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

Kashmir

“Physical Graffiti” was released forty five years ago last month.

I really had no idea of the Led Zeppelin album until Nikki Sixx started talking about Motley Crue writing their “Physical Graffiti” in response to a question he was asked after “Decade of Decadence” came out and what would be next for the band. As soon as Sixx mentioned that, the album was on my radar.

Of course, we all know that Vince Neil got booted or left (depending on whose story you believe) and Motley Crue went to work, writing over 20 songs for what would become their “Physical Graffiti”, the self-titled “Motley Crue” album, otherwise known as Motley Corabi. My views of this album are all over this blog as one of the best Motley albums to date.

And I didn’t get “Physical Graffiti” until I picked it up at a record fair, for a very cheap price in the mid 90’s. I even heard Motley’s album before Led Zep’s. I know it’s sacrilege, but to have music at home, meant I needed to use my money for it and money was limited. And no one I knew had the album for me to dub.

The production team on this album is a who’s who of people that we all got to know from various hard rock albums.

Jimmy Page as usual is the producer, and you have Andy Johns engineering, Eddie Kramer engineering and Ron Nevison also engineering. These guys are all paying their dues, learning their craft from a master, which in this case is Page. It also has so many engineers because some of the songs which made the album are leftovers from previous albums.

But the stand out song on the album is KASHMIR.

I remember a time, when the riff was everything and there is no better definition of the riff being everything than this song.

I have already written about “The Kashmir Effect” before and again here. And man, i know it’s not right to say that I heard “Get It On” from Kingdom Come first. I even heard “Judgement Day” from Whitesnake before I even heard “Kashmir”. But that’s how it happened.

I didn’t own not one 70’s record until the 90’s.

And the older people I spoke to, said how “Kashmir” was one of the most popular songs in Australia, behind “Evie” (all three parts), “Stairway To Heaven”, “American Pie”, “Bat Out Of Hell” and “Hotel California”.

Not one of those songs is under 7 minutes.

An era in which artists did what they wanted and wrote what they wanted and FM radio had no choice but to play the whole damn thing.

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

All My Love

Led Zeppelin became the biggest rock act in the world. If there was any doubt about their status after “IV”, then “Physical Graffiti” put all doubt to rest. In over a decade, Jimmy Page went from being an unknown guitarist in “The Yardbirds” to a rock god, a guitar hero, a songwriter and producer.

When something reaches critical mass, what is next?

The only highs left are the ones that narcotics provide and “In Through the Out Door” is the album in which Jimmy Page went missing from the song writing department, sort of like how James Hetfield wasn’t really into Metallica and “St Anger” was the result.  

Wikipedia tells me that the album is a reflection of the personal turmoil that the band members had been going through before and during the recording. Robert Plant and his wife had gone through a serious car accident, and their young son then died from a stomach illness. All four band members also felt weary of dealing with record companies and other associates. Jimmy Page was strung out on heroin and John Bonham on booze.

But even if Jimmy Page was missing mentally on this album, Robert Plant had things to say and man, “All My Love” is just one of those songs that connected with me from the first time I heard it. It’s written by Plant and Jones.

And that vocal line from Plant is emotive as he references his loss in the same way Clapton did in “Tears In Heaven”?

Should I fall out of love, my fire in the light
To chase a feather in the wind

I didn’t really know what Plant was singing about when I first heard this song, I just knew that it was sad because of the minor key chord progression, which is interesting because the verses have this Am, G, Dm, Am, G, D major chord progression (with the major key giving the tone a hopeful vibe) and on the chorus it goes to a C, G/B, Am, F – G chord progression, so it has this major key hopeful vibe but with the minor chord in the centre, it remains sad.

And chasing that feather in the wind is like chasing that dream or the spirit of someone you think about a lot.

For many hours and days that pass ever soon
The tides have caused the flame to dim

Knowing that the song is about Karac Plant, these lines have a different meaning, but my initial views are about chasing a dream and because all our dreams are grand, you are questioning yourself and questioning if you have the same passion and desire to keep going on.

Yours is the cloth, mine is the hand that sews time
His is the force that lies within
Ours is the fire, all the warmth we can find
He is a feather in the wind, oh
Time heals the heartache but the memories never fade.

And it’s no surprise that Led Zeppelin would break apart a year later and for Jimmy Page, he didn’t set the mainstream on fire again until he hooked up with David Coverdale in the early 90s and then with Plant again afterwards.

Meanwhile Robert Plant was focused, driven and he just kept on writing and recording and releasing.

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

The Pirate Vault #8

Motley Crue – Girls, Girls, Girls Live in Providence 8-8-1987

I’ve got the bootleg on LP and I couldn’t find any YouTube clips from this concert, but there is one titled Motley Crue – Full Concert – 10/10/87 – Oakland Coliseum Stadium (OFFICIAL) which has the same set list, starting off with the Dave Rose “Stripper” song as the backing tape, but some songs are edited out for some reason.

And “Dancin On Glass” is one of my favourite tracks from the “Girls” album, so it’s cool to see it in the set list and to hear it get the live treatment.

Because it’s a god damn great song and it works perfectly for the live show, with its sleazy groove and blues influenced vocal melodies. The other songs are more or less part of Motley canon and still part of the set list, and the Jack Daniels break is the guys drinking Jack Daniels, basically an early version of Tommy’s tittie cam.

Also on Tommy Lee, he is a very underrated drummer. He holds down the fort, consistent in his tempo’s and every cymbal crash and every drum fill and every ad lib drum fill is on beat.

Extreme – self titled debut
David Lee Roth – Eat Em And Smile

There is so much guitar on this tape, from two giants in Nuno Bettencourt and Steve Vai.

Like Steve Vai’s guitar is having a convo with David Lee Roth in “Yankee Rose”. Nuno’s is supporting an harmonica lead in “Little Girls”.

And both guitarists don’t play stock power chords chords as they decorate each riff with single note scalar progressions, triad chords, hammer ons and pull offs and palm muted arpeggios.

Iron Maiden – self titled debut
Metal Ballads

This tape fell into my possession from a girl who dumped her boyfriend. And since this mix tape was created by her now ex-boyfriend, she didn’t want it. Both sides were metal ballads. I didn’t mind side 2 as it had some cool guitar like Whitesnake with “Restless Heart” and “Is This Love”, Bad English, Firehouse, John Waite and Slaughter.

Side 1 from memory had some ballad Bolton songs which was enough for me to overdub. I actually liked Michael Bolton on his first couple of solo albums, because they are good melodic hard rock albums.

I also don’t know what I was thinking when I used the words Metal and Ballads together. It just doesn’t make sense. I should of merged them, Metallica style, to become Metallads.

Actually that’s even worse now, Metal Lads. What is that?

And I added some WASP tracks at the end of the Maiden album, just to fill up the side.

How good is the intro to “Prowler”?

Led Zeppelin – IV
Led Zeppelin – my selection from Remasters
(and I don’t know why I selected some of the same songs I had on side 1 courtesy of “IV”).

When I was burned out on my 80’s music in the 90’s and I wasn’t really biting the new Seattle sounds as essential listening, Led Zeppelin and hundreds of other 70 acts became my go to sounds.

And I loved the world and the sounds they created because rock music was about trying things. No other artist wrote a song like “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “Kashmir” or “Stairway To Heaven”. Ohh, wait, scratch that last part on “Stairway” as a judge and a jury will decide the Stairway case. The insanity of it all.

And I remember reading the making of “The Wall” and how complicated it was because the band members didn’t speak to each other, and Roger Waters wanted total control and the record label wanted it to have more accessible songs which Pink Floyd refused to do and the record label wanted it out at a certain time, which the band refused to do. And that constant struggle between creating art vs money thrown at the artist continued.

Because the labels were scared to drop an artist who had sales, because there was nothing worse than having an artist you dropped, sell a million records on another label. So they kept em on their label, put up with em and gave in to their demands, because the artist had the power. As Ricky Gervais said in his Golden Globe speech, “he doesn’t care”, the artists had the same motto. They didn’t care, it was all about the sex and the drugs and the sex.

But MTV gave the record labels a lot of power because they created it and controlled it and when music entered the lounge rooms, sales of recorded music went through the roof, which meant a lot of dollars on their profit sheets.

Suddenly, the labels had the power to kill an artist’s career straight away. And Seattle didn’t decimate the hair bands. The record labels did, by signing so many “look a likes” and “sound a likes” that the market reached its saturation point.

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

1979 – III

1979 was a year of transition. While some bands were on their last legs, some were just starting to find their own.

Led Zeppelin were coming to an end while Thin Lizzy was on the ascendancy. The Scorpions had bigger things waiting with “Rock You Like A Hurricane” and “Winds Of Change” while Fleetwood Mac and Bad Company delivered stellar albums that unfortunately got compared to their previous mega gazillion selling albums.

Aerosmith became a shell of the band they were with “Night In The Ruts”, while Motorhead after a few up’s and downs with record label crap, got lumped in with the NWOBHM movement starting off and started their brief commercial rise.

Uli John Roth left Scorpions and created Electric Sun, but in all honesty he should of stayed with Scorpions, while a supergroup of “musicians who all had small record deals” got together and called themselves Survivor. “Eye Of The Tiger” was a few years away, but you get to hear a band allowing their influences to shape their sound.

Basically, all the bands on this list just kept on creating, regardless of their status on the record label commercial tree. Because that’s why people get into music, to create. Not because copyright terms are forever or because some label said I will give you money to create.

Here is the playlist.

Led Zeppelin – In Through the Out Door

For me, Jimmy Page is the main songwriter in Led Zep, much the same way, James Hetfield is the main songwriter in Metallica. And when the main songwriters goes missing, the final output is not so good. Case in point, Metallica and “St Anger” and Led Zeppelin’s “In Through The Out Door”. In Zeps case, Jimmy Page was battling heroin addiction and was totally unreliable.

Wikipedia tells me that the album is a reflection of the personal turmoil that the band members had been going through before and during its recording. Frontman Robert Plant and his wife had gone through a serious car accident, and their young son, Karac Plant, died from a stomach illness. All four band members also felt weary of dealing with record companies and other associates. Jimmy Page was strung out on heroin and John Bonham on booze.

The story and drama behind the album makes you want to listen to it and to find something to like.

In The Evening

The Middle Eastern influences kick off the song and it’s enough to hook me in. And when the whole band comes in, Page keeps it simple, outlining the synth chords with a repeating guitar line.

Then at 4.28 it changes to a ballad, which is cool because 8 albums in, Led Zep is still trying to be progressive with their song structures, before ramping it back up around the 5 minute mark.

Fool In The Rain

The song could do with some editing, but then again, when the bands controlled the music they produced without any record label interference, this is what normally happens. A band rolls the tap, feels the groove, jams out a song and suddenly it’s on the vinyl.

I wasn’t sure if I was listening to Phil Collins or Led Zep. The beauty of Zep was the many different styles of music they incorporated, without being accused of selling out.

Carouselambra

The synth riff that kicks off the song is epic. No wonder, EVH was so keen to incorporate the synth into Van Halen. As a guitarist, you can make simple guitar riffs, sound really complex on the synth. Not too sure what Plant is singing but the music is enough to make me like it.

There is a cool section from about 3.30 to 4.30 which is progressive and so far removed from the mainstream. But at 10.32, the song could also have been edited down.

All My Love

I dug this song from the first time I heard it. It’s written by Plant and Jones and the vibe/groove of the song connects from the beginning.

And man, that vocal line from Plant is emotive as he references his loss in the same way Clapton did in “Tears In Heaven”.

Scorpions – Lovedrive

If Zeppelin, Metallica, Jovi, Acca, Motley and so many other bands have their whole collection on Spotify why can’t the Scorpions be on it. I kid you not, most of their big albums are not on Spotify Australia (it’s maybe on Spotify in other parts of the world, but us Aussie’s still have to deal with geo-restrictions).

From memory, I really enjoyed the two Michael Schenker co-writes in “Coast To Coast” and “Holiday”.

Out of sight equals out of mind. Eventually people will just move on to something else.

Like Thin Lizzy.

Thin Lizzy – Black Rose: A Rock Legend

This was album number 9 for the Lizzy. I didn’t end up hearing this until well into the 90’s and the only reason why I picked it up at a record fair was because Gary Moore stayed in the band long enough to record. In saying that, it didn’t take long for Moore to walk out on the band in the middle of another tour, like how he did in 74 and 77.

My first Lizzy album was “Thunder and Lightning” because it had Sykes on it, and again this purchase was a few years after the 87 album blew up all over the world.

Do Anything You Want To

The drum and bass intro was enough to get me going and when the harmony guitars kicked in, I was sold. It’s written by Phil Lynott and man, he can write a good lyric.

There are people that will investigate you
They’ll insinuate, intimidate and complicate you

Do you ever feel like you don’t fit in and that everybody else is too busy betraying you so they can get ahead.

You can do anything you want to do
It’s not wrong what I’m saying, it’s true

It’s the same war cry as the “We’re Not Gonna Take It” war cry from the mid 80’s.

People that despise you
Will analyse then criticise you
They’ll scandalise and tell lies until they realise you
Are somebody they should’ve apologised to
Don’t let these people compromise you

I like to hang with people, talk about things we like and exchange ideas. And sometimes I listen to people who don’t have a clue about anything and they just won’t shut up. And then there are people who know everything and they just won’t shut up. And in amongst these groups are people who want to break you, spread lies about you, criticise you or shake you down.

Hey you
You’re not that puppet on a string
You can do everything
It’s true

But a lot of people don’t believe they can. Culture and society fosters a fixed mindset and after so many years of being conditioned to follow, it’s hard to believe that you are able to lead.

Elvis is dead
The king of rock and roll is dead

It’s fitting that the song ends with these words as Elvis’s death was still fresh in 1979. And it’s fitting it ends with him, because in the end he did what he wanted. He sang black man music when he was told not to sing it. He danced and moved in a provocative way when he was told not to. He went into movies when he was told to stick with music. He stopped making movies and went back to music when he was told to stick with movies. He did a Vegas residency when he was told to go on tour. The king of rock and roll did what he wanted to do.

Toughest Street In Town

It’s written by Scott Gorham, Lynott and Gary Moore.

Outside the window the neon flashes
In the morning light
Down on the sidewalk there’s a woman with a problem
But she don’t know how to fight
She’s destitute and broken down
She softly whispers, is there no one around
And no one hears the sound
Her knees give way and hit the ground
This is the toughest street in town

Growing up in the 80’s, there was no internet. We lived apart and you knew the people in the street, in the town and maybe some other people in another town. Long distance phone calls were expensive and people sent letters to relatives in Europe.

A lot of us felt there was something bigger, more exciting out there, so we wanted out. And then we had peers who were more than happy to sell narcotics or work in the steel mill.

But the streets were tough.

Tough in the sense, that people would bash you just for the sake of bashing you as new immigrants adjust to life in a new world, with different cultures. But everyone got on as everyone had jobs.

Then when the banks and the copper mill started closing, the drug dealers and hookers moved into the main street. Suddenly, you had a seedy side. And the drug dealers brought with them all the addicts from every nearby town, who would urinate and defecate in front of shop doors, pass out in parks, break into houses and just be general troublemakers. And suddenly we had homeless people in the street and suddenly we had homeless people dying.

It’s just another black spot
Where far too many people have died
It’s just another graveyard
And there’s not too many people left alive

It was a black spot, but the place is being re-born. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t. It’s location is excellent and it has one of the best beaches in NSW.

Waiting For An Alibi

Another Lynott composition that kicks off with a funky bass line and some cool harmony guitar lines.

Valentino’s in a cold sweat
Placed all his money on that last bet
Against all the odds, he smokes another cigarette
Says that it helps him to forget he’s a nervous wreck

Before “Cold Sweat” there was “Waiting For An Alibi”. Lynott loved to spin a tale about gambling. Of course the music is totally different. While “Cold Sweat” was a metal gem, “Waiting For An Alibi” is like a funk rock song.

Got To Give It Up

This one is written by Gorham and Lynott and I like the way it starts, with a simple strum of a chord and the chorus vocal line. Then when the distorted guitars kick in, how can you not play air guitar.

Tell my mama and tell my pa
That their fine young son didn’t get far
He made it to the end of a bottle
Sitting in a sleazy bar

He’s singing from experience. It’s about himself, but he’s spinning a story around it.

I’ve got to give it up
I’ve got to give it up
That stuff

He knows he’s got to quit but he cant. The people around him, will not let him.

I’ve been messing with the heavy stuff
For a time I couldn’t get enough
But I’m waking up and it’s wearing off
Junk don’t take you far

It didn’t take him far. It was only a matter of time before the junk creeped up and took him out.

And how good is that outro lead break.

Get Out Of Here

This one is written by Lynott and Ultravox vocalist, Midge Ure.

I used to be a dreamer
But I realise that it’s not my style at all
In fact it becomes clearer
That a dreamer doesn’t stand a chance at all

Get out of here
Get out of here

We all wanted to leave our towns behind and head for the bright lights in the city. These days, kids don’t want to leave home. They are comfortable and comfort is a problem.

Fleetwood Mac – Tusk

“Rumours” sold 10 million copies.

So how do you follow it up?

Easy.

You rack up production costs of a million and release a double album which is totally different to “Rumours”. In the process you sell 4 million copies of it and you are regarded as a commercial failure by the label.

The label then comes out to say, “we told them they were crazy for trying to push a double album” as the business was in decline and a few artists were propping up the labels. But the bands had the power in this era, and Fleetwood Mac, like Pink Floyd, did whatever they wanted and the label suits had to follow. This of course changed when the labels created MTV and it shifted power into the labels hands.

To me, it’s the Stevie Nicks tracks that connect.

“Sara” has a piano riff which is repeated all the way throughout the song. “Sisters of the Moon” has a chorus riff which is simple, but addictive. Buckingham is a veteran of colouring the tracks and if you don’t believe me, check out the minute or so outro of the song. It’s emotive and a delight to listen to.

“Tusk” is the other track I like written by Lindsey Buckingham and it’s the drum groove that connects with me. Most pop music today is built around simple drum grooves.

Bad Company – Desolation Angels

This album I didn’t hear until I purchased it from a record fair in the 2000’s.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy

A Paul Rodgers cut. I never heard the album when it came out, but I do recall reading how Bad Company had been written off and then bang, they came out firing with a modern sound and a catchy song.

I love the music and I love to see the crowd
Dancing in the aisles and singing out loud, yeah

Rock N Roll music became an escape from the daily grind of life. The people attended the shows and the acts lapped it up. And rock and roll grooved, like this song.

Crazy Circles

While Led Zeppelin morphed into a band with synths in 1979, Paul Rodgers channelled his own Zep spirits and recreated what Zep might have sounded like if they stayed within their roots.

Life is like
A merry go round
Painted horses
Riding up and down
Music takes you
And you’re gone again
Crazy circles never seem to end

Damn right. Music takes you on so many emotive rides. We went to the show to connect. Our memento was the ticket stub and maybe a t-shirt, which once upon a time could only be gotten on tour. Now people go to the show, to say there were there and to film it (like they are going to watch it back later).

Life is like
A game of chance
Some find riches
And some romance
Some find happiness
And some find sorrow
Some find it today
And some maybe tomorrow

Life it a nutshell. Each day is a game of chance. Well it’s meant to be. Maybe, we are too comfortable and in routine that we have forgotten to take chances.

Life is like
A carousel
You aim for heaven
And you wind up in hell
To all the world
You’re livin’ like a king
But you’re just a puppet
On a broken string

So true. How many of us crash and burn trying to be someone we’re not.

Gone, Gone, Gone

Boz Burrell wrote this tune about his baby leaving him, and it’s got a nice distorted bluesy riff underpinning it.

And the beauty of the album so far is that each track sounds different from the one that came before it.

Evil Wind

Paul Rodgers is now channelling what Santana should sound like. The first 4 songs are a knock-out punch combo.

I’ve been gone such a long time,
I never thought I would return,
Now I found myself standing in the rain,
Waiting for your key to turn, yeah, yeah.

You been on the road for so long, it’s not the same when you get home. People have moved on. Once you stop being around, you start to disappear.

Evil wind, passed me by,
Troubled waters, pay me no mind.

You’ve gone through a difficult situation to return home only to find the situation is even more difficult.

I have crossed the waters
That will keep them miles apart,
Now I know the time has come
To make a brand new start.

Acceptance of the situation and acknowledging it’s time to move on.

Aerosmith – Night in the Ruts

It was meant to be called “Off Your Rocker”.

It’s another album I heard well into the early 2000’s. It’s pretty poor to be honest. Joe Perry left midway through the recording, Steve Tyler struggled to complete lyrics and vocals due to his drug use. The label was putting pressure on them to write “another hit”. The band had blown their money up their noises and in order to generate more budget, they went on a tour while the album was half-finished, which led to crap performances and eventually Perry’s departure.

And you can tell that Tyler had nothing to offer.

“Remember (Walking in the Sand)” has a 12/8 groove that hooks me. The credits tell me it’s written by Shadow Morton and to be honest, I still haven’t researched who Shadow is.

“Bone to Bone (Coney Island White Fish Boy)” is a Tyler/Perry cut about a used rubber.

“Mia” is a Tyler piano song.

Motorhead – On Parole
Motorhead – Bomber
Motorhead – Overkill

All of these albums I heard well into the 2000’s. I was actually inspired to check em out, after seeing a Motorhead documentary on “Behind The Music” and the “Classic Albums” documentary on “Ace Of Spades”.

Overkill

After so many false starts, Motorhead finally started rolling with album number 2.  Lars Ulrich credits this song as his first introduction to double bass drumming.

Know your body’s made to move
Feel it in your guts
Rock ‘N’ Roll ain’t worth the name
If it don’t make you strut

All of the 70’s acts started off playing rock and roll/blues covers and somehow they ended up as metallers.

And how good is that outro for the last 30 seconds.

No Class

Shut up, you talk too loud
You don’t fit in with the crowd
I can’t believe you exist
I’ve crossed you right of my list

Lemmy wrote brilliant lyrics. Sometimes I marvelled at how simple, but effective they are. Check out his lyrics for some of the songs on Ozzy’s “No More Tears” album.

Tear Ya Down

I was talking to you all night long
Every line was a favourite song

Who hasn’t done that before?

Trying to pick up by quoting lines from the songs that you knew.

Too Late Too Late

It’s a bonus track.

Did someone say “Paranoid”?

Your credibility
Don’t cut no ice with me
You’re just a feeble con
I know what’s goin on

By 1979, The Lemster had skin in the game with more than a decade of trying to make it. He’s come across untrustworthy business people, especially those associated with the record labels or the live venues.

From Bomber

Album number 3 with a producer high on smack.

Poison

It’s about how Lemmy’s father left him and his mother.

He was poison
I wish my mother wasn’t his wife

Abandonment with our metal and hard rock heroes is real. Is this one of the main motivators to keep driving people to make it?

Stone Dead Forever

You’re a financial wizard, a top tycoon
A sweet lounge lizard, with a silver spoon
You know you never had it quite so good
Cos you didn’t know that you even could
But the time has come to pay
Turns out to have been a play
Whatever happened to your life?
Stone dead forever

It doesn’t matter what you have or all the wealth you have. You will die. It’s simple.

The Watcher

It’s basically a 60’s blues rock song and it’s originally from “On Parole” however it also appeared on the debut self-titled album.

“On Parole” was meant to be their first album but the label at the time United Artists didn’t like it and shelved it until December 1979 after the band had broken through with “Overkill” and “Bomber” released the same year on a different label.

Human greed destroys your sphere
And there’s no room for you out here

Electric Sun – Earthquake

Uli John Roth knew he was a good guitar player. The people around him, told him, so it was no surprise he left Scorpions and went solo. However, writing great songs that crossover and connect to a wider audience is another matter. But writing songs that would influence thousands of other guitarists, well, that’s what Uli John Roth is good at.

Sundown

Cough, “All Along The Watchtower” cough, cough, choke, choke. Still, it’s a great listen and a nod to Dylan and Hendrix’s re-interpretation of Dylan’s song.

I guess he loved Hendrix so much, he was even involved with Hendrix’s girlfriend Monika Dannemann who unfortunately was found dead in a fume filled Mercedes Benz in 1996.

Winterdays

It’s a cool instrumental.

Survivor – Survivor

Check out the production team on Survivor’s debut album.

The producer is Ron Nevison. The engineer is Bruce Fairbairn. The assistant engineer is Mike Clink and one of the mixers assiting Fairbairn is Bob Rock. Every single one of them would go on to produce multi-platinum albums in the 80’s and early 90’s. And overseeing the whole thing is John Kalodner.

For those who don’t know, Ron Nevison produced the “Bad Animals” Heart album, Damn Yankees, Ozzy’s “The Ultimate Sin” and “Crazy Nights” from Kiss.

Bruce Fairbairn did “Slippery When Wet”, “New Jersey”, “Pump” and “Permanent Vacation” along with all of the Loverboy stuff.

Bob Rock did “Dr Feelgood” and the “Metallica” black album, while Mike Clink did “Appetite For Destruction” and “Rust In Peace” by Megadeth.

I remember reading a story in a newspaper after the Rocky IV movie came about and the guys in the band at the time talked about its origins and I was like, wow, this band is like a super group of artists who all had recording contracts with different bands on smaller labels who just couldn’t find their audience.

So what you hear on the debut album, is a band, finding their feet and letting music from their peers influence their sound and song writing.

The opening track “Somewhere in America” is written by Jim Peterik and man it sounds so similar to “Hurts So Good” from John Cougar Mellencamp and “Hurts So Good” sounds so similar to nearly every 12 bar blues boogie that came before it.

I need a teacher who can use a pet
Give me a lesson in etiquette
If there is anyone who’d like to try
Maybe she’d like to come and teach me tonight

Are lyrics like this still acceptable today?

With so many movements, and with everyone having a voice via social media, people are too scared to voice an opinion in case they get vilified.

One more other thing worth mentioning here is that Jim Peterik would always talk to a “lawyer” if a song came out that sounded similar to something he wrote, but for some reason it was okay for him to write songs similar to what somebody else wrote. Me personally, I have no issue if songs sound similar, because most of them do. “Somewhere in America” and “Hurts So Good” are similar but one doesn’t take away the glory from the other.

There is a song that Survivor wrote or Jim Peterik wrote called “Is This Love” from 1986 that had a line “Is this love that I am feeling” and there is another little unknown song called “Is This Love” from Whitesnake that came out in 1987 which has a similar line. Jim Peterik went to talk to a lawyer, because according to Jim, he was the only one ever in the history of the world to have thought of that lyric line. But the fact that Bob Marly had a lyric line, “is this love that I’m feeling” in the 70’s is irrelevant. The fact that the term “is this love that I am feeling” appeared in novels since people started writing books is irrelevant.

Breathe. Relax. Move on.

“Can’t Getcha Offa My Mind” is track 2 and it’s written by  Peterik and Frankie Sullivan with a big nod to Journey. Track 3, “Let It Be Now” is very similar to “Hold the Line” from Toto. Quick, call a lawyer. But in all honesty it’s a great track.

“As Soon As Love Finds Me” has a verse riff that Judas Priest would sort of use for “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin” a few years after. Otherwise, it’s a cross between ELO and Bad Company to me.

And that’s why I love music, the many connections and links the songs make.

Side 2 opens up with “Love Has Got Me”, and it’s another track written by Peterik and Kiss comes to mind here in the verses while ELO comes across in the Chorus. “Whole Town’s Talkin'” is like it belongs on a Bee Gees album but with a stellar melodic guitar solo.

“Freelance” has a riff that I swear the 80’s LA bands used in every song.  “Nothing Can Shake Me (From Your Love)” is another Peterik cut with a brilliant acoustic guitar intro and the song just keeps on building. It has this climbing riff that sounds wicked. It probably didn’t set the charts on fire, but this song perfectly encapsulates an era and a time to perfection.

Overall, it’s a fun album with 35 minutes of quality material and to top it off, it didn’t even make a commercial dent.

“Rockin’ into the Night”, was written for this album, however Ron Nevison rejected it because it sounded like “Southern Rock”. So it was given to .38 Special and the song became a hit and it gave Jim Peterik another side business, writing songs for others, which of course displeased control-freak Frankie Sullivan.

Susan – Falling In Love Again

The album came out on RCA and there was a running joke that anything that came out on RCA would just go away. Susan (it’s a terrible name for a band by the way) only released one album and their sound is basically a cross between Badfinger and Cheap Trick.

The album is produced by Frank Aversa who I think is the same Aversa who would go on to be involved with Spin Doctors and their big hits.

I Was Wrong

It’s a Ricky Byrd composition and the riff from “It’s Not Love” from Dokken comes to mind and Dokken’s song came many years later.

A Little Time

It’s like Boston merged with the British 60’s rock movement. Guitarist Ricky Byrd shines on “A Little Time,”

Power

I think George Michael would have heard “Power” and recreated it as “Faith”. There is a section in the song, that reminds me of how Candlebox sounded on their debut album.

Guitarist Tom Dickie would go on to form Tom Dickie and The Desires and release a few “New Wave’ sounding albums on Mercury while guitarist Ricky Byrd would join Joan Jett & The Blackhearts for their “I Love Rock N Roll” album and would continue being her lead guitarist until 1993, when Tony Bruno from Saraya took over.

Well that’s it for Part 3 of 1979.

Stay tuned for Part 4.

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

Progress Is Derivative – One Riff To Rule Them All

Spotify Playlist

Remember “Progress Is Derivative” means to take the best things of what has come before and merge it all together to come up with something new. In some cases it might sound similar to something in the past and in other cases it might sound unique, original and innovative. And the “One Riff To Rule Them All” is a perfect example of how so many songs can have the same riff conceptually and still be able to stand on their own.

One Riff To Rule Them All…
Yep, it’s the A pedal point riff… It all started with a motor city madman called Ted Nugent, and his song “Stranglehold” released in 1975 (actually it’s a bluesy groove that has been around for a lot longer before then). Since then, the riff has morphed to inspire the following songs.

  • “Hell Bent For Leather” by Judas Priest released in 1978.
  • The intro to “Swords and Tequila” from Riot released in 1981.
  • The main riff to “Never Surrender” by Saxon released in 1981.
  • The main riff to “Riding With Angels” by Samson (with Bruce Dickinson on vocals), released in 1981.
  • The main riff to “Hellbound” by Tygers of Pan Tang released in 1981.
  • The main riff for “Flash Rockin’ Man” by Accept released in 1982.
  • The Intro in “Curse Of The Pharaohs” from Mercyful Fate released in 1983.
  • The main riff in “Power And The Glory” from Saxon released in 1983.
  • The main riff to “Stand Up And Shout” from Dio released in 1983.
  • The main riff to “Seek And Destroy” by Raven released in 1983.
  • The intro and main riff in “Two Minutes To Midnight” from Iron Maiden released in 1984.
  • The main riff to “Heavy Metal Breakdown” by Grave Digger released in 1984.
  • The main riff to “Phantoms Of Death” by Helloween released in 1985.
  • The main riff to “Skin O My Teeth” by Megadeth released in 1992.
  • The main riff to “Break The Chains” from Tokyo Blade.
  • A small variation of “the riff to rule them all” morphed into “Welcome To Hell” from Venom released in 1981.
  • And this morphed into “Looks That Kill” from Motley Crue released in 1983 and became known as the Sunset Riff. So it was no surprise that other Sunset guitarists started using it.
  • “Young Girls” from Dokken in 1983 has a riff that’s similar.
  • “Tell The World” from Ratt, released in 1983 also has it.

I guess you can’t keep a good riff down. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Music is derivative. Always has been and always will be.

Ted Nugent’s originality in the 70’s is due to him writing derivative versions of blues grooves. There would be no metal music without rock and roll and there would be no rock and roll without country and blues. In the early blues (circa 30’s), copying and transforming was the norm. The same blues song would be recorded by different artists in different states. Sometimes, the titles would change. No lawyers got involved and especially no courts. In return, this allowed the blues sound to grow.

If you look at the bands above, they all built careers from the same patterned riff without a lawsuit to be seen.

What an amazing concept?

Stone Temple Pilots
Fans of Kiss smiled when they heard “Sex Type Thing” from Stone Temple Pilots. The main riff is influenced by “War Machine”. How strange it is, that one of Kiss’s heaviest songs is co-written by pop rock songwriters, Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance with Gene Simmons.

Motley Crue
The Chorus riff to “Ten Seconds to Love” sounds like it was influenced by a certain riff in “Rock & Roll” by The Plasmatics. Actually they sound the same, but who cares. Both are different songs and unique and as you all know, I am a fan of the “progress is derivative” viewpoint.

The Led Zeppelin Effect Again
The impact of “Immigrant Song” cannot be underestimated.

Recently I heard it in “Siberian Queen” (2012) from The Night Flight Orchestra. The drum pattern is Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” (1970) and the guitar riffs reference “Achilles Last Stand” in the intro and verse riff.

Meanwhile, John Sykes re-invented himself as Jimmy Page when he combined “Black Dog” with “Immigrant Song” in “Still Of The Night” (1987). In case you are not sure, it’s the riff that comes in after the intro singing.

Then there are the obvious clones of “Immigrant Song” in “Hold Her Tight” by The Osmonds (1972) and “Burning” by Sweet (1973).

Music is and always will be derivative. Enjoy.

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

Be Influenced. It’s Okay.

Screw all the heirs of dead artists and their lawyers who believe that the music their ancestors created was so original and free from influence. Here is a quick list that I compiled off the top of my head from some large songs and all the artists they borrowed from or got influenced from had successful careers without a plagiarism court case.

Metallica – Fade to Black (1984)
A fan made music video on YouTube has 32,538,942 views, while a fan posted mp3 has 44,032,321 views. In other words it’s a monster of a song. But where did this monster come from.

The intro is influenced by the intro in Pink Floyd – “Goodbye Blue Sky” from 1979. The start of the outro when James is singing is influenced by the intro from Black Sabbath – “A National Acrobat” from 1973. And the song still sounds original.

Poison – Unskinny Bop (1991)
The song has over 7 million streams on Spotify.

The guitar riff is influenced by the intro guitar riff in Billy Squier – “Powerhouse” from 1986. The bass lines are very similar to the bass line from 45 seconds onwards in Great White – “Mista Bone” from 1989. Then again, that running bass line is pretty common in most songs. You hear it in “Disturb The Priest” from Black Gillian’s album “Born Again”. And the song still sounds original.

Gotye – Somebody I Used To Know (2011)
Gotye’s “Somebody I Used To Know” has close to 400 million streams on Spotify. It’s popular and catchy and it borrowed heavily from other songs. The music and vocal melodies are from the verse riff in Billy Squier – “Reach For The Sky” from 1984 and the verse riff from The Police – “King Of Pain” from 1983. And the Gotye song still sounds original.

Motley Crue – SEX (2012)
Motley Crue’s “SEX” borrowed its main riff from “Evie” (1974) by Stevie Wright (which has 1,037,491 streams on Spotify). “Evie” is also similar to “Mississippi Woman” by Mountain (almost 23,000,000 streams on Spotify), which is also similar to “Sweeter Than Honey” by Jefferson Starship (1975) and “Train” by 3 Doors Down borrows from all of them.

And all of the songs still sound unique and original, regardless of the obvious influences.

Bullet For My Valentine – “Waking The Demon” (2008)
“Waking The Demon” borrowed its main intro riff from the intro/verse riff in Slayer’s “Spirit In Black” released in 1990 on the “Seasons In the Abyss” album.

On Bullets Vevo account, “Waking The Demon” has 48 million views, while “Spirit In Black” has 96,000 views on a fan YouTube account and 462,000 views on another fan YouTube account. Be influenced and make it better.

One Song To Inspire Them All
That goes to Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”. For a band that used the music of other artists to build a career, they ended up creating a definitive song that a lot of other bands would use as a template to build their career on.

  •  Kingdom Come – “Get In On” verse riff is similar to Led Zeppelin – Kashmir.
  • Megadeth – “In My Darkest Hour” verse riff is similar to Led Zeppelin – Kashmir.
  • Whitesnake – “Judgement Day” verse riff similar to Led Zeppelin – Kashmir.
  • Coheed and Cambria – “Welcome Home” verse riff similar to Led Zeppelin Kashmir.

A live version of Kashmir on the Led Zeppelin YouTube account has 28 million views and an mp3 on a fan YouTube account has 19 million views.

And yet all of the above mentioned songs still sound unique. If you delve into the origins of each song, you will see some influences or borrowing from other songs and the cycle just keeps on going. So here’s a big “up yours” to the all of those people who scream plagiarism in music.

Click the link to listen to the Progress Is Derivative 1 playlist.

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Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Writing A Riff Is A Combination Of What We Have Heard Before

Have a drink for creativity.

Even if we think our favourites are original, trust me, they are not. For an artist to create music, they need to hear music. And when you hear music, you write music in the style of what you have heard. You use chords and melodies from song you have heard. Nobody lives in a vacuum.

In the end it took eight unknown jurors to decide this.

The funny thing here is the Copyright Law that Corporations orchestrated via Government lobbying in the Seventies, is getting used by others to now sue those same corporations who hold the copyrights to songs. Page and Plant sold their rights to Warner for a lot of money.

But seriously, if Copyright is operating how it is meant to work, once the creator dies, all of their creations become part of the public domain. Instead, Randy California’s songs became part of a business model for a corporation. In this case, the Trustee’s of Randy’s Estate.

Remember when the lawyers for Randy California’s trustee Michael Skidmore, asked for a $1 settlement along with a writing credit for Spirit guitarist Randy California and any future profits would then be received by the Trustee’s of California’s estate. Yep, I really love how copyright is used as a pension fund for people who really are not eligible to gain from it.

And what about the creative accounting from both sides.

The Trustee’s for Randy California estimated that the song earned close to $60 million between 2011 to 2014, citing a music publishing deal that Jimmy Page and Robert Plant signed with Warner Music. However, the accountant used by the Jimmy Page and Robert Plant legal team, said that Jimmy Page earned $615,000 and Robert Plant earned  $532,000 for the song. There is a massive disconnect there.

Either way, that’s some serious dough and when you add the money that other songs in their catalogue would earn, it adds up to a lot of money.

But some one is not telling the truth and when it comes to the accounting of music, the truth is the last thing being told. There are so many skeletons and the only way to find out the truth is a federal investigation.

The part the troubles me the most is how Michael Skidmore is trying to present a picture that what Randy California created is so original and free from any influences. And that is just not true.What Randy created is a sum of his influences. It’s not original and in no way unique.

And neither is Jimmy Page’s assertion that what he creates is so original and free from any influences. All music is influenced by what came before it and by what we experience.

But of course, Skidmore and his legal team are not happy with the outcome and plan to appeal. What a dead set joke and copyright is a joke as it currently stands.

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