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

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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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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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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1986 – Part 3.4: Black Sabbath – Seventh Star

I didn’t get into Black Sabbath until the mid-90’s. I knew of their existence because Ozzy and Dio did a great job promoting his Sabbath legacy.

Then Dio re-joined for “Dehumanizer” in the early 90s and I was interested to hear more Black Sabbath. So the process started.

The fact that everyone was selling their vinyl to second hand record shops definitely helped because it meant I could pick up their older stiff cheaply.

And after Grunge came out, they kept talking about the Sabbath influences in the Seatlle sounds and Sabbath’s renaissance into Mainstream superstars came when they re-joined Ozzy for a few encores on his “No More Tours” shows.

From 1983 up to when Dio rejoined, no one really cared about Tony Iommi in the same way they cared about Ozzy and Dio who had become Multi-Platinum sellers in the U.S. with their solo careers and the Sabbath/Iommi career was nowhere near those commercial highs.

So “Seventh Star” is listed as studio album number 12 for Black Sabbath and released in 1986. This version of Sabbath has Tony Iommi as the only founding member along with keyboardist Geoff Nicholls, drummer Eric Singer, bassist Dave Spitz and vocalist Glenn Hughes.

Once the album came out, Hughes didn’t last long as his addictions made him unreliable. Ray Gillen was hired to fill the vocalist spot for the tour. But even the tour didn’t last long, with a lot of shows cancelled and another restart for Iommi.

In For The Kill

A riff that reminds me of Scorpions “He’s A Woman, She’s A Man” starts off this song and I like it.

No Stranger To Love

This could have come from the Dio version of Sabbath, with its slow groove. But Glen Hughes has a very melodic, bluesy soul voice, so it was always going to come across as a commercial rock song.

Check out the solo from Iommi on this.

Turn To Stone

It’s like Richie Blackmore joined on guitars. It feels like a Deep Purple Coverdale/Hughes era cut, with a riff that reminds me of “Burn” and “Kill The King”.

Iommi delivers another killer solo on this.

Seventh Star

“Egypt (The Chains Are On)” comes to mind and I like it.

Musically, this is one of Iommi’s best.

The main riff is heavy, it sounds exotic, so metal like but it swings the way he plays it. There is a certain fluidity to it.

Danger Zone

If you want to hear one song on the album, its this. I was hooked from the harmony guitars in the Intro riff which also reminds me of Van Halen’s “Atomic Punk”.

And if that main riff doesn’t get you, the interlude/mid section would get you interested which then moves into a Bridge section.

And if the music doesn’t get ya, then the voice of Hughes will.

Heart Like A Wheel

When I hear a blues groove like the one that starts of this song, I think of “The Jack” from AC/DC.

But that blues groove is generic and overused. Remember Alannha Myles and her song “Black Velvet”. Well, it’s the same groove and it went to number 1.

These kind of songs are perfect vehicles for Hughes and his voice.

Angry Heart

This is a great riff, which reminds me of “Wishing Well” from Free and Hughes has so much fun with the vocals.

In Memory

An acoustic riff, with lightly distorted guitars start off this power ballad. It’s short and a strange end to the album.

As a classic Heavy Metal album like “Love At First Sting”, “Balls To The Wall” and “Screaming For Vengeance” it works. Hell it’s probably the best Rainbow album that Richie Blackmore didn’t write.

Compared to Sabbath’s downtuned 70s output, it’s very different. But this was the 80s and this album is a true product of its time.

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

1986 – Part 3.3: Savatage – Fight For The Rock

My journey began with “Gutter Ballet” and moved forward with “Streets: A Rock Opera” before going back to the earlier albums.

So even though “Fight For The Rock” was released in 1986, it wasn’t until the early 90’s that I heard it.

I studied WW2 in History a fair bit and the cover is instantly recognisable recreating the “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” photo and cancel culture today has found this recreation to be offensive or insensitive.

Who would have thought?

The band for the album is “the classic line-up” in Jon Oliva on vocals and piano, Criss Oliva (RIP) on guitars, Johnny Lee Middleton on bass and Steve Doc Wacholz on drums.

The Paul O’Neill co-writes and production credits was still an album away, so this album is produced by Stephan Galfas, who had had worked with Stryper on “To Hell With The Devil”, Meatloaf’s ignored “Dead Ringer” album and a few John Waite albums before he worked with Savatage. Post Savatage he worked on Saxon’s much maligned but a favourite to me, “Destiny” album.

The band members have voiced their displeasure with the album.

You will read the usual “record label wanted us to make it” or “pressured us to make it” phrases mentioned but if the album did well commercially, then the narrative from the band members might be very different.

For the record, I hate the power the labels had back then. They could make or break a career.

But in the end, they are in the money making business and they would do whatever it takes to make money.

If Savatage said “NO” to the record label demands, it would be career suicide. So caught between a rock and a hard place, I suppose they really had to “fight for the rock” on this one, so they could get another chance at making an album.

Musically, its Savatage as I know em. Lyrically, they are a bit different.

The Fight For The Rock

A Criss Oliva riff starts the album, rooted in the sound of heavy metal that I like.

“Warriors of the fight, you are in force tonight”, says Jon Oliva, about rock being here to stay. By 1986, it was all overused cliches.

At 2.04, it goes into a synth lick before it builds up into the solo section, which is essential listening for any guitarist.

Out On The Streets

It feels like a 70’s cut, with its acoustic guitar arpeggios and weird synth sounds.

By the time the Chorus rolls around, the major chords make it sound happy, while the lyrics are about feeling sad due to a romance falling apart.

Press play for the brief acoustic guitar melodic lick after the Chorus.

And I like the solo from Criss Oliva, it’s got blues and fast melodic legato lines with inventive phrasing.

Crying For Love

The intro with violins and fingerpicked clean tone guitars is a great listen but misleading when it comes to the song because it’s a rocker, with a classic Savatage riff from Criss Oliva in the verses.

The Chorus is Hard AOR Rock. It’s an obvious attempt.

Criss Oliva knows how to create a lead. He starts off with some fast open string pull off licks before going into his usual fast legato lines.

Day After Day

A Badfinger cover and that 70’s “Leader Of The Pack” vibe comes through.

The Edge Of Midnight

An Andrew Lloyd Webber “Phantom Of The Opera” organ begins the song, which brings in some classical elements. Lyrically it’s not the best, but musically the riffs are an amalgamation of hard rock and heavy metal.

Check out the verse riff, Skid Row would use riffs like this on two multi-platinum albums.

Hyde

There’s some good progressive metal like riffs here.

How good is it the way Jon Oliva sings “Hy-I-ide” and then Criss Oliva mimics the vocal melody the next repeat?

Lady In Disguise

A riff similar to “Wishing Well” is the centrepiece of this song. It’s almost Queen like in its musical composition.

She’s Only Rock N Roll

The main riff (which is also the verse riff) is classic Savatage, which also reminds me of Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow.

Check out the lead break.

Wishing Well

A Free cover and I think this was my first exposure to this song. The slight increase in tempo makes the track sound more metal than rock.

Musically, it’s a great song and the vocal melodies from Paul Rodgers, delivered by Jon Oliva are excellent

Red Light Paradise

It sounds like soundtrack music and for some reason, the “Cobra” movie with Stallone comes to mind.

To repeat, musically its good, lyrically it could be better but the sound is still Savatage.

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1986 – Part 3.2: Queensryche – Rage For Order

“Rage for Order” is the second album by Queensrÿche, released on June 27, 1986.

The Queensryche Cyber Army are really good at keeping the bands Wikipedia pages up to date and super detailed. Everything that can be found on the a internet is included along with print media and newspaper articles.

Go to the Wikipedia page on this album and you’ll get heaps of information.

MTV was becoming a huge promotions vehicle for artists and 1986 was clearly becoming the last year that bands would experiment with the songwriting. After 1986, albums would become very MTV Friendly because all the artists wanted a piece of that pie.

Musically it’s an excellent album. Each song has a riff or a vocal melody that I like. From a song point of view, “Walk In The Shadows” is close to perfect.

Lyrically the album touches on subject matters I’m interested in, like government intrusion and corruption, technology and social issues.

Management and the Label must have felt threatened at the experimental progressive album delivered by the band, so it’s no surprise that there is a cover song, which then became the lead single.

And no one knew how to handle Queensryche.

They had opening spots with Ratt and Bon Jovi (seriously, what the….), AC/DC (good gig to have if you play similar styles but they are very different styles) and maybe the most compatible one in relation to “Metal”, Ozzy Osbourne.

The Tri-Ryche logo makes it’s first appearance as well.

I never understood how this album was ever labeled as a “glam metal” album, but the label had to make them fit somewhere along with some questionable clothing and hairspray.

Queensrÿche is the classic line up of Geoff Tate on vocals, Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton on guitars, Eddie Jackson on bass and Scott Rockenfield on drums.

Neil Kernon is Producing, Engineering and Mixing. Man of many hats.

Walk In The Shadows

Written by Chris DeGarmo, Geoff Tate and Michael Wilton.

It’s as good as anything that came from “Operation Mindcrime” and “Empire”.

I’m a big fan of the Intro riff (it’s great to play) and that Chorus is massive.

I Dream in Infrared

Written by Tate and Wilton.

It reminds me of Rush in the Intro and I feel like Crimson Glory took this song and used it as a foundation to build on.

But you need to press play on this for the acoustic guitar arpeggios and the haunting vocal melody from Tate in the verses.

Is it just me or does this track remind you of “Breaking the Silence” and “Waiting for 22” from the “Mindcrime” album?

The Whisper

Written solely by DeGarmo and the Celtic inspired Intro definitely gets me interested. Something that Maiden would use a lot in the Dickinson Part 2 era.

The whole song is what Metal should sound like.

Gonna Get Close to You

A Dalbello cover, although I didn’t know it at the time.

To cover a song from outside the genre you are classified in, is a sign of respect to the artist who wrote it.

Many years later, Lisa Dalbello would do guest vocals on Alex Lifeson’s “Victor” album.

Check out the way the verses are constructed, it feels ominous.

The Killing Words

Written by DeGarmo and Tate.

The keyboard Intro gives way to the guitar, before it goes into a soundtrack like verse. It’s very Marillion like and the vocals remind me of Fish and I like it.

But you’ll be pressing play to this song, for the section when Tate sings “Over”.

Surgical Strike

Written by DeGarmo and Wilton it feels more like a cut from “The Warning”.

And there are sections here which remind of “Speak” and “The Needle Lies”.

Press play for the Outro that begins from 2.40. You won’t be disappointed.

Neue Regel

Written by DeGarmo and Tate.

When I heard “A Perfect Circle” for the first time, I thought of this song. It has all of those atmospheric elements and outside the box sounds and composition elements.

This is how progressive music should sound like and it’s the embryo of what the “Promised Land” album would be.

But press play on this just to hear the power of Geoff Tate.

Chemical Youth (We Are Rebellion)

Written by Tate and Wilton, who brings the heavy metal riffs to the rebellion.

It’s put together in a progressive way as it doesn’t just follow the standard verse and chorus narrative.

London

Written by DeGarmo, Tate and Wilton and it reminds me of the “Mindcrime” album musically and the song “I Don’t Believe In Love”.

It’s got a great Chorus, so press play to hear “London” sound like “Young Boy”.

And then hang around for the harmonies and individual lead breaks.

Screaming in Digital

Written by DeGarmo, Tate and Wilton, musically it also reminds me of different songs from the “Mindcrime” album.

The electronic synths are dominant and Tate is very Peter Gabriel like in the verses.

But press play for the vocal melodies from 2.15 to 2.40 and stick around for the guitar hero lead breaks. And then those unbelievable vocal melodies come back.

I Will Remember

Written by DeGarmo, it has some nice acoustic playing from DeGarmo, a sign of things to come.

It was Certified Gold in the U.S.

To this Australian, it’s a criminally underrated jewel that was way ahead of its time and no one really knew what to do with it.

And I’m not sure if Marillion was an influence to the band at this point in time but goddamn this album reminds me so much of “Script for a Jester’s Tear”. Maybe it’s the similarities in vocal styles between Fish and Tate.

Anyway press play and let the sounds of love, politics and technology wash over you.

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

1986 – Part 3.1: Megadeth – Peace Sells But Who’s Buying

“Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying?” was released on September 19, 1986.

Edward J. Repka as the cover illustrator is the rock star here. While the concept design is listed as coming from Dave Mustaine and Andy Somers, its Repka who brought the concept to life.

There is Vic Rattlehead, portrayed as a real estate salesman, in front of a desolated United Nations Headquarters with fighter jets in the sky and frayed flags still on the poles.

Brilliant.

The band for this album is the same as the debut, with Dave Mustaine on guitars and lead vocals, David Ellefson on bass, Chris Poland on guitars and Gar Samuelson on drums.

The album is produced by Mustaine but Casey McMackin as the engineer also deserves credit as he was involved with mixing or engineering quite a few albums from the California Thrash Metal scene, for bands like Vio-Lence, Saint Vitus, Nuclear Assault, Zoetrope, Dark Angel and Flotsam and Jetsam. And in the 90’s he did “1916” and “March or Die” by Motorhead. Mixing was done by Paul Lani and Stan Katayama but there’s a story in that as well.

The album was troubled due to the high level of drug abuse. Mustaine and Ellefson were already heavy users, however Samuelson and Poland were said to be even more extreme, something which Poland has disputed to say that what he did was nothing different to what other people were doing at the time. Regardless of the differing point of views, Samuelson and Poland got fired after the promotional tour for this album.

Another issue was the record label. The project started with Combat Records, resulting in the original mix of the album and a co-production by Randy Burns, however Capital Records then purchased the rights to the album (and the band) and got Paul Lani to remix it himself. Lani was more of a Pop Rock mixer, so he knew how the album should sound to get favourable MTV and Radio treatment. And it got that attention as well.

All songs are written and composed by Dave Mustaine, except “I Ain’t Superstitious” by Willie Dixon.

“Wake Up Dead”

The film clip got me interested. It was the steel cage and the chaos around it, with people climbing all over it towards the end. It was dystopian and unsettling and I loved it.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Mustaine’s voice to begin with, but man, the music had me hooked. There was just so much guitar playing to unpack and learn.

Like the head banging riff that plays between 1.10 to 1.40. Or the blistering super-fast picked riff between 2.03 and 2.26. Or the change in groove in tempo from 2.42 with the unorthodox solo from Chris Poland combining exotic lines with fast jazz chromatic lines.

And there wasn’t much singing in this “single” like the hard rock singles I was growing up with. Actually I think all up there are about 8 lines as those lyrics describe Mustaine cheating on his current partner however he stayed with her because he was homeless at the time and needed a place to stay. But he had to leave her because he thought she had intentions to kill him.

“The Conjuring”

The song is about black magic and contains instructions for hexes.

The intro is ominous but it’s the fast riff from 0.57 which I like while Chris Poland moves in with another atonal solo, making sharps and flats fit chords they shouldn’t fit.

Check out the galloping and progressive riff between 1.43 and 1.58. A favourite and so fun to play. Or the fast riffs from 2.36 to 2.57 and then my favourite foot stomping, head banging riff in the song from 2.58 to 3.29.

And Mustaine is not working within a Verse and Chorus structure. Until the next song.

“Peace Sells”

It’s iconic, musically and lyrically.

The bass intro sets the tone. Even though Ellefson plays it, Mustaine wrote it.

The “No More Mr Nice Guy” vocal delivery over a riff that Mr Hetfield would use for the “Enter Sandman” verses is excellent. Then again, the E pedal point with a F chord chucked in was a staple of thrash metal music and Mustaine’s favourite band “Diamond Head”.

The Motorhead inspired outro from 2.20 is where it’s at. It’s fast, its unrelenting and Mustaine’s war cry of “Peace Sells But Who’s Buying” echoes the great work to come, especially in the track “Holy Wars” from “Rust In Peace” a few years later.

I like the lyric “What do you mean, I don’t support your system? I go to court when I have too”

Its clever.

And the best summary of the song is the way Mustaine put it on a VH1 doco; “peace is something we all want, but nobody wants to give up stuff.”

“Devil’s Island”

Mustaine takes some of his riffs from his Metallica days and re-uses em here as the intro reminds me of a section in the song “Phantom Lord”. He also used a similar riff in “This Was My Life” from the “Countdown To Extinction”.

But my favourite riff is the Chorus riff. Check it out.

Another great riff is from 2.22 to 2.43.

The title is a reference to a former French penal colony off the coast of French Guiana. The lyrics detail the thoughts of a condemned prisoner awaiting execution. He is spared by God, but must spend the rest of his life on the island.

“Good Mourning/Black Friday”

Side 2 begins with this.

“Good Mourning” begins with a clean tone acoustic guitar begins. Its haunting.

And some serious shred is heard as the song transitions from “Good Mourning” to “Black Friday”.

How good is the musical groove and feel from 1.48 to 2.23?

“Bad Omen”

Another ominous like intro with arpeggios as the song builds into a thrasher from when the fast bass riff begins at 1.19. But it’s the groove metal riff at 1.36 which gets me interested to learn it.

The soloing from Chris Poland is so different to what I was used to. Very Jazz fusion like in the vein of Al DiMeola.

At 2.50 it goes into a supercharged neck breaking riff and some serious shredding.

“I Ain’t Superstitious”

Other artists did it, but I feel that Mustaine showed the metal community that you could cover songs that didn’t really come from the genre you are classed in and still make em sound like they are from the genre, like this blues funk song, suddenly sounds like a metal blues song.

From a reference point, “I Ain’t Superstitious” is written by Willie Dixon and originally recorded by Howlin’ Wolf in 1961.

“My Last Words”

Mustaine again showcases his arpeggio clean tone riff writing for a song about playing a game of Russian roulette.

The intro on this song is excellent. After the clean tone arpeggios and open string pull offs, it goes into a face melting riff.

But check out the riff from 3.10 to 3.25 and the solo after it. Even Lars Ulrich has given this track his tick of approval.

At 36 minutes long, Mustaine created an album that took hours and hours of learning in order to get the riffs and leads down. And from that, I became a fan of Megadeth.

“Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying?” is very influential in the movement of technical thrash metal. Mustaine (if he hadn’t done so already) raised the bar here. Along with other thrash releases from Metallica and Slayer, future extreme metallers had a holy trinity of release for reference points.

From a commercial point of view, the use of the “Peace Sells” bass riff to introduce the MTV news segment, showed other thrash bands the commercial potential of thrash metal if done right. But MTV didn’t pay em, because they used the “fair use” defence which is why they cut off the music after a few seconds, as if they went past that timeframe, they would have to make payment.

Musicians who would go on to form Sweden’s Melodic Death metal scene have always referred to this album as an influence.

The album does have a Platinum certification for the U.S and Canada and a Silver certification for the U.K.

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