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

1986 – Part 4.7: Ratt – Dancing Undercover

I missed this album in 1986, picking it up a few years later. I’m glad I did pick it up, because as soon as I dropped the needle I liked what I head musically.

It had groove, it was heavy and it was music I was familiar with, like the “Van Halen II” album.

“Dancing Undercover” is the third studio album.

Ratt was on an album per year cycle, as the label knew that time at the top is fleeting, so they capitalized as much as they can.

Produced by Beau Hill, he kept the Ratt’sters of Stephen Pearcy (Vocals), Robbin Crosby (Guitar), Warren DeMartini (Guitar), Juan Croucier (Bass) and Bobby Blotzer (Drums) in line to deliver another Platinum album.

However it’s important to remember that Platinum awards were given out to artists based on shipments alone before Soundscan became a thing.

Did they really sell a million?

I don’t think they did. Then again in a country of 332 million, what is a million in sales.

It’s less than 1 percent. 0.3 to be exact.

That’s the reach.

Anyway.

Dance

Written by Crosby, Pearcy, DeMartini and producer Beau Hill.

Before “Girls, Girls, Girls” there was “Dance”.

Check out the digital delay melodic lead at the start is perfect.

Does it remind you of the piano riff on “Bat Out Of Hell”?

One Good Lover

Written by Crosby and Pearcy.

Check out the “Somebody Get Me A Doctor” riff in the Intro and Chorus. Crosby was a master at taking something that came before and making it Ratt’N’Roll material. And he also took the feel, the key and groove of “You Really Got Me” in the verses as well.

Drive Me Crazy

Written by Crosby, Pearcy, DeMartini and Blotzer.

The dudes borrow from another L.A shredder in Mr George Lynch with the Intro/Chorus riff and a certain EVH in the Verses and Pre.

Slip Of The Lip

Written by DeMartini, Croucier and Pearcy.

Its blues rock groove was better than anything that AC/DC was releasing and DeMartini was in pentatonic heaven with his leads.

Body Talk

“Light Up The Sky” comes to mind immediately.

So press play and enjoy that main riff from DeMartini, which is something he had written a while ago, but never knew what to do with it.

Until Croucier heard it, wrote some more music for it and arranged the song, with Pearcy contributing lyrics.

A perfect Side 1 closer.

Looking for Love

The Side 2 opener written by Crosby, Croucier and Pearcy.

How catchy is the vocal line in the Chorus on this?

But press play to check out the NWOBHM riff in the intro.

It’s heavy fucking metal.

7th Avenue

Written by DeMartini and Pearcy.

The metal blues groove on this is perfection, something which Izzy and Slash would use a lot on the debut GNR album.

It Doesn’t Matter

Written by Croucier and Pearcy.

Musically it’s very VH like.

The Chorus lyrics are great with the message to let your individual freak flag fly, as it doesn’t matter at all the clothes you wear.

But the Verse lyrics are not in sync.

Take a Chance

Written by DeMartini, Croucier and Pearcy.

CC DeVille would be inspired for “Unskinny Bop” and DeMartini would re-use some of the riffs for “Way Cool Jnr”. It could even pass as a derivative version of “Slip Of The Lip” or a track on a David Lee Roth album.

Enough Is Enough

Written by DeMartini, Crosby, Croucier and Pearcy it’s basically “You’re In Love” in clean tone.

Croucier is all over this album, with co-writes on almost every track. Pearcy was never Shakespeare when it came to lyrics, but there is always room for dumb party sex songs.

Then again, not if your Eddie Vedder.

Press play.

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1986 – Part 4.6: The Rolling Stones – Dirty Work

I liked the 80’s Stones. They were like a pseudo melodic rock band. But Keith Richards hated it.

You see, Mick Jagger had just released his first solo album, “She’s the Boss” in 1985 and Richards saw this as a betrayal. Richards believed that Jagger’s first priority should be the Rolling Stones and not to pursue a career as a pop star.

“Dirty Work” was released on 24 March 1986. Produced by Steve Lillywhite, he didn’t have an easy job to do as he had to call in various other musicians to get the album done. It was also rare that all the band was in the studio at once.

The band for the album is listed as Mick Jagger on vocals, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood on all things guitars, Bill Wyman on bass and Charlie Watts on drums.

But.

Jagger was often absent from the sessions while Richards recorded with Ronnie Wood, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts.

Jagger added his parts after.

And Charlie Watts was addicted to heroin and alcohol so Steve Jordan and Anton Fig played drums on some tracks (uncredited) and Ronnie Wood on others.

One Hit (To The Body)

It’s that “Rockin In The Free World” vibe in the verses that hooks me.

The song is written by Jagger, Richards and Wood and Jimmy Page also plays on it. The best song on the album.

Fight

This is old Stones, with 80’s production and I like it. The song is written by Jagger, Richards and Wood.

Harlem Shuffle

This sounds like Mick and Keith turned up to a Blues whiskey bar and started jamming with the house band and I like it.

You can feel the soul and blues drip off every note and every melody. It’s a cover from Bob & Earl, written by Bob Relf and Ernest Nelson.

Hold Back

This Jagger and Richards cut feels like a mess.

The only thing that isn’t a mess is the metronomic drumming from Sir Watts (RIP). Then again I don’t know if it was him or the other uncredited drummers.

Too Rude

It feels like a track from the “Cocktail” movie or a Beach Boys track.

It’s also a cover from Half Pint, a Jamaican Reggae artist who released the song (called “Winsome”) on his 1984 album. Lead vocals are handled by Richards on this and drums are played by Ronnie Wood.

It’s also a skip.

Winning Ugly

It’s a Jagger and Richards composition. Musically, it’s got a bass riff which is like a 12 bar blues, but the soul feels like a soul rock track.

Back To Zero

It’s a funk rock tune, written by Jagger, Richards and Chuck Leavell who was a member of The Allman Brothers during their 70’s heyday. A bit different, but by this stage, the album is more filler than killer.

Dirty Work

The tempo is increased and the band is rocking out of the gate. The song is written by Jagger, Richards and Wood.

Had It With You

A 12 bar blues track, bringing back their 60’s output into the 80’s. Aerosmith is another band that would write tracks like this in the 80’s and well into the 90’s. The song is written by Jagger, Richards and Wood.

Sleep Tonight

A ballad written by Jagger and Richards, which feels like a jam at a Roadhouse Bar late at night when everyone has had too many drinks. Lead vocals are handled by Richards on this and drums are played by Ronnie Wood.

In the end, the first three tracks set the bar high, the title track joins them and the rest of the tracks are there as filler.

And because of the animosity between members, there was no supporting tour for this album. Jagger would later say that it was Watts’ personal state as one of the reasons he vetoed a tour but Richards reckons it was vetoed so that Jagger could start working on his second solo album, “Primitive Cool”. The way Richards saw it, they toured in worse states previously.

The critics panned it, however the album sold well.

In Australia it was a number 2 album, going Platinum on the backs of the singles.

It was a Top 10 album in Austria, Canada, Holland, France, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K and the U.S.

It was also certified Platinum in Canada, New Zealand and the U.S. It was certified Gold in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.

If you haven’t heard it, give it a listen. If you’ve heard it, give it a re-listen.

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1986 – Part 4.5: Krokus – Change Of Address

“Change of Address” came out in 1986 and its listed as album number 9 for Krokus.

The band for the album is Marc Storace on Vocals, Fernando von Arb on Lead Guitar, Mark Kohler on Rhythm Guitar, Tommy Keiser on Bass and Jeff Klaven on drums. Paul Fox and Jan Winding contribute keyboards.

Production is handled by Tom Werman as Producer and Mixer, with Duane Baron as the engineer and von Arb as Co-Producer.

A special mention to the outfits on the back cover. The 80’s are well known for the wardrobe choices of artists. And Krokus play into this as well.

Check em out in jump suits that mechanics would wear at a Formula 1 race. But they are in a bunker, to highlight the demolition of a building that looks like the White House.

Now (All Through the Night)

Written by Fernando von Arb, Jeff Klaven and Marc Storace.

How good is the Chorus?

It’s like Journey vocally and melodic hard rock musically.

One of my favourite tracks on the album but the midi drum sounds bother me.

You can blame ZZ Top for this, but at least when ZZ did it, it was still sounding like it belonged in the rock domain, whereas, the drum sound here feels like it belongs on a Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine album.

Hot Shot City

Written by Tommy Keiser, Mark Kohler, Jeff Klaven and Marc Storace.

I’m not sure what’s happening with this song.

It’s like they wanted to bring in influences from Robert Palmer and Huey Lewis into their sound. It could have worked.

School’s Out

This is like old school Krokus and after hearing AOR Krokus on the first two tracks, this is a welcome relief of rock and roll.

For those that don’t know, this is a cover of the classic Alice Cooper cut.

But it’s also not necessary to have this on the album. Then again, most 80’s album had a cover of a 60’s or 70’s track on it. For some bands it was pure filler and for others, it was their biggest song.

Let This Love Begin

Written by von Arb and Klaven.

An acoustic guitar arpeggio riff starts it all off, very Malmsteen like with a bit of Vinnie Vincent and “I Still Love You” from Kiss. Once the distorted riffs kick in, its more Foreigner than Malmsteen.

Check out the lead break, bluesy and emotive, which reminds me of Jimmy Page and “Stairway To Heaven”.

Burning Up the Night

The side 1 closer is written by von Arb and Storace.

Its AC/DC “Long Way To The Top” like in the verses and the Chorus could have come from a REO Speedwagon album.

Say Goodbye

Side 2 opens up with this track, written by Fernando von Arb, Jeff Klaven and Marc Storace.

At 5.18, its length shows that it wasn’t written for radio. It has this reggae feel in the verses which I like and the backing vocals remind me of “Black Diamond” from Kiss.

The major key Chorus is like those major key Power Metal choruses.

This is the side to listen to first if you are a Krokus fan. There isn’t a bad song on this side.

And if the intro riff sounds familiar, it should as it was used by Krokus on “Tokyo Nights” from the “Metal Rendezvous” album.

World on Fire

My favourite track of the album at 6 plus minutes long, written by Fernando von Arb, Jeff Klaven and Marc Storace.

While the riffs are metal and hard rock like, the vocal delivery in the verses is very Robert Plant like and I like it.

If you want to press play on a track from this album, start with this track.

Hard Luck Hero

Written by Fernando von Arb, Jeff Klaven and Marc Storace it feels like it’s a cross between Bryan Adams, Night Ranger, early Foreigner and Autograph.

And I like it.

There is this section just before the solo, when Def Leppard also comes to mind.

Long Way from Home

5 plus minutes long and written by Fernando von Arb, Jeff Klaven and Marc Storace.

It’s another Krokus classic song, rooted in their past and perfect to move with into the future.

The Chorus has this Kiss feel which I like and Allan Holdsworth also does the guitar solo a fusion of string skipping and whammy bar madness.

The album did decent business in Switzerland and Sweden, but in the U.S it was up against some decent competition and it failed.

The band would later admit the change in style and sound was due to the label Arista not approving the recording until they heard more radio friendly songs.

But this wasn’t a problem tied to Krokus alone.

All of the bands during this period had albums that sounded radio friendly.

Judas Priest and “Turbo”.

Quiet Riot and “QRIII”.

To name a few.

Overall, the album still sounds like a hard rock album once you get past the first two tracks.

Werman has copped some flak from artists he’s worked with, but one thing is certain. The bands he produces, sound good. Even though I don’t like the midi drum triggers, the album still sounds good.

And if you purchased a Krokus album expecting to hear Shakespearean lyrics, well, it ain’t going to happen.

Enjoy Krokus for what they are, a hard rock band trying to survive in an ever changing market place.

And Krokus does change well.

When all the rage in the scene was about the NWOBHM and AC/DC they gave us “Headhunter” and “The Blitz”.

And when the rage shifted to AOR and midi triggers and synths, well they gave us “Change Of Address”.

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1986 – Part 4.4: Steve Earle – Guitar Town

Steve Earle didn’t exist until “Copperhead Road” came out in 1988. But that album was number 3 and he had two albums before.

So say hello to the country rock of “Guitar Town”, released in 1986.

Guitar Town

It’s a country rocker.

The acoustic guitar gives it this Tom Petty and Steve Ray Vaughan feel and the vocal line reminds me of Springsteen.

Goodbyes All We Got Left

Great title, a slow country rocker.

Hillbilly Highway

It’s a skip for me.

Good Ol’ Boy (Gettin’ Tough)

It’s a good easy listening, a combination of The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and “Desperado” Eagles.

My Old Friend The Blues

Great title but it has no blues and it’s way to country-ish for my liking.

Someday

I like this one, a combination between Bryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen. And there wasn’t a teen alive who didn’t want to get out of their hometown someday.

Think It Over

It’s got this 60s rock feel like Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison. But it’s a skip from me.

Fearless Heart

A 60s country and rock vibe on this. More Tom Petty like.

Little Rock ‘N’ Roller

Not a lot of rock and rolling on this, as it’s a country ballad. The lyrics are descriptive about a truck driver who won’t be home for a while. It’s like a lullaby.

It’s a skip for me.

Down The Road

The embryo of his biggest hit is right here.

Earle was 31 years old when his debut album was released. The dude paid his dues on the live circuit.

And the album had some legs, crawling to a Gold certification in 1999 for sales in the US. Yep, 13 years later.

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1986 – Part 4.3: Journey – Raised On Radio

Its album number 9 for Journey, released in 1986. But no one was sure if it would get made.

After “Frontiers” (1983), Steve Perry got a massive offer to do a solo album, “Street Talk” and Neal Schon got a similar offer to do “HSAS” with Sammy Hagar. Both albums did well however

Perry’s album would probably still not be listed as recouped based on the dollars spent on session musicians (there was a lot), the dollars spent writing with other writers, the dollars spent in the various studios and the massive advance given to him to even do it. Schon meanwhile got a chance to really show what an awesome hard rock guitarist he is.

But Jonathan Cain wasn’t finished for Journey. He just kept on writing and writing. A lot of his songs ended up on Jimmy Barnes albums, which led to massive success in Australia. And it was Cain who called up Perry to sing on a few demoes he was working on.

That get together led to this album and it also led to Journey falling under Perry’s control.

He fired bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith, even though Journey’s manager Herbie Herbet told em not to do it.

Perry then replaced them with studio musicians, in Randy Jackson (from American Idol fame) and Bob Glaub on bass with Mike Baird and Larrie Londin on drums (with Smith still performing on a few cuts).

Perry expressed his regret at this many years later and for Valory and Smith, they still received income from the album and the subsequent tour even though they didn’t need to leave their house.

It was probably why their manager Herbet was against their firing. It meant the pie would need to be distributed to even more people.

And Perry broke with tradition of the single word album titles. The album was meant to be called “Freedom” until Perry said it would be called “Raised On Radio”.

How good is the cover by Priarie Prince who built his career as a drummer in The Tubes and Jefferson Starship, along with his work as a graphic artist and set designer for various music videos. Simply and effective.

Girl Can’t Help Out

How can you not like Perry’s silky and smooth voice?

And Neal Schon gets some slack for going missing in Journey during this period, but he became a master decorator, doing enough to give the songs the MTV and Radio edge.

Positive Touch

It’s got that David Bowie “Modern Love” vibe from his 1983 album, “Let’s Dance” merged with “I’m So Excited” from The Pointer Sisters album of the same name which came out in 1982.

And I like it.

This is how music works. Take what has come before, tweak it, merge it with something else, tweak it again and what comes out is something new.

Suzanne

A monster melodic rock cut, with an arena rock Chorus.

Be Good To Yourself

It’s that feel-good summer vibe typical of the 80’s. Press play and let the sounds wash over you.

The solo from Schon, so simple and singalong.

Once You Love Somebody

This song would not be out of place on a Sting solo album or an album from The Police. Even Van Halen would have a cut like this many years later on “Balance”.

Press play for the Chorus. It sounds like it came from a soundtrack.

Happy To Give

I like the keyboard riff which starts it off but overall the song is a skip for me.

Raised On Radio

Schon is centre on this after the harmonica intro. It’s a rocker with the keys decorating.

I’ll Be Alright Without You

I’m not sure if John Sykes or David Coverdale were listening to this because it’s got that “Is This Love” feeling, which Coverdale would reuse for “The Deeper The Love”.

It Could Have Been You

While Cain plays chords, Schon plays this pentatonic riff which is memorable and full of groove.

The Eyes Of A Woman

Killer bass line on this and Steve Perry just nailing a vocal.

But press play to hear Schon wail away.

Why Can’t This Night Go On Forever

“Faithfully” part 2 comes to mind. Next.

In the end, six singles got released and by 1989, it was certified double platinum in the U.S.

I also wasn’t surprised to read that this album did good business in Sweden as a lot of the melodic rock acts coming out from Sweden many years later had this albums vibe and sound.

It was also the last Journey album for over a decade. While Perry lived off the royalties, Schon and Cain went to work with Bad English, with John Waite on vocals and to further platinum glory.

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1986 – Part 4.2: Quiet Riot – QR III

“QR III” or “Quiet Riot III” is actually the fifth studio album from Quiet Riot if you can the “QRI” and “QRII” albums with Randy Rhoads.

It was released in 1986 on Pasha/CBS and it is the last album to feature lead singer Kevin DuBrow until the 1993 album “Terrified” which got a zero skull review in an Australian mag and the word “Terrible” as part of the review.

It’s produced by Spencer Proffer again with John Purdell.

A funny thing was happening in 1986. For some strange reason, artists who had massive sales in 1983 and 1984, struggled to match those sales a few years later.

Twisted Sister had big sales in 1983 and 1984 and they played to half empty venues on the “Come Out And Play” tour in 1985 and by 86, no one really cared about em and by 87 they had broken up.

Judas Priest had declining album sales by 1986, but still proved to be a big drawcard on the live circuit.

Ratt couldn’t match the success of their 1984 debut and by 1986, “Dancing Undercover” was just a blimp on the charts.

And then we have Quiet Riot.

Following the massive success of “Metal Health” and the more modest reception of “Condition Critical”, sales of “QR III” were even lower and it did not achieve any certification.

This Quiet Riot album is also the first album to feature Chuck Wright, formerly of Giuffria, on bass as an official member replacing Rudy Sarzo.

Wright joins Kevin DuBrow, Frankie Banali and Carlos Cavazo.

Before I get into the album, it’s worth mentioning that I never understood the argument put forward about bands rocking less when keyboards are involved. This album has a lot of keys but it still rocks.

Main Attraction

It’s a songwriting committee of Carlos Cavazo, Frankie Banali, Kevin DuBrow, Spencer Proffer, John Purdell and Chuck Wright.

They keys are prominent and the track could be mistaken for a Styx or Toto track.

The Wild and the Young

The song is written by Proffer, Banali, Cavazo, DuBrow and Wright.

Behind “Bang Your Head”, “The Wild and the Young” is the next best original.

The drum groove from Banali starts things off. Then the guitars and the keys play in unison until Cavazo overdubs a memorable little lead.

And the vocals start. While DuBrow is more miss with his lyrics, on this song he’s perfect with his message and delivery.

The music video for the song wasn’t cheap as it shows a dystopian future under control by a totalitarian militarist government and they are trying to round up anyone who is listening to rock music.

Twilight Hotel

Written by Wright, Banali, Cavazo, DuBrow and Proffer. I was drawn to this song immediately because it was different musically.

Down and Dirty

Written by Dubrow, Banali, Cavazo and Wright. It’s written as “Dow And Dirty” on Spotify. It’s typical hard rock and of the times.

Rise or Fall

Written by Dubrow, Banali, Cavazo and Wright.

I dig the opening riff on this. And Cavazo goes to town on the lead break.

Put Up or Shut Up

Written by Dubrow, Banali, Cavazo and Wright.

CC DeVille would have been listening to this as the main riff sounds like something that DeVille tweaked for “Nothin But A Good Time”.

Still of the Night

It’s written by the same songwriting team that wrote “Main Attraction”.

The cut is excellent, a soft rocker but so far removed from the “power ballad” formula.

Bobby Kimball from Toto performs backing vocals on the track, however the “backing” vocals are really cranked up in the Chorus, so it’s safe to say that Kimball was brought in to be the lead vocal there.

Bass Case

It’s an Instrumental written by Wright and all bass. For a minute length, I’m not sure why this is here.

The Pump

Written by Banali, Cavazo, DuBrow and Wright. It’s an attempt to capture “The Stroke” from Billy Squier.

I’m surprised that this song hasn’t been sampled by the rappers as it’s got a lot of good bits in it.

Slave to Love

The mighty Stan Bush is here as a songwriter, along with the committee of Banali, Cavazo, DuBrow, Proffer and Wright.

Musically it’s excellent. It’s almost melodic Metal The melodies are also excellent. Lyrically it’s crap.

Helping Hands

Written by Dubrow, Banali, Cavazo and Wright. It’s an underrated cut with a heavy 70s influence with a killer lead by Cavazo.

While a lot of people were off the QR train by the time this album hit the streets I wasn’t one of em. I was hooked by the music video for “The Wild And The Young” and when I saw the High Syme cover I was happy to part with my money.

Musically it’s a very mature album and an album that’s aged well.

Check out and be wild and young again.

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1986 – Part 4.1: Robert Tepper – No Easy Way Out

If you watched “Rocky IV” in the 80’s, you would have heard it’s melodic rock soundtrack.

At its essence, the “Rocky IV” movie is a combination of music videos segments.

The “Apollo vs Drago” pre fight has 4 minutes devoted to “Living In America”. There are two training scenes, with “Hearts On Fire” and “Training Montage” taking up 8 minutes in total. Then there is the final fight scene, which takes up another 4 minutes.

There is also a scene in the movie, which involves Rocky driving his sports car, with the song “No Easy Way Out” playing and various scenes of Rocky’s time with Apollo flashing before his eyes. It happened at a pivotal time in the time, with Apollo dying in the ring, Rocky then organising a fight against Drago (Apollo’s killer) and Adrian telling him, “you can’t win”.

Close to 30 minutes of a 90 minute movie is devoted to musical scenes.

So it was only a matter of time before an album came out from Robert Tepper.

But before that, another Stallone movie came out in 1986 called “Cobra” which had the song “Angel In The City”, another Tepper cut.

So Tepper had momentum with the soundtrack songs, released the album and nothing. Back when sales was the metric of success, the album stiffed and charted low.

But it doesn’t mean the album is crap. It’s actually very good melodic rock album.

First check out the studio band, as it has some experience.

While Tepper does the vocals, Dan Huff and Guy Marshall play the guitars.

Myron Grombacher is on drums.

Tim Landers on bass and a range of keyboardists in Kim Bullard, Alan Pasqua and Richard Gibbs.

You can Google their names and see their body of work as band members and session musos.
 
Let’s get to the album.

“No Easy Way Out” was released in 1986 by Scotti Brothers Records.

And it’s no surprise, that the album starts off with the two soundtrack songs.

No Easy Way Out

The bass riff to start it off is iconic. The feel of it reminds me of the bass riff in “Living On A Prayer”.

The vocal melody from Tepper is emotive and how good is the outro solo.

There’s no easy way out
There’s no short cut home

Truth right there.

Angel Of The City

The bass groove is simple, yet memorable as it drives the song with the synth chords.

The song will always bring back memories of the”Cobra” movie. Brigitte Nielsen is doing a photo shoot while “The Night Slasher” and his entourage get ready to kill another victim.

Whip it cracks just like thunder
Some survive her, most go under

The lyrics deal with the survival of the 9 to 5 grind by looking for some mythical Angel to save us.

Don’t Walk Away

Another classic. Latin like but with a bit of New Wave and a whole slab of melodic rock. It basically could be on a melodic rock, a Duran Duran album or a Ricky Martin album.

Once we had a purpose
Once, once we had a song
Once the feeling disappears
It’s all gone

Can love ever come back if disappears?

Your Love Hurts

It has this “Purple Rain” vibe which I like.

Press play to hear the synth melody.

Restless World

It’s got this Bruce Springsteen spirit which I like.

A restless spirit
Looking for a chance
In this restless world

Aren’t we all.

Hopeless Romantic

It’s like mid 80s Rush and I like it.

Soul Survivor

It’s a favorite. Very pop rock like.

Check out the arpeggios in the Intro which also reappear in the Chorus.

My soul survivor
Without you, what do I have left
My soul survivor
Cannot make it by myself

Press play to hear the vocal melody in the Chorus. It reminds me of the band Gun.

If That’s What You Call Lovin’

The balladeer career of Michael Bolton would be proud of this one.

The song fits on the album however I’m not a huge fan of songs like these.

Domination

Almost soul funk rock. Mid 80s Rush definitely comes to mind.

After the second album “Modern Madness” (1988), Tepper got put on ice by his label. They weren’t interested to release any new music from him, nor did they want to release him from his contract.

He finally got out of this deal in the mid 90s and his third album came out in 1996.

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1986 – Part 3.7: Fastway – Trick Or Treat

“Trick or Treat” is album number 4 but for me it will always be known as the soundtrack for the “Trick or Treat” movie and my first exposure to Fastway.

It was released in November 1986, a month after the movie and it would be the final album to feature Dave King on vocals. While the previous album “Waiting On The Roar” did not have a guitar riff written by Fast Eddie Clarke, this album is credited as all songs written by Fastway and there are riffs to be heard.

Fastway is Dave King on lead vocals, “Fast” Eddie Clarke on rhythm guitar/lead guitar, Shane Carroll on second guitar, Paul Reid on bass guitar and Alan Connor on drums.

These guys appear on tracks 1 to 7. The song “Heft”(track 8) is from the debut album and bass is played by Mick Feat and drums by Jerry Shirley. “If You Could See” (track 9) is from the “All Fired Up” album, with bass being played by Charlie McCraken and drums by Jerry Shirley.

The flick had WC wry controversial story in it that was related to blues, rock and metal and it fed on the Satanic Panic sweep wing across the Bible Belt of the U.S.

Spoilers alert.

There is a rock star by the name of Sammi Curr, who sold his soul to the devil to rock and roll ala Robert Johnson.

Curr dies in a hotel fire, but is resurrected by a fan of his playing the last vinyl recording of Curr’s music backwards. The vinyl record was given to him by a DJ called Nuke, played by Gene Simmons.

The fan has been bullied at school and suddenly he is no longer bullied as the reincarnated Curr has some “Final Destination” punishment in mind for the bullies. But like all things, when it comes to your heroes and power, power corrupts and by the end of the movie, the Curr has turned against his fans and it allowed the script writers to come up with these kind of sentences.

Hysterical Survivor: [crying] Oh, God, it was–it was awful! I mean, this guy was shooting stuff out of his guitar and it was–and people were running and I don’t–and my very best friend she was…

Cop #1: All right, all right. What did the suspect look like?

Hysterical Survivor: I told you. It was Sammi.

Cop #1: Who is Sammi?

Cop #2: Sammi Curr? The rock singer?

Hysterical Survivor: [still crying] Yes. Yes.

Cop #2: Sammi Curr died last week.

Cop #1: [both cops turn away from the still-sobbing girl] Looks like we better check out the party punch.

And of course the punching bag for all of the evangelists at the time, Ozzy Osbourne makes a guest appearance as Reverend Aaron Gilstom. This would have infuriated all of those people taking him to court, for supposably having backward messages of “shoot” in “Suicide Solution” and the script was written for Ozzy to smacks down those evangelists.

Reverend Aaron Gilstom: (in response to Heavy Metal music)

Demonic beasts.

Whatever happened to the good old simple love song?

“I love you.”

There good words to use. Nowadays they have to write some sickness. It’s just absolutely sick and bizarre, and I’m going to do my upmost best to try and stop it now.

Go get em Reverend. And now to the album.

“Trick or Treat”

Three chords and tom hits like a metronome. I was immediately invested. It’s a perfect amalgamation of NWOBHM and Hard Rock.

I really like the section, in the verse, as it moves between Em and D for a few bars, and then moves to a C chord and a D chord which acts as a Pre Chorus.

Those intro chords come back in, just before “Fast” Eddie breaks out some licks.

“After Midnight”

It’s like Angus and Malcolm Young joined the band and wrote a derivative version of “You Shook Me All Night Long”.

And I like it.

“Don’t Stop the Fight”

This was my favourite cut when it came out.

The palm muted intro and build up always got me pumped. It still does today.

It reminds me of “Wild Child” from WASP, which is bizarre as Blackie Lawless did get offered the part to play Sammi Curr, but rejected it when he was told he couldn’t write the soundtrack music as Fastway was already contracted to do so.

“Stand Up”

Another head banging intro with a killer vocal melody.

How can you not like it?

Press play to hear the bass groove and lead break. The sound of the toms before it comes out of the solo, always makes me laugh. Corny, but a product of the times and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lyrically, it’s an anthem, with the message to stand up and be counted.

“Tear Down the Walls”

After sound effects, it goes into a brief song, with the gang chants to “tear down the walls”. It fitted the movie scene nicely.

“Get Tough”

It kicks off side 2.

After some heavily flanged and distorted guitars, that sounded spooky, for lack of a better word, the song kicks in and the message is all about standing up for yourself, because you’ve had enough of the crap that’s been thrown at you.

“Hold on to the Night”

A “Radar Love” like drum groove starts it off and it continues throughout the whole song, while the riffs and melodies change.

“Heft”

Originally released on the album “Fastway”.

I like the heaviness of the intro/verse riff.

From a modern sound, its something that Tool would do, however it also reminds me of tracks like “Mississippi Queen” and “Evie” and it fits the theme of the album perfectly.

“If You Could See”

Originally released on the album “All Fired Up” and how catchy is that acoustic guitar in the Intro?

The album did okay business in Australian and the movie was popular as well. It was hard to get a rental copy of it from the local video shops. As soon as I rented it, I had my neighbours video over and the dubbing began.

For me, there is no filler on this. It’s all killer. Classic NWOBHM with hard rock polish added to it.

Crank it, play it backwards whatever.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1986 – Part 3.6: Fastway – Waiting For The Roar

“Waiting for the Roar” is the third album from Fastway and an album in which “Fast” Eddie Clarke didn’t write a song on this album. For a band which carries part of his name, it’s confusing how that can be.

However he did allow the other members to flex their song writing chops or the label flexed their chops at getting the other members to deliver a radio friendly melodic rock album.

The band is Dave King on lead vocals, ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke on lead/rhythm guitars, Shane Carroll on rhythm guitar, Paul Reid on bass guitar and Alan Connor on drums.

Production is handled by Terry Manning.

The majority of the songs are written by the other band members with producer Terry Manning who also plays the synth.

I read some reviews of this recently, which called it a misstep and pop metal and a commercial failure.

I like melodic rock music regardless of who does it.

If you are a fan of Fast Eddie and his Motorhead output and that’s all you want to hear from him, then this will disappoint you greatly.

For starters, vocalist Dave King has a decent range in his voice, so he will always come across melodically. It’s strange how critics were not kind to him however those same critics did embrace Mark Slaughter which is confusing as they sound very similar.

But if you want to listen to a melodic rock album, slickly produced with production sounds borrowed from Mr Mister, Tears For Fears and Cutting Crew albums, then this album is a good listen.

Waiting For The Roar

Arpeggios and a lot of midi sample triggers.

Check out the main guitar riff, it’s like Bad Company, with elements of the blues and a whole lotta hard rock.

The World Waits For You

It has a Chorus that reminds me of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” from Tears For Fears.

At 7 minutes long, it has an orchestra added to the last 2 minutes which sounds very much like symphonic Metal.

Little By Little

The verse riff is sleazy and bluesy and Dave King delivers another melodic rock gem with his vocal melodies. At times I thought that Mark Slaughter made an appearance on this as the sound of the vocals can be interchanged.

Change

It’s a ballad. 6 minutes in length. If they were going for radio songs, the length of the songs would require heavy edits.

Synth chords and bluesy melodic lines start the song. The bass sounds like many of the Brit Pop bands at the time. The drums are heavily processed with midi triggers so the sounds could be manipulated.

And I like it. The mood it sets gets me and the idea to include the orchestra in the final minutes of the songs is excellent.

Rock On

It wouldn’t be an 80’s album without a song title that didn’t include the word “Rock”.

That’s probably why the movement known as “Thrash” metal really took off during this period.

Tired Of Your Love

It’s catchy and it sounds like the melodic rock tracks that Slaughter would write in a few years’ time.

Move Over

A Janis Joplin cover. A synth with a flanger like effect just hums along while the vocal melody is delivered. When the Jethro Tull inspired riff kicks in, the foot is tapping and I like it.

Kill Me With Your Heart

It’s Chorus is Jim Steinman worthy like the work he did with Bonnie Tyler and an orchestra again enters for the last minute of the song.

Girl

Very synth heavy, which is no surprise as the song is written just by vocalist Dave King and producer Terry Manning.

At the 50 second mark, the guitars make an appearance but they are buried behind the synths and the Tears For Fears bass sound.

The guitar is basically used the way keyboards are used in some other bands, as an instrument that is heard from time to time and hidden more in the background, instead of being the instrument that carries the song.

The chorus is catchy, with its “Girl” chant, however corny the lyrics sound.

And the lead break is full of blues playing, however it is buried

Back Door Man

Janet Jackson would have a hit called “Black Cat” in 1989, with a guitar riff very similar to this.

Everything is judged on sales, especially in 1986 and this didn’t sell as expected. Then again, Fastway albums were never seen as big sellers and from memory I don’t recall any certifications on em either.

While a section of fans of heavy metal and blues rock embraced Melodic Rock, there were also fans who didn’t, choosing to remain within their blues rock and metal worlds. A lot of bands suffered from this splintering in styles.

But all was not lost as one of my favourite Fastway albums is coming up next, with the soundtrack to the “Trick Or Treat” movie, also released in the same year.

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

Australian Method Series and 1986 – Part 3.5: AC/DC – Who Made Who

“Who Made Who” is like a Greatest Hits album released as a soundtrack album in 1986, for the Stephen King film “Maximum Overdrive”. A forgettable movie.

The funny thing is that the next Greatest Hits slab would come out with another movie, this one a lot better and having a larger social and cultural impact.

Yep, the multi- billion franchise known as “Iron Man” sent AC/DC into the stratosphere. Not that they needed it.

Both album packages are excellent entry points for people who didn’t own or know about AC/DC.

If this was your first exposure, there would be a high chance that you would go out and buy/access some of the back catalogue.

And the song “Who Made Who” introduced Angus Young the shredder. His guitar work here is at a Shrapnel level.

Who Made Who

Drums and bass from Simon Phillips and Cliff Williams in a stock 4/4 time. I’m already invested.

Malcolm kicks in with some power chords outlining a blues chord progression as Brian Johnson fires in with his throaty vocal melody.

Angus then fired in with some fast palm muted licks which sounds like open string licks, something he’ll use to even greater success with “Thunderstruck”. But it’s all picked.

Check out the lead break. Angus breaks out some EVH like tapping.

Lyrically, it’s based around the themes from the “Maximum Overdrive” movie, where the machines come alive and begin killing people.

Like the “Terminator” movie, the tools that humans create, rise up to obliterate the humans.

You Shook Me All Night Long

From “Back In Black”.

It was re-released as a single after the massive success of “Who Made Who” which gave this song a second coming, not that it needed one.

D.T

It’s an instrumental jam which became soundtrack music.

It moves between distortion and clean tone so it could be used in multiple scenes.

Sink The Pink

From the “Fly On The Wall” album.

This song doesn’t get the love it should but goddamn it’s a great song.

The Intro reminds me of “Rock N Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” and it has a Chorus chord progression which could be interchanged with almost every AC/DC chorus, and I like it.

At 2.50, the Intro kicks back in, with drums and bass before Angus kicks in with his bluesy lead.

Ride On

From the “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” album and Bon Scott gets a spot with this slow blues dirge.

Hells Bells

From the “Back In Black” album.

As soon as the bells chime and the dirty arpeggio riff in Am kicks in, everything starts tingling. It doesn’t matter that I’ve heard it a lot of times. It still gets me.

Shake Your Foundations

Also from “Fly On The Wall”.

Another underrated song from an album that is seen as a disappointment.

You can’t tell me that the Intro/Verse riff isn’t classic AC/DC and a Chorus that almost mimics “You Shook Me All Night Long”.

Chase the Ace

Another instrumental jam session but a bit more aggressive than “D.T”.

Check out the drum groove in the Intro. Something that Lars Ulrich would use to great effect in “Enter Sandman”, which is also based on the “Dirty Deeds” Intro/Verse drum pattern.

For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

From the album with the same title which came after the “Back In Black” monster.

I was hooked from the opening riff and the way Malcolm and Phil Rudd build it.

Once the slow groove kicks in, it feels that heavy that it’ll destroy everything in its path. And it did.

In Australia and the U.S, it’s 5× Platinum.

And it kept AC/DC relevant in a friendly MTV world which was starting to promote artists who looked great over the music they created.

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