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

1986 – Part 2.7: Crimson Glory – Crimson Glory

I’ve posted on Crimson Glory before when I was doing my Record Vault posts.

The line-up which is known to me as the classic line up had vocalist Midnight, guitarist Jon Drenning and Ben Jackson, bassist Jeff Lords and drummer Dana Burnell.

They never broke out big in North America, with Asia and Europe being their main market. Their presence in Europe was probably due to Roadrunner Europe being their label and they got behind the band, booking them to play shows in major markets like Germany, France, UK, Holland, Belgium and Sweden.

Their overnight European success was 5 years in the making.

The masquerade mask angle along with hard rock perms and teased hair and leather vests was strange to begin with, but I understood their message, that the music should lead the way, not how they looked but by the third album the masks ceased to be and hard rock abs were on display in photo shoots.

The self-titled debut came out in 1986 but I didn’t hear it until 89, after I purchased “Transcendence” and I went back and got the debut.

Also by 1989, a lot of the bands I liked started to change or were past their heyday.

Scorpion’s didn’t really amuse me with “Savage Amusement” in 87, UFO still powdered their noses and had no recording contract, Queensryche went hard rock (which was a good thing) but I also liked their metal style and I was seeking bands like that, Iron Maiden lost an important band member and went even more streamlined with “No Prayer For The Dying” and Black Sabbath was still trying to replenish their worth and value after the “Born Again” debacle while Dio was starting to lose his star power from 5 years before.

So I went looking elsewhere for my unique metal fix and Crimson Glory filled the void.

And I like to play the guitar, so any album that makes me pick up the guitar to learn the songs gets my attention, and this is what the Crimson Glory albums do.

“Mayday”

There is a countdown. Then a chromatic moving arpeggio/lick in harmony.

And the speed kicks in.

The fastest song on the album, relentless like “Screaming For Vengeance” and that ball tearing falsetto from Midnight rattled my windows. A mixture between King Diamond and Rob Halford on this.

The lead breaks are Judas Priest like.

“Queen of the Masquerade”

It’s more hard rock than heavy metal with the “I Love Rock N Roll” chords in the verses and some serious shred.

“Valhalla”

The intro gets me with the harmony leads.

At the 2.00 mark, there is this guitar riff which moves up chromatically, reminding me of how “The Call Of Ktulu” does the same thing. Mustaine actually used that chromatic movement for “In My Darkest Hour” and then he took his “The Call Of Ktulu” riff and made it “Hangar 18”.

Check out the harmony solo’s on this.

“Azrael”

Along with “Valhalla”, it’s a two punch combo knockout.

The intro is a mix of acoustic guitars, symphonic voices, violins and Midnight’s unique voice which sounds like Geoff Tate from “The Warning” album.

This then leads in to one of the best metal tracks I have heard with harmony guitars and galloping riffs.

Check out the riff at 2.23, done in harmony. It goes for about 10 seconds, a brief change between verses.

The lead break from 3.11. It’s guitar hero worthy but guitarists Jon Drenning and Ben Jackson are virtually unknown to the masses as Crimson Glory didn’t really cross over like Queensryche in the U.S market.

“Dragon Lady”

It starts off with a Midnight wail, harmony guitars and then a Deep Purple “Stormbringer” like riff in the verses.

Make sure you check out the Chorus, which has a combination of harmony guitars and an AOR rock chorus.

But it’s the harmony lead lick that comes after the Chorus that really gets me hooked.

Plus the outro lead break. Check it out. It as good as Jake E Lee’s “Bark At The Moon” outro.

“Lost Reflection”

A haunting acoustic piece, built on two chords and Midnight’s gloomy and mournful vocals.

From 3.10, distorted guitars crash in with reverbed drums and after 30 seconds it fades out to how it started.

“Heart Of Steel”

It starts off with acoustic guitars and harmony leads.

It reminds me of 70’s Scorpions with Uli Jon Roth on guitars, with a nod to the song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. And it’s probably their most catchiest.

I like the way Midnight sings “Heart of steeeeeeeeeee-eeeeeeeeeeee-eeeeeeeeeeel” with an increase in pitch as he holds steel.

Check out the little harmony lead at around the 4.10 mark. And the last 15 seconds is that good, the only thing you can do is press repeat.

At 5 minutes long it doesn’t get boring.

Especially the guitar playing and those harmony leads.

“Angels of War”

It’s very reminiscent of Iron Maiden.

There is a lot of great guitar playing but the little section from 3.25 is excellent.

And my favourite is when the bass and drums kick in at 3.55, then the harmony guitars start and then the Chorus vocal. A perfect minute to end the song.

“Dream Dancer”

It’s not on the vinyl version that I have. But it’s on Spotify.

Like other songs, it is a mixture of acoustic guitars in the verses with an anthemic chorus full of distorted chords. It feels like Dio vocally, but musically, it’s more in the spirit of the 70’s.

The section from 3.45 is brief but so good.

And then the lead breaks start.

“Dream Dancer can fly away / wings of fire she burns the nightshade”

And like that, the 1986 part 2 series comes to an end as I fly away to 1976.

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

1986 – Part 2.6: Cinderella – Night Songs

I’ve written about this album and certain songs previously on this blog.

This post was scheduled for today as part of my 1986 “Year In Review” series. And yesterday my Twitter feed was all about the passing of Jeff LaBar at 58. May he rest in peace and thank you for the music and all those licks and leads.

Signed to Polygram, the debut album, “Night Songs”, produced by Andy Johns, had everything from AC/DC style riffing and grooves, to Aerosmith style highs and Keifer’s unique raspy snarl.

But Keifer and co didn’t just sound like all of the other bands out there, because their influences weren’t just your standard Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC acts. They also went back and found out who influenced their influences, and allowed those artists to also influence them, hence the reason why Cinderella was more bluesier than the rest.

The debut album came out on released August 2, 1986.

It’s stood the test of time and when it came out, it competed with some massive albums from Bon Jovi, Europe, Ratt and Poison. And let’s not forget that within a year, they were also competing with Whitesnake, Motley Crue, Def Leppard and Guns N Roses for market share and sales.

The clip for “Nobody’s Fool” was first.

It hooked me in because those clean tone Am arpeggios reminded me of “Bringing On The Heartbreak” from Def Leppard. At 30 million streams on Spotify, it’s one of their biggest songs, with “Don’t Know What You Got (Until Its Gone)” at 42.19 million streams above it.

The lead break starts off so bluesy to begin with. Then it goes into some fast melodic picking.

As “Nobody’s Fool” is repeated over and over again in the outro, there is another great lead shredding away.

Then I heard “Shake Me” and the party was getting started.

Tom Keifer’s raspy voice is the difference. He didn’t sound like any other singer out on the market. Maybe a bit like Brian Johnson and a bit like Blackie Lawless. The band Hinder built a career in the music business many years later because their singer had the same raspy voice like Keifer.

So I got the album and I thought I had a feeling how the other songs would sound. I dropped the needle and the opening riff to “Night Songs” started.

I was floored.

It was heavy. It sounded deep, like “When The Levee Breaks” heavy. And the slow groove hooked me like nicotine. (I could probably do better with that line, but hey).

Workin’ this job ain’t payin’ the bills / Sick and tired rat race takin’ my thrills / Kickin’ down the road not a dime in my pocket / Nightime falls and I’m ready to rock it

This message appeared in a lot of songs around this time. “Let It Rock”, “Rock The Night”, “Working For The Weekend” just to name a few. Working to get paid, so we could rock out.

Even if the rocking took place in the comfort of our own home. There was nothing more soothing then dropping the needle and letting the sound surround you and bounce off the walls.

I love the main riff in “Nothin’ For Nothin’” and Keifer delivers a stellar vocal melody in the verses.

“Once Around The Ride” is a classic heavy metal track, with an air guitar pedal tone riff, a wicked lead break from Jeff LeBar and a vocal melody from Keifer which sticks around long after the song has finished.

“Hell On Wheels” is a fast twelve bar blues type of tune, but it’s done that well, it could have come from any NWOBHM act, just with better melodies and vocals from Kiefer. Even ZZ Top on steroids comes to mind.

We’ve had enough of the raw deals / Hit the road and tell ya how it feels
Like hell on wheels

“Somebody Save Me” is my favourite. The “Knock Em Dead Kid” riff merged with “Looks That Kill” works a treat and Keifer delivers vocally.

Well, everybody’s got opinions / But nobody’s got the answers / And the shit you ate for breakfast / Well, it’ll only give you cancer

Remember when white bread was marketed as a health food.

Now processed meats will give you cancer. And too much red meat as well. Plus all those cereals and muesli bars and low fat alternatives are full of sugar.

“In From The Outside” has an excellent outro and it’s the reason why I go through the whole song, just to hear the outro and how they fit in this metal like section to a 12 bar blues.

And “Back Home Again” is a great way to bookend the album. An open string riff kicks it off and the vocal melody from Keifer is brilliant.

I hit the road wide open at seventeen

It doesn’t happen like that anymore or does it. I read an article how most kids are still living with their parents past the age of 30.

And there is a cast on the album.

Jon Bon Jovi does backing vocals on a few tracks, drums are played by someone else and even the guitar leads are played by someone else on a few tracks.

For a debut album, it was an expensive exercise for Polygram. But it paid off in spades. Three times platinum in the U.S.

A school friend back then asked me to describe the album and I called it “AC/DC on steroids”. Hearing it back throughout the decades its more varied than that. There is a lot to unpack. ZZ Top is present, the first three Def Leppard albums, Aerosmith, Bad Company and Led Zeppelin.

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1986 – Part 2.5: Tesla – Mechanical Resonance

In the early 80s, Frank Hannon and Brian Wheat took a band name from a Y&T album and started playing UFO, Scorpions and Def Leppard covers. Jeff Keith, Troy Luccketta and Tommy Skeoch joined after and the band became known as City Kidd.

A three month residency at a U.S Army base would give them the opportunity to write songs and then play them live. Most of the songs written for the debut and some of the songs for “The Great Radio Controversy” were written during this period.

Jack Russell from “Great White” became a fan and he got Tom Zutaut to check em out, who then promised em a recording contract, but they had to wait until the end of 85, as he was moving from Elektra to Geffen.

They got a Q Prime deal but couldn’t get a producer to work with them. Rick Rubin, Max Norman and Bruce Fairbairn rejected them. Zutaut brought in Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero but their background was dance music and they did some time mixing rock albums. Hardly an ideal choice and they also tried to get out of the gig.

Mid 86, City Kidd changed their name to Tesla and “Mechanical Resonance” was released on November 24, 1986, by Geffen Records.

It’s on Spotify, but they took off “The Great Radio Controversy”. Why they removed it, I guess we’ll never know.

“EZ Come EZ Go”

The funky groove to kick it off hides the rocker the song really is.

The verses are very Def Leppard like (first two albums Lep), in the sense of dynamics (soft and loud), the pulse like bass/bass drum and vocal melodies. But the Chorus rocks hard, like AC/DC and Aerosmith hard.

Then the lead breaks show a guitar hero aspect to the band.

In essence, if this was the first song you heard and it didn’t move ya, then you need to check yourself for a pulse.

There comes a time when you’ve got to let things go as fast as they come
Wait and see what tomorrow may bring you, get it all while you can

I know it sounds clichéd today, but to a kid growing up, it was eye opening.

Like a new creed, a new truth.

“Cumin’ Atcha Live”

Written by Hannon, Keith and Wheat. If feels like a band jamming in the style of Van Halen. Even one of the riffs you hear in the first 30 seconds comes from a Van Halen song. The whole solo section feels like an improv jam.

My favourite part is between the 3.18 to 3.53 mark in the leads.

“Gettin’ Better”

Written by Hannon and Keith. One of my favourites.

As soon as I heard the arpeggio intro I was racking my brain as to what song it reminds me of. The D to A to Bm chord progression reminds me of “Goodbye To Romance”. Tesla would use this chord progression again in the “Love Song” intro. Mark Tremonti was a fan, so it was no surprise to hear it in “One Last Breath”.

And when the distorted chords kick in, again I am reminded about something familiar. Maybe “Highway To Hell”.

I’m a hard workin’ man, doin’ all that I can, tryin’ to make ends meet
Just a-makin’ my way through the jungle today, it’s gettin’ the best of me

But it’s only gettin’ better, and a change is gonna come my way

My Dad worked two jobs to survive in Australia. My mum never worked as she was tasked with raising the family and keeping the house running. And I’m thinking did it get better for him. He believes so, but my Mum doesn’t. And for me, both my wife and I are working jobs so we can survive in this country and go on some holidays. We don’t know anything different.

“2 Late 4 Love”

Written by the band again, the embryo to “Hang Tough” is right here in the Intro.

I can’t believe this fucked up world in which we’re livin’ in
Still I do the best that I can
Always got me on the lookout for a getaway
Runnin’ hard, I’m a rock ‘n’ roll man

Work to live and don’t live to work. The world will always disappoint you, so just do your best to get bye.

“Rock Me to the Top”

It’s a Keith and Skeoch composition. One of my favourites. It just rocks and rolls its way through my brain. A totally different style.

Rock me, rock me (rock), rock me to the top, to the top, baby

How can you not sing-along to it?

“We’re No Good Together”

Written by Hannon, Keith and Luccketta and I’m a fan of its slow bluesy feel. Very Bad Company’sih and Led Zeppelin’ish. Aerosmith wrote a similar track on “Pump” called “What It Takes”.

And it picks up for the lead break and outro, like “Free Bird”, only shorter.

“Modern Day Cowboy”

It kicks off side 2. A Hannon, Keith and Skeoch composition.

When the verse arpeggios kick in, it’s like the “Kashmir” riff, as each note moves up chromatically.

Also check out the lead breaks on this.

Foreign lands
With their terrorist demands
Only cause the good to hurt

Like so many others we have grown up with terror in our lives. Some experience it closely and it’s on the news when it happens and the innocent are always the ones to suffer.

The U.S.A., the U.S.S.R. with their six-guns to the side
I see the message written on the wall. Too much anger deep inside

This was a thing once upon a time. Communism versus democracy. It looks like the scars never really went away because it’s still a thing. And people thought that once the Berlin Wall fell down, democracy would rule. But the older ones from Eastern Europe like my grandfather, they knew that a new dictatorship, probably worse than the one before, was just a few years away from resurfacing.

Bang bang, I shoot ’em up
Bang bang, blow you away
It’s a showdown in the no man’s land for the cowboy of the modern day

It’s a showdown!

“Changes”

Another band composition. One of my favorite Tesla songs ever, as it moves from an emotive piano intro into a vibrato style riff.

Changes, time’s makin’ changes in my life
Rearrangin’, can’t seem to stop the hands of time
I remember, I was so young, I was much too young to see
Now I’m older, growing older, and I see things differently

A commitment to self-development and self-learning makes me question a lot of things that I once held as truth. But it all takes time. As time moves forwards, so do the changes. We don’t have three channels anymore. We don’t have dial up internet.

“Little Suzi”

A Ph.D. cover, written by Jim Diamond and Tony Hymas.

The “Albatross” intro was written by Hannon. The original version of the song had synths and was electronic, but Tesla made it an acoustic country rock style cut. In other words they made it awesome.

“Love Me”

It’s day and I’m feelin’ high, what’s the chances for you and I

What kind of high was Jeff Keith on?

Written by Hannon, Keith and Wheat, I can hear UFO and Bad Company in this. I reckon CC DeVille was also listening closely as I can hear “Nothing But A Good Time” in this.

Also check out the lead break, just for the soul and blues rock licks.

“Cover Queen”

A Hannon and Keith composition.

The “Blackout” from Scorpions inspired intro gets me interested. The verses swagger like Aerosmith. And in the last minute of the song it’s pure EVH style jamming.

“Before My Eyes”

It’s a darker cut, almost Dio like, written by Hannon, Keith, Luccketta and Skeoch composition.

If you like Van Halen and Aerosmith, there is enough here to keep you interested. If you like 70’s British acts like Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, Free, UFO, Thin Lizzy and Deep Purple, there is enough here to keep you interested.

If you like the Sunset Strip sounds of Motley Crue, RATT, WASP, Quiet Riot and Ratt, there is enough to keep you interested. If you like acts like Y&T, Triumph, Sammy Hagar and Montrose, those sounds are also here. And if you like the sounds of European acts like Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Scorpions and Judas Priest, then they are also present.

Tesla basically rocks.

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1986 – Part 2.4: Stryper – To Hell With The Devil

I like Stryper. I never understood the crap they got because of their views on Christianity. Most interviews focused on that aspect and very rarely on the music.

“To Hell With The Devil” was released in 1986. It went platinum in the U.S, and it remained the best-selling Christian metal album until P.O.D.’s “Satellite” in 2001, which I also have.

To Hell With The Devil

The drum beat from Robert Sweet is simple but powerful. The chord structure is standard Am to F to G, but the guitar leads and harmonies make it unique.

How good are just the vocals and drums in the first verse?

And make sure you check out the leads from Oz Fox and Michael Sweet.

Calling On You

The lead break reminds me of “Sweet Child O Mine” but this was released before.

I’m always a sucker for melodic rock songs like this.

Free

It’s the same message as “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, “Stand Up And Shout” and the like.

The Intro lead break gets me playing air guitar and they end the song with it, just in a different key.

They even borrowed from “Reason For The Season” for the vocal melody.

Honestly

It just wasn’t my thing. The sound of the piano reminded me of the music in TV shows I didn’t like.

But it sold the album.

The Way

The Judas Priest and Iron Maiden influences of Oz Fox are shining through on the riffs here. A metal tour de force.

Sing-Along Song

It’s got that “Turbo Lover” feel in the Intro/verse.

Holding On

It’s “Hungry For Heaven” in the Intro and the Chorus harmonies are straight from the grooves on the Boston record.

Rockin’ The World

The Intro/Verse is familiar, but I can’t remember from where.

All Of Me

My least favorite track leads into my favorite track.

More Than A Man

If you like “Lights Out” from UFO, you will like this. The F#m groove is at the heart of both songs.

The lead break at the start also borrows from “Soldiers Under Command”.

And the main lead break is guitar hero worthy.

To Hell With The Devil I say.

Check em out.

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1986 – Part 2.3: Van Halen – 5150

I can’t believe I haven’t written about this album yet.

“5150” achieved what “1984” couldn’t.

The Billboard Number 1 spot.

Actually all of the Sammy Hagar albums achieved what the David Lee Roth albums couldn’t.

Then again DLR needed to contend with Michael Jackson and “Thriller” and Adele with “21”.

Songs like “Why Can’t This Be Love”, “Best of Both Worlds”, “Dreams”, “Live Walks In” and “Summer Nights” take up most of the press and listens on steaming services but it’s tracks like “Good Enough” and “Get Up” which get me really interested.

Good Enough

Check out the head banging riff on “Good Enough” after Sammy screams “Hello Baby”.

It sounds like AC/DC on steroids but if you listen to the 1983 demo, it actually sounds like ZZ Top.

It was one of the first songs Sammy Hagar jammed with the band and he is at his creative best, telling us that a good looking women is like a good piece of prime grade beef.

Why Can’t This Be Love

Then they hit us with this.

Infectious and catchy. Almost funky.

Play that synth riff on guitar and it rocks your socks off.

Get Up

Speed rock. I love it.

Dreams

If the synth riff doesn’t get you singing out loud, then Sammy’s vocals would.

Summer Nights

Along with “Good Enough” this was the other song that Sammy Hagar jammed on.

It’s winter in Australia right now but this song is timeless, gets me thinking of good times. Almost nostalgic like.

Best Of Both Worlds

It’s “Highway To Hell” and I like it.

Check out the dynamics from EVH as he goes from loud to soft to loud again.

Love Walks In

It’s a great ballad. Play that riff on a guitar and you’ll hear how much it rocks.

5150

There’s a lot of guitar on this, but it’s the Chorus riff and vocal melody which hooks me.

Inside

Another funky and groovy rocker. Never played live.

Crank it and let 1986 intoxicate you.

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1986 – Part 2.2: Judas Priest – Turbo

This is the 30 Year Anniversary cover.

I was probably too young or too dumb to understand why the writers of the music mags kept trashing the sound of this album as “lite Rock”.

To me, it was and still is a hard rock album and my fandom with Judas Priest started with this album, “Ram It Down” and “Painkiller”. Then I went back into the catalogue.

If anything, the addition of synths to their sound, was no different to ZZ Top’s and my fandom with them also started with “Eliminator”.

From a production point of view, Tom Allom is still in the producer chair.

Turbo Lover

The simplicity of Ian Hill on bass and Dave Holland on drums just playing a stock standard beat, sets a canvas for creativity. And that’s exactly what Glen Tipton, KK Downing and Rob Halford do. They decorate each section so it sounds unique, while Hill and Holland stay the same.

Tipton’s lead break is also worthy. It’s got enough moments to sing a long with it and he shreds enough to show his prowess, all without overplaying. Which is a very subjective term these days. My view on overplaying is different to others.

Then after the solo, the verse riff and vocal melody remind me of “The Sentinel”. But back then it didn’t.

Locked In

Covering “Johnny B Goode” rubbed off on the songwriting.

Make sure you check out the arpeggio solo towards the end of the whole lead break from Tipton.

Private Property

“Turbo Lover” part two. Or a track from ZZ Top’s “Eliminator”.

The bass and drums set the foundation and the others do the creativity with riffs, melodic fills, leads and vocal melodies.

Parental Guidance

Tipton always kept his finger on what was happening in the guitar scene. Check out some of his leads on the albums which came after incorporating “sweep picking”.

On this one, it’s very major key and EVH had a knack for making major chord progressions sound heavy in the way EVH palm mutes the arpeggios. Tipton does the same here.

Rock You All Around The World

The Intro riff is excellent.

Lyrically these kind of themes of “heavy metal music cranked louder and voices showing power” started to became cliched, but living through the era, i lived it.

Check out Tipton’s solo on this.

Out In The Cold

A hidden gem.

The synth Intro makes it sound ancient, like “Gates of Babylon” ancient.

Then the band crashes in and I swear I’m listening to “Dream Warriors” in the verses. But “Dream Warriors” came after. Regardless, I’m all in.

Check out that Aerosmith “Kings And Queens” feel just before the solo.

Wild Nights, Hot And Crazy Days

They tried to rewrite “Living After Midnight” musically.

But the star of the song is the AC/DC vocal melody from Halford.

Hot For Love

The first 30 seconds.

How good are the riffs?

And the Pre Chorus is more anthemic than the Chorus.

Check out Downing’s lead break and they then go into an excellent harmony section.

Reckless

One of my favorite cuts. The whole melodic rock movement is here.

The Intro harmony leads remind me of “Rock You Like A Hurricane”.

The verse melodies from Halford are excellent.

Look out
I’m blastin’ through the lines
Alive and kickin’
Watch out
I’m young and lethal
I’m goin’ from here until eternity

It resonated with me. Growing up in a steel city, all that was expected of me and others, was to grow up and work in the steelworks.

And songs like these allowed us to dream.

Make sure you check out the lead breaks, especially the outro leads from KK Downing.

And based on the momentum the band built over the last six years, the album quickly went to Platinum in the U.S. and Halford showed all the singers who the Boss is when it comes to performing live.

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1986 – Part 2.1: Yngwie Malmsteen – Trilogy

A guitarist in a band I was in, worshipped Yngwie. And he sort of pissed me off, strutting around like he was elite, making fun of all others who didn’t like Yngwie and because of him, I hated Yngwie to start off. I wouldn’t give in and say anything positive about Yngwie to him.

It wasn’t until I left the band, that I gave Yngwie some time. And when I heard the albums “Marching Out” and “Trilogy” I was hooked. Good music is good music and good riffs are good riffs.

And “Trilogy” is full of good riffs and good leads and I still class “Marching Out” as one of “the” metal albums of the 80’s.

It would become a normal thing for each Yngwie release, but I was pretty bummed when the singer from the “Marching Out” record, Jeff Scott Soto was out, replaced by Mark Boals. Then I was bummed when Boals was replaced by Joe Lynn Turner and bummed again when Turner was replaced by an unknown Swede called Goran Edman.

I guess the singer problem is solved now, as Yngwie can’t really fire himself.

Malmsteen gets a lot of praise here, but let’s not forget Boals on vocals, a cross between Ronnie James Dio and Ian Gillian.

“You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget”

A great opener.

The riff is simple and the keys give it a melodic rock tone.

For me the piece d resistance is the G# diminished arpeggio lead between the verse and the chorus. Its so fun to play and it connects the two sections.

And the lead break is one of Yngwie’s best. He shreds but it’s perfect for the song as he doesn’t overplay, full of melody, scalar runs and sweeps.

At 3.20, just after the solo, it goes into a slow breakdown and it builds up again into the Chorus.

And while the chorus melody keeps going, Malmsteen is wailing away in the background.

“Liar”

It’s a very Euro sounding riff. Early Europe had songs like this.

It’s more like Uli Jon Roth Scorpions merged with Blackmore’s “Speed King” and “Highway Star”.

In the verses and chorus, Malmsteen jams on a pedal point, embellishing it with scalar runs on the 4th or 8th bar of the riff, while the keys and bass outline a chord progression.

“Queen In Love”

The intro riff immediately got me to grab my guitar and attempt to learn it. It’s a great head banging riff in Em to jam to.

The sweep-picked diminished arpeggios before the main solo are excellent and fun (also frustrating) to learn. And the main solo is also one of his best.

“Crying”

An instrumental.

There is an acoustic guitar which outlines a sad rhythm, guitar track, while another acoustic guitar plays a classical like lead over it.

Eventually it morphs into an electric lead break but it wasn’t needed.

“Fury”

Who would have known that Malmsteen would utter these words many years later while intoxicated on an airplane?

This isn’t a favourite but it is fun to jam to.

“Fire”

The intro is great to play. It feels like it came from the fingers of EVH as its got this major key vibe, sort of like “Dance The Night Away” but don’t think the songs sound alike, they don’t.

Actually the way it moves from A to E, G to D and F to C, the hand placements are more “All Right Now” than anything else.

“Magic Mirror”

The intro.

Its head banging stuff. Malmsteen nailed the combo of metal riffs and keyboard embellishments in this song.

“Everyone is searching for the meaning of our life”.

We still are searching.

“Dark Ages”

Sweden’s Melodic Death Metallers would be proud of this.

Its doomy, heavy and ready to sink wooden ships, in a time when darkness ruled.

“Trilogy Suite Op:5”

I didn’t get why it needed to have Suite Op:5 added.

An instrumental.

While the first part is all shred like and fast classical arpeggios, it’s the middle section which hooked me.

From the 3 minute mark.

You need to hear that movement. Its classical music at its best and Malmsteen showcases his acoustic guitar skills.

Then when the distortion kicks in, it goes into a Uli Jon Roth style of groove, which is the foundation for more shred and a keyboard solo.

Finally, my Metallica and Slayer loving friends, couldn’t get past the album credits which state; “Produced and Conducted by Yngwie Malmsteen”.

Yes that one world, “conducted” was enough to make people not listen to Malmsteen. But if you want to hear some great melodic metal, very Rainbow like, then crank it.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music

1986 – Part 1.6: Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet

I wrote a post on this album back in 2013, called “What Made Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet Explode”. You can read it here.

You can call this an extra appreciation post.

Like all great movies, the actors and production team had to be in place.

The producer Bruce Fairbairn and the engineer/mixer Bob Rock are there. The band is there. The song writing team of Jovi, Sambora and Desmond Child is there. The three years of playing and touring together is there. Doc McGhee as manager is there. A label looking to break em big is there.

And the band decided that quantity will breed quality.

Along with the album tracks, the band had written over 30 songs for the album. YouTube has a lot of videos up. Start with “The Basement Demos” and then move to the “Pre Production Demos”. A Whitesnake evolutions style mix is required here.

The biggest win for the Jovi team was the release month of August.

For that month it was up against Motorhead – “Orgasmatron”, Vinnie Vincent – “Invasion”, Warlock – “True As Steel” and Great White – “Shot In The Dark”.

If it was released in July, it would have been up against DLR’s – “Eat Em and Smile” for listeners’ attention.

If it was released in June, it would have had to compete against Queen – “A Kind of Magic”, Genesis – “Invisible Touch”, Rod Stewart – “Every Beat of My Heart”, Madonna – “True Blue” and Cinderella – “Night Songs”.

If it was released in May as originally intended, it would have been up against AC/DC – “Who Made Who”, Journey – “Raised on Radio” and Europe – “The Final Countdown”.

In other words, August was perfect.

“Let It Rock” kicks it off Side 1.

Like Loverboy’s “Working for The Weekend”, the song is about letting your hair down on the weekend.

And Fairbairn had a thing that the bands he worked with should have an intro that could kick off the concert.

“Shot through the heart and you’re to blame, darling you give love a bad name.”

Its overplayed now but iconic and unforgettable back then.

Then the band kicks in and Richie does the vocal melody on the guitar until they start the strip bar sleazy verse riff.

“You Give Love A Bad Name” was the one that opened the door and as soon as the band unleashed “Livin On A Prayer”, the album started selling 700,000 records a month.

I saw “Social Disease” as pure filler back then as I failed to appreciate the blues soul swing of the track. And it needed to be written so that “Bad Medicine” could be written.

So you telephone your doctor
Just to see what pill to take
You know there’s no prescription
Gonna wipe this one away

“Wanted Dead or Alive” was already a hit before it came out as a single. But the song didn’t reach number one because when the song was released as a single, the multi-million fan base had already digested it and made it their own.

“And the people I meet always go their separate ways”

“Raise Your Hands” kicks off side 2. The motto of this song is simply. Come to the show, raise your hands and get wild.

Raise your hands
When you want to let it go
Raise your hands
And you want to let a feeling show

“Without Love” is lost on the album behind all the great tracks.

“I’d Die for You” has a guitar riff that reminds me of “Breaking The Law” from Judas Priest.

“Never Say Goodbye” was too slow for me back then. It was many years later that I started to appreciate the song and that guitar melody from Richie is pretty cool to play.

Finally “Wild in the Street” closes the album with its 60s rock vibe.

“In here we got this code of honor
Nobody’s going down”

If you want to experience 1986, then crank “Slippery When Wet”.

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1986 – Part 1.5: Ozzy Osbourne – The Ultimate Sin

Boris Vallejo is on hand to create the cover art.

I did a recent post on this album in February 2021.

This album gets no love. The people who run the Ozzy Osbourne machine are trying their best to kill “The Ultimate Sin” because of the complicated relationships they have with the people involved in creating it and the various disputes over royalty payments.

Jake E. Lee circa, 1989 when he was promoting Badlands, blasted the sound of the album and the fixed mindset of producer Ron Nevison to not allow him to try any different sounds. Bob Daisley in his book blasted the album as the worst Ozzy Osbourne album he’s been involved in. And recently Ozzy, in a Rolling Stone interview, said the songs were just put down weird and that everything felt and sounded the same. Ozzy further mentioned that “The Ultimate Sin” is his least favourite solo release.

By 1986, Ozzy was in rehab and the people that held it all together were Bob Daisley and Jake E Lee. Lee got burned on the song writing credits for the “Bark At The Moon” album, so he demanded a contract up front before he even started writing. By the time Ozzy came out of rehab, Jake had already compiled 12 songs and the contract issues from the past made for a tense recording session.

Apart from “Shot In The Dark” (which is credited to Phil Soussan and Ozzy Osbourne) all of the lyrics on “The Ultimate Sin” are written by Bob Daisley to vocal melodies and titles put to him by Ozzy. But as usual, Daisley had a falling out with the Osbourne’s and was fired again and in spite, the first 500,000 copies of the album don’t have Daisley credited. This was corrected after the Osbourne’s were served with court papers.

But for all of the backroom band and business politics, this is one of my favourite albums from Ozzy.

“The Ultimate Sin”

The drum intro from Castillo sounds like it’s recorded on paper skins, but as soon as the riff kicks in from Lee, it’s head banging time. The song is credited to Daisley, Osbourne and Lee.

Overkill, enough is enough
There’s nothing left of me to devour
You’ve had your fill, I’m all I have left
What can stop your hunger for power?

Intoxicated Ozzy gave the media and the religious zealots a lot of material to work with. Daisley had been around Ozzy long enough to see how the headlines played out.

Check out the solo and the outro section with the double kick drumming.

“Secret Loser”

I’ve written about this track before, but who remembers the Charlie Sheen movie “The Wraith”?

In the movie, Charlie Sheen plays a person who comes back to life to avenge his death at the hands of a gang (who got away with the murder). He kills his murderers one by one, by car racing each gang member and then setting them up to crash and die. “Secret Loser” appears during one such car race and it connected right away with me.

How good is the intro riff?

Could it be that I’m obsessed with feeding my disease / I couldn’t make it known the hidden things no one sees

Daisley was pretty good at writing autobiographical stories of Ozzy. I think this one is no different, especially the line about how Ozzy is obsessed with feeding the disease and in this case, the disease is the persona of Ozzy being constantly intoxicated, drugged out and doing something publicly embarrassing.

Check out the guitar solo from Lee.

“Never Know Why”

If we’re offensive and pose a threat
You fear what we represent is a mess
You’ve missed the message that says it all
And you’ll never know why

I guess too many people judged heavy metal and hard rock music without really getting to know it and the people involved with it. I guess they will never know why we rock.

Make sure you check out the outro solo.

“Thank God For The Bomb”

The intro riff from Lee, is sleazy and sinister at the same time.

The title is almost Alice Cooper like, and musically, it feels like a Van Halen track from back in the David Lee Roth days.

“Never”

An underrated track.

The “I Don’t Know” meets “Suicide Solution” verse riff is the link to the past which gets me interested.

“It is the chain that you’re dragging that was once your relief”

That house you wanted, is now the thing that gives you worry. The family you wanted, is now the thing that gives you happiness but also stress and fear.

How good is the Chorus!

Did I mention the solo is killer.

“Lightning Strikes”

It’s so creative what Lee did here.

Take the riff from “Crazy Train” and play the higher notes in a different order over the F#m pedal point. It’s the essence of creativity. Take something that came before and tweak it.

I’m not apologizing
I am what I am
There is no compromising
I don’t give a damn

Ozzy was rocking all night, alright and he didn’t give a damn.

“Killer Of Giants”

The acoustic/clean tone electric intro grabs my attention straight away.

But how good is the fingerpicked verse when Ozzy sings “if none of us believe in war, then what are the weapons for?”

The vocal melody and guitar riff for the Chorus gets me out of chair, singing, “mountain of protests for not stopping the war”.

And that guitar solo. So emotive and really bluesy.

“Fool Like You”

Another underrated deep album cut.

How good is that intro?

If it doesn’t get you up and banging that head, then you have no heartbeat.

You’re hearing what you want to hear
Misunderstanding all you see
An attitude in all of us
Is it really you and me

As much as we tell ourselves we don’t have a bias, we do. All of us.

Did I mention that the lead break is a killer?

It is.

Lee goes all exotic and harmonic minor.

And how good is the section, when they come out of the solo, with Lee allowing the power chords to ring out, while Castillo goes to town with drum fills.

And there is an outro solo, which is too brief as someone made the dumb decision to fade it out.

“Shot In The Dark”

The big hit.

The way Lee decorates the song with the riffs, melodic fills and leads is excellent and of course Soussan keeps the bass line driving along.

The album is 35 years old and no re-release has happened.

But the fans don’t forget.

And for me, it was my entry point to Ozzy.

Play it loud.

\::/

Part 1.1 on Iron Maiden – Somewhere In Time is here.

Part 1.2 on David Lee Roth – Eat Em And Smile is here.

Part 1.3 on Metallica – Master Of Puppets is here.

Part 1.4 on Europe – The Final Countdown is here.

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1986 – Part 1.4: Europe – The Final Countdown

The media loved to play off Bon Jovi and Europe against each other, but they operated in different spheres. Europe always had the Euro/classical vibe to their music. Even at their commercial zenith, this Euro/classical vibe was still prevalent.

In Australia, the album was double platinum. In other parts of the world, it was the same, if not more.

Apart from the mainstays in vocalist Joey Tempest and bassist Jon Leven, “The Final Countdown” is the first album to feature keyboardist Mic Michaeli and drummer Ian Haugland, and the last to feature original guitarist John Norum until Europe’s 2000’s reboot.

“The Final Countdown”

At 294.7 million streams on Spotify, it’s a monster track. It’s on every Spotify playlists when it comes to hard rock and the 80’s and number ones and what not.

That intro. Iconic and memorable.

Wikipedia tells me it was a riff composed by Joey Tempest in 1981/82. It sat on the backburner until 1985, when bassist Jon Leven, asked Tempest to bring it back in the mix and write a song around it.

An interview that Tempest did with the BBC he mentions the following;

“I was in college and keyboards had started to make their way into rock music. I thought that could be a good idea and so I borrowed this keyboard from the only guy in school that had a keyboard. I went home and tried a few sounds on it and I came up with that riff. I thought it was very special and I kept it in the drawer until we did the third album many years later.

By then, there were some other bands experimenting with keyboards, like Van Halen with “Jump”. So on the third album, I gave this demo to the guys and said maybe we can do something nice with the demo and then we had an opening for the show.

I can trace bands like UFO in it, sort of a galloping theme like Iron Maiden had on “The Number of the Beast” album on quite a few songs.”

I like how Tempest mentions the influences of the song. It’s how we create. Take something that came before and make it better. And it also shows how ballsy the move was from EVH to create a song based around a synth riff. It inspired other bands to do the same.

How good is that lead break from John Norum?

He left the band as the album was being released. The original album cover has him on it, however subsequent versions afterwards had Kee Marcello, his replacement.

“Rock The Night”

50.46 million streams on Spotify.

A great “Rock You Like A Hurricane” inspired intro kicks off this song.

It was already a fan favourite, as it was played live on the “Wings Of Tomorrow” tour, and in Sweden, it was on the soundtrack of a Swedish film called “On The Loose”, along with the songs “On The Loose” and “Broken Dreams”.

Just don’t watch the video clip.

“Carrie”

123.96 million streams on Spotify. It’s also on a lot of playlists from Spotify, with the main one being the “Power Ballads” playlist.

Listen to the lead break from Norum. It’s the style of lead breaks that Vito Bratta would become known for.

“Danger On The Track”

The lyrics are silly but the vocal melodies are infectious.

But the interlude. It’s got everything. Norum plays a bluesy riff while the keyboard solos, and when he gets his chance, he delivers.

“Ninja”

The intro melodic lead hooks me in straight away. Or maybe it was the “Lights Out” groove from UFO.

This song, along with “Rock The Night” were the first songs written for the album and played live during the “Wings Of Tomorrow” tour.

Make sure you check out the lead break. Norum brings his Michael Schenker and Uli John Roth influences to the table on this one.

It’s a perfect closer for Side A.

“Cherokee”

Artists that weren’t American, were writing about American issues and the treatment of the Native Indian tribes. The idea for this song came from a book that the wife of producer Kevin Elson had and it was the last song written for the album.

The intro riff, which is also the Chorus riff is excellent.

And how good are the small leads in the Outro chorus. Tempest sings “Cher-o-kee” and Norum plays three notes after it, to mimic it.

“Time Has Come”

It’s like a soundtrack song. “Drive” from The Cars comes to mind.

But the bomb in this song is the whole solo movement. It is orchestrated brilliantly. It starts off with a Def Leppard like inspired riff before it goes into the lead.

“Heart Of Stone”

This track is one of those “deep album cuts” which is a fan favourite. The riffs are heavy metal like and that Chorus vocal melody is infectious.

And the solo.

Man, check it out as Norum pours his creativity in it.

“On The Loose”

It’s the “Blackout” feel from Scorpions that gets me to pay attention.

“Love Chaser”

It’s a combination of “The Final Countdown” riff and “Danger On The Track”.

And what a shred-a-licious lead break to close the album with.

Europe would go on and release the excellent “Out Of This World” in 1988 which had more of a classic rock and metal vibe to it, and after a lot of delays and demanded re-writes by the label, “Prisoners In Paradise” in 1991, before calling it quits for the rest of the 90’s. But when they returned in the 2000’s, they returned with power, fully in control of their masters and their careers.

Part 1.1 on Iron Maiden – Somewhere In Time is here.

Part 1.2 on David Lee Roth – Eat Em And Smile is here.

Part 1.3 on Metallica- Master Of Puppets is here.

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