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

1977 – V1

All of these albums I got many years later. Actually all of my 70’s music came well into the 90’s

AC/DC – Let There Be Rock

I knew the songs before I even heard the album. There was no way you could escape AC/DC.

“Dog Eat Dog”, “Let There Be Rock”, “Bad Boy Boogie”, “Hell Aint A Bad Place To Be” and “Whole Lotta Rosie” were always on in car stereos and jukeboxes. The only tracks that were new to me, were “Go Down”, “Overdose” and “Crabsody In Blue” (which was substituted by “Problem Child” for the North American market.

And some of favourite AC/DC riffs are on this album, along with the lyrics, especially the social conscious themes of “Dog Eat Dog”. Plus for a blues based rock band, “Let There Be Rock” is an early precursors of speed metal.

Meatloaf – Bat Out Of Hell

In Australia, this album was still massive in the 80’s and it got even bigger in the 90’s when Meatloaf dropped Part 2. Like 25x Platinum like massive for Australia. And my favourite track (apart from the title track) is the ballad, “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”.

It was also weird for me to read that another songwriter who is not part of the band solely wrote all the music.

I believe that the success of this album around the world is also down to the resilience that Steinman and Meat Loaf showed to get the album recorded, the band signed and eventually the album released.

Because the project started in 1972 and the songs got rejected because the label heads wanted to hear the typical “verse – chorus” arrangement, which as we know, Jim Steinman didn’t really abide by. Instead he relied more on the theatre/opera style of arrangements and the rest is history. In the US alone, the album is 14 x Platinum.

Queen – News Of The World

How do you follow up two successful albums with multi-tracked harmonies?

You go back to basics and rock out, which is exactly what Queen did with “News Of The World”.

There was no escaping “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions” but my favourite track on this album is the John Deacon penned “Spread Your Wings”.

And a bonus mention for the Roger Taylor penned “Fight From The Inside”. Listen to it and you will hear how groovy and hard rock Queen could be. “American Woman” also comes to mind when I hear it. Slash said the guitar riff on this song is one of his favorites and it’s not even played by Brian May, but by drummer Roger Taylor, who also plays bass on the track.

Kansas – Point Of Know Return

I picked up the first five Kansas albums all in one swoop for less than $10. The covers got me interested and all I knew about the band was a few mentions by other artists in interviews from the progressive rock family.

That was it.

I had no idea about “Carry On My Wayward Son” and “Dust In The Wind”. And I played “Point Of Know Return” first because the cover was the best of all em and the song titles interested me.

So I dropped the needle and listened and read the credits and lyrics and became a fan.

Musically it’s a fusion of so many styles, blended in with the distorted sounds of hard rock and a band in top form.

Without Wikipedia or any form of internet to guide me, I had no idea how successful this band was or how their songs became radio staples in America. But it didn’t matter to me, because it these kind of discoveries when you go record hunting that remain.

Rush – A Farewell To Kings

After I was exposed to “Exit Stage Left” I was hooked and I started to seek out the Rush records I could find at the used record shops as CD’s in Australia, were still selling for $30. At one stage they got to $38. Seriously, the recording industry really over estimated their value.

This is album number 5 and the follow up to “2112” which was their make or break album. This fertile period of Rush would last to “Moving Pictures” in 1981 and then the synths would take over for about six years before they brought back the three piece sound.

And as a prog fan, I am always into songs which have sections, so “Cygnus X-1” was on my radar, but I was surprised by “Closer To The Heart” and that arpeggio guitar intro.

Foreigner – Foreigner

No one knew Mick Jones until this album dropped. No one knew the pipes on Lou Gramm until this album dropped.

Released in 1977, no one was sure if disco was ending or rock was starting.

And the album has some songs which are forgotten, but they rock as hard as anything I have heard.

A song like “Starrider” would work on any Deep Purple/Rainbow/Whitesnake album. Even on an Y&T or Scorpions album.

“The Damage Is Done” has this outro solo ending that reminds me of Santana or even “Winds Of Change” from Y&T. “At War With The World” could have come from a Rush album. There is so much variety on this album. It’s a shame that the first two cuts ruled everything.

Did I mention that “Cold As Ice” is also on this album?

Check out the debut.

That’s it for 1977 Part 1 and now we go back into the future for 2000 Part 2.

Alternate Reality, Copyright, Music, My Stories


Certifications still exist in 2019.

In order for an organisation to exist they need to find something relevant.

The RIAA is a lobby group for the record labels, and a trophy giver to artists. These little trophies, like a gold certification for 500,000 albums sold in the U.S. used to be a little bit easier to calculate when sales was the only metric used.

But when digital downloads and streaming started to take over, for right or wrong reasons, the RIAA and its sister like companies in other parts of the world, got all creative in their counting.

Suddenly, a thousand odd of streams is an album sale or 12 tracks downloaded is an album sale. Artists then would offer their albums with ticket bundles and if the fan clicked on the download link, that counted as a sale. Or artists would offer their albums with clothing sales and again, if the fan clicked on the download link, that would count as a sale.

For right or wrong reasons, certain artists and their backers are looking for bragging rights.

So what does a certification tell the world?

I was trolling through the recent certification awards on the RIAA website and I saw a lot of artists who I have never heard off, get a lot of single song certifications, so my assumption here is that these songs are streaming like crazy. And a check on Spotify confirmed that.

But two certifications got me interested because I used to cover these songs in bands. KANSAS got a triple platinum certification for “Dust In The Wind” and a 4x Platinum certification for “Carry On My Wayward Son”.

Now imagine that.

Song’s released in the 70’s are getting cherry picked by fans and listened to over and over and over again on streaming platforms. And you can’t say that the songs are part of a ticket or clothing bundle.

Here are the facts;

  • “Dust In The Wind” was released in January, 1978 and it got no certifications whatsoever back then, nor in the years after.
  • And the record labels have a habit of not spending money to promote old songs if they don’t make money, so those songs become forgotten.
  • It wasn’t until digital services like iTunes offered up the track that it got a Gold certification in December, 2005.
  • And 14 years after that and almost 9 years since streaming commenced, the track went from Gold to Platinum to 2x Platinum and now 3x Platinum.


  • “Carry On My Wayward Son”, released in November 1976, got its Gold certification in December 1990 and in November 2019, it got platinum x1, x2, x3 and x4 certification.
  • And when you look at the streaming numbers you can see why;
    • “Dust In The Wind” has 231,083,018 streams and “Carry On My Wayward Son” has a combined count of approx. 270,000,000 streams on Spotify.
    • On YouTube, the official video and audio of “Dust In The Wind” have a combined count of 300 million views and “Carry On My Wayward Son” has close to 160 million views of the official video and audio.
    • Plus you have the user uploads when all combined add up to a lot of million views.

    And it’s a long journey for a song and an artist.  

    Debates can be had on sales and certifications but what I find impressive when I see theses kind of things is how artists are still relevant even when they are out of the mainstream press. It’s like the saying goes, you can’t keep a good song down

    And it pisses me off how record label reps had so much control to kill an artists career once upon a time, even though the music from the artists always had an audience for their music.

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

    The Pirate Vault #1

    Remember when the Recording Industry spent money on advertising stating that “home taping would kill the industry” and they wanted cassettes removed from sale, only to realize that once they started producing music onto cassettes, another revenue stream became available.

    Sound familiar. Streaming is bad. Let’s ban it. Wait a minute, let’s work with it and wow, look at our profit lines.

    Cinderella – “Night Songs” and Pearl Jam – “Vs

    There was another band on Side 2 which I overdubbed for Pearl Jam’s second album. I can’t even remember the name of the band.

    And I couldn’t have overdubbed Cinderella because I didn’t buy the “Night Songs” LP until the 90s, via the second hand shops.

    “Night Songs” came from my cousin Mega around 1987 and “Vs” came from a drummer in a band I was in.

    WASP – “The Headless Children” and Twisted Sister – “Ruff Cutts”

    My cousin Mega was again my point of reference here. “The Headless Children” is a massive album from WASP, one of their best.

    And Mega has the TS logo on his arm.

    At this point in time he also found the very rare and hard to find “Ruff Cutts” from Twisted Sister so it was a no brainer to tape that, purely for the rawness of the sound.

    And the beauty of a 90 cassette meant that I had 45 minutes available on each side.

    Which I filled up by other artists at separate points in time.

    In this case I added “Out In The Fields” by Gary Moore, then at some point I added “Anybody Listening” the band version by Queensryche and “Seasons” from Badlands.

    Tesla – Mechanical Resonance And Kansas – Point Of No Return

    I taped these ones myself from the LPs so I could play the cassette on the Walkman. Remember those.

    And I added a couple of Kansas tracks from the 80s at the end.

    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.


    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.


    “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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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, 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.

    A song designed to break your neck.

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

    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.

    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

    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.  


    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.