Music

1984 – Ep 2

the playlist

Coming into 1984, hard rock and metal bands started popping up everywhere in the mainstream. Magazines moved their reporting from different styles of music to cover only hard rock. The labels even started promoting rock music with glam metal, hair metal, glam rock, heavy rock and melodic rock suddenly becoming genres. And regardless of what “genre” a band got labelled with, we still found the albums in the heavy metal category of the record shop.

Part 1 is here.

Judas Priest still had the world in the palm of their hands with “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin” released two years before. And then they dropped “Defenders Of The Faith”.

Judas Priest – Defenders Of The Faith

Before Judas Priest there was metal music, but the mighty Priest woke us all up and got us addicted. With “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin”, they infected television, radio and the jukeboxes around the world. So the world was waiting with what they would unleash next.

“We’ve always maintained that albums are important from year to year, but especially after topping the platinum mark in the States, we knew that we had to come up with a follow-up which was going to carry on from there and take us to even greater heights.”
Rob Halford, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

What an album.

Rising from darkness where hell hath no mercy and the screams for vengeance echo on forever. Only those who keep the faith shall escape the wrath of the Metallian… Master of all metal.

Freewheel Burning

How good is this song?

The speed, the lyrics, the riffs and those lead breaks. It’s all break neck stuff. I am pretty sure a few members from a band called “Helloween” were listening intently.

Fast and furious / Look before you leap has never been the way we keep / Our road is free / Charging to the top / And never give in never stops the way to be

The words that leap off the vinyl instantly capture the essence of the metal spirit of never giving in and dealing with whatever comes our way. And it sets the tempo for what the album is, fast and furious all the way.

Jawbreaker

There are no radio hits on this album, just songs made for the artist and the fan.

Rock Hard Ride Free

That guitar intro and harmony lead is enough to hook me in. And the lyrics sum up the 80’s movement to a tee.

No denying we’re going against the grain
So defiant they’ll never put us down

By this stage, rock and roll wasn’t becoming part of the grain and by 1986 it was the grain. But we still loved the “us versus them” lyrics.

Rock hard, ride free
All day, all night
Rock hard, ride free,
All your life

It’s what we wanted to do all day, to rock hard and be free.

The Sentinel

My favourite track on the album. I could listen to it over and over again.

This is music made for the sound system and not the earbuds. I would crank it up and the whole room would be filled with the sound. And it felt good. Halford sets the scene along deserted avenues with figures primed and ready for a quick surprise.

Sworn to avenge
Condemn to hell
Tempt not the blade
All fear the sentinel

It’s an arena rock chorus but it’s lyrical message is so far removed from the pop charts and the “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “Cum On Feel The Noize” type of messages.

And how good are the riffs underneath the Chorus vocal melody.

Some Heads Are Gonna Roll

If the man with the power cant keep it under control
Some heads are gonna roll

So relevant today as it was back in the 70’s and 80’s. Especially with so many men in power with ego’s to match.

The power mad freaks who are ruling the Earth
Will show how little they think you’re worth

And these power mad freaks are not just the leaders in charge, they are the giants in control of the biggest global corporations we have ever scene.

Heavy Duty/Defenders Of The Faith

The simple drum intro reminds me of “I Love It Loud” from Kiss and then the riffs come crashing down. Brilliant. It sounds heavy and it suits the title to a tee.

And prove to all the world
Metal rules the land
We’re heavy duty
So come on let’s tell the world

And for a brief moment in time in the 80’s metal did rule the world.

Bon Jovi – Bon Jovi

The debut album from the “guys from Jersey” is tiny compared to the albums that came after, but still has some worthy riffs to talk about.

Runaway

The keyboard riff and the synchonrised drums and guitar all work together.

As much as Jovi hates playing this song or any song from the first two albums live because of the silly lyrical themes, “Runaway” has become a favourite amongst the “Slippery” fans who purchased the back catalogue once “Slippery” exploded.

And yeah, the lyrics are clichéd, but no can deny it’s catchiness.

Roulette

I actually dig the riffs on this, hence the reason why it’s on here.

She Don’t Know Me

It’s a cover song, and it’s perfect for Jovi’s first album.

Shot Through The Heart

Funny story, when I heard “You Give Love A Bad Name” on the TV music channels, 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.

“Shot Through The Heart” is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Jack Ponti and the track has this infectious piano riff in the intro and Sambora goes to town in this song, showing his melodic chops in decorating the song.

Burning For Love

It is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. As with all of the earlier stuff, Sambora goes to town during the lead breaks, showcasing his abilities as a melodic shredder.

Come Back

It’s got some cool riffs and the lead break is very different.

Yngwie Malmsteen – Rising Force

For some insane reasoning, this album is not on Spotify Australia. It still blows me away how artists or the label/corporation who hold the copyright believe that geo-restrictions are a good thing in a world where we are all connected to each other. But it’s on YouTube, which pays less. Yep, it sure sounds like good business logic.

Marillion – Fugazi

The Fish led era of Marillion was an acquired taste and I enjoyed the music more than the vocals. Actually, certain sections of music, which I even used as templates for interludes for my own songs.

Punch and Judy

How good is the start from 0.00 to 0.22? Yep, those 22 seconds hooked me. That’s all it took.

Emerald Lies

Again, the intro hooks me in from 0.00 to 0.42.

Cinderella Search – 12” Version

And again, the intro hooks me.

And then from 3 minutes onwards, the piano starts playing a riff that is addictive, as the drums and guitars start to pick it up and I am hooked all the way to the end, while Fish is singing, “Welcome To The Circus”.

Assassing – Alternate Mix

Dream Theater have used this song as influence for quite a few DT songs. I think it’s one of Marillion’s best songs, combining a lot of influences and genres into one song, as it moves from Pink Floyd like grooves into more progressive adventures and new wave pop.

Three Boats Down From The Candy

Again the first minute of the song gets me interested and then when that guitar melodic lead comes in at 2.49, I am all in.

Metallica – Ride The Lightning

When I first heard the album I was blown away lyrically. Musically I didn’t even know what kind of music it was. I felt like a chainsaw assaulted my earbuds. Because it didn’t sound like the hard rock mixes I was used to, it took me a while to get used to it. What can I say, my ears were conditioned to enjoy the Tom Werman, Keith Olsen, Bruce Fairbairn produced albums.

And I still contend that “Ride The Lightning” is the album that should define Metallica. It was original, progressive and it set the track list template for future albums which followed.

Fight Fire With Fire

Man, those acoustic guitars at the start is the calm before the storm. Because once the chainsaw riff starts, it’s circle pit time and James Hetfield’s vocal delivery is bordering on death metal.

And it ends with a nuclear bomb going off, just before the harmonies of “Ride The Lightning” kick in.

Ride The Lightning

The harmony guitars and the drums in the intro hook me straight away.

For Whom The Bells Toll

A bell tolls. And there is a pause.

A bell tolls again. And there is another brief pause.

Then the staccato F#5 power chord comes crashing down, before it goes to the E5 power chord to ring out. Then the bass solo . Then the descending chromatic riff which mimics the bass solo. And when you think the first verse is about to come in, a harmony guitar lead happens, which is repeated over and over again, until the riff which underpins the Chorus comes in.

And then the first verse happens. 2 plus minutes after the song started. The approach to song writing is progressive and impressive, especially when you take into account the ages of the members.

Fade To Black

It’s a game changer song. The intro is influenced by the intro in “Goodbye Blue Sky” by Pink Floyd from 1979. The start of the outro when James is singing is influenced by the intro from Black Sabbath’s, “A National Acrobat” from 1973. And from all of these influences, the song still sounds original.

By the end of Side 1, I was floored by a four punch knock out. The needle went back to the start and I had to turn over the LP to side 2. But I played Side 1 again and again and again, until I basically overdosed on it.

Then I switched to side 2.

Trapped Under Ice

This song doesn’t get any love, but it’s a tribute to their NWOBHM roots. Kirk also provided the verse riff, which originally appeared in the Exodus song “Impaler”.

I don’t know how to live through this hell
Woken up, I’m still locked in this shell
Frozen soul, frozen down to the core
Break the ice, I can’t take anymore

Yeah, it could be about being trapped under ice or could be all metaphors. The “ice” is the home and the “frozen soul” is a life controlled by others.

Escape

The intro is excellent.

For the “fans” who criticised the “Black” album, they should really not forget tracks like “For Whom The Bells Toll”, “Escape” and “Leper Messiah” from “Master Of Puppets”. Slower tempo songs that would not be out of place on the “Black” Album. The theme of control and manipulation will come up again in “Welcome Home”, “Dyers Eve” and “The Unforgiven”.

Feed my brain with your so called standards
Who says that I ain’t right

Creeping Death

So let it be written that I loved covering this track with the bands I was in. It’s a classic metal song for the ages. “Am I Evil” and “Blitzkrieg” are covers that ended up as B sides to the “Creeping Death” single, but still worthy additions to be included here as people believed these to be proper Metallica songs.

The Call Of Ktulu

Another game changer track, a progressive 7 minute instrumental track. It’s got a bit of everything, written when Mustaine was still in the band and it’s got the embryonic riff of what will become “Hanger 18” in Megadeth many years later.

Y&T – In Rock We Trust

I didn’t know it in the Eighties, but Y&T would became one of my favourite bands in the Nineties, as I managed to pick up all of their albums up to “Ten” from a second hand record shop. Their big money Geffen move didn’t happen until the late 80’s and A&M was the wrong label for these classic albums. Regardless, Y&T’s music goes through my brain on a regular basis. They’re embedded there, part of my DNA.

Rock And Roll’s Gonna Save The World

Y&T always started off with a strong cut. This was even more important in the CD era as there was only one side and a lot of people never made it to the end of the album.

Kings and queens and presidents
Are tryin’ to take the world in hand
Jokers and freaks and Arab sheiks
Are fightin’ over chunks of sand

The same problems that exist today existed 30 years ago and way before that. Guess they never really went away.

Rock & Roll’s gonna save the world
Don’t you know that’s the way we’re gonna change it?
Rock & Roll’s gonna save the world
Rock & Roll

We believed we could change the world. Then we got jobs and got loans and became exactly what the institutions wanted us to be. Slaves by choice.

Tin soldiers march around the world
No matter what the people say
One man makes all the policies
While the rest of us get blown away

It’s what our leaders are fighting about right now. Who should make the policies? Who should tell others what to do? And democratically elected leaders want to dictate how people should live and then they take up arms against dictators. Ironic isn’t it.

Life, Life, Life

It’s a bloody scene
Hear the population scream
As the missile rushes in
Can’t you feel the flames of hell?

What’s changed in 2018 from 1984? Missiles are still rushing in and for people living in these war zones, it is hell. And for all of our technological advancements to integrate and socialise, we are even more divided.

We let the insane play their fools game
They’re runnin’ a race for death

These lyrics might have referenced a dictator, however democratic leaders today are no better.

It’s time to make a stand for
Life, Life, Life
It’s time to break down the chain of command

We are the only ones who can make change happen, but we choose to opt out so we don’t upset other people.

Masters And Slaves

What a song and how good are the lyrics.

It’s such a dirty game
That it fills you with rage
There’s only kings and queens
And you’re a pawn in their game

Truth in these words. If you don’t believe me, name me the one thing keeping you up at night. Money, security, safety. Kings and queens don’t have that problem. And if you borrow money, guess what, you become even a bigger pawn in the game.

Of masters and slaves
We’re divided that way
Are you a master or slave?
Do you rule or obey?

We are born, our parents rule and we obey. We go to school and our teachers rule, while we obey. We go to work and the boss rules, while we obey. We get married, and the other partner rules while we obey.

When they tell you it’s the home of the free
Well, they must be insane

Who would have thought that living in a free country would be so expensive?

‘Cause it’s dog eat dog from morning ’till night
And only the strongest survive
It’s the law of the jungle, only winners have rights
The losers relinquish their lives

There is no story about the losers. Only the winners. And they re-write history to suit their point of view.

So, you think you’re made
When you have your fortune and fame
But don’t you realize
Oh, someone’s running the game

These lyrics reference life, experience, skin in the game. It’s not all about being a red hot live wire, wanting to feel the noise. How many artists lost all the money they made when their career and the public acceptance of their music started to fade.

I’ll Keep On Believin’ (Do You Know)

I’ll keep on believin’
I won’t let our love slip away

Again, words of life, about being out on the road for long periods, leaving relationships and friends behind, only to find out when you come back home, they have moved on.

Break Out Tonight

The streets are misty in the mornin’ light
The fog hides everythin’ from view
It’s time to make a move to change my life
I gotta make my dreams come true

The song is simple, like the band just rolled the tape in the studio and when Dave Meniketti opens his mouth, truth comes out (courtesy of the lyrics written by bassist, Phil Kennemore). If you want to make your dreams come true, it rarely happens when you are sitting in the comforts of your hometown. You need to break out.

Don’t Stop Runnin’

Ahh, yes a song about being with someone as you are rising up the ladder of stardom and suddenly when you hit a rough patch, that person leaves, and as soon as your fame star starts to rise again, they want to come back into your life.

Umm, no.

When I had the world in the palm of my hand
You never looked at another man
But when I started to slip, you said bye, bye, bye

With you one day, gone the next.

Well you heard I got my big break
So now you’re sayin’ that you made a mistake
And you wanna come back for the ride, ride, ride

Does it really happen like this? I’m still not convinced. Once it’s over, it’s over. For me there are no second chances.

Well the word is out all over town
You’re not the only girl that’s chasin’ me down
Take your place at the end of the line, line, line

It’s a cool revenge song.

This Time

I always dig a good power ballad with cool music. And this one has got some nice guitar playing with clean tone apreggios and distorted chords crashing together to create a cool foundation to build the melodies on.

Darling, I’ve been so afraid
To share what’s on my mind
But I believe you’re just like me
And I can trust in you this time, this time

Safety is what connects us and when you find someone with similar values, you feel connected and by default you feel safe.

The past is full of fallen stars
Of love that I’ve denied
But somehow I know we won’t make
The same mistake this time

Oh, all those missed chances or words unsaid.

Whitesnake – Slide It In

From a copyright point of view, how the hell would David Coverdale do the accounting for it. There are the songwriters who would deserve their royalty and then there are the two versions of the albums, with different members and because those members played on the album, they would get a performance royalty.

The remixed US version of the album had John Sykes replacing the guitar parts of Mel Galley and Micky Moody, while Neil Murray replaced the bass parts of Colin Hodgkinson.

Good luck in working out the percentages.

Gambler

This little bluesy rocker opens the UK edition of the album, but not the U.S one. It’s written by David Coverdale and the very underrated and not very MTV friendly looking Mel Galley.

Slide It In

The Free/Bad Company style of blues rock influences this Coverdale composition about sliding a knife in butter right to the top. The lead breaks are different between the US and UK versions. For me, I prefer the UK version lead break as its more melodic and more sing-along.

Slow an’ Easy

The heavily influenced Led Zep “Slow an’ Easy” is written by Coverdale and Micky Moody. Lyrically it deals with a superstitious woman who will be taken down slow and easy. The US mix has a few pinch harmonic screams that the UK version doesn’t have.

Love Ain’t No Stranger

This classic is written by Coverdale and Galley. I liked the way Coverdale, had a slow intro before the whole band crashes in.

Give Me More Time

Another Coverdale and Galley cut that takes its cues from AC/DC in the verses. And the lead break is excellent and very reminiscent to the “Slide It In” lead break.

Standing in the Shadow

Another Coverdale composition. Seriously, is there a more broken hearted person than David Coverdale?

I’m running away from a feeling
Hiding my face in the sand
I’m scared to love and lose again
I don’t know if I can

It’s that moment in time after a relationship has ended. You are hurting and you feel betrayed. Then you come across someone who rekindles the fire. But you are still hurting and after being burned once, you are fearful to jump in, just in case it leads to another broken heart.

Life is short, so you need to live it. And that means, putting the fear away.

Spit It Out

Another Coverdale and Galley composition, which is basically saying if she doesn’t like it, she can “Spit it Out” while Kiss was singing, “Lick It Up”. I guess people just couldn’t make up their minds.

Guilty of Love

How cool are the guitar harmonies at the start, which again are written by the very underrated guitarist known as David Coverdale.

Cold Chisel – Twentieth Century

The final studio album for Australian band Cold Chisel before they went their separate ways in the 80’s. Hell the album even came out months after they played their final show in December of 83.

Side 1 had three Chisel classics in “Saturday Night”, “No Sense” and “Flame Trees”. Hard to believe that “No Second Prize” from Jimmy Barnes solo album that followed this was rejected from this album.

Saturday Night

Piano player and band founder, Don Walker wrote it about his views of Sydney’s King Cross district, with vocals shared between guitarist Ian Moss and Jimmy Barnes.

“The band I’d been in for ten years was breaking up. I think it’s just a ‘kissing all that goodbye and moving on into the unknown’ song.”

Don Walker

No Sense

A Jimmy Barnes composition, with a very reggae feel about people that make no sense at all.

Flame Trees

Drummer Steve Prestwich co-wrote the music on a bass and Walker added the lyrics, about growing up and his dreams of leaving his birthplace behind.

The Game

It’s the only track I like on Side 2, written by bassist Phil Small and lyrics by Walker, about losing your place in the game, which to me, the game could be life, a relationship, a workplace or even a gambling table.

Well that’s it for Part 2, stay tuned for Part 3.

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

1982 – Episode VIII – The Final Post

When I started to write about music from 1982, I didn’t expect it to be such a large body of work. Finally after seven parts before this, here is the final part. As with the other posts, this post deals with full albums or just individual songs that couldn’t be escaped, because TV and Radio played them non-stop.

Circus Animals – Cold Chisel

The mighty Chisel’s are rock royalty in Australia.

“East” was their breaking through album and “Circus Animals” proved it wasn’t a fluke. Main songwriter, Walker didn’t want to do a commercial album again, however he didn’t count on the excellent song writing from drummer Steve Prestwich, who contributed “Forever Now” and the spine-tingling “When The War Is Over”.

The working title for the album was “Tunnel Cunts”.

The first single “You Got Nothing I Want” was written by singer Jimmy Barnes. He’s angry at Elektra Records for the lack of support given to Cold Chisel in favour of an unknown LA band called Motley Crue. This grudge would hurt the solo career of Jimmy Barnes in the U.S many years later. But that didn’t stop Barnsey from working with some of the best writers in the U.S. His biggest solo career song, “Working Class Man” was written by Jonathan Cain from Journey.

You got nothing I want
You got nothing I need

The live favourite “Bow River” is up next. Guitarist Ian Moss wrote it and sings it. It’s about a sheep station in the Northern Territory. It was a B-side to one of the singles, however it’s as iconic as the singles.

I don’t wanna see this town no more
Wastin’ my days on a factory floor
First thing you know I’ll be back in Bow River again

The monotonous life of a working person. You don’t want to be at work, but you need to be, as you need money to live, money to pay off debts and keep the wheels turning in your home life.

I been working hard, twelve hours a day
And the money I saved won’t buy my youth again

That’s what the young don’t understand when they are young. Hell, I didn’t. Our youth is only short, so it’s best to enjoy it as much as possible.

Piss all my money up against the damn wall
First thing you know I’ll be back in Bow River again

Damn right, pay-day comes and by the weekend, all of the pay is gone on booze. Today, all the pay is gone on mortgage, credit cards and utilities.

Steve Prestwich (RIP) proved his song writing chops on this album. “Forever Now” is a pop classic with a big sing along chorus.

“When The War Is Over” is brilliant.

When the war is over
Got to get away
Pack my bag to no place
In no time no day

How can I go home and not get
Blown away

There was a time when we paid for our albums and we didn’t own many because of it. So what we purchased we played until the songs became a part of us. Cold Chisel was such a band that people made room for in their wallets and their songs and their words are a part of us.

The J. Geils Band – Centerfold

The single came in September, 1981 but it didn’t really get traction until February 1982, so based on that fact, it is in my 1982 list. The J. Geils band never had another hit after it. Written by Seth Justman, we all know what the story of the song is. And even back in 1982, it was all about the big single.

In Australia this song was played regularly until the early nineties and then it stopped when the sounds of Seattle became popular. And 35 years later it is still relevant, because it renews it’s listeners with each generation due to the tongue in cheek lyrics.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – I Love Rock ‘n Roll

The song is written Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker of Arrows, who released their version in 1975. And it did nothing, until 1982.

Enter Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and MTV and what we have is another big single selling a so-so album..

The video clip was a constant and as a by-product, sales of the single continued to climb. And to this day, I still haven’t heard the album the song was on.

The beat was goin’ strong, Playin’ my favorite song

This is another song that will keep on keeping forever and a day. Guitar Hero brought it back into the public conversation and Britney Spears cover of it, for better or worse brought it even further back into the conversation.

Don Henley – I Cant Stand Still

I heard this song for the first time, thirty plus years after it’s release. What a groove. I had no idea what this song is about. But thanks to Google you can research it and Don Henley was going through his separation when he wrote this song with Danny Kortchmar. And once you know the source, you understand where he is coming from in the lyrics.

And baby, I can’t stand still (while he’s holding you)
I can’t stand (while he’s kissing you)

Don Henley – Long Way Home

It’s got this Jersey Springsteen vibe happening that I dig. Like “I Can’t Stand Still”, I heard this song just recently.

There’s three sides to every story, baby
There’s yours and there’s mine and the cold, hard truth

Amen. Ain’t that the truth.

We all have our own versions of truth, and if each event was captured on film to be viewed later, all of our versions would be different to what the footage shows.

Joey Scarbury – Believe It or Not

It’s from the album “America’s Greatest Hero”. It was released in 1981, but it was still heard well into 1985. The TV show kept it in the conversation. It’s clichéd “inspirational lyrics” are just to clichéd but I guarantee you that everyone who heard the song remembers it.

The actual performer didn’t even write it. The song is written by Mike Post (music) and Stephen Geyer (lyrics).

Believe it or not I’m walking on air
I never thought I could feel so free
Flying away on a wing and a prayer, who could it be?
Believe it or not it’s just me

Queen – Hot Space

This is the album where Brian May just went missing. There is hardly any guitar on the album. It pops up in some songs here and there, but instead of it being used as a centrepiece for the songs, May holds back and decorates each song, like tinsel on a Christmas Tree.

Production wise, my ears just can’t escape the midi triggered drums in the early Eighties “mainstream” acts. It really dates the music back to a certain era.

“Under Pressure” is the one that most people would know. A co-write with David Bowie who also performs on it. The bass riff is iconic and it proved to be a hit twice, once in 1982 and again in 1990 when Vanilla Ice pinched the whole bass riff for “Ice, Ice Baby” and then claimed in court that he came up with it.

It’s the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming “let me out”

I don’t know the exact meaning of the song from the bands point of view is, but the above words are truth. We know what this world is about and for a lot of us it gets too much.

Why can’t we give love that one more chance?

It’s because we get burned from it too many times. From a relationship point of view, it’s easier to be alone then to go through new relationships, making new friendships, while you are upset at the same time that some of the old friendships are lost. From a society point of view, “love” never existed. There is always hate, jealousy and envy.

Chicago – Hard To Say I’m Sorry

I had no idea who sang this song when it came out, but it was everywhere. If it sounds like a Toto song, it’s because Steve Lukather plays guitar on the song and David Paich and Steve Porcaro play synths.

Producer David Foster, who also co-wrote the song with vocalist Peter Cetera played piano on the song, while Cetera performed vocals and played bass guitar and acoustic guitar.

Everybody needs a little time away
I had to say, from each other

Damn right.

Cheap Trick – If You Want My Love

I dig this song. It’s the pre-chorus that hooks me in.

Written by guitarist Rick Nielsen, it’s got melodies all over it.

Lonely is only a place
You don’t know what it’s like

How cool is the line?

Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra

Boy, did Steve Miller become fab again after his Hall of Fame speech. But that was two weeks ago and today, its like it never existed.

Steve Miller wrote an infectious song and it was good enough to knock Chicago off the number 1 spot.

Abra-abracadabra
I want to reach out and grab ya

I got no idea what it means, but it sticks.

Keep me burnin’ for your love
With the touch of a velvet glove

Again, I got no idea why the touch had to be from a velvet glove, but it rhymes and it sticks.

A Flock of Seagulls – I Ran (So Far Away)

Even as a metal/rock head, I still dig this song. It was number 1 in Australia for a few weeks. That Chorus is just arena rock, but the feel of the song is new wave.

It was produced by Mike Howlett, who was becoming the in-demand producer for the new-wave bands. Sort of like how Tom Werman and Keith Olsen became the in-demand producers in the 80’s for hard rock bands.

A cloud appears above your head
A beam of light comes shining down on you
Shining down on you
The cloud is moving nearer still
Aurora Borealis comes in view

Using the “Northern Lights” as the lights of the departed. Well, that’s how I view the song’s lyrics.

Reached out a hand to try again
I’m floating in a beam of light with you
A beam of light with you

And I ran, I ran so far away
I just ran, I ran all night and day

John Cougar Mellencamp – American Fool

It was a huge album created under duress and record label pressures.

The record company wanted a certain Neil Diamond sounding record. After spending three months in the studio, Mellencamp had 20 songs recorded. The label A&R rep came in, heard it and hated it. Album cuts, “Jack & Diane”, “Hand To Hold On To” and “Weakest Moments” were part of these 20 songs. The label halted the project. They considered getting in a new producer. They considered dropping Mellencamp from the roster. In the end, they gave the green light for Mellencamp to write some more songs however they wanted to hear the demos before they gave the OK to record them in a studio.

The end product is Mellencamp’s commercial breakthrough. “Hurts So Good” and “Jack & Diane” are cultural songs.

“Hurts So Good” is written with childhood friend George Green.

Sometimes love don’t feel like it should
You make it hurt so good

Said in a way that wasn’t R-rated.

Up next is “Jack & Diane” that little ditty about two American kids growing up in the heartland.

Oh yeah, life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone, they walk on

And that’s right. A lot of people don’t seem to realise those High School highs and good times have never come around again. But life goes on and your sense of duty to yourself and family takes over.

Daryl Hall and John Oates – H2O

They didn’t look metal at all, but they could write songs.

“Maneater” is from their eleventh studio album and the song is written by Hall, Oates and Sara Allen.

She’s deadly, man
And she could really rip your world apart

It’s like Phil Lynott wrote the lyrics.

“At Tension” has this bass synth riff that if played on distorted guitar its heavy as. It’s written by John Oates. It’s over 6 minutes long, far removed from the pop format. You needed the album to hear this album cut.

I’d like to join the army
Don’t want to join the war
I’d take my place in line hell (hell)

We keep on marching forward
Never will retreat

Words apart from the single “Maneater”.

Duran Duran – Hungry Like the Wolf

I never gave this band a chance in the 80’s purely on their look. It was when “Come Undone” came out that I decided I needed to check em out a little bit more. So “Rio” is their second album and “Hungry Like The Wolf” is the song that launched it. There is no denying that the riff is hard rock to a tee. It was all over the TV stations in Australia.

I’m on the hunt, I’m after you

Stalker???

Me thinks so.

Earth, Wind & Fire – Let’s Groove

I am pretty sure the album “Raise” came out in 1981, however I haven’t heard the album. This song was all also all over the TV music stations in Australia. The single did come in 1982. I dig it, its funky and as the title states, groovy.

Let’s groove tonight
Share the spice of life
Baby, slice it right
We’re gonna groove tonight

Cocaine????

Me thinks so.

Goanna – Spirit Of Place

“Solid Rock” is the song.

We couldn’t escape it in Australia. It kicks off with a didgeridoo intro and a brilliant guitar riff that reminds me of the “Sultans of Swing” from Dire Straits for some reason. It reached #2 in Australia and charted in the US. According to Wikipedia, the inspiration came to vocalist Shane Howard on a ten-day camping trip at Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) during 1980 where he had a “spiritual awakening” which brought “the fire in the belly” to the surface over injustices to Australia’s indigenous peoples.

They were standin’ on the shore one day, Saw the white sails in the sun
Wasn’t long before they felt the sting, white man, white law, white gun
Don’t tell me that it’s justified, ’cause somewhere, someone lied
Yeah well someone lied, someone lied, genocide

Yep, Australia’s settlement history is pretty much summed up above. And to this day, 200 plus years later, there is still a lot of debate about it.

INXS – Shabooh Shoobah

Mark Opitz produced “Circus Animals” for Cold Chisel and then moved on to “Shabooh Shoobah” from Inxs. This is the version of INXS before they topped the Billboard charts six years later. It is this album that gave INXS their major label deal in the U.S.

The closer “Don’t Change” was the song that made me a fan. It was a “hit” song without being a hit. Richie Sambora played it live, when he appeared at the Enmore Theatre.

Don’t change for you
Don’t change a thing for me

Damn right, let’s love each other for who we are.

Loverboy – Working For The Weekend

Yeah I know the album was released in 1981, but the single “Working For The Weekend” was released in January 1982 in Australia, so for me it’s a 1982 album.

Everybody’s working for the weekend
Everybody wants a new romance
Everybody’s going off the deep end
Everybody needs a second chance, oh

And like the song “Bow River” from Cold Chisel, once the weekend is over, we’ll be back at Bow River again for the Monday shift.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Politics and Music

“We also license our music very aggressively. This is for two reasons: We derive a huge income stream from this exploitation, and our music reaches listeners in new ways, building more fans.”
Jay Jay French

There has been a bit of backlash to politicians and other movements using popular songs as backing tracks to their campaigns and demonstrations. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” was exploited by Arnie for his California Governor campaign and recently by Trump for his presidential bid. Both times, the TS machine allowed it to happen. However, in 2012 Dee Snider asked Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan to stop using the song, because he did not support Ryan.

Prior to Trump using “We’re Not Gonna Take It” he used songs from other artists.

Steven Tyler asked Donald Trump to stop using the power ballad “Dream On” at his campaigns. Trump responded by saying that he found a better song to take its place.

Trump was also asked to stop using, R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” and Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in The Free World”.

In Australia, anti-Islam rally groups started to use a song from Cold Chisel at their rallies, which had Jimmy Barnes (the vocalist) taking to his Facebook page to state that he did not support these groups using the music.

So what right do artists have if any, to stop these exploitations from happening?

Did you know that Neil Young was asking Trump for money for his stupid PONO music player before Trump decided to enter politics. Then months later, Young is asking Trump to stop using his music because he doesn’t agree with his viewpoints nor does he want to be associated with it.

How can it be that it is okay for people to purchase the music of the artists, but not okay for those same people to use the music of the artists to prove a point or get a message through.

Don’t we live in a democratic society, where freedom of speech is valued?.

And then that Copyright word is put out there. If an artist sells their copyright to a corporation for a fee, then what right do they have to “use copyright” as a censorship tool. They have sold their right. You can’t have it both ways.

If anyone has the right to complain, then it is the corporation.

So which way do artists want?

I have read articles where Dee Snider is even contemplating telling Trump to not use “Were Not Gonna Take It” anymore, however I hope he doesn’t do so.

Because, in the end, music needs people to thrive and it can be used by the people in many different ways. Many supporters of political campaigns and movements are music fans. So while the artist thinks that they are taking a stand against the politician or the movement, as a by product of taking that stand they are also taking a stand against their own fan base.

Now, people might come from different walks of life and have differing viewpoints on a range of issues. Just because an artist doesn’t agree with a viewpoint it doesn’t mean the people should be stopped from using songs that they grew up with or songs that could get their message across in a way no speech could.

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

Australia Day

It’s coming to the end of Australia Day. It has been another hectic day, taking the kids into town, where they purchase tokens and go on the rides. You see, while it is Australia Day, it is the actual theme park show and events that steals the day and the fireworks that steal the night.

For the Indigenous people, Australia Day is the day that they got invaded. For people who reside in the other states, Australia Day is on the day that celebrates the colony foundation of the state of New South Wales.

I love Australia. I am Australian by birth, the son of European migrants. My two older brothers were born in Europe in the Sixties. I don’t know any other way of life, except the Australian way. My three boys born in the two thousands are the second generation of Australians. They don’t know any other way of life, except the Australian way.

My father worked his whole life for BHP Steel. From when he arrived to when he retired hurt. He and so many other workers. So when Jimmy Barnes released “For The Working Class Man” in 1985, I saw that song as the perfect definition of what it means to be Australian. And it is written by Jonathan Cain (the keyboardist from Journey) who is American.

Working hard to make a living

My dad was a bloody hard worker. Not only did he make a living for his family in Australia, he sent money every month to his father in Europe. He supported two families.

He’s a simple man
With a heart of gold
In a complicated land
Oh he’s a working class man

My parents left their communist country two days before their visa to come to Australia expired. The main hold up was my dad’s father (aka my grandfather that I am named after). Since my Dad was the oldest, my Grandfather wasn’t happy that his eldest son was leaving to come to Australia. He threatened to harm all of my Dad’s brother and sisters as a way to make Dad stay.

Now from the stories that I have heard, my grandfather was a bad ass. No one messed with him. My grandfather was born in the 1920’s and my father was born in 1944, towards the end of World War 2. This guy was battle hardened and very protective of his family. He expected obedience.

I saw my Grandfather for the first time in December 1993. Dad paid for his ticket to come to Australia for my oldest brothers wedding. By know he was over seventy and man I almost cried when I saw this frail looking 150cm tall, a bit hunchbacked, walking through customs. Time is a killer. The whole three months he spent in Australia, I just sat with him and asked him about stuff and he told me story after story, along with a lot of regrets, like NOT LISTENING TO MY FATHER AND COMING TO AUSTRALIA WHEN HE HAD THE CHANCE.

Saving all the overtime
For the one love of his life

I hardly saw my dad growing up. He was always at work, doing double shifts and triple shifts. Yep back in the Seventies and the Eighties, workers did triple shifts. I remember a lot of times when I misbehaved and my mom used to say that if I don’t behave, she would call my dad. I ran straight to my room and locked the door. I was frightened of him because I didn’t know him. And the funny thing is that he wasn’t even home. That was the power he had in the household. Whereas today, I want to be mates with my kids.

There is another lyric that is similar.

I hear my father’s working night and day
In Struggle Town it has to be that way

It is from the song “Struggle Town” by the Australian band “The Choirboys” that was released in 1987 on their “Big Bad Noise” album. The town I grew up in “Port Kembla” was becoming a bit like towards the end of the Eighties, so this song resonated and then when I started to drive around to other towns, you start to see the same thing. People working hard to make a living and struggling at doing it.

Jimmy Barnes is more or less an Aussie legend. Typical of Australia’s multiculturalism, he was born in Scotland. His previous band “Cold Chisel” was just about to sing a lucrative contract with Elektra Records in the US and at the last-minute Elektra Records reneged on the deal and took a chance with Motley Crue. If you don’t believe me, read “The Dirt”. It’s all in there. Eventually Cold Chisel called it day, however, Barnsey just kept on working hard to make a living.

The Choirboys are also Aussie legends. One of the bands I was in even opened up for The Choirboys back in the day. Still to this day they put on shows, working hard to make a living.

Australia is just that. People working hard to make a living, so that we can let our hair down, have a few beeries and catch some sun and surf. And then we call in sick after a long weekend. Happy Australia day everyone.

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