Motley Crue – Too Fast For Love
I never heard the full album until well into the late Eighties. Coming into the “Girls, Girls, Girls” era of Motley Crue, the only songs I knew were the clips, “Live Wire”, “Looks That Kill”, “Too Young To Fall In Love”, “Smokin In The Boys Room” and “Home Sweet Home”. On top of that, I had digested interviews from Circus magazine and watched a very bad dubbed copy of the “Uncensored” video. The decadence of the Crue was already legendary.
So after purchasing the “Girls, Girls, Girls” album, I was walking out of the record shop, when a double cassette edition of the “Shout At The Devil” and “Too Fast For Love” albums in a discount bin caught my eye. So I stopped at the discount bin, picked up the double cassette, and by weight alone I knew that it had the cassettes in the covers. Thinking to myself that Motley Crue is worth it, I just slipped the double cassette album into my plastic bag and just kept on walking calmly out of the shopping centre. Once I was out of the building I sprinted for the next 10 minutes all the way home.
Needless to say, I didn’t return to the shop for a long time, just in case. So the version that I picked up was the Elektra release (without “Stick To Your Guns”). Many years later I would pick up the Leathur Records edition at a second-hand record store for $10.
Most of the songs had mostly been written while Nikki Sixx was in “London” (the band). “Live Wire” leads the album off with its “Girlschool”/“NWOBHM” inspired riff. Two so and so songs come after and them Side 1 closes brilliantly with “Merry-Go-Round” and “Take Me to the Top”. Nikki Sixx has stated previously that “Merry Go Round” was written about a person he knew in Seattle, who due to so many life pressures, just cracked and wound up sitting on the merry-go-round outside the apartment block that Nikki Sixx grew up in.
Side 2, to me, is the stronger side. It kicks off with “Piece of Your Action”, followed by the excellent and underrated “Starry Eyes”, which leads into the title track “Too Fast for Love” and closes with the real hit song of the album in “On with the Show”.
And for a young adult, Nikki Sixx did comp up with some brilliant lyrics that didn’t deal with their usual themes.
“You know he’s gotta get away to the merry-go-round and round, Count the times that he laid awake at night thinkin’, Am i goin down now” ….. from “Merry Go Round”
“With his six string knife and his street wise pride, The boy was a man before his time”…. from “On With The Show”
“But ya see, Frankie was fast, too fast to know, he wouldn’t go slow, until his lethal dose” ….. from “On With The Show”
Helix – White Lace and Black Leather
I didn’t get into this band until the 90’s when albums could be picked up cheap at second-hand record stores. Formed in 1974, it wasn’t until 1979 that Helix released “Breaking Loose” on their own independent label H&S Records. Then came “White Lace and Black Leather” in 1981. I gravitated to the longer non-formula songs on the album. The best tracks are always the ones that are not made for radio.
“Long Distance Heartbreak”
“I never meant to live this way
But somehow you are there and I am here
Somehow I just couldn’t stay
We changed so much with the passing of the years”
“Time For A Change” – with the chorus catch cry of;
“Mother Nature’s calling, can’t you see the signs,
Mother Nature’s calling, don’t you know it’s time”
And “Thoughts That Bleed” – that has that “Let It Be” Beatles feel with Thin Lizzy twin guitar harmonies during the intro and solo sections.
“You gotta live for what you believe”
From the first two albums you get the idea, that the RNR dream is proving to be a hard life for Helix, always on the road, away from loved ones and partners. By this stage, Brian Vollmer was the only original member of the band from its humble 1974 beginnings. And then Helix got a major label deal, signing to CAPITOL records after three previous rejections. This was in 1983.
Brian Vollmer put in 9 years of his life into Helix up until this point. It’s easier to be an accountant, a banker or an IT worker than in music. At least you get paid a fortnightly or monthly wage from doing those jobs. By the time “No Rest For The Wicked” came out in 1983, Helix’s image was polished up and the logo was redesigned to coincide with a new identity. Jeans and T-shirts (the street look they had previously) was replaced with leathers and chains (their new metal look) which in the end was the same as hundreds of other bands.
Ozzy Osbourne – Diary Of A Madman
The title track is one of those songs that summaries the style of Randy Rhoads.
- Classical inspired metal riffs. Check.
- Open string flamenco/classical sounding passages. Check
- Dissonant jazz like chords in the verses. Check.
- Arpeggios. Check
- Shred lead. Check
- Rock style riffing and power chords. Check.
- Pedal point riffing. Check
- Groove. Check.
But I get ahead of myself here.
As I have mentioned before, the “Tribute” album came first for me. The tablature book was my bible. So many nights spent practicing all of the licks and riffs in that book.
Eventually in the early Nineties, I got around to purchasing “Blizzard Of Ozz” and “Diary Of A Madman”.
Like the “Blizzard” album, the “Diary” album is an experience from the first song to the last song. And because of my addiction to the “Tribute” album, I was blown away by the depth of material on “Diary” that didn’t appear on the live album, like “Over The Mountain”, “SATO”, “You Can’t Kill Rock N Roll”, “Tonight” and the unbelievable title track.
It’s a shame that the Ozzy and Sharon haven’t given proper credit where it is due. On the initial release, people believed that Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge played bass and drums. But it was Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake. In 2002, the album was re-issued with Robert Trujillo and Mike Bordin re-recording the bass and drums parts so that Daisley and Kerslake get no payment.
And how good are the lyrics from Bob Daisley.
“Looking through eyes of time, Mirrors reflecting their stories untrue” ….. from “You Can’t Kill Rock N Roll”
“Watching time go and feeling belief grow, Rise above the obstacles” ….. from “Believer”
“You’ve got to believe in yourself, Or no one will believe in you” ….. from “Believer”
“Their disbelief suppresses them, But they’re not blind, It’s just that they won’t see” ….. from “Believer”
“Diary of a madman, Walk the line again today” ….. from “Diary Of A Madman”
“A sickened mind and spirit, The mirror tells me lies, Could I mistake myself for someone, Who lives behind my eyes?” ….. from “Diary Of A Madman”
Whitesnake – Come And Get It
The follow-up to the excellent “Ready An’ Willing” from 1980. Martin Birch is on hand to produce again. If you want to read a review that has a similar viewpoint to mine, go to Mike Ladano.
While the previous album had “Fool For Your Loving”, “Aint Gonna Cry No More” and “Blindman”, this one is loaded with the excellent “Don’t Break My Heart Again”, the “All Right Now/Feel Like Making Love” sounding “Come An’ Get It”, the groovy “Lonely Days and Nights”, the bluesy and moody “Child Of Babylon” and the “Led Zep” sounding “Till The Day I Die”.
As I have mentioned before, the rise of Whitesnake started with “Ready An Willing” in 1980, continued with “Come And Get It” and by constantly working hard, recording and touring, 1982’s “Saints and Sinners” would build on the momentum with the ultimate road/breakup song “Here I Go Again”.
“Every day of my life, it seems, Trouble’s knocking at my door, It’s hard to try and satisfy, When you don’t know what you’re fighting for” ….. from “Don’t Break My Heart Again”
“I’ve heard all the wisdom of prophets and seers, It don’t soothe my passion and it don’t ease my fears” ….. from “Lonely Days, Lonely Nights”
“On my day of judgement, I know how it will be, I’m prepared to meet my maker with no hope for charity, I’ll stand alone and pay the price, For everything I’ve done, ‘Cos there ain’t guardian angel, For a child of Babylon” ….. from “Child of Babylon”