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

1978 – Part 1

Quiet Riot – II

I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this in a second hand record shop in the early 90’s for $10.

It’s part of Randy Rhoads origin story.

And what a strange cover, with the guys in the band, dressed up in glam outfits in a locker room with American Football jocks.

What the !!

“Slick Black Cadillac” kicks it off, a song which QR would redo with Carlos Cavazo and release it on “Metal Health”. But you need to hear the RR version.

The piece d’resistance is the solo sections of “Trouble” and “Face To Face” which reminds me of bits and pieces from “Mr Crowley”, “Over The Mountain” and “Flying High Again”.

And my other favourite is “We’ve Got The Magic”.

Listen to the little melodic leads RR plays in the Chorus.

And who said that RR couldn’t be bluesy. Check out the lead break in this song.

Boston – Don’t Look Back

How good is that melodic lead break during the Chorus of “Don’t Look Back”?

“A Man I’ll Never Be” has a similar lead break like “Don’t Look Back” just before the Chorus.

“Party” sounds like they just turned up, plugged in, had a party and jammed.

And that’s it for me. Boston has always been a two to three song band per album.

Van Halen – Van Halen

So many good songs for a debut.

It’s the same old saying, you have a lifetime to write your first album and a few months for the second.

But Van Halen in their early days were very prolific writers, so even though the first album is full of good moments, a lot of other songs from these days appeared on albums afterwards, all the way up to the reunion with Roth in the two thousands.

“Running With The Devil” kicks it all off with the iconic riff and in the Chorus, Michael Anthony’s backing vocals take centre stage. “Eruption” is now set in stone as one of “the instrumentals” on the Ten Commandments and The Kinks introduced “You Really Got Me” as a Van Halen cover after Van Halen rockified it.

Then the Am to F to G palm muted arpeggiated intro begins for “Aint Talking Bout Love” and another iconic riff is born.

“I’m The One” is the embryo of songs like “House Of Pain” and “Get Up”. “Jamie’s Cryin” was a hit twice, once with Van Halen and once with Tone Loc who sampled the riff and beat for “Wild Thing”.

“Atomic Punk” has that slashing like intro that inspired Slash for the “Mr Brownstone” intro. “Feel Your Love Tonight” could have come from an ELO record and Michael Anthony’s backing vocals are so precise and powerful. “Little Dreamer” has got this rumbling like riff that is cool to play. “Ice Cream Man” didn’t satisfy, but “On Fire” is full of good riffs to enjoy.

Bruce Springsteen – Darkness On The Edge Of Town

I always have time for Bruce Springsteen and this album rates as one of his best.

I love the way “Badlands” starts off. The riff is so rock and roll and pop rock all in one. Bands like “ELO” and “Styx” built careers on riffs like these. Then that bluesy sleazy rhythm kicks off “Adam Raised A Cain”.  “Something In The Night” was written in 78, but the intro riff would become a number 1 chart topper in 84, when it became “I’m On Fire”.

The intro piano riff of “Racing In The Street” must have influenced Jonathan Cain as he would write many songs that went to platinum levels of success with a similar vibe and feel. “Promised Land” is about Springsteen’s beliefs in the life he is living, in the country he is born in.

And “Streets Of Fire” is still relevant today as it was back in the Seventies. “Prove It All Night” or “Because The Night”, as there is no difference between them really, especially in the music around the Chorus.

Rainbow – Long Live Rock N Roll

The drum roll snare, the words “All Right” and off we go, into the mystic lands of Rock and Roll, screaming deep into the night, “Long Live Rock And Roll”.

And Richie Blackmore is all over this album, with guitar riffs gifted to him from the “Lady Of The Lake”. If you don’t believe me, check out the verse riff and then that vocal melody in the Pre-Chorus/Chorus from Ronnie James Dio.

And we caught the “L.A Connection” to the “Gates Of Babylon” just to “Kill The King”, hiding out in “The Shed” because our “Rainbow Eyes” are “Sensitive To Light”.

Queen – Jazz

Some of the best riffs from Brian May are on this album.

The guitar riff in “Fat Bottomed Girls” makes the world go around. “If You Can’t Beat Them” has this pop like riff which reminds me of other acts, but Brian May makes it his own.

Listen to “Dead On Time”, it’s basically got a speed rock riff. “Dreamer’s Ball” kicks off with a harmony solo, before it morphs into an acoustic 12 bar blues. Listen to “Leaving Home Ain’t Easy”, with its acoustic riffs which sound full of power.

The drum beat in “More Of That Jazz” is perfect and once Brian May starts with the syncopated riff, it was time to pick up the guitar and learn it. And the Chorus at first sounds metal before it morphs into something like cabaret.

Dire Straits – Dire Straits

Mark Knofler’s guitar tone is brilliant. “Down To The Waterline” is a perfect example of it as he decorates the track with licks and riffs.

By the time I had heard this album, I had already overdosed on “Sultans Of Swings”. It’s one of those tracks like “The Final Countdown”, “Were Not Gonna Take It” and “Livin On A Prayer”. They have been played so many times, so while they are great tracks, you tend to ignore them. Still the finger picked lead break from Knofler is brilliant.

The Cars – The Cars

As I was writing The Car’s section, news hit Twitter that Ric Ocask was found dead in Manhattan at 75 years of age. I was very late getting into “The Cars” but I am glad I did. And what a debut album.

“Good Times Roll” kicks it off with its iconic riff, lyrics and synth lines. Let the good times roll in deed. And they continue with “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “Just What I Needed”.

So many songs in the 70’s about their best friends partners. Eric Clapton wrote Layla because he was in love with George Harrison’s wife, which he eventually married. Rick Springfield topped the charts with “Jessie’s Girl” and so did The Cars. And neither song took away from the other. These days, everyone will be suing each other for copying their feels.

“Moving In Stereo” has a metal like riff in the vein of Judas Priest. No one will believe me, but they need to check it out. And the synth lead is perfect.

Well that’s it for the first post. More to come in Part 2.

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Music

Black Sabbath’s Version of Children of The Grave And Ozzy/Randy Rhoads Tribute Version

The difference between the songs is the groove/feel.

Black Sabbath started off as a blues band and blues songs are built on grooves and swing feels. As history tells us, the guys saw a horror movie being played across the road from their rehearsal space and decided to write songs that scared people. But no matter how low they tuned, they still kept the swing groove/feel from the blues in the process.

So when Ozzy decided to cover some Black Sabbath songs for the “Blizzard Of Ozz” tour, he picked some of the classics, like “Paranoid”, “Iron Man” and “Children Of The Grave”. And from reading a few bios, Randy Rhoads (RR) was against covering these songs, as he didn’t want the project to be an extension of Ozzy’s previous band.

Regardless, “Children of The Grave” with Randy Rhoads (RR) is a stand out. RR ignored the triplet swing feel that Sabbath had on their “Masters Of Reality” version and went straight for the metal tempo feel of 146 beats per minute. RR also refused to tune down, so he fretted the C#m note instead of playing it as an open string the way Iommi does. By doing this, it allowed RR to me more precise with his picking and little melodic motifs.

And there is no doubt in my mind that by learning to play some of the Sabbath songs, RR used em all as influences for “Over The Mountain”.

If you don’t believe me, check out the Black Sabbath riff just before the “Over the Mountain” solo. And RR plays the intro/verse riff of “Over The Mountain” more or less the same as he plays “Children Of The Grave”. The only difference being, “Children of The Grave” is in C#m and “Over The Mountain” is in G#m.

And the solo break that RR throws in for the outro, made me want to learn the song. It starts from 3.15 and ends at 4.40.

There is also a little nod to all of the blues players from about 3.56, as RR plays a standard blues lick that even Ace Frehley used in “Love Gun”.

One song doesn’t take away from the other and both songs stand on their own.

If you want groove, then Black Sabbath’s version is for you. If you really like the NWOBHM and the LA Scene, then the live Ozzy/RR version is for you.

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

Randy Rhoads And The Blizzards

It’s a new year and I’m listening to songs from yesteryear. After overdosing on a Dio playlist I created that covered his Rainbow, Black Sabbath and solo career up to “Lock Up The Wolves”, between Xmas and New Year, I returned to one of my biggest influences, Randy Rhoads and the “Blizzard of Ozz” album. Hell, the project could have been called just that. Randy Rhoads And The Blizzards.

It all started when Ozzy auditioned Randy in LA. Afterwards they jammed for a few days with Dana Strum and Frankie Banali. Then Ozzy went back to England and he met Bob Daisley. Ozzy and Daisley jammed with another guitarist and drummer however Daisley mentioned that they needed better players. Ozzy mentioned Randy Rhoads, however the label wanted a well-known British guitarist, but no one was interested to join because of Ozzy’s reputation. Gary Moore was Ozzy’s first choice and he rejected the offer to audition. Eventually the label relented and Randy was flown over to London. Rhoads and Daisley started writing music and it worked well. Lee Kerslake came towards the end of the writing process.

At that point in time, Ozzy was still married to Thelma Osbourne and Sharon had just taken over as Ozzy’s manager. Don Arden, her father, was the manager of Jet Records. David Arden (Sharon’s brother) was taking care of the managerial side of things during the Blizzard album cycle and Sharon got involved for “Diary of a Madman”.

I Don’t Know

Black Sabbath was just a rock and roll band from Birmingham, England, however fans of the band saw them as seers. Stories abound of fans asking Ozzy, what’s the future of mankind? Or when is the final day? And his answer was always, he doesn’t know. He’s just a rock and roll singer. Daisley was inspired by this story and fleshed out the lyrics.

The “A” pedal point riff in the intro is the first thing people heard and what an introduction riff it is. It is a simply ascending pedal point riff which Randy flourishes with harmonic pinches, artificial harmonics, legato licks and whammy bar dives.

This is Randy Rhoads announcing to the world that there is a new guitar hero in town.

Crazy Train

After getting blown away by “I Don’t Know”, the ear drums were assaulted once again with “Crazy Train.” The F#m demonic intro is a sing along riff and immediately identifiable. You can call this song Ozzy’s biggest hit and according to the chart makers back in the day, it never registered. But not on Spotify and YouTube it’s huge. The new paradigm shows us what is being listened too.

Bob Daisley provided the title while Randy Rhoads had the riff and the chord structure. For the lyrics, Bob Daisley used Ozzy’s vocal melodies and referenced what was happening in 1979/80. The Berlin Wall was still up and the Cold War between the USSR and USA was still going on. It’s pretty crazy when you think of how many millions of people are affected by religion and power hungry leaders from both sides.

And then you have that logically laid out, super melodic and shred happy solo section. What more can be said?

Listen and enjoy and play air guitar.

Goodbye To Romance

It’s a one-two-three knockout punch.

“Goodbye To Romance” was Ozzy’s title and it came from an Everly Brothers song called “Bye Bye Love.”

The lyrics were written by Bob Daisley and the subject matter was Ozzy’s “divorce” from Black Sabbath.

On the “Don’t Blame Me” video, Ozzy mentions he was humming the vocal melody, and Randy heard it and developed the chords around the melody. Ozzy’s revisionist take makes it sound that Bob Daisley was not involved at all in the song writing process, which is obviously not true at all.

It’s the piece d’resistance in guitar playing. The jazz like chords in the verses, the arpeggio chorus riff and that guitar solo. This song connects from the very first note but it is that descending chorus riff that is pure gold.

Listening to the studio version of the song with its many layers and then hearing the way Randy composed his live performance is awe inspiring.

Dee

Randy’s acoustic instrumental. Though Rhoads is best known for the heavier side of his guitar playing, his ambition was to devote his time to classical music. “Dee” served as an example of his devotion to classical/flamenco music however it was songs like “Goodbye To Romance”, “Revelation Mother Earth” and “Diary of A Madman” that showcased how powerful classical is in a heavy metal setting.

“Suicide Solution”

Ozzy borrowed the opening line “Wine is fine but whiskeys quicker” from somewhere else and Bob Daisley wrote the rest about Ozzy’s addiction to alcohol. The song ended up in the courts when the parents of an 18 year old kid wanted to blame someone for their son committing suicide. Suddenly, the song when played backwards had subliminal messages on it, which could convince kids to harm themselves.

The whole intro riff is just full of attitude and defiance. If you are familiar with the work that Randy Rhoads did with Quiet Riot, you would have noticed the influence of the QR song “Force of Habit”.

Mr Crowley

Mr. Crowley was Ozzy’s idea to cover the darker occult things in life however Daisley wrote the words.

The “was it polemically sent” part before the outro solo is just goose bumps stuff. I love the way the harmony guitar lines interweave over a classical chord progression. It’s the calm before the storm.

From a lead guitarist point of view, Mr Crowley served as a showcase of the talent that is Randy Rhoads.

No Bone Movies

For a last minute addition to the album, the song rocks hard in a live setting. It’s sleazy and perfect for the era.

Revelation Mother Earth

Daisley wrote the lyrics, taking inspiration from the Book of Revelation.

The finger picked part at the start is breathtaking, the interlude is subdued and relaxing but that outro is breathless.

On the “Tribute” live album, the tempo is increased, further increasing the status of the song to legendary.

Steal Away the Night

That intro is similar to the chorus riff in “Suicide Solution” at a higher tempo. Whereas in “Suicide Solution” it is a climbing motif, in “Steal Away the Night” it is a repeating motif.

There is also another nod to the Quiet Riot song “Breaking Up Is A Heartache” in the riff that comes after the chorus.

Remember that progress is derivative and Randy Rhoads was very good at that technique. Sometimes he would take bits and pieces from a lot of different songs to form one cohesive riff.

You Looking At Me, Looking At You

It’s a B-side and this song doesn’t get the attention it deserves. An argument can be put forward as to why “No Bone Movies” made it on the album and not this song.

The intro is Seventies Arena Melodic Rock. I can understand why the song didn’t get included on the album as it could have been deemed to poppy from the very metal sounding Blizzard album, however the riff is infectious.

Even in the pre chorus Randy Rhoads plays palm muted arpeggios (like Eddie Van Halen) and something that Vito Bratta employed on a constant basis. And that lead break just comes out of nowhere like another song within the same song composition. Again it reminds me of what Vito Bratta would end up doing.

By the way, if anyone is familiar with the work that Randy Rhoads did with Quiet Riot, they would have noticed the rhythm guitar riff coming from a Quiet Riot song called “Kiss of Death”, that was only performed live, and the lead intro part is from the Quiet Riot song called “Trouble.” Also, the same structure can be heard on the song “Breaking Up Is A Heartache” also from Quiet Riot.

This song shows what a band “Blizzard Of Ozz” was. Yes, that band had Randy Rhoads on guitar, Bob Daisley on bass, Lee Kerslake on drums and Ozzy Osbourne on vocals.

Jet Records put a picture of Ozzy on the front cover. This didn’t sit well with Randy Rhoads, Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake who wanted a picture of the band. As far as they knew, they signed up to be in a band not as backing musicians for a solo artist. But record label politics always get in the way and self-interests of others take advantage of the situation.

You Said it All

The first time I heard this song was on the “Mr. Crowley Live EP.”

Randy had the basic riff and the song was put together musically by Rhoads and Daisley. Drummer Kerslake came up with the vocal melody while Ozzy crashed under the drum riser and Daisley then took the tape of Kerslake’s melody back to the hotel and wrote the lyrics.

These day’s guitarists can do unbelievable and very advanced things on the guitar but none of them have the magic and song sense of Randy Rhoads.

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

Diary Of A Madman

Back in the 80’s, I remember when songs of the 60’s and early 70’s used to come on the radio and I used to say, “really, play something more current.”

They sounded old. Fast forward to today and all I play is old tunes. Actually 70 percent of the music I listen to is pre 1995. More specifically; 1980 to 1992.

It’s hard to believe that “Diary Of A Madman” is 36 years old. 

Like the “Blizzard” album before it, “Diary” is a listening experience from start to end. And because of my addiction to the “Tribute” album, I was blown away by the depth of material on “Diary” that didn’t appear on the live album, like “Over The Mountain”, “SATO”, “You Can’t Kill Rock N Roll”, “Tonight” and the unbelievable title track.

To top it off, it clocks in at 43 minutes which meant back in the 80’s I could dub it one side of a 45 cassette tape and the other side I could devote to the “Blizzard” album. Those other 80s cassette dubbers will know how cool it was to dub.

Over The Mountain
The underrated drumming of Lee Kerslake kicks off the album, before Randy kicks in with the G#m pedal point riff. At a high level, the song is the evolution of RR covering Sabbath songs. The main riff is inspired by “Children Of The Grave”.

When it morphs into the instrumental interlude, the key moves to D#m and it’s a standard harmonic movement in baroque music. This time however, pull offs and hammer-ons are added to the 16th note pulse. 

Did anyone pick up on the “Black Sabbath” riff used before the solo break?

The bridge is very Rush sounding, which is simple power chords played over a shimmering and ringing of the open E and B strings.

The melody is pop all the way.

It is infectious and did anyone pick up Daisley’s reference to songs from the past like “Ticket To Ride” from Beatles, “Magic Carpet Ride” from Steppenwolf and “Shooting Star” from Bad Company. Maybe it was coincidental.

“Over the mountain, take me across the sky”
“Don’t need no astrology; it’s inside of you and me”
“You don’t need a ticket to fly with me, I’m free, yeah”

And that solo. It’s a masterpiece of Randy’s guitar style, combining Vivaldi inspired lines with tremolo bar dives, open string pull offs like in “The Lemon Song” from Led Zeppelin or like “Jeff’s Boogie” from Jeff Beck and combining it all with chromatics.

Flying High Again
The AC/DC style groove allows Randy to colour the spaces. I also do recall reading that Lee Kerslake came up with the vocal melody for “Flying High Again”. I am sure if I Google it, I would be able to find the link.

When Grunge came out, a lot of the reporters wrote articles that expressed how the Grunge players played with feel. And they generally compared these grunge players to all of the guitar players in the 80’s. What the reporters should have done is compared the “Grunge” feel players to the guitar players they wanted to compare them too, instead of generalising because Randy Rhoads played with feel and melodicism.

This song is a beautiful example of “compositional” guitar work. The solo is constructed and performed in the tradition of a classical piece.

“Got a crazy feeling I don’t understand
‘Gotta get away from here
Feelin’ like I should have kept my feet on the ground
Waitin’ for the sun to appear”

You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll
Daisley wrote the lyrics over an Ozzy hummed melody. Lyrically, it deals about record companies being greedy and trying to tell the artist what to do.

“Leave me alone; don’t want your promises no more
‘Cos rock and roll is my religion and my law”

Believer
The bass line is hypnotic and sets the tone for RR to colour and decorate a song about moving mountains with the power of belief. And there are some good lyrical lines from Daisley.

“Watching time go and feeling belief grow, Rise above the obstacles”
“You’ve got to believe in yourself, Or no one will believe in you”
“Their disbelief suppresses them, But they’re not blind, It’s just that they won’t see”

Little Dolls
It’s a track that belongs on an Alice Cooper album of the seventies, like “Billion Dollar Babies”.

Musically, it’s a derivative version of “Suicide Solution” in the main riff, a pre-chorus that sounds the same from “Over The Mountain”, a chorus section that sounds like it belongs on an ELO album and a bridge section ripped from “I Don’t Know”.  

Randy Rhoads did say in an interview that this song felt rush or the solo felt rushed (like he had to do it in one take). Whatever the case, this is probably the least known songs from the Randy era with Ozzy.

“The pins and needles prick the skin of little dolls”

Tonight
This song has two killer leads; the usual middle solo section and the outro solo.

“I hear the questions surface in my mind, of my mistakes that I have made
Times and places I have left behind and am I ever gonna make the grade?”

Daisley’s bass playing is also unique. It’s like a lead instrument over the arpeggios and piano lines.

S.A.T.O
Is the song, the initials of Ozzy’s two love interests at the time?

As good as the song is it’s the solo section that takes the song out of the stratosphere.

First, it’s over a 12/8 shuffle used more in the Blues genre (which Zakk Wyle used again in “Perry Mason” and it’s got all of Randy’s trademarks, from how he starts it off in the E Major Pentatonic scale and then he shifts into the C#m Aeolian scale which allows the listener to still believe it’s in E major, however RR has shifted diatonically to C#m.

It’s well known RR was no stranger to music theory, but he was one of those few individuals that put much of what he studied into practice.

Wind is high, so am I, as the shore sinks in the distance
Dreams unfold, seek the gold, gold that’s brighter than the sunlight

Diary Of A Madman
It’s a prog metal tune before prog metal became a term and a giant leap forward in composition and technicality.

“Diary of a madman, walk the line again today
Entries of confusion, dear diary, I’m here to stay”

At a high level, it is experimental music. The whole song is like a Randy Rhoads master class. Stand out sections is the whole intro section up to the first verse, and the heavy distorted riff before the dissonant solo break.

Bob Daisley wrote lyrics that referenced his own life.

“Enemies fill up the pages, are they me”

Daisley and Kerslake did not get any credit for having played on the album. On the sleeve, Rudy Sarzo is credited as playing bass and Tommy Aldridge is credited as drummer, however both people have come out and said that they didn’t play a note on the album.

13 years after its release it crossed the 3 million sale mark in the U.S. It took its time but all great things do take time to rise.

“A sickened mind and spirit, The mirror tells me lies, Could I mistake myself for someone, Who lives behind my eyes?”

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Tribute

It’s my bible.

I played the cassette tape to death trying to learn every riff and lick. And when I couldn’t pick it all up, I shelled out $50 on Wolf Marshal’s transcription of the “Tribute” album and I spent a lot of hours woodshedding to it. Even though Ozzy re-cut his vocals for the release there is no denying Randy Rhoads and his love for his instrument. The way he re-imagines his multi-layered guitar riffs from the studio versions and turns it all into one definitive guitar cut is brilliant. For any guitarist, new or old, this is it. It gets no better than this.

I Don’t Know

The “A” pedal point riff in the intro is an example of effective simplicity that Randy flourishes with harmonic pinches, artificial harmonics, legato licks and whammy bar dives.

Crazy Train

The demonic scary F#m intro merges into an A major trippy/happy major key verse before it morphs back into the minor key for the pre-chorus and chorus. How can you not like it?

And then you have that logically laid out, super melodic and shred happy solo section. What more can be said?

Listen and enjoy and play air guitar.

Believer

The bass line is hypnotic and sets the tone for RR to colour and decorate.

Mr Crowley

This is the first song I got stuck into. It has two shred leads and the way Randy combined those guitar lines into one definitive track for the “was he polemically” section is brilliant. 

Then the outro lead is just one of those songs within a song lead breaks.

Flying High Again

The AC/DC style groove allows Randy to flourish the spaces with trills and little licks. Again the solo section is one of those lead breaks that just blows you away.

Revelation (Mother Earth)

The finger picked part at the start is breathtaking, the interlude is subdued and relaxing but that outro is breathless. And the live tempo is much better than the studio tempo. 

Steal Away The Night

I love the intro riff and how the outro of Revelation (Mother Earth) transitions into this song. Unfortunately I can’t say the same thing for drum solos or guitar solos just on their own. I would rather hear those things along with music. John Petrucci on the live Budokan album nails it with his extended guitar solo as part of “Hollow Years” song.

Suicide Solution

The riff and the groove just nails it for me, plus the lyrics from Daisley about Ozzy’s addictions are brilliant. Again, would have loved to hear Randy solo while the band played the main riff of “Suicide” instead of being on his own.

Iron Man

Would you believe that the first time I heard these Sabbath song’s is via Ozzy?

Children Of The Grave

After “Mr Crowley” this was the next song I needed to devour. I loved the way Randy plays the riff in C#m on the 5th string. That’s how I learned this song. It wasn’t until many years later I heard the Sabbath version and Iommi is down tuned to C#. I must say, I love the tempo of this live version. 

And that outro improv lead is brilliant especially when Randy starts to reference Ace ala “Love Gun”.

Paranoid

Again, Randy goes to town on the lead and he fills the spaces of the main riff with trills and licks. Brilliant improv.

Goodbye To Romance

The piece d’resistance in guitar playing. The jazz like chords in the verses, the arpeggio chorus riff and that guitar solo.

No Bone Movies

For a last minute addition to the album, the song rocks hard in a live setting. It’s sleazy and perfect for the era.

The album ends with some outtakes of Randy playing his acoustic instrumental “Dee”.

These day’s guitarists can do unbelievable and very advanced things on the guitar but none of them have the magic and song sense of Randy Rhoads.

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1981

Motley Crue – Too Fast For Love
I never heard the full album until well into the late Eighties. Coming into the “Girls, Girls, Girls” era of Motley Crue, the only songs I knew were the clips, “Live Wire”, “Looks That Kill”, “Too Young To Fall In Love”, “Smokin In The Boys Room” and “Home Sweet Home”. On top of that, I had digested interviews from Circus magazine and watched a very bad dubbed copy of the “Uncensored” video. The decadence of the Crue was already legendary.

So after purchasing the “Girls, Girls, Girls” album, I was walking out of the record shop, when a double cassette edition of the “Shout At The Devil” and “Too Fast For Love” albums in a discount bin caught my eye. So I stopped at the discount bin, picked up the double cassette, and by weight alone I knew that it had the cassettes in the covers. Thinking to myself that Motley Crue is worth it, I just slipped the double cassette album into my plastic bag and just kept on walking calmly out of the shopping centre. Once I was out of the building I sprinted for the next 10 minutes all the way home.

Needless to say, I didn’t return to the shop for a long time, just in case. So the version that I picked up was the Elektra release (without “Stick To Your Guns”). Many years later I would pick up the Leathur Records edition at a second-hand record store for $10.

Most of the songs had mostly been written while Nikki Sixx was in “London” (the band). “Live Wire” leads the album off with its “Girlschool”/“NWOBHM” inspired riff. Two so and so songs come after and them Side 1 closes brilliantly with “Merry-Go-Round” and “Take Me to the Top”. Nikki Sixx has stated previously that “Merry Go Round” was written about a person he knew in Seattle, who due to so many life pressures, just cracked and wound up sitting on the merry-go-round outside the apartment block that Nikki Sixx grew up in.

Side 2, to me, is the stronger side. It kicks off with “Piece of Your Action”, followed by the excellent and underrated “Starry Eyes”, which leads into the title track “Too Fast for Love” and closes with the real hit song of the album in “On with the Show”.

And for a young adult, Nikki Sixx did comp up with some brilliant lyrics that didn’t deal with their usual themes.

“You know he’s gotta get away to the merry-go-round and round, Count the times that he laid awake at night thinkin’, Am i goin down now” ….. from “Merry Go Round”

“With his six string knife and his street wise pride, The boy was a man before his time”…. from “On With The Show”

“But ya see, Frankie was fast, too fast to know, he wouldn’t go slow, until his lethal dose” ….. from “On With The Show”

Helix – White Lace and Black Leather
I didn’t get into this band until the 90’s when albums could be picked up cheap at second-hand record stores. Formed in 1974, it wasn’t until 1979 that Helix released “Breaking Loose” on their own independent label H&S Records. Then came “White Lace and Black Leather” in 1981. I gravitated to the longer non-formula songs on the album. The best tracks are always the ones that are not made for radio.

“Long Distance Heartbreak”

“I never meant to live this way
But somehow you are there and I am here
Somehow I just couldn’t stay
We changed so much with the passing of the years”

“Time For A Change” – with the chorus catch cry of;

“Mother Nature’s calling, can’t you see the signs,
Mother Nature’s calling, don’t you know it’s time”

And “Thoughts That Bleed” – that has that “Let It Be” Beatles feel with Thin Lizzy twin guitar harmonies during the intro and solo sections.

“You gotta live for what you believe”

From the first two albums you get the idea, that the RNR dream is proving to be a hard life for Helix, always on the road, away from loved ones and partners. By this stage, Brian Vollmer was the only original member of the band from its humble 1974 beginnings. And then Helix got a major label deal, signing to CAPITOL records after three previous rejections. This was in 1983.

Brian Vollmer put in 9 years of his life into Helix up until this point. It’s easier to be an accountant, a banker or an IT worker than in music. At least you get paid a fortnightly or monthly wage from doing those jobs. By the time “No Rest For The Wicked” came out in 1983, Helix’s image was polished up and the logo was redesigned to coincide with a new identity. Jeans and T-shirts (the street look they had previously) was replaced with leathers and chains (their new metal look) which in the end was the same as hundreds of other bands.

Ozzy Osbourne – Diary Of A Madman

The title track is one of those songs that summaries the style of Randy Rhoads.

  • Classical inspired metal riffs. Check.
  • Open string flamenco/classical sounding passages. Check
  • Dissonant jazz like chords in the verses. Check.
  • Arpeggios. Check
  • Shred lead. Check
  • Rock style riffing and power chords. Check.
  • Pedal point riffing. Check
  • Groove. Check.

But I get ahead of myself here.

As I have mentioned before, the “Tribute” album came first for me. The tablature book was my bible. So many nights spent practicing all of the licks and riffs in that book.

Eventually in the early Nineties, I got around to purchasing “Blizzard Of Ozz” and “Diary Of A Madman”.

Like the “Blizzard” album, the “Diary” album is an experience from the first song to the last song. And because of my addiction to the “Tribute” album, I was blown away by the depth of material on “Diary” that didn’t appear on the live album, like “Over The Mountain”, “SATO”, “You Can’t Kill Rock N Roll”, “Tonight” and the unbelievable title track.

It’s a shame that the Ozzy and Sharon haven’t given proper credit where it is due. On the initial release, people believed that Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge played bass and drums. But it was Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake. In 2002, the album was re-issued with Robert Trujillo and Mike Bordin re-recording the bass and drums parts so that Daisley and Kerslake get no payment.

And how good are the lyrics from Bob Daisley.

“Looking through eyes of time, Mirrors reflecting their stories untrue” ….. from “You Can’t Kill Rock N Roll”

“Watching time go and feeling belief grow, Rise above the obstacles” ….. from “Believer”

“You’ve got to believe in yourself, Or no one will believe in you” ….. from “Believer”

“Their disbelief suppresses them, But they’re not blind, It’s just that they won’t see” ….. from “Believer”

“Diary of a madman, Walk the line again today” ….. from “Diary Of A Madman”

“A sickened mind and spirit, The mirror tells me lies, Could I mistake myself for someone, Who lives behind my eyes?” ….. from “Diary Of A Madman”

Whitesnake – Come And Get It
The follow-up to the excellent “Ready An’ Willing” from 1980. Martin Birch is on hand to produce again. If you want to read a review that has a similar viewpoint to mine, go to Mike Ladano.

While the previous album had “Fool For Your Loving”, “Aint Gonna Cry No More” and “Blindman”, this one is loaded with the excellent “Don’t Break My Heart Again”, the “All Right Now/Feel Like Making Love” sounding “Come An’ Get It”, the groovy “Lonely Days and Nights”, the bluesy and moody “Child Of Babylon” and the “Led Zep” sounding “Till The Day I Die”.

As I have mentioned before, the rise of Whitesnake started with “Ready An Willing” in 1980, continued with “Come And Get It” and by constantly working hard, recording and touring, 1982’s “Saints and Sinners” would build on the momentum with the ultimate road/breakup song “Here I Go Again”.

“Every day of my life, it seems, Trouble’s knocking at my door, It’s hard to try and satisfy, When you don’t know what you’re fighting for” ….. from “Don’t Break My Heart Again”

“I’ve heard all the wisdom of prophets and seers, It don’t soothe my passion and it don’t ease my fears” ….. from “Lonely Days, Lonely Nights”

“On my day of judgement, I know how it will be, I’m prepared to meet my maker with no hope for charity, I’ll stand alone and pay the price, For everything I’ve done, ‘Cos there ain’t guardian angel, For a child of Babylon” ….. from “Child of Babylon”

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

1980

A lot of my favourite albums from the past are always having some kind of anniversary each year. Since we are in 2015, I am feeling nostalgic, so I am going back to 1980.

Now let me be clear, all of these 1980 albums didn’t end up in my collection until the mid to late Eighties. Finances always proved a problem when it came to deciding what music to purchase.

Coming into 1980, Whitesnake was working a lot. The band was putting out an album a year and touring consistently. Then the Martin Birch produced “Ready an’ Willing” dropped, launching the song “Fool For Your Loving”, a piece written by Bernie Marsden, Micky Moody and David Coverdale. That song brought about a new interest into the band.

To me, “Ready an’ Willing” is the album that started Whitesnake’s rise. It holds a special place in my life as it was the first album I purchased from Whitesnake’s back catalogue after the 1987 album exploded. And I was impressed. While the “1987” album is a classic, I really loved the raw sound on this one and the working bands attitude. You can hear it in the notes.

While the album has songs that deal with relationships, my two favourites are “Blindman” (which is a derivative version of the Coverdale/Blackmore penned “Soldier Of Fortune”) and the very Led Zeppelin sounding, “Aint Gonna Cry No More”. Those songs also nail it lyrically for me. Talk about completely forgotten, no one under forty would know these songs.

“Chasing rainbows that have no end, The road is long without a friend….” from BLINDMAN

“Memories of broken dreams, As distant as the sun, Are drifting like an echo in the wind….” from AIN’T GONNA CRY NO MORE

In that same year, the Ronnie James Dio fronted Black Sabbath released their version of “Heaven and Hell”. As with all things record label related, this project was always meant to be a new band.

The first song written by Iommi and Dio for the new band was “Children of the Sea”. Geezer Butler was so set against continuing without Ozzy, so Iommi had Geoff Nicholls on hand to play bass on those initial sessions. It was actually Nicholls that came up with the “Heaven and Hell” bass line.

On board to produce “Heaven And Hell” was Martin Birch. That’s right, the same Martin Birch in charge of Whitesnake’s “Ready an’ Willing’ album.

“The world is full of kings and queens, who blind your eyes and steal your dreams…..” from HEAVEN AND HELL

I purchased this album very late. It was actually after “Lock Up The Wolves” from Dio came out in 1990.

At that time, I had the cash and my plan was to get stuck into Dio’s past works starting with Rainbow. However, I also came across the Black Sabbath releases in the second hard record store and purchased all five albums, the three Rainbow albums and the two Sabbath albums.

I was blown away. I couldn’t believe I was that late on hearing this unbelievable music.

Who can forget “British Steel” from Judas Priest?

I purchased it on cassette, which I still have today. It was right after “Painkiller” came out. I knewe of “Breaking The Law” and Livin After Midnight” but man, there are so many other good cuts on this album, I was again blown away.

Produced by Tom Allom, it started a winning campaign for Judas Priest that still sustains them to this day. After “British Steel” came “Screaming for Vengeance” and “Defenders of the Faith”. They are still doing victory laps on the backs of these three albums.

“British Steel” came out at a time when “The New Wave of British Heavy Metal” was starting to gain momentum. Even though Judas Priest was around way before, “British Steel” set up a certain sound for the many bands that would follow.

It was also an album recorded with a tour already booked to promote it. So when the band went into the studio with a handful of ideas, it was up to Glenn, KK and Rob to sit around and bang out the songs. From that pressure, great songs was the outcome.

In relation the tour, it featured a young band by the name of “Iron Maiden”.

“There I was completely wasted, out of work and down…..” from BREAKING THE LAW

“Living after midnight, rockin’ to the dawn…..” from LIVING AFTER MIDNIGHT

“I’ve had enough of being programmed, And told what I ought to do…..” from YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE OLD TO BE WISE

Which brings me to Iron Maiden’s self-titled debut, an album I purchased after “No Prayer For The Dying” came out.

It was recorded in 13 days, aided by the fact that all of the songs had been well-rehearsed live staples. They fired two other producers before settling on the disinterested Will Malone, who basically gave the band free-reign to do whatever they wanted.

I first heard “Running Free”, “Iron Maiden” and “Phantom Of The Opera” on 1985’s “Live After Death” album with Bruce Dickinson singing, so when I first heard the debut I was taken aback by Paul DiAnno’s vocals. I hated them, as I was so used to Bruce Dickinson. But man, like everything, the harsher street style of DiAnno grew on me. And what about that wah riff to kick off “Prowler”.

It was also the album that gave people a glimpse into Iron Maiden and the artwork of Derek Riggs.

“Unchain the colours before my eyes, Yesterday’s sorrows, tomorrow’s white lies…..” from REMEMBER TOMORROW

Just sixteen, a pickup truck, out of money, out of luck, I’ve got nowhere to call my own, hit the gas, and here I go…..” from RUNNING FREE

“You’ve been living so long in hiding in hiding behind that false mask…..” from PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

So what do you get when you finish the music for an album in six days and the entire album in eight?

Van Halen’s “Women and Children First” is the answer.

I actually heard “1984” first, then “5150” and “Eat Em And Smile”. So it was only natural that I went deeper into Van Halen’s back catalogue after that. There are a lot of stories about the making of the album, the photo shoot, which can be found here.

“Well, they say it’s kinda fright’nin’ how this younger generation swings…..” from AND THE CRADLE WILL ROCK

“Don’t want no class reunion, this circus just left town, Why behave in public if you’re livin’ on a playground?…” from FOOLS

“I’m takin’ whiskey to the party tonight, and I’m lookin’ for somebody to squeeze….” from ROMEO’S DELIGHT

The album holds a special place for me because of its jam orientated vibe. It’s basically saying to me, this is Van Halen and this is who we are in 1980. As a guitarist learning to shred in 1987, any piece of Van Halen music was seen as a must learn, however I never really sat down to learn anything from “Women And Children First”. I always said, I will learn “And The Cradle Will Rock”, but never did. That is why it is special in a silly way.

It’s actually funny, but the songs that I do play from Van Halen are from the debut album, the “1984” album, the “5150” album and the “Balance” album. Those are the albums I actually sat down and learned. I suppose, subconsciously, that I preferred the more pop orientated structures than the wild jam orientated structures.

What does a band do after releasing two massive science fiction progressive albums in “2112” and “Hemispheres”?

In Rush’s case, and Metallica’s a decade later, they both scaled back the arrangements and veered to shorter track lengths and more personal lyrical topics.  Longtime Rush producer Terry Brown was on hand again to assist. The songs from “Permanent Waves” are all over “Exit Stage Left” which was the only Rush album I had in the Eighties.  “The Spirit Of Radio”, “Freewill” and “Jacobs Ladder” all appear on the live album.

And when I purchased the album, “Natural Science” became a must song to add to my bible of guitar songs to learn.

This album also hold a special place in my life, because it was the first album I purchased based on a Dream Theater interview I read in the Nineties where they talk about their influences and it cemented my love for Rush. After this album, I was all in. It was only a matter of time before I purchased all of their other albums. If I had purchased something like “Hold Your Fire” first, then the love for Rush would have been very different.

So many great lyrics from Peart on this one as well.

“One likes to believe in the freedom of music, but glittering prizes and endless compromises, shatter the illusion of integrity….” from THE SPIRIT OF RADIO

There are those who think that, they’ve been dealt a losing hand, the cards were stacked against them, they weren’t born in Lotus-Land…..” from FREEWILL

You can choose a ready guide, in some celestial voice, if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice…..” from FREEWILL

I will choose a path that’s clear, I will choose free will…..” from FREEWILL

‘Freewill’ continues that sprightly pace, navigating a bouncy chorus hook and a theme about mankind’s lack of moral evasion.

 “We’re linked to one another, by such slender threads, we are planets to each other, drifting in our orbits….” from ENTRE NOUS

“Different eyes see different things, Different hearts beat on different strings…..” from DIFFERENT STRINGS

“Time after time we lose sight of the way, our causes can’t see their effects…..” from i. Tide Pools – NATURAL SCIENCE

“Computerized clinic for superior cynics, who dance to a synthetic band, in their own image their world is fashioned, no wonder they don’t understand…..” from ii. HyperSpace – NATURAL SCIENCE

“Science, like nature, must also be tamed, with a view towards its preservation…..” from iii. Permanent Waves – NATURAL SCIENCE

“The most endangered species – the honest man , will still survive annihilation, forming a world, a state of integrity, sensitive, open, and strong…..” from iii. Permanent Waves – NATURAL SCIENCE

“Wave after wave will flow with the tide, and bury the world as it does, Tide after tide will flow and recede, Leaving life to go on as it was…..” from iii. Permanent Waves – NATURAL SCIENCE

“Blizzard Of Ozz” is what happens when a technically gifted guitarist teams up with a well-travelled and experienced bassist to form a band around a washed up and intoxicated singer. It sounds like a plot line for a movie.

In order to go back to 1980, I need to go forward to 1988.

The “Tribute” album came first for me. The tablature book was my bible. So many nights spent practicing all of the licks and riffs in that book. Eventually in the early Nineties, I got around to purchasing “Blizzard Of Ozz”.  So many iconic songs on the album and the legend of Randy Rhoads will never be forgotten. Credit Bob Daisley, the unsung hero and creative lyricist.

The special part for me on hearing the “Blizzard Of Ozz” album is understanding the work that Randy Rhoads did to blend/merge so many different layers of guitars from the studio album into ONE DEFINITIVE GUITAR TRACK for performing live.

Brilliant.

I was left speechless.

It was an album that you needed to get to hear all the songs. These were not songs that could be purchased as singles and these songs were not promoted heavily on radio. We knew them only if we purchased the albums.

From the start to the end, the album is an experience.

And how good are the lyrics from Bob Daisley. So many brilliant lines.

“Everyone goes through changes, Looking to find the truth, Don’t look at me for answers, Don’t ask me, I don’t know…..” from I DON’T KNOW

“How am I supposed to know, Hidden meanings that will never show, Fools and prophets from the past, Life’s a stage and we’re all in the cast…..” from I DON’T KNOW

“Crazy, But that’s how it goes, Millions of people, Living as foes…..” from CRAZY TRAIN

“Maybe, It’s not too late, To learn how to love, And forget how to hate…..” from CRAZY TRAIN

“I’ve listened to preachers, I’ve listened to fools, I’ve watched all the dropouts, Who make their own rules…..” from CRAZY TRAIN

“One person conditioned, To rule and control, The media sells it, And you live the role…..” from CRAZY TRAIN

“I’ve been the king, I’ve been the clown, No broken wings can hold me down, I’m free again…..” from GOODBYE TO ROMANCE

“And the weather’s looking fine, And I think the sun will shine again, And I feel I’ve cleared my mind, All the past is left behind again…..” from GOODBYE TO ROMANCE

“Take a bottle, drown your sorrows, Then it floods away tomorrows…..” from SUICIDE SOLUTION

“Heaven is for heroes, And hell is full of fools, Stupidity, no will to live, They’re breaking God’s own rules…..” from REVELATION MOTHER EARTH

I remember playing pool at the local pub and the jukebox cranking ACCA DACCA’s “Back In Black” constantly. That is how I heard the album from start to finish, by waiting for the older crowd with more disposable incomes to get the jukebox cranking. And people wondered why we started to cherry pick songs from iTunes. We have been doing it since the jukebox.

The Eagles “Hotel California” and Deep Purple’s “Machine Head” are two other albums that I heard via the jukebox.

It was the antidote to New Wave and whatever else was popular at the time. Even in 2015, it still sells over 150,000 units a year.

“If you’re into evil you’re a friend of mine….” from HELLS BELLS

“I got nine lives, Cat’s eyes, Abusin’ every one of them and running wild…..” from BACK IN BLACK

“She was a fast machine, She kept her motor clean, She was the best damn woman that I ever seen…..” from YOU SHOOK ME ALL NIGHT LONG

“Hey there, all you middlemen, Throw away your fancy clothes, Way out there, sittin’ on a fence, So get off your ass and come down here…..” from ROCK AND ROLL AIN’T NOISE POLLUTION

“We’re just talkin’ about the future, Forget about the past, It’ll always be with us, it’s never gonna die…..” from ROCK AND ROLL AIN’T NOISE POLLUTION

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