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

1977 – Part 4

Scorpions – Taken By Force

My first Scorpions experience was Tokyo Tapes courtesy of a friend.

And I grew up as an Uli Jon Roth fan.

Fast forward many years later, I’m reading interviews of artist, who mention Uli Jon Roth as an influence. Guitarists like George Lynch, Marty Friedman, Dave Mustaine, Alex Skolnick and Kirk Hammet just to name a few. I heard his style of writing in Adrian Vandenberg and Randy Rhoads. And although Yngwie Malmsteen was classed as a Richie Blackmore clone, he also had Uli Jon Roth influences.

And for Uli Jon Roth, he was a Hendrix devotee. So he merged those Hendrix influences with Euro Classical music and the result’s is a fusion of blues, rock and classical.

So let’s relive a very underrated and more or less forgotten Scorpions album from the glorious Uli Jon Roth era who as a lead guitarist had free reign to paint whatever leads he wanted.

“We’ll Burn The Sky” starts off with those clean tone arpeggios and a haunting vocal from Klaus Meine. And it moves into this staccato riff, which is the embryo of melodic rock.

That, ahhhhh breakdown from about the 2 minute mark, leads back into those clean tone arpeggios. This one is written by Schenker and lyrics are provided by Roth’s partner, Monika Dannemann, in tribute to Jimi Hendrix, who she was with at the time of his death.

“I’ve Got to Be Free” is a Roth cut with a wicked guitar riff and a Boston “Peace Of Mind” solo section.

“The Riot of Your Time” is a Schenker and Meine cut. For those questioning Meine’s abilities to write social conscious lyrics, then they should check this out. And those people pushing the theories of “Winds OF Change” being written by a CIA operative, should also check out this song.

“The Sails of Charon” is Roth’s shining moment. It’s been covered a lot. The title is enough to get me interested. Then there is the riff. A fusion of Classical and Spanish scales.

And that lead break over the intro riff.

It gave birth to the Shrapnel Label and shred guitar because it wasn’t just fast pentatonic licks like most of the guitarist’s did in the bands. This was a lead break like the lead breaks from the instrumental fusion artists like Al DiMeola, John MacLaughlin and Alan Holdsworth.

How good is “Your Light” which is another Roth cut, a mixture of funk, blues and rock?

“He’s a Woman – She’s a Man” is a Schenker, Meine and Herman Rarebell. I first heard this song when George Lynch covered it for a Scorpions tribute album. That intro riff and everything that comes after, is like a riot.

Thin Lizzy – Bad Reputation

It was a backs to the wall album. If you want to read the story behind, click on this link for Loudersound.com.

It wasn’t until the 90’s that I got a chance to really dig in to their 70’s output.

“Soldier Of Fortune” has nice harmony guitars in the Chorus, while “Bad Reputation” has a nasty guitar riff in the verses with funky bass lines.

“Opium Trail” is one of my favourite cuts. I heard John Norum’s cut first with Glen Hughes on vocals and became a fan instantly.

“Southbound” and that opening harmony riff. Listen to it.

And I still don’t like “Dancing In The Moonlight”, but I do like “Killer Without A Cause”.

And that harmony intro to “That Woman’s Gonna Break Your Heart” gets me playing air guitar and drums.

“Dear Lord” is the closer. Check out the lyrics from Lynott who was already experimenting with his potions and pills.

I’m in deep and I need your help / there’s no one to turn to and I can’t help myself / Dear Lord hear this call / oh Lord, save my fall.

No one heard the call as it all came crashing down by the mid 80s.

Judas Priest – Sin After Sin

This album is one of those underrated albums. A bridge between the start of the band and the peak commercial success of the band.

To record this album on a major label, it meant the band had to forfeit their rights to their first two albums to their original label, who kept the masters with them.

It’s also the album in which Judas Priest toured the US as support to REO Speedwagon and Foreigner. Seeing those three bands together on a bill is all wrong.

I love “Sinner”. So many great movements, like the intro/verse riff, the start of the solo section in the middle, then another outro solo and it just keeps on rolling and rolling and rocking.

“Diamonds And Rust” is a melodic rock gem, a cover of a Joan Baez folk song, but the way Judas Priest do it, it’s basically the sound which The Night Flight Orchestra built a career on writing songs like it.

“Starbreaker” chugs along on it’s F#m note.

“Last Rose Of Summer” sounds like it came from a Bad Company album, and very similar to “Shooting Star” while “Call For The Priest” has a harmony lead break which makes me want to hear it again. “Here Come The Tears” is one of those ballad like songs but in the 70’s it didn’t feel forced or pretentious. And the last two minutes is full of melodic lead breaks with a repeating baritone vocal line and then a high banshee vocal line.

“Dissident Aggressor” starts off like “Roadhouse Blues” merged with “Children Of The Grave” before Halford’s banshee operatic wail kicks in.

How good does “Race With The Devil” start off and then from the 28 second mark it moves into this blues like riff?

And most of the songs are forgotten, very rarely finding their way into the set lists. But it’s a worthy album.

Aerosmith – Draw The Line

The cover is one of the best. The cartoon caricatures on a white background just worked.

And it’s got my favourite Aerosmith track in “Kings And Queens” which producer Jack Douglas described the lyric writing process with Steven Tyler like “pulling teeth” because of the state he was in.

And since Joe Perry is not credited as a writer, he doesn’t even play on the track, with all guitars handled by Brad Whitford, including the lead guitars. Glen Hughes also did a killer cover if it.

And Steve Tyler has given many different interpretations as to what “Kings And Queens” is really about. In the liner notes to “Pandora’s Box”, he wrote that the song is about the holy wars and how many people died because of their beliefs and non-beliefs.

In his book, he said it’s about “a stoned-out rock star in his tattered satin rags lying on the ancient stone floor of a castle – slightly mad, but still capable of conjuring up a revolutionary album that would astound the ears of the ones who heard it and make the critics cringe.”

And relations further deteriorated when the Joe Perry penned “Bright Light Fright” was ignored by the band, but Perry still persisted with getting it done and since Tyler refused to sing it, Perry sang the lead vocal on it.

Journey – Next

To show how important “Next” is to the Journey history, all of the songs on the album vanished from the band’s live set list after 1979 and “Spaceman” and “Here We Are” have never been performed live. And “Spaceman” was also the single.

This “early” Journey was experimental and progressive, largely unknown to the masses, who would became fans from 1979/80.

Gregg Rolie is doing vocals (along with his normal piano playing) and the reviews of the time spoke about the vocals being poor. There is no Fleischman or Perry heroics.

But the band is a powerhouse band, with Aynsley Dunbar on drums, Neal Schon (sporting a monster hair style) on guitar and Ross Valory on bass.

Songs to check out are “Spaceman”, the progressive “Hustler” and the instrumental “Nickel and Dime”.

The Alan Parsons Project – I-Robot

I like the Alan Parsons Project because it feels like a mix tape of different artists as different vocalists do the lead vocals on the lyrical tracks and then there are the symphonic movie like pieces for the instrumentals.

Plus the themes of the albums all revolved around science fiction themes, which suited me fine.

“Don’t Let It Show” is more known to me because Pat Benatar covered it for “In the Heat of the Night”. Lead vocals on this album are done by Dave Townsend.

“Some Other Time” and “Breakdown” are my favourite tracks. Vocals on “Some Other Time” are done by Peter Straker and Jaki Whitren, while vocals on “Breakdown” are done by Allan Clarke.

And these names might mean nothing to people, but they all had careers in musicals, and as solo artists or with bands and with collaborations with other artists in different genres. And Alan Parsons rounded em all up to do rock songs.

The instrumental closer “Genesis Ch. 1 V. 32” (with its Choir) appeared in the episode “Toys” from “Homecoming” and I know that because I just finished watching season 1 two nights ago and I am currently half way through season 2. Plus Wikipedia confirmed it as well.

Finally, Alice Cooper’s “Lace And Whiskey” gets a listen, with his private eye persona concept story. “Lace And Whiskey”, “You and Me”, “King Of The Silver Screen” and “(No More) Love At Your Convenience” are the songs to check out.

But it was the beginning of the end of his marvellous 70’s output, and the start of the rehabilitation which would hit platinum heights 11 years later.

See ya back in the 2000’s for Part 5.

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

1978 – Part 2 – “Never Say Die To Infinity” said the Hemispheres

It’s hard to believe that in 2019, I still listen to albums released in 1978, 41 years ago, but in the 80’s like 1986, I couldn’t fathom listening to music from 1945. And I still cant.

My eldest one, who is is 14, listens to 70’s music. Last night, “Free Bird” from Lynyrd Skynyrd was cranked. The middle child, who is 13, has been cranking “Sultans Of Swing”, “Aint Talkin Bout Love” and “Eruption” as they both fumble around the fretboard learning the songs on guitar. So the 70s are back baby.

Here is part one and now for Part two.

And here is the Spotify playlist.

Journey – Infinity

The wheel in the sky keeps on turning alright. Robert Fleischman was hired as the new vocalist before being un-hired and Steve Perry was in. Fleischman would resurface many years later as part of Vinnie Vincent’s Invasion.

This is Journey before the mainstream hits, but the start of what would become the commercial beast. And the bluesy Hendrix like “Lights” kicks it off.

How good is the guitar solo from about the 2 minute mark from Neal Schon?

“Anytime” sounds like an ELO/Eagles song merged with “Who Are You” from The Who. And I like it, especially when Schon comes to town with his bends and legato during the solo.

“La Do Da” comes from out of nowhere, a speed rock track, the anti-hero to the laid back Southern Rock vibe of the first three tracks.

“Patiently” is one of my favourite tracks from Journey, especially from about 2.10 and to the end. Listen to Schon wail with a bunch of sing along licks. And it’s progressive in its song writing.

And the piece d resistance is “Wheel In The Sky”. It hypnotised me to pick up the guitar and start learning it, from the opening notes. And Perry’s vocals are perfect, sorrowful and emotive.

How good is the intro to “Winds Of March”?

It’s like “Battery” from Metallica to me. And I am sure Dave Meniketti was listening and being influenced here, for “Winds Of Change”. Then it changes into a rocker from about 2.50 minute mark and I am tapping my fingers, and Schon begins to wail about the 3.50 minute mark and its beautiful and inspirational.

Whitesnake – Trouble

David Coverdale is rolling along with his post Deep Purple career. “Trouble” is known as the first Whitesnake album, however after the success of the 1987 album, the David Coverdale solo albums “White Snake” and “Northwinds” got re-released and some still see those as the beginning.

The album is a product of its era.

“Take Me With You” kicks off the album and it’s a blast. You just need to listen to it for the lyrics. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Slash was listening to this track, as it sounds like certain riffs made their way into “Appetite For Destruction”.

“Love To Keep You Warm” ended up as a lyric on the road to “Judgement Day”.

“Nighthawk (Vampire Blues) will never sound dated. It’s one of those tracks that sounded good in 1978 and it will still sound good in 2019. Greta Van Fleet should cover it.

“The Time Is Right For Love” is a good track that is relevant in any era and I thought it would have been re-recorded for a Whitesnake album in the 80’s, going into the 90’s, but after “Slip Of The Tongue”, Coverdale, dissolved Whitesnake to team up with Jimmy Page, and then when Page went back to Robert Plant for a side project, Whitesnake came back with Adrian Vandenberg and Warren DeMartini on guitars. (Takes a breath).

“Trouble” is very Bad Company like, and I like it, especially the lyrics, “on the road again, looking for a place to hide, everywhere I look, there is trouble, trouble always coming my way.”

“Free Flight” is a jazz fusion blues rocker that could have come from “Come Taste The Band”. And while it doesn’t contain the hits, the album does contain some serious riffage and jamming, which I dig.

Judas Priest – Stained Class

This album was really ignored by the media and the fans, until the 80’s satanic panic and subsequent lawsuits brought it back into the public conversation.

For those who don’t know the story, and according to Wikipedia, Judas Priest got taken to trial in a civil suit, by the family of a teenager, James Vance, who entered into a suicide pact with his friend Ray Belknap after allegedly listening to “Better by You, Better than Me” on 23 December 1985.

Belknap succeeded in killing himself, and Vance was left critically injured after surviving a self-inflicted gunshot to the facial area, eventually dying of a methadone overdose three years later.

In this case, the events and outcomes are tragic, but there is always someone looking to blame someone else for their predicament. And there are always people (like lawyers and prosecutors) looking to prey on people’s weakness and sense of loss.

A lawyer tried to convince a judge that the “Stained Class” album and the song “Better by You, Better than Me” (which isn’t even a Judas Priest song, it’s a cover) had subliminal messages on it, that said “do it” and that would make kids take their lives. In the name of free speech and the ludicrous nature of the suit (seriously, why would a band want to kill the very people who would buy their product), it was dismissed.

But the album is important in a few ways;

  • The iconic Judas Priest logo made its debut.
  • It’s seen as an early thrash metal album, with wannabe artists all over Europe lapping up the fast picking and surgical precision of the riffs.
  • Its darkness and aggression is fuelled by the anti-metal movement that started happening in the UK, as Punk and New Wave was getting all the attention and metal had a few comical mentions.

“Exciter” kicks off the album with double kick and speed pedal point riffs. “Stained Class” has a cool “Barracuda” pedal point riff. “Saints In Hell” is not in the live repertoire of Judas Priest, but the song has a lot of movements, which keeps it interesting.

“Beyond The Realms Of Death” is a favourite, especially with its nod to “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” but also for its song writing and various movements. Chris De Garmo would have been listening very intently to this, as it sounds like “The Warning” album came from influences like this.

“Fire Burns Below” is the embryo of what Judas Priest would become in the 80’s.

The Metalian was starting to form.

Rush – Hemispheres

One of their best albums and their most progressive. They knew they had reached a pinnacle here and what would come next would be much shorter and concise songs, sort of like how Metallica reached a pinnacle with the “Justice” album and needed to strip it back, which they did with the self-titled and mega gazillion selling “Black” album.

And the reason why I call this one of their best albums is because of “La Villa Strangiato”, a song that took them longer to record than the whole “Fly By Night” album.

I didn’t give Rush a good shake until I really got into Dream Theater on the “Images And Words” album.

Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres

18 minutes and all the different musical movements are enough to get me interested for a few reasons. And it’s all because of Alex Lifeson.

Alex Lifeson’s use of open strings (the high E and B strings) with moving power chords was inspirational. It just made sections sound bigger than what they should. It was a style I incorporated straight away.

His combination of using palm muted arpeggios and single note riffs also proved to be very inspirational. At that point in time, I was very heavily into playing open string pedal point riffs with power chords underneath.

His use of acoustic guitars was unique, bordering on his Eastern European Serbian folk roots, Spanish flamenco, pop music and classical music.

Finally, his unique guitar solos made him sound very different to the blues rock and classical shred like soloists I was used to hearing.

“Circumstances” sounds like the hard rock I listened too, with pedal point riffs in the intro. But from about 50 seconds, the song morphs and I was entranced to pick up the guitar and learn the section. By a 1.15 seconds, 25 seconds later it was all over.

And that’s how my Rush relationship is. Sections of certain songs hook me in.

Like the intro to “The Trees”. It’s acoustic intro sounds like it came from medieval England. And after 40 seconds, the song changes into a rocker. The lyrics made me laugh when I was younger, and they still make me laugh now, especially when Geddy Lee sings, “why can’t the maples be happy?” or “the maples scream oppression” or “the maples formed a union”. 

Goddamn Maples, they can never be happy.

And that section from about 2.20 when Lifeson starts to play this repeating arpeggio lick/riff. Again, I was picking up the guitar to learn it and jam it, but then I started learning Geddy’s bass riff, as it sounded so good on distorted guitar and very different to Lifeson’s guitar riff.

“La Villa Strangiato” sums up everything about Rush which I love and I am so glad they didn’t try to repeat it or try to rewrite it for another album.

It stands out as the RUSH song for me, and if anyone asks what’s the big deal about Rush, I play them this song and I comment about each section and movement for a few seconds and allow them to bask in the sounds filling the room.

It’s an instrumental but there is no way you could ever be bored by it. It doesn’t have any guitar wankery. It just grooves and rolls until it comes up to the 3.18 minute mark where the song slows down.

This is when Alex Lifeson becomes a god.

He starts off the solo with volume swells.

It’s eerie, before he brings in a few blues licks to make it sorrowful.

At 4.27, it gets louder, and his bending those strings, bleeding pain out of those frets. In the background Neal Peart, is building the beast.

At 5.15, Lifeson starts this palm muted Am to F arpeggio. Peart is double-time on the drums, and Lee is playing the bass synth until they all join in and start the Swinging 30’s section. This is when Bugs Bunny is running away from Elmer Fudd. That is the memory I got from it.

Then there’s a bass solo.

Then a drum solo.

Then an unconventional guitar solo at the 6.50 minute mark.

At 7.29, it changes again.

At 7.53, the Swinging 30’s is back. First at half time, then at full speed.

And the song transitions back to the main intro riff to close out a 9 plus minute song in perfection.

And the album is over.

Until I dropped the needle again onto the last track.

Scorpions – Tokyo Tapes

I got this dubbed on a cassette from a mate, who had dubbed it onto a cassette from a cousin, who dubbed it onto a cassette from his girlfriend’s brother. Quick, call the cops, piracy is on the loose and killing the recording industry.

The end of the Uli Jon Roth era on guitar and a band in top form.

Stand out live performances along with fake crowd noises and claps are “Pictured Life”, “In Trance”, “Well Burn The Sky”, “Fly To The Rainbow”, “He’s A Woman – She’s A Man”, “Top Of The Bill” and “Steamrock Fever”.

Scorpions – Taken By Force

The last studio album with Uli Jon Roth, kicks off with “Steamrock Fever” and I like the music a lot more than the lyrics. “We’ll Burn The Sky” is better lyrically and musically.

Two of my favourite Scorpion tracks are up next in “I’ve Got To Be Free” and “The Riot Of Your Time”.

“I’ve got to be free to live my life alone” is the catch cry, a very Hendrix inspired song musically and it doesn’t sound dated at all.  And the acoustic guitars in “The Riot Of Your Time” are perfect, but the chorus, musically and lyrically is brilliant. Listen to it if you don’t believe me.

The piece d’resistance from a guitar point of view, is “The Sails Of Charon”. But I listen to “Your Light” more, because of its sexy groove, which makes me want to pick up the guitar, especially in the verses. And the way it rolls, it’s a rock song, but I feel like I’m sipping Pina Colada’s on an island in the Caribbean’s.

“He’s A Woman – She’s A Man” has got some Metallica like breakdowns in it, which is cool.

Black Sabbath – Never Say Die

It’s not like it’s such a bad album, it’s just that they lost their darkness. “Never Says Die” sounds like it could have come from Thin Lizzy or ELO or Styx. “Johnny Blade” musically sounds like a Rush song, hell, the riff in the verses sounds like it came from “La Villa Strangiato”.

“Junior’s Eyes” is classic Sabbath in everything except the title. “A Hard Road” sounds more like a Status Quo track but it’s roots are from the placenta of “Children of The Grave”. “Shock Wave” is a Sabbath song through and through.

The best track on the album is “Air Dance”. It has this harmony intro which is too good to not like. Then it morphs into an acoustic/piano piece for the verses. It’s progressive in its song writing and as fans of artists, you want them to grow a little bit and add some different textures.

Especially at the 3.56 mark, it goes into a prog rock style piece, which is some of the best stuff Sabbath has written. Because that is what Sabbath was/is. A band that pushed boundaries and defied categorisation. Hell, there is a synth lead in it, as I start to cough out the sweet leaf.

“Over To You” was re-written and called “Little Dolls”. If it works for Ozzy’s solo career, it works for Sabbath for me. “Breakout” has the brass instruments, but there is no denying the power of that riff as it sludge’s sleazily along.

Styx – Pieces of Eight

I like Styx as a progressive rock band which has a few “simply” rock songs here and there. This album is a favourite, because it hits both those points for me. It’s progressive in its song writing and it has “accessible” songs.

“Great White Hope” gallops along in the intro and it’s a product of its time.

“I’m O.K” is interesting with its major key uplifting riffs, and “Walk This Way” style drums in the intro, and then the verses sound like a church sermon.“Sing For The Day” has a progressive synth intro which I dig. And the multi-layered Chorus melody is cool, but I’m more of a fan of the music.

“Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) has a riff which is tasty to play on guitar. And how good is the Chorus, musically, lyrically and melodically. Makes me press repeat instantly. “Queen Of Spades” is a combination of progressive song writing and accessible melodies. And the breakdown section from about the 3.20 minute mark is perfect.

But the piece d resistance here is “Renegade”.

First the acapella vocals and it sounds like it’s coming from the Mississippi Delta.

Then the funk rock fusion riff kicks in and it’s time to rock and funk.

And the solo. The music stops, and a dirty sounding guitar unleashes a flurry of pentatonic lines which wash over me. Then the band comes in and it’s all systems go. And when you think it’s over, it keeps going for a little but more.

Then the drums and vocals section. Jon Bon Jovi would have been listening intently as “You Give Love A Bad Name” has a similar set up after the solo.

Play that funky rock and roll, I say.

“Pieces Of Eight” is a brilliant piece of song writing. It has so many movements in the song, especially from the 2.20 minute mark. It’s pure bliss.

The Alan Parsons Project – Pyramid

Alan Parsons got no love in Australia or non that I could remember. I started to hear his work in the early 2000’s. And I became a fan. I got what he was trying to do, I really enjoyed the song structures, the jams and atmospherics.

The way “Voyager” starts off in the first 20 seconds, it’s how thrash metal acts build their clean tone intros. And the song segues into “What Goes Up”, a laid back tune which segues into “The Eagle Will Rise Again” and one of my favourite acoustic arpeggio riffs because it sounds so powerful.

Play four notes, stop and let them ring. But the rest of the song is not as strong as that verse riff. At one stage, I swear I thought “Listen To My Heart” from Roxette came from this song. “One More River” has a clean tone single note riff, which sounds wicked when played with distortion.  

“In The Lap Of Gods” is a cinematic instrumental. Well, that’s what I call it. It feels like it’s written to moving pictures and I like it. Especially from the 4.10 minute mark when those Latin style “Excalibur” voices come in, along with the violins.

I press repeat, to hear it one more time, and to close off Part 2 of 1978.

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

1984 – V – Grace Under Pressure

If you are curious here are parts one, two, three and four of the 1984 series.

Pretty Maids – Red Hot And Heavy

I didn’t hear this album until the early two thousands. I had “Future World” on LP, however any other release by the band was available via an expensive IMPORT price of $50 to $70 Australian. And then Napster came along, and then Audio Galaxy, LimeWire and cloud sites like Rapid Share. Suddenly, people’s music collections were available everywhere and at any time.

For this album there was no dropping the needle, it was all about putting on my headphones, plugging them into the computer and pressing play to the mp3 tracks, lined up WINAMP.

It kicks off with what I know as the “Excalibur” theme, and others know as ‘O Fortuna’.

“Back To Back” and “Cold Killer” have cool riffs and show off their NWOBHM influences.

“Red Hot and Heavy” shows off it’s Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest and Scorpions influences.

“Waitin’ For The Time” and “A Place In The Night” are AOR Melodic Rock to a tee.

And that’s why I always enjoyed the albums from “Pretty Maids”. Like Dokken and Y&T, they lived somewhere in between heavy metal and hard rock and melodic pop.

Rush – Grace Under Pressure

Ernest Hemingway said “Courage is grace under pressure.”

And when you are pushing towards the mid 80s, Rush showed true courage in delivering another album full of synth rock. Hell, talk about courage, some songs don’t even feature any bass guitar.

“Distant Early Warning” has a keyboard riff which sounds excellent played on a distorted guitar.

“Afterimage” is my favourite track and “Red Sector A” has this riff from about the 1.10 mark, which makes me press repeat on this track.

This is also the track which has no bass guitar

“Are we the last ones left alive? Are we the only human beings to survive?”

And its these first three tracks which still get played to this day.

The Alan Parsons Project  – Ammonia Avenue

The album came out in February 1984 and it was meant to capitalize on the platinum success of “Eye In The Sky”. And although it went Gold, the album was seen as a failure. MTV was a game changer and if you looked like a studio band, you didn’t stand a chance with a new empowered generation of rock and metal heads.

But to me there are always a few cool tracks on APP albums which I can relate to.

On this one, “Let Me Go Home”, “Dancing On A High Wire” and Pipeline” are stand outs.

Chris DeBurgh – Man On The Line

Chris DeBurgh doesn’t get enough credit as a Rocker because his ballad, “Lady In Red” was so huge, it dwarfed everything else he released. Then again, each album he did release always had more ballads than rockers.

“The Ecstasy Of Flight (I Love The Night)” is the song which stood out for me and I remember hearing it on a music video show and taping it.

Midnight Oil – Red Sails In The Sunset

They write songs about Australia, our environment, our history, our culture and our attitudes.

And it resonated and connected with people.

“Kosciusko” and “When The Generals Talk” are the standouts here.

Meatloaf‘s “Bad Attitude” didn’t have anything earth shattering on it, but the title track and “Surfs Up” are derivative versions of previous Meatloaf songs and are a cool listen.

Billy Squier – Signs Of Life

It all comes back to the “Rock Me Tonite” video.

Cheesy; yes, terrible idea; yes, but did it really kill Squier’s career because in the 80s there was a lot of cheesy bad videos for artists.

Squier like many others had some success early on and then struggled to duplicate it. Twisted Sister comes to mind immediately and so does Quiet Riot. That’s not to say this album doesn’t have good songs, it’s just the audience had moved on.

“All Night Long” is excellent while “Reach For The Sky” has a feel and groove borrowed from The Police and Gotye used a similar groove and feel for “Somebody That I Used To Know”. Quick call the lawyers.

“Hand Me Downs” borrows from “Long Way To The Top” in the verses. Quick call the lawyers again.

Don Henley – Building The Perfect Beast

“The Boys Of Summer” was everywhere and what a song. I didn’t hear the rest of the album until the late 90s. Other tracks which stand out to me are “Not Enough Love In The World”, “Driving With Our Eyes Closed” and “Land Of The Living”.

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

1982 – Volume 7: Everything Dies, That’s A Fact

The Alan Parsons Project – Eye In The Sky
Alan Parsons is one of those unsung heroes that a lot of people don’t really know about.

In 1968, a then 18-year-old Alan Parsons had his first engineering credit on “Abbey Road” from The Beatles. Proper sound engineers are responsible for the sound capture and there was no better at it, than Alan Parsons.

From there, he went on to work with Paul McCartney, The Hollies and his piece d’resitance was Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon”. He was the engineer on “The Dark Side Of The Moon”. So the sounds you hear on that album, the sounds that went into 30 million houses around their world, owe a lot to Alan Parsons.

After the success of “The Dark Side Of The Moon”, Parson’s was offered the chance to work on “Wish You Were Here”, however he declined it because he wanted to get his own project going.

How many people today would decline an offer like that to follow a path that financially could be worse off, but creatively satisfying.

So The Alan Parsons Project was born with producer Eric Woolfson (RIP). Both of the guys met at Abbey Roads studio.

The studio sounds Parsons captured with the bands he engineered would end up on his project.

Which brings me to “Eye In The Sky”, his 1982 release. For a studio band, “Eye In The Sky” is their sixth album, which goes to show that there was a demand for their music. All up 10 Alan Parsons Project albums were released and achieved combined sales of more than 40m copies.

Eric Woolfson was also a successful rock musician, but no one knew of him. He wasn’t in the magazines or on MTV, but he had a very successful career compared to the MTV heroes of the 80’s. And for him, it all started off by doing session piano work in the 60’s which led to a song writing publishing contract which led to a production gig at Abbey Road Studios and so forth.

How cool is the Eye of Horus cover, which instantly brings back memories of “Powerslave” from Iron Maiden.

“Sirius” (Instrumental) leads into “Eye In The Sky”
If “Sirius” sounds familiar to sporting fans, well it should. It was used by the Chicago Bulls to introduce their team during the Michael Jordan era. Wikipedia also tells me that “Sirius” was used by the New Orleans Saints as their entrance music for Super Bowl XLIV. The Kansas City Chiefs also used it during kick-offs.

It then leads into “Eye In The Sky” which is the most well-known song from the album. Maybe you could call it a “hit” song without it being a hit on the charts, but a hit with listeners of the band. Eric Woolfson is doing lead vocals on it.

I am the eye in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind

“You’re Gonna Get Your Fingers Burned”
It has funk/soul/R&B singer Lenny Zakatek doing lead vocals. Zakatek was the lead singer with Gonzalez who had the worldwide disco hit, “I Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet”. From 1974, he started to work with The Alan Parsons Project, a collaboration that would span 8 albums and 24 songs.

If I’m wrong and you are right
Then I will light your darkness with confusion

“Psychobabble”
It has Elmer Gantry on vocals or otherwise known as Dave Terry. I remember reading a story about a group of musicians who got hired by Fleetwood Mac’s manager to impersonate Fleetwood Mac for a U.S. tour in the Seventies. Well, Dave Terry was one of the members. When the ruse failed, front man Dave Terry and guitarist Graham “Kirby” Gregory formed Stretch and had a hit song with the Kirby penned, “Why Did You Do That Thing?”

But I don’t care, it’s all psychobabble rap to me

“Mammagamma (Instrumental)”
Is typical of the Pink Floyd like instrumentals Parsons and Woolfson create. I love it.

“Old and Wise”
It has Colin Bunstone on vocals. Remember the song “She’s Not There” from the Sixties by the rock band The Zombies. If you do, that’s Colin Bunstone on vocals. One of many singles and projects he was involved in.

And, oh, when I’m old and wise
Bitter words mean little to me

Damn right. As you get older, you realise that you are not immortal and suddenly “the end” means more than all of those other wrongs you have suffered. You get a different perspective.

Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska
It’s a pretty bleak folk record. Springsteen recorded it at his home in Colts Neck, New Jersey. There was no E-Street Band. It was him and a four-track PortaStudio tape recorder.

“Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact,”
That lyric from “Atlantic City,” defines the tone of the album. The character in the song went from having a job and trying to save, to withdrawing everything he had, hitting the road to Atlantic City and then when he was low on cash he agreed to do a little favour for a friend.

Well, I got a job and tried to put my money away
But I got debts that no honest man can pay
So I drew what I had from the Central Trust
And I bought us two tickets on that Coast City bus

Now I been looking for a job but it’s hard to find
Down here, it’s just winners and losers and don’t get caught on the wrong side of that line
Well, I’m tired of coming out on this losing end
So, honey, last night I met this guy and I’m gonna do a little favour for him

And the whole album is littered with characters that did what they needed to do to survive and take care of their families. Like “Johnny 99” and the “Highway Patrolman”.

“Johnny 99”
Now judge, judge, I got debts no honest man could pay
The bank was holding’ my mortgage and taking’ my house away
Now I ain’t saying’ that make me an innocent man
But it was more’n all this that put that gun in my hand

There it is again, “I got debts no honest mane could pay line”. It was Johnny 99’s answer back to the judge as to why he did what he did.

“Highway Patrolman”
“I always done an honest job as honest as I could
But when it’s your brother, sometimes you look the other way”

“Mansion On The Hill” is the same as “Nebraska”.
There’s a place out on the edge of town, sir
Rising above the factories and the fields
Now, ever since I was a child I can remember
That mansion on the hill

There are winners and losers in life and then there are people just content with life. But the ones not content with life, want to be like those people living in the mansion on the hill.

“Used Cars”
Now, the neighbours come from near and far
As we pull up in our brand new used car

It’s a brilliant lyric of the times and how that used car was cherished like it was brand new. You had to have lived that time to understand it.

“Reason To Believe”.

Still at the end of every hard-earned day people find some reason to believe

There it is, the glimmer of hope on a bleak album. Because regardless of the situation, we still find some reason to believe in the next day and in the future.

The next two entries in my 1982 list are songs.

Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes – “Up Where We Belong”
It’s 1982 and Joe Cocker re-enters the public conversation. No one could escape “Up Where We Belong” a duet with Jennifer Warnes and the theme song to the Richard Gere/Debra Winger movie “An Officer And A Gentleman.”

As with all things Joe, it was a song written by a who’s who of writers, Jack Nitzsche, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Will Jennings. An original this time around, instead of a cover.

Some hang on to “used to be”
Live their lives looking behind
All we have is here and now
All our life, out there to find

Brilliant lyrics in the second verse. Even rock heads and metal heads couldn’t escape the song. I am also pretty sure that some power metal band covered it in the Nineties. It was one of those songs.

Moving Pictures – What About Me
The “Days of Innocence” was released in 1981 in Australia and 1982 in the U.S. I still haven’t heard the album it was on but I know the song well. It was released as a single in January 1982 in Australia and September 1982 in the U.S. Talk about windowing releases.

It was the second biggest single in Australia behind Survivors “Eye Of The Tiger”. It’s written by guitarist Garry Frost and Frances Swan Frost and like all hit songs from the past, it wasn’t even planned for the album.

I guess I’m lucky, I smile a lot
But sometimes I wish for more, than I’ve got…

There it is again, the wish for more. Stay tuned for Part 8. I never envisaged that my homage to 1982 would take so many iterations.

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Music

Andy Johns – Rest In Peace and Thanks For the Music

Does anyone remember the band Cinderella?  Tom Keifer had the best blues rock voice ever.  Andy Johns, produced and engineered their first two albums, Night Songs and Long Cold Winter.  Both albums where hits.  That was my first introduction to Andy Johns.  He nailed the glam hard rock sound for Night Songs and then he got he got the blues rock (Bad Company/Aerosmith) inspired sound that the band was going for on Long Cold Winter.

Then came For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge by Van Halen.  Ted Templeman was on board to record Sammy Hagar, as Andy Johns was too demanding for Sammy.  Eddie returning to his hard rock roots and Andy Johns on board to capture it.  It spawned the hit Right Know.

Majority of music lovers will remember the artists and the songs attached to them.  Key players in the history of recorded music are the producers, engineers and the mixers.  They are the ones tasked with getting the ideas of the artist recorded.  They need to please the artists and the record label at the same time.  They do not get the credit they deserve. Alan Parsons deserves more credit for his engineering role, especially on Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd.  Martin Birch should be credited as the god father of heavy metal and hard rock.  Andy Johns alongside him.

Rest in Peace Andy Johns and thanks for contributing to my soundtrack

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