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

1983 – IX 

The playlist.

There was a brief moment in the 80’s where we all had a similar vision of our world which involved standing up against the institutions and fighting for our rights. Maybe it was all fake (but man it felt real) and maybe we all stood together because there was nothing else. But between 1983 and 1985, metal and rock fans stood together as one.
 
But then bands started to run into trouble. Those platinum highs between 1983 and 1985, started to disappear. The vision wasn’t shared anymore. It wasn’t rock and metal anymore standing as one. There was rock, hard rock, glam rock, heavy rock, thrash rock, technical rock and the same deal happened with metal. The record label PR machine just kept the different genre’s coming. Different magazines came out that focused on genres. Don’t expect to see a Whitesnake interview in a thrash metal magazine.
 
Suddenly it wasn’t cool to like death metal and glam metal bands. Elitists popped up in each new record label created genre that basically bullied others if they had eclectic musical tastes. But I seriously believe the reason why metal and rock grew to become a commercial force is because we all made connections with each other. The tribe is what made the records great. We talked about them, we traded them, we dubbed them for our friends. And when connections happen, the movement keeps on growing. Until we became divided. 
 

Hanoi Rocks – Back To Mystery City

I can’t say I am a fan of the solo work of Michael Monroe, however this album has that 60’s rockabilly vibe that Volbeat is renowned for today. I remember watching a documentary about how 60’s music from the US and UK made its way into other European countries in the 70’s, so it was no surprise in the 80’s to get rock bands from Finland, Norway and Denmark that had influences from the 60’s.
 
It’s unfortunate that most people know of Hanoi Rocks because of drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley’s death in a car accident while being drunkenly driven by Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil. All death is tragic. If Razzle’s injection in 1982 never happened, the band probably would have broken up. And his death in 1985 ended the band.
 

“Malibu Beach Nightmare”
has got that “Surfing In the USA” drum feel and if it was released in the 60’s it wouldn’t be out of place. Hell, it’s not even out of place in the 80’s. You can picture yourself on any beach enjoying this song.
 

I wanna stay in the sun
I gotta have my fun

 
Who didn’t want to stay in the sun once upon a time? Then people started dying from skin cancer and suddenly long exposure to the sun became a bad thing. Still, when summer rolls around, all we want to do is stay in the sun.
 

“Until I Get You”
is an interesting song. It’s a mixture between glam, rock and new wave and the feel of the song is intoxicating.
 

I’ve seen you many times before
For each time you mean more

 
You have seen the person on various occasions and various places and with each viewing, the heart grows fonder. But the feelings are not reciprocated.
 

Until I get you…
I’ll be dreaming of you every night
And all of my time

 
But the other half is not interested right now, so all we have is our dreams.
 

“Beating Gets Faster”
is also another interesting song with it’s mixture of so many eras. A love-song written by Monroe and McCoy.
 

I never dream of being a millionaire
Money can’t buy a love affair

 
We think by being loaded we’ll be happy. A look at the ones who are loaded and all you hear and see are the various break ups and what not. And after this album, Hanoi Rocks secured a major label deal with CBS which eventually led them to that fateful night in 1985. I guess money can’t buy everything.
 

Talking Heads – Speaking in Tongues

David Byrne is in the news because of his views/lawsuits over the lack of royalty payments from streaming services instead of anything creative. Which is a shame, because copyright has allowed artists to rest on their past successes when it was never intended to do so.
 
“Burning Down the House” is the song that sold this album. It was everywhere. One of my hard rock bands in the 90’s even covered the song in a rock context.
 
And it’s for this song that David Byrne has gone to war against streaming services. But his war should be against the label that holds his copyright and the publishing company. Not against the streaming service. If anything, the streaming service is providing a basic service that the record labels should be responsible for providing. And remember, copyright’s original intention was to give the creator a monopoly on his works for a limited time (so they can monetise their work and if popular make some money) so they have an incentive to create more works. Under the original Copyright terms, this song would be out of Copyright in 2011.
 
But Copyright is a corporation controlled business. They would give popular artists a few million for the rights to administer their catalogue of songs which would please the artist in the short term and reap massive dividends for the corporations in the long term. And then when the artist passes away, the corporations would give a few million to the heirs which would please the heirs in the short term and reap massive dividends for the corporations in the long term. But Copyright was meant to protect the artists while they alive and creating. Not when they are alive and not creating or dead and not creating.
 

Streets – 1st

Streets was the creative musical outlet for Steve Walsh in between his departure from Kansas and subsequent return. It’s a band made up of Walsh on vocals and keys, guitarist Mike Slamer, bassist Billy Greer, and drummer Tim Gehrt. The debut LP was released 1983 on Atlantic Records. The deal was negotiatied with one manager and subsequently destroyed by another manager. Neil Kernon was on hand to produce, however he bailed on them and guitarist Mike Slamer finished it off.
 

Atlantic just threw our Streets albums against the wall, and if they stuck, fine. But they weren’t willing to go out on a limb and do any kind of promotion for it, so they didn’t stick. We’re talking “hair god” days, back in 1984. Well, we weren’t “hair gods,” we were guys who were really good. That band was and is real good. Atlantic won’t even release them on CD. Neither Streets album is out on CD and don’t ask me why. Somebody really upset them greatly.

Steve Walsh (Walsh actually got a lawyer to get the albums back from Atlantic and Rock Candy re-released the Streets albums recently) 
 

We got our deal with one manager and Doug Morris came to see us and we did a showcase, and he signed us. Steve decided that he didn’t like this manager and we got Derek Sutton, who used to be Styx’s manager. As it turns out, from what I understand, Derek (Sutton) got into it with Doug and the rest is history. We got pretty much canned. We did the album (Crimes In Mind) and there was no push behind it. There are so many people who wonder why that band didn’t do better. I thought we had a good album.

Billy Greer 
 

Streets manager had pissed off the president of Atlantic Records, Doug Morris, and he said ‘screw this band’. If he didn’t like the manager, then he was known to do that. We kind of got dropped through the cracks.

Billy Greer 
 
You might have come from a big name band, but that didn’t mean you had any power. The record label bosses, if wronged, could destroy a career at will. Ask Dee Snider and how Elektra destroyed his Desperado project. Even though the internet distribution chain was meant to level the playing field, the record labels still have control over who makes it or who doesn’t.
 

“Cold Hearted Woman”
is written by an outside writer called Marty Conn. The origins of the song go back to 1978, when Marty Conn, fresh off a tour with the Whitford-St.Holmes band took a few musician friends into the studio to record a few tunes he had written. “Cold Hearted Woman” was one of those tunes and the bass player on the original recording is Billy Greer.
 

You said you wanted a lover
Now I know there have been quite a few

 
When it all goes to hell in a relationship, the past is used as the final insult. And guys really can’t handle that the person they love was with someone else.
 

“So Far Away”
is written by Steve Walsh.
 

We came so close to love
Before you walked away
Now broken promises
Are all I’ve got today
Chalk it up to a lesson learned
Maybe next time love will stay
So close, so far away

 
We all want to be loved but man sometimes its so taxing on our heart and mind, we want love to be close but so far away.
 

“Fire”
is written by Gehrt, Slamer and Walsh. This song is a pretty cool progressive number. The keyboard intro is good enough to hook me in and when the whole band comes in, the foot is tapping and the head is nodding. It’s almost like Rainbow meets Kansas.
 

The worlds on fire

 
Let’s look at our world in a nutshell. The rich control the government and the laws while religion is still causing wars and people still kill in the name of god. Then you have racial tensions between different colours even though we all bleed the same colour. In each democratic country we are seeing more examples of corrupted capitalism. And when it comes time to vote in new leadership, we vote the better option of two bad options.
 
And with all of the invasion of privacy of our governments, they still can’t stop a terror attack or a mass shooting. If an Islamic person carried out the shooting in Vegas, the U.S would be on high alert and travel warnings would be in place. Instead, it’s one of their own and it’s business as usual.
 
How cool is that progressive interlude/solo section from the 2 minute mark?
 

This place is where no man should be

 
Sometimes the social jungle around us is so toxic, we need to get out.
 

Eric Martin Band – Sucker for a Pretty Face

I had Paul Gilbert on my radar because of Racer X and the Shrapnel label, and of course Billy Sheehan was on my radar because of his work with Talas and then his high profile bass playing gig with David Lee Roth on “Eat Em And Smile”. So when I heard a new band was getting put together with these two guys, I was interested to know who the singer was and to be honest, back then, Eric Martin was an unknown. But 6 years before Mr Big became platinum darlings, Eric Martin was just another artist trying to make it in a world of similar artists.
 
This album is a great piece of AOR Melodic rock. Actually, the first time I heard this album was well into the 2010 + decade. Yep, that’s almost 30 years from when it was released.
 

Sucker For A Pretty Face

It’s a cool melodic rock song that just works for me. The lyrics are old and overused, but who cares.
 

She’s as fast as a train in the station
Like a dangerous drug from a pharmacy

 
Cool lyrics.
 

Well, I’m a sucker for a pretty face
I can’t judge a book by its cover
Sucker for a pretty face
The same old story

 
Who isn’t a sucker for a pretty face?
 

I know my time will come when she leaves me
For another sucker for a pretty face

 
Yep, it’s only a matter of time before they move on.
 

Private Life

I dig the piano riffs and the vocal melodies on this song. It works perfectly.
 

Almost everything I do
Seems to get back to you
Almost everything I say
Has its day in court

 
These days, everything is out on social media. There is no escaping the copy society the internet has created. So if you want to be famous, expect your private life to become a public life. And don’t take photos of yourself in different stages of undress.
 

Ten Feel Tall

Again the intro just hooks me in. I swear “Revolution Saints” must have used this album as a template for their debut.
 

Oh, you don’t remember me
I’m the man without a name
It’s always the same, I get lost in the shuffle

 
It’s never easy trying to get the attention of someone.
 

She’s got a nerve
You’ve gotta stand up, down
Look like you’re ten feet tall
Show a little pride, you overcome some
Sadness inside before you fall
Gotta look ten feet tall
 

The Chorus is hooks galore.
 

Just Another Pretty Boy

I heard “Just Another Pretty Boy” in the excellent “Thunder Alley” movie. For a movie on wanting to be a rock star, I think it puts the actual “Rock Star” movie to shame.
 
The intro again just hooks me in.
 

Many times I know love is blind
You’ve gotta take it slow I know he’s the kind

 
The pre-chorus works with the melody and the riff doing a great build up to the chorus.
 

Just another pretty boy, just another pretty boy
He’ll use ya like a toy, just another pretty boy

 
Yeah the lyrics are dumb, but you can’t help but sing along.
 

Shooting Star – Burning (1983)

How wasn’t this album a big hit?
 
Maybe because they were on Virgin Records, a label known for new wave and low on funds, so when a rock album landed in their laps they had no idea how to promote.
 

Our first managers were stealing us blind, so we fired them. They were record promotion guys and I think they blackballed us to a lot of radio stations. Another thing that happened was that we signed to Virgin and they had absolutely no money at the time. We did not know that when we signed with them.Later, we signed with Geffen and we put out Silent Scream and Geffen got in a fight with all the radio promo guys and they fired them the week our album came out. We had 200 ads on radio, out of 300 reporting stations the first week. “Summer Sun” was being added everywhere and it looked like the album would be a smash. After the fight with the promo guys it dropped to 40 stations. What do you do?

Van McLain – Shooting Star 
 
Imagine yourself dreaming of making it. The roads you take are all part of the journey to make it. Sometimes for days, months or even years, you have no clue where you are going. But then you get some breaks, a bit of luck and you get a record deal. You spend months in the studio, then the record comes out and the label that signed you, doesn’t care about your music as much as you do.
 
So what do you do?
 
Do you give up or continue?
 
So many people who contribute nothing to culture make money from the artist who actually creates art that culture consumes. And it’s an unfortunate world that these faceless people can either destroy or make an artists’ career.
 

Straight Ahead

This song is just like life, with more questions than answers, but you’ve got no other option than to keep on moving on.
 

Moving straight ahead
Straight into the fire

 
It’s the only way to live. Moving forward never stalling as intent opens the door to forward motion.
 

Don’t tell me to slow down
I got no time to wait
Don’t tell me to hold back
Gotta keep running

 
Isn’t it a life lesson for us all?
 
We are a short time alive and a long time dead. We need to keep moving as time waits for no one.
 

Go For It

The music is brilliant in this song. It’s like a cross between Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down” and Led Zeppelin. Then there is a section that is progressive and very reminiscent of Kansas.
 

Let me tell you go for it

 
Life… It’s about experiences. Live long enough and you’ll realize you get stronger with the lessons you learn. And you rue the days when you failed to go for it. When fear stopped you from reaching higher.
 

Burning

“Burning” could have appeared on a Journey album before “Don’t Stop Believin’” pushed Journey through a different door and into a different musical direction. However once upon a time a version of Journey existed which wasn’t scared to jam and take you on a musical journey. “Shooting Star” capture that vibe here.
 

The fire is burning in everyone

 
To change is to take a journey. And that journey is not pain free or stress free. You can’t change without the stress. They go hand in hand. And the fire to change and be somebody is in all of us. But a lot of us, take a stress free journey and waste away.
 

Winner

“Winner” has this Euro-vibe “Deep Purple” meets “Kansas” vibe happening which I dig.
 

Tough
You gotta be tough
Or be broken in two

 
We all have to pick ourselves up off the floor at some point when we don’t win and this song is a great soundtrack.
 

Feel it in our hearts
We’re the winners

 
A lot of other important things matter more than the results, like relationships, families, laughter and memories. You have those, you’re a winner.
 

Train Rolls On


I don’t need a reason to feel like I do
I live like I want to, I can’t wait for you

 
We don’t always have all the answers, but we make the best of life.
 

My life is like a freight train
Running down the track as the train rolls on

 

Everybody needs a friend
And the touch of a lovers hand

 
You’ve either been in relationships or you’re afraid of them. So many hold back, stay away as they don’t want to share as they are scared of change. And people do change you. When there is a connection it’s exhilarating and when there’s a disconnection, it takes years to recover. And some never ever do.
 

Dreams


Hold on to your dreams

 
Sometimes it’s all we’ve got especially in a world spiralling out of control.
 
The lead break in the outro is too short. It needs to go longer and fade naturally.
                       

Meatloaf – Midnight At The Lost and Found

“Bat Out Of Hell” was such a monster album both commercially and critically, anything that came afterwards just couldn’t compete. Meatloaf was the most imperfect front man you could get. But he put so much energy into his performance, it was genuine. 
 

Midnight At The Lost And Found

It’s written by Marvin Lee Aday, Steve Buslowe, Paul Christie and Danny Peyronel. Meatloaf was a performer. Other people wrote his songs. Jim Steinman is the man behind the big ones, however the song writing committee on this album is not bad either.
 
Put your hand up if you knew that Marvin Lee Aday is Meatloaf. Bassist, Steve Buslowe worked with Paul Stanley, Jim Steinman, Bonnie Tyler, Aldo Nova and many other artists. Paul Christie is an Australian bassist/songwriter, who worked with a lot of Aussie acts like AC/DC and Mondo Rock, while Danny Peyronel is a Juilliard School trained keyboardist and associated with a string of high profile acts like UFO and Pink Floyd.
 

Hey Ricky, now mine is empty
How about one for you
We could set it out together
Seems tomorrow’s overdue

 
The scene is set. We are all drinking at the bar.
 

Midnight at the lost and found
Lost souls in the hunting ground
A remedy for all your ills
At the lost and found

 
Mmm, is the remedy, alcohol?
 

Wolf At Your Door

It’s basically a re-write of “Hurt So Good” John Cougar Mellencamp. This song is written by Marvin Lee Aday and Steve Buslowe.
 

Workin’ your life to the bone
There’s a wolf at your door
He wants your money, wants your soul
A wolf at your door
You give it all, he wants more
There’s a wolf at your door

 
There is so much truth in the above. The wolf comes in many different disguises, the bank man, the tax man, the gas man, the electricity man, the ISP man, the grim reaper man, the lawman, the government man and so forth. So many wolves are waiting to take away your life’s work.
 

Aldo Nova – Subject

“Fantasy” was such a massive song, anything else that came after would be compared to it.
 

Cry Baby Cry

It’s very similar musically to “Fantasy”.
 
It’s a perfect example of melodic rock, especially the harmony guitars that kick it off and lead in to the shredalicious solo break.
 

Always Be Mine

This is a keyboard heavy Journey style AOR rocker.
 

Let’s talk it over now
We both have a lot to say
Let’s get it over now
We can’t let it go this way

 
Sometimes talking it over, leads to more talking about the words said in the talking it over part.
 

It’s just a game we play
We look at love through eyes so blind
So don’t give your love away
Cause in my heart you’ll always be mine
Baby, you’ll always be mine

 
As Yoda said, “No, another there is”. Relationships are the same.
 

All Night Long

The chorus guitar riff is very similar to a certain song by Journey called “Don’t Stop Believin’”. I dig it and it rocks.

That’s it for Part 9 and I will close off 1983 with Part 10 soon.

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

1982 – Part V – Rising Up To The Challenge Of Our Rival

Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger
It’s the third album from Survivor and it sold because of one song.

“Eye Of The Tiger”.

The opening track and the one that broke them around the world.

The song and the “Rocky III” movie that it appears in are one of the same.

The song defines the band. It was a cultural hit.

And it all came about because Queen wouldn’t license “Another One Bites The Dust”. So Stallone asked Survivor guitarist Frankie Sullivan and keyboardist Jim Peterik to write a song. The song you hear in the movie is the demo version. This is viral marketing done, 1982 style. Have a cool song and put it in a movie series that is part of our culture and you have a bonafide hit. The difference between the 1980’s viral marketing and the current Internet viral marketing is that the artists followed up with other successes.

Anyone heard of PSY recently?

Case closed.

For certifications and awards and high stream counts, “Eye Of The Tiger” has done it all and is doing it all.

Who can forget that palm muted C note to kick off the song, and then the power chords come crashing down.

But what about the rest of the album. Surely there would be other songs worthy of a mention. Of course, “Eye Of The Tiger” kicks the album and it sets a very high standard.

Rising up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive

Eternal lyrics, they will forever be engraved into society and culture.

“Feels Like Love” is Journey style AOR rock with the synth more prominent than the guitars. It’s another Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan composition. “The One That Really Matters” is a Jim Peterik composition. That intro is brilliant and groovy, but it doesn’t appear again throughout the song.

“Ever Since the World Began”
It’s another Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan composition but it’s probably more known as a Jimi Jamison song, who joined Survivor in 1984 as a vocalist and recorded his own version for the Stallone film “Lock Up” in 1989.

I’ll never know what brought me here,
As if somebody led my hand,
It seems I hardly had to steer,
My course was planned

Great lyrics.

“American Heartbeat”
It’s another Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan composition. It’s a copy of “Eye Of The Tiger”. The only difference is the synth carries out the tasks of the guitar. And I dig this song and the groove the synths create.

Wheels are turning fast and hard,
Hearts are burnin’ on the Boulevard,
Hear them pound – young and proud,
It’s the American heartbeat,

It’s just about life in the late Seventies and early Eighties when getting a car was a rite of passage. The American part can be changed to Australian, European, Canadian, British, etc… It’s very different today. The latest gadgets have become the new rite of passage and the teens are quite happy to drive the cars of mum and dad.

Unfortunately, the rest of the songs like “Hesitation Dance”, “I’m Not That Man Anymore”, “Children of the Night” and “Silver Girl” are forgettable. Even the other songs mentioned above pale compared to the monolith that is “Eye Of The Tiger”.

And Survivor never got to be as big as a live act as Journey or Bon Jovi, but they did have a song that crossed over and a career that went decades deep in the music and recording industry.

Scorpions – Blackout
The Scorpions are a perfect example of patience. Their whole career was built bit by bit, country by country, continent by continent. By the time they really broke through in the U.S with “Love At First Sting”, it was with their 9th album.

How many bands today stick it out for that long?

Most bands form and if they don’t have instant success, they break up. Some members will leave the industry all together, focussing on jobs that pay a consistent wage, while others would move on to other projects and collaborations.

Blackout is album number 8. It started the momentum in the U.S.

During the writing and recording process, Klaus Meine lost his voice and underwent surgery on his vocal chords. While he was recovering, it was uncertain whether he would be able to record again. Don Dokken was hired to work on the demos.

I ended up getting the full album in the late 90’s, again via the second-hand record shop which had also morphed into a second-hand CD shop.

All music is composed by Rudolf Schenker.

“Blackout” kicks off the album in style. Schenker establishes himself as a guitar hero and riff meister. Lyrics are written by Klaus Meine, Herman Rarebell and Sonja Kittelsen.

My head explodes my ears ring
I can’t remember just where I’ve been
The last thing that I recall
I got lost in a deep black hole

The morning after just a little bit too much of everything.

And then the song ends with glass shattering.

“Can’t Live Without You” sounds like “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin” from Judas Priest. Quick, bring out the lawyers and start screaming plagiarism. Klaus Meine wrote lyrics on this one. How addictive is the chorus riff by Schenker?

Can’t live, can’t live without you

A melodic and simple chorus chant. But songs like these get clichéd.

“No One Like You” is the “hit song” of the album. It’s the stop start of the rhythm guitar and that lead break from Herman Rarebell that seal the deal on this song. Klaus Meine wrote lyrics on this one.

There’s no one like you
I can’t wait for the nights with you
I imagine the things we’d do
I just wanna be loved by you

Again, great chorus, but the best songs that live for eternity, have lyrics that are not dated to a particular point in time. “Rat Tailed Jimmy” that antagonist from “Dr Feelgood” is a person that we hear about and read about constantly. “Tommy and Gina”, the working class heroes from Living On A Prayer are everywhere. The “Winds Of Change” from Scorpions, keep blowing constantly and can be used as a reference point for any uprising happening around the world. That boy from Detroit that wanted to escape to the bright lights in “Don’t Stop Believin” is in every one. That drifter that was born to walk alone from “Here I Go Again” is in all of us. And David Coverdale had two attempts at bringing “Here I Go Again” to the masses. The first cut of the song that the word “HOBO” instead of “DRIFTER”.

See what I mean when you have better lyrics.

“You Give Me All I Need” sounded too much like “No One Like You” so it didn’t get the respect it deserved on the album. Herman Rarebell is writing lyrics on this one.

“Now!” is a Led Zep “Rock and Roll” rip off merged with their very own “Blackout”. Klaus Meine and Herman Rarebell are the lyric writers.
It’s gonna be wild, it’s gonna be wild
It’s gonna be wild
Now!

The vocal melody to the above lyrics are just too much like Led Zep’s “Rock and Roll”. But still, I like it.

Side two kicks off with “Dynamite”. Meine and Rarebell are the lyric writers on this one. By far the best song on the album. The intro and chorus, the music feels like “Ace Of Spades” from Motorhead to me and in the verses it feels like “Let There Be Rock” from AC/DC.

When Keith Olsen was working with the Scorpions on Crazy World, he mentioned that the lyrics from Klaus were very dumb downed and stupid and they didn’t do the songs any justice. So he called in songwriters like Jim Vallance and Desmond Child in to assist.

Dynamite is one of those songs that musically it is excellent. The vocal melodies are excellent, but the words that form those melodies needed more thought.

Kick your ass to heaven
With rock’n’roll tonight

It starts off fantastic and the song could have been about the rock and roll show being an analogy of dynamite going off. But then it gets silly.

I’ll make this night a special one
Make you feel alright
Shoot my heat into your body
Give ya all my size
I’m gonna beat the beat tonight
It’s time to break the ice

See what I mean at the lyrics not doing the song any favours.

“Arizona” is “No One Like You” part 3. A cool song, but lost on the album because of “No One Like You”. Herman Rarebell is the lyrics writer.

“China White” has Klaus Meine is the lyric writer. But it’s the music and the groove that get me. My second favourite on the album. “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” from Dio follows this kind of groove. Stuff like this is never going to make the radio, but it’s the kind of music I play that satisfies, that makes me want to see the band live.

Now, I don’t know how a title that is a reference for heroin can be linked to a song that lyrically talks about humans destroying the world with wars and calling for tolerance and peace.

How long will it take
To make the world a flaming star
How long will it take
Till they stop their senseless wars
How long will it take
Till everybody will understand
That we need to fill our hearts with love again

How long will it take
To make the earth a fireball
How long will it take
Till no more life exists at all
How long will it take
Till everybody will understand
That we need to fill our hearts with love again

See what I mean. The song just should have been called “How Long Will It Take?”

“When the Smoke Is Going Down” has Klaus Meine is the lyric writer. Musically, Three Doors Down had a hit called “Kryptonite” using the same chord progression, two decades later.

Aldo Nova
Like Survivor and their mega hit “Eye Of The Tiger”, Aldo Nova was another that came and went with “Fantasy”.

Whereas Survivor kept on going and had a few more defining moments, Aldo Nova never had another hit again, even when Jon Bon Jovi signed him to his own Jambco label and wrote/produced a stiff/formulaic album as a payback for Aldo Nova writing the main guitar riff in “Blaze Of Glory” that he is not credited for, sort of like how Sting takes all the money for “Every Breath You Take” when in fact it’s the way Andy Summers arranged his guitar parts that hooked everyone in.

“Fantasy” is Aldo’s debut single from his self-titled debut and the song that classed Aldo Nova as a one hit wonder. Upon release it was a hit, going Gold within the same year. But it wasn’t until 1989 that it went platinum and by 1994 it was double platinum.

The guitars to kick it off and the synth in the verses are brilliant.

Is the song about cocaine?

Outta sight, buy your kicks from the man in the white
Feels alright, powder pleasure in your nose tonight

Lyrics make me think it is.

“Hot Love” is excellent musically, but terrible, lyrically. “Ball and Chain” and “Heart to Heart” are really good AOR rock songs. Musically, Nova is brilliant but the lyrics do let a lot of the songs down.

Love, Love feels like a ball and chain
What a fool I’ve been to fall in love again

And “Heart To Heart” follows the same theme from “Ball And Chain”.

And he weeps, for a love that he has lost
And the man left a love

Side two continues the tradition of having melodic rock music and “Foolin’ Yourself” continues with the “Ball and Chain” and “Heart to Heart” themes.

I saw you walk down the street with somebody new
It’s funny people I meet they talk about me and you

“Under the Gun” is the B-side to “Fantasy” and by now the lyrical themes of a love lost and thoughts of revenge are getting too much.

Cause the girl that he loved went away and ran off with another man
But he followed them both and he shot at the throat, couldn’t stop his hand.

And “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” is again good musically, but the lyrical message of a lost love by know is just too much. Bring back the cocaine tinged “Fantasy” anytime.

Stay tuned for 1982 – Part 6.

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

Semi Obscure Bon Jovi Songs – Part 3

Bon Jovi are consistent ticket sellers, because the Generation X’s want to go. Some want to remember their youth, while others want to contemplate who they once were and who they have come to be and what a long twisted journey it has been to today. Along the way, music has been the soundtrack to many lives. Continuing on from the Semi-Obscure theme, here is the third list of songs from Bon Jovi that fail to get the attention they deserve.

DAMNED

It has a soul like funky blues groove very similar to what Lenny Kravitz was putting out. It is a Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi composition. The theme of the song didn’t resonate with the audience. Jon Bon Jovi was a married man, with children, so when he sings a song about having a secret love for someone, it just didn’t sit right. However, the vocal melody is strong and the music is great, he just needed better words.

“These Days” from 1995 is a very misunderstood album, released in a very confusing time. Hard/Glam rock as we knew it was dead, Grunge was fading and alternative rock was rising, along with a form of industrial rock/metal. Death Metal was at its peak, black metal was rising and thrash as we knew it was more or less non-existent with all the thrash bands delivering commercial sounding albums.

So while a lot of Bon Jovi’s counterparts (the ones that were not broken up) released heavier sounding albums, Bon Jovi went the opposite and released a slower and reflective album, furnished with a few rockers and a lot of ballads. Two things are evident throughout “These Days”.

One is the blues and the other is the Americana style of music made famous by Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Hank Williams and so on.

LOVE IS WAR

It is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. Of course it sounds like “You Give Love A Bad Name” because Jon tried really hard to create the same vibe and the same kind of hit. Is that a bad thing? Maybe. Maybe Not. Even “Bad Medicine” sounds like “You Give Love A Bad Name”.

“Love Is War” deserved to be officially released. If you haven’t heard it, go to YouTube, the unofficial streaming service. You will find it there. It has just over 29,000 views. The numbers are nothing compared to the “hits”.

Coming into the “New Jersey” writing phase (which at one stage was the “Sons Of Beaches” writing phase), 9 million copies of “Slippery When Wet” were sold, between 1986 and 1988 in the U.S. The pressure was on to repeat “Slippery When Wet”.

I know my silence tears you up inside
You built a fortress for your hurt to hide
You think you’ve won, but it’s a tie
’cause nobody wins a war of pride

It is the stand-off, where it is better to agree than disagree and both sides believe they have come out on top.

I’D DIE FOR YOU

“Slippery When Wet” was a monster of an album. Carrying three dead set classics, it was easy for the other songs to get missed. “I’d Die For You” is written by the Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child song writing team.

While, “Livin On A Prayer” and “You Give Love A Bad Name” took all the glory from this song writing team, the deeper cuts on side 2 are not to be ignored, especially the fan favourite “I’d Die For You”.

It’s got that Judas Priest “Breaking The Law” guitar line. Did anyone pick up on that? Remember my catch cry, progress is derivative.

Today, people are always telling me to lower my expectations and accept albums that are nowhere near as good as what came before. When something connects with me, it rekindles my faith in music.

The Night Flight Orchestra did that in 2012, with “Internal Affairs”. Protest The Hero did that in 2013 with “Volition”. Evergrey did that in 2011 with “Glorious Collision”. Machine Head did that in 2007 with “The Blackening”. Motley Crue did that in 2008 with “Saints Of Los Angeles”. Dream Theater did that in 2009 with “Black Clouds and Silver Linings” and One Less Reason did that in 2010 with “Faces and Four Letter Words”. Great music that makes you want to live forever, just to see what comes next.

That’s the power of a hit record and there was no bigger hit than “Slippery When Wet” in the Eighties for rock and metal music. Also a “hit” is not something that an a record label rep markets to death so that it can chart for a month or two and is then forgotten. No, a hit record infects the soul, like a virus that can never be treated. It lives with us forever.

As Robb Flynn sang in “Darkness Within”, “Pray to music, build a shrine, worship in these desperate times, fill your heart with every note, cherish it and cast a float.”

That is the power of music and that is the power of “Slippery When Wet”. On YouTube, “I’d Die For You” is a cult hit. The fan’s have taken the song and made their own film clips, lyric videos and so on. Add all the views together and you get close to 2 million views.

Jon Bon Jovi wasn’t married in 1986, when “Slippery When Wet” was released.

I’d die for you
I’d cry for you
I’d do anything
I’d lie for you
You know it’s true
Baby I’d die for you

Is he singing “I’d Die For You” to his future wife?

MY GUITAR LIES BLEEDING IN MY ARMS

Do you wanna know what is the difference between Bon Jovi and the wannabes? The delivery. We had no doubt that Jon Bon Jovi had lived his stories. This is the power of rock and roll. It doesn’t have to be heavy, or fast or bluesy. It can be a slow-moving ballad. It can be a sound. The title is a take on the George Harrison classic, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.

You see, when done right, music brings us together. It touches something that can’t be described and that is the essence of life. And others are out there also feeling that same connection. That is why we become fans.

I can’t write a love song the way I feel today
I can’t sing no song of hope, I got nothing to say
Life is feeling kind of strange, since you went away
I sing this song to you wherever you are
As my guitar lies bleeding in my arms

It is a depressing song dealing with a conflicted front man.

“Keep The Faith” was classified as a failure by the critics and the press as it “only” moved 2 million copies. In 1992, thousands of other bands would have moved heaven and earth to have sales of 2 million.

He tried out his “Jambco” record label that also released records from Billy Falcon and Aldo Nova. That venture was also classed a failure. The records from both Billy Falcon and Aldo Nova didn’t really click up the sales either and Jon Bon Jovi played important roles in both of them, as a song writer and as a producer. So hearing this song come out of him in 1995, it resonates.

ONLY LONELY

It is written by Jon Bon Jovi and David Bryan.

This is back to an innocent time when musicians were not so much wannabe fame and money mongers, but musical fanatics. You can hear the New Jersey synth sounds in this. The Bon Jovi VEVO channel has this song at 1,251,542 views. Other channels have lyric videos and their own fan clips, plus live performances.

The bottom line is this; it is a fan favourite. Like “I’d Die For You”, could it be about someone in particular.

“Only lonely — I can’t stop hurting you
Only lonely — but I can’t stop loving you
Only lonely — how much pain does it take”

THE PRICE OF LOVE

It is written by Jon Bon Jovi.

The Jon Bon Jovi of today portrays himself as a winner, whereas in the Eighties and early Nineties era he revealed his inner turmoil and demons and we loved him for it because we identified!

“We live, we learn, we lie
For the price of love
We kiss then say goodbye
For the price of love”

Aint that the truth. It’s like the movie “Groundhog Day”. We relive what love is until we get it right.

WITHOUT LOVE

“Without Love” is written by the Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child song writing team.

When a person is singing about finding a person that loves them and not being able to keep it, then they would rather be without love.

“I see my life
There’s some things I took for granted
Love’s passed me by
So many second chances
I was afraid
But I won’t be afraid no more”

Fear is the biggest killer of dreams and hopes.

BURNING FOR LOVE

It is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. When I hear this song, it reminds me of Muse as the progression is very similar to the progressions that Muse employs.

As with all of the earlier stuff, Sambora goes to town during the lead breaks, showcasing his abilities as a melodic shredder. He never went too over the top, always focusing on enhancing the song, instead of enhancing his ego.

RIVER RUNS DRY

It is a Jon Bon Jovi and Desmond Child composition that begins as a derivative version of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” which was also copied from a certain French band called Tarkus that opened up for Led Zeppelin at one point in time. Remember, progress is derivative.

SAVE A PRAYER

No one knows this song even exist, but they should. It deals with the theme of saving a prayer for when a person needs it. To save a prayer for when a person has gone through some bad moments.

Did you ever feel like you were drowning,
did you ever feel betrayed by a kiss?
Did you ever feel like you needed somebody,
would you feel alone in a world like this?
Did you ever feel like you needed shelter,
did you ever laugh when you wanted to cry?
Did you ever dream about evolution,
don’t you ever feel like your living a lie?

Jon gets the words right and nails it. Who hasn’t felt any of the above emotions and feelings?

Oh, Whoa, too many children grow up blind to the truth.
I say, Oh Oh, Oh, Oh,
say a prayer for me,
I’ll save a prayer for you.

We live in an age where everything is at our fingertips. Don’t take everything that you read as the truth. Investigate and research it. Come up with your own conclusions.

After re-reading all of the above, I noticed that i have subconsciously sequenced the songs into an album format. So I set up a playlist, put on the headphones, kicked back and enjoyed this special Bon Jovi album.

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

Headed For A Heartbreak

Blame Beavis and Butthead. Blame Grunge. The truth is a bit more complex.

Winger was good. Real good, however the band suffered the same unjust fate as all the other Eighties bands. Billy Squire made one ridiculous video with a pink top. A pink top that was recommended by a plethora of enablers, including record label execs. And just like that an amazing voice, with a catalog of songs was gone.

Winger had Kip Winger. A Playgirl pictorial was too outlandish and as glam music was committing suicide by cloning itself over and over again and despite Kip being a great musician, Beavis and Butthead came along and trashed the band. Metallica threw darts at Kip Winger while they recorded the “Black” album.

“Headed For A Heartbreak” is a hell of a good song. On the “Official Winger” YouTube channel the song has 1,506,304 views. On the “80’s Metal Videos” channel it has 347,590 views. On another channel, a live version that appeared on MTV has 245,624 views. On Spotify the song has 173,229 streams.

The song is written by Kip Winger, however it is the performances from the band that captured the imagination and connected on all levels. “Madalaine” was the first single and it failed to get traction. The the track “Seventeen” came out and interest in the band started to grow and while it softened all the hard heads to Winger, it was “Headed For A Heartbreak” that sealed the deal commercially. This business model worked well during this time. Who knew that in 5 years time the band would be headed for a heartbreak.

MTV was king of the airwaves and most people owned little music. The CD’s remained expensive so people only purchased with they really loved or saw as great. Then we would go to the show to hear the songs. Now we only have time for the best. When an album is released we can cherry pick what we like and in a lot of cases it isn’t the single that the record label decided to go with.

People are quick to blame piracy for all the issues currently happening in the music business however the truth is that the audience has outgrown the album format. Why should that outdated format work for us, especially when we can go on YouTube or Spotify to get the hit song we desire.

The audience is king today. Not the artist, not the songwriter, not the record label or the producer. That is why the cycle is so fast. Albums come and by three to four weeks they are gone. Except the real good ones. In the eighties, the big effort was marketing and getting people to buy the record. Today it is all about getting people to listen to the music over and over again.

Winger’s debut didn’t come from out of nowhere. Kip Winger did his time as a songwriter and studio session musician working very closely with Beau Hill who would of course go on to produce the first two Winger albums that went platinum. It is during those studio sessions that he came across Reb Beach. It was still going to be another 4 years before the self titled Winger album was released.

So Winger did time with Alice Cooper’s band, recording and writing two albums. Then in 1987, he left to form Sahara which would go on to become Winger after Alice Copper suggested it.

Guitarist Reb Beach is a graduate from the esteemed Berklee College of Music. He also did his time in backing bands and studio work, until he met up with Kip Winger and started writing demos.

Drummer Rod Morgenstein was the most experienced. Active since joining jazz fusion legends “The Dixie Dregs” in 1974, he was a very accomplished drummer to bring into the fold.

Keyboard player and back up guitarist Paul Taylor was the x factor. He was the touring keyboardist for Aldo Nova during his “Fantasy” success. He did his time with Alice Cooper’s backing band at the same time with Kip Winger and played on the “Constrictor” and “Raise Your Fist and Yell” albums.

Winger like Night Ranger was a pseudo super group of musicians that connected on all levels and it’s important to mention this point to all the wannabe musicians out there.

Another important point to mention is that the songs that made up the debut album were written during a 3 year period by musicians that had experience and that had lived. I rate Winger the same as White Lion, however Winger did have a better all star team, whereas White Lion had Vito Bratta and to some extent Mike Tramp.

Winger is a band that has the songs that you can play forever. In a world that is suffering from information overload, Winger produced a body of work that we can all continue to listen to. Go on Spotify and check them out. Go on YouTube and check them out. Focus on the music and not on the pretty boy images put out there in the video clips.

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