Was the news we read and saw on TV ever legit, independent and free from corporate interests.
These days, it’s evident that 99% of news publishers are teamed up with a corporation who sets the agenda. And the public interests are not served at all. Which means, the public needs to read critically and make up their own mind on the situation.
But researchers are finding out that the majority will read the headline, maybe the opening paragraph and then move on to another story. It wasn’t like that before. I remember my older brothers buying three different newspapers, from three different organisations. And the same stories had vastly different headlines.
Sort of like when you purchased a music magazine back in the day. When it was all just metal, it was okay. Then the magazines diverged into metal and rock and suddenly, the metal mags had nothing good to say about “rock” bands which a few months before were “metal” bands. And then those metal bands became hair bands and the cycle repeats.
Anyway, here are some artists that rock as hard as the rock heads and metal heads but you wouldn’t see them written up in any of those magazines.
Here are the previous parts of the 1984 series if you’re interested;
Part 3 – Are We Evil Or Divine?
And here is the Spotify playlist for Part 6.
TNT – Knights Of The New Thunder
What can I say about this band?
From Finland, who had a record deal with Polygram. They had a guitar hero in Ronnie Le Tekro who is still virtually unknown outside of the TNT fan base and a vocalist in Tony Harnell (Hansen on the album) who had the chops.
They got me interested, they lost me, they got me interested again and lost me again. I still check them out to this day.
Let’s talk about the title track.
Has anyone heard it?
“Knights Of The New Thunder” has an intro keyboard riff that Jack White might have heard at some point and then decided to use that same keyboard riff for a song called “Seven Nation Army” by White Stripes.
And of course, “Seven Nation Army” becomes huge, makes a lot of money and Jack White, along with his publisher are now going after any artist who has anything similar. A recent Eurovision winner from Israel copped a lawsuit from Jack White’s publisher.
But, but, TNT was there many years before that. And I am sure if someone digs in deeper, they will find that riff in previous songs before that even going back to classical music.
Regardless both songs are great.
“Seven Seas” has a riff which I like and a chorus melody which is catchy.
“We are rulers of the ocean, kings of the seven seas”
“Tor With The Hammer” is dumb lyrically, but a great listen for the riffs.
“Break The Ice” and “U.S.A” is typical LA Sunset Strip fare and either song could have appeared on any RATT or Motley Crue album.
And TNT’s style on this album is something that Crimson Glory would use and follow a few years later. But TNT would keep evolving and changing from their metal influences into a more glam rock direction.
Honeymoon Suite – Honeymoon Suite
They did cross over into the mainstream for a while, but for me, it’s the album songs, that rock.
“Burning In Love” is the song that hooked me musically, especially the section from 2 minutes onwards. And the outro solo is perfect.
“Stay In The Light” has a cool palm muted arpeggio riff in the intro, which made me pick up the guitar to learn it. And the keyboard lead over it which is the chorus vocal line, reminds me of the UK pop scene like Duran Duran and New Order.
“Now That You Got Me” has a cool distorted riff which drives the song. And the chorus musically, is syncopated with the keys and the guitar and it’s addictive.
“Funny Business” is a feel good up-tempo rocker which feels like it could come from a Van Halen album.
Lyrically, there was no connection for me, but musically, the four songs above connected enough to make me want to learn how to play them.
Bryan Adams – Reckless
This album was my first exposure to Bryan Adams. And it’s a perfect introduction to any person wanting to learn how to write good hard rock songs with a pop rock influence. It had a mixture of a lot of styles, like a classic Led Zep/Queen album and man, didn’t the music buying public splash out on it.
The unsung heroes on this album is the song writing team of Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance. They had a connection, and hell, they even wrote, “War Machine” for Kiss.
Guitarist Keith Scott, decorates the songs with leads and licks and melodic motifs. Finally, the guitar playing abilities of Bryan Adams is never mentioned, but the dude has chops and he can play.
The power chords of “One Night Love Affair” in the intro got me interested. The arpeggios in the Chorus seal the deal and the vocal melody remains with me long after the song is finished. Basically I was hooked.
“She’s Only Happy When She’s Dancing” could have come from a John Cougar or Bruce Springsteen album. But it’s all Bryan.
“Run To You” is a song I used to cover in bands and it has that iconic guitar arpeggio intro which is as good as the “Stairway To Heaven” or “Smoke On The Water” or “Enter Sandman” riffs.
The ballad “Heaven” is huge and when you translate the vocal melody, the piano and the guitar to one guitar track, it’s worth investing time to learn.
“Somebody” is my favourite track, and I think it’s because it reminds me of “We Don’t Need Another Hero” from Tina Turner and the Mad Max movie “Beyond Thunderdome”.
And the knockout punches keep coming with “Summer of 69”. It wasn’t a hit when it came out as a single, because during the album run, people had already purchased the full album, and they knew the song, so there was no need to purchase the single.
Sort of like “Wanted Dead Or Alive” from Jovi. It’s a classic track, a hit, but it never went to number 1 as a single, because by the time it came out as single, everyone who was into the band already had the album.
The “Kids Wanna Rock” has this 12 bar blues style which works perfectly in a pop context and it was so true in the 80’s, everywhere artists went, the kids wanted to turn up, pay for their ticket and rock. A duet with Tina Turner called “It’s Only Love” rounds out a perfect album for me. The last two songs could have been left off and no one would have complained.
And looking back at this album today, I think the secret to liking it for me is the fact that each song made me want to pick up the guitar and learn it. So I invested time, learning the licks, the chords and in some cases, the vocal melodies.
Prince and The Revolution – Purple Rain
I’m not a Prince fan by any means, but man, on occasions he wrote songs which crossed over into multiple styles and eras.
“When Doves Cry” has a drum beat which establishes a cool groove and Prince’s vocal melody is perfect, outlining the chord structure with the words.
“Purple Rain” and “Faithfully” from Journey are pretty similar but hey, no one in the music business wrote a song without hearing a song before it.
REO Speedwagon – Wheels Are Turnin’
How do you follow up the mega million “Keep On Lovin’ You”?
The thing is you don’t, but artists, pushed on by their labels, want the same public acceptance for their new tracks as their old tracks. So the artist is now writing to get another hit, instead of writing to please themselves and to get their message across.
“Can’t Fight This Feeling” was the song offered up as “Keep On Loving You” part 2. And it got what the label wanted, but it also further removed the rockers from REO’s audience, because songs like “Gotta Feel More” don’t even get a mention these days. It’s a rocker and there is this synth line which is addictive and the guitars do a great job decorating it. “Rock And Roll Star” is another cool song with an outro solo which I like.
Triumph – Thunder Seven
They could write songs and they could really play their instruments. Sometimes when you get musicians this good into a room, it becomes a mess of epic proportions and sometimes, you get some great music. Triumph sits on the great side, as they had a magical run up to the late 80’s.
Man that riff to kick off “Spellbound”.
How good is it?
And when the whole band kicks in, it’s perfect.
How good is “Rock Out, Roll On”?
The intro riff and feel reminds me of the “Kashmir” groove plus the vocal melody and performance is excellent.
“Cool Down” is Led Zep territory and “Follow Your Heart” takes it out of the ballpark with its “Dance The Night Away” riff merged with “Unchained”.
“Time Goes By” is sitting at track 5 and its one of those tracks that highlights the diversity of “Triumph”, morphing between metal like riffage to hard rock riffage to pop rock riffage.
And that’s where I stop my listening experience with this album. Those first five tracks are all killer, no filler.
The Cars – Heartbeat City
I didn’t hear this album until I heard the song “Drive” in 2007 from the first Transformers movie.
And man, I was surprised how much I enjoyed the album.
It’s different, but it still rocked enough for me to pick up the guitar and play along to it. You know how songs from artists like Depeche Mode, Duran Duran and New Order work well in a rock and metal context, well, The Cars fall into that same category.
“Hello Again” starts off with a layered vocal line that could have come from Def Leppard and combined with “Looking For Love” it’s a great opening one two combination.
“Magic” could have come from any rock band with it’s “I Love Rock N Roll” inspired riff in the verses and a pre chorus which sounds like it came from “Hysteria” before “Hysteria” was written.
And “Drive” is one of those tracks that crosses over. It’s got a simple drum groove and the iconic lyric of “whose gonna drive you home” that remains long after the song is done.
“Why Can’t I Have You” has all the new tech from the mid 80’s around midi’s and a multi-layered Chorus like Def Leppard in the Chorus.
Steve Perry – Street Talk
I got this album at the same time I got “Raised On Radio” from Journey, well into the 90’s. I was expecting both albums to be rock albums and it wasn’t to be.
In saying that, “Oh Sherrie” has keyboard parts which sound good on guitar and man, Steve Perry can carry a song on his voice alone.
To me, the best songs like “You Should Be Happy”, “Captured By The Moment” and “Strung Out” are hidden deep within the album. The verses on “You Should Be Happy” are excellent, as the riff rocks and Perry’s vocal melody is hooky. “Captured By The Moment” has an arena rock chorus while “Strung Out” could have come from a Bryan Adams album.
38 Special – Tour De Force
Another band I got into very late.
“If I’d Been The One” just feels good as soon as it blasts out from the speakers. “Back Where You Belong” continues that feel good theme. It’s pop hard rock at its best.
“Twentieth Century Fox” is more on the rock side, with its Status Quo meets AC/DC vibe meets ZZ Top “La Grange” vibe.
“Long Distance Affair” has a cool lead break, “One Of The Lonely Ones” is back to the melodic rock and “Undercover Lover” closes the album with pure hard rock gold.
Basically, it’s a cool melodic rock album to listen to.
Jefferson Starship – Nuclear Furniture
The big keyboard riffs in “Layin’ It On The Line” get me hooked.
“Sorry Me, Sorry You” rocks out of the gate, with a lead guitar that reminds me of “Wild Frontier” from Gary Moore and the vocal melody in the chorus is excellent.
“Shining In The Moonlight” has a cool riff to kick it off before it morphs into clean tone arpeggios for the verses.
Basically, this is another cool melodic rock album to listen to.
John Waite – No Brakes
I wasn’t expecting the Van Halen “Hot For Teacher” style drumming and fast picked guitar riff in “Saturday Night” to kick off a John Waite album. But it did and it kept me listening.
And then it went into the big radio rocker, “Missing You” which to be honest is a cool listen. But man, after that frantic opening song, “Missing You” as track two was just too much of a departure. John Kalodner should have been on the scene here to co-ordinate the track sequencing.
“Dark Side Of The Sun” is subdued as it smoulders along while “Euroshima” is another fast paced rocker.
The Cult – Dreamtime
How good is the start of “Spiritwalker” with the arpeggio guitar riff and the drum groove along with Ian Astbury’s native Indian like chant?
And ’83rd Dream” has this progressive feel to it which I like. “A Flower In The Desert” has “The Call of Ktulu” style riff, which is based around the “Kashmir” riff which moves up chromatically.
Fates Warning – Night on Brocken
This album came to me at a time when I was in the mindset to hear progressive metal and Fates Warning became a favourite instantly.
“Buried Alive” kicks it off and “Kiss Of Death” musically sounds like a Rush song, with the distortion cranked to 10 and the tempo’s increased a little bit more.
“S.E.K” is a short minute and a half song, that’s like a classical/flamenco style acoustic guitar arrangement.
The opening riff in “Misfit” reappeared again in “Be Quick Or Be Dead” by the might Maiden and a harmony lead that reminds me of Megadeth’s “She Wolf”.
“Shadowfax” and “Jump In The Fire” sound like they were written from the same source material, being Rush. But after the intro, it sounds like a Maiden song.
Well that’s Part 6 done. 1984 was a big year for releases, so there are a few more parts to come. Stay tuned.