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

1985 – Part 7

All of these album I came across much later than 1985. Some even well into the 2000’s and courtesy of torrents.

Armored Saint – Delirious Nomad

I never got into em at the time nor did anyone I hanged with, talk about em. But the 2000’s gave me access to their music and man, there is a lot of good stuff on their albums.

Like “Nervous Man” on this album. The riff would have subconsciously inspired Hetfield for “Cyanide”. “For The Sake Of Heaviness” sounds like a Dokken cut without the melodic vocals. “Aftermath” sounds like a cut that Crimson Glory would write in a year’s time. Then again Evergrey’s first album had cuts like this.

Saxon – Innocence Is No Excuse

Saxon are one of my favourite acts. A lot of fans hated the albums on the EMI label, but it’s those albums that made me a fan. The switch from Carrere was going to happen eventually as the band wasn’t getting their royalty cut.

“Rockin’ Again” feels like a Def Leppard cut. I was hooked as soon as the clean tone arpeggios started. “Call Of The Wild” starts off with a classic fast riff like the old albums, but once the verses kick in, its melodic metal baby.

“Devil Rides Out” has a verse vocal melody that is reminiscent of “Breaking The Chains” from Dokken. “Everybody Up” has a riff that reminds me of the one riff to rule them all.

“Broken Heroes” has been a favourite for a while. “Give It Everything You Got” has that LA Sunset Strip vibe that a band from Pasadena brought to prominence.

And if you want to read a review that puts it nicely, head over to HMO.

Kix – Midnite Dynamite

I love the “Sin City” feel to kick off “Midnite Dynamite”. And the pre-chorus is totally different, more in the vein of Def Leppard with open string arpeggios and a melodic rock hook. Then the Chorus moves into a Judas Priest like riff. And that my friends, is why Kix became a band I like.

Main songwriter Donnie Purnell had a unique way of blending a lot of different influences into a cohesive hard rock track. On this album, he teamed up with Bob Halligan Jr for 7 tracks. The title track being one of em. And if you don’t know who Bob Halligan Jr is, then you’ve never listened to Kiss, Helix, Judas Priest, Bonfire or Icon.

Then there is “Bang Bang (Balls Of Fire) which has Kip Winger contributing a song writing credit with Purnell and Halligan Jr. It’s melodic rock.

“Walkin’ Away” is a synth heavy ballad with a great arena rock chorus. It could appear on a Duran Duran album and not be out of place. “Scarlet Fever” is the embryo to “Blow My Fuse”.

And 3 years later, Kix would really hit the top with the excellent “Blow My Fuse”. But that’s for a different year in review.

Icon – Night Of The Crime

Eddie Kramer produced it. Ron Nevison mixed it. Mike Clink assisted the mix.

Capitol Records spared no expense in making sure this album had everything it could have to make it. Bob Halligan Jr song writing contributions are all over it. Six of the songs are either written or co-written by him.

It’s melodic rock. Like all of the current Frontiers artists. Kerrang readers voted this album number 3 in an AOR list. Only “Journey –Escape” and “Michael Bolton – Everybody’s Crazy” were in front.

Unfortunately Capitol had no idea how to market the band.

Well they had no idea either, as the album brings to mind Judas Priest, Def Leppard, Dokken, Night Ranger, Europe, Coney Hatch and Y & T.

The first two Halligan Jr cuts “Naked Eyes” and “Missing” establish that his album is going to be an AOR behemoth.

A favourite is “Danger Calling” at track three, a cut written by Halligan Jr and Icon guitarist Dan Wexler. This song could have appeared on a Judas Priest album and not be out of place. And the AOR rock continues with the Wexler and Stephen Clifford cut, “(Take Another) Shot At My Heart”.

“Out For Blood” is written by Wexler and co-guitarist John Aquilino. It has a two minute and ten seconds “acoustic guitar/electric guitar solo” moment like those Shrapnel Records. Then the song begins.

But the best song is “Raise The Hammer”. It’s written by Halligan Jr. The intro/verse riff is one of the best Judas Priest riffs that Tipton and Downing didn’t write. Then that Chorus. You’ll be singing it. Bonfire took this melodic metal style and sound and ran with it a few years later.

The keyboard led “Frozen Tears” (another Halligan Jr cut) reminds me of Toto.

“The Whites of Their Eyes” has this Lynch meets Scorpions style riff, which a band like Leatherwolf would take and run with a few years later. “Hungry for Love” is your typical “Fallen Angel” lyrical theme with a catchy chorus and metal verse riff.

“Rock My Radio” closes the album. It’s got some decent guitar work, a driving beat and a derivative but catchy, harmony chorus you will like.

Phenomena – Phenomena

This project was awesome. Formed by record producer Tom Galley and his brother, Mel Galley fresh from a stint with Whitesnake.

It’s another melodic AOR rock classic and it’s a who’s who of artist on the tracks.

The first track, “Kiss Of Fire” is written by Richard Bailey (the keyboardist from Magnum) and Tom Galley. It has Glenn Hughes on vocals, Cozy Powell on drums, Neil Murray on bass, Richard Bailey on keyboards and John Thomas (from Budgie) on guitar. And it’s a great melodic rock song to start the way.

“Still The Night” is from the Thrall/Hughes project (written by Pat Thrall and Paul Delph) from a few years before and again, it has Glenn Hughes on vocals, Ted McKenna (MSG) on drums and John Thomas/Mel Galley on guitars with Robin Smith (songwriter and studio muso on various sessions) on the keys. This song is a favourite.

“Dance With The Devil” is written by Richard Bailey, Mel Galley and Tom Galley. Glenn Hughes wails away on vocals, while the band is rounded out by Cozy Powell on drums, Neil Murray on bass, Richard Bailey on keyboards and John Thomas/Mel Galley on guitar. There is a mean fiddle melodic riff which sounds like Kansas.

“Phoenix Rising” is written by Bailey and the Galley brothers. The band this time around is Hughes on vocals, Powell on drums, Murray on bass, Mel Galley on guitar and Bailey on keyboards.

I love the way this starts off with a clean tone guitar playing arpeggios and keys adding effects. It sounds like a soundtrack to a Christopher Nolan movie.

“Who’s Watching You” is written by Tom Galley and Mel Galley. It has McKenna on drums, Galley on guitar, Don Airey on keyboards, Glenn Hughes on bass and vocals. As soon as the riff kicks in, I’m all in.

“Hell On Wings” is written by the Galley brothers with Bailey. The band is Murray on bass, Powell on drums, Galley on guitar, Bailey on keys and Hughes on vocals. It’s got this harmony lead in the start that screams Thin Lizzy.

“Twilight Zone” is written by Bailey and Tom Galley. The band is Murray on bass, Powell on drums, Thomas and Galley on guitars, Bailey on keys and the mighty Hughes on vocals. The intro lead hooks me, the verses lose me, the Chorus loses me, but the music keeps me interested.

Helix – Long Way To Heaven

Helix are severely under-represented on Spotify. This album is not on it. But YouTube has it.

It’s on Capitol Records, the same Capitol that had Icon and Bob Halligan Jr working together and the same Capitol that had a reputation as a label which didn’t really know how to promote their metal and rock acts.

“The Kids Are All Shakin” could have appeared on an Autograph album. It’s a perfect major key radio rock anthem.

Mr Bob Halligan Jr makes an appearance again in the song writing department, with “Deep Cuts The Knife” a co-write with Paul Hackman and “Ride The Rocket” a co-write with Brian Vollmer. I should have called this post the Bob Halligan Jr post.

As soon as the arpeggios kick off “Deep Cuts The Knife” I was hooked. Then the vocal melody started and I was all in. This song is a perfect piece of melodic rock.

The intro to “House Of Fire” is brilliant. Then the fire bell starts ringing, the riffs kick in and it’s time to rock and roll. Hackman and Vollmer wrote a classic here. “Christine” is typical of 1985. So many songs had the similar major key riff. “Turn On The Radio” comes to mind immediately and I’m all in because of the similarity and familiarity.

How good does “Without You (Jasmine’s Song)” start off?

It’s a perfect AOR track and that Chorus remains me with long after the song is finished.

Well that’s a wrap for another 85 post, so off to 1977 for part 7.

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

1984 – VIII – Loose Feet In The Pleasuredome

This is the final 1984 post where everything else fits in. This is the music which came into my life from music television, movies and the older siblings from my friends, or my brothers friends.

And if you look at some of the sale numbers from the albums, these albums became so big it was hard to avoid the songs on them as radio played em and music television played em.

Here is the playlist.

Footloose

The movie was everywhere.

It’s music was everywhere.

There wasn’t a person alive in 1984 that could have missed this cultural phenomenon.

And it’s funny how the same repeat offenders appeared on the same big soundtracks.

Kenny Loggins delivers a stellar title track, with roots in the 60’s Rock and Roll movement. He also wrote “Danger Zone” for the “Top Gun” movie in 1986 , “Hearts On Fire” for “Rocky IV” and “Meet Me Half Way” for Stallone’s “Over The Top” which also had a killer Sammy Hagar track in “Winner Takes It All”. Stan Bush was another artist who had his songs appear in movies.

Ann Wilson (from Heart) and Mike Reno (from Loverboy) deliver a stellar ballad in “Almost Paradise”.

Bonnie Tyler’s anthem, “Holding Out For A Hero” appears while “Somebody’s Eyes” by Karla Bonoff is very Police like; just think of “King Of Pain”, even Gotye would have been inspired by it.

“The Girl Gets Around” from Sammy Hagar is on the soundtrack, but it’s not on the Spotify version of the soundtrack, but then again, a lot of the Sammy stuff is missing from Spotify Australia.

The original soundtrack ended with the song “Never” from Moving Pictures. And that synth lick to kick the song off, sounds heavy on distorted guitar. Plus it has a galloping riff in the verses which reminds me of “The Trooper” verses.

In 1998, a 15th anniversary edition was released and it added “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)” from Quiet Riot, “Hurts So Good” from John Mellencamp and “Waiting For A Girl Like You” from Foreigner. To me, it’s a triple home run and almost 10 million in sales in the U.S alone.

Huey Lewis And The News – Sport

This album really came out in 1983 but its success came in 1984.

Over 7 million in sales in the U.S. plus extra royalties, when Huey Lewis put in a copyright complaint against Ray Parker Jnr for using, “I Want A New Drug” and renaming it “Ghostbusters”. 

And “Walking On A Thin Line” could have come from John Mellencamp, so it was no surprise that the album crossed over to different styles.

But overall, I couldn’t relate to any of the other songs.

Weird Al Yankovic – In 3-D

“Weird Al” found a niche.

What a great concept to make parodies of popular songs, all the way to platinum sales.

“Eat It”  kicks it off, a parody of “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. The clip was doing the rounds routinely on the music video TV shows so there was no way to avoid it.

There are some misses, and then “King of Suede” starts, a parody of “King of Pain” by The Police, about a discount sale happening for suede.

The “Theme from Rocky XIII (The Rye or the Kaiser)” is a parody of “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor and hits the mark about a boxer who purchased a deli and is asking customers, do you want the rye or the Kaiser roll.

Billy Ocean – Suddenly

Now here is another artist that sold a lot of product, with over 2 million in sales in the U.S.

From the first four albums, that is close to 20 million in U.S sales.

“Caribbean Queen” hits the mark. Just check out the chorus vocal melody.

“Loverboy” has some cool single note pentatonic riffs in the verses and a Chorus that sounds like “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and “I Love Rock N Roll”.

“Suddenly” is a power ballad. It’s a massive song and it would work in a hard rock context. Replace the piano riffs with acoustic guitars and the song will start to sound like a Beatles/ELO blend.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Welcome To The Pleasuredome

Here is another artist that couldn’t be avoided. The film clips for “Relax” and “Two Tribes” were in constant rotation.

“Two Tribes” had this riff that reminded people of Pink Floyd and suddenly, they are crossing over into the Floyd’s fan base.

And the cover of “Born To Run” from Bruce Springsteen does the original justice.

Madonna – Like a Virgin

Regardless of your viewpoint, Madonna knew how to market herself and bend the media to her will. The film clips to “Material Girl” and “Like A Virgin” will be forgotten with time, but for anyone who lived through the 80’s they still remain in our memories from over exposure.

And my neighbour, she was into Madonna, so I kept hearing the songs mentioned along with “Dress You Up” and Stay” over and over again. And Madonna built a career on this album, with over 10 million in sales in the U.S and over 20 million in sales worldwide.

Billy Squier – Signs Of Life

Just forget about the video clip and the visuals and let the ears guide you.

“All Night Long” is a rocker, with a catchy guitar riff and vocal melody, with a hedonistic guitar solo.

“Rock Me Tonite” has a keyboard riff which sounds like it came from a Queen album and a guitar riff that decorates it nicely.

“Reach For The Sky” has this “King Of Pain” feel from The Police, like the song “Somebody’s Eyes” from the Footloose soundtrack by Karla Bonoff.

“Can’t Get Next To You” has a guitar riff that feels like it’s got a bit of “Long Way To The Top” and in the Chorus it’s a bit of “All Right Now”. Music is a sum of influences. 

Wham – Make It Big

There was no escaping Wham and their hit songs like “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” on music television and radio.

But the song on this album is “Careless Whisper”.

Listen to it, it’s a bonafide hard rock song and it crosses over easily. It’s one of George Michael’s best songs.

Seether covered it in the 2000’s and did a stellar job with it, especially how they translated the saxophone solo into a fuzzed out guitar solo. 

Zebra – No Telling Lies

It didn’t do great commercial business compared to the debut and it got the label worried. It’s not a bad album, it’s just not as good as the debut. The material feels like more filler than killer.

In saying all that, how good is the intro riff to “Wait Until The Summers Gone” and that exotic Arabian sounding lead break?

“I Don’t Like It” is a good listen.

And then the intro riff starts for “No Telling Lies” and I’m stopped in my tracks. Once the vocal melody kicks in, I’m hooked. It’s not a track for the charts, it’s a track for the artist. And these kind of tracks hook in the real fans.

Armored Saint – March of The Saint

One song defines this album to me and it’s “Can You Deliver”.

It’s perfect and timeless.

The pedal point intro riff kicks it off and it gets doubled for the verses. The vocal melody starts off in one register and goes higher as it builds.

Even CC DeVille was listening intently, as it seems he used the riff for “Look What The Cat Dragged In”.

The Angles – Two Minute Warning

If you like AC/DC then you will love this album. I guarantee it or your money back. They had a bigger selling album towards the late 80’s, but this one is my favourite.

They are rock and roll royalty in Australia, with their street brawling rawk and roll.

“Small Price” has a groove reminiscent to “Long Way To The Top” from AC/DC.

“Look The Other Way” is another foot stomper in the vein of AC/DC.

“Underground” has a vocal delivery that Bon Scott delivered from the grave and “Razor’s Edge” continues the AC/DC spirit.

Running Wild – Gates To Purgatory

It’s basically Metallica’s “Kill Em All” merged with the fast songs from Iron Maiden’s catalogue, merged with the fast songs from Motorhead’s catalogue with a touch of Scorpions thrown in.

My favourite track is “Soldiers of Hell” because of the harmony guitar solos. “Preacher” sounds like a song a more popular band copied and made popular. “Prisoner Of Our Time” has a kick arse hard rock riff.

And that’s a wrap for 84. I started this series in March, 2018 and it’s finally done.

Here are all the other posts.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

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