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

1982 – Episode VIII – The Final Post

When I started to write about music from 1982, I didn’t expect it to be such a large body of work. Finally after seven parts before this, here is the final part. As with the other posts, this post deals with full albums or just individual songs that couldn’t be escaped, because TV and Radio played them non-stop.

Circus Animals – Cold Chisel

The mighty Chisel’s are rock royalty in Australia.

“East” was their breaking through album and “Circus Animals” proved it wasn’t a fluke. Main songwriter, Walker didn’t want to do a commercial album again, however he didn’t count on the excellent song writing from drummer Steve Prestwich, who contributed “Forever Now” and the spine-tingling “When The War Is Over”.

The working title for the album was “Tunnel Cunts”.

The first single “You Got Nothing I Want” was written by singer Jimmy Barnes. He’s angry at Elektra Records for the lack of support given to Cold Chisel in favour of an unknown LA band called Motley Crue. This grudge would hurt the solo career of Jimmy Barnes in the U.S many years later. But that didn’t stop Barnsey from working with some of the best writers in the U.S. His biggest solo career song, “Working Class Man” was written by Jonathan Cain from Journey.

You got nothing I want
You got nothing I need

The live favourite “Bow River” is up next. Guitarist Ian Moss wrote it and sings it. It’s about a sheep station in the Northern Territory. It was a B-side to one of the singles, however it’s as iconic as the singles.

I don’t wanna see this town no more
Wastin’ my days on a factory floor
First thing you know I’ll be back in Bow River again

The monotonous life of a working person. You don’t want to be at work, but you need to be, as you need money to live, money to pay off debts and keep the wheels turning in your home life.

I been working hard, twelve hours a day
And the money I saved won’t buy my youth again

That’s what the young don’t understand when they are young. Hell, I didn’t. Our youth is only short, so it’s best to enjoy it as much as possible.

Piss all my money up against the damn wall
First thing you know I’ll be back in Bow River again

Damn right, pay-day comes and by the weekend, all of the pay is gone on booze. Today, all the pay is gone on mortgage, credit cards and utilities.

Steve Prestwich (RIP) proved his song writing chops on this album. “Forever Now” is a pop classic with a big sing along chorus.

“When The War Is Over” is brilliant.

When the war is over
Got to get away
Pack my bag to no place
In no time no day

How can I go home and not get
Blown away

There was a time when we paid for our albums and we didn’t own many because of it. So what we purchased we played until the songs became a part of us. Cold Chisel was such a band that people made room for in their wallets and their songs and their words are a part of us.

The J. Geils Band – Centerfold

The single came in September, 1981 but it didn’t really get traction until February 1982, so based on that fact, it is in my 1982 list. The J. Geils band never had another hit after it. Written by Seth Justman, we all know what the story of the song is. And even back in 1982, it was all about the big single.

In Australia this song was played regularly until the early nineties and then it stopped when the sounds of Seattle became popular. And 35 years later it is still relevant, because it renews it’s listeners with each generation due to the tongue in cheek lyrics.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – I Love Rock ‘n Roll

The song is written Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker of Arrows, who released their version in 1975. And it did nothing, until 1982.

Enter Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and MTV and what we have is another big single selling a so-so album..

The video clip was a constant and as a by-product, sales of the single continued to climb. And to this day, I still haven’t heard the album the song was on.

The beat was goin’ strong, Playin’ my favorite song

This is another song that will keep on keeping forever and a day. Guitar Hero brought it back into the public conversation and Britney Spears cover of it, for better or worse brought it even further back into the conversation.

Don Henley – I Cant Stand Still

I heard this song for the first time, thirty plus years after it’s release. What a groove. I had no idea what this song is about. But thanks to Google you can research it and Don Henley was going through his separation when he wrote this song with Danny Kortchmar. And once you know the source, you understand where he is coming from in the lyrics.

And baby, I can’t stand still (while he’s holding you)
I can’t stand (while he’s kissing you)

Don Henley – Long Way Home

It’s got this Jersey Springsteen vibe happening that I dig. Like “I Can’t Stand Still”, I heard this song just recently.

There’s three sides to every story, baby
There’s yours and there’s mine and the cold, hard truth

Amen. Ain’t that the truth.

We all have our own versions of truth, and if each event was captured on film to be viewed later, all of our versions would be different to what the footage shows.

Joey Scarbury – Believe It or Not

It’s from the album “America’s Greatest Hero”. It was released in 1981, but it was still heard well into 1985. The TV show kept it in the conversation. It’s clichéd “inspirational lyrics” are just to clichéd but I guarantee you that everyone who heard the song remembers it.

The actual performer didn’t even write it. The song is written by Mike Post (music) and Stephen Geyer (lyrics).

Believe it or not I’m walking on air
I never thought I could feel so free
Flying away on a wing and a prayer, who could it be?
Believe it or not it’s just me

Queen – Hot Space

This is the album where Brian May just went missing. There is hardly any guitar on the album. It pops up in some songs here and there, but instead of it being used as a centrepiece for the songs, May holds back and decorates each song, like tinsel on a Christmas Tree.

Production wise, my ears just can’t escape the midi triggered drums in the early Eighties “mainstream” acts. It really dates the music back to a certain era.

“Under Pressure” is the one that most people would know. A co-write with David Bowie who also performs on it. The bass riff is iconic and it proved to be a hit twice, once in 1982 and again in 1990 when Vanilla Ice pinched the whole bass riff for “Ice, Ice Baby” and then claimed in court that he came up with it.

It’s the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming “let me out”

I don’t know the exact meaning of the song from the bands point of view is, but the above words are truth. We know what this world is about and for a lot of us it gets too much.

Why can’t we give love that one more chance?

It’s because we get burned from it too many times. From a relationship point of view, it’s easier to be alone then to go through new relationships, making new friendships, while you are upset at the same time that some of the old friendships are lost. From a society point of view, “love” never existed. There is always hate, jealousy and envy.

Chicago – Hard To Say I’m Sorry

I had no idea who sang this song when it came out, but it was everywhere. If it sounds like a Toto song, it’s because Steve Lukather plays guitar on the song and David Paich and Steve Porcaro play synths.

Producer David Foster, who also co-wrote the song with vocalist Peter Cetera played piano on the song, while Cetera performed vocals and played bass guitar and acoustic guitar.

Everybody needs a little time away
I had to say, from each other

Damn right.

Cheap Trick – If You Want My Love

I dig this song. It’s the pre-chorus that hooks me in.

Written by guitarist Rick Nielsen, it’s got melodies all over it.

Lonely is only a place
You don’t know what it’s like

How cool is the line?

Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra

Boy, did Steve Miller become fab again after his Hall of Fame speech. But that was two weeks ago and today, its like it never existed.

Steve Miller wrote an infectious song and it was good enough to knock Chicago off the number 1 spot.

Abra-abracadabra
I want to reach out and grab ya

I got no idea what it means, but it sticks.

Keep me burnin’ for your love
With the touch of a velvet glove

Again, I got no idea why the touch had to be from a velvet glove, but it rhymes and it sticks.

A Flock of Seagulls – I Ran (So Far Away)

Even as a metal/rock head, I still dig this song. It was number 1 in Australia for a few weeks. That Chorus is just arena rock, but the feel of the song is new wave.

It was produced by Mike Howlett, who was becoming the in-demand producer for the new-wave bands. Sort of like how Tom Werman and Keith Olsen became the in-demand producers in the 80’s for hard rock bands.

A cloud appears above your head
A beam of light comes shining down on you
Shining down on you
The cloud is moving nearer still
Aurora Borealis comes in view

Using the “Northern Lights” as the lights of the departed. Well, that’s how I view the song’s lyrics.

Reached out a hand to try again
I’m floating in a beam of light with you
A beam of light with you

And I ran, I ran so far away
I just ran, I ran all night and day

John Cougar Mellencamp – American Fool

It was a huge album created under duress and record label pressures.

The record company wanted a certain Neil Diamond sounding record. After spending three months in the studio, Mellencamp had 20 songs recorded. The label A&R rep came in, heard it and hated it. Album cuts, “Jack & Diane”, “Hand To Hold On To” and “Weakest Moments” were part of these 20 songs. The label halted the project. They considered getting in a new producer. They considered dropping Mellencamp from the roster. In the end, they gave the green light for Mellencamp to write some more songs however they wanted to hear the demos before they gave the OK to record them in a studio.

The end product is Mellencamp’s commercial breakthrough. “Hurts So Good” and “Jack & Diane” are cultural songs.

“Hurts So Good” is written with childhood friend George Green.

Sometimes love don’t feel like it should
You make it hurt so good

Said in a way that wasn’t R-rated.

Up next is “Jack & Diane” that little ditty about two American kids growing up in the heartland.

Oh yeah, life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone, they walk on

And that’s right. A lot of people don’t seem to realise those High School highs and good times have never come around again. But life goes on and your sense of duty to yourself and family takes over.

Daryl Hall and John Oates – H2O

They didn’t look metal at all, but they could write songs.

“Maneater” is from their eleventh studio album and the song is written by Hall, Oates and Sara Allen.

She’s deadly, man
And she could really rip your world apart

It’s like Phil Lynott wrote the lyrics.

“At Tension” has this bass synth riff that if played on distorted guitar its heavy as. It’s written by John Oates. It’s over 6 minutes long, far removed from the pop format. You needed the album to hear this album cut.

I’d like to join the army
Don’t want to join the war
I’d take my place in line hell (hell)

We keep on marching forward
Never will retreat

Words apart from the single “Maneater”.

Duran Duran – Hungry Like the Wolf

I never gave this band a chance in the 80’s purely on their look. It was when “Come Undone” came out that I decided I needed to check em out a little bit more. So “Rio” is their second album and “Hungry Like The Wolf” is the song that launched it. There is no denying that the riff is hard rock to a tee. It was all over the TV stations in Australia.

I’m on the hunt, I’m after you

Stalker???

Me thinks so.

Earth, Wind & Fire – Let’s Groove

I am pretty sure the album “Raise” came out in 1981, however I haven’t heard the album. This song was all also all over the TV music stations in Australia. The single did come in 1982. I dig it, its funky and as the title states, groovy.

Let’s groove tonight
Share the spice of life
Baby, slice it right
We’re gonna groove tonight

Cocaine????

Me thinks so.

Goanna – Spirit Of Place

“Solid Rock” is the song.

We couldn’t escape it in Australia. It kicks off with a didgeridoo intro and a brilliant guitar riff that reminds me of the “Sultans of Swing” from Dire Straits for some reason. It reached #2 in Australia and charted in the US. According to Wikipedia, the inspiration came to vocalist Shane Howard on a ten-day camping trip at Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) during 1980 where he had a “spiritual awakening” which brought “the fire in the belly” to the surface over injustices to Australia’s indigenous peoples.

They were standin’ on the shore one day, Saw the white sails in the sun
Wasn’t long before they felt the sting, white man, white law, white gun
Don’t tell me that it’s justified, ’cause somewhere, someone lied
Yeah well someone lied, someone lied, genocide

Yep, Australia’s settlement history is pretty much summed up above. And to this day, 200 plus years later, there is still a lot of debate about it.

INXS – Shabooh Shoobah

Mark Opitz produced “Circus Animals” for Cold Chisel and then moved on to “Shabooh Shoobah” from Inxs. This is the version of INXS before they topped the Billboard charts six years later. It is this album that gave INXS their major label deal in the U.S.

The closer “Don’t Change” was the song that made me a fan. It was a “hit” song without being a hit. Richie Sambora played it live, when he appeared at the Enmore Theatre.

Don’t change for you
Don’t change a thing for me

Damn right, let’s love each other for who we are.

Loverboy – Working For The Weekend

Yeah I know the album was released in 1981, but the single “Working For The Weekend” was released in January 1982 in Australia, so for me it’s a 1982 album.

Everybody’s working for the weekend
Everybody wants a new romance
Everybody’s going off the deep end
Everybody needs a second chance, oh

And like the song “Bow River” from Cold Chisel, once the weekend is over, we’ll be back at Bow River again for the Monday shift.

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

1982 – VI – Rough And Ready Rider In A Supersonic Sound Machine

 

Van Halen – Diver Down

“I’d rather have a bomb with one of my own songs than a hit with someone else’s.”

EVH

It was well into the Nineties that I finally gave money for “Diver Down”. The fact that it had so many cover songs on it, made me ignore it.

The album cover displayed the red and white colours that EVH is famous for and up until the internet era, I had no idea that it was the “diver down” flag which indicates a SCUBA diver is currently submerged in the area.

The Eighties was the era when records ruled the world and Van Halen (along with some hidden coaching from the label and management) decided to came out with this album.

But there is a story behind it.

The “Fair Warning” tour finished and the band recorded “Oh Pretty Woman” and released it as a single, just to tell its fan’s the band is still here. But, “Pretty Woman” started climbing the charts and the label started pressuring VH for an album. 12 days later, “Diver Down” was complete.

Van Halen was on target to have another hit with someone else’s song.

From an original point of view, “Hang Em High”, the instrumental “Cathedral”, “Little Guitars (with the intro)” and the country blues tinged “The Full Bug” are good cuts. The rest, not so much…

From the cover songs, “Oh Pretty Woman” is okay and it was the song that gave the record label the idea to push VH into the studio for a full album.

“Hang Em High”

“Hang ‘Em High” can trace its roots back to the band’s 1977 demos as “Last Night”, which had the same music but different lyrics. It’s funny how that first demo tape had so many songs that would come to life many years later, and in the case of “A Different Kind Of Truth”. Seven tracks that appear on the album are based on material written between 1975 and 1977.

And David Lee Roth is not the greatest vocalist or lyricist. ATTITUDE! That’s what DLR was good at delivering. And Van Halen songs had plenty of attitude.

“Cathedral”

EVH had been doing ‘Cathedral’ live prior to putting it on a record. From a guitar point of view, he is using his volume knob to get the volume swells happening.

“Little Guitars (plus the classical sounding introduction)

This is Eddie cheating at playing flamenco based on hearing Carlos Montoya. With a pick he is doing the trills on the high E string, pull offs with his left hand and slapping with his middle finger on the low E.

It was all about getting a clip onto MTV. Suddenly bands saw record sales jump and they played to full houses nearly everywhere. By 1982, it was a new golden era that was beginning.

MSG – Assault Attack

As I get older, I am starting to realize almost no one is remembered. Michael Schenker is one such person that is unknown to a lot of kids aged 25 and under.

It didn’t used to be that way.

It was 1982, when Michael Schenker received a call from Ozzy about joining after Randy Rhoads died in the plane crash. But Schenker was in the middle of making the “Assault Attack” album with Graham Bonnet and Cozy Powell. Peter Mensch (Manager) wanted David Coverdale to front the band. This caused a disagreement, and Mensch was out. A couple of bad moves by Schenker here.

As Mensch is still rocking and managing in 2015 to great success and if he joined Ozzy, who knows what kind of career he would have had post Ozzy. However, Schenker has been reduced to playing clubs and theatres.

He never really had any hits with MSG like he did with UFO.

Martin Birch is on hand to produce, fresh from doing “The Number Of The Beast” with Iron Maiden. But the album only has two decent songs.

“Desert Song”

It kicks of Side 2 on the vinyl. It’s written by Schenker and Bonnet. Musically, the song is excellent. Melodically the song is excellent. Can’t say I am a fan of the lyrics, but I’ll let that slide, because the music is magical.

A great riff is a great riff, never forget it! UFO fans would note that Schenker used his riff from “Love To Love” to maximum rock effect on this one.

“Assault Attack”

It kicks of Side 1 on the vinyl. It’s written by Schenker, Bonnet, Chris Glen and Ted McKenna. It’s got a good groove and the cool chorus.

History has shown that not a lot of guitarist reached the same level of success as they did with previous bands because in the end, it don’t matter how great you play guitar, if you don’t have a vocalist that can sell your message and connect with people lyrically, it all goes to crap.

But Schenker is still out there doing it. He has been ripped off, survived bankruptcy, survived addictions and he still gets up on stage and produces the goods.

Schenker is an individual.

He is a survivor.

Rainbow – Straight Between The Eyes

Ritchie Blackmore is another that is unknown to a lot of kids under the age of 25. This album was another purchase via the various record fairs that used to pop up at Parramatta Town Hall every three months. Dio led Rainbow is brilliant, however I also hold the Joe Lynn Turner (JLT) led version of the band high as well.

It’s because the heart and soul of the band, Ritchie Blackmore was still there and firing on all cylinders and JLT was a more of a AOR style of singer, which worked perfectly for the early Eighties. A lot of people think that Joe Lynn Turner pushed Rainbow into a more AOR type band however it was a combination of Ritchie wanting to pursue that direction as well and Joe Lynn Turner being on board.

Side one kicks off with the Blackmore and Turner composition known as “Death Alley Driver”.

Joe Lynn Turner said the following about the song:

That song was about drug runs on 1 and 9. Springsteen wrote about Highway 9. That highway goes all the way through from the pier to New York. That song, I wrote about going on a drug run on Highway 9. I was with a friend, who I found out I really didn’t know that well. I ended up in this place where there were all these machine guns. This guy was a doctor that was brought in to analyze the cocaine that was coming in from Columbia. There were pounds of it. I stood there and I was thinking, “What did you get me into to?” He was all coked out and I was like, “Get me outta here.” I was sweating bullets. I wrote the song about that. Highway 9 is a crap highway. It is a two lane highway about as wide as an alley but it was the run where you went to get the Columbian blow, which was the best blow around.

Rough and ready rider, in a supersonic sound machine
Rock and roll survivor, chrome pipes between your knees

It’s an excellent opening to introduce the album. It has so many words relevant to the era. The rite of passage in 1982 was to own a car, a fast muscle car was preferred. Then insert a cool stereo so that rock and roll music can play from it, all day and all night.

Another dirty angel, heading straight to hell

The song is full of good lines like the above.

Next up is “Stone Cold”. This cut is written by Blackmore, Turner and Roger Glover. It’s a broken heart type of song, written in the middle of a snow storm.

This is what Turner had to say about the song:

“We were out on the first tour and Roger had been left by his wife for a famous race car driver. He was very, very broken up over it. I looked in his room and I said, “Rog, let’s go to the bar.” He looked up at me and he had crying eyes.” I said, “What happened?” He just looked at me and said, “She just stone cold up and left me.” I knew there was a song there. I ran back to my room and started writing the lyrics. It didn’t come to fruition until we got the music. Ritchie would record a bunch of tracks and Roger and I would go through them and we would find the song and then we would teach it back to Ritchie. All Ritchie would do is jam on music and then we would take these pieces of music and make songs. We would then rehearse the song and work it all out.”

 Familiar strangers with nothing to say

So true, when the relationship goes bad.

Track number 3 is “Bring On the Night (Dream Chaser)”. This cut is also written by Blackmore, Turner and Glover.

This is what Turner had to say about the song:

Ritchie wrote the music and Roger had a part during the B section but the lyrics are all about me. It is all about trying to get into this business. All of those verses were about me.

I was taking a chance on a tight-rope
Walking the line to the end

If you want to be a musician, you need to be in it until the end. You don’t check out because there is no money. You keep on persisting because you believe in the music, the message of your songs, the thrill of the performance or online adulation.

“Tite Squeeze”

Love the riff and groove of this song, but hate the lyrics and song title.

“Tearin’ Out My Heart”

I actually dig this one. It’s got a lot of drama around the peaks and lows.

Side two kicks off with “Power”.

JLT mentioned that “Power” is an autobiographical song.

I get knocked down…get right back up again
Cause I never give up and I never give in…

Refer to “Bring On The Night (Dream Chaser)”.

Midnight Oil – 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

I finally listened to all of Midnight Oil’s albums on Spotify. I never owned any of their albums, but I knew their singles. I had most of them recorded on a VHS cassette tape from the various TV stations that played music videos. Hell, in the early Nineties I even watched a few of their shows.

Was I fan of the band?

Yes I was.

Did I own any of their music?

No I didn’t.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 is the fourth album by Midnight Oil.

Coming into making the album, the Oils had their backs to the wall. They wanted to achieve their success in their own way, while the label had their own ideas. A commitment was made to roll the dice one last time. If they failed, the band would break up.

But they didn’t fail.

In Australia the album remained on the chart for 3 years and it was certified 7 times platinum. By the time “Diesel and Dust” came outthree years later, they would become international stars.

Again I only knew of the singles and after listening to the full album on Spotify, I can say that the singles are miles ahead the rest of the album.

“Short Memory”.  It’s written by Peter Garrett, drummer Rob Hirst and guitarist Jim Moginie. It’s built around Moginie’s “SundayBloody Sunday” style riffing. Lyrically, the song deals with a lot of human tragedy.

The story of El Salvador, The silence of Hiroshima, , Destruction of Cambodia, Short memory

Can any artist get three different events that happened in three different places all in a verse?

Midnight Oil always wrote lyrics with a nod to politics and how politics affected our way of life. In the end, what a short memory we have when it comes to human actions and the suffering humans have caused to other humans.

“Read About It” and it’s written by the Garrett, Hirst and Moginie team. That intro riff is brilliant. I wanted it to play forever.

The rich get richer, The poor get the picture, The bombs never hit you when you’re down so low

The working class of Australia latched on to the Oils. They wrote about what we felt.

You wouldn’t read about it, Read about it

Rupert Murdoch, with his newspapers in Australia, report an agenda that suits the profits of News Limited. There is nothing impartial in their articles. Just recently, News Limited lost the EPL hosting rights in Australia to Optus, so how does Murdoch respond. He launches a campaign against football in the country, just because he lost the rights.

The hammer and sickle, The news is at a trickle, The commisars are fickle but the stockpile grows

Love this verse.

The commies controlled the story and in democratic countries the corporations control the story. Both will report on whatever suits their own agenda. Especially, when the news outlets went onto the stock exchange, got shareholders and profits became the be all and end all, instead of the story.

“U.S Forces”

A protest song against US foreign policy, “US Forces” is written by Garrett and Moginie. It was a song that was brought up when Garrett became a Federal Minister.

U.S. forces give the nod, It’s a setback for your country

Perception is powerful. The U.S has done itself no favours in putting itself into situations with no favourable outcome. Hell, the recent Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, was written by US Senators with the Corporations, and now the rest of the Countries need to sign it. All to suit U.S corporation interests.

Now market movements call the shots, Business deals in parking lots, Waiting for the meat of tomorrow

“Power and the Passion”

The hit making machine of Garrett, Hirst and Moginie churned out another Aussie classic.

You take what you get and get what you please, It’s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees

Great lyric.

Rush – Signals

It is album number 9 for Rush and the follow-up to the mega successful “Moving Pictures” album. It’s not a favourite that’s for sure, but each song has some cool sections.

“Subdivisions”

The intro synth is pretty cool and when the guitar comes in to mimic the groove of it, it’s all systems go.

“The Analog Kid”

It’s very Led Zeppelin like. Think of “Achilles Last Stand”.

 

“Losing It”

Neil Peart wrote it about how tough it is when someone who has been at the top of their game starts to lose their ability to reproduce that.

“Countdown”

I wish the synth riff at the start (and that continues through into the verses) was distorted guitar.

Stay tuned for Part 7 of 1982.

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

1982 – Part V – Rising Up To The Challenge Of Our Rival

Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger
It’s the third album from Survivor and it sold because of one song.

“Eye Of The Tiger”.

The opening track and the one that broke them around the world.

The song and the “Rocky III” movie that it appears in are one of the same.

The song defines the band. It was a cultural hit.

And it all came about because Queen wouldn’t license “Another One Bites The Dust”. So Stallone asked Survivor guitarist Frankie Sullivan and keyboardist Jim Peterik to write a song. The song you hear in the movie is the demo version. This is viral marketing done, 1982 style. Have a cool song and put it in a movie series that is part of our culture and you have a bonafide hit. The difference between the 1980’s viral marketing and the current Internet viral marketing is that the artists followed up with other successes.

Anyone heard of PSY recently?

Case closed.

For certifications and awards and high stream counts, “Eye Of The Tiger” has done it all and is doing it all.

Who can forget that palm muted C note to kick off the song, and then the power chords come crashing down.

But what about the rest of the album. Surely there would be other songs worthy of a mention. Of course, “Eye Of The Tiger” kicks the album and it sets a very high standard.

Rising up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive

Eternal lyrics, they will forever be engraved into society and culture.

“Feels Like Love” is Journey style AOR rock with the synth more prominent than the guitars. It’s another Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan composition. “The One That Really Matters” is a Jim Peterik composition. That intro is brilliant and groovy, but it doesn’t appear again throughout the song.

“Ever Since the World Began”
It’s another Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan composition but it’s probably more known as a Jimi Jamison song, who joined Survivor in 1984 as a vocalist and recorded his own version for the Stallone film “Lock Up” in 1989.

I’ll never know what brought me here,
As if somebody led my hand,
It seems I hardly had to steer,
My course was planned

Great lyrics.

“American Heartbeat”
It’s another Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan composition. It’s a copy of “Eye Of The Tiger”. The only difference is the synth carries out the tasks of the guitar. And I dig this song and the groove the synths create.

Wheels are turning fast and hard,
Hearts are burnin’ on the Boulevard,
Hear them pound – young and proud,
It’s the American heartbeat,

It’s just about life in the late Seventies and early Eighties when getting a car was a rite of passage. The American part can be changed to Australian, European, Canadian, British, etc… It’s very different today. The latest gadgets have become the new rite of passage and the teens are quite happy to drive the cars of mum and dad.

Unfortunately, the rest of the songs like “Hesitation Dance”, “I’m Not That Man Anymore”, “Children of the Night” and “Silver Girl” are forgettable. Even the other songs mentioned above pale compared to the monolith that is “Eye Of The Tiger”.

And Survivor never got to be as big as a live act as Journey or Bon Jovi, but they did have a song that crossed over and a career that went decades deep in the music and recording industry.

Scorpions – Blackout
The Scorpions are a perfect example of patience. Their whole career was built bit by bit, country by country, continent by continent. By the time they really broke through in the U.S with “Love At First Sting”, it was with their 9th album.

How many bands today stick it out for that long?

Most bands form and if they don’t have instant success, they break up. Some members will leave the industry all together, focussing on jobs that pay a consistent wage, while others would move on to other projects and collaborations.

Blackout is album number 8. It started the momentum in the U.S.

During the writing and recording process, Klaus Meine lost his voice and underwent surgery on his vocal chords. While he was recovering, it was uncertain whether he would be able to record again. Don Dokken was hired to work on the demos.

I ended up getting the full album in the late 90’s, again via the second-hand record shop which had also morphed into a second-hand CD shop.

All music is composed by Rudolf Schenker.

“Blackout” kicks off the album in style. Schenker establishes himself as a guitar hero and riff meister. Lyrics are written by Klaus Meine, Herman Rarebell and Sonja Kittelsen.

My head explodes my ears ring
I can’t remember just where I’ve been
The last thing that I recall
I got lost in a deep black hole

The morning after just a little bit too much of everything.

And then the song ends with glass shattering.

“Can’t Live Without You” sounds like “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin” from Judas Priest. Quick, bring out the lawyers and start screaming plagiarism. Klaus Meine wrote lyrics on this one. How addictive is the chorus riff by Schenker?

Can’t live, can’t live without you

A melodic and simple chorus chant. But songs like these get clichéd.

“No One Like You” is the “hit song” of the album. It’s the stop start of the rhythm guitar and that lead break from Herman Rarebell that seal the deal on this song. Klaus Meine wrote lyrics on this one.

There’s no one like you
I can’t wait for the nights with you
I imagine the things we’d do
I just wanna be loved by you

Again, great chorus, but the best songs that live for eternity, have lyrics that are not dated to a particular point in time. “Rat Tailed Jimmy” that antagonist from “Dr Feelgood” is a person that we hear about and read about constantly. “Tommy and Gina”, the working class heroes from Living On A Prayer are everywhere. The “Winds Of Change” from Scorpions, keep blowing constantly and can be used as a reference point for any uprising happening around the world. That boy from Detroit that wanted to escape to the bright lights in “Don’t Stop Believin” is in every one. That drifter that was born to walk alone from “Here I Go Again” is in all of us. And David Coverdale had two attempts at bringing “Here I Go Again” to the masses. The first cut of the song that the word “HOBO” instead of “DRIFTER”.

See what I mean when you have better lyrics.

“You Give Me All I Need” sounded too much like “No One Like You” so it didn’t get the respect it deserved on the album. Herman Rarebell is writing lyrics on this one.

“Now!” is a Led Zep “Rock and Roll” rip off merged with their very own “Blackout”. Klaus Meine and Herman Rarebell are the lyric writers.
It’s gonna be wild, it’s gonna be wild
It’s gonna be wild
Now!

The vocal melody to the above lyrics are just too much like Led Zep’s “Rock and Roll”. But still, I like it.

Side two kicks off with “Dynamite”. Meine and Rarebell are the lyric writers on this one. By far the best song on the album. The intro and chorus, the music feels like “Ace Of Spades” from Motorhead to me and in the verses it feels like “Let There Be Rock” from AC/DC.

When Keith Olsen was working with the Scorpions on Crazy World, he mentioned that the lyrics from Klaus were very dumb downed and stupid and they didn’t do the songs any justice. So he called in songwriters like Jim Vallance and Desmond Child in to assist.

Dynamite is one of those songs that musically it is excellent. The vocal melodies are excellent, but the words that form those melodies needed more thought.

Kick your ass to heaven
With rock’n’roll tonight

It starts off fantastic and the song could have been about the rock and roll show being an analogy of dynamite going off. But then it gets silly.

I’ll make this night a special one
Make you feel alright
Shoot my heat into your body
Give ya all my size
I’m gonna beat the beat tonight
It’s time to break the ice

See what I mean at the lyrics not doing the song any favours.

“Arizona” is “No One Like You” part 3. A cool song, but lost on the album because of “No One Like You”. Herman Rarebell is the lyrics writer.

“China White” has Klaus Meine is the lyric writer. But it’s the music and the groove that get me. My second favourite on the album. “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” from Dio follows this kind of groove. Stuff like this is never going to make the radio, but it’s the kind of music I play that satisfies, that makes me want to see the band live.

Now, I don’t know how a title that is a reference for heroin can be linked to a song that lyrically talks about humans destroying the world with wars and calling for tolerance and peace.

How long will it take
To make the world a flaming star
How long will it take
Till they stop their senseless wars
How long will it take
Till everybody will understand
That we need to fill our hearts with love again

How long will it take
To make the earth a fireball
How long will it take
Till no more life exists at all
How long will it take
Till everybody will understand
That we need to fill our hearts with love again

See what I mean. The song just should have been called “How Long Will It Take?”

“When the Smoke Is Going Down” has Klaus Meine is the lyric writer. Musically, Three Doors Down had a hit called “Kryptonite” using the same chord progression, two decades later.

Aldo Nova
Like Survivor and their mega hit “Eye Of The Tiger”, Aldo Nova was another that came and went with “Fantasy”.

Whereas Survivor kept on going and had a few more defining moments, Aldo Nova never had another hit again, even when Jon Bon Jovi signed him to his own Jambco label and wrote/produced a stiff/formulaic album as a payback for Aldo Nova writing the main guitar riff in “Blaze Of Glory” that he is not credited for, sort of like how Sting takes all the money for “Every Breath You Take” when in fact it’s the way Andy Summers arranged his guitar parts that hooked everyone in.

“Fantasy” is Aldo’s debut single from his self-titled debut and the song that classed Aldo Nova as a one hit wonder. Upon release it was a hit, going Gold within the same year. But it wasn’t until 1989 that it went platinum and by 1994 it was double platinum.

The guitars to kick it off and the synth in the verses are brilliant.

Is the song about cocaine?

Outta sight, buy your kicks from the man in the white
Feels alright, powder pleasure in your nose tonight

Lyrics make me think it is.

“Hot Love” is excellent musically, but terrible, lyrically. “Ball and Chain” and “Heart to Heart” are really good AOR rock songs. Musically, Nova is brilliant but the lyrics do let a lot of the songs down.

Love, Love feels like a ball and chain
What a fool I’ve been to fall in love again

And “Heart To Heart” follows the same theme from “Ball And Chain”.

And he weeps, for a love that he has lost
And the man left a love

Side two continues the tradition of having melodic rock music and “Foolin’ Yourself” continues with the “Ball and Chain” and “Heart to Heart” themes.

I saw you walk down the street with somebody new
It’s funny people I meet they talk about me and you

“Under the Gun” is the B-side to “Fantasy” and by now the lyrical themes of a love lost and thoughts of revenge are getting too much.

Cause the girl that he loved went away and ran off with another man
But he followed them both and he shot at the throat, couldn’t stop his hand.

And “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” is again good musically, but the lyrical message of a lost love by know is just too much. Bring back the cocaine tinged “Fantasy” anytime.

Stay tuned for 1982 – Part 6.

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Music

1982 – Part IV – Screaming For Vengeance

My first introduction to Judas Priest was via the “Turbo Lover” album that my cousin “Mega” had. Then “Mega” purchased the “Priest Live” video and I was blown away at hearing such classic songs in one release like “Metal Gods”, “Breaking the Law”, “The Sentinel”, “Electric Eye”, “Turbo Lover”, “Freewheel Burning”, “Living After Midnight” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'”.

So I searched for Judas Priest in the discount bins as I was trying to maximise the $20 I had with three to five albums instead of one album. In 1987, Judas Priest was not one of those bands you found in the discount bins at record stores. Eventually, after “Painkiller” came out in the early Nineties, I came across “British Steel” for $5 on cassette. It wasn’t until the mid-Nineties, that I purchased “Screaming For Vengeance” and “Defenders of The Faith” on vinyl, via the second hand record store and record fairs. I was actually surprised that Judas Priest had a whole career, a whole catalogue, before I even got into their music. But with all things musical, I had limited cash, so I needed to choose wisely.

So my Priest soundtrack of my youth, was the Live album dubbed on cassette, the Painkiller album dubbed on cassette and the Ram It Down album dubbed on cassette. So I was a fan of the band since 1987 and I never spent a cent on their recorded music. Even when I purchased their albums in the Nineties via the record fairs and second hand record stores, the money I gave, was all pure profit to the store owners, as I purchased used albums. And the labels complain today about people not purchasing music.

This album is important for a variety of reasons;

  • Certain songs proved to be the embryos of the Metalcore, Melodic Rock and Power Metal movements.
  • The album moved Judas Priest away from the NWOHM brand, which was becoming an Achilles heel for some bands like Tygers Of Pan Tang and Diamond Head.

“The Hellion/Electric Eye”
This is a one-two knockout. The emotive harmony guitars in “The Hellion” kick things off nicely and then that riff to kick off “Electric Eye”. That one single riff spawned the whole Metalcore movement. My favourite track on the LP. Because of the riff, “Electric Eye” is instantly memorable.

You think you’ve private lives
Think nothing of the kind
There is no true escape
I’m watching all the time

Man, with all of our security agencies spying on us and our governments passing laws for more privacy violations, lyrics from 1982, about a Satellite spying on us, is not that far off from what is happening.

Back when I first heard the album, it was on LP. It was easy, you just lay back with the headphones and wait for the next song to start. However, when I listen to it today, with my headphones, I press repeat after this song finishes.

“Riding On The Wind”
It’s classic Priest. Priest always did Blues Metal excellent. Plus Halford breaks out the falsetto in the verses.

Tearing up through life
Million miles an hour

In the 80’s that is all we wanted to do. In the 2010’s it’s very different. The kids are tearing it up in their bedrooms, connected online and 24/7. There is no need to go out and let your hair down and connect with people. In the end, the term “speed of life” is summed up in those two lines.

“Bloodstone”
It’s not the best song, but I dig the way it musically flows. If “Electric Eye” gave birth to the Metalcore movement, then “Bloodstone” would be a child of the Melodic Rock movement.

How much longer will it take
For the world to see
We should learn to live
And simply let it be

The term “Bloodstone” will probably be associated with Machine Head. Again, the lyrics are Halford’s take of what is happening in the world around 1981 and 1982. “Electric Eye” focused on government spying, “Riding on the Wind” focused on breaking free from social norms and “Bloodstone” focuses on learning to live together instead of against each other.

“(Take These) Chains”
The first 30 seconds is a Police song. Actually the verses are very similar to the Police. Then the rest is melodic rock.

It’s written by Bob Halligan, Jr.

Who’s that you say?

Well I said the same damn thing when I saw him listed as a songwriter. But it triggered a memory. So I went to my record collection and pulled out “Hot In The Shade” from Kiss, and there he was, listed as a song writer to “Rise to It” and “Read My Body” along with Paul Stanley. I then pulled out Bonfire’s “Point Blank” album and there he was again, listed as a co-writer to the excellent “Bang Down the Door”.

I remember seeing his name on other albums, so I went through my whole collection to see on what else he was listed as a co-writer. This is before you could Google his name and see. And there he was on “Midnite Dynamite” from Kix. Actually he is all over that album, having 7 co-writes out of 10. And there he was on Kix’s biggest hit, “”Don’t Close Your Eyes” from the “Blow My Fuse” album.

“Pain And Pleasure”
Musically, I love the groove. Lyrically it’s not the best, but the stomping beat is enough to get my head nodding and my foot tapping.

“Screaming For Vengeance”
The embryo of the Power Metal movement is right here. As frantic as the music is, it is Rob Halford’s falsetto vocals all the way through that define what Power Metal would become. The lyrics on this song are brilliant.

Hey listen, don’t you let ’em get your mind
Fill your brain with orders and that’s not right
They’re playing at a game that draws you closer
Till you’re livin’ in a world that’s ruled by fear

There is tons of attitude and anger in this track. The whole “1984 – Big Brother is watching” is throughout this album.

Everyone who makes it in the great escape
Leaves a thousand more who suffer in their wake

So true.

“You Got Another Thing Comin”
How cool is this song?

It was never meant to be a single. It was buried at the back end of the album. It took a radio DJ to start playing it back when DJ’s drove culture, before radio got shareholders. Hell, it was even a last minute addition to the album. So the song started to get traction via radio stations playing it, and when Sony caught on, they put some money in the marketing and officially released it as a single. The rest as they say is history.

One life, I’m gonna live it up
I’m takin’ flight, I said I’ll never give it up

There it is, the whole message of the early Eighties, the one that made Twisted Sister superstars with “We’re Not Gonna Take It”.

Judas Priest spent close to 18 months touring the US (from July 82 to December 83) and then they hit Europe. During these years, Judas Priest cemented their status as a force to be reckoned with in the Eighties. The victory lap that Judas Priest did each year after 1982 was because of “Screaming For Vengeance”.

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

1982 – Part 3 – The Winds Of Change Are Blowing Softly

Y&T – Black Tiger
1981’s “Earthshaker” started Y&T’s rebirth. “Black Tiger” released in 1982 would enhance and refine their signature sound.

The album was recorded in England and produced by Max Norman. At that time, he had just finished working with Randy Rhoads on two career defining albums. He obviously knew how to work with excellent Californian guitarists.

It was a perfect combination, merging the hunger and melodicism of Y&T with the producer of the moment. Norman has stated that he wanted to do the “Meanstreak” record however, he believed that Y&T were mad with him, so they got Chris Tsangarides instead.

The sad harmony guitars from “Forever” introduce the album via “From The Moon” and then “Open Fire” kicks it off.

The ultimate song for the stage. It has elements of Deep Purple in the rhythm section. It’s very derivative of “Highway Star” from Purple, and Meniketti does a mean Sammy Hagar impersonation. It’s your typical, waiting for the weekend to let your hair down and have a good time song.

“Don’t Wanna Lose You” is up next and musically it’s very melodic. Polar opposites to the AC/DC vibe of “Open Fire”.

The super melodic and groovy “Forever” is up and the whole melodic rock movement is built upon this song. It’s the best cut of the album by far.

“Winds Of Change” could have been the best cut, but man the lyrics don’t do the song justice. Musically, Y&T did ballads / slow rockers the best. I would even put it out there, that the popular power ballad moniker could have originated with Y&T.

Winds of change
Blowing strongly

I know that “Barroom Boogie” and “Black Tiger” are known as essential Y&T songs. For me, other bands did those kind of songs better. Y&T is a favourite and a big influence to me because of how they did the melodic songs.

It was after the “Black Tiger” tour with AC/DC that Ozzy and Sharon approached Meniketti to join his band.

Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast

The band had come a long way from that Melody Maker 1979 ad for a second guitarist that said;

“Iron Maiden (Based In East London) want 2nd Guitarist capable of tight fast harmonies, tasty chordwork and the occasional ripping solo. Must have good gear and be a fast learner. Only dedicated, image conscious people need apply. We’re still semi-pro as yet, so no breadheads please”.

So I looked up what breadhead meant and it is a person who is motivated by, or obsessed with, making money. And in essence, that is the truth. Great everlasting music is never created by people who are obsessed with money. Great everlasting music is created by people who have a need to create and a story to tell. The ad is all class by Steve Harris.

And I was struck by the power of Steve Harris, to make things happen. One person, with a vision, excellent execution and a desire to stay the course can achieve success. He got rid of members when they didn’t execute properly or strayed from his vision. After each band member change, he moved on. To bigger and better things.

“Hallowed Be Thy Name” is my favourite Maiden cut. However the best version of the song is the live version on “Live After Death”. It was the first Maiden album I got (on double cassette), and I played it over and over and over again. The speed is also a bit quicker and it works well for the song. Plus who can forget Bruce yelling “Scream for me Long Beach”.

So when it came to purchasing the full “The Number Of The Beast” album, I was very late to the party.

How come no one believes in a riff anymore?

Once upon a time, songs stood on the shoulders of the guitar riff and “The Number of The Beast” is full of those riffs.

“Children Of The Damned” is a damn good song. Structurally it is brilliant.

He’s walking like a small child
But watch his eyes burn you away

“22 Acacia Avenue” is all class for a song about a brothel. The “Number Of The Beast” and “Run To The Hills” need no introduction.

Selling them whiskey and taking their gold
Enslaving the young and destroying the old

But the album and all of its everlasting glory belongs to “Hallowed Be Thy Name”.

I’m waiting in my cold cell, when the bell begins to chime
Reflecting on my past life and it doesn’t have much time
‘Cause at 5 o’clock, they’ll take me to the gallows pole
The sands of time for me are running low

Death row ain’t a good place to be.

As the guards march me out to the courtyard
Somebody cries from a cell “God be with you”
If there’s a God, (then) why has he let me go?

What a powerful line. It brings back memories of James Hetfield’s man at losing his mother in “The God That Failed”.

Frankie Miller – Standing On The Edge

One of the best bluesy singers that no one even knows. This 1982 album is one of those recordings that I picked up in a discount bin for $5 and played over and over and over again. Then I forgot about it, until the internet made me search him up again and I was still blown away by the album.

“Danger Danger” is the reason why this album became a classic for me.

There is a movie called “Thunder Alley”. I watched that movie a lot. You could say I was a fan.

The story of the movie is about a hard rock band that tries to make it in the music business. In between, people need to choose between a normal job and the rock and roll dream. They need to decide if the drugs and party lifestyle is for them. And in the end, what they think they have achieved is nothing because as they climb the ranks of the gatekeepers, each gatekeeper wants to bring in their own favourite musicians into the band. And it was in “Thunder Alley” that I heard the song “Danger Danger”.

I was hooked.

It’s a Frankie Miller composition. The album would also have co-writes with a certain Andy Fraser, who was in a band called Free once upon a time and a long time friend of Frankie. The album is pretty solid and how Capitol Records managed to fuck up the promotion of the album is beyond me.

There is a review of the album at Martin Leedham’s WordPress site. You can find it here.

Stay tuned for 1982 – Part 4.

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

1982 – Part 2 – The Day Of The Rock-Rock-Rock-Rocker

Twisted Sister – Under The Blade
In April 1982, Twisted Sister landed a contract with UK punk-rock label Secret Records.

In June 1982, the group released its first EP, “Ruff Cuts”, with Toni Petri on drums. A.J Pero joined soon after. This was followed in September with “Under the Blade”, produced by Pete Way of UFO and featuring a guest appearance of “Fast” Eddie Clarke on the very sounding Motorhead song “Tear It Loose”.

I will go out on a limb here and say that “Under The Blade” was an inspiring metal album for a legion of death and black metallers.

With all things musical, Secret Records then goes into bankruptcy. However it gave the TS machine enough momentum to appear on “The Tube” (they paid $22K for the appearance) which in turn led to Atlantic Records Europe approaching the band and signing them. Plus who can forget the support of the mighty Lemmy (RIP), who introduced the band at certain gigs in the UK.

I purchased the remixed re-release by Atlantic Records many years later, after I purchased “Come Out And Play”. “Under The Blade” is a classic album from a well- seasoned live unit. All of the songs are designed and meant for the stage.

The opening track “What You Don’t Know (Sure Can Hurt You)” is a perfect example of a song designed for the live arena. Make sure you listen to the 5.32 version from the original. It’s better and it’s raw and gritty, just like Rock and Roll should be.

It’s that screechy, whiny, thin guitar intro that sets the tone and the way Dee Snider sings “Good Evening” with all the bravado of a circus MC, sounds like something dangerous is about to happen.

Good evening! Ha ha ha, welcome to our show

The welcoming line into the Twisted Sister world. I was intrigued.

Hit it! We’re no overnight sensation, no Cinderella fantasy
Please no plaudits or ovations, I’ve heard it all before you see

Bon Scott sang “It’s A Long Way To The Top, If You Want To Rock And Roll” and Twisted Sister is living proof of that journey. Indie bands are a common term for cool these days and there is no one more cooler than the TS Machine. For an indie band, they were way ahead of their time. Bands these days, with the world at their fingertips are unable to connect with people like the TS machine of old.

In the longer cut, the solo is extended at the 3.34 mark. It’s more melodic and it definitely grabs me.

How do you like it so far, say ain’t we quite a show?
There’s no one else quite like us, the others all get up and go

An intermission in a song is a brilliant piece of song writing.

“Bad Boys Of Rock N Roll” is the glam rock of Slade and Sweet cranked to eleven.

So we look kind of weird to you, well, how do you look to me?

You can just imagine how the TS look went over as the musical climate shifted from glam rock in the early Seventies to Punk and Disco in the late Seventies to New Wave in the Early Eighties.

Bad boys of rock ‘n’ roll
How bad can a bad boy be if he sets you free?

It’s about people who judge and condemn you while also enjoying what you have to offer.

So you say we’re offending you, what’s wrong, is it something we said?

Dee Snider doesn’t get enough respect. He was a spokesperson for a generation. Twisted Sister’s music was sold by the message in the songs. How different from today where everybody just oversells.

How heavy and doomy is “Run For Your Life”?

My favourite cut from the album! It’s all about the groove. The verse riff has the feel and power of AC/DC’s “Let There Be Rock”.

Through abused intentions
You misused my trust
Now’s the time for redemption
You’d better run for your life

It’s the embryo of “Burn In Hell” that came after.

“Sin After Sin” is a metal classic in the same vein as Judas Priest.

I had to hear this to remember it.

Funny how something so dated sounds so modern, especially around the lyrical message.

The lie you’ve been leading
Has you up to here in sin
You never like to think about it
Now you just can’t win

In today’s “Facebook” culture, everyone is putting their lives out there, for the whole world to stalk. But just how perfect and true are those photographs and those stories that people put up. Hell, when the GFC happened, all the banks lies got exposed, Ponzi schemes from Madoff got exposed and every single financial lie that was told was exposed.

You’re committing
Sin after sin

When you start with one lie, you are bound to tell another lie and then another, until you are so far removed from the truth, you don’t even know what the truth is anymore.

“Shoot Em Down” is classic AC/DC style of rock. Dee Snider showed respect to his influences, taking the attitude and intensity of glam rock and heavy metal and making it his own. Soon all of us would have the same attitude.

How heavy is “Destroyer”?

This one is the style of Judas Priest.

Anthrax with Jon Bush on vocals covered it for the Twisted Forever disc in the mid-nineties and down tuned it even more. It sounded Pantera like. Brutal.

He spent his life
A silent sentinel
For all to fear
He walks, he talks, he thinks, he feels,
But no one dare go near

Destroyer, Destroyer, Destroyer
He’s in town

When I was young, I thought it was impossible to get old. And now that i am older, my viewpoints mean nothing to the young ones, with their youth and know it all attitude. Exactly the same way I was when I was their age.

Although Dee is singing about some being like the maker/undertaker who is coming to collect, the lyrics to me have a meaning about getting old and how when you get old, no one gives a crap about you and about what you have to say.

“Under The Blade” has this haunting/metallised “Friday on Your Mind” vibe in the intro. That’s the power of music, it sets a mood instantly, and then it goes into overdrive.

You can’t escape from the bed you’ve made

Many years later, Dee Snider said the song is about him going “Under the Blade” for a surgery, however the lyrics definitely paint a picture of a person cornered in the alley way and then stabbed in their side. It’s pretty graphic and the scene setting lyrics are brilliant. But that lyric, “You Can’t Escape From The Bed You Made” is it. You drive drunk, there is no escape from the bed that you made. You scheme and steal, there is no escape from the bed you made.

“Tear It Loose” is a more commercial sounding “Overkill’ from Motorhead merged with a rockabilly drumming feel in the verses. The funny thing is, I never dug “Tear It Loose” back then but it resonates with me now more than the other songs. It’s all about the message in the lyrics, the double bass drumming, the riffs and I’m banging my head to it.

There ain’t no way I’m gonna wait for Saturday Night
I worked all day, I slaved away, I gotta set it right

That is what music gave me. A release; a place away from the normal grind. While Loverboy was singing “Working For The Weekend”, the TS beast was working for the night. Every minute is precious, so enjoy it.

Gonna tear it, gonna tear it loose
Gonna shout it from the roof
Blast my way into the night
I’m gonna live my dream, shout and scream!

Tear it loose doesn’t mean to destroy things as some people believe. It means to break away from someone or something. It could be anything, a job, a relationship, an ideal in your mind, a bad situation, and so forth. Or in some cases, it just means to break shit.

I’ve been brutalized, computerized, punched in and punched out
Here comes the night and it just ain’t right to be shut in or shut out
So I’m breaking down the barricades, gonna slow the hands of time
Cause to waste away the rest of the day is such a f***ing crime!

Kids from the Nineties don’t understand the clock cards. It’s a different world and in my view a better one. Time is short, don’t waste it. You are a short time alive and a long time dead. As Bon Jovi said, he’ll sleep when he is dead.

“Day Of The Rocker” is a foot stomper. The main riff is a cross between AC/DC and “The Strippers Anthem” while the verses have a bass feel from “Heaven And Hell”. But the vocal delivery is a tribute to Bon Scott from AC/DC.

Our numbers growin’
Soon we’ll be showin’
We’ve got the right to rule
We won’t be denied
So raise your hands in the air
And I want you to tell the world all about

A call to arms for all rockers to unite. A rock and roll and heavy metal invasion, stomping their way to wipe the slate completely clean.

The day of the rock-rock-rock-rocker

Simple and effective chorus lyric.

It’s like Twisted Sister is figuring out where they stand as they go along. They were following Judas Priest, Motorhead, Slade, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Free and writing their own songs. And because of these foundations, everyone at home was forming bands, the same way everyone at home today follows technology.

Night Ranger – Dawn Patrol
It was a super group. Jack Blades, Brad Gillis and Kelly Keagy all did time with Rubicon, who had chart success and were a constant on the touring circuit. Brad Gillis also had the high-profile replacement job for Randy Rhoads after his tragic death. Alan Fitzgerald did time with Montrose and Sammy Hagar. Jeff Watson had local radio air play and record label interest.

“Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”
It’s classic Jack Blades. The lead break was a wow moment for me, especially when the eight finger tapping comes in from Jeff Watson.

It’s taken miles and lines to learn the right from the wrong

From living and experiences we learn. It takes years. Relationships and love is one of those beasts that takes a lot of time to get right, and even then it is not perfect.

“Call My Name”
Another Jack Blades composition.

Your silhouette always appears in my window
I close my eyes and hear
The applause of at least a thousand different strangers
And everyone seems sincere

The adulation of being in a band, having people worship you. How do you come down from that high?

For Nikki Sixx, he started to take drugs.

“Eddie’s Coming Out Tonight”
Another Jack Blades composition. Stupid title but a fantastic song. It has enough guitars to make it heavy and the keyboards just add to the melody. Plus Eddie likes to rock and roll all night long and in the Eighties that is what we all wanted to do.

How cool is that outro solo section, a four bar climbing click repeating over a climbing ascending riff.

He lives beyond his means
He wear Italian shoes

Ain’t that the truth! Eddie is well-known to all of us. I know I live beyond my means. Each pay check goes out to the banks for the home loans and credit cards.

“Can’t Find Me A Thrill”
It’s a sleeper hit. The lead breaks alone are worth the investment. Steely Dan and Toto influences are all over this one.

Chasing the spotlight
It’s all part of the game
I’ve been to so many places
And they all look the same
I rock for my money
Some say it’s a suicide game

The lyrics are brilliant. You see, even back in the Eighties when the record labels had power and money and bigger budgets to sign acts and develop acts, it was still a lifer game. You had to check out of society and reality to become a rocker. The only way bands made money is from the stage.

I love the music and the vocal melodies to “Young Girl In Love”, “Play Rough”, “Penny” and “Night Ranger” but really, really, really hate the lyrics. All four songs could have been crossover hits if the lyrical message was better, not derivative and maybe a bit more socially aware.

UFO – Mechanix
I am a Michael Schenker fan, so the UFO records I purchased in the Nineties via the second-hand record shop and various music fairs were the albums that Schenker played on.

However, for $1, I purchased “Mechanix”.

Released in 1982, it was studio album number 10. Pete Way would leave UFO and form Fastway with “Fast” Eddie Clarke who also left Motorhead.

I love the classic UFO releases with Schenker, so of course I was disappointed with this album. Back when I purchased it, I never gave it a chance. Paul Chapman never had a chance following in the footsteps of Schenker. Even Vinnie Moore these days, is ridiculed for being in UFO, however Steve Morse is all cool for taking Blackmore’s place in Deep Purple. Go figure.

But Paul Chapman is a star on “We Belong To The Night”. It is the stand out track by far and it deserves a place in UFO history as a guitar foot stomper. It’s like Night Ranger took this song, sound and feel and built a career on it with the “Midnight Madness” album that came in 1983.

But the lyrics make me cringe. And many years later I realised that was the problem with UFO after Schenker left. It wasn’t Paul Chapman, he was excellent. Musically the band was excellent. It was the lyrics of Phil Mogg. They just didn’t grow up with him. He didn’t become a voice for a new generation.

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

1982 – Part 1: Saints And Sinners, Priests And Thieves and The Creatures Of The Night

Ahh, 1982, Slash was only 17 years old, Blackie Lawless (still an unknown outside of LA), started to experiment with hurling raw meat at the audience, Nikki Sixx decided to chase a heckler called Lars Ulrich down Santa Monica Blvd and the main house bands at Gazzarri’s were RATT and ROXX REGIME. Roxx Regime would of course go on to become Stryper. 1982 was also the year that metal and rock music started to become a force to be reckoned with. MTV’s launch on August 1, 1981, would change the industry in a big way.

KISS – Creatures Of The Night
It’s a who’s who of outside songwriters.

Paul Stanley hooked up with Adam Mitchell to write “Creatures Of The Night” and “Danger”. The winner of that hook up is by far “Creatures Of The Night”. The metal heaviness, the pedal point riff and that major key riff change before the lead break is just brilliant.

Victims of the moment
Future deep in doubt
Living in a whisper
Till we start to shout
We’re creatures of the night

The rock n roll children, the heavy metal followers, could all relate to being creatures of the night. We would be up to the small hours of the night, listening to our favourite cuts. Rock and Roll Children listening to the “devils” music”.

Vinnie Vincent is all over this album.

“I Love It Loud” is a Gene Simmons, Vincent composition. The drum groove, the chants.

Perfect.

In 1982, it was exactly what the youth wanted to hear. “Killers” is another Simmons, Vincent composition, however the stupid lyrics on the song take away from the power of the music. Regardless, we still have “I Love It Loud”.

Guilty, till I’m proven innocent
Whiplash, heavy metal accident
Rock on, I wanna be president
‘Cause I love it

It’s a brilliant play on words and a mission statement for all rockers.

People born in the Nineties would not understand how the religious groups and certain politicians reacted to hard rock and heavy metal in the Eighties. As far as these organisations were concerned, heavy metal music promoted anti-social behaviour, drug taking and basically nothing good was expected from the youth that listened to it. So as the lyrics state, we are all guilty until we are proven innocent.

Loud, I wanna hear it loud
Right between the eyes

Anthems about cranking it up started to become the norm in the Eighties. Slade wrote “Cum On Feel The Noize” in the Seventies, however a lot of people will associate the song with Quiet Riot and their 1983 take on it. Twisted Sister took it up a notch with “I Wanna Rock”. Motley Crue wanted it “Louder Than Hell”. Bon Jovi wanted to “Let It Rock”. Metallica formed a “Metal Militia” and so on.

Turn it up, hungry for the medicine
Two fisted till the very end
No more treated like aliens
We’re not gonna take it

That’s right. The war cry from the youth of the Eighties.

We’re not gonna take it.

With our devil horns and our black t-shirts patched in with our favourite bands, we were not aliens anymore. We belonged. And the unifying force was our love of heavy metal and hard rock.

“I Still Love You” is a Paul Stanley and Vinnie Vincent composition and to this day it is one of my favourite power ballads. The Emadd9 to Cadd9 chord progression is mournful and perfect for the song.

People tell me
I should win at any cost
But now I see as the smoke clears away
The battle has been lost

Great lyrics. Even though the song is a love song, the four lines above can be used for any situation. If you are a rocker and the audience deserts you, what do you have left? Sort of like the song “When The Crowds Are Gone” from Savatage. If you haven’t heard, call it up on Spotify or YouTube and let it fill your head space.

There was another interesting song writing committee on hand. Gene Simmons, worked with Bryan Adams and his songwriting partner Jim Vallance. The result is the excellent “War Machine” and the not so excellent “Rock N Roll Hell”.

How heavy is “War Machine”?

Better watch out
‘Cause I’m a war machine

Another common theme from the Eighties was that rock heads and metal heads were meant to be mean muthas, typified by songs that promoted macho like behaviour. Sort of like how the rappers preached “don’t mess with us, we got guns and we use them”, the metal heads preached the same message with their fists and bravado.

“Watch out, we are here to seek and destroy.”

Next to “Unholy” and “God Of Thunder”, “War Machine” rounds off a trilogy of groove metal anthems from The Demon.

And to put it into context, the legend of The Demon owes a lot to Vinnie Vincent who was on hand to write the super-charged demonic riff for “Unholy”, Bryan Adams/Jim Vallance wrote “War Machine” and “God Of Thunder” was penned by Stanley and given to Gene to sing, who would then go on to become the “God Of Thunder”.

With Vinnie Vincent in the band, Kiss was ready for the Eighties. “Lick It Up” that followed the following year would give the band enough life and momentum to move forward until “Revenge” gave them another victory lap.

Whitesnake – Saints And Sinners
This album is gold. As with everything Whitesnake, the recording process began in 1981, just after the end of the “Come an’ Get It” tour. Since Whitesnake was formed, it had been album and tour, so it was expected that tensions would start to appear, especially when the debt was piling up. The band couldn’t understand why, as they played to sold out places and had album certifications on the walls.

We all know that this album gave birth to “Here I Go Again” and “Crying In The Rain” and to be honest, I really enjoy the Adrian Vanbenberg and John Sykes guitar playing on those songs many years later as well as the original versions.

But going back to the some of the other songs, there is no way you can’t tell me when you listen to “Young Blood”, you don’t get the urge to tap your foot and nod your head at the groove. It’s infectious.

Then you have the major key Led Zep inspired “Victim Of Love” plus the funky groove from “Saints and Sinners” and the great lead break.

I mentioned previously that in 1980, “Ready An’ Willing” was the album that started the rise of Whitesnake. Think about the quality of songs released on the trilogy of albums. You can sequence songs from “Ready An’ Willing”, “Come And Get It” and “Saints An’ Sinners” into a perfect album.

1. Young Blood
2. Don’t Break My Heart Again
3. Fool For Your Loving
4. Blindman
5. Crying In The Rain
6. Here I Go Again
7. Aint Gonna Cry No More
8. Victim Of Love
9. Lonely Days, Lonely Nights
10. Ready And Willing
11. Saints And Sinners

I didn’t get the full album until the late Nineties. As with all things commercial, once Whitesnake’s 1987 album started selling by the truckloads, Geffen Records re-issued the earlier stuff in 1988. So David Coverdale in a roundabout way should thank John Sykes for assisting him in getting richer from back catalogue sales.

Like a lamb to the slaughter,
Another sacrifice,
For giving love to woman
With a heart stone cold as ice….. from “Victim Of Love”

Brilliant lyrics from David Coverdale. Instead of the rocker being the one with a heart of stone and a “love em and leave em attitude”, the woman he is sleeping with is the one doing the loving and the leaving.

A woman goes crazy with the thoughts of retribution
Then a man starts weeping when he’s sick and tired of life ….. from “Crying In The Rain”

Hell has no fury like a woman scorned. In a break up, thoughts of retribution are high on the cards.

Like a drifter I was born to walk alone ….. from “Here I Go Again”

A lot of people forget that Bernie Marsden is a co-writer on this track.

It’s a brilliant line.

In the end, all of us musical fans are loners. We listen to music in our own time, with our headphones on, in our bedrooms or on the train to work. And we drift from job to job, house to house, relationship to relationship and year to year.

This lyric connected “Here I Go Again” to every man, woman and child. It is a universal line. And the result is Whitesnake’s biggest single. It took 5 years later for it to happen, which goes to show how way ahead “Here I Go Again” was for it’s time.

Saints an’ sinners, priests an’ thieves ….. from “Saints An’ Sinners”

A brilliant play on words.

I stand guilty of a thousand crimes,
An’ I suffer temptation still,
Show me a man who won’t give it to his woman
An’ I’ll show you somebody who will ….. from “Saints An’ Sinners”

Trust David Coverdale to deliver a brilliant tongue and cheek line. To all of those guys in relationships that cant stop looking at other woman. Well, guess what, there are thousands of men looking at your woman. Brilliant.

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