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

1978 – Part 2 – “Never Say Die To Infinity” said the Hemispheres

It’s hard to believe that in 2019, I still listen to albums released in 1978, 41 years ago, but in the 80’s like 1986, I couldn’t fathom listening to music from 1945. And I still cant.

My eldest one, who is is 14, listens to 70’s music. Last night, “Free Bird” from Lynyrd Skynyrd was cranked. The middle child, who is 13, has been cranking “Sultans Of Swing”, “Aint Talkin Bout Love” and “Eruption” as they both fumble around the fretboard learning the songs on guitar. So the 70s are back baby.

Here is part one and now for Part two.

And here is the Spotify playlist.

Journey – Infinity

The wheel in the sky keeps on turning alright. Robert Fleischman was hired as the new vocalist before being un-hired and Steve Perry was in. Fleischman would resurface many years later as part of Vinnie Vincent’s Invasion.

This is Journey before the mainstream hits, but the start of what would become the commercial beast. And the bluesy Hendrix like “Lights” kicks it off.

How good is the guitar solo from about the 2 minute mark from Neal Schon?

“Anytime” sounds like an ELO/Eagles song merged with “Who Are You” from The Who. And I like it, especially when Schon comes to town with his bends and legato during the solo.

“La Do Da” comes from out of nowhere, a speed rock track, the anti-hero to the laid back Southern Rock vibe of the first three tracks.

“Patiently” is one of my favourite tracks from Journey, especially from about 2.10 and to the end. Listen to Schon wail with a bunch of sing along licks. And it’s progressive in its song writing.

And the piece d resistance is “Wheel In The Sky”. It hypnotised me to pick up the guitar and start learning it, from the opening notes. And Perry’s vocals are perfect, sorrowful and emotive.

How good is the intro to “Winds Of March”?

It’s like “Battery” from Metallica to me. And I am sure Dave Meniketti was listening and being influenced here, for “Winds Of Change”. Then it changes into a rocker from about 2.50 minute mark and I am tapping my fingers, and Schon begins to wail about the 3.50 minute mark and its beautiful and inspirational.

Whitesnake – Trouble

David Coverdale is rolling along with his post Deep Purple career. “Trouble” is known as the first Whitesnake album, however after the success of the 1987 album, the David Coverdale solo albums “White Snake” and “Northwinds” got re-released and some still see those as the beginning.

The album is a product of its era.

“Take Me With You” kicks off the album and it’s a blast. You just need to listen to it for the lyrics. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Slash was listening to this track, as it sounds like certain riffs made their way into “Appetite For Destruction”.

“Love To Keep You Warm” ended up as a lyric on the road to “Judgement Day”.

“Nighthawk (Vampire Blues) will never sound dated. It’s one of those tracks that sounded good in 1978 and it will still sound good in 2019. Greta Van Fleet should cover it.

“The Time Is Right For Love” is a good track that is relevant in any era and I thought it would have been re-recorded for a Whitesnake album in the 80’s, going into the 90’s, but after “Slip Of The Tongue”, Coverdale, dissolved Whitesnake to team up with Jimmy Page, and then when Page went back to Robert Plant for a side project, Whitesnake came back with Adrian Vandenberg and Warren DeMartini on guitars. (Takes a breath).

“Trouble” is very Bad Company like, and I like it, especially the lyrics, “on the road again, looking for a place to hide, everywhere I look, there is trouble, trouble always coming my way.”

“Free Flight” is a jazz fusion blues rocker that could have come from “Come Taste The Band”. And while it doesn’t contain the hits, the album does contain some serious riffage and jamming, which I dig.

Judas Priest – Stained Class

This album was really ignored by the media and the fans, until the 80’s satanic panic and subsequent lawsuits brought it back into the public conversation.

For those who don’t know the story, and according to Wikipedia, Judas Priest got taken to trial in a civil suit, by the family of a teenager, James Vance, who entered into a suicide pact with his friend Ray Belknap after allegedly listening to “Better by You, Better than Me” on 23 December 1985.

Belknap succeeded in killing himself, and Vance was left critically injured after surviving a self-inflicted gunshot to the facial area, eventually dying of a methadone overdose three years later.

In this case, the events and outcomes are tragic, but there is always someone looking to blame someone else for their predicament. And there are always people (like lawyers and prosecutors) looking to prey on people’s weakness and sense of loss.

A lawyer tried to convince a judge that the “Stained Class” album and the song “Better by You, Better than Me” (which isn’t even a Judas Priest song, it’s a cover) had subliminal messages on it, that said “do it” and that would make kids take their lives. In the name of free speech and the ludicrous nature of the suit (seriously, why would a band want to kill the very people who would buy their product), it was dismissed.

But the album is important in a few ways;

  • The iconic Judas Priest logo made its debut.
  • It’s seen as an early thrash metal album, with wannabe artists all over Europe lapping up the fast picking and surgical precision of the riffs.
  • Its darkness and aggression is fuelled by the anti-metal movement that started happening in the UK, as Punk and New Wave was getting all the attention and metal had a few comical mentions.

“Exciter” kicks off the album with double kick and speed pedal point riffs. “Stained Class” has a cool “Barracuda” pedal point riff. “Saints In Hell” is not in the live repertoire of Judas Priest, but the song has a lot of movements, which keeps it interesting.

“Beyond The Realms Of Death” is a favourite, especially with its nod to “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” but also for its song writing and various movements. Chris De Garmo would have been listening very intently to this, as it sounds like “The Warning” album came from influences like this.

“Fire Burns Below” is the embryo of what Judas Priest would become in the 80’s.

The Metalian was starting to form.

Rush – Hemispheres

One of their best albums and their most progressive. They knew they had reached a pinnacle here and what would come next would be much shorter and concise songs, sort of like how Metallica reached a pinnacle with the “Justice” album and needed to strip it back, which they did with the self-titled and mega gazillion selling “Black” album.

And the reason why I call this one of their best albums is because of “La Villa Strangiato”, a song that took them longer to record than the whole “Fly By Night” album.

I didn’t give Rush a good shake until I really got into Dream Theater on the “Images And Words” album.

Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres

18 minutes and all the different musical movements are enough to get me interested for a few reasons. And it’s all because of Alex Lifeson.

Alex Lifeson’s use of open strings (the high E and B strings) with moving power chords was inspirational. It just made sections sound bigger than what they should. It was a style I incorporated straight away.

His combination of using palm muted arpeggios and single note riffs also proved to be very inspirational. At that point in time, I was very heavily into playing open string pedal point riffs with power chords underneath.

His use of acoustic guitars was unique, bordering on his Eastern European Serbian folk roots, Spanish flamenco, pop music and classical music.

Finally, his unique guitar solos made him sound very different to the blues rock and classical shred like soloists I was used to hearing.

“Circumstances” sounds like the hard rock I listened too, with pedal point riffs in the intro. But from about 50 seconds, the song morphs and I was entranced to pick up the guitar and learn the section. By a 1.15 seconds, 25 seconds later it was all over.

And that’s how my Rush relationship is. Sections of certain songs hook me in.

Like the intro to “The Trees”. It’s acoustic intro sounds like it came from medieval England. And after 40 seconds, the song changes into a rocker. The lyrics made me laugh when I was younger, and they still make me laugh now, especially when Geddy Lee sings, “why can’t the maples be happy?” or “the maples scream oppression” or “the maples formed a union”. 

Goddamn Maples, they can never be happy.

And that section from about 2.20 when Lifeson starts to play this repeating arpeggio lick/riff. Again, I was picking up the guitar to learn it and jam it, but then I started learning Geddy’s bass riff, as it sounded so good on distorted guitar and very different to Lifeson’s guitar riff.

“La Villa Strangiato” sums up everything about Rush which I love and I am so glad they didn’t try to repeat it or try to rewrite it for another album.

It stands out as the RUSH song for me, and if anyone asks what’s the big deal about Rush, I play them this song and I comment about each section and movement for a few seconds and allow them to bask in the sounds filling the room.

It’s an instrumental but there is no way you could ever be bored by it. It doesn’t have any guitar wankery. It just grooves and rolls until it comes up to the 3.18 minute mark where the song slows down.

This is when Alex Lifeson becomes a god.

He starts off the solo with volume swells.

It’s eerie, before he brings in a few blues licks to make it sorrowful.

At 4.27, it gets louder, and his bending those strings, bleeding pain out of those frets. In the background Neal Peart, is building the beast.

At 5.15, Lifeson starts this palm muted Am to F arpeggio. Peart is double-time on the drums, and Lee is playing the bass synth until they all join in and start the Swinging 30’s section. This is when Bugs Bunny is running away from Elmer Fudd. That is the memory I got from it.

Then there’s a bass solo.

Then a drum solo.

Then an unconventional guitar solo at the 6.50 minute mark.

At 7.29, it changes again.

At 7.53, the Swinging 30’s is back. First at half time, then at full speed.

And the song transitions back to the main intro riff to close out a 9 plus minute song in perfection.

And the album is over.

Until I dropped the needle again onto the last track.

Scorpions – Tokyo Tapes

I got this dubbed on a cassette from a mate, who had dubbed it onto a cassette from a cousin, who dubbed it onto a cassette from his girlfriend’s brother. Quick, call the cops, piracy is on the loose and killing the recording industry.

The end of the Uli Jon Roth era on guitar and a band in top form.

Stand out live performances along with fake crowd noises and claps are “Pictured Life”, “In Trance”, “Well Burn The Sky”, “Fly To The Rainbow”, “He’s A Woman – She’s A Man”, “Top Of The Bill” and “Steamrock Fever”.

Scorpions – Taken By Force

The last studio album with Uli Jon Roth, kicks off with “Steamrock Fever” and I like the music a lot more than the lyrics. “We’ll Burn The Sky” is better lyrically and musically.

Two of my favourite Scorpion tracks are up next in “I’ve Got To Be Free” and “The Riot Of Your Time”.

“I’ve got to be free to live my life alone” is the catch cry, a very Hendrix inspired song musically and it doesn’t sound dated at all.  And the acoustic guitars in “The Riot Of Your Time” are perfect, but the chorus, musically and lyrically is brilliant. Listen to it if you don’t believe me.

The piece d’resistance from a guitar point of view, is “The Sails Of Charon”. But I listen to “Your Light” more, because of its sexy groove, which makes me want to pick up the guitar, especially in the verses. And the way it rolls, it’s a rock song, but I feel like I’m sipping Pina Colada’s on an island in the Caribbean’s.

“He’s A Woman – She’s A Man” has got some Metallica like breakdowns in it, which is cool.

Black Sabbath – Never Say Die

It’s not like it’s such a bad album, it’s just that they lost their darkness. “Never Says Die” sounds like it could have come from Thin Lizzy or ELO or Styx. “Johnny Blade” musically sounds like a Rush song, hell, the riff in the verses sounds like it came from “La Villa Strangiato”.

“Junior’s Eyes” is classic Sabbath in everything except the title. “A Hard Road” sounds more like a Status Quo track but it’s roots are from the placenta of “Children of The Grave”. “Shock Wave” is a Sabbath song through and through.

The best track on the album is “Air Dance”. It has this harmony intro which is too good to not like. Then it morphs into an acoustic/piano piece for the verses. It’s progressive in its song writing and as fans of artists, you want them to grow a little bit and add some different textures.

Especially at the 3.56 mark, it goes into a prog rock style piece, which is some of the best stuff Sabbath has written. Because that is what Sabbath was/is. A band that pushed boundaries and defied categorisation. Hell, there is a synth lead in it, as I start to cough out the sweet leaf.

“Over To You” was re-written and called “Little Dolls”. If it works for Ozzy’s solo career, it works for Sabbath for me. “Breakout” has the brass instruments, but there is no denying the power of that riff as it sludge’s sleazily along.

Styx – Pieces of Eight

I like Styx as a progressive rock band which has a few “simply” rock songs here and there. This album is a favourite, because it hits both those points for me. It’s progressive in its song writing and it has “accessible” songs.

“Great White Hope” gallops along in the intro and it’s a product of its time.

“I’m O.K” is interesting with its major key uplifting riffs, and “Walk This Way” style drums in the intro, and then the verses sound like a church sermon.“Sing For The Day” has a progressive synth intro which I dig. And the multi-layered Chorus melody is cool, but I’m more of a fan of the music.

“Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) has a riff which is tasty to play on guitar. And how good is the Chorus, musically, lyrically and melodically. Makes me press repeat instantly. “Queen Of Spades” is a combination of progressive song writing and accessible melodies. And the breakdown section from about the 3.20 minute mark is perfect.

But the piece d resistance here is “Renegade”.

First the acapella vocals and it sounds like it’s coming from the Mississippi Delta.

Then the funk rock fusion riff kicks in and it’s time to rock and funk.

And the solo. The music stops, and a dirty sounding guitar unleashes a flurry of pentatonic lines which wash over me. Then the band comes in and it’s all systems go. And when you think it’s over, it keeps going for a little but more.

Then the drums and vocals section. Jon Bon Jovi would have been listening intently as “You Give Love A Bad Name” has a similar set up after the solo.

Play that funky rock and roll, I say.

“Pieces Of Eight” is a brilliant piece of song writing. It has so many movements in the song, especially from the 2.20 minute mark. It’s pure bliss.

The Alan Parsons Project – Pyramid

Alan Parsons got no love in Australia or non that I could remember. I started to hear his work in the early 2000’s. And I became a fan. I got what he was trying to do, I really enjoyed the song structures, the jams and atmospherics.

The way “Voyager” starts off in the first 20 seconds, it’s how thrash metal acts build their clean tone intros. And the song segues into “What Goes Up”, a laid back tune which segues into “The Eagle Will Rise Again” and one of my favourite acoustic arpeggio riffs because it sounds so powerful.

Play four notes, stop and let them ring. But the rest of the song is not as strong as that verse riff. At one stage, I swear I thought “Listen To My Heart” from Roxette came from this song. “One More River” has a clean tone single note riff, which sounds wicked when played with distortion.  

“In The Lap Of Gods” is a cinematic instrumental. Well, that’s what I call it. It feels like it’s written to moving pictures and I like it. Especially from the 4.10 minute mark when those Latin style “Excalibur” voices come in, along with the violins.

I press repeat, to hear it one more time, and to close off Part 2 of 1978.

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

1984 – V – Grace Under Pressure

If you are curious here are parts one, two, three and four of the 1984 series.

Pretty Maids – Red Hot And Heavy

I didn’t hear this album until the early two thousands. I had “Future World” on LP, however any other release by the band was available via an expensive IMPORT price of $50 to $70 Australian. And then Napster came along, and then Audio Galaxy, LimeWire and cloud sites like Rapid Share. Suddenly, people’s music collections were available everywhere and at any time.

For this album there was no dropping the needle, it was all about putting on my headphones, plugging them into the computer and pressing play to the mp3 tracks, lined up WINAMP.

It kicks off with what I know as the “Excalibur” theme, and others know as ‘O Fortuna’.

“Back To Back” and “Cold Killer” have cool riffs and show off their NWOBHM influences.

“Red Hot and Heavy” shows off it’s Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest and Scorpions influences.

“Waitin’ For The Time” and “A Place In The Night” are AOR Melodic Rock to a tee.

And that’s why I always enjoyed the albums from “Pretty Maids”. Like Dokken and Y&T, they lived somewhere in between heavy metal and hard rock and melodic pop.

Rush – Grace Under Pressure

Ernest Hemingway said “Courage is grace under pressure.”

And when you are pushing towards the mid 80s, Rush showed true courage in delivering another album full of synth rock. Hell, talk about courage, some songs don’t even feature any bass guitar.

“Distant Early Warning” has a keyboard riff which sounds excellent played on a distorted guitar.

“Afterimage” is my favourite track and “Red Sector A” has this riff from about the 1.10 mark, which makes me press repeat on this track.

This is also the track which has no bass guitar

“Are we the last ones left alive? Are we the only human beings to survive?”

And its these first three tracks which still get played to this day.

The Alan Parsons Project  – Ammonia Avenue

The album came out in February 1984 and it was meant to capitalize on the platinum success of “Eye In The Sky”. And although it went Gold, the album was seen as a failure. MTV was a game changer and if you looked like a studio band, you didn’t stand a chance with a new empowered generation of rock and metal heads.

But to me there are always a few cool tracks on APP albums which I can relate to.

On this one, “Let Me Go Home”, “Dancing On A High Wire” and Pipeline” are stand outs.

Chris DeBurgh – Man On The Line

Chris DeBurgh doesn’t get enough credit as a Rocker because his ballad, “Lady In Red” was so huge, it dwarfed everything else he released. Then again, each album he did release always had more ballads than rockers.

“The Ecstasy Of Flight (I Love The Night)” is the song which stood out for me and I remember hearing it on a music video show and taping it.

Midnight Oil – Red Sails In The Sunset

They write songs about Australia, our environment, our history, our culture and our attitudes.

And it resonated and connected with people.

“Kosciusko” and “When The Generals Talk” are the standouts here.

Meatloaf‘s “Bad Attitude” didn’t have anything earth shattering on it, but the title track and “Surfs Up” are derivative versions of previous Meatloaf songs and are a cool listen.

Billy Squier – Signs Of Life

It all comes back to the “Rock Me Tonite” video.

Cheesy; yes, terrible idea; yes, but did it really kill Squier’s career because in the 80s there was a lot of cheesy bad videos for artists.

Squier like many others had some success early on and then struggled to duplicate it. Twisted Sister comes to mind immediately and so does Quiet Riot. That’s not to say this album doesn’t have good songs, it’s just the audience had moved on.

“All Night Long” is excellent while “Reach For The Sky” has a feel and groove borrowed from The Police and Gotye used a similar groove and feel for “Somebody That I Used To Know”. Quick call the lawyers.

“Hand Me Downs” borrows from “Long Way To The Top” in the verses. Quick call the lawyers again.

Don Henley – Building The Perfect Beast

“The Boys Of Summer” was everywhere and what a song. I didn’t hear the rest of the album until the late 90s. Other tracks which stand out to me are “Not Enough Love In The World”, “Driving With Our Eyes Closed” and “Land Of The Living”.

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

1982 – VI – Rough And Ready Rider In A Supersonic Sound Machine

 

Van Halen – Diver Down

“I’d rather have a bomb with one of my own songs than a hit with someone else’s.”

EVH

It was well into the Nineties that I finally gave money for “Diver Down”. The fact that it had so many cover songs on it, made me ignore it.

The album cover displayed the red and white colours that EVH is famous for and up until the internet era, I had no idea that it was the “diver down” flag which indicates a SCUBA diver is currently submerged in the area.

The Eighties was the era when records ruled the world and Van Halen (along with some hidden coaching from the label and management) decided to came out with this album.

But there is a story behind it.

The “Fair Warning” tour finished and the band recorded “Oh Pretty Woman” and released it as a single, just to tell its fan’s the band is still here. But, “Pretty Woman” started climbing the charts and the label started pressuring VH for an album. 12 days later, “Diver Down” was complete.

Van Halen was on target to have another hit with someone else’s song.

From an original point of view, “Hang Em High”, the instrumental “Cathedral”, “Little Guitars (with the intro)” and the country blues tinged “The Full Bug” are good cuts. The rest, not so much…

From the cover songs, “Oh Pretty Woman” is okay and it was the song that gave the record label the idea to push VH into the studio for a full album.

“Hang Em High”

“Hang ‘Em High” can trace its roots back to the band’s 1977 demos as “Last Night”, which had the same music but different lyrics. It’s funny how that first demo tape had so many songs that would come to life many years later, and in the case of “A Different Kind Of Truth”. Seven tracks that appear on the album are based on material written between 1975 and 1977.

And David Lee Roth is not the greatest vocalist or lyricist. ATTITUDE! That’s what DLR was good at delivering. And Van Halen songs had plenty of attitude.

“Cathedral”

EVH had been doing ‘Cathedral’ live prior to putting it on a record. From a guitar point of view, he is using his volume knob to get the volume swells happening.

“Little Guitars (plus the classical sounding introduction)

This is Eddie cheating at playing flamenco based on hearing Carlos Montoya. With a pick he is doing the trills on the high E string, pull offs with his left hand and slapping with his middle finger on the low E.

It was all about getting a clip onto MTV. Suddenly bands saw record sales jump and they played to full houses nearly everywhere. By 1982, it was a new golden era that was beginning.

MSG – Assault Attack

As I get older, I am starting to realize almost no one is remembered. Michael Schenker is one such person that is unknown to a lot of kids aged 25 and under.

It didn’t used to be that way.

It was 1982, when Michael Schenker received a call from Ozzy about joining after Randy Rhoads died in the plane crash. But Schenker was in the middle of making the “Assault Attack” album with Graham Bonnet and Cozy Powell. Peter Mensch (Manager) wanted David Coverdale to front the band. This caused a disagreement, and Mensch was out. A couple of bad moves by Schenker here.

As Mensch is still rocking and managing in 2015 to great success and if he joined Ozzy, who knows what kind of career he would have had post Ozzy. However, Schenker has been reduced to playing clubs and theatres.

He never really had any hits with MSG like he did with UFO.

Martin Birch is on hand to produce, fresh from doing “The Number Of The Beast” with Iron Maiden. But the album only has two decent songs.

“Desert Song”

It kicks of Side 2 on the vinyl. It’s written by Schenker and Bonnet. Musically, the song is excellent. Melodically the song is excellent. Can’t say I am a fan of the lyrics, but I’ll let that slide, because the music is magical.

A great riff is a great riff, never forget it! UFO fans would note that Schenker used his riff from “Love To Love” to maximum rock effect on this one.

“Assault Attack”

It kicks of Side 1 on the vinyl. It’s written by Schenker, Bonnet, Chris Glen and Ted McKenna. It’s got a good groove and the cool chorus.

History has shown that not a lot of guitarist reached the same level of success as they did with previous bands because in the end, it don’t matter how great you play guitar, if you don’t have a vocalist that can sell your message and connect with people lyrically, it all goes to crap.

But Schenker is still out there doing it. He has been ripped off, survived bankruptcy, survived addictions and he still gets up on stage and produces the goods.

Schenker is an individual.

He is a survivor.

Rainbow – Straight Between The Eyes

Ritchie Blackmore is another that is unknown to a lot of kids under the age of 25. This album was another purchase via the various record fairs that used to pop up at Parramatta Town Hall every three months. Dio led Rainbow is brilliant, however I also hold the Joe Lynn Turner (JLT) led version of the band high as well.

It’s because the heart and soul of the band, Ritchie Blackmore was still there and firing on all cylinders and JLT was a more of a AOR style of singer, which worked perfectly for the early Eighties. A lot of people think that Joe Lynn Turner pushed Rainbow into a more AOR type band however it was a combination of Ritchie wanting to pursue that direction as well and Joe Lynn Turner being on board.

Side one kicks off with the Blackmore and Turner composition known as “Death Alley Driver”.

Joe Lynn Turner said the following about the song:

That song was about drug runs on 1 and 9. Springsteen wrote about Highway 9. That highway goes all the way through from the pier to New York. That song, I wrote about going on a drug run on Highway 9. I was with a friend, who I found out I really didn’t know that well. I ended up in this place where there were all these machine guns. This guy was a doctor that was brought in to analyze the cocaine that was coming in from Columbia. There were pounds of it. I stood there and I was thinking, “What did you get me into to?” He was all coked out and I was like, “Get me outta here.” I was sweating bullets. I wrote the song about that. Highway 9 is a crap highway. It is a two lane highway about as wide as an alley but it was the run where you went to get the Columbian blow, which was the best blow around.

Rough and ready rider, in a supersonic sound machine
Rock and roll survivor, chrome pipes between your knees

It’s an excellent opening to introduce the album. It has so many words relevant to the era. The rite of passage in 1982 was to own a car, a fast muscle car was preferred. Then insert a cool stereo so that rock and roll music can play from it, all day and all night.

Another dirty angel, heading straight to hell

The song is full of good lines like the above.

Next up is “Stone Cold”. This cut is written by Blackmore, Turner and Roger Glover. It’s a broken heart type of song, written in the middle of a snow storm.

This is what Turner had to say about the song:

“We were out on the first tour and Roger had been left by his wife for a famous race car driver. He was very, very broken up over it. I looked in his room and I said, “Rog, let’s go to the bar.” He looked up at me and he had crying eyes.” I said, “What happened?” He just looked at me and said, “She just stone cold up and left me.” I knew there was a song there. I ran back to my room and started writing the lyrics. It didn’t come to fruition until we got the music. Ritchie would record a bunch of tracks and Roger and I would go through them and we would find the song and then we would teach it back to Ritchie. All Ritchie would do is jam on music and then we would take these pieces of music and make songs. We would then rehearse the song and work it all out.”

 Familiar strangers with nothing to say

So true, when the relationship goes bad.

Track number 3 is “Bring On the Night (Dream Chaser)”. This cut is also written by Blackmore, Turner and Glover.

This is what Turner had to say about the song:

Ritchie wrote the music and Roger had a part during the B section but the lyrics are all about me. It is all about trying to get into this business. All of those verses were about me.

I was taking a chance on a tight-rope
Walking the line to the end

If you want to be a musician, you need to be in it until the end. You don’t check out because there is no money. You keep on persisting because you believe in the music, the message of your songs, the thrill of the performance or online adulation.

“Tite Squeeze”

Love the riff and groove of this song, but hate the lyrics and song title.

“Tearin’ Out My Heart”

I actually dig this one. It’s got a lot of drama around the peaks and lows.

Side two kicks off with “Power”.

JLT mentioned that “Power” is an autobiographical song.

I get knocked down…get right back up again
Cause I never give up and I never give in…

Refer to “Bring On The Night (Dream Chaser)”.

Midnight Oil – 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

I finally listened to all of Midnight Oil’s albums on Spotify. I never owned any of their albums, but I knew their singles. I had most of them recorded on a VHS cassette tape from the various TV stations that played music videos. Hell, in the early Nineties I even watched a few of their shows.

Was I fan of the band?

Yes I was.

Did I own any of their music?

No I didn’t.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 is the fourth album by Midnight Oil.

Coming into making the album, the Oils had their backs to the wall. They wanted to achieve their success in their own way, while the label had their own ideas. A commitment was made to roll the dice one last time. If they failed, the band would break up.

But they didn’t fail.

In Australia the album remained on the chart for 3 years and it was certified 7 times platinum. By the time “Diesel and Dust” came outthree years later, they would become international stars.

Again I only knew of the singles and after listening to the full album on Spotify, I can say that the singles are miles ahead the rest of the album.

“Short Memory”.  It’s written by Peter Garrett, drummer Rob Hirst and guitarist Jim Moginie. It’s built around Moginie’s “SundayBloody Sunday” style riffing. Lyrically, the song deals with a lot of human tragedy.

The story of El Salvador, The silence of Hiroshima, , Destruction of Cambodia, Short memory

Can any artist get three different events that happened in three different places all in a verse?

Midnight Oil always wrote lyrics with a nod to politics and how politics affected our way of life. In the end, what a short memory we have when it comes to human actions and the suffering humans have caused to other humans.

“Read About It” and it’s written by the Garrett, Hirst and Moginie team. That intro riff is brilliant. I wanted it to play forever.

The rich get richer, The poor get the picture, The bombs never hit you when you’re down so low

The working class of Australia latched on to the Oils. They wrote about what we felt.

You wouldn’t read about it, Read about it

Rupert Murdoch, with his newspapers in Australia, report an agenda that suits the profits of News Limited. There is nothing impartial in their articles. Just recently, News Limited lost the EPL hosting rights in Australia to Optus, so how does Murdoch respond. He launches a campaign against football in the country, just because he lost the rights.

The hammer and sickle, The news is at a trickle, The commisars are fickle but the stockpile grows

Love this verse.

The commies controlled the story and in democratic countries the corporations control the story. Both will report on whatever suits their own agenda. Especially, when the news outlets went onto the stock exchange, got shareholders and profits became the be all and end all, instead of the story.

“U.S Forces”

A protest song against US foreign policy, “US Forces” is written by Garrett and Moginie. It was a song that was brought up when Garrett became a Federal Minister.

U.S. forces give the nod, It’s a setback for your country

Perception is powerful. The U.S has done itself no favours in putting itself into situations with no favourable outcome. Hell, the recent Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, was written by US Senators with the Corporations, and now the rest of the Countries need to sign it. All to suit U.S corporation interests.

Now market movements call the shots, Business deals in parking lots, Waiting for the meat of tomorrow

“Power and the Passion”

The hit making machine of Garrett, Hirst and Moginie churned out another Aussie classic.

You take what you get and get what you please, It’s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees

Great lyric.

Rush – Signals

It is album number 9 for Rush and the follow-up to the mega successful “Moving Pictures” album. It’s not a favourite that’s for sure, but each song has some cool sections.

“Subdivisions”

The intro synth is pretty cool and when the guitar comes in to mimic the groove of it, it’s all systems go.

“The Analog Kid”

It’s very Led Zeppelin like. Think of “Achilles Last Stand”.

 

“Losing It”

Neil Peart wrote it about how tough it is when someone who has been at the top of their game starts to lose their ability to reproduce that.

“Countdown”

I wish the synth riff at the start (and that continues through into the verses) was distorted guitar.

Stay tuned for Part 7 of 1982.

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1981 – Part 2: Punching In, I Feel Like Punching Em Out

Van Halen – Fair Warning

Van Halen’s “Jump” was everywhere in Australia, however the first albums I owned from the band came from the Van Hager edition. So it wasn’t until the late Eighties/Early Nineties that I started to get my hands on the earlier Van Halen albums via the good old’ Second Hand Record Shop.

Coming into “Fair Warning” Eddie had racked up a reputation as a riff maker. “Runnin’ With The Devil”, “Dance The Night Away” and “And The Cradle Will Rock” come to mind. That tradition continued with “Meanstreets” and “Unchained”.

I think it’s safe to say that “Fair Warning” is their hitless album and their most metal sounding album. As soon as the frantic tapped intro kicks in for “Meanstreet” you get the feeling it’s going to be heavy. Then the ZZ Top Blues Groove kicks in and the head is nodding and the foot is tapping while the drums make it swing.

How good is that little breakdown that Eddie fills with volume swells? It then morphs to an outro riff that all of the NuMetal bands used over and over again in every god damn song, 20 years later.

“Unchained” is a classic melodic rock/metal tune that would inspire many bands in the mid to late Eighties. That flanged dropped D intro is “music store” heaven.

“Push Comes To Shove” is one of my favourites (musically) because it’s different and I dig that “I Shot The Sherriff” reggae/funk groove that is happening. Musically, the song has so many cool movements. The lead break alone is a song within a song movement.

The ideas from “So This Is Love?” would eventually morph into a certain song called “Hot For Teacher” a few years later.

And David Lee Roth does manage to write some lyrics that are pretty good.

“At night I walk this stinkin’ street past the crazies on my block
And I see the same old faces and I hear that same old talk
And I’m searching for the latest thing, a break in this routine
I’m talkin’ some new kicks, ones like you ain’t never seen” ….. From “Mean Street”

“Change, nothin’ stays the same
Unchained, and you hit the ground runnin’” ….. From “Unchained”

“And then one night in stunning victory
She decides and you agree, she’s leaving” ….. From “Push Comes To Shove”

Rush – Moving Pictures

Now Rush was a band that I got into during those years of 1994 and 2000. Again, this album came into my collection via the “second hand record store”. I credit Dream Theater and the countless interviews and song transcriptions in the Guitar Magazines where Rush and Alex Lifeson are mentioned as inspiration.

So “Tom Sawyer” kicks off the album and immediately I am hearing something familiar that I couldn’t link too. Eventually, I realised I was hearing the end of “Welcome Home” from Metallica. Then that keyboard lead break which kicks in at about 1.30 has appeared in many Dream Theater songs.

“Red Barchetta” has this riff from 2.30 to about 3.00 that I reheard again many years later in the outro to “Innocence Faded” from Dream Theater.

“YYZ” kicks off with what Geddy Lee once described as a “Morse Code Rhythm”. Again, there are a lot of bits here that I have heard other prog rock bands in the Nineties use as inspiration.

“Limelight” was the first song I sat down to learn thinking it would be easy. The hard part is the movements, the stops on the off-beat, the 5/4 timing in the intro, the arpeggios cleanly picked in the Chorus and so forth. And what about that emotive and moody lead break, with the busy underlying bass groove, which picks up the section from balladesque to rock in under a minute.

Then you have a song like “Witch Hunt” which I didn’t really rate, and then Machine Head covered it as part of the bonus tracks for the “Unto The Locust” album and suddenly I was digging it.

And to close the album, “Vital Signs” is the dark horse with its New Age, reggae feel.

And as usual Peart comes out with some great lyrics about thinking for yourself and dealing with fame.

“No, his mind is not for rent, to any god or government, Always hopeful, yet discontent, He knows changes aren’t permanent” ….. from “Tom Sawyer”

“Living in a fisheye lens, caught in the camera eye, I have no heart to lie,
I can’t pretend a stranger, Is a long-awaited friend” ….. from “Limelight”

“All the world’s indeed a stage, and we are merely players, performers and portrayers” ….. from “Limelight”

MSG – MSG

His influence on guitarist coming through the Eighties is huge. Kirk Hammet and Marty Friedman are two that come to mind immediately that have spoken highly of the German.

There is no denying his output with UFO is world-class and it was only natural that a person like Schenker would get the big money offer to go solo. In a years’ time he would also audition for the Ozzy Osbourne gig. But the Axeman had his eyes set on a solo career. The first albums I purchased from MSG were the “Perfect Timing” album and from that commercial sounding album, I went back and purchased the earlier stuff. All thanks to the second-hand record store.

There’s no mistake, no denying, we’re just one of a kind, there’s no conceit, seems like we’re all black sheep” ….. from “Are You Ready To Rock”

“Dreams just fade away, realities soars” ….. from “On And On”

“When voices of innocents cry out, Seeking the justice to come, Lies that’s all I ever get from you” ….. from “I Want More”

Foreigner – 4

In 1985, “I Want To Know What Love Is” was everywhere, but at the time I didn’t pay attention to it or the band. It wasn’t until “Say You Will” hit MTV that I started to pay attention to Foreigner. This was around 1988. So in a few years, by way of the second-hand record store, I would end up with Foreigner’s back catalogue.

Mutt Lange had really wanted to do 1978’s “Double Vision” however Mick Jones, didn’t believe he was ready at the time, nor was he considered for 1979’s “Head Games”. So Lange goes away and he proves himself to Foreigner. He takes on AC/DC and produces “Highway to Hell” in 1979 (their American breakthrough album) and “Back in Black” in 1980 (their first with Brian Johnson and their biggest album in regards to sales to date). He also produced “For Those About To Rock We Salute You” in 1981. So by now Mutt Lange is more than ready and the result is one of Foreigner’s biggest albums.

How’s that for committment?

So it was no surprise that Mutt Lange would go on to greater things.

“Night Life”, “I’m Gonna Win” and “Break It Up” are excellent rock songs and it’s easy to forget them under the noise of the “hit songs” like “Urgent”, “Jukebox Hero” and “Waiting For A Girl Like You”.

“And that one guitar made his whole life change” ….. from “Jukebox Hero”

Men At Work – Business As Usual

Who would have thought that almost 30 years after the song “Down Under” was released, a publishing company would become a part owner of the song. I called it “The Great Copyright Hijack” in the land down under.

For those who don’t know, the song “Down Under” has a flute riff in it that was inspired by a vocal melody of a 1940’s children song. The fact that the creator of the song is long gone, should mean that the song and its sheet music is out of copyright. However Copyright was hijacked by the Corporations in the Sixties and Seventies, so that is why we have this sad situation of Copyright lasting for the life of the owner, plus 70 years to 90 years after death. So in this case, a Publishing Company purchased the rights of the 1940’s Children song and eventually opened a court case for plagiarism.

“Buying bread from a man in Brussels, he was six foot four and full of muscles
I said, “Do you speak-a my language?”, he just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich” ….. from “Down Under”

Australian Crawl – Sirocco
“Sirocco” was the Crawl’s first US and European release and it was coming off the success that “The Boys Light Up” album set in motion. The album recently has resurfaced back into the public conversation, as fans of Australian Crawl believe that “Sweet Child O Mine” from Guns N’ Roses ripped off “Unpublished Critics”.

“My finger on the pulse, and my hand around a beer” ….. from “Unpublished Critics”

“Too many people need a pseudonym” ….. from “Can I Be Sure”

Y&T – Earthshaker

Y&T is another band that came into my collection via the second-hand record shop.

In case people don’t know, Yesterday and Today became Y&T on 1981’s “Earthshaker”, their first album for A&M Records. Since forming in 1972, with Dave Meniketti joining in 1973, Y&T honed their craft on the stage and the “Earthshaker” album perfectly captures their live sound to a tee.

“Punchin in, I feel like punchin ’em out, It makes me scream, it makes me wanna get up and shout” ….. from “Hungry For Rock”

Ahh, the Monday morning after the weekend and the last place anyone wants to be is at work. A simple lyric that sums up the early Eighties. Hell, it’s still relevant now.

“I was down, I was barely makin’ it, She was gone and I couldn’t take it, I was lookin’ for a new way of thinkin’” ….. from “Rescue Me”

“Your phony friends, they all counsel you” ….. from “I Believe In You”

“It’s a song I wrote a long time ago. Well a long time before it got put on a record, which is kind of a drag in a way, because our original managers ripped us off for our publishing on the first two Yesterday and Today records. We haven’t received a penny publishing to this day from those two records. I wrote” I Believe in You” about the time they were managing us so when I put it on the Earthshaker record well after they were gone they still took my publishing and never gave me a cent for I Believe In You Anyway it was written a long time ago about a break up that I had with a long-time relationship I had with a girl so the song inspired itself more or less.”
Dave Meniketti

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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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Some Songs Starting With ‘Y’

YOUNGBLOOD Audrey Horne

There is something unique when members from death/extreme metal bands end up crafting retro sounding rock albums.

Sweden’s “The Night Flight Orchestra” featuring members of Soilwork and Arch Enemy are one such band. Actually TNFO’s new album due out in June was a pure blind pre-order for me. I know some artists lament the internet and wish for the good old days of record label gatekeepers and monopolies. However if those days still existed, bands like The Night Flight Orchestra and Audrey Horne would never have been released in Australia. To me there is no doubt that the internet is there to spread music on a global scale and it is a shame that the record labels have been dragged kicking and screaming into this global world.

Going back to the story, the original band that came from extreme metal bands is Norway’s “Audrey Horne”. The band was formed in 2002. “Youngblood” is their fourth album released in 2013. That intro groove especially when the drums come in remind me of early Black Sabbath. Hell, even the vocal tone reminds me of Ozzy.

They say he’s been around forever
I’m pretty sure he taught the devil to steal
And somewhere down the line… they cut a deal

The solo section reminds me of the Thin Lizzy harmonies merged with Scorpions Euro Metal influence and that retro sounding lead in the outro is brilliant. And no one even knows it. The YouTube clip is approaching close to 14,000 views.

YEAR TO THE DAY Van Halen

The biggest change to Eddie Van Halen’s unique style of crafting rock songs was Sammy Hagar. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Van Hager period of pop metal/rock songs. It was a total departure from the more chaotic rock abandonment style of the Roth era. Of course I know that there are songs from the Roth era that follow a pop formula like “Jump” and both eras bring back a lot of great memories.

Then the split with Hagar happened. Roth was back in, talking/singing over “Can’t Get This Stuff No More” and “Me Wise Magic” from the 1996 “Best Off – Volume 1” compilation. You can hear musically where EVH was progressing. It was more a throwback to the beautiful chaos of the pre-Hagar era, however with a touch of progressiveness.

Then the split with Roth happened again and Gary Cherone was chosen to write lyrics over the bed of chaotic musical progressions created by EVH.

The period of the “Van Halen III” album is bitterly debated amongst people and always compared to the previous versions of the band. To me it was just another era for the band and good enough to stand on its own feet. However it is not as glorious as the other eras and the 36,880 views this song has on YouTube is proof of that.

I woke up to yet another day
Grown to expect, expect more of the same

Conformity. It’s the new suicide these days. The song peaks at the right time and then it quiets down when it needs to. The 12/8 blues groove just adds to the pull and release tension of the music. Underpinning it all is EVH. He owns this song. From fingerpicked verses, to fleet fingered solos to holding down a blues groove, the song has it all.

YOU’RE NOT ALONE Revolution Saints

The supergroup project featuring Deen Castronovo on vocals/drums, Jack Blades on bass and Doug Aldrich on guitars playing songs written by Alessandro Del Vecchio. This is a good song for a ballad. There are two versions on the album, I actually enjoy the version that features Arnel Pineda on vocals.

It’s a ballad for the ones that haven’t heard it. Check it out.

YOU’VE GOT TO STAND FOR SOMETHING John Cougar Mellencamp

From the mega selling “Scarecrow” album released in 1985.

You’ve got to stand for something
Or you’re gonna fall for anything

Although I don’t agree with John Cougar Mellencamp’s views on blaming search engines for piracy/copyright infringement, I at least admire him for taking a stand on a situation, much like the lyrics above exemplify.

In the end copyright infringement/piracy is an availability problem not a search engine problem. See how all of the large-scale piracy is now related to locked up TV content. Streaming and Spotify’s free tier is a piracy killer.

The “Scarecrow” album had a lot of other “MTV” songs, however “You’ve Got The Stand For Something” was my favourite.

I saw Miss America
In a girly magazine
I bet you saw that too

Love it. It’s a brilliant lyric as it is so tongue in cheek and funny that it doesn’t come across as cheesy at all. Everyone would get it. The whole song is littered with moments in time.

YELLOW TEETH Protest The Hero

“Yellow Teeth” is from the fan funded “Volition” album and man the songs lyrics are littered with truths about people’s judgement of others.

A man is nothing more than what others claim he is,

Judgement by others…

I can’t be the only one losing sleep
over things I should or shouldn’t have done.

The lies spread by others.

YYZ Rush

If you want to hear the major influence on Dream Theater’s sound on the first two albums “When Dream And Day Unite” and “ Images And Words” then look no further than ‘YYZ’ from Rush. For an instrumental it is packed with what I call today Dream Theaterism’s.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Copyright Inc

There has been a lot of talk about Copyright and the Public Domain in the last month.

There was the whole Iron Maiden story about the band rewarding Copyright Infringers with Concerts. The website that ran with it issued an apology for falsely attributing Musicmetric quotes to the band, yet if you look at the markets that Iron Maiden has hit over and over again along with the “new markets”, all of those places are on the Musicmetric list of places that download Iron Maiden’s recorded music illegally. So even though the story proved to be false, there is some form of data out there that Iron Maiden is utilising to hit places where they have a low record sale amount but a high download rate.

Even their drummer, Nicko McBrian stated the same in the “Flight 666” documentary about their shows in India and Costa Rica. To paraphrase, he said something in the vein that Iron Maiden hasn’t sold any albums in Costa Rica however they sold out the sports stadium. So how did those fans get the music then.

Look at Metallica. They are also utilising some form of data to identify which new markets to hit or which markets deserve to be revisited. Their recent concerts in China proved this. The sale of Metallica music in China is low, however each concert was sold out. Peru is another new market that Metallica hit and will return too despite the fact that they have very low recorded sales.

I also just finished watching the Rush documentary, “Beyond The Lighted Stage” and in the documentary, Neal Peart is talking about their Vapour Trails tour of South America and how they didn’t know what to expect and in the end they played to their biggest ever concert attendance at Sao Paulo.

In other words, the Brazil tour took place in November 2002 . Napster launched in June 1999 and operated up to July 2001, Audiogalaxy launched in 1998 and operated up until 2002 as a file sharing system that indexed MP3 files. Limewire started operating in May, 2000 and Kazaa in March, 2001. So in three years of peer to peer mp3 sharing, Rush’s fan base grew extraordinarily.

At the beginning of each year, numerous works will have their Copyright expire and they will enter the Public Domain. There is an excellent post up at Techdirt titled, “The Grinch Who Stole The Public Domain” and it covers the works that should have entered the Public Domain in the U.S on the 1st January 2014, however for reasons that are still not clear to the public, these works have been taken away from the public due to a copyright extension that is in place up until 2019.

In the U.S, up until 1978, the maximum amount of time that a work in the US could be covered by copyright was 56 years. As the article states, a creator initially received a 28 year copyright term, which could be renewed for another 28 years.

So back in 1957, Ayn Rand knew that when she created “Atlas Shrugged” that it would be given back to the public to share and build on by January 1, 2014. Same goes for Ian Fleming and his James Bond book, “From Russia With Love.” The same goes for Dr. Seuss and his two books, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “The Cat in the Hat”. All of these authors went on to create further works, so it is safe to assume that that the 56 year Copyright monopoly the creator would have was more than enough incentive to create further works.

In relation to music, the following songs should have appeared in the Public Domain in the U.S.

“That’ll Be the Day” and “Peggy Sue” (Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison, and Norman Petty),
“Great Balls of Fire” (Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer),
“Wake Up, Little Susie” (Felice and Boudleaux Bryant)
Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 in G minor (Opus 103; subtitled The Year 1905).
Elvis Presley’s: “All Shook Up” (Otis Blackwell and Elvis Presley) and “Jailhouse Rock” (Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller).

The above musical works remain copyrighted until 2053 however based on their initial copyright terms, the works should be in the Public Domain.

The purpose of Copyright law was always to encourage the creation of works that would be put into the public domain to promote learning, knowledge and understanding. However, with large organisations controlling a lot of the Copyrights (and their power is growing each day), the law has been twisted into a system that is used to lock works up.

Then you have someone like Jimmy Page, who is really enjoying his Copyright monopoly by continuing to re-issue the same Led Zeppelin works he created between 1968 and 1980. Jimmy Page is a huge influence on my guitar playing. His body of work with Led Zeppelin, along with Coverdale/Page album were all brilliant. The new music he created with Robert Plant, “Walking In Clarksdale” was also a decent effort.

However, “The Firm” and his solo album, “Outrider” didn’t rattle any bones in me. Compared to Robert Plant who constantly creates new works, Jimmy Page has more or less sat back and monetised his copyright monopoly. Since 1993, Jimmy Page has overseen more than twenty three re-issues, re-mastered editions, live releases, greatest hits releases and more from the Led Zeppelin body of work.

While Jimmy Page is entitled to do what he does, Copyright’s intention was to give the artist incentive to create more works, not an incentive to rely on past works.

So while Jimmy Page is doing his thing on one side of the Copyright fence, on the other side there is the shameless releasing of songs by the big labels, purely to extend the copyright term of them.

In January, 2013, Sony released the “Bob Dylan Copyright Collection Volume” so that it could take advantage of an EU law to extend the copyright term on these recordings from 50 to 70 years. So instead of these works expiring in 2013 and entering the Public Domain, they got locked up for another 20 years. Nice one.

When Bob Dylan created these songs, Copyright was in place to offer him an incentive to create new works which he did. However, he also sold or licensed his copyrights to Sony and that is where the abuse kicks in.

Just recently (like December 2013 recent) Apple Records released 59 tracks from The Beatles for downloading on iTunes. These songs include outtakes, demos and live BBC radio performances. A Beatles fan and Blogger by the name of Roger Stormo said the following;

“The only reason why they are doing this is to retain the copyright of this material.”

You see, when “The Beatles” recorded the tracks back in 1963, they made a deal with the public. In return for a government-backed monopoly lasting 50 years, they would allow their music to enter the public domain at the end of that time. Like Bob Dylan, Copyrights got sold or licensed to the record labels. The recording industry then employed politicians as lobbyists and now European fans of “The Beatles” must wait another 20 years before they are able to enjoy and use the tracks as part of the public domain.

The biggest abuse here is that the tracks weren’t even available beforehand (in a legal way). They were safely locked away. Therefore it is safe to assume that the tracks weren’t earning any money for Apple Records. So releasing the tracks into the public domain would have resulted in no loss of revenue whatsoever to the label. However, for reasons only known to the label, they had an opportunity to extend the copyright of the songs for another 20 years and they did.

What about Saul Zaentz, the Fantasy Records label owner who passed away recently. For those that don’t know, he is famous for suing Creedence Clearwater Revival front man John Fogerty for plagiarising John Fogerty.

Yep, Zaentz was that upset that Fogerty struggled for years to free himself from the one sided contract he signed with Fantasy, following the breakup of CCR, that when it finally happened, Zaentz called his lawyers to arms.

Zaentz and Fantasy alleged that Fogerty’s 1985 hit “The Old Man Down the Road” was essentially the same as “Run Through The Jungle” from CCR’s “Cosmos Factory” album released in 1970. Since Fogerty had traded his rights to CCR’s songs in 1980 to cancel his remaining contractual obligations, Fantasy and Zaentz now owned the rights to “Run Through the Jungle”. Under Fogerty’s old CCR contract, Fogerty owed Fantasy eight more records. In the end, he refused to work for the label. The impasse was resolved only when Asylum Records’ David Geffen bought Fogerty’s contract for $1,000,000 on top of the rights that Fogerty sold away.

So when the “Centerfield” album topped the charts in 1985, Zaentz sued. How is that for Copyright abuse?

During the tour, the fans complained that he didn’t play any CCR songs, however Fogerty said that playing the CCR songs meant that he would have to pay performance royalties to copyright holder Saul Zaentz, and he didn’t want to do that. Copyright is used as an incentive to not play songs.

During the tour, Fogerty also spent time in court and in the end Fogerty played the two songs on guitar right on the witness stand and won the case.

On the theme of suing, Evanescence singer Amy Lee is also suing her ex-label Wind Up Records for more than $1 million over unpaid royalties. Of course there is more to the suit than just the unpaid royalties, however one the theme is the same. The abuse of copyright by large organisations.

So next time you read about the need for stronger copyright protection, ask yourself the question; For whom is that stronger copyright protection needed for. Remember that if I write a song today, it is copyrighted for the rest of my life plus 70 years. If I sell the copyright to an organisation for a fee, then they own this copyright until then.

I will leave you with the parting words of James Hetfield as he spits them out in Damage Inc..

Living on your knees, conformity
or dying on your feet for honesty

Which side are you on?

Techdirt – Public Domain – http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131231/23434825735/grinch-who-stole-public-domain.shtml#comments

Led Zeppelin Reissues Will Continue in 2015 – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/led-zeppelin-reissues-2/

Techdirt – Beatles – http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131216/09582225579/57-beatles-bootleg-tracked-released-officially-all-wrong-reasons.shtml?pid=110#c110

John Fogerty Responds to Death of Creedence Label Owner Saul Zaentz With Stinging Video – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/saul-zaentz-dead-john-fogerty-reaction/

Evanescence Singer Amy Lee Reportedly Suing Record Label – http://loudwire.com/evanescence-amy-lee-reportedly-suing-record-label/

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