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

1996 – Part 3.2: Bryan Adams – 18 Till I Die

“Reckless” was massive and is still massive. The follow up “Into The Fire” was seen as a failure but “Waking Up The Neighbours” re-established Bryan Adam’s as a tour-de-force. Mutt Lange was on board for that album as co-producer and co-writer, with Jim Vallance only appearing on half of the tracks as co-writer.

Released in 1996 and five years after “Waking Up The Neighbours”, “18 Till I Die” hit the streets.

Bryan Adams and Mutt Lange are back at producing and writing most of the tracks but Jim Vallance is missing.

The band for the album is Bryan Adams is on rhythm guitar and vocals, Keith Scott is on lead guitar, Mickey Curry is on drums, Dave Taylor us on bass, Mutt Lange is on guitars, Michael Kamen is on piano and string arrangements.

The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me

It’s like a ZZ Top track. No blues purist would give them the credit but ZZ Top with “Eliminator” and “Afterburner” brought back the blues into the pop mainstream in a big way. And those little lead breaks and fills on this song are loaded with Texan spice.

The title is one of those cheesy pick-up lines, but hey, Adams makes it work as he sings about how they stick like glue and how she’s the only thing that looks good on him.

Do To You

It reminds me of a song called “What I Like About You” from The Romantics merged with a bit of “Love Shack” from the B-52’s and a little bit of punk from The Clash and somehow it still sounds like Bryan Adams.

And I like the harmonica licks that kick in between the vocal melodies.

Let’s Make A Night To Remember

This is a Def Leppard cut through and through about getting together and getting it on. It could easily be interchanged with a song from “Adrenalize” and people wouldn’t notice.

The video clip has various women posing for Bryan Adams as he photographs them, an attempt to change his image to fit into some voyeur playboy kind of image.

I like the lead break although its only four bars and way too short.

18 Till I Die

I like the arpeggios in the intro.

When the power chords come crashing in, I feel like it’s like a Rolling Stones or The Kinks like track musically. Lyrically it’s about maintaining youthful traits, even as you grow older.

Star

It’s different, more ballad like and very similar to another song he co-wrote called “Glitter” with Motley Crue. And melodic rockers from Sweden would start to have ballads like this in the mid 2000’s.

I guess Adams was a bit ahead here.

(I Wanna Be) Your Underwear

Stupid title, but hey, management and the label were trying to alter Adam’s image from working class hero to playboy.

Keith Scott has got some Steve Vai talking guitar happening with the guitar whistles to kick off the song.

Check out the bass work in the verses from Dave Taylor. Excellent.

We’re Gonna Win

It’s a punk song, but a rock song. And I like it.

I Think About You

A ballad, but more in the country rock ballad arena, something which Mutt Lange was using a lot of Shania Twain.

I’ll Always Be Right There

Strings, an acoustic guitar and a Steve Perry like vocal delivery. It feels like a movie song but two ballads in a row, lost me.

It Ain’t A Party, If You Can’t Come Round

The cheesy titles are back which also reminds me of a Vince Neil song title and so is the loud country blues rock.

Black Pearl

The country blues rock from the Mississippi Delta continues with this one and a riff inspired by “Peter Gunn”.

The lead break (although brief) from Keith Scott is Grade A Nashville stamped.

You’re Still Beautiful to Me

I like the feel of this song. It’s a simple drum beat, a strummed acoustic guitar, a great Adams vocal deliver and how good are those licks in between the verses and Choruses and under the vocals.

Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?

Written by Adams, Lange and Kamen and featuring the excellent flamenco guitarist Paco DeLucia.

I came across DeLucia via Al DiMeola and the trio they had with John McLaughlin and became a fan with his acoustic guitar playing.

Featured in a movie I can’t remember but these movie placements ended up being huge promotional vehicles for Adams.

It was a Top 10 album in Australian, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Holland, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K (which also had it go to Number 1).

In Australia and Canada it was certified 3× Platinum. In the U.K it was certified 2x Platinum. Platinum in the U.S, New Zealand, Japan and Switzerland. Gold in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany and Spain.

And the label still saw it as a disappointment.

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

Australian Method Series: Orianthi – O

Orianthi’s breakthrough was “Believe”, her second album, which came out in 2009 and the hit single “According To You” which she didn’t write as the album had a star studded line up of songwriters and producers either writing songs for Orianthi or working with Orianthi to write songs.

“O” was released in 2020, after her collaboration with Richie Sambora known as RSO finished up or put on hold.

It’s on Frontiers, produced by Marti Fredericksen and it’s great to see Orianthi back out on her own.

And from reading interviews it looks likes the drumming is created/programmed by Evan Frederiksen.

“Contagious”

It’s got a riff that reminds me of Sixx A.M and DJ Ashba like “Lies Of The Beautiful People”.

The song is written by Orianthi and Marti Fredericksen, who has worked with a lot of artists and since I was listening to Motley Crue a few weeks ago, he co write all the tracks on the “Saints Of Los Angeles” album.

And “Contagious” has that sound. It gets me rocking, as it amalgamates blues rock with a bit of Muse chucked in and a modern rock mix.

Lyrically it’s about hatred, and how easily we could all be infected with it.

“They shall not break us ‘cause hate is contagious”

Check out the guitar lead. It’s short but good.

“Sinners Hymn”

It’s is a nice amalgamation of the devils blues music with modern rock to create a sinners anthem.

Check out the section after the solo. It gets all quite with a riff that reminds me of “The Bleeding” and “Prayers Of The Damned” as it builds up again.

“Rescue Me”

This track could appear on a Rag’N’Bone album. It’s got that “Human” feel.

Orianthi is all soul in her vocal melodies on this and delivers an emotive lead break.

“Blow”

It’s a sleazy, sexy and sultry groove that percolates until it explodes in the Chorus.

“Sorry”

It’s a contemporary pop song with a funky hip hop beat. There are synths and a killer vocal delivery from Orianthi.

And I like the mix between merging hip hop beats with a melodic rock vocal melodies and in the Chorus it’s pop rock.

The solo is very Santana inspired and I like it.

“Crawling Out Of The Dark”

It’s on acoustic cut, quite, subdued and melancholic. It wouldn’t be out of place on a country rock record.

Lyrically it’s about a relationship break down and how she’s crawling out of the dark. And when she got out, she didn’t know she had fallen that far.

And check out the blues influenced solo.

“Impulsive”

It’s got this Rolling Stones/Free inspired riff that I like.
 
The lead break is very SRV influenced.

“Streams Of Consciousness”

It starts off with a music box.

It’s a co-write with Nikki Sixx and Marti Frederiksen. Modern rock at its best with some good rock riffs.

Nikki Sixx delivered lyrics about the glamorous but filthy side of Los Angeles.

The solo starts off with a Nu-Metal riff before she breaks out the wah-wah and it sounds very Slash like.

“Company”

It has blues guitar but the background foundation is very synth dance driven.

And a chorus that would not be out of place on an album from “The Cure”.

The best way to sum it up is an amalgamation of different music genres. And because the melodies sound melodic and soulful, it all works together.

“Moonwalker”

It’s got this Latin vibe with a bit of an Enya feel. And the song and overall album gets me thinking about Queen, who also incorporated so many different styles into their albums.

In other words there is a lot of variation here and a little bit for everyone.

Press play and enjoy.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music

1986 – Part 1.6: Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet

I wrote a post on this album back in 2013, called “What Made Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet Explode”. You can read it here.

You can call this an extra appreciation post.

Like all great movies, the actors and production team had to be in place.

The producer Bruce Fairbairn and the engineer/mixer Bob Rock are there. The band is there. The song writing team of Jovi, Sambora and Desmond Child is there. The three years of playing and touring together is there. Doc McGhee as manager is there. A label looking to break em big is there.

And the band decided that quantity will breed quality.

Along with the album tracks, the band had written over 30 songs for the album. YouTube has a lot of videos up. Start with “The Basement Demos” and then move to the “Pre Production Demos”. A Whitesnake evolutions style mix is required here.

The biggest win for the Jovi team was the release month of August.

For that month it was up against Motorhead – “Orgasmatron”, Vinnie Vincent – “Invasion”, Warlock – “True As Steel” and Great White – “Shot In The Dark”.

If it was released in July, it would have been up against DLR’s – “Eat Em and Smile” for listeners’ attention.

If it was released in June, it would have had to compete against Queen – “A Kind of Magic”, Genesis – “Invisible Touch”, Rod Stewart – “Every Beat of My Heart”, Madonna – “True Blue” and Cinderella – “Night Songs”.

If it was released in May as originally intended, it would have been up against AC/DC – “Who Made Who”, Journey – “Raised on Radio” and Europe – “The Final Countdown”.

In other words, August was perfect.

“Let It Rock” kicks it off Side 1.

Like Loverboy’s “Working for The Weekend”, the song is about letting your hair down on the weekend.

And Fairbairn had a thing that the bands he worked with should have an intro that could kick off the concert.

“Shot through the heart and you’re to blame, darling you give love a bad name.”

Its overplayed now but iconic and unforgettable back then.

Then the band kicks in and Richie does the vocal melody on the guitar until they start the strip bar sleazy verse riff.

“You Give Love A Bad Name” was the one that opened the door and as soon as the band unleashed “Livin On A Prayer”, the album started selling 700,000 records a month.

I saw “Social Disease” as pure filler back then as I failed to appreciate the blues soul swing of the track. And it needed to be written so that “Bad Medicine” could be written.

So you telephone your doctor
Just to see what pill to take
You know there’s no prescription
Gonna wipe this one away

“Wanted Dead or Alive” was already a hit before it came out as a single. But the song didn’t reach number one because when the song was released as a single, the multi-million fan base had already digested it and made it their own.

“And the people I meet always go their separate ways”

“Raise Your Hands” kicks off side 2. The motto of this song is simply. Come to the show, raise your hands and get wild.

Raise your hands
When you want to let it go
Raise your hands
And you want to let a feeling show

“Without Love” is lost on the album behind all the great tracks.

“I’d Die for You” has a guitar riff that reminds me of “Breaking The Law” from Judas Priest.

“Never Say Goodbye” was too slow for me back then. It was many years later that I started to appreciate the song and that guitar melody from Richie is pretty cool to play.

Finally “Wild in the Street” closes the album with its 60s rock vibe.

“In here we got this code of honor
Nobody’s going down”

If you want to experience 1986, then crank “Slippery When Wet”.

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A to Z of Making It, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Expectations (Alter + Adapt) = Survival (with Machine Head and Twisted Sister)

There is an interview with Jay Jay French that is doing the rounds at digiday. In the first question, he is asked what tips he would offer young bands today.

“Alter your expectations, because people make the wrong expectations. We adapted our expectations over the years, consistently, and that’s how we survived.”

Classy words and very simple.

Expectations (Alter + Adapt) = Survival

So what do all of our favourite bands/artists keep on doing? They keep on spending a lot of time writing and recording 10 to 15 songs, just so they can group them together and release them as an album. This “expectation” worked once upon a time. However it is not working today. Metal artists are lucky that metal fans are loyal and that we still purchase the “album.”

Of course exceptions exist, and it only works if all the songs are undeniable.

Machine Head hit the nail on the head with “Unto The Locust”. Seven tracks that will stand the test of time.  For the new album, 5 song titles have been made available and a few more are in progress. So I think it is safe to assume that we will be getting another 7 to 8 tracks as a long player. Instead of providing an album with the “expected” 10 to 12 tracks, Machine Head are focusing on quality instead of quantity. Altering and adapting.

Did “Unto The Locust” set the sales figures alight? Of course not. It did what it needed to do. It satisfied the hardcore audience of Machine Head. Now if metal bands want to reach the 500,000 to 1,000,000 sales targets then they need to have that undeniable crossover song.

Imagine if Machine Head comes out with their own Crazy Train, Enter Sandman, Symphony Of Destruction or Holy Diver. A song like that will satisfy their hard core fan base and it will also satisfy a lot of other people in the hard rock, power metal, heavy metal, progressive and even pop rock genres.

Check out the following comment from Anita Elberse and her book “Blockbusters: Hit-Making, Risk-Taking, And The Big Business Of Entertainment”. It is probably the best advice that any artist will get.

“…out of a total of 870,000 albums that sold at least one copy in 2011, 13 album titles sold more than a million copies each, together accounting for 19 million copies sold. That’s 0.001 percent of all titles accounting for 7 percent of sales. The top 1,000 albums generated about half of all the sales, and the top 10,000 albums around 80 percent of sales. Deep in the tail, 513,000 titles or nearly 60 percent of the assortment, sold fewer than 10 copies each, together making up half a percent of total sales.”

513,000 album titles sold fewer than 10 copies each. So if you are one of those 513,000 bands that sold less than 10 copies, what do you do?

You obviously expected a better return on your investment. A lot of artists will give up, a lot of bands will break up and then there will be a small percentage who will adapt and alter their expectations. Remember, I have always said that in order to be successful, you need to outlast the competition.

What about singles? I have been saying for a long time to anyone who listens that we live in a single world. As soon as fans got the option to cherry pick what they like, the “tracks” became the rock stars instead of the album. The below is from the same book written by Anita Elberse.

“In 2011, 102 tracks sold more than a million units each, accounting for 15 percent of total sales. That is not a typo: 0.00001 percent of the eight million tracks sold that year generated almost a sixth of all sales. It is hard to overstate the importance of those few blockbusters in the head of the curve. And the trend suggests that hits are gaining in relevance. In 2007, 36 tracks each sold more than a million copies, together these tracks accounted for 7 percent of total market volume. In 2009, 79 tracks reached that milestone; together they make up 12 percent of the sales volume.”

If the above statement doesn’t make the artist realise that we are living in a singles world, then those artists need to re-evaluate their place in the music world. Even Robb Flynn stated in his most recent post that he doesn’t feel like they have written the definitive track like “Halo” and “Locust” for the new album.

In relation to Twisted Sister, the band kept on evolving over a 10 year period and by 1984, with the rise of MTV, the timing was right for them to take full advantage of it. However for Twisted Sister, the success proved nasty as Jay Jay explains;

“The downside of it is we exploded so fast that – even though the band had been together 11 years at that point – the heat of the immense popularity, the worldwide success put so much pressure on the band. The band couldn’t sustain itself and eventually collapsed.”

Dee Snider joined Jay Jay French and Eddie Ojeda in 1976. Jay Jay on the other hand was at it since 1972. He finally found success in 1984. Twelve years slugging it out. Twelve years of rejection and broken promises. Do any of the new artists today have that same kind of thick skin? Do they have the longevity to stick it out. To succeed in the music business, you need to outlast the competition and the competition these days is fierce for listener’s attention.

This is what Metallica has done. This is what Machine Head has done. This is what Motley Crue has done. They are outlasting the competition. They are adapting and evolving.

 

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