in the verses, it’s like a funk blues jam, with Henley delivering a stellar vocal and Walsh doing his blues funk rock that he’s known for.

Rainbow – On Stage

It’s a powerful line-up.

Richie Blackmore on guitar, Ronnie James Dio on vocals, Cozy Powell on drums, Jimmy Bain on bass and Tony Carey on keys.

I heard this in the 90’s at my cousin’s place and I liked “Catch The Rainbow” because it was vastly different and extended compared to the studio cut. Like 15 minutes extended. It’s not a “wham bam, Amsterdam” song that you can just listen to. You need to put the headphones on, close your eyes and allow yourself to be taken on a journey.

And I always liked to hear Dio re-interpret songs by other vocalists, so “Mistreated” was covered here. This song was also extended to 14 minutes.

I’ve read some reviews which slam the extending of the songs, but to me, that is how live music should be. I get disheartened when bands just play the track live like the album.

If I wanted to hear the track exactly like the album I would just listen to the album.

One of the best shows I ever watched was “The Black Crowes” in Australia, because they just jammed out those songs and Rich Robinson was like the sheriff on stage, he would nod his head for when they would enter a jam and then nod his head when they would exit a jam. It was brilliant to watch.

And some bands can’t do that with their songs, like Maiden or Metallica, so they compensate with the lights and the props, while Bon Jovi, still likes to draw out a jam on stage and every time I have watched em live, there is a jam. While Kiss and Motley Crue just play to script.

The Angels – The Angels

In Australia they are known as “The Angels”.

In order to break into the international market, they had to compromise with their band name to avoid legal problems so there are albums under the name of “Angel City” and “The Angels From Angel City”.

Yep, that didn’t really work out for them.

This is the debut album.

The Angels supported AC/DC in early 1976 and were signed by Malcolm and Angus Young’s older brother George Young and his songwriting partner Harry Vanda to Albert Productions.

For those that don’t know, George Young and Harry Vanda are from The Easybeats and the main songwriters from that band. When that band splintered they became producers and songwriters, writing the soundtrack to the Australian sound.

The Angels at this point in time had Rick Brewster on lead guitar, his brother John Brewster on rhythm guitar, Doc Neeson on vocals, Chris Bailey on bass and Buzz Throckman on drums.

The album was produced by Harry Vanda & George Young from The Easybeats at Sydney’s Albert Studios.

And the star is “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again”.

Originally recorded as an acoustic ballad about the grief felt after a friend of the band died in a motorcycle accident and the conversation of the incident led to the lyrics.

It did nothing for them at this point in time, until the audience started to respond with the “No Way, Get Fucked, Fuck Off” line after Neeson sang the title.

And it’s one of our most iconic songs.

Electric Light Orchestra – Out Of The Blue

There’s a lot of fluff on this album for me, and just a few songs which get me interested.

The instrumental “Believe Me Now” sounds like it was composed by Hans Zimmer for the “Interstellar” soundtrack.

“Summer And Lightning” has an acoustic intro which reminds me of so many other songs from the 70’s. Styx comes to mind immediately and The Beatles sounding “Mr Blue Sky” is the star of this album and on their Spotify account with 300m plus streams

Back to the year 2000 for part 7.

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

1977 – Part 5

Styx – The Grand Illusion

I got this album in the 90’s and all because of Tommy Shaw. Believe it or not, my first exposure to Tommy Shaw was via Damn Yankees. I had heard of “The Nuge” and Jack Blades, but Tommy Shaw was an unknown to me, until I started reading interviews that mentioned Styx.

And the internet today can tell you that this album was a smash, but back then in the 80’s, this information was not available. Nor did I know that Styx had progressive overtones in their songs. But the 70’s rock music was all about blues rock with some experimentation. 

Being a Kansas fan and hearing Kansas before Styx, at times I felt like I was listening to Kansas. Case in point, the title track.

Welcome to the grand illusion / Come on in and see what’s happening

Stardom and being a star was in every teenagers mind, and when MTV brought the super stars to our TV rooms, the dreams of stardom just kept growing. And that’s the theme of the album. Stardom.

Musically, the song is excellent, with a lot of progressive movements and top shelf playing.

“Fooling Yourself” has nice progressive keys, with lush acoustic guitars in the background and then coming to the fore in the verse, just as you would expect from a Tommy Shaw song.

“Superstars” musically could have come from a Kiss record, but vocally, it’s like a Queen song, with multiple harmonies and what not.

“Come Sail Away” was the song that pushed this album. These days, a song like this wouldn’t do anything as the majority are fascinated with hip-hop and pop music made to a beat instead of music.

“Miss America” sounds like it’s from a Kiss record and “Man In The Wilderness” has a memorable intro guitar lick

“Castle Walls” is a tour de force, my favourite, with its “Jason Myers Halloween style” keyboard riff. I’m not sure if I’m listening to The Alan Parsons Project or Styx. And then it stops, with the bass guitar providing a pulse like groove. And the harmony leads kick in, then a normal guitar lead and the rhythm guitar just keeps the groove going.

And listening to STYX, the thing that appealed to me is the diversity that the members brought especially DeYoung, Shaw and Young.

At times, it felt like a Kansas record, then a Yes record, then a Genesis record, then a Queen record, then a Kiss record, then a Led Zeppelin record, then an ELO record and at times a Supertramp record.

And Supertramp is up next. 

Supertramp – Even In The Quitest Moments

I used to hear their songs as TV jingles, but at that point in time I had no idea it was Supertramp. I just thought they were jingles.

“Give A Little Bit’ could have come from the STYX album as well, it’s got that acoustic feel that is similar to “Fooling Yourself”.

Pink Floyd – Animals

I heard this album in the 2000’s. And I was picking up the guitar to learn, “Pigs (Three Different Ones)”. Terrible title, but one hell of a song.

The synth intro and then the guitar riff in the first minute. It gets me interested.

At the 4.20 minute mark, another guitar riff kicks and then the drums and bass come in.

A mood and a groove is established. It slowly percolates, and some fuzzed out talk box licks kick in.

At 7.16 is back to the synth intro and guitars, with a bass solo from Roger Waters.

But the piece d resistance is from 9.40 when David Gilmour starts to wail.

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

I kept seeing this album listed on lists from different artists during various interviews. But I couldn’t get into Fleetwood Mac. Then in the late 90’s, I saw a documentary on TV about “The Dance” live/reunion album which also showed live performances and I became a fan. 

All from the documentary. 

“Dreams” has this sexy swinging bass groove, with a basic drum beat and some guitar volume swells. Then the vocals start and I was all in. “Don’t Stop” is overplayed and some is “The Chain” but its “Go Your Own Way” which got me hooked, more so from the live performance on “The Dance” with the outro guitar solo extended by Buckingham.

Steely Dan – Aja 

A work colleague kept telling me to check out Steely Dan in the 2000’s but I never did. Then “The Night Flight Orchestra” dropped their debut album “Internal Affairs” and Bjorn Strid mentions “Steely Dan” as in influence. So I’m interested.

Lucky for me, this wasn’t the first album I heard from em, otherwise I would not have gone further. “Josie” is the only song here which musically got me interested. It’s a rocker but it doesn’t sound like a rocker, because of the 7th and 9th chords they chuck in. Replace them with power chords and you get a rocker.

And I’ve watched the BBC Classic Albums documentary on the album, how it was stressful to have so many different musicians and how the label was worried with it. The main thing I got out of the documentary was how this album took the recording engineering techniques of making an album to a new standard. 

Heart – Little Queen

One song. 

“Barracuda”.

That riff to kick it off, it’s on the same level as “Immigrant Song”. But it was inspired by a Nazareth song called “This Flight Tonight”  which is a cover of a Joni Mitchell song. The Joni Mitchel song strums the E but when Nazareth covered it, they introduced the palm muted triplet feel.

And the song’s lyrics came about from their poor treatment from Mushroom Records, who took out ads in magazines that looked like newspaper articles, talking about an incestuous relationship between the sisters. This in turn led to a male DJ to ask one of the sisters where her lover was. 

Wikipedia tells me “that “Barracuda” could be anyone from the local promotion man to the president of a record company. That is the barracuda. It was born out of that whole experience.”

“Love Alive” rolls along with its acoustic riffs as it percolates until the drums kick in. A Led Zeppelin influenced cut, which Badlands would do similar a decade later.

“Little Queen” is a funk blues rock tune. It grooves and stomps its way from start to finish. Half way through it changes to a ballad and the groove is like “Kings And Queens” from Aerosmith, just a bit slower, before the blues rock kicks in again. Now, the songs came out at the same time, so there is no way they could copy each other, but it’s a good lesson for the artist who thinks their idea is so original and free from influence. Remember, there is another artist thinking just the same and another artist thinking almost the same and so forth. 

And the last track, “Go On Cry” is almost progressive in its composition and riffage. This kind of experimentation bands don’t do that often or at all anymore.

Well that’s a wrap for another post of 77, back to 2000 for part 6.

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

1977 – Part 4

Scorpions – Taken By Force

My first Scorpions experience was Tokyo Tapes courtesy of a friend.

And I grew up as an Uli Jon Roth fan.

Fast forward many years later, I’m reading interviews of artist, who mention Uli Jon Roth as an influence. Guitarists like George Lynch, Marty Friedman, Dave Mustaine, Alex Skolnick and Kirk Hammet just to name a few. I heard his style of writing in Adrian Vandenberg and Randy Rhoads. And although Yngwie Malmsteen was classed as a Richie Blackmore clone, he also had Uli Jon Roth influences.

And for Uli Jon Roth, he was a Hendrix devotee. So he merged those Hendrix influences with Euro Classical music and the result’s is a fusion of blues, rock and classical.

So let’s relive a very underrated and more or less forgotten Scorpions album from the glorious Uli Jon Roth era who as a lead guitarist had free reign to paint whatever leads he wanted.

“We’ll Burn The Sky” starts off with those clean tone arpeggios and a haunting vocal from Klaus Meine. And it moves into this staccato riff, which is the embryo of melodic rock.

That, ahhhhh breakdown from about the 2 minute mark, leads back into those clean tone arpeggios. This one is written by Schenker and lyrics are provided by Roth’s partner, Monika Dannemann, in tribute to Jimi Hendrix, who she was with at the time of his death.

“I’ve Got to Be Free” is a Roth cut with a wicked guitar riff and a Boston “Peace Of Mind” solo section.

“The Riot of Your Time” is a Schenker and Meine cut. For those questioning Meine’s abilities to write social conscious lyrics, then they should check this out. And those people pushing the theories of “Winds OF Change” being written by a CIA operative, should also check out this song.

“The Sails of Charon” is Roth’s shining moment. It’s been covered a lot. The title is enough to get me interested. Then there is the riff. A fusion of Classical and Spanish scales.

And that lead break over the intro riff.

It gave birth to the Shrapnel Label and shred guitar because it wasn’t just fast pentatonic licks like most of the guitarist’s did in the bands. This was a lead break like the lead breaks from the instrumental fusion artists like Al DiMeola, John MacLaughlin and Alan Holdsworth.

How good is “Your Light” which is another Roth cut, a mixture of funk, blues and rock?

“He’s a Woman – She’s a Man” is a Schenker, Meine and Herman Rarebell. I first heard this song when George Lynch covered it for a Scorpions tribute album. That intro riff and everything that comes after, is like a riot.

Thin Lizzy – Bad Reputation

It was a backs to the wall album. If you want to read the story behind, click on this link for Loudersound.com.

It wasn’t until the 90’s that I got a chance to really dig in to their 70’s output.

“Soldier Of Fortune” has nice harmony guitars in the Chorus, while “Bad Reputation” has a nasty guitar riff in the verses with funky bass lines.

“Opium Trail” is one of my favourite cuts. I heard John Norum’s cut first with Glen Hughes on vocals and became a fan instantly.

“Southbound” and that opening harmony riff. Listen to it.

And I still don’t like “Dancing In The Moonlight”, but I do like “Killer Without A Cause”.

And that harmony intro to “That Woman’s Gonna Break Your Heart” gets me playing air guitar and drums.

“Dear Lord” is the closer. Check out the lyrics from Lynott who was already experimenting with his potions and pills.

I’m in deep and I need your help / there’s no one to turn to and I can’t help myself / Dear Lord hear this call / oh Lord, save my fall.

No one heard the call as it all came crashing down by the mid 80s.

Judas Priest – Sin After Sin

This album is one of those underrated albums. A bridge between the start of the band and the peak commercial success of the band.

To record this album on a major label, it meant the band had to forfeit their rights to their first two albums to their original label, who kept the masters with them.

It’s also the album in which Judas Priest toured the US as support to REO Speedwagon and Foreigner. Seeing those three bands together on a bill is all wrong.

I love “Sinner”. So many great movements, like the intro/verse riff, the start of the solo section in the middle, then another outro solo and it just keeps on rolling and rolling and rocking.

“Diamonds And Rust” is a melodic rock gem, a cover of a Joan Baez folk song, but the way Judas Priest do it, it’s basically the sound which The Night Flight Orchestra built a career on writing songs like it.

“Starbreaker” chugs along on it’s F#m note.

“Last Rose Of Summer” sounds like it came from a Bad Company album, and very similar to “Shooting Star” while “Call For The Priest” has a harmony lead break which makes me want to hear it again. “Here Come The Tears” is one of those ballad like songs but in the 70’s it didn’t feel forced or pretentious. And the last two minutes is full of melodic lead breaks with a repeating baritone vocal line and then a high banshee vocal line.

“Dissident Aggressor” starts off like “Roadhouse Blues” merged with “Children Of The Grave” before Halford’s banshee operatic wail kicks in.

How good does “Race With The Devil” start off and then from the 28 second mark it moves into this blues like riff?

And most of the songs are forgotten, very rarely finding their way into the set lists. But it’s a worthy album.

Aerosmith – Draw The Line

The cover is one of the best. The cartoon caricatures on a white background just worked.

And it’s got my favourite Aerosmith track in “Kings And Queens” which producer Jack Douglas described the lyric writing process with Steven Tyler like “pulling teeth” because of the state he was in.

And since Joe Perry is not credited as a writer, he doesn’t even play on the track, with all guitars handled by Brad Whitford, including the lead guitars. Glen Hughes also did a killer cover if it.

And Steve Tyler has given many different interpretations as to what “Kings And Queens” is really about. In the liner notes to “Pandora’s Box”, he wrote that the song is about the holy wars and how many people died because of their beliefs and non-beliefs.

In his book, he said it’s about “a stoned-out rock star in his tattered satin rags lying on the ancient stone floor of a castle – slightly mad, but still capable of conjuring up a revolutionary album that would astound the ears of the ones who heard it and make the critics cringe.”

And relations further deteriorated when the Joe Perry penned “Bright Light Fright” was ignored by the band, but Perry still persisted with getting it done and since Tyler refused to sing it, Perry sang the lead vocal on it.

Journey – Next

To show how important “Next” is to the Journey history, all of the songs on the album vanished from the band’s live set list after 1979 and “Spaceman” and “Here We Are” have never been performed live. And “Spaceman” was also the single.

This “early” Journey was experimental and progressive, largely unknown to the masses, who would became fans from 1979/80.

Gregg Rolie is doing vocals (along with his normal piano playing) and the reviews of the time spoke about the vocals being poor. There is no Fleischman or Perry heroics.

But the band is a powerhouse band, with Aynsley Dunbar on drums, Neal Schon (sporting a monster hair style) on guitar and Ross Valory on bass.

Songs to check out are “Spaceman”, the progressive “Hustler” and the instrumental “Nickel and Dime”.

The Alan Parsons Project – I-Robot

I like the Alan Parsons Project because it feels like a mix tape of different artists as different vocalists do the lead vocals on the lyrical tracks and then there are the symphonic movie like pieces for the instrumentals.

Plus the themes of the albums all revolved around science fiction themes, which suited me fine.

“Don’t Let It Show” is more known to me because Pat Benatar covered it for “In the Heat of the Night”. Lead vocals on this album are done by Dave Townsend.

“Some Other Time” and “Breakdown” are my favourite tracks. Vocals on “Some Other Time” are done by Peter Straker and Jaki Whitren, while vocals on “Breakdown” are done by Allan Clarke.

And these names might mean nothing to people, but they all had careers in musicals, and as solo artists or with bands and with collaborations with other artists in different genres. And Alan Parsons rounded em all up to do rock songs.

The instrumental closer “Genesis Ch. 1 V. 32” (with its Choir) appeared in the episode “Toys” from “Homecoming” and I know that because I just finished watching season 1 two nights ago and I am currently half way through season 2. Plus Wikipedia confirmed it as well.

Finally, Alice Cooper’s “Lace And Whiskey” gets a listen, with his private eye persona concept story. “Lace And Whiskey”, “You and Me”, “King Of The Silver Screen” and “(No More) Love At Your Convenience” are the songs to check out.

But it was the beginning of the end of his marvellous 70’s output, and the start of the rehabilitation which would hit platinum heights 11 years later.

See ya back in the 2000’s for Part 5.

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

1977 – Part 3

Quiet Riot – Quiet Riot

It’s not on Spotify and never will be. Who knows who even owns the rights to these songs?

The main songwriters in Randy Rhoads and Kevin DuBrow are gone. If anything, these songs should be in the public domain. But Copyright is a lot different these days, so someone/most probably a corporation is holding the rights to these songs locked up until 2080 and that someone has done nothing to enhance culture except to profit from it.

DuBrow resurrected some of these recordings in the 90’s for an album called “The Randy Rhoads Years”. Which is also not on Spotify. And it probably never will be.

And on those recordings he took the original tracking of Rhoads guitar sound, (there was a DI take with no effects on the master tapes) and DuBrow put the DI guitar take through different pedals to update the sound. Then he re-did his vocal tracks and the drums and the bass. Purists call it sacrilege and I call it “keeping the songs alive”.

The band for the debut album, (which was released in Japan only) was DuBrow on vocals, Rhoads on guitar, Kelli Garni on bass and Drew Forsyth on drums.

Randy Rhoads still riffs away like the guitar hero he is. More in a glam pop/rock kind of way.

“It’s Not So Funny” has an aggressive minor key verse riff, with a major key Chorus. A style that RR would use in “Crazy Train”. This song also made it to the “The Randy Rhoads Years” CD many years later.

“Mama’s Little Angels” has a sleazy bluesy riff that David Coverdale would have loved to sing over. And Kevin DuBrow did just that when he re-wrote the lyrics for the song (with a little help from Bobby Rondinelli), re-sung it and called it “Last Call For Rock and Roll” on “The Randy Rhoads Years” album. And suddenly, a better version of the song was kept alive.

In “Ravers” there is a riff that RR took for “Over The Mountain”, just before he plays the “Black Sabbath” lick in the song.

“Back To The Coast” is familiar, a song solely written by Randy Rhoads and his brother Kelle Rhoads.

And I like QR because Kevin DuBrow was unique, very different to the other metal/rock singers in looks and style, but I always struggled to connect with any of DuBrow’s lyrics, except for a few tracks like “Bang Your Head”, “Run For Cover”, “The Wild And The Young” and “Don’t Want To Let You Go” which was written by Carlos Cavazo.

“Look In Any Window” is written by Randy Rhoads and it’s very Alice Cooper-“ish” which isn’t surprising as Randy Rhoads has talked about the influence of the two Alice Cooper guitarists on his playing and song writing. This one also appears on “The Randy Rhoads Years” album.

As I was listening back to the QR1 album on YouTube, I was reading the comments and people like to compare between EVH and RR.

If you compare QR1 to VH1, well there isn’t a comparison. VH1 is far superior. Even RR didn’t like QR1 and he made his Mum promise to never get it released in the U.S if something happened to him.

Sammy Hagar – Sammy Hagar

Sammy’s voice is one of the best. This album is interesting because of its variety. If you are looking for hits then this album is not for you. But if you are looking to hear an artist stretch their wings and try different things out, then you will like this album.

“Red” has this bass groove which reminds me of ELO. “Catch The Wind” is a ballad, which reminded me of R&B soul artists. And then I remembered it was a cover from “Donovan” who had a hit in 1965 with it and was known for his folk rock songs.

“Cruisin’ And Boozin’” moves between acoustic and distortion, the verses sounding progressive, while the Chorus could have come from an AC/DC album.

“Free Money” has a haunting piano riff to kick it off. It’s a cover of Patti Smith song. Musically and melodically, the song moves at the correct pace, slowly percolating until its ready to explode. And that happens from about the 2.09 minute mark. And although it’s like a rock song with a 4/4 time signature, its song structure is progressive in nature.

When I saw the title “Rock ‘N’ Roll Weekend” I sort of had a sound and groove in my head as to how it would sound. And it didn’t disappoint, with its nod to Bad Company.

“Fillmore Shuffle” comes across like a Southern Rock track, moving between its acoustic riff and harmony leads. But underpinning it all is Hagar’s voice. And it’s another cover song which Hagar has taken and given them a new Hard Rock life.

There is a horn section on “The Pits” and some of Sammy’s best social lyrics about not having enough money to survive.

“Love Has Found Me” is the heaviest track on the album (whereas I expected a ballad), and the closer “Little Star- Eclipse” brings back the progressive nature of the album which was introduced with the Patti Smith cover, especially when it moves into the “Eclipse” part of the song and that riff to kick it off.

David Coverdale – White Snake

It’s not on Spotify for his first ever solo release and a return to his blues/soul rock for the album which would become the birth of Whitesnake.

After Purple splintered, Coverdale started writing and when he got stuck with ideas, Micky Moody would come in and help him. Some of these songs and some of the songs from “Northwind” would eventually end up on Whitesnake releases.

“Blindman” is one of my favourite cuts ever. I like everything about it. It appeared a few years later on the “Ready N Willing” album.

The acoustic guitars, the vocal line, the backing singers, the lead breaks and the distortion riffs when it call kicks in and overall, the lyrics.

“White Snake” is a twelve bar blues sleaze romp. And it was two words before it became one word, about DC having a White Snake and does she want to shake it.

“Time On My Side” reminds me of a Bad Company cut and at that age, DC had time on his side, but these days, pushing almost 70, time is not with him. And it’s that sense of mortality which resonates even more. When I was young, I felt indestructible and the whole world was there for the taking. Now, I don’t feel so indestructible, and the amount of broken bones I’ve endured and had to heal from because of sports or drunken stupidity, keep reminding me that time isn’t on my side.

“Peace Lovin’ Man” captured me instantly because of its title and the soul rock vocal line from DC, hooked me in.

And it’s that soul voice from DC that makes these songs stand out.

Ted Nugent – Cat Scratch Fever

The U.S Patriot that dodged the draft. I saw that comment on a Dee Snider tweet. Actually anything I read on Mr Ted these days, is because of his controversial comments, but at least he stands for something. It doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree. Like John Mellencamp said, you need to stand for something, otherwise you would fall for everything.

I always thought Ted Nugent was the singer as well. You wouldn’t think that another person sang the songs, with Crazy Ted all other the covers.

I like the riff that kicks off “Cat Scratch Fever”. It rocks, it grooves and its heavy. “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang” has this riff that is played after each line is sang. And I like it.

“Death By Misadventure” has a boogie woogie verse riff, and so does “Live It Up”. Santana was also writing songs like these around this same period.

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Street Survivors

Credit Zakk Wylde. His love for this music translated into well-spoken interviews and he got me interested to check out these kind of influences.

The last album before the plane crash which happened a few days after the album was released. And of course, this tragedy translated to a lot of sales, which kept the record label happy. But the world lost a lot of talents in Ronnie Van Zant, and a guitar hero the world will never know in Steve Gaines along with his sister Cassie Gaines who did backing vocals.

It was Cassie who recommended her younger brother Steve to replace Ed King when he departed and it was Cassie who initially refused to board the plane because of a small fire on one of the engines on a previous flight. But she was persuaded to board by Van Zant. And she survived the plane crash only to bleed to death. 18 months later, the mother of Cassie and Steve Gaines, got killed in a car crash near the cemetery where Cassie and Steve are buried. So much tragedy.

“That Smell” written by Allen Collins and vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, about the smell of a person’s surroundings doing drugs and alcohol captured me instantly. The guitar player from the riffs to the lead breaks had me picking up the guitar to learn em. And at 6.30 plus minutes, it’s perfect.

“One More Time” just plods along and as soon as the harmony leads kicked in for the outro, it ends.

“I Know A Little” sounds like the songs that SRV would take to the top and there is this lick before the verse kicks in, that sounds like “Unskinny Bop”, which means a young CC DeVille would have been listening. And this track is solely written by Steve Gaines. It’s his guitar hero spotlight.

Well that’s a wrap for the third part of 1977, so off to 2000 we go again for part four.

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

1977 – Part 2

Here we are in 1977, for another set of albums that I had heard well into the 90’s. But, I did hear the single cuts that got played on radio or on music video programs.

UFO – Lights Out

Produced by Ron Nevison.

“Too Hot To Handle” is probably why Bad Company started to wane a little bit commercially, as UFO was doing Bad Company better than Bad Company was. Plus UFO had Michael Schenker on guitars, who at the time was the talk of the town, and revered as a “Guitar God”.

If you need any evidence, check out “Try Me”, which has one of Schenker’s best solos ever committed to tape. You need to stick with it, as it comes in the last 90 seconds of the song.

“Lights Out” inspired another classic track which I like in “More Than A Man” from Stryper. Both are F#m grooves and they both have a similar feel. Credit Pete Way for that F#m bass groove which inspired a generation.

“Gettin’ Ready” is pure Bad Company and a very underrated track. “Alone Again” has this “Paint It Black” vibe merged with The Beatles merged with ELO, and it’s cool how UFO covered it.

“Electric Phase” came from well of Joe Walsh and Mountain. That intro riff and the slide guitar in the verses from Schenker are brilliant.

“Love To Love” is one of Steve Harris’s favourite tracks. Europe also covered it for an acoustic album. Michael Schenker even used the guitar riff as the main riff for “Desert Song” which I used to called “Dessert Song” once upon a time.

And “Lights Out” is one of my favourite albums from the UFO era.

Kiss – Love Gun

Produced by Eddie Kramer.

How good is the cover from Ken Kelly?

Kelly’s artwork also graced a few other albums I am in possession of, like, the “Destroyer” album from Kiss, “Rising” from Rainbow, every Manowar album between 1997 and 2007 (which comes to 5 albums in 20 years) and in 2014, it came full circle for Kelly as he did the “Space Invader” artwork for Ace Frehley.

And how good is the riff to kick off “I Stole Your Love”?

And it as a derivative version “Burn” from Deep Purple. I guess you can’t keep a good riff down.

“I remember the day that we met, I needed someone, you needed someone too”.

How good is that lyric about life and our need to connect?

“Christine Sixteen” shows how far society has changed. In 1977, it was okay to sing lyrics like these and in 2020 it’s an arrestable offence. Hell, what would Elvis Presley be classed as today, with his shenanigans with Priscila.

“Shock Me” reminds me of “All Right Now” from Free. “Tomorrow And Tonight” has this “BACK In the USSR” feel as it stomps its way through a twelve bar blues rock full of backing singers and honky tonk piano.

“Love Gun” kicks off side 2 and what a song. And if you’ve read “Face The Music” from Paul Stanley, he goes into detail how music is a sum of our influences, as he mentions a few of em for “Love Gun”.

The small solo at the end of “Hooligan” from 2:39 with Peter Criss singing “Ain’t nobody going to pull me down”. It’s perfect.

The main riff in “Almost Human” is a favourite and if you YouTube “Plaster Casters”, apart from the Kiss song, there is a documentary about a certain “plasterer” called Cynthia.

And for a Kiss fan, 1977 held another release in “Alive II”. From reading some of the interviews, it probably had more involvement and effort than the studio album that came before it. There are songs from a Japan show, a LA show and a NJ show, plus sound check songs and studio songs with various overdubs, involving other musicians plus added crowd noise and what.

In the words of “Austin Powers”, groovy baby. And the first “Alive” release I got into was “Alive III” and then “Alive IV” and they are my favourites.

Cheap Trick – Cheap Trick
Cheap Trick – In Color

They got a deal in 1976 with Epic Records and by the start of 1977, they dropped their self-titled debut and towards the end of the year, the follow up, “In Color”. At the time, both albums were classed as dud’s, but many, many, many years later (as Commandant Lassard from Police Academy would say), “In Color” is in the list of the 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time from Rolling Stone.

So Jack Douglas produced the debut and Tom Werman produced the second. The productions differ on both albums. The debut is raw hard rock, while the second is more polished courtesy of Tom Werman’s layered production. And while the second album didn’t really do much in the U.S, in the place of the rising sun, it made the band superstars. They took their British influences, Americanised em and off they went.

The debut is a cross between punk rock, a bit of new wave which was still in its infancy around the world and rock and roll with blues, sixties pop and hard rock influences. In the 80’s, “Hanoi Rocks” reminded me of early Cheap Trick.

From the debut album, “ELO Kiddies” has a cool Chorus riff. “Taxman, Mr Thief” has an excellent guitar riff, a top vocal performance by Robin Zander and lyrical themes of working hard only for the taxman to get ya. Plus a pretty obvious lyrical influence from The Beatles song called “Taxman”.

“You worked hard and slaved and slaved for years, break your back sweat a lot, well, it’s just not fair”

“Oh, Candy” is a preview of the melodicism to come in the future. “He’s A Whore” is influential. The Ramones borrowed a riff from it, and the blueprint of Foo Fighters can be found in these early Cheap Trick albums. “The Ballad Of TV Violence” shows its nod to “Come Together” from The Beatles which is a nod to another song from Chuck Berry.

On the second album, “Hello There” is over as soon as it began, with an awesome melodic ending which should have gone longer. “Big Eyes” has this interlude riff which becomes the backing riff for the solo section, which I dig. “Downed” has this chorus that inspired some of the songs on “Generation Swine” from Motley Crue.

“I Want You To Want Me” has that “Radar Love” style drum pattern, and an undeniable melodic line, which merges the best of The Beatles into a hard rock ditty.

“You’re All Talk” came from the Mississippi Delta and the Texas Ranges, with its combination of blues and ZZ Top blues boogie. And if you listen closely to the verse riff, you will hear some ideas and concepts that would have inspired a young EVH to end up writing the classic “Hot For Teacher” verse riff.

Bad Company – Burning Sky

Album number 4, which dropped in 1977.

The title track, “Burnin’ Sky” has this pounding beat and that “Wishing Well” vibe from Free in the Chorus. In addition, it’s got a funky bass riff in the Verses, a Mick Ralphs flanged/phased solo and Paul Rodgers wailing away. This track sums up Bad Company to me, with each band members have a place in the song.

“Leaving You” and “Like Water” have good moments, while “Everything I Need” has so many similarities to “Since You’ve Been Gone”, “Louie Louie” and “I Need A Lover”.

See you back in 2000, for part three.

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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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