Listening back to all of the music from 1983 got me thinking about life and time. Even though 1983 is 34 years in the past, it feels like it was more recent.
How time flys?
And I am trying to work out how certain events pushed me onto different paths and how those paths became far removed from the path I wanted to be on.
And while life might seem chaotic in 2017, it wasn’t much different in 1983. We still had terrorism back them. The IRA was very active in the U.K and we had acts of terror in Lebanon. We had changes in government that didn’t appeal to the status quo.
The frontiers are a changing.
Journey – Frontiers
“I gotta tell you that I’m not hurtin’ for a place to live and I’m not hurtin’ for money, no, but filthy rich – no. You’ve got six people in the band, you’ve got unions in this country, you’ve got people who want a big hunk of what you make all the way down the line. It’s a big circus. It takes five semis and a lot of lights, a lot of sound, a lot of crew and a lot of busses and gas! When you talk 107 shows and you talk 30,000 miles, you’re talking a lot.”
Coming into the recording of “Frontiers”, Journey was riding the waves of “Don’t Stop Believin”. The Jonathan Cain era was in full swing.
So what was next for Journey?
How do you follow up “Escape”?
They began their career as progressive rockers in the 70’s, and by the start of the 80’s they had moved into hard rock. With the addition of Jonathan Cain on keyboards and with the success of “Escape” they moved into superstar territory. And with “Frontiers”, Journey kept on polishing their sound and moving further away from their progressive blues roots. Plus they also gave a certain person in Italy a name for his future record label.
It’s been covered by metal bands ad infinitum because it’s such a good song. The opening keyboard lick would work well as a guitar lick. Then when the drum groove comes in, it’s quality all around.
I would have preferred to hear some more grunt in the verses from the guitar, but this is Journey coming off the success of “Escape” and Neal Schon transitions into a song decorator.
Someday, love will find you
Break those chains that bind you
One night will remind you
How we touched and went our separate ways
The chorus melody was so good, that Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon re-used it/plagiarised it/copied it or let themselves be influenced by it on the song “Message of Love” from their 1997 comeback album, “Trial By Fire”.
It’s the signature ballad and the last track recorded for the album. Prince even asked Journey for permission before releasing “Purple Rain” because the chord changes are close to “Faithfully” and he didn’t want to get sued.
“I thought it was an amazing tune and I told him, ‘Man, I’m just super-flattered that you even called. It shows you’re that classy of a guy. Good luck with the song. I know it’s gonna be a hit.’”
“We all talked about it, and everybody said, ‘Nah, it’s the highest form of flattery. Let it go.’”
And Cain could have requested a co-writing credit on “Purple Rain,” but he didn’t.
“No, no, that’ll just bring bad juju on you, and you don’t want to do that. I just thought it seriously showed the kind of caring, classy guy Prince was.”
All music is a sum of a person’s influences.
Under the big top world
We all need the clowns
To make us smile
It’s a brilliant lyric comparing the rock and roll touring lifestyle with the life of a carnie.
Steve Perry did a great job on the vocals, especially that outro. In This Moment also use this song as an influence for the outro of their song “World In Flames”.
This song is one of those underrated gems on an album. Those little nuggets.
Voices echo, from the past
Decisions made for you
The whole song is great lyrically, but it’s the above that sticks out. Something that James Hetfield constantly sings about, especially in “The Unforgiven” songs.
Ask The Lonely
It was a bonus track on the 2006 re-issue. It should have been on it.
Black Sabbath – Born Again
At the start of the 80’s, Black Sabbath re-invented themselves with the Dio led version of the band. However after the success of “Heaven and Hell” and “Mob Rules”, Ronnie James Dio said see ya later to Tony Iommi and took drummer Vinny Appice with him. Bill Ward was back in alongside Iommi, Butler and keyboardist Geoff Nicholls (RIP). So the search began for a vocalist. We all know the story of how this was meant to be a new supergroup project however their new manager Don Arden (who was also Ozzy’s ex-Manager and the father to Ozzy’s wife, Sharon) would not even contemplate it. His grudges against Ozzy and Sharon and the fact that he wanted to better them with the groups he managed would be the death knell of this project.
David Coverdale and Robert Plant were talked about as vocalists. They even received an audition tape from Michael Bolton who at that time was unknown. But it was Arden who recommended Gillian. And that is the problem. Ian Gillian is more or less terrible on it. And that album cover is now part of folklore. According to Wikipedia, Don Arden was fond of telling Osbourne that his children resembled the “Born Again” album cover.
But the songs “Disturbing The Priest” and “Zero The Hero” are pretty good musically. The lyrics are neither here or there, but the music is excellent.
Disturbing the Priest
According to Wikipedia, “Disturbing the Priest” was written after a rehearsal space set up by Iommi in a small building near a local church received noise complaints from the resident priests.
It’s underpinned by a bass groove reminiscent of “Heaven And Hell” and “The Sign of The Southern Cross”. Add to that, the eeriness of early Sabbath.
The devil and the priest can’t exist if one goes away
Zero the Hero
Accept the fact that you’re second rate life is easy for you
Conformity in one simple statement.
Rainbow – Bent Out Of Shape
MTV changed the way bands wrote albums. Suddenly experimentation, longer guitar solos or longer songs in general went out the window. Every band was trying to make that arena rock song. So it was no surprise that Rainbow would follow suit, especially after they had a few unexpected hits in “Since You’ve been Gone” from 1979’s “Down To Earth” album with Graham Bonnet on vocals, “I Surrender” from 1981’s “Difficult To Cure” with Joe Lynn Turner on vocals and “Stone Cold” from the 1982 album “Straight Between the Eyes”.
The band for the recording of this album was Ritchie Blackmore, Roger Glover, Joe Lynn Turner, David Rosenthal on keys and Chuck Burgi on drums. But the single here should have been “Stranded” instead of “Street of Dreams”.
It’s the only good song on the album. That bass just keeps the pedal point note going, while Blackmore is free to explore so many different musical palettes.
Dog night, I’m so alone
A million miles out on my own
No one to talk, no one to care
Searching for someone, they could be anywhere
Life of a rock and roller.
AC/DC – Flick Of The Switch
It’s a solid album, coming out after the holy trinity of albums, their U.S breakthrough “Highway To Hell” in 1979, the mega selling “Back In Black” from 1980 and it’s 1981 successor “For Those About To Rock”.
Some personnel changes happened as well. Simon Wright is in the drummers’ chair, replacing Phil Rudd. Simon Kirke from the band Free also auditioned, as well as 699 other drummers. It would have been cool if it was 666 drummers.
The producer of their holy trinity albums, Mutt Lange was also out. Their manager Peter Mensch was also out. Angus and Malcolm stepped up to give the world a live and raw version of AC/DC. There are no classic songs on the album. But there is a lot of groove and swagger. The slower tempo’s make it sound HEAVY. But the songs don’t get played live, so the album remains largely forgotten to the masses.
“Basically what Mal had said was that he wanted to try and get that feeling of being in a room with it all happening. I don’t think it really worked entirely.”
Engineer Tony Platt in the book Maximum Rock & Roll
My body’s blown a fuse
We’ll raise the night
Rise/Rising = hard on. Blow a fuse = climax. Johnson is rolling out the metaphors.
Flick Of The Switch
With a flick of the switch
She’ll blow you sky high
Johnson is still rolling out the metaphors with innuendo.
It’s a dirty lie
It’s a shakedown
It’s lookin’ like a set-up
There is a lot of this happening today, with copyright trolls trying to shakedown internet users. The trolls put up the content and then take note who downloads the content via the public torrent trackers. Once they have a list of IP addresses, they go to the courts, so the courts could give approval for the Telcos to unmask their users and provide address details. If the courts approve, the trolls send the users letters, saying if they pay $50 to $100 and admit guilt, it all goes away, if they choose to fight it in court and they lose, then the users could be liable for thousands in fees. It’s a shakedown, a set-up.
Guns For Hire
Look out woman
I got gun’s for hire
Shoot you with desire
I wonder what Johnson means here.
It sounds like Tom Keifer is singing this song. Musically, it’s a cross between George Thorogood’s “Bad To The Bone”, 70’s ZZ Top and AC/DC’s roots in the blues.
Again, it’s the groove that hooks me in.
“In the badlands”
Triumph – Never Surrender
I never heard this album in 1983. It became part of my collection much later on via Record Music Fairs and so forth and it was the more ambitious and melodic tracks that appealed to me.
A World Of Fantasy
How good is this song’s intro especially when the harmony guitars kick in?
Lost in your world of fantasy
Look what you’ve done to me
A Minor Prelude
It’s just a nice 90 second instrumental on acoustic guitar.
All The Way
How good is the intro?
Lyrical the theme is clichéd but the lyrics are just excellent.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way
Every dog will have his day
Those who wait are only wasting’ time
It’s all about the effort. In the 1900’s, research said that to achieve greatness you need to put in 10 years of practice. This was then enhanced to include 10,000 hours of practice, which was then further enhanced to say 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, which means breaking down a skill you want to learn into chunks and learning it slowly before increasing the speed.
That’s why the metronome is the best tool for any wannabe musician. Learn the song slowly and then increase the speed to its normal speed and just for fun, push the speed even faster to see how you go playing the song. Sometimes, ballads like “Alone Again” end up sounding pretty wicked at 150bpm.
That’s why the Senseball is the best tool for any wannabe football player. You start of slowly, focusing on the task at hand and slowly build it up.
Pray for wisdom – dig for gold
Can’t buy freedom by selling your soul
Recording contracts are designed to benefit the entity forking out the money to produce the works. So any wannabe artist needs to sell their soul for a shot at the brass ring.
You better watch out, you better look around
Cause what goes up is gonna come down
Everybody lives by the law of supply and demand
So true. Even the record labels live by the law of supply and demand. When people got fed up with the corrupted and very pricey supply chain, technology allowed mp3’s to be created. Suddenly music was everywhere.
Once you’ve set a course don’t change it
Luck will come to those who chase it
Don’t let anything get in your way
What a brilliant verse. Hell, the whole “Talent Code” book is based around the theory that you need to love what you do, to practice deep for a long time, so you can become an expert in your field.
In the verses, it reminds me musically of Led Zeppelin’s “All My Love”. But at almost 7 minutes in length, it has a lot of musical movements and a groove that’s hypnotic.
How good are the lyrics in this?
Jivin’, hustiln’, what’s it all about?
Everybody always wants the east way out
Thirty golden pieces for the Judas kiss
What’s a nice boy doin’ in a place like this?
Everyone wants to be successful. Everyone wants to be famous. But is everyone willing to put the hard work in. Is everyone willing to be surrounded by people who will lie and deceive?
Today you found a hero tomorrow you’ll forget
This is so relevant in 2017. The speed at which we move on to new things is astonishing.
Never Surrender – we cannot be denied
Never Surrender – spread your wings and fly
To become an expert and have a chance of success, you need to be in it for the long run. The 10 years. The 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. There are no short cuts.
Writing On The Wall
It’s got that 80’s metal pedal point vibe, but in a major key instead of a minor key.
I am up here
Walking on a tight rope
But I never pause to think
That I could fall
Damn right, there is no safety net in life, especially in music.
I’ve got one short dance
On this planet
But I’ll carve my message deep into the wall
Long-time dead, short time alive. Don’t waste your days on what you can’t control.
Blackfoot – Siogo
The first time I heard Blackfoot was via a Spotify Discover playlist and it was the song “Send Me An Angel”.
Send Me An Angel
I can’t live with all this doubt
Are we good enough?
Is this song good enough?
Do I look good enough?
So many expectations we place on ourselves just to please others. And then we wonder, why so many doubt themselves. It’s even worse today with social media.
Standing in his hometown
Waiting for the bus that’ll take him
Farther than he’s ever been
I’ve shown them what a pretty life I’ve made
Even though I’ll miss you badly
It’s the ultimate sacrifice. A career in music vs loved ones you need to leave behind. As Jonathan Cain wrote in “Faithfully”, the road is no place to raise a family.
Alcatrazz – No Parole from Rock N’ Roll
When I was starting out in bands, one of the guitarists in the band was a huge Yngwie Malmsteen fan. The drummer of the band was also a fan of Malmsteen and he had this album on LP, so I dubbed it on cassette from him. Home taping was spreading the music.
But the Alcatrazz story is much deeper than Malmsteen’s brief appearance. Like a lot of other bands in the 80’s it was a pseudo supergroup of musicians. You had a 20 year old guitar hero in Yngwie Malmsteen, a 30 year old experienced bassist in Gary Shea, a 33 year old experienced drummer in Jan Uvena, a 24 year old keyboardist in Jimmy Waldo and a 35 year old vocalist with major label experience in Graham Bonnet.
The story starts with bassist Gary Shea and keyboardist Jimmy Waldo. After their band “New England” lost their singer, they moved out to L.A to work with a guitarist called Vinnie Vincent and a new band called Warrior. Vinnie Vincent at the time also had a deal in place to co-write songs for Kiss. ‘Boyz Gonna Rock” and “I Love It Loud” appeared on the first Warrior demo. On the strength of that demo and the songs that Vinnie had written, he was asked to join KISS. We all know how big “I Love It Loud” became.
And from the ashes of Warrior, the embryo of Alcatrazz was formed.
With a dodgy manager on board, who took royalties meant for the band into his own pocket, Alcatrazz was a go. Shea actually reckons Malmsteen lost a lot of money when he left due to the thievery of their manager.
Island In The Sun
It’s the opening track and a Malmsteen classic. Actual songwriters are listed as Yngwie Malmsteen, Jimmy Waldo and Graham Bonnet but there is no denying the Malmsteen sound.
In their nine by five rooms, became inspired
By the silence in sight of the city
Is it about prison or something else?
Jet To Jet
It’s a Malmsteen and Bonnet composition. It’s pretty safe to say that all the music is from Malmsteen and Bonnet wrote the lyrics.
How they stared as we made our exit
We’re white they’re all brown
Dr. Livingstone where are you when we need you the most
We’re white as ivory on the Ivory Coast
Is the song about the arrival of white men in Africa?
Is the “Jet To Jet” title referring to the colour black (as jet is a shade of black)?
Hiroshima Mon Amour
It’s another Malmsteen/Bonnet composition. Bonnet was inspired by the 1959 French film Hiroshima Mon Amour, (translation: “Hiroshima My Love”), which he had seen in school. The film recounts the Hiroshima bombing and tells of the human suffering in the aftermath.
“I was always horrified by what happened. And Hiroshima, my love, it was like, goddamn, you know, I didn’t want that to happen again. So I read up a little bit about it, and that’s how that came about. It was something I thought should never have happened. It was just a horrible thing. I couldn’t believe that the Americans would do this, or anybody would do that to anybody. It was sort of a protest song in a way.”
The fireball would dim the sun,
Promising death in its cruellest form
There is no good in war, but man, when you read about the fall out and the cancers still happening even today, you get to understand the gravity of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Hiroshima Mon Amour
As we beg to be forgiven do you spit
In our face and curse us all.
A short Malmsteen instrumental that he would use in his solo career.
Too Young To Die, Too Drunk To Live
It’s another Malmsteen/Bonnet composition.
Chemical kids lost in the street,
Looking for some kind of saviour
Perverted minds lead them like sheep
Into the slaughter they have to face
Chemicals once upon a time = alcohol. Today, chemicals on the streets mean so many different things.
There’s time to die but she just needs more time to live
A brilliant line. In the last six months I have attended 4 funerals. Two for people aged 40, one for a person in their 60’s and one for a person a few weeks short of their 80th birthday. 40 is way too young to die.
Years from now
Look how they change
They’re so mature and respected
Makes them laugh
They were such fools
So unaware of the real live world
Some made it to an older age so they could look back, others didn’t.
Steeler – Steeler
From interviews in Guitar mags, I knew that Yngwie Malmsteen was in the band Steeler. Also in the band was vocalist Ron Keel (from Keel) and former W.A.S.P. bassist Rik Fox. The band produced only one album.
The album was released September 25, 1983 but I didn’t hear it until very much later.
“Steeler was formed by in Nashville and fought our way to the top of the LA hard rock scene in the early 80’s – it’s a great story, and if you want to know all the details, I suggest you check out my official autobiography “Even Keel: Life On The Streets Of Rock & Roll,”. Success is a relative term – Steeler sold a couple hundred thousand albums, while my band KEEL has sold several million albums.”
It was Ron Keel and then guitarist Michael Dunigan who came out to L.A to scout gigs. Once they got a feel for the place, the whole band and crew came out. Eventually the original line up splintered because Ron Keel felt threatened by the level of musicianship on the L.A scene and he believed he needed to get better musicians.
Mike Varney, the owner of Shrapnel Records played Ron Keel a demo tape of Malmsteen and he was on a ship from Sweden to L.A. Rik Fox looked like a rock star and got the bassist gig. By making changes, Keel lost the camaraderie and chemistry within the band.
For Malmsteen, this was a four month stopover in his grand vision for greatness. The stop-over involved 9 shows, the recording session for the album and two song contributions in “No Way Out” and “Abduction”.
Cold Day In Hell
It’s listed as a Ron Keel song and it’s one hell of good rock song. More in vein with what Keel would sound like, but without a Malmsteen lead break.
Empty eyes of heartless friends
The night is mine again
Bitter streets of evil stares
No one listens, no one cares
The lead break from Malmsteen is a classic.
No Way Out
It’s written by Ron Keel, Mark Edwards and Yngwie Malmsteen and although the lyrics are hit and miss, it’s still a good listen.
Click the link to listen to 1983-Part6
1. Separate Ways (Words Apart) – Journey
2. A World Of Fantasy – Triumph
3. Send Me An Angel – Blackfoot
4. Island In The Sun – Alcatrazz
5. Stranded – Rainbow
6. Disturbing The Priest – Black Sabbath
7. Rising Power – AC/DC
8. A Minor Prelude/All The Way – Triumph
9. Faithfully – Journey
10. Jet To Jet – Alcatrazz
11. Flick Of The Switch – AC/DC
12. Never Surrender – Triumph
13. Hiroshima Mon Amour – Alcatrazz
14. No Way Out – Steeler
15. Writing On The Wall – Triumph
16. Cold Day In Hell – Steeler
17. Badlands – AC/DC
18. Ask The Lonely – Journey
19. Incubus / Too Young To Die, Too Drunk To Live – Alcatrazz
20. Zero The Hero – Black Sabbath