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

The Force Is Strong In The Kashmir Effect

Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” is the type of song that is so good, that it has become part of pop culture. The song was released in 1975 on the “Physical Graffiti” album.

Even “Kashmir” is a result of Jimmy Page creating derivative versions of previous ideas and songs. The first thing is the CIA tuning that Jimmy Page first employed with “The Yardbirds”. CIA stands for Celtic-Indian-Arabic and the exact tuning is known as DADGAD, a tuning that Davy Graham used for his 1963 rendition of an old Irish folk song “She Moved Through The Fair” which in turn saw Jimmy Page come along and derive a new song called “White Summer”, and another derivative version called “Black Mountain Side”.

If you don’t know who Davy Graham is, go to YouTube right now and type in “Anji” and prepare to be mesmerized. For all the music geeks out there, check out one of the riffs from “Anji” (that comes in at about the 14 second mark) and then go and listen to Queens Of The Stone Age song “No One Knows”. Hear the riff. While “Anji” wallows in internet obscurity, “No One Knows” has 17,883,776 views on the Queens Of The Stone Age Vevo account.

“Black Mountain Side” was recorded in October 1968 and released in January 1969 on the first Led Zeppelin album. It is credited to Jimmy Page as a writer, however the guitar arrangement closely follows Bert Jansch’s version of “She Moved Through the Fair”, recorded on his 1966 album “Jack Orion” which more or less was a cover of Davy Graham’s 1963 version.

All of these songs are in the same DADGAD tuning that was used for “Kashmir”. I am not saying that these songs sound similar to “Kashmir” however these songs needed to be jammed on, so that Jimmy Page could get used to the DADGAD tuning. You see great songs don’t happen overnight or by a committee. They happen by derivative jamming and by derivative accidents.

If there was any doubt about the power of “Kashmir”, then look no further than the metal and rock movements during the Eighties.

Kingdom Come’s derivative version “Get it On” helped the self-titled Kingdom Come album released in 1988 move over a million units in the U.S. Whitesnake employed the same technique in “Judgement Day” from the “Slip Of The Tongue” album, which even though it didn’t reach the sale heights of the self-titled 1987 album, it still moved over a million copies in 1989.

As Yoda would say, the force is strong in “Kashmir”. Kashmir’s legacy in pop culture was solidified in the Nineties when the main riff was used by Puff Daddy in the song “Come with Me”.

The defining part of the song is the ascending chromatic riff over a pedal point which is made even greater by the drumming from John Bonham, playing slightly behind the beat.

Dave Mustaine is a great employer of this technique. “In My Darkest Hour” and “The Call Of Ktulu/Hanger 18” both employ this technique, however there are other Mustaine penned songs that also include this technique. Progress is derivative is the mantra that I employ.

“Mary Jane” from the “So Far, So Good, So What” album released in 1988 has that riff that comes in at 0.46 and continues throughout the song. If it sounds familiar, it should, it is a very close derivative version of “In My Darkest Hour”. Both songs are similar and both songs have the ascending bass line over a pedal point.

“This Was My Life” from the “Countdown To Extinction” album released in 1992 has the main verse riff.

“Public Enema Number 1” from the “Th1rte3n” album released in 2011 has the main verse riff.

“The Kingmaker” from the “Super Collider” album released in 2013 has the Chorus riff.

Billy Squier also employed “The Kashmir Effect” and “The Ramble On Effect” in his song, “Lonely Is the Night” from the album “Don’t Say No” released in 1981. The music is “Ramble On” and the beat is “Kashmir”.

Guess progress really is derivative.

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

Semi Obscure Bon Jovi Songs – Part 1

Bon Jovi did big business at the box office this year. During the turmoil of Sambora’s departure, Jon Bon Jovi said that he is not beholden to anyone and that the show will go on. This view point was even more evident when the final Australian leg of the tour was renamed to “Because We Did” from “Because We Can”.

I remember watching them at the recent Sydney show and thinking, man it would be so cool if they brought some of their more obscure songs and made a real night of it. The running time for the show was just over two and a half hours. So I started thinking about some semi-obscure tracks. Then again, are there really any obscure Bon Jovi tracks. Of course everyone knows the singles and even some of those songs have now slipped into obscurity and the radio platforms never go deep enough when they curate their playlists.

THE HARDEST PART IS THE NIGHT

Written by Jon Bon Jovi, David Bryan and Richie Sambora. It is from the “7800 Degrees Fahrenheit” album released in 1985.

What makes the track is the synths however there is still that Richie Sambora grit with some tasty virtuoso guitar work in the metallic interlude and solo section.

And let’s not forget the harmonies. This is what the album experience is all about. I’ve never heard “The Hardest Part Is The Night” anywhere else except in my own comfort. Then I saw a live performance video clip of it on the “Breakout” video and it cemented itself as a favourite. Yes, we live in a world of Top Forty charts that focus on the songs that moguls believe are hits however ask anybody and they will tell that the non-hit tracks from an album had as much impact as the “hits”.

“Your just a pawn in a losing game
You lose at life it aint no game”

This theme of working hard and still struggling in life would be done to multi-platinum success with “Livin On A Prayer” and “Born To Be My Baby”. This is where it all started. The main character is battling to succeed however he is just a pawn in a losing game.

“Stay alive, the hardest part is the night”

This is when you lay in bed and you just can’t sleep. Things at work could be worrying you, financial matters could be worrying you, health issues could be worrying you. This is when we contemplate, in the night, laying there in the dark.

The hardest part is the night, as we torture ourselves mentally.

Listen to how Sambora plays the Chorus riff. It is a technique that he will employ again in “Edge of a Broken Heart” and “I’d Die For You”.

It is up on YouTube on various channels. The “LoveYouAlec” channel has 192,509 views. The “bonjovi608” channel has 51,236 views. Numerous other channels also have different versions up.

What do the YouTube stats tell me? It is telling me that the song is slowly slipping into obscurity. Even though it has a small fan base that connects with it, compared to other numbers that Bon Jovi are achieving, this song is in the nose bleeds section of the stadium.

SHOT THROUGH THE HEART’

From the debut album released in 1984. “Runaway” took most of the glory as it became a radio staple however to me “Shot Through The Heart” was the reason why I got into Bon Jovi. They even used the title in the “You Give Love A Bad Name” chorus. When I first heard “You Give Love A Bad Name” I came in halfway through, so I thought the song was called “Shot Through The Heart”, so when I went to purchase the album, I saw the “Slippery When Wet” album first and it didn’t have a song on it called “Shot Through The Heart”. I picked up the debut album and saw it on there, so I purchased that instead.

It was written by Jon Bon Jovi and Jack Ponti. Jack Ponti was the guitarist in the band “The Rest” that also featured a very young Jon Bon Jovi on vocals. Despite having some serious endorsements from Southside Johnny and Billy Squier, the band failed to obtain a recording contract and split up. Is the song a leftover from those days?

In an interview with The Aquarian website, this is what Ponti had to say on “The Rest”.

“It was too much time spent on the edge of making it that lead to the frustration and ultimate breakup. It was an important part in the development of my career and Jon Bon Jovi’s career.”

In a separate interview on the Dry County website, this is what Ponti had to say about “Shot Through The Heart.”

“Jon and I remained friends after the Rest. He came over and said “I want to write a song with the title, Shot Through The Heart”, so we did. He was getting songs together for his demo. I know it was over 29 years ago because my wife was pregnant and my daughter is 29. It was written in NJ of course, Toms River to be exact. I think the hook was stronger than on the record, but it’s fine. It’s an important song for both Jon and me in many ways. All your songs are like your children.”

Jack Ponti of course would go on to write with a string of other artists and went on a platinum/Grammy winning home run multiple times.

The track has this infectious piano riff. As the track soldiers it becomes more powerful, especially during the chorus. Again Sambora goes to town in this song, showing his melodic chops.

When you go on YouTube and search for “Shot Through The Heart” the first video that comes back is the official clip of “You Give Love A Bad Name” that has 42,667,226 views on the Bon Jovi Vevo channel.

However, the song “Shot Through The Heart” from the self-titled debut album has the following numbers on different user channels. User “Chris R” has the song at 355,075 views. User “bobjovilover98” has the song at 182,818 views. User “bobsnidery” has the song at 219,479 views. User “xxis16” has the song at 157,683 views. User “ichigo6232” has the song at 123,763 views. User “The Music4Life01” has the song at 148,540 views. It total, 1,187,358 views.

It was good to see the song get some concert time during “The Circle” tour.

HOMEBOUND TRAIN

It’s written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora and it’s got this heavy blues rock swagger that just makes it connect.

On “Slippery When Wet” it all came together for Bon Jovi and suddenly they were playing arenas and in some cases stadiums. Then with New Jersey, what can I say. If you were in Australia in the summer of ‘88, “New Jersey” played from every car and every house window. This song came from left field. It was on “New Jersey” released in 1988 and sandwiched amongst all the top 10 singles in “Bad Medicine”, “Born To Be My Baby” and “I’ll Be There For You.”

The track is good but the magic is at the three minute mark when it goes into this Elvis Presley meets James Brown meets Rolling Stones vibe. The guitar drops out and it is the bass and drums that keep the groove going and Jon does a few voice impersonations, while Sambora keeps it funky and they build up the song again when Jon keeps singing “Here I Come”. The interlude is filled with church organ and harmonica lead breaks.

On “The Circle” tour, “Homebound Train” came back into the mix with Richie Sambora on vocals. It is a fitting tribute as Richie is the main creating force on this song. Go on YouTube and watch the band have some fun rocking out to it.

“When I was just a boy
The devil took my hand
Took me from my home
He made me a man”

It’s that whole Robert Johnson legend again. It’s also playing on the term that “Rock N Roll” is the devils music. Listening to the music and letting it take you away. The power of music when done right.

STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN

It’s got this “Rock N Roll Aint Noise Pollution” style intro. This song was released as a bonus track on the Australian version of “Keep The Faith” along with the very U2ish sounding “Save A Prayer”. It is another song written by the Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child song writing team

“I been waiting
Standing in the dark of hours
Trying to find the faith and the power
To get back home to you”

It’s got that loneliness vibe that we all feel when we get homesick. “Starting All Over Again” was written after the marathon “New Jersey” tour that more or less happened straight after the marathon “Slippery When Wet” tour.

Jon really throws his voice out in this song and it nails the emotion perfectly. You feel the pain of the constant album/tour cycle that he was on since 1983 to 1990.

“Do you remember
Remember the odds we were given
When we had nothing
And we thought that was living”

Once Bon Jovi made it, the haters came out. When everything gets bigger, the hate is bigger. For a musician to make it in the music business, the odds are really stacked against them.

First and foremost, back in 1983, bands needed to get that record deal to get their music out. So, getting signed is one obstacle. Then once you get signed, it doesn’t mean the record label will give you the all clear to go in and record. They could reject all the demos. That is another obstacle. Once you make a record, it doesn’t mean that people will hear it. That all depends on marketing and word of mouth recommendations. That is another obstacle. Once people hear it, it doesn’t mean that they will like it as all art is subjective. That is another obstacle.

Bon Jovi by album number three overcame all of these obstacles and created a fan base that borrowed from all kinds of genres. When you think of cultural icons, Bon Jovi (the band) is one of them. You also need to remember that just because Bon Jovi had a record deal, it didn’t mean that he had money. When Richie and Jon started to write songs for Slippery When Wet, they were still living with their parents and owed their record label $500,000. Like the lyric states “When we had nothing and we thought that was living.”

“Here’s to our old friend
Who helped us get by
Here’s to the dreamers
May dreams never die
If we believe
We can keep the good times alive”

Let’s have a drink in celebration to all of the people that assisted and let’s have another drink to all the people that are trying to make it. In a way, “Don’t Stop Believin”. If YouTube is a sign of virality then this song has none. Like “The Hardest Part Is The Night” it is slowly being forgotten. For a lot of Bon Jovi fans, they haven’t even heard it.

THE RADIO SAVED MY LIFE TONIGHT

Another tune written for the “Keep The Faith” album that never made it. It is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.

It’s got that major key vibe and it connects with my youth as a regional city kid with dreams. Putting on the radio to listen to the latest in rock. To buy all the music that I like was expensive, so I always purchased blank cassettes and kept my finger ready on the record button to record the latest song.

The radio gave me and many others the freedom and the opportunity to enjoy the music that we liked. This was before advertisers and shareholders strangled it to death by creating playlists based on who pays the most.

“I tried to sleep but in my mind I heard that song
Like a friend in need, the melody keeps me hanging on”

I always went to sleep with music roaming in my headspace. Once a melody captures the imagination, it is forever engraved. This song is vintage Jovi. That is when music works best. When the artist reveals all their insecurities and lets us know that they may not be exactly just like us, but they’re just as screwed up. We are all flawed. The most famous rock and metal stars are messed up like all of us.

The days of the past are gone. The hopes and dreams of youth are also gone, however, the music from the past still lives on. It is our soundtrack.

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