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

1979 – II – Somebody Get Me A Doctor

I wrote this post about six months ago and just realized I never posted it. And when I saw Part 3 posted i didn’t even think that Part 2 wasn’t out.

So here it is.

I didn’t hear these albums or songs until the 80’s and for some of the more obscure album songs, well into the 90’s. And that my friends is the beauty of music. While the band or artist could be gone or retired, the music lives on forever.

And these days so many people want to make money from it.

Record labels have done their best to change the copyright laws originally designed to protect the creator and give the creator an incentive to create, to a corporation monopoly for the life of the artist plus 70 years after their death. They are even pushing for 90 years after death to be the new standard.

For example, if Van Halen wrote “Dance The Night Away” in the 1930’s, the song would be out of copyright by 1958 and free for artists to use and build upon. If those same copyright rules applied in 1979, the song would have been out of copyright in 2007. However, with copyright laws as they stand now, and provided EVH lives to 80, the song would still be under copyright in 2100. (EVH born 1955 + 80 (life of the artist) + 70 years after death = 2105).

Anyway, here is part 2 of 1979 and here is the playlist.

Part 1 can be found here.

Kansas – Monolith

Kansas came into my life in the 90’s via the good old second hand record shop when a $20 trip would end up with 10 records as a minimum and a huge difference from the 80’s when that same $20 trip would end up with one record and maybe a discount bin cassette tape. Actually I picked up the first six Kansas albums on the same day.

And I dropped the needle on the albums based on the covers. The cover I liked more, got first spins. So “Point Of Know Return” was first, then “Leftoverture”, then “Monolith”, then “Song For America”, then “Kansas” and finally “Masque”.

On The Other Side

The opener written by Kerry Livgren and I dig the emotive intro lead break which I believe was played by Rich Williams.

The empty page before me now, the pen is in my hand
The words don’t come so easy but I’m trying
I’m searching for a melody or some forgotten line
They can slip away from us so quickly

Writers block and running out of creative ideas. It’s real and it can happen.

And from about 3.22, the progressive side of the band kicks in and I’m loving it.

People Of The South Wind

There are some who can still remember
All the things that we used to do
But the days of our youth were numbered
And the ones who survive it are few

History has shown how white people have displaced the native people from the lands. Each continent is littered with the blood of innocents.

People of the south wind, people of the southern wind
It’s the people of the wind, I got to be there again

What a chorus!

With the brass background instruments and what not, the song could have been on any pop album. Hell, they should have given it to Chicago to record.

Angels Have Fallen

Written by Steve Walsh, it has enough pop and enough progressive themes to satisfy both fan bases.

Children are restless they know what can happen when men are vain

The children are restless today, sick and tired of being targets, they have taken to the streets, demonstrating for gun reform.

People are talking maybe you know them, they know you’re near
Masking themselves from fear and asking themselves who their friends are

Even though the words are from 1979, they are as relevant today as they were back then.

Really dig the heavy and progressive riffs from 3.11 to 4.14.

How My Soul Cries Out

What a groove to jam on, very much in the style of Rainbow and it’s another Walsh penned song.

How my soul cries out for you
It cries for love that we once knew

A Glimpse Of Home

Another cool song with good vocal melodies and progressive overtones written by Livgren.

Lyrically, I think it sums up his transition to Christianity with lines such as, “now you are here once again, as I stand in your presence” or “All my life I knew you were waiting, revelation anticipating, all is well, the search is over, let the truth be known, Let it be shown (give me a glimpse of home)”.

Van Halen – Van Halen II

Van Halen’s second album hit the streets in 1979. I didn’t hear it until the late 80’s. I know, unbelievable, right. But music was expensive and access wasn’t like it is these days where you have the history of music at your fingertips.

You’re No Good

I heard Van Halen’s cover before I heard the original. Yes, I know, it’s sacrilegious, but man, I dig the sleazy rock groove the Van Halen brothers and Michael Anthony create.

Dance The Night Away

The cowbell drum intro and then the E major key riff.

How good is the riff?

Every great song in my opinion is underpinned by a great riff and I spent a many days dancing the night away trying to figure it out.

Somebody Get Me A Doctor

What about the intro chords. Do you reckon Dee Snider was listening to this and used them for “You Can’t Stop Rock’N’Roll.

Actually all of the riffs in this song are at another level. Get me a doctor indeed.

Bottoms Up

Before we got “Hot For Teacher”, we got “Bottoms Up” and before “Bottoms Up”, we had ZZ Top’s “La Grange”.

Outta Love Again

Like the other songs before it, it’s the riffs from EVH that makes this song happen.

So many of the 80’s bands used VHII as a template to borrow from. So I guess we should call in the lawyers and start suing.

Light Up From The Sky

I hate Roth’s vocal melodies and lyrics (actually I like the end vocal melody when they repeat “Light Up The Sky” about 4 times), however the music from EVH is excellent and that solo section followed by a drum solo groove works so well.

I used the riffs in this song as a template for a lot of songs I wrote.

D.O.A

EVH has taken “You Really Got Me” and made it his own with D.O.A.

Woman In Love

Those harp harmonics in the intro made me realise that as much as I tried to learn all the guitar hero techniques, they would never be part of my expressive style. From time to time I would bring out finger tapping, harp harmonics, whammy bar dives, sweep picking and in the 90’s, my set up had a DigiTech whammy pedal so I could mimic Tom Morello.

And that outro is excellent.

Beautiful Girls

I love the bluesy groove which a lot of 80’s bands used to platinum success.

She had her drink in her hand , She had her toes in the sand and whoa! Ha, ha, What a beautiful girl, ah yeah

Only Diamond Dave could come up with lines like that.

Rainbow – Down To Earth

Ritchie Blackmore’s influence to metal and rock music is god like. Not only did he inspire guitarists, he even inspired vocalists. The vocalists he worked with are considered legends and influential to the 80’s generation of singers that came through. Ian Gillian, David Coverdale and Ronnie James Dio. Then in the 80’s he worked with Graham Bonnett and Joe Lynn Turner. A lot of respect is given to the Dio led version of the band and less praise to the commercial years of the band with different vocalists, in this case, Graham Bonnet and Joe Lynn Turner.

The band on this album is top notch as well. You have Ritchie Blackmore on guitar, Graham Bonnet on vocals, Cozy Powell on drums, Roger Glover on bass and Don Airey on keyboards.

I wish I heard this album in the mid 80’s because the guitar playing and song writing grooves are just the way I like it. It would have been an awesome album to unpack and learn in my early years of guitar playing.

All Night Long

Another iconic Blackmore riff, but the lyrics about wanting a groupie to love all night long just didn’t connect with me.

Eyes Of The World

Another epic Rainbow song on an album designed to take over the charts. As always underpinned by a brilliant Blackmore riff.

Evil takes, evil kills
With no shame or concern

Money and greed is the real evil.

Since You Been Gone

Inspired by a “Louie Louie” riff and written by Russ Ballard, the song became an arena rock/car staple.

Danger Zone

It’s got Blackmore’s unique riffing all over the song and a wonderful classical solo section.

Lost In Hollywood

It starts off like Led Zep’s “Rock N Roll” and it has a guitar riff heavily influenced by it. It’s also listed as being written by Blackmore, Glover and Powell.

Love that outro.

Ain’t A Lot Of Love In The Heart Of Me

It’s from 2011’s Deluxe Edition extra tracks and it’s basically a re-write of the Coverdale/Blackmore penned “Mistreated” and it’s a pretty cool listen.

Cheap Trick – At Budokan’

The live album was bigger than Cheap Trick’s first three albums.

Big Eyes

I reckon the drum intro inspired “Run To The Hills” from Maiden.

I Want You To Want Me

With its “Baby, Please Don’t Go” vibe/influence.

Surrender

“This next one is the first song on our new album. It just came out this week and the song is called “Surrender””

This is the song that hooked me in.

Bands used to tour before the album even came out. Sometimes they would play songs that would appear on albums many years later. But the MTV era changed all that. Because the record labels controlled MTV, they finally had the power instead of the artist.

Foreigner – Head Games

Foreigner came into my life via “I Want To Know What Love Is”. It wasn’t until the 90’s and the second hand record shops that I picked up their earlier releases.

I wasn’t a fan of the singles “Dirty White Boy” and “Women”.

Love On The Telephone

The embryo heartbeat of melodic rock is right here. The song is written by Mick Jones and Lou Gramm.

I’ll Get Even with You

It’s written by Jones and it’s got a cool intro riff which hooks me in.

Head Games

The opener to Side 2 and another cut written by Gramm and Jones. The way the verse’s build with the bass and keyboards taking lead instead of the guitar. It’s AOR heaven to a tee. And how good are Lou Gramm’s vocal melodies.

Hearing it for the first time in the 90’s, I liked it then, and I still like it today. And the chorus sums up relationships to a tee…

Head games
It’s you and me baby
Head games
And I can’t take it anymore

The Angels – No Exit

From Australia.

Boy didn’t they resonate with the working blue collar steel workers and punks, merging their pub rock AC/DC vibe with the punk rock scene coming out of the UK.

Shadow Boxer

It’s raw, it’s punk and it’s from the streets about a person fighting imaginary enemies after too many brews.

Can’t Shake It

It’s basically “Long Way To The Top” put through “The Angels” blender.

Mr Damage

A punk rock ditty about death.

Mr Damage holds a curse
Mr Damage drives a hearse

ZZ Top – Cheap Sunglasses

It sold the album.

ZZ Top – Esther Be The One

It has a cool harmony outro lead which I dig and because of that lead, it’s staying in the list.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Refugee

The riff is brilliant and simple.

Then when the Chorus melody kicks in, you know it’s a song which will last forever.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Even The Losers

Yes, even the losers get lucky sometimes. There’s always a chance.

Robert Palmer – Bad Case Of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)

For those who lived the 80’s, this song was everywhere. Every cover band played it, every radio station played it and every music video TV show played it.

Musically, it’s a more polished AC/DC sound infused with Robert Palmer’s golden pop voice.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse – My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)

It’s a brilliant song to play on guitar and the iconic line of “It’s better to burn out than fade away” appears in the song.

John Lennon hated it, Kurt Cobain signed his suicide note with it and all Neil Young was trying to do was capture the rock and roll spirit of living in the now.

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

1983 – Episode IV: Drastic Measures As The WASP Heading Out For A Storm Kills Em All

As more people got disillusioned with their institutions, the more heavy metal grew. A small niche was starting to reign. The middle working class, suddenly had an outlet. Artists wrote lyrics about what they felt and it connected with the youth of the 80’s.

But these artists didn’t just come out of nowhere. These artists had a certain confidence and perseverance. Most people gave up instead of staying the course.

But the bigger secret to metals breakthrough as a commercial force was MASS. The fans supported metal. Bands classed as thrash metal, speed metal, power metal, heavy metal, hard rock, heavy rock, glam rock, glam metal, etc…these days could all be found in the Metal section of a record store back in the 80’s. Bon Jovi next to Black Sabbath. Motley Crue next to Metallica and Megadeth. Van Halen next to Venom. Twisted Sister next to Thin Lizzy, Tygers of Pan Tang. It was all metal.

The fans remained together and united even though it was for a few short years, like 1982 to 1986. Sort of like how Facebook grew as the ONE dominant player. Apple tried to compete and failed. Ping and Connect are a distant memory. MySpace disappeared like new wave music disappeared when metal started to grow.

Since Facebook’s rise, (like Metal’s rise) other products (like different genres created by record label marketing reps) have come out. Instagram, Snapchat, Musicly, Tumblr and Twitter just to name a few. Suddenly, Facebook’s membership starts to slow down dramatically. People stop visiting the site and people start closing accounts. Fragmentation has occurred.

You see the public wants to belong, have something to talk about. Facebook provided that and to the youth of the 80’s, metal music provided that same outlet.

Pre 90’s era, on average, five thousand albums were released a year. Just getting a record deal was a near-impossibility. A lot of artists couldn’t even compete and the ones that did knew they had to deliver something special.

For those that missed Episodes 1, 2 and 3, just click on the numbers for a recap.

WASP – WASP
It’s a triple knock out combination in “Animal”, “I Wanna Be Somebody” and “Love Machine”. There is a saying that you have your whole lifetime to write your first album and only three months for your next, if you get a chance. Blackie wasn’t saving any songs for the next album. He went all out on the first.

“Animal”
Blackie doesn’t perform this song anymore as it clashes with his current faith, but back in the 80’s it was a different story.

I’m the wolf with the sheepskins clothing
I lick my chops and you’re tasting good

Blackie doesn’t mind living it up while he’s going down.

“I Wanna Be Somebody”

I wanna be somebody
Be somebody too

Yep, we all wanted to be somebody and MTV made us all believe that we could become global superstars in the same way that the internet has made us all DIY musicians, bloggers, film creators, novelists, etc. But showing up to work doesn’t mean I get a pay increase. Same deal with music. Just because you create something, it doesn’t mean people will pay attention and untold riches would fall before you.

You don’t want no nine to five
Your fingers to the bone

But we still put in the hours. I came across a marketing campaign called “Real estate tips from the terminally ill”. In a nutshell, the terminally ill wished that they didn’t skip spending time with their family in order to work longer hours to pay off their mortgage. Once you are in debt, the only way out is to work hard and pay it off, or to sell.

Persistence is the key to being somebody. You believe it doesn’t matter, but it does. Because sometimes in life, you feel like the wind is at your back, your sails are up and you are achieving what you want. But good karma doesn’t hang around forever and that golden sunset you are sailing to proves to have some issues. And suddenly, you have your back against the wall, the wind is against you and all of those opportunities have ceased and your momentum to the top has halted.

It’s in these moments that those who want to be somebody keep on rising and all the wannabe’s become train wrecks, chucking tantrums and blaming others for their failures.

“Love Machine”
L.O.V.E All I need’s my love machine
L.O.V.E All I need’s my love machine tonight, tonight

This was my first introduction to W.A.S.P. as the film clip was doing the rounds on music television. They looked like Mad Max Horror Movie Rejects. The 12/8 triplet drumming pattern over a simple power chord riff is what makes this song unique musically and the L, O, V, E chant in the Chorus is iconic.

“School Daze”
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of American.
And to the republic for which it stands. One nation under god, indivisible… with liberty and justice for all!”

It gets your attention right away.

A text-book mad-house, twelve years
I’m here in a rage
A juveniles jail and I’m here locked up in their cage

It’s how we saw school, not really knowing that you have some of your best years in school and that after we leave school, we keep on learning new things every day.

School Daze, school daze, I’m here doin’ time
School daze, school daze, my age is my crime

Today we have access to all of the information we want and with that access, we are constantly researching and learning. But we couldn’t do what we do know back in the 80’s. Access was restricted and we didn’t want to be a cog in the education degree factory machine however many of us ended up becoming cogs in the workforce. Some of us got to make decisions while a lot of us had to follow decisions.

A blackboard jungle toed the line the rulers made

School is a foundation but it’s not everything. The truth is we never stop learning. What makes us unique is the lifelong informal education we undertake.

Hellion
I am assuming “Love Machine” came first, so I will call “Hellion” a derivative version of L.O.V.E.

Wild child, you’re sweatin’ and you’re stoned

Just add drunk to it as well.

“Sleeping (In The Fire)”
There was always something about WASP and ballads that just worked brilliantly. Not sure if it’s Blackie’s vocal tone or the fact that he just writes excellent ballads that are not clichéd.

Taste the love
The lucifer’s magic that makes you numb
The passion and all the pain are one
You’re sleeping in the fire

It’s a simple Dm to B flat to C to Dm progression.

What does it all mean?

Who cares? Bad boy Lucifer gets a mention and for 1983 that was enough to get people into a panic.

Metallica – Kill Em All
At the time of its release “Kill Em All” didn’t set the world on fire. And because Metallica are still a force to be reckoned with in 2016, the history around the “Kill Em All” album is being rewritten, but the truth is much different.

The lifespan of “Kill Em All” was short. It came out on July 25, 1983 and by February 1984, seven months after it was released, Metallica was in the studio, writing and recording “Ride The Lightning”. The victory lap for the debut album was seven months. That’s it. If the band wanted to continue with their music career, they needed to get back into the studio and record a new album.

Of course when the 1991 Black album exploded, new fans started to dig deep and purchase the bands older material. It is for this reason that “Kill Em All” started to get RIAA certifications. It finally reached U.S sales of 3 million units in 1999.

“Kill Em All” is a product of its time and its era. Heavy metal and hard rock music was becoming a commercial force to be reckoned with, so by 1983 standards, “Kill Em All” was up against some hard competition for people’s attention.

Motley Crue, Twisted Sister and Def Leppard had break through albums with “Shout At The Devil”, “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” and “Pyromania”. Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss and Dio had brand new bands. “Bark At The Moon” showcases Jake E.Lee, “Lick It Up” showcases Vinnie Vincent and “Holy Diver” showcases Vivian Campbell. ZZ Top hit the mainstream with “Eliminator”. Iron Maiden followed up the breakthrough success of their 1982 album, “The Number of The Beast” with “Piece of Mind”. Quiet Riot had a number one album on the back of the Randy Rhoads back story and a cover of Slade’s “Cum on Feel The Noize”. Judas Priest was also riding high on the charts and selling well from a 1982 release called “Screaming For Vengeance”.

When I first got my hands on the album, “Jump In The Fire”, “The Four Horsemen”, “Phantom Lord” and “Seek And Destroy” had me hooked. Those four songs got constant rotation and if I was making mix tapes, those four songs would always end up scattered through the list.

In time, I have appreciated what the other tracks bring to the mix.

“Hit The Lights”
The song that started it all for Metallica. It’s full of speed and youthful exuberance.

No life till leather, we’re gonna kick some ass tonight
We got the metal madness when our fans start screaming,

It was a cult like following that sustained Metallica and gave the band life.

When we start to rock, we never want to stop again
Hit the lights

Being classified as a thrash metal band never sat well with Metallica. To them it was just rock and metal. To be classed as a thrash band was anathema, as it meant they had to conform to a certain style and tempo.

We know our fans are insane, we’re gonna blow this place away
With volume higher than anything today, the only way

It wasn’t just volume. It was energy, youthful abandonment and a nervous tempo that made the songs faster. For the metal fans, all we had was each other. And it was enough. We knew it and we worked with what we had.

“The Four Horsemen”
An embryo of what Metallica would become with each album release up to the “Black” album.

You have been dying since the day you were born
You know it’s all been planned

It might be a throwaway lyric but to me this is James Hetfield of “The Unforgiven” fame and the lyrics;

“New blood joins this earth and quickly he’s subdued, through constant pained disgrace, the young boy learns the rules”.

Did anyone pick up on the very heavily influenced “Sweet Home Alabama” section from the 3.27 mark?

“Motorbreath”
Motorbreath, it’s how I live my life
I can’t take it any other way
Motorbreath, the sign of living fast
It is going to take your breath away

When I saw James speeding away from the studio in the “Some Kind Of Monster” movie, this song instantly came to mind.

Those people who tell you not to take chances
They are all missing on what life is about
You only live once, so take hold of the chance
Don’t end up like others, the same song and dance

And there is the mantra of the rebellious youth.

To a lot of people in 2016, it would be hard for them to believe that “Kill Em All” was a DIY/Indie release. Metallica was indie before indie was cool. Hell, those 4 lines might sound clichéd, but when you look at the young Metallica and their work ethic, you start to see some truth in those words.

We take chances on what we don’t know. So if we start to change what we do know and believe, it’s one step forward to starting to change our behaviours. That’s the challenge, to find our way, to keep on going and pursue the dream, even when no one cares.

“Jump In The Fire”
This song, along with “Seek And Destroy” became the first two songs that I gravitated too on the album.

Follow me now my child, not the meek or the mild but do just as I say

So come on… Jump In the Fire.

“Whiplash”
A song designed to break your neck.

Adrenalin starts to flow
You’re thrashing all around
Acting like a maniac
Whiplash!

It was all about making music just to go on the road, via the tour bus or to fly in economy class. Then when MTV made artists global superstars, it became about the royalty statement and flying private. Because if the label heads could do it, then why couldn’t the artists.

Bang your head against the stage like you never did before
Make it ring, make it bleed, make it really sore

And millions did do exactly that. It was all about that hour to two at the show. That’s what the artists lived for and that’s what the fans lived for.

But we’ll never stop, we’ll never quit, ’cause we’re Metallica

And in 2016, they are still here, cause they are METALLICA.

“Phantom Lord”
This song is Dave Mustaine’s baby as so many of the riffs here appear in Megadeth songs.

Hear the cry of war, louder than before
With his sword in hand to control the land
Crushing metal strikes on this frightening night
Fall onto your knees for the phantom lord

You can just imagine the metal lord with a metal sword, bringing metal to the masses. There is just so much metal in “Kill Em All”, it makes Spinal Tap sound like a weak rock band.

The leather armies have prevailed
The phantom lord has never failed
Smoke is lifting from the ground
The rising volume metal sound

From 1983 to 1992, the leather armies ruled.

“Seek And Destroy”
I remember learning how to play the riffs to the song and I normally did my own thing during the lead break. This song and “Jump In The Fire” are the only two songs from the debut album that made it onto a Metallica mixtape I had happening around 87, just before “Justice” came out.

Scannin’ the scene in the city tonight
Lookin’ for you to start-up a fight
There’s an evil feeling in our brains
But it is nothing new, you know it drives us insane

People were scared of dudes with long hair and black clothes once upon a time. Now it’s the norm.

Searchin’, seek and destroy

The call to arms.

“Metal Militia”
We are as one as we all are the same
Fighting for one cause
Leather and metal are our uniforms
Protecting what we are
Joining together to take on the world
With our heavy metal
Spreading the message to everyone here
Come let yourself go

Again, just so much metal on the album, however for anyone that didn’t live through the 80’s the message is the same. It was “us versus them” mentality.

Kansas – Drastic Measures
This version of Kansas is very far removed from the early Kansas. After commercial success with “Carry On My Wayward Son” and “Dust In The Wind”, it’s expected that the band would be pressured to write more “hits”. But what the labels failed to understand is bands never sit down to write hits. They sit down to write songs.

“Drastic Measures” is the ninth studio album and the one that would see the great Kerry Livgren leave Kansas. He only submitted three tracks for the album and held back a lot of his songs for his next project post Kansas. The album was John Elefante’s attempt to stamp his mark on Kansas and his compositions dominate the album.

The album was produced by Neil Kernon along with Kansas.

“Fight Fire With Fire”
Man, that opening riff is a groove stomper. It sounds familiar, but I can’t put a name to the influence. It’s written by John Elefante and his brother Dino Elefante.

There’s a hole in the wall
With a light shining in
And it’s letting me know to get up
It’s time to begin

A new day has begun. It’s time to get up and live it.

Oh there is nothing to lose
‘Cause it’s already lost
In a runaway world of confusion
I’m gonna take it

The day you are spending at work, the song that you are creating in your spare time, the discussions you are having with friends and peers, are they just actions to get you through the day or are they the actions you will be remembered by. And when we have nothing left to lose, our actions become greater.

“Everybody’s My Friend”
Another track written by the Elefante brothers about an unknown getting a recording contract.

Someone calls out my name
They ask me how I’ve been
So what’s it like in the big time?
Will you be my friend?

Suddenly people you have never known come out and pretend to be your friend.

“Across the board, from the bottom to the top, the music industry is built on people pretending to be bigger than they are.”
Zoe Keating

Have you met Mick Jagger?
Ringo, George or Paul?
Do you have my number?
Will you give me a call?

People want to attach themselves to famous people and people who are famous are lying to themselves and to their fans, believing they have friends when really, if it all goes away, they will have no one.

They all want to know
Do you make a lot of money?
They all want to know
Will you change your name?
They all want to know
What’s it like to be a rock star?
Everybody wants to know if they can hang around

As far as the fans of music were concerned, if an artist had a record deal, they had money. But that wasn’t the case. It was all a mirage. The image of fame put out there by MTV and the record label PR machines, made us believe, sort of like how Facebook likes makes you believe you have a lot of people who enjoy your product. Then why is your bank account so low.

Everybody wants to have a little piece of the action
Everybody wants to get into the show
Everybody falls in love with the main attraction
Everybody wants to know if they can hang around

Jodi Mitchell described the recording business in the “FREE MAN IN PARIS” with the following lyrics.

“There’s a lot of people asking for my time
They’re trying to get ahead
They’re trying to be a good friend of mine”

People like that are spread in all walks of life. Our social media lives are riddled with networking shenanigans. We have to have a lot of friends and a lot of likes and a lot of comments. And for some reason if we don’t we are losers.

“Mainstream”
Kerry Livgren is on hand to give the album some of that old Kansas spirit.

It’s so predictable and everybody judges by the numbers that you’re selling
Just crank ’em out on the assembly line and chart ’em higher (higher, higher)
Just keep it simple boys it’s gonna be alright as long as you’re inside the

There’s money in music, if you’ve got fans. But the record label heads believed they knew more and they’d get what they wanted by dangling dollars in front of the artists. This a version of Kansas looking to restore its sales success from the late 70’s. But the casual fans moved on and the hard-core fans who purchased the album and listened to it, didn’t know what to think of it. To me, the album is a testament to the effect mainstream success had on the band.

The market is dead, accounts in the red
Media saturation
We’re deep in a rut, the arteries cut
Sensory deprivation
Really loved it, didn’t earn a cent
No one’s buying your experiment

We live in a world of listens, which is a way overdue metric in music. To gauge a band’s success on sales was always wrong. If sales was the be all, end all, then there wouldn’t have been a second-hand market for unwanted albums. But there was a second-hand market and it was big business.

“Don’t Take Your Love Away”
It sounds like a “Peter Cetera” song in the Verses and then it moves into “The Police” territory, think of “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” released in 1980 in the Chorus. It’s also another song written by the Elefante brothers. The move to AOR is complete.

You can take away the money
Take away the flame
Take away the things that I possess

You can take all my dreams away
The things that I need to survive
You can have it all

Sometimes all that matters are the simple things, like having someone be there for you each night.

The years are passing by me
Like a fast train that’s here and gone
It’s gone
Where they go, I just don’t know

Time is our greatest enemy. It stops for no one and it’s the one thing humans cannot control.

“Incident On A Bridge”
Musically, it’s got a “Cold As Ice” vibe in the intro and it’s one of the songs written by Kerry Livgren.

The world has a lot to give, but it’s worthless if you don’t live
And life only comes from the one who made it
When I look back and see the plan, when I retrace the race we ran
The course was so clear and true, each bridge that we crossed led me straight to you

What is living these days?

Life was different in the 80’s. it was more about personal fulfilment. Then Reagan’s U.S policies worked their way into Australia and suddenly it was all about remuneration. I could see it with my fathers’ peers. While we remained in our single storey house, the rest of them played keeping up with the Jones’s and six bedroom houses for a family of four became the norm.

“End of the Age”
The third and final Livgren penned track on the album.

The clock winds down and the bells will toll
For the dawn that follows may require your soul

The lyrics would work brilliant on a Metallica album.

When the mountains fall and the heavens roar
Then the reign of man will end forevermore
And the fools who believed in their empty ways
Will be witness to a world that’s set ablaze

The four horseman of the apocalypse are here.

Vandenberg – Heading For A Storm
This is the band Adrian Vandenberg stayed loyal to, when Dave Coverdale approached him to join Whitesnake in 1984. It was the same band that sued him and stopped him from using the Vandenberg name, hence the reason why his newest project is called Vandberg’s Moonkings

“Friday Night”
It’s got that “Dancing The Night Away” from Van Halen vibe.

During the week I’m only half alive, wasting my time all day from 9 to 5
They think I’m slow and I’m a lazy guy

I’m not sure the generation of today looks forward to Friday nights as much as we did. A lot of kids these days have weekend jobs and they would need to be at work on Saturday. So why would they go out on a Friday night.

But it never was like that.

Friday’s okay, I get my pay, spending all night on rock, women and wine

The lead break again is well thought out, well planned and perfectly executed.

“Time Will Tell”
Pedal point riffs merged with the AC/DC style of power chords merged with Def Leppard pop sensibilities. A great mix.

You read in the papers that it’s all a mess
That life isn’t what it used to be
They say that we all have to get used to less, recession strikes society

And people in 2016 think that Brexit and Trump in power is bad. As world-renowned investor Warren Buffet said when he was asked about Trump’s win;

“The stock market will be higher 10, 20 and 30 years from now and it would have been with Hillary [Clinton] and it will be with Trump.”

Time will tell if we are in trouble

We had issues with elections, governments, recessions and uprisings in the 80’s and we still made it through.

“Heading For A Storm”
A good title track musically. Like a lot of the songs from the Eighties, musically they connected however the choice of words or topics left a lot to be desired.

Can’t stop, nowhere to run – I’m heading for a storm, no way left to turn

This is very similar to what early Europe would sound like. Lots of Michael Schenkerism’s in the lead breaks, even the main riff could have come from a MSG or UFO album. Always blown away by the lead guitar compositions.

“Waiting For The Night”
Again the acoustic guitar comes to the fore as a prelude and then the Deep Purple “Highway Star” rhythms kick in with a lead break tour de force. The very definition of Euro Metal.

When the darkness falls and the night-time calls, that’s when I’ll be around

It’s more of that Friday night “let our hair down and rock” vibe.

People say we’re strange, don’t accept our ways, we don’t fit in their world

Damn right. Long haired and black t-shirt wearing rock heads didn’t even get a chance to fit in. Teachers already labelled us and employers in the manufacturing industry only employed us.

They’ve got their values and I have got mine, I’m not their kind

It looks like the values of the metal head still rule.

Friendship, togetherness, uniqueness, simplicity and freedom.

And here is my 20 song track list.
SIDE A
1. Hit The Lights – Metallica
2. The Four Horseman – Metallica
3. I Wanna Be Somebody – W.A.S.P
4. Sleeping In The Fire – W.A.S.P
5. Phantom Lord – Metallica
SIDE B
6. Animal – W.A.S.P
7. L.O.V.E Machine – W.A.S.P
8. Jump In The Fire – Metallica
9. Seek and Destroy – Metallica
10. Metal Militia – Metallica
SIDE C
11. Fight Fire With Fire – Kansas
12. Friday Night – Vandenberg
13. Everybody’s My Friend – Kansas
14. Don’t Take Your Love Away – Kansas
15. Waiting For The Night – Vandenberg
SIDE D
16. Heading For A Storm – Vandenberg
17. Mainstream – Kansas
18. Incident On A Bridge – Kansas
19. Different Worlds – Vandenberg
20. End Of The Age – Kansas

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

Saraya – Love Has Taken It’s Toll and Runnin Out Of Time

The band was formed in New Jersey, by Sandi Saraya and keyboard player Gregg Munier.  One of the first names they had was Alsace Lorraine.  They then travelled to LA to make it.  They didn’t make it and returned home broke, ready to start over again.  In interviews from 1989, Saraya has stated that the other members didn’t have the same commitment.  This always leads to tensions.   So the band dissolves and the nucleus of Saraya and Munier start again.  They keep on writing new songs.  Then songwriting great Sandy Linzer came into the picture.

Linzer assisted the band in obtaining management with David Sonenberg.  Sonenberg then organised an audition for Saraya and Munier, with Polygram Records.  The rest is history.  Saraya and Munier secured a record deal.

Throughout all of this Linzer was still in the picture, assisting Saraya and Munier in fine tuning the songs they had been writing.

Guitarist Tony Bruno Rey joined during this period, bringing along with him his other Swift Kick band mates, bassist Gary Taylor and drummer Chuck Bonfante.

Songwriting for the album took over a year.  Before Saraya signed with Polygram, she turned down another major label deal, because the label said to her, that all she needs to do is wear a skirt and they will find the songs for her.

The first album was released in 1989.  It was produced by Jeff Glixman.

I actually made the decision to purchase the album because I saw Glixman as the producer.  He had produced albums that I liked a lot, like Leftoverture and Point of Know Return from Kansas, Corridors of Power and Victims Of the Future by Gary Moore, The Eternal Idol by Black Sabbath and the classic Odyssey from Yngwie Malmsteen featuring the talented Joe Lynn Turner on vocals.  So to me it was a no brainer, Jeff was the man.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Production was world-class.

Love Has Taken It’s Toll was the lead single, and it is the opposite of what Timeless Love is.  It’s a classic rocker.  The song is written by Sandi Saraya, Tony Bruno Rey and Sandy Linzer.  The vocal track you hear from Sandi, is the dummy vocal that she recorded as a guide for the rest of the band.  She did it so good, it was decided that it should be used as the final cut.

I remember reading in an interview, that one of her influences was Glenn Hughes and that he never got the attention he deserved.  Fast forward 24 years, and it is the same for Sandi Saraya, she never got the attention she deserved.  She had impeccable timing, a bluesy swagger and sex appeal to match the vocals.

Runnin Out Of Time has that Ritchie Blackmore feel, sort of like Speed King, Highway Star and Death Alley Driver from Deep Purple and Rainbow all merged into one.  It’s written by Sandy Linzer, Gregg Munier and Sandi Saraya.  The lead break by Rey is a song within a song composition.  The guitar work is unbelievable and the Saraya is pushing her voice to the limit.  It feels like it’s she’s going to blow her voice at any minute.  This is my favourite track on the album.  It was exactly what I was into at that time.   Sandi said that one of her favourite instruments is a Charvel Jackson RR Flying V.  I am assuming that she wrote quite a few riffs for the album.  

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Music

The Night Flight Orchestra – Internal Affairs (2012)

2012 Album released that should not be forgotten.

Wow – what a classic rock album released in June 2012.

Internal Affairs

The Night Flight Orchestra (NFO) is a side project / super group of Bjorn Strid (Soilwork) on vocals, Sharlee D’Angelo (Arch Enemy) on bass, David Anderson (Meanstreak and Soilwork session player) on guitars, Jonas Kallsback (Meanstreak) on drums and Richard Larsson (Von Benzo) on drums.

Imagine Kiss, Alice Cooper, Bob Seger, Bee Gees, Boston, Deep Purple, Steely Dan, Led Zeppelin and Journey thrown into a blender.  The result is The Night Flight Orchestra.

1. Siberian Queen kicks it off with its combination of Led Zep’s Immigrant Song and Achilles Last Stand.  This icy princess from the Russian wilderness, starts to do the opposite and warm the ear buds for more.

2. California Morning kicks off with a Boston meets Kiss guitar riff to tell the story about  tearful goodbyes on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

3. Glowing City Madness – This has an Elton John style vocal melody to tell the story of an Asian Dancer.

4. West Ruth Ave – Wow, what a catchy hook on this song.  This song is hit potential and it deserves to go viral so that everyone hears Bjorn’s story of fleeing Ft Lauderdale and ending up in Phoenix. It has that Gotye levels of catchy, a Kiss Dynasty / Foreigner / Bee Gees rock disco vibe and a Layla esque outro.

5. Transatlantic Blues – The first part is very Styx like and then it moves into a heavy Deep Purple meets Kiss War Machine style riff.  Even Jake E Lee referenced the same classic rock material for his Badlands project with Ray Gillan on vocals.

I read somewhere on the net that this song is about embarking on an inner journey and ending up in the middle of nowhere, shitfaced and listening to KANSAS.

6. Miami 5:02 – This is what happens when Van Halen meets Deep Purple.  Waking up in Florida in your birthday suit and a pair of Ray Bans.

7. Internal Affairs – Play That Funky Music White Boy meets Stevie Wonder Superstitious.  Nothing more should be said.  This funky ode is to a mysterious women from the age of the Cold War.

8. 1998 – is the 2012 version of Bob Seger’s classic 70’s recordings like Turn The Page and Night Moves crossed with the best of the Michael Stanley Band.  This song tells the story of travelling the endless highways of America.

9. Stella Ain’t no Dove – The threesome party anthem.

10. Montreal Midnight Supply – This is Deep Purple, 38 Special and Kiss Detroit Rock City stomping shuffle.  In the chorus it even sounds like Y&T’s Midnight In Tokyo.  Throughout the whole song you get that classic twin guitar feel of Thin Lizzy.

11. Green Hills of Glumslöv – Glumslöv is the small village in Sweden where Bjorn is from.  When you hear this song, you will get the instant sensation of the Warriors returning to Coney Island and Joe Walsh’s In The City playing in the background.  There is also a large Queen influence in this.

12. American High is the digital bonus track.

Overall its a great album.

What could have NFO done differently with this release?

Since they embraced the 70’s vibe in the music, in my view they should have embraced the 70’s vibe for marketing and released an 8 song album (Tracks 1 to 8) and then released ‘4 singles with a B side’.  Tracks 9 to 12 could have been the B sides.  Single material songs are West Ruth Ave, Internal Affairs, California Morning and Transatlantic Blues.

 

 

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