A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

So What If Steve Harris borrowed from Beckett

A friend of mine said it’s fake news, but, seriously, so what if Steve Harris was influenced by the band “Beckett”. So what if Steve Harris borrowed from the band “Beckett”. Trust me when I say this, there is no way that “Beckett” and their song writers created their songs in a vacuum, free from any texts and music that could have influenced them. So as much as Harris borrowed from “Beckett”, the band “Beckett” also owes its dues to the people they borrowed from.

But this isn’t an issue with the Beckett songwriters.

For whatever reasons, Steve Harris made a deal settlement with “Robert Barton” and “Brian Ingham” from the band “Beckett” over the song “Life’s Shadow” and how six lyrical lines were referenced in “Hallowed Be Thy Name”.

The current issue is with a retired rock band manager called Barry McKay, who is taking Steve Harris and Dave Murray to court over a song called “Lying In My Shadow” (which to me is “Life’s Shadow”), also from the same band “Beckett” and written by “Brian Ingham”.

The rock manager claims “Hallowed Be They Name” reproduces major parts of “Lying In My Shadow” in “Hallowed Be They Name”. “Lying In My Shadow” could be a demo that was never released and Barry McKay might have paid for the rights to it.

But seriously who cares.

Every song that is created has multiple influences or reference songs. “Hallowed Be Thy Name” is no different.

There are comments that “Hallowed Be They Name” also has similar lyrics to another Beckett song called “Rainbow’s Gold”. And of course there is the fact that from 4.10 to the end of “Life’s Shadow” is the inspiration point for the whole middle section in “The Nomad” from “Brave New World”. Just to re-iterate, music creation is taking bits and pieces from songs that influence you, place them into the blender and the product that comes out is yours.

Yes, there are ties between the bands. Rod Smallwood managed both. There is a respect between both bands. Maiden has covered Beckett songs in the past and the guys in the band have played together in various little projects.

Fake news or not, this is the mess that “Copyright Hijacked By Corporations” has created. A rock manager, who did not even write the song, can bring up a suit against a band for being influenced by it. Ridiculous. This is all about cash. But it’s the public that determines success, not the label or the press. It’s the public that decided what is valuable to them.

From a listener’s point of view, all songs are different and unique in their own way. The fact that one song went on to define a band and become one of the best metal songs in history and make millions is the issue here. People feel wronged that someone else made money and they didn’t. One song doesn’t replace the other. They can all co-exist, even though the Maiden versions are vastly superior. And to me, it’s the main reason why this is in the courts.

Hell, Steven Jobs took bits and pieces from other companies to create the first Apple. Even his revolutionary iPod’s and iPhones copied designs and functionality from other designs. But he did it better than all the others. And so did Maiden, Zeppelin, Metallica, Jovi, The Eagles, Acca, Def Leppard, Motley, Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Whitesnake and every other artist who made it big.

The Telegraph.co.uk article 

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1983 – The Zebra Streak, The Balls To The Wall Lick and The Thunder Mind II

Apart from the U.S. festival, 1983 also brought the world the Satanic Panic.

Remember it.

The youth of the world was being corrupted by the devil and our leaders along with religious leaders wanted to stop this corruption. Heavy metal and hard rock music had bullet points on their backs.

Also in 1983 CDs and MTV started to make companies and performers greedy. In March 1983, CD players and discs were introduced into the European and North American markets. The “Big Bang” of the digital audio revolution. Meanwhile, we would go to the record store and see all the albums we couldn’t afford.

Anyway, here is another 6 albums from the era.

Kiss – Lick It Up

The “Lick It Up” story goes back to 1978. Kiss at that time were on top of the world. All of the years of album and tour finally paid off commercially. However, four solo albums, a live album, a best off in one year saturated the market. Then “Dynasty” and “Unmasked” came out and the pop doses on those albums alienated the core. And an ill-fated attempt at a concept album did them no favours whatsoever. However, “Creatures Of The Night” from 1982 was a backs to the wall album and it made them relevant again for the times. They needed a new album and a new look ASAP.

So Paul Stanley decided to put it all on the line and test his theory that all people listen with their eyes. Kiss took off the make-up.

The next big decision Kiss had to make was to fire or keep using the fantastic but egotistical Vinnie Vincent as a songwriter. Simmons and Stanley realised that Vincent’s contributions to the “Creatures of The Night” album had produced some stellar songs and decided to put up with Vincent’s crap. Eventually, Vincent left the band in 1984, and later sued KISS, claiming he was not paid for royalties and received only $2000 a week in salary. He lost the case.

And of course there is the cover story.

Basically each member selected a picture of themselves that they liked best and the art department combined them all together. So while it looks like one shot, all of the members were individually cut out and placed side by side. Then there is the story that Vincent’s body is that of a mannequin and only his head was photo shopped.

“Lick It Up”

It’s written by Paul Stanley and Vinnie Vincent. And if the verse vocal melody sounds familiar, it should. It is a straight copy of the vocal melody to “Funky Town”.  But hey, influence is influence and this is how music is created. All artists take bits and pieces of a lot of influences and turn them into their own creations.

The video was all over music television and it built on the momentum that 1982’s “Creatures of The Night” re-established. And it was an excellent song to introduce the make-up-less version of the band. It was infectious, even pop fans couldn’t resist. The simple drum groove is big, the chorus hooks you in and like always there is a riff to decorate it all.

Forget the lyrics, forget the message, it was all about the SOUND, the GROOVE, the FEEL!

“Exciter”

It’s the opening track and on the same level with “Creatures Of The Night” in my opinion. It’s written by Paul Stanley and Vinnie Vincent. Actually, one of the best opening tracks to an album has to be “I’ve Had Enough (Into The Fire) from the album that came next. But that’s for another story.

Passion and fire, lust and desire
Exciter
Pleasure and pain, this is my name
Exciter

The reptilian part of our brain all summed up a chorus. You can’t get any simpler.

“Gimme More”

Another cut penned by Stanley and Vincent.

Hot blood, need your love
Hard as rock, can’t get enough

Ahh, beautiful lyrics from an era long gone. So Paul has a hard on.

Love is sweet, so insane
Come on lick my candy cane

And now Paul is referencing a blowie.

Good enough to rival ZZ Top.

“All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose”

A rarity of the 80’s Kiss, where a song is written by the whole band. This one lists Eric Carr, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Vinnie Vincent as songwriters.

You know we ain’t always winners
But this is the life we choose
Take a look around, only one solution
Set the world on fire, fight the institution
Gonna stand our ground, feel the new sensation
Something’s goin’ down, ooh, rock the nation

One of many “stick it to the institution” songs.

“A Million to One”

Another cut penned by Stanley and Vincent. Stock standard lyrics, however some cool riffage.

But every time I try to open your eyes
I’m damned and I’m no good

For a band that moved a lot of concert tickets, their albums always struggled to sell by the truckloads. “Lick It Up” was eventually certified platinum on December 19, 1990. Seven years later after its release and all on the back of one song. The title track.

Y&T – Mean Streak                                                     

I had to own this album once I heard it. I couldn’t get enough of it. Despite being labelled as hair glam rockers, Y&T were no joke. The classic line up of Dave Meniketti, Phil Kennemore, Leonard Hazes and Joey Alves are in top form here. By the time they started to get traction in the 80’s they had been writing, recording and touring for over a decade. And then the world caught up with them. But they never had a real hit in the commercial sense, but to their fans they had hits on every album.

Another killer album cover, very similar in concept with “Black Tiger”. Behind the boards it was produced by Chris Tsangarides, who also did Thin Lizzy’s “Thunder and Lightning” which I mention further down.

Like Metallica, Y&T had a reputation as an amazing live band however the reviews I read mentioned how their studio albums didn’t match their live energy. While Metallica got Bob Rock and made Soundscan history with the self-titled “Black” album, Y&T from a sales perspective didn’t. But man, how live and energetic does “Mean Streak” sound.

“Mean Streak”

What a riff to kick off the album!

Overtime every day of the week
Still the house ain’t big enough
Spend your money so fast
That you never see the green
Big, better, best tell me where does it end
Keeping up with the Joneses is tough

What a statement.

Has anything changed since 1983?

We still want more and the internet has given us a belief that we can all have more. I know I will never be rich and I am content with that. I know a lot of people who are not content. For those people, the house needs to be bigger, the car needs to be newer and flashier. The debt gets bigger. The relationship gets sour.

Every time that I look at you boy, I can see you’re a nervous wreck,
You try too hard to give her every little thing,
Big car, big pool, big house heart attack,
You better bend, or your gonna break

“Mean Streak” is the hit of the album.

“Straight Thru The Heart”

Can’t tell the truth from the lies
With that smile-mask on your face

On some days, I feel like I am surrounded by people like that.

“Lonely Side Of Town”

With my old friends it’s not the same
Seems we don’t know what to say
I understand but still it’s strange
When your friends just fade away

So true.

Living gets in the way of friendships and when so many years pass, it’s just not the same when you reconnect.

“Midnight In Tokyo”

Midnight, midnight in Tokyo
Where the neon lights the land of the rising sun

Brilliant lyric line about how the land of the rising sun, needs neon lights to light it up.

“Hang Em High”

Power of numbers cannot be denied
Let’s stand up and show how we feel

A call to arms for the rock heads.

Join our ranks – there ain’t no losers here
As long as we never divide
We are a force so strong we never have to run
Let’s stand up and show how we feel

But we did divide. Suddenly if you liked Slayer, Venom, Megadeth and Metallica, it was uncool to like to Van Halen, Ratt, Motley Crue, Dokken, Bon Jovi and Twisted Sister. Remember James Hetfield had a guitar with the slogan, “Kill Bon Jovi”. There is a reason why Hip-Hop/rap is still around, looking and sounding exactly the same as it did back when it emerged in the late 80’s and early 90’s and still making a tonne of money. It’s the unity. The big hair bands from the 80’s are still around, but the majority of them are back to playing clubs and theatres instead of arenas. In the end, they all got killed off because the fans divided.

“Sentimental Fool”

That chorus!

Sentimental fool
You know you didn’t do me right

And that’s the thing. People don’t understand the hurt their actions make to the individual.

Thin Lizzy – Thunder and Lightning 

The final Thin Lizzy album is the heaviest. Of course, it will go down in history as featuring John Sykes on guitar. Even though he has one song writing credit, there is no denying the performance aspect on the recordings. While lesser guitarists would probably have played power chords, John Sykes doesn’t. It’s full of his palm muted single note staccato riffage and shredalicious leads.

“Thunder And Lightning”

It’s a speed-a-thon. The song could have been a contender for Speed Metal Song of the year. Plus it has a classic lyric.

But it’s Saturday night when heavy rock was born

Yep, you read that right. Maybe the first song and only song to use the term “heavy rock” as all songs used “Rock and Roll” or “Heavy Metal”.

Locked up in the classroom, waiting for the fight
Down to the schoolyard, knocking the gate

Remember those moments, when everyone knew the fight was on after school.

“This Is The One”

I never expected that arena sing along Chorus based on the way the verses flowed.

I’ve got to keep myself employed

The life of a musician is to stay employed.

I hear it, I know it, I touch it, I feel it, I see it
Some day we will have won
I can feel it in my bones
This is the one

Is Phil talking about a relationship or his career as a musician?

“The Sun Goes Down”

The restrained chordal decorations by Sykes over the groovy Lynott bass line, makes the song.

“The Holy War”

With all of the crap going on in our lives today, this song feels so modern.

We are chosen, we are one
We are frightened of no one
And no one will win this war
This is the way, this is the law

The takers of innocent lives in the name of a God believe they are chosen. But no-one wins in a war. Only scars remain and eventually those scars will open up again in the future.

There is no evil in salvation
There is evil in us all

Damn right. We all have done things that can be deemed as evil.

Lost children of Babylon
Oh Allah, oh no, oh no
This is the Holy War

And there it is. The war has always been between Christians and Muslim.

“Cold Sweat”

Lynott goes to town on the story of this song. And for those that don’t know the story, it’s about taking your hard-earned money and gambling it away. And to be honest, the riffing from Sykes on this one just brings it all together.

I put my money in a suitcase
And headed for the big race

The scene is set.

To lose means trouble, to win pays double
And I got me a heavy bet
Cold, cold sweat

The different outcomes of the bet.

I’ve got a whole month’s wages
I haven’t seen that much in ages
I might spend it in stages
And move out to Las Vegas

And we have a winner. Phil Lynott proves once again how good he is at telling a story.

“Baby Please Don’t Go”

The young ones hold their heart up to the skies
And dance the night away

Innocent times are never forgotten.

“Bad Habits”

Well, boys will be boys and girls will be trouble

So true. Motley Crue even had a song called “Chicks = Trouble”.

Iron Maiden – Piece Of Mind

In 1980, Iron Maiden released “Iron Maiden”. In 1981 they released “Killers”. In 1982 they released “The Number Of The Beast” and in 1983 they released “Piece of Mind”. It was a gruelling cycle of album/tour. In their quest for world domination, an album a year had to happen. There was no other way.

“Where Eagles Dare”

Written by Steve Harris and a great frantic way to open the album. The song could even pass as a progressive song, with its time changes.

Theme wise, a World War II rescue of Allied soldiers gets a mention here.

It’s snowing outside the rumbling sound of engines roar in the night,
The mission is near the confident men
are waiting to drop from the sky.

The scene is set of the rescue to come.

“Revelations”

Written by Bruce Dickinson. The little black book and Aleister Crowley get a mention here.

“O God of Earth and Altar,
Bow down and hear our cry,
Our earthly rulers falter,
Our people drift and die,
The walls of gold entomb us,
The swords of scorn divide,
Take not thy thunder from us,
Take away our pride.”

We despise the 1% today and we despised them in the 80’s. Those walls of gold are what people rise up against.

How good is that melodic solo after the first verse?

“Flight Of Icarus”

Written by Adrian Smith and Dickinson, Greek mythology gets a mention here.

Fly on your way, like an eagle,
Fly as high as the sun,

“Die With Your Boots On”

It’s written by the holy trinity of Smith, Dickinson and Harris. This time around, nuclear warfare and Nostradamus get a mention. It’s the prequel to “2 Minutes To Midnight”.

How good is that intro?

I still prefer the “Live After Death” version, because that was the first music I owned from Iron Maiden and I listened to it until the cassette tape chewed up.

Do you remember that?

Your favourite piece of music is no more because the stereo tape deck chewed up the cassette reel. It was a disaster of epic proportions, especially when you didn’t have the means to repurchase it again.

13 the Beast is Rising,
The Frenchman did surmise,
Through earthquakes and starvation,
The Warlord will arise,
Terror, Death, Destruction,
Pour from the Eastern sands,
But the truth of all predictions,
Is always in your hands.

The prophecy of Nostradamus and how the world will be plunged into the war of the Antichrist from a person born in the Middle East.

Did he predict it?

Check out this article.

Really dig that section from 3.50 onwards.

“The Trooper”

The Crimean War in the 1850’s gets a song and it took history buff, Steve Harris to write a song about it.

The battle call lines of “You’ll take my life / But I’ll take yours too / You’ll fire your musket / But I’ll run you through” is the defining moment of the song.  If you can’t sing along with this, you didn’t live through this.

Add to it the galloping triplet bass line and you can imagine horses stampeding into the battle.

“Still Life”

By know I have been knocked out so many times, I am on the floor. Seriously six excellent songs one after another. “Still Life” is influenced by Ramsey Campbell’s 1964 short story “The Inhabitant of the Lake” and the song is written by Dave Murray and Steve Harris.

All my life’s blood is slowly draining away
And I feel that I’m weaker every day
Somehow I know I haven’t long to go
Joining them at the bottom of the pool.

Madness and depression are big killers in modern society.

“To Tame A Land”

This song should have been after “Still Life” and the album should have been a 7 song album. That way it was all killer, no filler.

It’s inspired by Frank Herbert’s 1965 science fiction novel “Dune” and when the Maiden team asked for permission to use “Dune” as the song title, they were told that Herbet hates rock music and Iron Maiden.

Zebra – Zebra

Randy Jackson founded Zebra in 1975.

By the time their self-titled debut album came out in 1983 on Atlantic Records, the trio had developed a fan base from their live shows. In addition, the majority of the bands signed in the early 80’s had been slugging it out for a long time in the clubs before getting their recording contract. How many artists today are prepared to put in 8 plus years of hard work before they actually get a chance to record. The answer is NONE. Artists today record straight away, release it and expect something to happen.

“Tell Me What You Want”

A brilliant opener and man, that vocal performance by Randy Jackson is superb. Then the lead guitar comes in and again, it’s melodic and hypnotic. Nothing too flashy, just enough to enhance the song.

 

You have taken it all
All of my love
Unrelenting you told
You told me a lie

When one side gives more than the other, it’s tough to handle when it all goes bad.

Tell me what you want

You don’t want to know what they want, as you might not like what you hear. And would you change if you knew what they want.

“One More Chance”

A 1.2 knockout punch.

If I could only relive yesterday
I think I’d try to do it right
If I had one more chance to be with you
I think it just might save my life

The broken heart themes keep on coming.

I’m caught it the same old world
And I just can’t get my head unwhirled
And I’m looking for any old place to hide

You don’t want to see people when a relationship breaks down. Their fake pities, and “do you wanna talk about it” clichés.

“Who’s Behind The Door”

It’s a very grown up song, so far removed from the LA strip and the NWOBHM influences. It’s bordering on folk rock. And then that change at 3.30 with all of the vocal ad libs from Jackson, the keys enhancing the ending, some backwards guitar and it’s like all hells breaking loose. And the one constant throughout is the acoustic guitar.

Strip away all of the other instruments, you can still sing this song around a campfire, with voices and an acoustic guitar.

And if you take the time to read the lyrics I first thought it was about our trip to the pearly gates. Then I thought it was about aliens invading Earth. Then I thought it was an ode to “Big Brother is Watching”.  Then in the Nineties, I was attaching a Matrix meaning to it.

Looking out to the stars
Think about what you are
What do they think of you
Animals in their zoo
They haven’t got the time
Landing is not on their minds
How do they have the nerve
We’re animals in preserve

The alien connection.

How can we find out more
Who owns the keyless door
Where does the circle end
Who are the unwatched men

The matrix/big brother watching connection.

Where do we go from here
Faith is a fading fear
Life is a waiting room
I hope they don’t call me soon

The pearly gates connection

“When You Get There”

The pop vibes are unique and original. Some great bass playing during the lead break.

You haven’t had a chance to think
About explaining where you slept till noon
You can’t say you were working all night
Cause it’s Sunday afternoon
The truth is too hard
You’ll never come back
Cause a one night stand is not worth the attack

When you get there

Coming home after a night with someone else. While it might have felt great the night before, it doesn’t feel too good the morning after.

And how good is that lead guitar line after each “When You Get There” line.

“Take Your Fingers From My Hair”

This was the song that Dream Theater covered for their “Black Clouds and Silver Linings” deluxe editions that re-awakened my interest in Zebra. Isn’t it funny how a cover song brings back the original song and the band into the psyche.

 

 

It’s a pretty definitive song, with a unique guitar riff and vocal line.

Take your fingers from my hair
They have gotten us nowhere
We can’t last another second
For we are two, too lost for open doors

The scene is set for a break up.

You are blind
Too blind to notice
That their love is not the love we share together

While one relationship didn’t work out, it doesn’t mean the new one will set the world on fire.

How good is that steroid/peptide enhanced ending.

Accept – Balls To The Wall

You see MTV started back in 1981. It took the artists away from the magazines and broadcast them into the lounge rooms. What it also did was create a new era of stars that had to have a certain look. Accept didn’t have the MTV look. But to the metal heads, Accept belonged to us, the metal community.

The cover is legendary. A crotch shot of a person with a very hairy leg holding a ball in his hand against the wall. I’m surprised it isn’t a popular internet meme.

The album had a gated release, so it’s on this list because it’s first release was in 1983 in Europe. The rest of the world followed in 1984.

“Balls To The Wall”

Lyrics are written by their manager Gaby Hauke (under the pseudonym “Deaffy”). This was a monster hit to fans of the genre but not so much on the charts.

Too many slaves in this world
Die by torture and pain
Too many people do not see
They’re killing themselves, going insane

We work because we get ourselves into debt in order to get ahead or to pay for our children to get ahead. From these commitments we become slaves to the employer, working until we die, and stressing when we get fired.

Balls to the wall, man
Balls to the wall

The gang chant.

One day the tortured stand up
And revolt against the evil
They make you drink your blood
And tear yourself to pieces

Revolution Accept style.

“Fight It Back”

It’s like Judas Priest “Screaming For Vengeance”.

Always been the prophets
Who make the world evolve
Always been the average breaking it down

Religious leaders, dictators, corrupted democratic leaders are all prophets trying and the people like us are the average, trying to break down the institutions.

Majority, the unknown
Giving us the rules

Spot on. Laws are written to serve interest groups who stand to benefit greatly from those laws.

Now, if you hate it
You gotta fight it back
Just try to change it
Fight it — fight it back

Once upon a time, this mattered. Not today. Most people are content with their lives and very rarely care about high politics.

Find myself in crisis
Get near to collapse
Am I forced to live that boring life
God, I hate the average
Go and nuke it out

This is what we all wanted to do with our lives, to be independent and to not be boring. However, as soon as we make a financial commitment, we end up being the average.

“Losing More Than You’ve Ever Had”

Man, it’s just good old heavy melodic metal with a catchy chorus. Scorpions would be proud to have a song like this in their repertoire.

But the lyrics about a jilted ex coming back for revenge brings the song down.

And here is a perfect double album of songs from this post in old school vinyl format when the opening and closing track on each side mattered.

Side One

  1. Meanstreak
  2. Revelations
  3. Lick It Up
  4. Cold Sweat
  5. The Trooper

Side Two

  1. Where Eagles Dare
  2. Balls To The Wall
  3. Flight Of Icarus
  4. Lonely Side Of Town
  5. Die With Your Boots On

Side Three

  1. Exciter
  2. Losing More Than You’ve Ever Had
  3. Hang Em High
  4. Tell Me What You Want
  5. Sentimental Fool

Side Four

  1. Thunder And Lightning
  2. Midnight In Tokyo
  3. Baby Please Don’t Go
  4. When You Get There
  5. Heart Attack

Ahh, after two blog entries on 1983, stay tuned for a few more additions.

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

Maiden Live

On Friday, 6 May, 2016, I took my wife and three boys aged 10,9 and 4 to watch Iron Maiden on “The Book Of Souls World Tour” at the Qudos Bank Arena, formerly known as the Allphones Arena, formerly known as the Acer Arena in Homebush, Sydney.

The last time I saw Maiden was on the “Somewhere Back In Time Tour”. I went to both shows then, on February 9 and 10, 2008. The venue was then known as the Acer Arena and there wasn’t a spare spot on the floor or in the stands. But this time I saw red seats and spaces on the floor. Is it a sign of fading popularity?

I don’t think so, because prior to the show, Maiden got a “Gold” Certification for recorded music sales in Australia for “The Book Of Souls” album released in 2015.

As in 2008, the lights went out as soon as “Doctor Doctor” started playing from UFO on the backing intro music. And then it started with the little movie of the Maiden plane stuck in vines in a jungle.

“If Eternity Should Fail” and “Speed of Light” was the 1-2 punch from the “The Book of Souls” album to kick off the album.

When you have a legacy like Maiden’s, it’s a double-edged sword to spend the first 15 minutes of the concert playing tracks from the new album. There was some debate afterwards if this was a good thing or a bad thing especially when the audience was made up of people like me, dads and mums bringing their children to watch Maiden for the first time and children who were raised on the classic Maiden songs.

Anyway, the Dickinson penned “If Eternity Should Fail” is a great opener, and when the band kicks in with the intro lead is game on.

Waiting in line for the ending of time
If eternity should fail

It’s got a great sing a long chorus and that’s why it works live. By the time the “Ace Of Spades” influenced interlude kicks in, the floor is swaying with bodies. This song worked well live.

But the Smith/Dickinson composition, “Speed Of Light”, like “From Here To Eternity” and “Holy Smoke” before it, just don’t work as live songs. Boring and pedestrian.

“Children of the Damned”
Maiden takes us back to 1982 and we are all “Children of The Damned” again.

It’s the first of three songs from “The Number of the Beast” album and the first time, I am hearing this song live, as it wasn’t played on the 2008 “Somewhere Back In Time” tour. “Live After Death” was my first exposure to Maiden, and this song proved to be a favourite.

You’re Children of The Damned
Your back’s against the wall

Steve Harris wrote it about a book/movie, but those two lines above speak to me.

Because back in the Eighties, metal heads and rock heads got discriminated against. Since everyone that listened to metal and hard rock got classed as “devil worshippers” you can say that we were all damned and our backs were against the wall, trying to prove to others that we matter and have something better to offer this world.

Great live track and the quicker live tempo suited the song.

“Tears of a Clown” and “The Red And The Black” came next.

So Maiden went back to the new album. While I understand the importance of the song to Maiden and how it’s about comedian Robin Williams, “Tears of A Clown” just didn’t work as a live song. It’s best kept as a studio track.

Which brings me to the Steve Harris penned “The Red and the Black”. When I first heard this song on the album, I loved certain sections of it and after a few listens could honestly say it could do with some edits. Hearing the song, live, I can honestly say they should have been creative and exercised some control and edited the song down to 6 minutes instead of 10 minutes.

There is a harmony lead section of the song towards the end of the song that is excellent, however I think Maiden missed big time with these songs. Even the chants felt forced. “Fear Of The Dark” has the chants because the people/fans decided to chant along with the leads, not because Maiden wrote a song that has chants in it.

By now my four-year old fell asleep, which was a shame as his favourite song is “The Trooper” and that came up next. Actually I was surprised he fell asleep with the loud volumes.

“The Trooper”
So Maiden take us back to 1983 and the “Piece of Mind” album and play a speed metal version of the song. It was funny because in the car on the way up to the show my kids were singing the song super fast as well .

Actually, the song was that fast, that even Bruce couldn’t get all the words out in time.

Did it matter?

Not at all. My ten-year old and nine-year old lapped it up.

You’ll take my life but I’ll take yours too
You’ll fire your musket but I’ll run you through
So when you’re waiting for the next attack
You’d better stand there’s no turning back.

The stop of the music and the start of the vocal line is done brilliantly. It will remain a classic forever because of it.

“Powerslave”
The Dickinson penned title track from their 1984 album was up next and it’s one of my favourites.

When I was living this lie – Fear was my Game
People would worship and fall –
Drop to their knees.

Has our world progressed since the time of the Pharaohs?

Instead of whips and chains to work, we have wages and loans to keep us as slaves.

Tell me why I had to be a Powerslave
I don’t wanna die, I’m a God,
Why can’t I live on?
When the Life Giver dies,
All around is laid waste,
And in my last hour,
I’m a Slave to the Power of Death.

Then we are back to two more songs from “The Book Of Souls”. This time “Death or Glory” is up and to be honest it is another miss. But, “The Book of Souls” written by Gers and Harris deserves to be in the Maiden set forever and a day. It’s epic and grandiose and on par with “Powerslave”.

By know the clichéd stage antics of Janick Gers was bordering on “Dark Helmet” ludicrous proportions. Foot on the monitors like he’s doing ballet, swinging the guitar around his neck like anyone in 2016 cares about it, the Richie Blackmore splits and grabbing the guitar so the pick-up side faces the floor proved to be silly and funny at the same time.

But there was no escaping the power of  “Book Of Souls”.

A life that’s full of all the wealth and riches
Can never last an eternity

Sort of sounds like our current world. According to certain media reports we are living in a gold age of prosperity. I am sure that people in third world countries would disagree, but as the lyric states, what we have currently cannot last forever. But what is guaranteed is that the people in power and wealth would pay tooth and nail to ensure it does last forever.

The set is rounded off by “Hallowed Be Thy Name” from “The Number of the Beast”, “Fear of the Dark” from the album of the same name released in 1982 and “Iron Maiden” from the debut Maiden album released in 1980.

Now, “Hallowed Be They Name” to me, is a classic and man, the audience resonated with it.

Reflecting on my past life and it doesn’t have much time

When the end is near, all you can do is go back through your memories one last time because once it ends, those memories will be forever lost. It’s pretty sad when you think of the knowledge we could have if memories in our brains can somehow be preserved.

When the priest comes to read me the last rites
I take a look through the bars at the last sights
Of a world that has gone very wrong for me

In order to write “The Trooper”, Maiden had to write “Hallowed Be Thy Name” because both songs have very similar elements, especially the stop start sections of the verses, where the music stops and the vocals start.

The Harris penned “Fear Of The Dark” has achieved a new sense of immortality courtesy of the “Rock In Rio” performance on the “Brave New World” tour. Every section in the song is more or less a sing/chant along.

Fear of the dark, fear of the dark
I have constant fear that something’s always near

I always saw “Fear Of The Dark” as an analogy for fear of the future, the unknown and how the world is always throwing good and bad times into our lives. And to be quite honest it’s pretty scary sometimes.

But “Iron Maiden” to me is a big letdown. I understand its historical importance but in the end it’s a really average song.

The encore kicked off with “The Number of the Beast”, then “Blood Brothers” from the “Brave New World” album released in 2000 and the set finished off with “Wasted Years” from the “Somewhere in Time” album released in 1986.

I’m coming back I will return
And I’ll possess your body and I’ll make you burn

Metal music was known as “The Beast” in the 80’s, because it possessed our bodies and minds. And when the establishments thought it was dead and buried, a bigger beast in Grunge, Industrial, Metalcore, NuMetal, Death Metal, Black Metal all came forth, until Metal music returned once again.

Bruce made special mention that the audience and Iron Maiden are “Blood Brothers” and how in the audience he is seeing parents with children and so forth. At this time I got a lot of high fives from people around me, that I had the balls to bring my children to the show. So without any surprises, the Steve Harris penned “Blood Brothers” was up.

Maybe all the things that you know that are precious to you
Could be swept away by fate’s own hand

Live each day to the best that it can be lived, because the world doesn’t care about the houses, cars, iPads and record collections when it comes calling for you.

Finally the big one and the favourite of my eldest son, the Adrian Smith penned “Wasted Years”. I always associated this song as another “Turn The Page”, “Home Sweet Home” and “Wanted Dead Or Alive”. And it’s also a love song.

The guitar intro is legendary and Adrian Smith as a songwriter has contributed to a lot of “classics” from the Maiden 80’s era. I would call him the unsung hero of Iron Maiden.

I close my eyes, and think of home
Another city goes by in the night
Ain’t it funny how it is, you never miss it ’til it’s gone away
And my heart is lying there and will be ’til my dying day

So Maiden came to Australia. For some reason I feel that it was for the last time. I hope not.

My eldest son, he loved the show and enjoyed it along with me. My middle son, got super tired half way and just kept on yawning. My youngest son fell asleep at the concert by “Tears Of A Clown”. My wife held him the whole time.

What kind of father buys concert tickets for a Friday night show, which is the end of a school week and the start of a sport filled week playing football. We got home at 1am and by 7am we all got up for the morning Saturday games.

Metal all the way.

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1982 – Part 3 – The Winds Of Change Are Blowing Softly

Y&T – Black Tiger
1981’s “Earthshaker” started Y&T’s rebirth. “Black Tiger” released in 1982 would enhance and refine their signature sound.

The album was recorded in England and produced by Max Norman. At that time, he had just finished working with Randy Rhoads on two career defining albums. He obviously knew how to work with excellent Californian guitarists.

It was a perfect combination, merging the hunger and melodicism of Y&T with the producer of the moment. Norman has stated that he wanted to do the “Meanstreak” record however, he believed that Y&T were mad with him, so they got Chris Tsangarides instead.

The sad harmony guitars from “Forever” introduce the album via “From The Moon” and then “Open Fire” kicks it off.

The ultimate song for the stage. It has elements of Deep Purple in the rhythm section. It’s very derivative of “Highway Star” from Purple, and Meniketti does a mean Sammy Hagar impersonation. It’s your typical, waiting for the weekend to let your hair down and have a good time song.

“Don’t Wanna Lose You” is up next and musically it’s very melodic. Polar opposites to the AC/DC vibe of “Open Fire”.

The super melodic and groovy “Forever” is up and the whole melodic rock movement is built upon this song. It’s the best cut of the album by far.

“Winds Of Change” could have been the best cut, but man the lyrics don’t do the song justice. Musically, Y&T did ballads / slow rockers the best. I would even put it out there, that the popular power ballad moniker could have originated with Y&T.

Winds of change
Blowing strongly

I know that “Barroom Boogie” and “Black Tiger” are known as essential Y&T songs. For me, other bands did those kind of songs better. Y&T is a favourite and a big influence to me because of how they did the melodic songs.

It was after the “Black Tiger” tour with AC/DC that Ozzy and Sharon approached Meniketti to join his band.

Iron Maiden – The Number of the Beast

The band had come a long way from that Melody Maker 1979 ad for a second guitarist that said;

“Iron Maiden (Based In East London) want 2nd Guitarist capable of tight fast harmonies, tasty chordwork and the occasional ripping solo. Must have good gear and be a fast learner. Only dedicated, image conscious people need apply. We’re still semi-pro as yet, so no breadheads please”.

So I looked up what breadhead meant and it is a person who is motivated by, or obsessed with, making money. And in essence, that is the truth. Great everlasting music is never created by people who are obsessed with money. Great everlasting music is created by people who have a need to create and a story to tell. The ad is all class by Steve Harris.

And I was struck by the power of Steve Harris, to make things happen. One person, with a vision, excellent execution and a desire to stay the course can achieve success. He got rid of members when they didn’t execute properly or strayed from his vision. After each band member change, he moved on. To bigger and better things.

“Hallowed Be Thy Name” is my favourite Maiden cut. However the best version of the song is the live version on “Live After Death”. It was the first Maiden album I got (on double cassette), and I played it over and over and over again. The speed is also a bit quicker and it works well for the song. Plus who can forget Bruce yelling “Scream for me Long Beach”.

So when it came to purchasing the full “The Number Of The Beast” album, I was very late to the party.

How come no one believes in a riff anymore?

Once upon a time, songs stood on the shoulders of the guitar riff and “The Number of The Beast” is full of those riffs.

“Children Of The Damned” is a damn good song. Structurally it is brilliant.

He’s walking like a small child
But watch his eyes burn you away

“22 Acacia Avenue” is all class for a song about a brothel. The “Number Of The Beast” and “Run To The Hills” need no introduction.

Selling them whiskey and taking their gold
Enslaving the young and destroying the old

But the album and all of its everlasting glory belongs to “Hallowed Be Thy Name”.

I’m waiting in my cold cell, when the bell begins to chime
Reflecting on my past life and it doesn’t have much time
‘Cause at 5 o’clock, they’ll take me to the gallows pole
The sands of time for me are running low

Death row ain’t a good place to be.

As the guards march me out to the courtyard
Somebody cries from a cell “God be with you”
If there’s a God, (then) why has he let me go?

What a powerful line. It brings back memories of James Hetfield’s man at losing his mother in “The God That Failed”.

Frankie Miller – Standing On The Edge

One of the best bluesy singers that no one even knows. This 1982 album is one of those recordings that I picked up in a discount bin for $5 and played over and over and over again. Then I forgot about it, until the internet made me search him up again and I was still blown away by the album.

“Danger Danger” is the reason why this album became a classic for me.

There is a movie called “Thunder Alley”. I watched that movie a lot. You could say I was a fan.

The story of the movie is about a hard rock band that tries to make it in the music business. In between, people need to choose between a normal job and the rock and roll dream. They need to decide if the drugs and party lifestyle is for them. And in the end, what they think they have achieved is nothing because as they climb the ranks of the gatekeepers, each gatekeeper wants to bring in their own favourite musicians into the band. And it was in “Thunder Alley” that I heard the song “Danger Danger”.

I was hooked.

It’s a Frankie Miller composition. The album would also have co-writes with a certain Andy Fraser, who was in a band called Free once upon a time and a long time friend of Frankie. The album is pretty solid and how Capitol Records managed to fuck up the promotion of the album is beyond me.

There is a review of the album at Martin Leedham’s WordPress site. You can find it here.

Stay tuned for 1982 – Part 4.

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1981 – Part 3 – “Don’t Live For Pleasure, Make Life Your Treasure”

Black Sabbath – Mob Rules
“Mob Rules” was released at the same time as Ozzy Osbourne/Randy Rhoads “Diary Of A Madman” album. For both Sabbath and Osbourne albums it was a case of “what worked before, lets repeat it”. There is a book out by Mick Wall called “Black Sabbath: Symptom Of The Universe”, that mentions how it pained, Tony, Geezer and Ronnie to see Ozzy’s 2nd album doing so much better than theirs.

Martin Birch was on hand to produce and engineer again and it is also the first Black Sabbath album to feature Vinny Appice on drums, who replaced original member Bill Ward. “Mob Rules” was plagued with stories of drugs and arguments.

The arguments started after the success of “Heaven and Hell”. Warner Bros, offered Dio a solo deal, while also extending the Black Sabbath contract. The solo deal didn’t go down well with Iommi and Butler. In addition, during the mixing of the album, Iommi and Butler had a falling out with Dio due to some misinformation being spread from their engineer about Dio sneaking into the studio at night to raise the volume of his vocals. Dio was also not happy with how he was represented in the artwork. Eventually, it all proved too much and the solo deal Dio got proved the out.

“Turn Up The Night” is a derivative version of “Neon Knights”. Hell, it could have been on a Thin Lizzy album.

“Voodoo” is a derivative version of “Children Of The Sea” in its groove. It even tried to occupy the same space that “Children Of The Sea” did in the album sequencing.

“Sign Of The Southern Cross” is a derivative version of “Heaven And Hell” and “Children Of The Sea” combined and the foundation of the sound that would become “Dio”. The best on the album.

“The Mob Rules” feels like a derivative version of “Tie Your Mother Down” from Queen.

“Country Girl” feels like a Led Zeppelin track.

“Falling Off The Edge Of The World”, is a brilliant song as well, technically an early influence to what Iron Maiden and Metallica would achieve and build their careers on.

“Over and Over” is a derivative version of “Black Sabbath”, purely for its sludgy groove.

“Don’t live for pleasure, make life your treasure” ….. from “Sign Of The Southern Cross”

Thin Lizzy – Renegade
Since “Chinatown” proved to be a cult hit with the guitar team of Scott Gorham and Snowy Shaw the year before, like all of the other bands that released music in 1980, it was a case of “what worked before, lets repeat it” in 1981.

And each album, has a song or two that sell it, and in this case “Angel Of Death” and “Hollywood (Down On Your Luck)” are the songs. Lynott does a brilliant job blaming the “Angel of Death” for the Great San Francisco Earthquake, Nazi Germany and the Holocaust prophecies of Nostradamus.

“I’ve seen two world wars
I’ve seen men send rockets out into space
I foresee a holocaust
An angel of death descending to destroy the human race” ….. From “Angel Of Death”

“Nobody gives a break
When you’re down on your luck
Everybody’s on the take
When you’re down on your luck” ….. From “Hollywood (Down On Your Luck)”

UFO – The Wild, The Willing and The Innocent
“Lonely Heart” has got this Springsteen vibe happening, but the song that I go to first, is “Profession Of Violence”. It’s got that Gary Moore “Parisienne Walkways” feel. If you haven’t heard “Parisienne Walkways”, trust me, you have heard it, because many years later, the song morphed into “Still Got The Blues” and Moore’s biggest hit.

“Down the halls of justice, the echoes never fade
Notches on my gun, another debt is paid” ….. from “Profession Of Violence”

Rainbow – Difficult To Cure

How good is “I Surrender” with that classical vibe, over a pop structure. Written by Russ Ballard, to me, Ballard was a musician known for writing good songs that other artists covered or made better.

“Can’t Happen Here” is one hell of a good song and a very underrated Rainbow cut. It has all the elements of a protest song, a good rock and roll vibe and all the guitarinisms that Blackmore is known for.

“Supersonic planes for a holiday boom
Rio de Janeiro in an afternoon
People out of work but there’s people on the moon
Looking for the future” ….. from “Can’t Happen Here”

“Spotlight Kid” is another classic Rainbow tune, this one about the trappings of fame and what happens when the crowds are gone. And what about that “Burn” like solo section.

“Jokers and women they hang ’round your door
They’re all part of the scene
Just like a junkie you’ve got to have more
It’s a pleasure machine” ….. from “Spotlight Kid”

Midnight Oil – Place Without A Postcard
An Australian political band, known around the world for their songs “U.S Forces” and “Beds Are Burning”. This is their third album, released in 1981 and like most of their albums, it is 75% filler, so it was no surprise that the “singles” are the album tracks that still resonate today.

“I’m an innocent victim, I’m just like you
We end up in home units with a brick wall view” ….. from “Don’t Wanna Be The One”

“Armistice Day” has a lyric that more or less sums up the bullshit weapons of mass destruction, twenty years later.

“I went looking for a war, but the only guns I saw
Never used in anger”

Lead vocalist Peter Garrett has a voice that you either like or hate. There is no getting used to his voice. Glyn Johns produced the album, however the band and Johns clashed frequently, and even more so, when the band refused to record more commercial pop songs for a U.S release.

Iron Maiden – Killers
It’s essentially a Steve Harris solo album.

Each album has a song that sells it. In this case, it is “Wrathchild”. That bass intro groove from Harris, makes you want to press repeat over and over again. Because I had the “Live After Death” album, and “Wrathchild” was on it, I had no real desire to spend my money on “Killers”. It wasn’t until the 90’s that I finally heard the full album.

“I was born into a scene of angriness and greed, and dominance and persecution” ….. from “Wrathchild”

“Prodigal Son” is another favourite and I dig that acoustic intro that sounds very similar to the intro that Randy Rhoads wrote for “You Can’t Kill Rock N Roll”.

“The devil’s got a hold on my soul and he just won’t let me be” ….. from “Prodigal Son”

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2015

“Progress is made by improving on what came before”.

Music is no different. If you want a career, if you want to make progress, you need to improve on what came before. The class of 2015 so far is doing just that.

NUMBER 0:
Protest The Hero – Pacific Myth Subscription Series

PTH is one band (of many) that are using different ways of connecting and engaging with their fan base.

I was one of those fans that contributed to their Indiegogo campaign for the “Volition” album, watched em live when they came to Oz, purchased merch and now I am one of those fans that is contributing to the “Pacific Myth” subscription series. The way PTH geared it up is they have two packages for a one of fee of $12 and $25. On both packages, the subscriber would receive a monthly song (for a period of 6 months) to stream, or download. In addition, you will also receive the instrumental version, along with artwork, lyrics, music scores and notes. The $25 package also includes a six part doc series.

As vocalist Rody mentioned in the video launching the series, “think of it as an EP spread over six months”.

“We have done the full-length album and ensuing record cycle four times now. While they all had their benefits, they all dragged on. Most record cycles are at least 2 years. That’s two years of promoting 40-or-so minutes of music. Music that you may have written two years before that! We have never been able to release what we want to release NOW. So that’s exactly what this is. These are songs we love now, songs we are proud of now, and songs which are inherently more candid than our other material. Don’t get us wrong, this is very much the pth you either know and love or know and hate. If you like what we do, we are pretty sure you are going to dig this crap. I guess we’ll let these little lullabies speak for themselves…”

This again is another innovative way for the band to connect directly with the fans. It’s a brave new world out there for monetizing your fan base. You can scream and complain about royalty payments or you can innovate, adapt and connect with your audience like PTH, for it is your audience that sustains you, keeps you employed.

Now, if you like a hard rock song or a metal song that sticks to formula, then you will probably not like Protest The Hero. If you are into progressive and technical music with different moods, that could have melodic vocals and harsh vocals (especially in the earlier days) with intelligent lyrics, then PTH is a band you would like.

“Begging the questions “why?””, why do we work until we die” ….. from “Tidal”
“A drop into the sea whose ripple turns to a tidal wave and sweeps the shores it once forgave” ….. from “Tidal”
“The sun, the moon, the Earth, conversed and agreed, the people of the world must pay for its atrophy” ….. from “Tidal”

Here is the link for “Tidal”.
Here is the link for “Ragged Tooth”.

NUMBER 1:
The Night Flight Orchestra – Skyline Whispers
This is the best album for 2015 by far.

For the ones that don’t know, TNFO is a very classic AOR rock sounding side-project. From “Soilwork”, Björn “Speed” Strid and David Andersson are on vocals and guitar. From “Arch Enemy”, Sharlee D’Angelo is on bass. From Swedish rock group “Von Benzo” comes Richard Larsson on keyboards. From Swedish metal band “Meanstreak and Swedish rock group “Orchid” comes Jonas Källsbäck on drums. Rounding out the band for the second album is Sebastian Forslund from “Kadawatha” on congas, percussion and guitar.

So way back in 2012, TNFO released an incredible album called “Internal Affairs”. It was a throwback to the Classic Rock era of the Seventies and a joy to listen to from start to finish. Fast forward to 2015, and we have the second album, “Skyline Whispers”. Like the debut album, it is a trip down memory lane. However in this case, instead of being a throwback to the sounds of the Seventies, it is a throwback to the sound those Seventies bands did towards the end of the Seventies and into the Eighties.

Check out “Sail On”, “Living for the Night-time”, “I Ain’t Old, I Ain’t Young”, “Spanish Ghosts” and “The Heather Reports” for essential listening.

“I have crossed too many oceans
I was born a rambling man
And I’ve caused a lot of heartaches
But I never gave a damn

Now the road that lies before me
Gives no answers to my prayers
But I still have hopes that surely
Things will add up in the end

Sail on, sail on”

NUMBER 2:
Whitesnake – The Purple Album

To be honest, Whitesnake has had a tough run. When the band and Coverdale got that huge success in the U.S (thanks to MTV) between 1987 and 1989, no one really had a clue about Coverdale’s origin story.

The majority of the 7 million people in the U.S that purchased the 1987 album were clueless that Coverdale had released over 10 albums prior to that and that he was even in Deep Purple. And who would have thought that “Here I Go Again”, “Still Of The Night” and “Is This Love” would take that much mindshare and become a soundtrack to people’s lives.

Which brings me to “The Purple Album”.

I have read a lot of comments on social media that either hate “The Purple Album” or love it. There is no in-between. I’m confused as to why it is causing such a great divide. “The Purple Album” is the perfect bridge to bring Coverdale’s Deep Purple legacy into his Whitesnake legacy.

Who better to do remakes of those great songs than Coverdale himself?

With the help of John Kalodner at Geffen Records, Coverdale proved himself a master at doing remakes. Remember “Crying In The Rain” and “Here I Go Again”.

People also forget that Jimi Hendrix’s biggest songs were remakes of songs already released. Think “Hey Joe” and “All Along The Watchtower”. Hell, Def Leppard did their own remakes of “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and “Rock Of Ages”, due to a record label “licensing vs sales monies to be paid dispute”. Anyway, whatever peoples’ views on remakes/forgeries are, “The Purple Album” is a classic modern sounding album with no filler, that a new generation of fans would gravitate to.

“The Purple Album” project was birthed by tragedy. After the death of Jon Lord, Coverdale reached out to Ritchie Blackmore to discuss a possible get together and to thank Blackmore for giving an unknown an opportunity to be the lead singer in Deep Purple. When that new collaboration didn’t eventuate, the project would go on to become a new Whitesnake project. With the backing of Frontiers Records, who just love to wrap up new sound recordings of songs written in the Seventies and Eighties for another 100 years of copyright, the project was a go.

“People are sayin’ the woman is damned, She makes you burn with a wave of her hand” ….. from “Burn”

“Ride the rainbow, Crack the sky, Stormbringer coming, Time to die” ….. from “Stormbringer”

“Many times I’ve been a traveller, I looked for something new” ….. from “Soldier Of Fortune”

“My mama showed me how to rock in the cradle, but I learned how to roll along,
My papa said “son, gotta git some fun, Cos when your old it ain’t too good on your own” ….. from “Coming Home”

NUMBER 3:
Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls
What can I say, it’s the mighty Maiden. Hell, the football Summer Comp team my boys are in is called Iron Maiden. Plus I purchased 5 tickets to their concert next year, so that I can take my whole family to watch them. Enough said.

It’s been five years from the “The Final Frontier” album. During that period, Maiden has hit the road in support of “The Final Frontier” and they hit the road to celebrate a milestone from the past. Add to that, live DVD releases, the writing and recording process of the new album, Bruce Dickinson’s cancer diagnosis, and the result is “The Book Of Souls”.

First, the album doesn’t sound like a professional mega band recording. It is raw and with mistakes.

Second, I do wish that on some of the songs some editing was employed. And that is a difficult thing for me to say as a lot of my favourite songs clock in at over 10 minutes. However, the Maiden concerts are known for fans chanting and singing along with the riffs and the chants, and “The Book Of Souls” is full of songs that have those chants.

It’s funny, but Iron Maiden is one of those bands that has a fan base that loves them. That is evident by the ticket sales and merch sales they rack up in each city they hit. They could make a career of revisiting their legacy on each tour, like the “Caught Somewhere Back In Time” tour. But Maiden doesn’t want to be a nostalgic act.

The album is number three on my list because each song has an idea that is like a lightning strike, a moment that makes me tap my foot, nod my head and take notice. And it could have been a perfect 60 minute album, instead of a 93 minute album.

“The red and the black
People don’t want the truth
Look in their eyes and you send them away” ….. from “The Red And The Black”

“If you should sell your soul as cheaply as I did then
The road to ruin is a long road to hide in
We signed our lives away to have an escape
It’s something that will be whatever our fate” ….. from “When The River Runs Deep”

“We must go now, we must take our chance with fate” ….. from “Empire Of The Clouds”

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Keep On Selling In A Free World

Five Finger Death Punch moved 119,000 units of their new album “Got Your Six”. 114,000 of those units are pure album sales and it a time of free, it even surpassed the 112,000 opening sales week of 2013’s “The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell: Volume 1”.

In the U.S, Iron Maiden moved 75,000 of their “The Book Of Souls” album and in a time of free, it is Iron Maiden’s best sales week since Nielsen Music began measuring sales in 1991. It even surpassed 2010’s “The Final Frontier” sales by 12,000 units. Again in a time of free, you would expect a sales decline to happen.

In the U.K, Iron Maiden moved over 60,000 units and Five Finger Death Punch also landed in the Top 10.

In Australia, we know that Iron Maiden came in a Number 2 and Five Finger Death Punch at Number 3.

Both of the above bands have had their BEST SALES week for these latest releases. Especially in the U.S market. For Iron Maiden, it is their best sales week since 1991. Consider that. Piracy was at an all-time low in 1991 however in 2015, when piracy is meant to be at an all time high, bands sell more than before in opening weeks.

But it’s not always like that.

Disturbed’s “Immortalized” sold 98,000 total copies. If you compare these sales with 2002, when their second album “Believe” sold 284,000 copies you can see a steep decline in first week sales.

2005’s “Ten Thousand Fists” sold 239,000 copies, 2008’s “Indestructible” sold 253,000 copies and 2010’s “Asylum” sold 179,000 copies. On the same week that Disturbed made their comeback, Swedish metal act Ghost had opening week sales of 29,000 units of their second album “Meliora”

So what does all of the above tell us?

Has anyone seen the latest MTV Video Music Awards?

How many metal and hard rock bands got mentioned

If you are an artist in 2015, there is no use comparing 2015 to 1985.

Shawn Drover can complain all he wants.

The truth is, no one really cares about his new act “Act Of Defiance” first album at this point in time.

What the above data shows me, is that the music business is not all about the first album. It is about what comes after the first album. Remember, “Kill Em All” from Metallica had a life span of about nine months, before Metallica was back in the studio recording “Ride The Lightning”. That album also had a nine month life span before Metallica was back in the studio to record “Master of Puppets”.

There is no doubt that internet piracy has affected every genre, especially the metal and hard rock genre.

Does that mean that there is no money in music?

Of course not.

Publishing agency, BMI raked in $1.013 billion dollars for the financial year. ASCAP, also raked in $1.001 billion. This is money, earned by agencies for licensing out artists songs to radio, TV, streaming services and other platforms. And the reason for this big boom is;

  • Music streaming

But with everything corporate, the payouts to artists comes after both BMI and ASCAP subtract their operating expenses and other creative expenses from the revenue. This is what happens when you have a monopoly on music licensing. You abuse it.

BMI actually paid $877 million to its thousands of members, including songwriters like Dave Grohl, Linkin Park, Nickelback and Evanescence. ASCAP on the other hand paid its members $883 million.

What about that?

ASCAP had less revenue than BMI but paid out more. Regardless, when you add the expenses that both organisations kept, that is another $600 million kept away from artists.

But BMI blamed their legal fight against Pandora for the reduced payouts?

And certain artists have jumped on the bandwagon to criticise Pandora. But so many are clueless to the work that Pandora has done to help the recording industry and the music industry at large. They have 80 million listeners.

But did you know that Five Finger Death Punch partnered with Pandora to launch their album “Got Your Six”. Mumford and Sons, partnered with Pandora for a live stream of a concert. Jack White did the same. All of these partnerships led to Pandora increasing their fan base and the artists increasing their exposure and sales.

Pandora put on 79 live events last year and this year it’s expected to rise to 120.

This is on top of Pandora paying out half its revenue to SoundExchange in licensing fees, which in turn has ensured that the company is in a loss position. Other countries are not that quick to embrace Pandora, because to date, the service only operates in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.

Which is silly.

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