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

1984 – VI – The Reckless Knights Of Thunder Seven And The Purple Rain

Was the news we read and saw on TV ever legit, independent and free from corporate interests.

These days, it’s evident that 99% of news publishers are teamed up with a corporation who sets the agenda. And the public interests are not served at all. Which means, the public needs to read critically and make up their own mind on the situation.

But researchers are finding out that the majority will read the headline, maybe the opening paragraph and then move on to another story. It wasn’t like that before. I remember my older brothers buying three different newspapers, from three different organisations. And the same stories had vastly different headlines.

Sort of like when you purchased a music magazine back in the day. When it was all just metal, it was okay. Then the magazines diverged into metal and rock and suddenly, the metal mags had nothing good to say about “rock” bands which a few months before were “metal” bands. And then those metal bands became hair bands and the cycle repeats.

Anyway, here are some artists that rock as hard as the rock heads and metal heads but you wouldn’t see them written up in any of those magazines.

Here are the previous parts of the 1984 series if you’re interested;

Part 1 – Ep 1

Part 2 – Ep 2

Part 3 – Are We Evil Or Divine?

Part 4 – The Warning

Part 5 – Grace Under Pressure

And here is the Spotify playlist for Part 6.

TNT – Knights Of The New Thunder

TNT.

What can I say about this band?

From Finland, who had a record deal with Polygram. They had a guitar hero in Ronnie Le Tekro who is still virtually unknown outside of the TNT fan base and a vocalist in Tony Harnell (Hansen on the album) who had the chops.

They got me interested, they lost me, they got me interested again and lost me again. I still check them out to this day.

Let’s talk about the title track.

Has anyone heard it?

“Knights Of The New Thunder” has an intro keyboard riff that Jack White might have heard at some point and then decided to use that same keyboard riff for a song called “Seven Nation Army” by White Stripes.

And of course, “Seven Nation Army” becomes huge, makes a lot of money and Jack White, along with his publisher are now going after any artist who has anything similar. A recent Eurovision winner from Israel copped a lawsuit from Jack White’s publisher.

But, but, TNT was there many years before that. And I am sure if someone digs in deeper, they will find that riff in previous songs before that even going back to classical music.

Regardless both songs are great.

“Seven Seas” has a riff which I like and a chorus melody which is catchy.

“We are rulers of the ocean, kings of the seven seas”

“Tor With The Hammer” is dumb lyrically, but a great listen for the riffs.

“Break The Ice” and “U.S.A” is typical LA Sunset Strip fare and either song could have appeared on any RATT or Motley Crue album.

And TNT’s style on this album is something that Crimson Glory would use and follow a few years later. But TNT would keep evolving and changing from their metal influences into a more glam rock direction.

Honeymoon Suite – Honeymoon Suite

They did cross over into the mainstream for a while, but for me, it’s the album songs, that rock.

“Burning In Love” is the song that hooked me musically, especially the section from 2 minutes onwards. And the outro solo is perfect.

“Stay In The Light” has a cool palm muted arpeggio riff in the intro, which made me pick up the guitar to learn it. And the keyboard lead over it which is the chorus vocal line,  reminds me of the UK pop scene like Duran Duran and New Order.  

“Now That You Got Me” has a cool distorted riff which drives the song. And the chorus musically, is syncopated with the keys and the guitar and it’s addictive.

“Funny Business” is a feel good up-tempo rocker which feels like it could come from a Van Halen album.

Lyrically, there was no connection for me, but musically, the four songs above connected enough to make me want to learn how to play them.

Bryan Adams – Reckless

This album was my first exposure to Bryan Adams. And it’s a perfect introduction to any person wanting to learn how to write good hard rock songs with a pop rock influence. It had a mixture of a lot of styles, like a classic Led Zep/Queen album and man, didn’t the music buying public splash out on it.

The unsung heroes on this album is the song writing team of Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance. They had a connection, and hell, they even wrote, “War Machine” for Kiss.

Guitarist Keith Scott, decorates the songs with leads and licks and melodic motifs. Finally, the guitar playing abilities of Bryan Adams is never mentioned, but the dude has chops and he can play.

The power chords of “One Night Love Affair” in the intro got me interested. The arpeggios in the Chorus seal the deal and the vocal melody remains with me long after the song is finished. Basically I was hooked.

“She’s Only Happy When She’s Dancing” could have come from a John Cougar or Bruce Springsteen album. But it’s all Bryan.

“Run To You” is a song I used to cover in bands and it has that iconic guitar arpeggio intro which is as good as the “Stairway To Heaven” or “Smoke On The Water” or “Enter Sandman” riffs.

The ballad “Heaven” is huge and when you translate the vocal melody, the piano and the guitar to one guitar track, it’s worth investing time to learn.

“Somebody” is my favourite track, and I think it’s because it reminds me of “We Don’t Need Another Hero” from Tina Turner and the Mad Max movie “Beyond Thunderdome”.

And the knockout punches keep coming with “Summer of 69”. It wasn’t a hit when it came out as a single, because during the album run, people had already purchased the full album, and they knew the song, so there was no need to purchase the single.  

Sort of like “Wanted Dead Or Alive” from Jovi. It’s a classic track, a hit, but it never went to number 1 as a single, because by the time it came out as single, everyone who was into the band already had the album.

The “Kids Wanna Rock” has this 12 bar blues style which works perfectly in a pop context and it was so true in the 80’s, everywhere artists went, the kids wanted to turn up, pay for their ticket and rock. A duet with Tina Turner called “It’s Only Love” rounds out a perfect album for me. The last two songs could have been left off and no one would have complained.

And looking back at this album today, I think the secret to liking it for me is the fact that each song made me want to pick up the guitar and learn it. So I invested time, learning the licks, the chords and in some cases, the vocal melodies.

Prince and The Revolution – Purple Rain

I’m not a Prince fan by any means, but man, on occasions he wrote songs which crossed over into multiple styles and eras.

“When Doves Cry” has a drum beat which establishes a cool groove and Prince’s vocal melody is perfect, outlining the chord structure with the words.

“Purple Rain” and “Faithfully” from Journey are pretty similar but hey, no one in the music business wrote a song without hearing a song before it.  

REO Speedwagon – Wheels Are Turnin’

How do you follow up the mega million “Keep On Lovin’ You”?

The thing is you don’t, but artists, pushed on by their labels, want the same public acceptance for their new tracks as their old tracks. So the artist is now writing to get another hit, instead of writing to please themselves and to get their message across.

“Can’t Fight This Feeling” was the song offered up as “Keep On Loving You” part 2. And it got what the label wanted, but it also further removed the rockers from REO’s audience, because songs like “Gotta Feel More” don’t even get a mention these days. It’s a rocker and there is this synth line which is addictive and the guitars do a great job decorating it. “Rock And Roll Star” is another cool song with an outro solo which I like.

Triumph – Thunder Seven

They could write songs and they could really play their instruments. Sometimes when you get musicians this good into a room, it becomes a mess of epic proportions and sometimes, you get some great music. Triumph sits on the great side, as they had a magical run up to the late 80’s.

Man that riff to kick off “Spellbound”.

How good is it?

And when the whole band kicks in, it’s perfect.

How good is “Rock Out, Roll On”?

The intro riff and feel reminds me of the “Kashmir” groove plus the vocal melody and performance is excellent.

“Cool Down” is Led Zep territory and “Follow Your Heart” takes it out of the ballpark with its “Dance The Night Away” riff merged with “Unchained”.

“Time Goes By” is sitting at track 5 and its one of those tracks that highlights the diversity of “Triumph”, morphing between metal like riffage to hard rock riffage to pop rock riffage.

And that’s where I stop my listening experience with this album. Those first five tracks are all killer, no filler.

The Cars – Heartbeat City

I didn’t hear this album until I heard the song “Drive” in 2007 from the first Transformers movie.

And man, I was surprised how much I enjoyed the album.

It’s different, but it still rocked enough for me to pick up the guitar and play along to it. You know how songs from artists like Depeche Mode, Duran Duran and New Order work well in a rock and metal context, well, The Cars fall into that same category.

“Hello Again” starts off with a layered vocal line that could have come from Def Leppard and combined with “Looking For Love” it’s a great opening one two combination.

“Magic” could have come from any rock band with it’s “I Love Rock N Roll” inspired riff in the verses and a pre chorus which sounds like it came from “Hysteria” before “Hysteria” was written.

And “Drive” is one of those tracks that crosses over. It’s got a simple drum groove and the iconic lyric of “whose gonna drive you home” that remains long after the song is done.

“Why Can’t I Have You” has all the new tech from the mid 80’s around midi’s and a multi-layered Chorus like Def Leppard in the Chorus.

Steve Perry – Street Talk

I got this album at the same time I got “Raised On Radio” from Journey, well into the 90’s. I was expecting both albums to be rock albums and it wasn’t to be.

In saying that, “Oh Sherrie” has keyboard parts which sound good on guitar and man, Steve Perry can carry a song on his voice alone.

To me, the best songs like “You Should Be Happy”, “Captured By The Moment” and “Strung Out” are hidden deep within the album. The verses on “You Should Be Happy” are excellent, as the riff rocks and Perry’s vocal melody is hooky. “Captured By The Moment” has an arena rock chorus while “Strung Out” could have come from a Bryan Adams album.

38 Special – Tour De Force

Another band I got into very late.

“If I’d Been The One” just feels good as soon as it blasts out from the speakers. “Back Where You Belong” continues that feel good theme. It’s pop hard rock at its best.

“Twentieth Century Fox” is more on the rock side, with its Status Quo meets AC/DC vibe meets ZZ Top “La Grange” vibe.

“Long Distance Affair” has a cool lead break, “One Of The Lonely Ones” is back to the melodic rock and “Undercover Lover” closes the album with pure hard rock gold.

Basically, it’s a cool melodic rock album to listen to.

Jefferson Starship – Nuclear Furniture

The big keyboard riffs in “Layin’ It On The Line” get me hooked.

“Sorry Me, Sorry You” rocks out of the gate, with a lead guitar that reminds me of “Wild Frontier” from Gary Moore and the vocal melody in the chorus is excellent.

“Shining In The Moonlight” has a cool riff to kick it off before it morphs into clean tone arpeggios for the verses.

Basically, this is another cool melodic rock album to listen to.

John Waite – No Brakes

I wasn’t expecting the Van Halen “Hot For Teacher” style drumming and fast picked guitar riff in “Saturday Night” to kick off a John Waite album. But it did and it kept me listening.

And then it went into the big radio rocker, “Missing You” which to be honest is a cool listen. But man, after that frantic opening song, “Missing You” as track two was just too much of a departure. John Kalodner should have been on the scene here to co-ordinate the track sequencing.

“Dark Side Of The Sun” is subdued as it smoulders along while “Euroshima” is another fast paced rocker.

The Cult – Dreamtime

How good is the start of “Spiritwalker” with the arpeggio guitar riff and the drum groove along with Ian Astbury’s native Indian like chant?

And ’83rd Dream” has this progressive feel to it which I like. “A Flower In The Desert” has “The Call of Ktulu” style riff, which is based around the “Kashmir” riff which moves up chromatically.

Fates Warning – Night on Brocken

This album came to me at a time when I was in the mindset to hear progressive metal and Fates Warning became a favourite instantly.

“Buried Alive” kicks it off and “Kiss Of Death” musically sounds like a Rush song, with the distortion cranked to 10 and the tempo’s increased a little bit more.

“S.E.K” is a short minute and a half song, that’s like a classical/flamenco style acoustic guitar arrangement.

The opening riff in “Misfit” reappeared again in “Be Quick Or Be Dead” by the might Maiden and a harmony lead that reminds me of Megadeth’s “She Wolf”.

“Shadowfax” and “Jump In The Fire” sound like they were written from the same source material, being Rush. But after the intro, it sounds like a Maiden song.

Well that’s Part 6 done. 1984 was a big year for releases, so there are a few more parts to come. Stay tuned.

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

1979 – V – It’s Just A Game

If you are super keen to see the previous 4 posts, here they are;

1979 – The Highway To Hell Begins

1979 – II – Somebody Get Me A Doctor

1979 – III

1979 – IV – Lights Out In America

And here is part five.

Toto – Hydra

Toto got success with their debut, and there were expectations they would repeat the hits. I guess no one told the Toto guys, who went and tried something different.

The band came into my life because of Steve Lukather. He was always in the guitar magazines and he interviewed really well. But I didn’t start buying or getting access to the albums until well into the 90s.

There are a few songs on this album which are progressive and man, they work great in Rock and Metal circles and credit to Dave Paich for bringing the prog.

Hydra

At 7 minutes, this song shows a band following their muse and not conforming to what the label desired.

Like all good songs, the intro hooks me in.

And seriously, you wouldn’t expect lyrics about a Dragon lord, a summer solstice and a young man in love with a lady who descends down into darkness, especially after they hit the charts with “Hold The Line”.

99

It’s a love song about a futuristic movie made by George Lucas before Star Wars. You can hear the embryo of “Africa” in this.

The piano arpeggios with the subtle jazz fusion lead break works good.

All Us Boys

It’s just a feel good technical rock and roll song. And that repeating line from 3.10 up to the end (with a lead break chucked in) is super melodic and addictive.

Molly Hatchet – Flirtin’ with Disaster

The cover didn’t give me the impression that this album or band would be a rock and roll boogie band.

One Mans Pleasure

The intro musically blew me away. It started off with a “Another One Bites The Dust”, before morphing into an Aerosmith groove like “Sweet Emotion” and a Chorus from “Sweet Home Alabama”.

One man’s loss is another man’s gain.
One man’s pleasure is another man’s pain.

It’s about hitting the road with the band and leaving your woman behind. Your loss is another mans gain, because she ain’t waiting around.

Boogie No More

It’s got this Rolling Stones vibe merged with Bowie’s “Suffragette City” in the intro. Then it morphs into a speed blues jam song with a guitar solo that references “Free Bird”.

Flirting With Disaster

The way the song starts off with the drummer playing a 16th high hat beat hooks me in. It’s unconventional from the Southern Rock vibe and very Rush like.

I’m out of money, out of hope, it looks like self-destruction
Well, how much more can we take with all of this corruption

Corruption and money go hand in hand. People will lie, cheat, kill and steal for it and the ones who have it would also lie, cheat, scheme and kill, just to keep it.

And the way we run our lives, it makes no sense to me

Living from pay to pay, building someone else’s dream and believing that if you put in more hours, you might just get your turn to make it.

I’m travelin’ down that lonesome road
Feel like I’m dragging a heavy load
Yeah, I’ve tried to turn my head away
Feel about the same most every day

In the end, the road is lonesome and you might walk it with a lot of regrets or “what if’s”.

Long Time

It’s got this “Don’t Fear The Reaper” vibe in the verses which hooks me in.

Triumph – Just a Game

Ric Emmett, underrated guitarist and songwriter. Like, Toto and Asia and Yes, Triumph came into my life because of interviews in the Guitar mags I purchased with their prospective guitarists.

Moving On

That intro riff is in every 70s song. Free, Bowie and Rolling Stones immediately come to mind.

And that section when the backing vocals are singing “on and on”, the tempo is slowed down, Emmett is in the groove bending and picking those strings and I’m reminded of The Beatles “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” but its just a small reminder.

On and on and on
You’ve got to keep on movin’ on

It’s what life is about, moving on, taking chances, failing and succeeding, embracing changes and doing it all again.

Lay It On The Line

A simple catchy repeating chorus line with chords that would become famous with “I Love Rock N Roll” and you have the gift that keeps giving royalties.

Young Enough To Cry

I once thought that only the Brit guitarists could play this kind of blues rock. Emmett shows that Canadians are more than capable.

And how good are the lines “I’m too old to get hurt baby, Oh but I’m young enough, young enough to cry”.

Just A Game

And that slowed down tempo from “Movin On” which reminds me of The Beatles kicks off the title track. It has enough of a progressive touch to make me listen. And the lyrics are the reason why this song grabs me.

But the corporate strings that make them dance
Lead up to an ivory tower

We sing the song of the corporation daily, so we turn to music as an escape, only to see our heroes suffer the same fate.

And those bosses who we dance for, and pretend to like, live in a world so fake and so out of touch with reality.

Try hard to remember all that glitters is not gold
You can pay the piper, but you cannot buy his soul

Remember the legend of the Pied Piper who abducted all of the children in the village because the people of the town refused to pay him for catching all their rats. Well if you don’t pay your debts, someone will come and collect.

It’s just a game, and all I can do…is play

Play the long game. More so now. Streaming pays over the long run and it pays forever. Be in it and get your fans to stream because no one wins by dominating the news or being the social star or TV star for a month.

Who remembers “The Voice” winners?

And the labels are here to sell the same mainstream pop, hoping that sales and dollars makes them winners. Hell, this derivative method alone killed hard rock, hair metal and whatever kind of metal you want to call it back at the start of the 90s. A market saturated with rubbish is due to be cleaned up.

What you do choose, now, what do you believe, now
Who are you gonna trust?
All you dreams and fancy schemes
Just crumble into dust

To me it’s about free will and free choice. And it’s a touchy subject. People believe because they live in a democracy they are free. But they have a loan, which they need to pay monthly for the next 30 years. It doesn’t sound so free right now when you have a 30 year sentence. And I get it, they had freedom to make the choice to get into debt. But to counter-argue, that choice wasn’t so free because the only way a person could enter the housing market is to get a loan, or a large family donation or an inheritance.

And then in order to pay the loan, they need to ensure they have a job which pays a steady income. Which if they lose the job, all of their dreams and fancy schemes just crumble into dust.

Calm and cool and computerized to calculate and collect
We wait and watch and wonder
Just which puppet they’ll select

Like the movie “Dark City”, their are people we cannot see who manipulate and control what happens.

Science tells us global warming is real and leaders from democratic nations ignore it and call it a lie. Someone with deep pockets controls the narrative, and money rules this game.

Like the moth, too near the flame,
Who learned his truth too late
We’re all too deep into the game
That is the master of our fate

Learn to play the game better than others and maybe we’ll succeed. But remember our time on Earth is limited, and the game ends when we take our last breath.

Blackfoot – Strikes

The melodic rock side of the band is what I liked.

Left Turn On A Red Light

And as I buy myself another ticket, Lord
For somewhere else on down the line
Well I’ll always be a rambler
Well the ones I love always keep tellin’ me

It was a rite of passage once upon a time, to leave home and go your own way. It’s why so many songs with those themes connected. Today, the majority stay at home, because it’s comfortable and risk free.

Wishing Well

How good is this song from Free?

It’s been covered to death, but, what can I say, you can’t keep a good song down. So kick off your shoes and lose yourselves.

Highway Song

The lead breaks from about 4 minutes to the end is the reason why this song is here.

“Solo to the end” was a musical sectional once upon a time. Lost when MTV took power. In saying that, Skid Row brought out the “solo to the end” section in “Quicksand Jesus” and “In A Darkened Room” from “Slave To The Grind”.

Blue Öyster Cult – Mirrors

The album is ordinary except for “Lonely Teardrops”.

That funky riff which reminds me of “Superstitious” and “Play That Funky White Music White Boy” is catchy.

I seem to see a rose
I reach out then it goes
Now in its thorns I roam

Brilliant lines to describe the pain of being away from home.

38 Special – Rockin’ Into the Night

For me, only “Stone Cold Believer” is the highlight.

I speak my mind. I don’t hold it back,
That’s how I am, and I’m hopin’ that’s where you’ at.

Do we really speak our minds?

Research out there reckons that Google and other search engines know more truth about us via our search results than our partners know.

And these days what is truth?

We have battle lines drawn, our view points backed up with our research and away we go, trying to shout louder than the others. It makes great viewing, it might be fun, but it will not change the other persons view.

Viewpoints can change, but not by picking a fight.

Wanna climb that ladder, y’ wanna make it to the top,
Takes only one thing, gotta give it all y’ got.
Knew a man who couldn’t lose, ’cause he never gave in,

You get to the “top” or to your “defined top” by being a lifer. You need to be in it, even when the times are tough and you feel like you should leave.

In saying that if the business venture is costing you money, you’ll need to walk away and cut your losses, but still be in the game and restart again.

Amazon walked away from developments that cost them billions and restarted again. It’s okay to fail and succeed.

Well that’s it for another 1979 section. I think I have a few more to do before 79 is a wrap and I move to 78.

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Music

The Night Flight Orchestra – Internal Affairs (2012)

2012 Album released that should not be forgotten.

Wow – what a classic rock album released in June 2012.

Internal Affairs

The Night Flight Orchestra (NFO) is a side project / super group of Bjorn Strid (Soilwork) on vocals, Sharlee D’Angelo (Arch Enemy) on bass, David Anderson (Meanstreak and Soilwork session player) on guitars, Jonas Kallsback (Meanstreak) on drums and Richard Larsson (Von Benzo) on drums.

Imagine Kiss, Alice Cooper, Bob Seger, Bee Gees, Boston, Deep Purple, Steely Dan, Led Zeppelin and Journey thrown into a blender.  The result is The Night Flight Orchestra.

1. Siberian Queen kicks it off with its combination of Led Zep’s Immigrant Song and Achilles Last Stand.  This icy princess from the Russian wilderness, starts to do the opposite and warm the ear buds for more.

2. California Morning kicks off with a Boston meets Kiss guitar riff to tell the story about  tearful goodbyes on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

3. Glowing City Madness – This has an Elton John style vocal melody to tell the story of an Asian Dancer.

4. West Ruth Ave – Wow, what a catchy hook on this song.  This song is hit potential and it deserves to go viral so that everyone hears Bjorn’s story of fleeing Ft Lauderdale and ending up in Phoenix. It has that Gotye levels of catchy, a Kiss Dynasty / Foreigner / Bee Gees rock disco vibe and a Layla esque outro.

5. Transatlantic Blues – The first part is very Styx like and then it moves into a heavy Deep Purple meets Kiss War Machine style riff.  Even Jake E Lee referenced the same classic rock material for his Badlands project with Ray Gillan on vocals.

I read somewhere on the net that this song is about embarking on an inner journey and ending up in the middle of nowhere, shitfaced and listening to KANSAS.

6. Miami 5:02 – This is what happens when Van Halen meets Deep Purple.  Waking up in Florida in your birthday suit and a pair of Ray Bans.

7. Internal Affairs – Play That Funky Music White Boy meets Stevie Wonder Superstitious.  Nothing more should be said.  This funky ode is to a mysterious women from the age of the Cold War.

8. 1998 – is the 2012 version of Bob Seger’s classic 70’s recordings like Turn The Page and Night Moves crossed with the best of the Michael Stanley Band.  This song tells the story of travelling the endless highways of America.

9. Stella Ain’t no Dove – The threesome party anthem.

10. Montreal Midnight Supply – This is Deep Purple, 38 Special and Kiss Detroit Rock City stomping shuffle.  In the chorus it even sounds like Y&T’s Midnight In Tokyo.  Throughout the whole song you get that classic twin guitar feel of Thin Lizzy.

11. Green Hills of Glumslöv – Glumslöv is the small village in Sweden where Bjorn is from.  When you hear this song, you will get the instant sensation of the Warriors returning to Coney Island and Joe Walsh’s In The City playing in the background.  There is also a large Queen influence in this.

12. American High is the digital bonus track.

Overall its a great album.

What could have NFO done differently with this release?

Since they embraced the 70’s vibe in the music, in my view they should have embraced the 70’s vibe for marketing and released an 8 song album (Tracks 1 to 8) and then released ‘4 singles with a B side’.  Tracks 9 to 12 could have been the B sides.  Single material songs are West Ruth Ave, Internal Affairs, California Morning and Transatlantic Blues.

 

 

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