Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

1986 – Part 5.6: Madonna – True Blue

I’m not sure what Madonna is trying to own right now, but once upon a time Madonna owned the charts,

“True Blue” is album number 3. She had a new look and a newish sound.

She co-wrote and produced the entire album with Stephen Bray and Patrick Leonard.

Papa Don’t Preach

Written by Brian Elliot and Madonna.

There are a lot of players on this song.

Bray provides keyboards, drums and drum programming. Fred Zarr provides additional keyboards, John Putnam is on acoustic guitar and electric guitar, with David Williams providing more guitars and Bruce Gaitsch providing even more guitars. Billy Meyers did the string arrangements and Jonathan Moffett provides percussion and drums.

While the song doesn’t resonate lyrically, Madonna’s vocal performance is stellar and the melodies remain with me long after the song is finished.

Open Your Heart

Written by Madonna, Gardner Cole and Peter Rafelson. It was one of the first songs recorded for the album, however it was originally intended for Cyndi Lauper.

White Heat

Written by Madonna and Patrick Leonard.

The great Richard Marx provides backing vocals on this.

The song was dedicated to actor James Cagney and named after the film of the same name from 1949. The song is like a funk meets a groovy rhythm and blues chord progression.

Live to Tell

The keyboard/synth riff hook you in and the decorative guitar playing by Bruce Gaitsch is perfect.

The track is listed as being written by Madonna and producer Patrick Leonard who also plays the keys and drums on the song, with Jonathan Moffett also contributing. No bass player is listed, as all the different keyboard tracks create a synth bass line.

It was originally written by Patrick Leonard for the soundtrack of Paramount’s romantic drama film “Fire with Fire” but, after the company declined it, Leonard showed the song to Madonna. She decided to use it for “At Close Range”, the new film of her husband Sean Penn. When the film’s director, James Foley, heard Madonna’s demo, he asked Leonard to write the score for the film, as suggested by Madonna.

Make sure you listen to the album version, the version that is close to 6 minutes long.

Where’s The Party

Written by Madonna, Stephen Bray and Patrick Leonard. Bray and Leonard also do the keyboards, the drums and the drum programming. The great Dann Huff plays guitars on this with David Boroff appearing on the saxophone.

I class this song as a funk pop song.

And who knew that the funk pop rock sounds of this album would give way to a whole new movement called Dance Music in a few years’ time. While not released as a single, “Where’s the Party” did receive airplay on radio stations, back when the radio DJ’s did their own programming. Before investors and share prices.

The message of the song is clear. It doesn’t matter how bad or pressured life could get, accept that party invite and let your hair down. Enjoy.

True Blue

Written by Madonna and Stephen Bray. I dig the whole 60’s Motown vibe.

Bray provides the keyboard sounds, the drums and the drum programming, with Fred Zarr providing additional keyboards and Bruce Gaitsch again decorating nicely on the guitars.

La Isla Bonita

Written by Madonna, Patrick Leonard and session guitarist Bruce Gaitsch who also provides some wonderful flamenco leads.

Leonard provides most of the music with the keyboards and drums/drum programming with Paulinho da Costa providing percussion and all the guitar tracks are provided by Bruce Gaitsch.

It’s about escapism and hoping that the holiday never ends.

As a side note, the song was written for Michael Jackson’s “Bad” album, but Jackson turned it down. While working with Leonard, Madonna accepted the song and re-wrote the lyrics, earning herself a co-writing credit.

Jimmy Jimmy

Written by Madonna and Stephen Bray.

Leonard and Bray provide the keyboards, drums and drum programming with Fred Zarr providing additional keyboards. Jonathan Moffett is on real drums and percussion while Bruce Gaitsch again decorates nicely on the guitars.

“Jimmy Jimmy” is that bad boy that Madonna likes, like James Dean.

Love Makes the World Go Round

Written by Madonna and Patrick Leonard, it feels like a Phil Collins track. Guitars on this one are provided by Paul Jackson Jr with Paulinho da Costa on percussion with Bray and Leonard providing all of the other sounds.

And the themes are about anti-war and anti-poverty, using Latin drums and samba-influenced rhythms.

For 40 minutes, Madonna had captured my attention and held it.

And she did that around the world to many others.

It went Diamond in France and Canada.

It went 7x Platinum in the UK and the US.

It went 5x Platinum in New Zealand.

It went 4× Platinum in Australia, Italy and Argentina.

It went 3x Platinum in Spain and Switzerland.

It went 2x Platinum in Germany.

It went Platinum in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Hong Kong, Netherlands and Norway.

It went Gold in Brazil, Greece, Japan and Portugal.

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1986 – Part 5.3: The Bangles – Different Light

I was always on the lookout for new music. New artists to get into. New melodies to expose my ears to.

Radio in Australia during this time was an interesting beast. We had stations that played just rock music (bands classed these days as glam metal, glam rock, classic rock, melodic rock and hard rock also fitted this bill). We had stations that played whatever was on the Charts. If it was popular they played it, so these stations could have included rock music. Then we had stations devoted to Country, jazz, various different religions and ethnicities and classical.

The Bangles ended up on a lot of stations. Because they could be classed as a rock band and during this time they were very popular. Music Television loved them as well. They looked great so were easily marketable, they could play their instruments and they were known for killer live performances.

“Different Light” is album number 2. It is their most successful album,. But the big secret for the album was the running time of each song. It’s like they knew back in 86, that Spotify would pay per listen. Here is a perfect Spotify album, with an average song runtime of 3 minutes each.

The Bangles were special because they had all the members on lead and backing vocals. Susanna Hoffs and Vicki Peterson also played guitars. Micki Steele played bass and guitars on some tracks while Debbi Peterson played the drums. They were all seasoned and had paid their dues. Hoffs was 27 years, Vicki Peterson was 28, Steele was 31 and was also known as the founder of The Runaways, before leaving them prior to their first album and Debbie Peterson was the youngest at 25.

Manic Monday

The song is written by “Christopher” and Hoffs. “Christopher” was a pseudonym for Prince. At 157.5 million streams on Spotify, it’s one of their biggest. Only “Eternal Flame” and “Walk Like An Egyptian” are bigger.

In a Different Light

My favourite track. It’s rocking from the start and the vocals remind me of “California Dreamin” from The Mamas And The Papas

Walking Down Your Street

This was a skip for me.

Walk Like an Egyptian

192 million streams on Spotify. It’s so overplayed these days, but goddamn it was infectious when it came out. The vocal melody was so unique. Press play and start walking like an Egyptian.

Standing in the Hallway

It’s pop rock, with a bit of rhythm and blues.

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A rare running time of 4.22 however the track was not their best.

If She Knew What She Wants

A Jules Shear cover from 1985 which has this 60’s feel.

The album standard slips towards the backend with tracks like “Let It Go”, “September Gurls”, “Angels Don’t Fall in Love” and “Not Like You” being seen as throwaways.

However the introspective acoustic cut, “Following”, written and sung by Steele, is excellent.

In relation to sales, it was 2x Platinum in Australia, Canada. It went Platinum in New Zealand and the UK. In the U.S, it went 3× Platinum.

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1986 – Part 5.1: John Cafferty – Tough All Over

Back in 1980 they self-released a single which included the songs “Wild Summer Nights” and “Tender Years”. They sold over 10,000 copies, had radio play and they toured up and down the Atlantic seaboard. But the act was still ignored by the labels due to persistent comparisons to Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band.

They finally achieved international success when producer Kenny Vance, a long-time fan, offered them the opportunity to score a movie soundtrack he was in charge of, based on the best-selling novel about a legendary bar band, “Eddie and the Cruisers”.

Vance wanted to use the music of Bruce Springsteen, but it was too expensive to license, so he got an act that sounds like Springsteen. The world was finally introduced to “John Cafferty And The Beaver Brown Band”.

In 1983, “Eddie And The Cruisers” came out and the singles “On The Dark Side” and “Tender Years” from the soundtrack cracked the Top 10 Billboard Charts. The soundtrack was released on CBS Records and you would think that CBS would sign the act, however it was independent label Scotti Brothers who signed them. They had distribution via CBS and the label was known for launching the career of Survivor.

“Tough All Over” was first released in 1985 and it was Cafferty’s first attempt to pull his band away from the “Eddie and the Cruisers” franchise. As soon as you heard his voice, you imagined it was actor Michael Pare, who did a pretty good job lip syncing in the movie. Well that is how I remember it.

And the album did okay business, but the label decided to re-release it in 1986 with a different album cover and “The Voice of Eddie and the Cruisers” added to the title. Maybe they thought it would sell more if it had this extra add on. Hence the reason why it is listed as an 1986 release for me.

All songs are written by John Cafferty who also does vocals and rhythm guitar. The Beaver Brown Band is made up of Pat Lupo (RIP) on bass, Kenny Jo Silva on drums, Gary Gramolini on guitar, Robert Nicholas Cotoia (RIP) on keys and Michael Antunes on saxophone.

Voice of America’s Sons

The fourth and last single released from the album. If you are a Stallone fan, you would remember this song from the 1986 movie “Cobra”.

As a side note, John Cafferty also sang the song “Hearts On Fire” for the “Rocky IV” movie. It was used during the training montage music in Russia.

The major chords immediately give you a feelgood vibe, and John Cafferty is bringing back the summery sounds of the 70’s in the 80’s.

Spent those years dreaming, but the dreams didn’t last, time is moving much too fast, turn the radio on

The radio was an escape into the world of music and the emotions which music brings.

Well they built those factories, with blood sweat and steel, coming down fast under, the weight of the wheel

My Dad worked in those same factories in Australia, until a broken back retired him.

Tough All Over

The first single from the album.

It’s basically a hard rock song built on a synthesizer riff, the song describes the struggles of young working individuals. Sort of like how “Living On A Prayer” described the lives of Tommy and Gina a year later.

“Well, she’s waiting for the bus down on the boulevard / Pretty little working girl / She ain’t got no fancy clothes don’t drive no fancy car / She’s the waitress at the bar and grill”

“Well, he’s drinking at the bar down by the old boat yard / He sits and he talks to strangers / The factory laid him off and life’s been getting hard / It’s enough to make a good man bad”

I guess we haven’t progressed much since the 80’s in relation to doing it tough. We still have our addictions and we are still trying to win something in this game of life.

C-I-T-Y

The second single. You can’t deny the rock and roll Bruce Springsteen and Huey Lewis influence on this track.

“On the South side of Detroit city, I’m working all night on the line, Under black smoke stacks, building Cadillacs, Jack, not one of them will ever be mine”.

How good are the lyrics?

Immediately an image forms in my head.

“Living in the C-I-T-Y, life here ain’t no dream”

Where the Action Is

The drumming reminds me of those 60’s beach songs, like “Wipeout” and the guitar playing reminds me of Dick Dale. Overall, the song would not be out of place on any 60’s Rock soundtracks.

Dixieland

I know John Cafferty probably hates it, but goddamn this song is Springsteen through and through.

Strangers in Paradise

It continues with the similar major key riffing that appears on “Voices Of America’s Sons”. Think of the keys riffs from Jonathan Cain.

Small Town Girl

The third single about working a late shift in his Dads shop and how he finally meets a girl that lives across town that drives him crazy. It’s got that 60’s ballad feel. The song wouldn’t be out of place on the “Grease” soundtrack.

More Than Just One of the Boys

This one is probably the most current sounding track that isn’t dated to any era. It has all kind of influences, with Billy Joel coming to mind.

Tex-Mex (Crystal Blue)

I thought it would be a greasy blues tune like ZZ Top, but it’s a ballad with a Mexican influence. Johnny Cash comes to mind.

John Cafferty never broke big in Australia with his American Heartland lyrics, while artists like Mellencamp and Springsteen did, however I was a fan. His Beaver Brown band could rock with the best of the backing bands at the time.

The only thing I can write is to crank it.

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1976 – Part 4.9: Genesis – Wind And Wuthering

Why wait a few years for a new album when the new version of the band became successful with its new singer?

Released in December 1976, the band of Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett remained unchanged, however trouble was brewing on the horizons.

Success leads to the need to create more success. And for Genesis, they had four competent songwriters who thought they all had the songs to create more success. The question was, which songs would get chosen and which songs would be left out.

Eleventh Earl Of Mar

Written by Tony Banks, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford. Its progressive, competing with bands like Yes for complex time changes and yet it still sounds like foot tapping rock and roll.

That section that starts with the words “I’m fighting, gravity falling” is my favourite and while brief, the vocal melody from Collins is memorable.

It refers to the historical figure of John Erskine, Earl of Mar, a Scottish Jacobite.

One For The Vine

At 10 minutes, it’s not for everyone. Written solely by Banks, the keys dominate the track.

I like the section from about the 4.40 minute mark. It’s almost soundtrack like something which The Alan Parsons Project would do a lot with his instrumentals. And the quietened down section at 7.21 fits well after the long instrumental passage.

Your Own Special Way

Even though the song is written by Rutherford in open tuning, it’s a typical Phil Collins song. It also reminds me of Coheed and Cambria and a song from the “No World For Tomorrow” album.

Wot Gorilla

An instrumental which Collins brought to the band and one that he said is one of his favourite tracks as it brought in his influences of jazz fusion.

Meanwhile Hackett felt that the song was “good rhythmically, but underdeveloped harmonically” and didn’t want it on the album in place of his song “Please Don’t Touch” which Hackett would later use for his solo album of the same name.

All In A Mouse’s Night

Written by Banks, it’s a silly song lyrically about a 10 foot mouse with big teeth however the music reminds me of a section in Dream Theater’s “Six Degree Of Inner Turbulence” song.

Blood On The Rooftops

Written by Hackett and Collins, I like the classical/flamenco style guitar from Hackett to start off the song. Listen closely and you will hear a bit of “Dee” from Randy Rhoads there. Then again, classical is classical so everyone is borrowing from the same masters.

Banks and Rutherford have said that this was Hackett’s best song as a member of the group.

Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers…

Written by Hackett and Rutherford, it’s an instrumental which is in two parts. The guitar playing from Hackett is very flamenco finger picked liked and good enough to rival the masters of the genre.

In That Quiet Earth

Written by the band, this is the second part of the instrumental and Collins is playing a fast jazz fusion beat which allows the rest of the band to dance over.

The heavy metal like section from 2.50 is the reason why I press play.

Afterglow

Written by Banks, this a milestone song for the band, as it proved that they could write short songs that they all liked. And a sign of the direction they would take.

The album was another success and the tour was huge with the gigs in Brazil being attended by over 150,000 people and each member needing armed bodyguards during their stay.

But Hackett was not a happy camper.

The writing process for the album was argumentative and having his songs removed was also contentious. So once the tour ended, Hackett left the bend to pursue a solo career.

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Australian Method Series and The Record Vault: Birds Of Tokyo – Universes

“Universes” is the second album from Birds of Tokyo, independently released on 5 July 2008.

The Personnel for the album is Ian Kenny on vocals, Adam Spark on guitars and keyboards, Adam Weston on drums and Anthony Jackson on bass.

If people are unaware, Birds of Tokyo formed in 2005 as another creative outlet for Karnivool vocalist Ian Kenny who wanted to do something softer and accessible.

There was a period between 2005 to 2012 that both bands operated, however Birds Of Tokyo then took over Ian Kenny’s life until late 2018 when Karnivool got together to play some shows and then COVID-19 hit and it looks like both bands started operating again at the same time.

I am a Karnivool fan first, and my interest to hear Birds Of Tokyo was because of that.

Karnivool plays a certain brand of heavy alternative rock/Metal which I like but even they have added more abstract movements into their songs..

Birds Of Tokyo at the start had this lighter alternative rock vibe happening but as they grew more popular, they more or less became a standard verse and chorus pop act. And a very good one at that.

Uno

Backward tape noises for about a minute leads into the “opening track”.

Broken Bones

Its aggressive in the verses and it could pass as a more pop version of Karnivool, purely because of Ian Kenny’s vocals.

The “I’m on a highway that leads to the end” section and how it builds up is why you should press play on this, because I guess no matter what we do, all of the roads we take lead us to our end.

For humans are born just to die.

Wild Eyed Boy

It’s got a start that reminds me of “The Cure” and “Inxs” but Ian Kenny’s voice and vocals keeps the song rooted in rock territory.

Silhouettic

The triple knock out combo continues with this.

It’s fast rock, hard to describe, but the vocal melodies are so catchy, they remain long after the song is finished, especially the lyric “there goes my baby”.

Head in My Hands

It feels almost like an Icehouse track, with Iva Davies singing. A bit slower, more early 80’s Brit Pop like Joy Division and I can’t get the lyric “I hate my melodies there all the same” out of my head.

But press play to hear the Thin Lizzy like harmonies which mimic the vocal melodies.

White Witch

It reminds me of Jet and “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” in spirit and feel. It also could have come from a Wolfmother album.

An Ode to Death

It’s heavy with a sinister groove and a chord progression that reminds me of “The Way” from Fastball.

Armour for Liars

Its aggressive and super melodic.

“Flowing blood for wealth and oil, the arms race and their toys, Power suits and power ties, corporate armour built for liars” more or less sums up what the song is about.

And I like the repeating line of “hey kid, run on home again, no world news to sell again”.

The Baker’s Son

More like Karnivool than the alternative pop rock on show here and at 6 plus minutes long, the song moves between moods and feels.

Train Wrecks

It feels like its influenced by INXS as it has that vibe with a bit of Radiohead and Muse mixed in.

Medicine

A strummed acoustic and metronomic piano chords with Kenny’s vocals makes up the closer.

If your time is short, then press play to hear the first three tracks in “Broken Bones”, “Wild Eyed Boy” and “Silhouettic” along with the 70’s rocker “White Witch”. While I think of it, stick around for “Armours For Liars” as the deep track.

And it was certified Gold in Australia but it’s not the album you see in their Top 5 Spotify list. Those bigger albums were just around the corner.

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The Record Vault: Def Leppard – Vault: Def Leppard Greatest Hits (1980–1995)

If you had the albums you didn’t really need this unless you are a serious collector, which the majority of Def Leppard fans are. And if you had no albums from the band, then this is one to purchase as its focus is definitely on the big albums of “Pyromania”, “Hysteria” and “Adrenalize”.

“Vault: Def Leppard Greatest Hits (1980–1995)” was released on 23 October 1995.

Pour Some Sugar on Me (Historia Video Edit)

From the “Hysteria” album, written by Clark, Collen, Elliott, Lange and Savage.

The song was treading water in and out of the Top 10 singles charts and 49 weeks after it was released it hit the Number 1 spot. The path to number 1 happened during the European tour. The Strip Clubs of Florida started playing it, then people started requesting it on radio and the song just blew up.

They were done with the album and working on the last song for the album, “Armageddon It”. During a break in the recording, Elliot picked up the acoustic guitar and played the three chords. Lange heard it and liked it. It’s “We Will Rock You” vibe is evident and the Chorus was done first. So they had the big hook and worked backwards from there.

The verses started to have this “Come Together” vocal feel. But they weren’t done, as both Lange and Elliot took small tape recorders and scatted phonetically into. 10 days later the song was completed. The fastest thing they had done for the album.

“Love is like a bomb” okay.

Photograph

From the “Pyromania” album and written by Clark, Elliott, Lange, Savage and Willis.

Collen played the lead break on his Ibanez Destroyer. It was a hybrid hard rock version of AC/DC meets Boston. It had that aggressiveness and the melody.

Love Bites

From the “Hysteria” album, written by Clark, Collen, Elliott, Lange and Savage. The bulk of the song was courtesy of Mutt Lange. When he played it to the band on acoustic guitar in sounded like a Don Henley cut, as Lange’s voice is very similar.

But as the band kept working on it with Lange, it just kept getting bigger and bigger. The Chorus is huge and press play to hear the melodic guitars there.

Also when the song broke through, the band had to learn it while on tour to add it to its set list. And it was daunting due to the multi-layered harmonies.

Let’s Get Rocked

One of the earliest songs written for the “Adrenalize” album by Collen, Elliott, Lange and Savage. Like “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, the Chorus hook was written first and the rest followed after.

Its juvenile and fun and so departed from the “shoe starers” as the Grunge movement was known back then.

Two Steps Behind (Acoustic Version)

Written by Elliott and the song appeared as a B side on one of the “Adrenalize” singles, on the “Retro Active” album and on the “Last Action Hero” soundtrack which was a box office bomb for Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The idea for an acoustic song came together after Joe Elliot started jamming with Hothouse Flowers.

Michael Kamen got involved because he wanted to do strings on a Def Leppard cut. So the band sent him all the tracks that they were using on “Retro Active” and nothing really stood out to Kamen.

However one of his assistants heard the song and kept humming the vocal melody. When Kamen asked her what she was humming, she mentioned it’s one of the Def Leppard songs they sent through and Kamen had his “a-ha” moment and his involvement was sealed.

Animal

From the “Hysteria” album written by Clark, Collen, Elliott, Lange and Savage.

And it was put together so unusually. Joe Elliot sang his vocals to a different backing track and once the vocals were done, Lange took away the music and left the drums and vocals and told Phil and Steve to come up with a new musical track.

Heaven Is

From the “Adrenalize” album and written by Clark, Collen, Elliot, Lange and Savage.

It can be interchanged with a Bryan Adams cut.

Rocket (Visualize video edit)

From the “Hysteria” album written by Clark, Collen, Elliott, Lange and Savage.

It was actually Joe Elliot that came up the African drum loop.

When Love & Hate Collide

Written by Elliot and Savage. It was originally written for “Adrenalize” circa 1989, however it’s seen as the new song for this album. Elliot was going with a “Love Bites” part 2 vibe and they stopped recording the “Slang” album to get this song finished for the “Vault” album at the request of their label.

And the guys had to get re-acquainted with their past recording methods as their mindsets were on the future and the sounds/production of “Slang”.

The vocal melody also reminds of Peter Cetera and “Glory Of Love”.

Action

The love the band has for Sweet is evident on how well they covered this track for a B side, which also appeared on the “Retro Active” album.

It’s full of energy and you can hear the fun dripping from the speakers.

Make Love Like a Man

From “Adrenalize” and written by Clark, Collen, Elliott and Lange. It’s basically “Pour Some Sugar On Me” part 2.

Armageddon It

From “Hysteria” and written by Clark, Collen, Elliott, Lange and Savage.

The guitar part was just power chords when the song was first demoed in 84, and then a few years later, Steve Clark started playing a T-Rex inspired riff over the power chord progressions, which inspired Joe Elliot vocally.

And that whole, “gimme all your loving” section was inspired by ZZ Top and the band were always going to change the words, so it didn’t have “gimme all your loving” but it sounded so good that Mutt Lange told em to leave it.

Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad?

From “Adrenalize” and written by Collen, Elliott and Lange. They had this and “When Love And Hate Collide” and decided to go with this for the album. The majority of the song was written by Collen and Lange with Elliot contributing lyrics.

Rock of Ages

From “Pyromania” and written by Clark, Elliott and Lange.

It was a Steve Clark riff and the original demo had a slower tempo.

Mutt Lange had the song musical structure mapped out. The verses came first but they still didn’t have a Chorus.

A hymn book in the Control Room left behind by a Choir group gave the song its title.

Hysteria

The title track and written by Clark, Collen, Elliott, Lange and Savage.

But the main guitar part was from the fingers of Rick Savage. And Joe Elliot didn’t like it, because he thought it sounded too much like “Every Breath You Take” from The Police.

Bringin’ On the Heartbreak

From the “High ‘N’ Dry” album and written by Clark, Elliott and Willis. Still a live staple and one of their signature song. Check it out for the harmony guitars.

Initially it was a demo called “A Certain Heartache”. And when they started working with Mutt Lange, Lange had a tendency to rip songs apart and ask the guys to add new bits. But for this, it didn’t really happen as Lange approved.

5× Platinum in the U.S. Not bad for a Best off compilation. Ka-Ching.

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1976 – Part 4.2: David Bowie – Station To Station

I’m not the biggest Bowie fan, but his music got a second life in the late 90’s and onwards and I kept checking his albums out. I go in with an open mind with the hope to find something that I could use in my song writing.

Now, “Station to Station” is album number 10 for Bowie, released in 1976. It has been regarded as one of his most significant works, so it was on a list of album’s to check out for me.

The band for the album is stellar and on fire. Guitarist Carlos Alomar, bassist George Murray and drummer Dennis Davis all bring it, and guitarist Earl Slick contributes along with pianist Roy Bittan.

Bowie was too drugged out during this time and his memory of the album is vague. And with all the drugs artists do, they always find a way to create and the people around them, always find a way to get them to create. As their livelihoods depend on Bowie.

Station To Station

A 10 plus minute opening track which starts off with train noises created by the guitar. And somehow when it was released as a single, the song was creatively edited down to 3 minutes.

It’s typical of the era, blues rock and with arrangements that didn’t stick to a radio formula, because the artists ruled and the label execs didn’t really have a say, until they became more powerful than the artists in the 80’s because of MTV.

In keeping with the Blues Rock theme, Bowie was loaded up with cocaine and he kept asking Earl Slick to keep repeating a Chuck Berry lead over and over again.

Golden Years

This could have ended up on a Steely Dan album as it has this jazz rock fusion vibe.

Word On A Wing

It’s like a mid-tempo rock ballad, with a vocal delivery that reminds me of Joy Division.

TVC15

Bowie wrote this while he was filming “The Man Who Fell To Earth”. But it’s a skip for me.

Stay

I like the riff, it’s almost Santana like with a bit of Doobie Brothers thrown in and you should definitely press play to hear the bass groove.

But man, Bowie’s vocals are really not connecting with me at all on this album and in this song in particular, because musically, this song is gold.

Wild Is The Wind

Musically, the song is great. It’s like a rock ballad. Like all the previous songs, the vocals and melodies from Bowie just don’t connect with me on any level.

And while this album is held in high regard amongst Bowie’s fans, there isn’t enough there to make me a fan. Although there are a lot of lyrics to digest.

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The Record Vault – Def Leppard – Make Love Like A Man (CD Single)

Single #2 from ADRENALIZE – “MAKE LOVE LIKE A MAN” is our tongue in cheek look at a significant facet of human existence.

Take note!

Meanwhile we’ve got a couple more unreleased tracks for you. “MISS YOU IN A HEARTBEAT” is a Collen song of somewhat recent vintage, first recorded by Paul Rodgers’ group, The Law.

“TWO STEPS BEHIND” is an Elliot composition performed totally acoustically bass, 2 guitars and voice. Our first recorded acoustic performance.

And finally a version of a song by a group Joe really wishes he could’ve been in “ACTION” by Sweet. For those too young to remember, go listen to Sweet’s “Greatest Hits”.

A revelation and for those who remember the original, let me say that our efforts to duplicate every part recorded by Messrs Connolly, Priest, Scott and Tucker, we discovered some very interesting bits.

Don’t worry guys, we won’t let on.

It felt like they were giving us insights into their thinking with these little extra blurbs on the back. I always felt starved of information from my favourite artists.

I’m not a huge fan of “Make Love Like A Man” but I do get it that others like it as “Adrenalize” was their entry point into the band, while “Pyromania” was for me.

Miss You In A Heartbeat

I had to call up the track on Spotify to re-acquaint myself. Def Leppard has an electric version, an acoustic version and a revised version doing the rounds.

The electric version is classic Def Leppard. It could be a leftover from “Hysteria”.

The revised version has the piano as the dominant instrument and I like the gospel feel the piano gives it.

The acoustic version also has the piano as the dominant instrument and the Chorus doesn’t have those ohh, oh oh.. And the acoustic solo is a press play moment for me.

I also pressed play on the version done by The Law. And this one is close to the electric version that Def Leppard did, but Paul Rodgers is a bit more soulful with his vocal delivery.

Action

Def Leppard are on fire with this track. I always liked this track from Sweet, and the Lep’s do it justice.

Two Steps Behind (Acoustic Version)

Written by Joe Elliot, it feels like a camp fire track, very Bryan Adams like.

By the end of it, I pressed play again, because I liked the variation.

It’s a shame that the art of the single is lost within the current world as Def Leppard, Metallica and Bon Jovi really knew how to deliver a killer single release.

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

The Record Vault: Def Leppard – Let’s Get Rocked (CD Single)

You hold on your hands the first single from our new album, ADRENALIZE. A simple little ditty, LET’S GET ROCKED just about sums up our feelings about life.

Also check out ONLY AFTER DARK, a Mick Robson song we’ve always liked. Mick’s been I’ll and this track is our acknowledgment of his microphone.

It sure feels good to be back. Play it LOUD!

I should have written about the CD single first if I was chronological with my posts on Def Leppard.

Well “Let’s Get Rocked” is part of pop culture at this point in time. It’s Chorus is massive and instantly recognizable in the same way “We Will Rock You” from Queen is.

Only After Dark

Their tribute to Mick Ronson.

If I had to pick between the original and the cover I would go for the original Ronson version. It just feels loose, raw and fun.

Def Leppard stays faithful to the original, so what we hear with the Def Lep version is an updated sound and Joe Elliot vocals.

Women – Live

Now this sounds massive.

Each snare hit and pulsing bass note is perfect.

And check out the Chorus riff with those extra pinch harmonics added. The beauty of playing live and feeding off the energy of the crowd.

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

The Record Vault: Def Leppard – Pyromania

In 1983 and 84, it felt like there was “Pyromania” and then there was everything else.

Quiet Riot didn’t have the same success in Australia that they had in the U.S and Motley Crue was a few years away from their “Home Sweet Home” fame in Australia.

The Lep’s wanted to be on top of the pop charts. That was their mission. The rise was slow but gradual.

If you like rock and metal music, you would like this album. If you like pop and other forms of music, you would still like this album.

The “Pyromania” story begins with “High ’N’ Dry”.

The album didn’t sell what the band and the label expected it to sell. And their UK headlining tour had them selling 25% of the tickets. In other words, they were pulling in between 400-500 people in 2000-seat theatres.

Def Leppard was then given a supporting slot on the European Leg of the “Point Of Entry” tour by Judas Priest. But they never had a chance to make an impact, coming on second after Accept, who had massive momentum with “Balls To The Wall”.

The tour finished in December, 1981.

But the band was busy writing riffs on the road and man, they sure had a lot for new songs. They also revisited some older songs and rewrote em lyrically or rearranged em musically.

“Medicine Man” wasnt good enough to make the “High ‘N’ Dry” album but it was beefed up and retitled “Rock Rock (Till You Drop)”. With new lyrics, it became the album opener.

There was another unfinished track which was described as “a dual-guitar pop song” by Joe Elliot in an interview at TeamRock.com. Well that song was also finally completed, and it became known as “Photograph”.

Producer Mutt Lange, was also on board, being listed as a co-writer on all of the album’s 10 tracks which bothered Willis as he believed that wasn’t the case.

When the band was given the green light to record, the budget was tight. Two albums in, the band was in debt to their label to the tune of £700,000, and each band member was on wages of £40 a week.

A cold hard truth on the realities of the recording business and the creative accounting of the labels is that the bands incur debts that could last forever.

The album finally hit the streets in January 1983.

But.

The album was selling slow in the U.K. A showcase gig at the Marquee Club in London on February 9 had a very small attendance.

But in North America, it was a different story.

MTV put the songs “Photograph,” “Foolin’” and “Rock of Ages” on constant rotation.

Suddenly rock and metal bands changed the way they recorded. NWOBHM bands started to sing more melodically and with multi-layered backing vocals.

Joe Elliot once said that he wanted the power of AC/DC mixed with the variety of Queen for Def Leppard. That equals “Pyromania”.

I had the vinyl but it was also in the same box that went missing during a house move however I picked this up on CD.

Rock Rock (Till You Drop)

It’s a sound and groove that Cinderella and Kix and many other U.S acts would put to good use to build careers’ on.

But it was guitarist Pete Willis who wrote the riff to “Rock Rock (Till You Drop)” however he’s not credited.

Willis and Lange didn’t get along at all, constantly clashing with each other in the studio which then also led to tension with the other members.

As a founding member, Willis didn’t believe he could be removed or fired. But removed he was.

Anything goes

Photograph

There is no denying the riff. It’s as good as any of the classic riffs that guitarists play in guitar shops and so forth. Structurally, the song goes all AC/DC style riffing in the verses and pop rock like in the Chorus.

Stagefright

Rick Savage came up “Stagefright”.

It’s got this Sweet “Action” vibe merged with metal riffage in the verses and a pop chorus.

Too Late For Love

As soon as this song starts off, I swear I’ve heard it somewhere else.

Die Hard The Hunter

You feel the sadness as soon as the Emadd9 clean tone arpeggios kick in and it gets even sadder when Joe starts singing “Let’s toast”. Then it goes into a riff that Queensryche used when they wrote “Revolution Calling”.

That section from 4.05 to 5.05 always gets me to stop what I’m doing and start paying attention.

Foolin

The opener to Side 2, with that majestic guitar part.

The magic is in the arpeggiated intro and the eventual build up with the layered backing vocals singing “Is anybody out there?”.

This song stands the test of time.

The lead break begins with a call and response. It reminds me of “Over The Mountain” from Randy Rhoads and Ozzy.

Rock Of Ages

The first time I heard em.

Yeah, it’s better to burn out / Yeah, than fade away

A rock and rollers creed.

Rise up, gather ’round / Rock this place to the ground

Burn it up, let’s go for broke / Watch the night go up in smoke

Rock on (rock on) / Drive me crazier / No serenade, no fire brigade / Just the pyromania, come on

This is the embryo of “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and they take inspiration from Queen, by using songs like “We Will Rock You” and “Another One Bites The Dust” as influences for the verse delivery/structure.

When the Chorus comes in after two verses, it’s well worth the wait. “Don’t Stop Believin’” from Journey also used this kind of song structure.

Rock of ages, rock of ages / Still rollin’, keep a-rollin’

Rock of ages, rock of ages / Still rollin’, rock ‘n’ rollin’

You won’t be able to stop yourself from singing along with the chorus.

Comin Under Fire

This song is a must for any guitarist. It merges 70’s classic rock, with the NWOBHM sound with Scorpions Euro Metal.

The intro alone has it all.

Arpeggiated guitar lines hook you in and then the pedal point riff blasts through the speakers.

When the verses come in, we are greeted with volume swells that outline the different chords.

Like the pre-chorus of “Foolin”, the chorus of “Comin Under Fire” has excellent layered backing vocals. Lyrically, it’s not the best, but musically, it rules.

Billy’s Got A Gun

Steve Clark was a Jimmy Page fan, so it was no surprise that he was the one who created this Zeppelin-influenced epic.

Never underestimate the ability of a song to paint a picture.

This is my favourite Def Leppard cut and it has so many good bits.

The verse bass riff reminds me of “Heaven and Hell”. The backing vocals are so layered, melodic and operatic. The overall drum groove reminds of “Kashmir”. And I guarantee you that Chris DeGarmo, Geoff Tate and Michael Wilton all had this album and paid particular attention to this song as the “Operation Mindcrime” album is musically influenced by “Billy’s Got A Gun”.

And you get an unbelievable solo and an ending that makes you press play again, so you hear the album over and over and over again.

As time marches forward, the greatness and power of this song is being forgotten.

And it’s like the band made a crossroads deal to achieve fame. The success of this album put the band members on different paths than the previous ones they were on and that would lead to different outcomes for them.

On New Years Eve, 1984, Rick Allen went to overtake a car and failed to negotiate the bend. He lost part of his left hand in the accident and surgery to reattach it, led to an infection and then eventual surgical amputation.

And no one knew it at the time, but it was going to be long wait for the next album.

On a side note, Trevor Rabin and Mike Slamer are both thanked in the credits.

Those two dudes are very well known session guitarists, so I’m asking the question; did they actually play on this?

Slamer was used by producer Beau Hill on most of the records he produced in the 80s. If you have an Alice Cooper, Kix, Winger, Streets, Warrant, Fiona, Europe, Twisted Sister and Ratt album, then there is a high chance that Slamer played on it.

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