Music television was everywhere which meant music in general was everywhere and since we had so much access than what we had before, it was no surprise that certain styles started to become popular.
At the time I was looking for a sound, a look and a feel that resonated and I wasn’t the only one. But some times great songs came from artists that didn’t have the metal look so in my head there was a war going on.
Should the LPs of Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Bryan Adams and U2 just to name a few artists be standing side by side with Dio, WASP, Motley Crue and so forth.
In the end, a great song is a great song and I’m content I didn’t succumb to peer pressure. Even to this day I still cop shit for having Madonna next to Metallica, Motley Crue, Marillion, Molly Hatchet, MSG and Megadeth.
Anyway here is the playlist and here are the previous 1984 reviews to date.
Dio – The Last in Line
Did anyone else think that the Dio logo upside down spelled Devil?
“The Last In Line” was my first Dio purchase and I played this album to death. There isn’t a song I don’t like on it and if you want an introduction to Dio, then this is the album to sink your teeth into. And Vivian’s guitar work at the time became very influential to me.
To this day, I still have the original cassette, plus the LP and the CD which I purchased much later on.
The key of A minor gets a good work out on “We Rock”.
And that solo from Vivian Campbell is perfect. It’s fast and melodic and it has a bluesy feel with doublestop bends and pentatonic licks.
The best part is the outro chorus when Vivan is playing the riff and the chords change from Am to F under it and Dio is ad libbing his vocals in the outro.
You can’t get better at that.
The Last In Line
That fingerpicked intro.
Man, that’s what I call music and when Dio holds the “home” vocal note and the band comes crashing in around him with an epic Kashmir like groove.
Well what can I say?
And the stop start music in the verse so the vocal melody is the centerpiece, goes to show how a strong melody can carry a song.
“Well know for the first time if were evil or divine” is one of the best lines Dio has put to paper.
For so many of us we live a life which we think we’ve done good and when it comes to judgement at the pearly gates, the almighty one might might have other views.
If the sound of a person being breathless in the intro isn’t enough to get you interested, then that groovy riff that kicks in will do it.
Dio’s strength (apart from his voice and good business sense) was the addition of a young guitarist that resonated with the youth and all the new young shredders who wanted to make their mark in Hard Rock and Metal.
And even though they parted ways bitterly, the three albums Dio did with Vivian set up Dio’s solo career, in the same way the two albums Ozzy did with Randy Rhoads set up Ozzy’s solo career.
One other thing that I always enjoyed with Dio songs is Dio’s ability to ad lib in the Outro.
I Speed At Night
A speed metal song before speed metal became a thing or a genre. If you don’t believe me, then press play on this song.
And that solo again from Vivian. It’s fucking perfect.
One Night In The City
The music is fucking head banging material for a song that introduces a dark child called Johnny, who was promised but seemed to get into trouble and then found some form of love.
Did you get that?
And what about the drum fills from Appice after the solo and into the outro.
Who said drummers are not important?
I can even air play the fills.
They promise you treasure if you fly and fly Dio did. It’s a perfect combination of fast blues and metal.
It’s in the key of Dm and it moves between major and minor keys throughout. It’s F major in the chorus and D minor in the verses.
And Vivian is on form again in the guitar solo department.
Eat Your Heart Out
In the key of Em and Vivian is all over this one. From a guitar point of view there is a lot to unpack in the riffs department.
And for the guitar solo, what can I say. Vivian kicks it off with a tapping lick before blazing into some arpeggios and finishing it all off with some pentatonic lines.
It might not be Dio’s most famous song but it’s a guitar players delight.
Egypt (The Chains Are On)
The best track on the album for me and the drumming from Vinnie Appice is excellent under the epic and groovy guitar riff.
And then Dio references his singing style on “Heaven And Hell” in the verses.
I love the lyric line, “when the world was milk and honey”. Dio puts it out there that the world was nice and sweet and so far removed from the warmongering and ills that came after.
Did I mention that Appice lays down some serious groove?
Well he does. It’s so effective, so simple and fucking frightening.
And in the outro, Vivian plays the intro riff and the chords under it change, like in “We Rock” and it’s brilliant.
Kiss – Animalize
Mark St. John (RIP) makes his appearance on a Kiss album. It’s a shame that he was just hired to play leads and not even asked to be a co-writer because I believe there was untapped potential there.
But Kiss was in such a state at this point in time, you could say “Animalize” is a combination of songs written for Paul and Gene’s solo albums.
I’ve Had Enough (Into The Fire)
You can see how co-writing with Vinnie Vincent, showed Stanley how easy it is to write a metal riff. Because I guarantee you, his co-writer Desmond Child didn’t come up with it.
And the lead by Mark St. John is a plethora of scales and repeating licks much in the same way Vincent wound attack a lead break. It’s okay to learn as a warm up exercise.
Heavens On Fire
To me, this is how AC/DC would sound if they went all pop rock.
And it’s because of this AC/DC groove, the song has survived to this day in KISS’s live show.
It’s also another Stanley and Child composition.
Under The Gun
It’s dumb, fast and fun and for some reason it reminds me of Y&T. And I dig it.
This is a Stanley, Child and Eric Carr composition.
Thrills In The Night
A Stanley composition in conjunction with Jean Beauvoir, who had a song called “Feel The Heat” which was in the “Cobra” movie, starring Stallone. Beauvoir actually plays bass on this song as well as on “Under The Gun” and another track I can’t remember right now.
And for the “Cobra” movie here is my favorite quote:
Supermarket Baddie: I got a bomb here! I’ll kill her! I’ll blow this whole place up!
Stallone’s character: Go ahead. I don’t shop here.
Only Stallone can pull that line off.
U2 – The Unforgettable Fire
“Pride (In The Name Of Love)” and “The Unforgettable Fire” got played every day on radio and the music video programs. They also got played on rock radio programs because U2 always got lumped in with hard rock bands.
In other words the band was fucking everywhere and these two songs are forever engraved in my mind.
Early morning, April four
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride
Deep Purple – Perfect Strangers
“Knocking at Your Back Door” and “Perfect Strangers” are the two that stand out here because I had those songs on compilation albums like “Headbangers Heaven”.
And to be honest “Knocking On Your Back Door” musically could have come from a Rainbow session. Especially the sing along Intro/Chorus riff.
For “Perfect Strangers”, distorted keyboards kick it off and that groove that comes in, is simple and effective.
Queen – The Works
This album has some cool rock tunes.
Tear It Up
It reminds me of a Billy Squier song with a simple stop/start riff and vocal groove. Rock fans satisfied.
I Want To Break Free
The big hit that was all over radio and TV. Pop fans satisfied.
Is This The World We Created…?
This a song that crosses genres. I think Queen introduced unplugged before it became a thing. Basically it doesn’t matter what kind of music you are into, the message of the lyrics is enough to connect.
Hammer To Fall – Headbangers Mix
As the title states, this mix is loud for Queen’s standards. And it’s a great song that reminds me of all these other songs that came before it, but I can’t put a name to those songs and that’s why I love music.
Tina Turner – Private Dancer
She is a rock goddess.
What’s Love Got To Do With It
There is excellence in simplicity and this song is evidence. This song is from the “Private Dancer” album. I cant claim I’ve heard the whole album but this song was played that many times on radio and music television it’s part of my Eighties days.
We Don’t Need Another Hero
I know it came out in 1985 but I’ve always associated it with the “Private Dancer” release cycle. As mentioned previously there is excellence in simplicity. Simple musical grooves propelled by strong vocal melodies.
It’s Only Love
It’s from Bryan Adams “Reckless” album however I always saw it as a Tina Turner song with Bryan co-singing and man she can rock it as good as the boys.
Part 3 is done and onto part 4.