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

The Club

From Hot Metal magazine.

Would “Balance” have worked as “The Club”?

I suppose album titles never really sold VH albums. It was all about what was inside the album. The notes, the riffs, the licks, the beats, the rhythms and the melodies.

And Bob Rock producing.

It never happened because of management, but it makes me wonder what he would have brought to the table.

And Bruce Fairbairn is also experienced and methodical.

I guess it’s time to put “Balance” on.

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Less Talked About EVH Songs – Part 3

The “Best Of, Volume 1” was released in 1996.

It had three new tracks in “Humans Being”, “Can’t Get This Stuff No More” and “Me Wise Magic”.

Well “Humans Being” wasn’t a new track but if you didn’t have the Twister movie soundtrack from the same year, then you didn’t have the song.

“Humans Being” has an interesting conception but there’s no denying that from divisiveness between band members, a decent song can come out of it. Just ask the Dokken guys.

The intro riff grabs me immediately and when it is played distorted you get a sense of the anger.

That solo.

How much bend can EVH get from those strings?

And there’s a crappy 3 minute version doing the rounds which should be deleted because you can’t edit a VH song, even the unrestrained VH3 songs.

A demo called “Backdoor Shuffle” from the “Balance” sessions provided the foundation for “Can’t Get This Stuff No More”. And it’s got a lot of EVH’s unique guitar decorating, over basic chord progressions plus I like the 12/8 timing which gives the song its shuffle feel.

You can hear in the three tracks on this compilation, the embryo of VH3. Each song is over the 5 minute mark. I guess there was no negotiating from EVH on editing here.

“Me Wise Magic” became a US hit for the band. The intro riff has the ringing open E and open B notes over changing power chords. It’s catchy, like Alex Lifeson catchy and enough to get me interested.

“Do you believe?”

Yes I do believe.

Van Halen “III” is the black sheep of the VH family.

But there’s no denying the riffs on the album.

Check out “One I Want”. It’s classic EVH from the Hagar era.

The intro riffage for “From Afar”. Its hooky and addictive. The sexy groove from “Dirty Water Dog” in the intro. And in the verses it’s like “Finish What Ya Started”.

“Once” sounds like a song from a Stan Bush soundtrack. Remember him. “The Touch” from Transformers comes to mind. “Fire In The Hole” is EVH paying homage to his AC/DC influences.

But my favourite is “Year to the Day”.

As soon as the finger picked intro starts I’m hooked. It’s a mixture of classical, jazz and blues. A perfect fusion made to sound so pleasant by the mastery of EVH.

And that Chorus hook!

There’s no way you can listen to it and not be moved.

That solo is one of my favorites because it’s really just EVH and AVH jamming as Michael Anthony was restricted to playing bass on three tracks. And when the outro solo kicks in, I’m not complaining at all.

VH3 is the type of album an artist writes as they get older. It’s almost experimental fusion within a hard rock context.

The “Best of Both Worlds” compilation was released in 2004 and it had three new tracks with Sammy Hagar on vocals.

“It’s About Time”, “Up for Breakfast” and “Learning to See”.

The intro riff to “Its About Time” had me all in. “Up For Breakfast” starts off with that same synth tone that “Why Can’t This Be Love” used. And although Sammys lyrics don’t connect with me, the riffs did.

“Learning To See” has a Chorus riff which makes me pick up the guitar and play it. Plus that heavy ending.

And there was a break. Then DLR returned. The end result was “A Different Kind of Truth”, an album made up of reworked old riffs, some new riffs and melodies with new lyrics chucked in. It’s an album I didn’t really appreciate at the time.

“Tattoo” has that sexy groove that EVH is known for. And DLR has Elvis on his elbow, who talks when his elbow moves.

“She’s the Woman” is WVH turn to shine. That bass is rumbling and grooving.

“Chinatown” is a modern day “Get Up”.

That solo on “Blood And Fire”.

It’s burning and melodic and knowing that EVH is gone, it’s sad to know that I’ll never hear that kind of creative fury again.

“As Is” and that tapped solo which reminds me of “Flying High Again”.

And the “Gates Of Babylon” screams out at me when “Honeysweetiedoll” begins, but EVH is unique in his phrasing and improvisation to make it unique and DLR is just unique.

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Less Talked About EVH Songs – Part 2

“5150” achieved what “1984” couldn’t.

The Billboard Number 1 spot.

Actually all of the Sammy Hagar albums achieved what the David Lee Roth albums couldn’t.

Then again DLR needed to contend with Michael Jackson and “Thriller” and Adele with “21”. Two genre skipping albums that became cultural must haves.

And songs like “Why Can’t This Be Love”, “Best of Both Worlds”, “Dreams” and “Summer Nights” take up most of the press and listens but it’s tracks like “Good Enough” and “Get Up” which get me really interested.

And they are the least played live while “Inside” has never been performed live.

Check out the head banging riff on “Good Enough” after Sammy screams “Hello Baby” and then go to the speed rock of “Get Up”.

Coming into “OU812”, I wasn’t sold on “When It’s Love” and “Finish What Ya Started” but tracks like “Mine All Mine”, “Source Of Infection” and “A.F.U. (Naturally Wired)” definitely got me.

Especially “A.F.U. (Naturally Wired)”.

A.F.U kicks off with a groove funk beat while EVH does some guitar arpeggios. And then it really kicks in, with EVH playing a chromatic bluesy riff which then has some passing notes chucked in so EVH can transition to those verses.

And how good are those verses?

It’s like two different songs in a song as the Chorus riff and Verse riff are not meant to be together. But EVH makes em work.

Then there’s that metal riff in the section before the solo which makes me pick up the guitar to learn it.

And the solo, no overdubs or backing guitars, just drums, bass and EVH wailing away.

Then came “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” and a return to more distortion and an acoustic drum kit for AVH after his previous two albums electronic drum kit experiment.

“Right Now” was a song that EVH felt strongly about to finish on his own as the band members didn’t like it. “Top of the World” is a song that EVH dislikes but finished off because the band members liked it. And these two songs have appeared the most in their concert setlists with Hagar.

“Runaround” and “Poundcake” had radio and TV play as singles.

But it’s tracks like “Judgement Day” that got me head banging.

Just listen to that verse riff?

And that bluesy like solo!!

“The Dream Is Over” is another song with some good EVH riffage (and Sammy Hagar sings a catchy pop chorus) along with the funky “Spanked”.

And there was a break for a few years before “Balance” came out, which Sammy Hagar said was a difficult record to do but to me it has some bone crushing EVH riffs.

“The Seventh Seal” and “Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do)” crunch away, while “Amsterdam” and “Big Fat Money” bring the fun and “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” brings the pop with “Feelin” and “Not Enough” rounding out the ballads.

But it’s “Aftershock” that got me really interested from the first listen. It has so much guitar in it, every section is inspiring to play but my favourite part of the song is the Bridge part.

Just listen to it.

And the Bad Company/Zeppelin III/Beatles influenced “Take Me Back” also got me interested.

For an album that both Hagar and EVH found difficult to do, the songs don’t show it.

The Cherone album, the songs on the Best off albums and the DLR return album are coming up next.

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

Less Talked About EVH Songs – Part 1

“Little Dreamer”

The riff is so funky and danceable, even dare I say it “disco”.

While Eddie’s guitar theatrics got the dudes interested to see him play, it was the way he wrote these swinging funky riffs that got the women to dance to David Lee Roth’s swinging hips and karate kicks.

The debut is seen as a classic today (with over 10 million in sales), but back in 78 Warner Bros. weren’t so sure. The album came out in February 78 and it was certified Gold in May, 78 and then Platinum in October 78. The label wanted to capitalise on this momentum and by December the same year, the band was in the studio again for VHII which came out in March 79. Quite a whirlwind 12 months.

And when it comes to the live setting, “Aint Talkin’ Bout Love”, “You Really Got Me”, “Runnin’ With The Devil” and “Feel Your Love Tonight” get played, along with “Eruption” in the solo moment. “Jamie’s Crying” got EVH a song writing credit on Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing”.

But “Little Dreamer” is not talked about.

VHII had so many serious riffage in “Dance The Night Away”, “Somebody Get Me A Doctor”, “Bottoms Up”, “Women In Love”, “Light Up The Sky” and “Beautiful Girls” and its these songs that get added to the set lists. Plus the groovy cover of “You’re No Good” is so unique it sounds like an original.

But “D.O.A” and “Outta Love Again” are also favourites.

“D.O.A” has a cool sped up outro, but it’s that intro riff which reminds me of “Ain’t Talkin about Love” that gets the foot tapping and the head nodding.

“Outta Love Again”

That solo. Just a bass guitar, drums and EVH wailing away. Live and no overdubs.

In other words, live without a net. And again, there is this funky bluesy riff, which is infectious.

Then came “Woman And Children First” and the riffage kept coming with one of my favourite riffs in “And The Cradle Will Rock”, “Everybody Wants Some”, “Romeo’s Delight” and “Take Your Whiskey Home”.

“Fools”

That main riff after all of the monkey wails and doodling, sounds like it inspired Queens Of The Stone Age and their song “No One Knows”.

“Tora Tora”

Not sure what was meant for this but what about the Sabbathy like feel on this one?

It only goes for a minute before the open string E note starts from “Loss Of Control” which sounds like a young James Hetfield was listening.

Then came “Fair Warning” and it’s hard to move past classics like “Unchained” and “Mean Street”.

And no one is talking about “Push Comes To Shove”.

Listen to it.

It’s funky and sleazy with that Michael Anthony bass line, reggae like with the guitar and those arpeggios brings it back to a rock song.

And that solo section. it’s progressive rock.

“Diver Down” was more a covers album than an original album but the original “Hang Em High” is as good as anything from the earlier albums. But according to setlist.fm it’s the least played song from the album when it comes to the live arena.

Also listen to the sexy and funky groove riff of “Little Guitars”. EVH definitely knows how to swing.

And “1984”.

Man that album makes up most of the DLR era set lists.

But “Drop Dead Legs” has only made an appearance on 41 setlists compared to “Panama” which has made 859 setlists.

And it’s got all the good things that make EVH great. A groove oriented riff, major key arpeggios and that solo/outro section inspired by fusion legend Alan Holdsworth.

In a Forbes interview, EVH said that one of his favorite songs is “Drop Dead Legs” regardless if it was a hit or not.

It’s one of my favorites as well.

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Music, My Stories

Van Halen

There was a post from December 2019 over at Bob Lefsetz’s blog about Billie Eilish and Van Halen.

The post is an opinion piece about how Billie Eilish said she didn’t know who Van Halen is.

And Twitter at the time started it’s normal thing and suddenly Van Halen was trending. Like everyone else, I saw their name trending and thought that VH either had new music or something bad happened.

So should a 17 year old “home schooled pop singer” know who Van Halen is?

Growing up in the 80s (for those born in the late 60s and for those born in the 70s) there was no denying Van Halen.

But for a person born in 2003.

Van Halen wouldn’t be a thing. They were missing for most of the decade.

And even when Van Halen made their comeback in 2012, it didn’t really crossover into the mainstream news for a long period of time. Adele was ruling the charts and her year old album kept the “DLR VH” version from reaching the number 1 spot, something which the “DLR VH” version have never achieved, while the “Hagar VH” version did achieve a number 1 spot and Sammy was sure to point it out.

But even then, Billie Eilish who would have been 9 and would not have cared about Van Halen. Maybe if she wasn’t home schooled and went to a school with people who had different tastes, she would have seen Junior with a VH T-shirt being all hot for teacher.

In other words, if you weren’t a Van Halen fan, or had a ticket to the show, “A Different Kind Of Truth” was ignored. But for us fans who cared, Van Halen was back. We didn’t even care what the critics said about the recycled old riffs. Come on, this is EVH. His old riffs were still better than the riffs that the other guitarists at the time came out with.

Speaking of the young generation, when Sabbath reformed and Bill Ward was out, they used the Audioslave/Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk for the album and Tommy Clueftos from Ozzy’s solo band for the gigs.

And i was at the gig, standing on the floor with people around me and these two young dudes were blowing out at how good the Sabbath drummer has kept himself. I asked em if they thought it was the original drummer Bill Ward. And they said “yes”. And then I told em it wasn’t. And they looked confused. I googled Bill Ward and showed em. And they walked away pissed at me, like I ruined something for them.

And that’s the world we live in.

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And The Cradle Will Rock

From the jet flanger in the intro, played on an electric piano, cranked through a Marshall, to the cruising vibe of the song and DLR freestyling over the verses, it makes this one of my favourite Van Halen songs. In addition, the purchase of this electric piano led to the “Jump” keyboard riff.

Well, they say it’s kinda frightening
How this younger generation swings
You know it’s more than just some new sensation

It’s like the movie “Footloose” before it was even written and made.

No one wanted to go to school.

We just wanted to hang out somewhere, listen to music, read about music, talk about music and do so many other things. Because going to school was like being in the military. It’s why “I Wanna Rock” resonated. The teachers demanded obedience and everyone was moulded to fit a box.

But that doesn’t work.

It’s been proven to not work. The military even stopped this kind of teaching in the early 70’s, but schools kept at it, up to the late 80’s. Kids need to have their beautiful uniqueness kept intact, it’s what makes em special.

And these days we tell our kids to enjoy school, as it should be the most stress free time of their lives. Unless they freak out over exams, which means, it’s not as stress free. But you know what I mean.

Teachers are also at a different level these days, being more enablers than disablers. But kids need to deal with social media and the good and bad which comes from it. So maybe not as stress free as it should be.

Which brings me back to the words of the mighty David Lee Roth which I quoted above.

Well, they say it’s kinda frightening
How this younger generation swings
You know it’s more than just some new sensation

The younger generation swings to technology more than music these days.

Once upon a time, having an album from an artist was like a badge of honour and now, the kind of phone you have is the new totem. Plus, the mainstream news outlets just don’t understand the youth of today. They worry about climate change and student debt and all the things that the current powers ignore, while they drain our Earth of its resources.

It was the youth that blew apart the record labels business model. They killed CD’s, adopted Napster early, then iTunes, then YouTube, then other streaming services. And the youth have short attention spans, moving from one thing to the next. The only thing they can do for a short time is binge Netflix.

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1978 – Part 1

Quiet Riot – II

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

It’s part of Randy Rhoads origin story.

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

What the !!

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

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

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

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

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

Boston – Don’t Look Back

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

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

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

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

Van Halen – Van Halen

So many good songs for a debut.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bruce Springsteen – Darkness On The Edge Of Town

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

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

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

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

Rainbow – Long Live Rock N Roll

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

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

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

Queen – Jazz

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

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

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

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

Dire Straits – Dire Straits

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

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

The Cars – The Cars

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

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

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

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

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

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

1979 – II – Somebody Get Me A Doctor

I wrote this post about six months ago and just realized I never posted it. And when I saw Part 3 posted i didn’t even think that Part 2 wasn’t out.

So here it is.

I didn’t hear these albums or songs until the 80’s and for some of the more obscure album songs, well into the 90’s. And that my friends is the beauty of music. While the band or artist could be gone or retired, the music lives on forever.

And these days so many people want to make money from it.

Record labels have done their best to change the copyright laws originally designed to protect the creator and give the creator an incentive to create, to a corporation monopoly for the life of the artist plus 70 years after their death. They are even pushing for 90 years after death to be the new standard.

For example, if Van Halen wrote “Dance The Night Away” in the 1930’s, the song would be out of copyright by 1958 and free for artists to use and build upon. If those same copyright rules applied in 1979, the song would have been out of copyright in 2007. However, with copyright laws as they stand now, and provided EVH lives to 80, the song would still be under copyright in 2100. (EVH born 1955 + 80 (life of the artist) + 70 years after death = 2105).

Anyway, here is part 2 of 1979 and here is the playlist.

Part 1 can be found here.

Kansas – Monolith

Kansas came into my life in the 90’s via the good old second hand record shop when a $20 trip would end up with 10 records as a minimum and a huge difference from the 80’s when that same $20 trip would end up with one record and maybe a discount bin cassette tape. Actually I picked up the first six Kansas albums on the same day.

And I dropped the needle on the albums based on the covers. The cover I liked more, got first spins. So “Point Of Know Return” was first, then “Leftoverture”, then “Monolith”, then “Song For America”, then “Kansas” and finally “Masque”.

On The Other Side

The opener written by Kerry Livgren and I dig the emotive intro lead break which I believe was played by Rich Williams.

The empty page before me now, the pen is in my hand
The words don’t come so easy but I’m trying
I’m searching for a melody or some forgotten line
They can slip away from us so quickly

Writers block and running out of creative ideas. It’s real and it can happen.

And from about 3.22, the progressive side of the band kicks in and I’m loving it.

People Of The South Wind

There are some who can still remember
All the things that we used to do
But the days of our youth were numbered
And the ones who survive it are few

History has shown how white people have displaced the native people from the lands. Each continent is littered with the blood of innocents.

People of the south wind, people of the southern wind
It’s the people of the wind, I got to be there again

What a chorus!

With the brass background instruments and what not, the song could have been on any pop album. Hell, they should have given it to Chicago to record.

Angels Have Fallen

Written by Steve Walsh, it has enough pop and enough progressive themes to satisfy both fan bases.

Children are restless they know what can happen when men are vain

The children are restless today, sick and tired of being targets, they have taken to the streets, demonstrating for gun reform.

People are talking maybe you know them, they know you’re near
Masking themselves from fear and asking themselves who their friends are

Even though the words are from 1979, they are as relevant today as they were back then.

Really dig the heavy and progressive riffs from 3.11 to 4.14.

How My Soul Cries Out

What a groove to jam on, very much in the style of Rainbow and it’s another Walsh penned song.

How my soul cries out for you
It cries for love that we once knew

A Glimpse Of Home

Another cool song with good vocal melodies and progressive overtones written by Livgren.

Lyrically, I think it sums up his transition to Christianity with lines such as, “now you are here once again, as I stand in your presence” or “All my life I knew you were waiting, revelation anticipating, all is well, the search is over, let the truth be known, Let it be shown (give me a glimpse of home)”.

Van Halen – Van Halen II

Van Halen’s second album hit the streets in 1979. I didn’t hear it until the late 80’s. I know, unbelievable, right. But music was expensive and access wasn’t like it is these days where you have the history of music at your fingertips.

You’re No Good

I heard Van Halen’s cover before I heard the original. Yes, I know, it’s sacrilegious, but man, I dig the sleazy rock groove the Van Halen brothers and Michael Anthony create.

Dance The Night Away

The cowbell drum intro and then the E major key riff.

How good is the riff?

Every great song in my opinion is underpinned by a great riff and I spent a many days dancing the night away trying to figure it out.

Somebody Get Me A Doctor

What about the intro chords. Do you reckon Dee Snider was listening to this and used them for “You Can’t Stop Rock’N’Roll.

Actually all of the riffs in this song are at another level. Get me a doctor indeed.

Bottoms Up

Before we got “Hot For Teacher”, we got “Bottoms Up” and before “Bottoms Up”, we had ZZ Top’s “La Grange”.

Outta Love Again

Like the other songs before it, it’s the riffs from EVH that makes this song happen.

So many of the 80’s bands used VHII as a template to borrow from. So I guess we should call in the lawyers and start suing.

Light Up From The Sky

I hate Roth’s vocal melodies and lyrics (actually I like the end vocal melody when they repeat “Light Up The Sky” about 4 times), however the music from EVH is excellent and that solo section followed by a drum solo groove works so well.

I used the riffs in this song as a template for a lot of songs I wrote.

D.O.A

EVH has taken “You Really Got Me” and made it his own with D.O.A.

Woman In Love

Those harp harmonics in the intro made me realise that as much as I tried to learn all the guitar hero techniques, they would never be part of my expressive style. From time to time I would bring out finger tapping, harp harmonics, whammy bar dives, sweep picking and in the 90’s, my set up had a DigiTech whammy pedal so I could mimic Tom Morello.

And that outro is excellent.

Beautiful Girls

I love the bluesy groove which a lot of 80’s bands used to platinum success.

She had her drink in her hand , She had her toes in the sand and whoa! Ha, ha, What a beautiful girl, ah yeah

Only Diamond Dave could come up with lines like that.

Rainbow – Down To Earth

Ritchie Blackmore’s influence to metal and rock music is god like. Not only did he inspire guitarists, he even inspired vocalists. The vocalists he worked with are considered legends and influential to the 80’s generation of singers that came through. Ian Gillian, David Coverdale and Ronnie James Dio. Then in the 80’s he worked with Graham Bonnett and Joe Lynn Turner. A lot of respect is given to the Dio led version of the band and less praise to the commercial years of the band with different vocalists, in this case, Graham Bonnet and Joe Lynn Turner.

The band on this album is top notch as well. You have Ritchie Blackmore on guitar, Graham Bonnet on vocals, Cozy Powell on drums, Roger Glover on bass and Don Airey on keyboards.

I wish I heard this album in the mid 80’s because the guitar playing and song writing grooves are just the way I like it. It would have been an awesome album to unpack and learn in my early years of guitar playing.

All Night Long

Another iconic Blackmore riff, but the lyrics about wanting a groupie to love all night long just didn’t connect with me.

Eyes Of The World

Another epic Rainbow song on an album designed to take over the charts. As always underpinned by a brilliant Blackmore riff.

Evil takes, evil kills
With no shame or concern

Money and greed is the real evil.

Since You Been Gone

Inspired by a “Louie Louie” riff and written by Russ Ballard, the song became an arena rock/car staple.

Danger Zone

It’s got Blackmore’s unique riffing all over the song and a wonderful classical solo section.

Lost In Hollywood

It starts off like Led Zep’s “Rock N Roll” and it has a guitar riff heavily influenced by it. It’s also listed as being written by Blackmore, Glover and Powell.

Love that outro.

Ain’t A Lot Of Love In The Heart Of Me

It’s from 2011’s Deluxe Edition extra tracks and it’s basically a re-write of the Coverdale/Blackmore penned “Mistreated” and it’s a pretty cool listen.

Cheap Trick – At Budokan’

The live album was bigger than Cheap Trick’s first three albums.

Big Eyes

I reckon the drum intro inspired “Run To The Hills” from Maiden.

I Want You To Want Me

With its “Baby, Please Don’t Go” vibe/influence.

Surrender

“This next one is the first song on our new album. It just came out this week and the song is called “Surrender””

This is the song that hooked me in.

Bands used to tour before the album even came out. Sometimes they would play songs that would appear on albums many years later. But the MTV era changed all that. Because the record labels controlled MTV, they finally had the power instead of the artist.

Foreigner – Head Games

Foreigner came into my life via “I Want To Know What Love Is”. It wasn’t until the 90’s and the second hand record shops that I picked up their earlier releases.

I wasn’t a fan of the singles “Dirty White Boy” and “Women”.

Love On The Telephone

The embryo heartbeat of melodic rock is right here. The song is written by Mick Jones and Lou Gramm.

I’ll Get Even with You

It’s written by Jones and it’s got a cool intro riff which hooks me in.

Head Games

The opener to Side 2 and another cut written by Gramm and Jones. The way the verse’s build with the bass and keyboards taking lead instead of the guitar. It’s AOR heaven to a tee. And how good are Lou Gramm’s vocal melodies.

Hearing it for the first time in the 90’s, I liked it then, and I still like it today. And the chorus sums up relationships to a tee…

Head games
It’s you and me baby
Head games
And I can’t take it anymore

The Angels – No Exit

From Australia.

Boy didn’t they resonate with the working blue collar steel workers and punks, merging their pub rock AC/DC vibe with the punk rock scene coming out of the UK.

Shadow Boxer

It’s raw, it’s punk and it’s from the streets about a person fighting imaginary enemies after too many brews.

Can’t Shake It

It’s basically “Long Way To The Top” put through “The Angels” blender.

Mr Damage

A punk rock ditty about death.

Mr Damage holds a curse
Mr Damage drives a hearse

ZZ Top – Cheap Sunglasses

It sold the album.

ZZ Top – Esther Be The One

It has a cool harmony outro lead which I dig and because of that lead, it’s staying in the list.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Refugee

The riff is brilliant and simple.

Then when the Chorus melody kicks in, you know it’s a song which will last forever.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Even The Losers

Yes, even the losers get lucky sometimes. There’s always a chance.

Robert Palmer – Bad Case Of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)

For those who lived the 80’s, this song was everywhere. Every cover band played it, every radio station played it and every music video TV show played it.

Musically, it’s a more polished AC/DC sound infused with Robert Palmer’s golden pop voice.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse – My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)

It’s a brilliant song to play on guitar and the iconic line of “It’s better to burn out than fade away” appears in the song.

John Lennon hated it, Kurt Cobain signed his suicide note with it and all Neil Young was trying to do was capture the rock and roll spirit of living in the now.

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

Across The Years In May

I knew that Cinderella’s “Long Cold Winter” had its 30th Anniversary on May 21, 1988. So I went to Spotify to give it a listen and it’s no longer there. But it was there before. I can’t understand why artists withdraw their albums and then bring them back when they feel like it. Go on YouTube, and the whole album is there, and it pays less. Talk about leaving money on the table. I guess it’s Cinderella’s loss.

Anyway, I also knew that on May 23, 1979, Kiss released “Dynasty”. It was my first Kiss album on LP and of course, due to having so little product to listen to, it became a favourite. However, my brothers friends who had the earlier Kiss albums up to “Love Gun” hated this album. And the good thing is, when I went to Spotify, it was there, available, to be listened too. Gene and Paul are very critical of the current business models, but they are also business minded people who don’t want to leave any source of income unattended.

It’s like going back in my room, dropping the needle and being greeted with the fast picked E note that is “I Was Made For Loving You”. While “Loving” is modern and of the times, “2,000 Man” is a rock and roll relic out of place on this glitzy melodic rock disco album. And back then, the year 2000 seemed so far away and now we are 18 years past it.

“Sure Know Something” has that groovy sleazy bass line in the verses and when the guitars start crunching in the Chorus the song moves from a disco R&B feel to Hard Rock. And when “Dirty Livin’” starts up, I am floored by the diversity of the album. It’s covered a lot of ground musically. Actually, when I heard “The Night Flight Orchestra’s” debut album back in 2012, I was immediately reminded of “Dynasty”.

“Charisma” and “Magic Touch” keep the momentum going. “Hard Times”, “X-Ray Eyes” and “Save Your Love” bookend the album, but I would have been happy if the album finished at “Hard Times”, with one of my favourite lyrical lines in “the hard times are dead and gone, but the hard times have made me strong”. Damn right they did.

Continuing with May releases over different timespans, on May 24, 1988, Van Halen released “OU812”.

The piece d’resistance is “Mine All Mine”.  It wasn’t just competing with the singles from this album for attention, it was competing with “Jump”, “Panama”, “Dreams”, “Summer Nights” and “Why Cant This be Love” for attention. Because in the MTV era, songs had some legs.

The drumming is frantic, making a clichéd keyboard riff sound heavy as hell.

Oh, you’ve got Allah in the east
You’ve got Jesus in the west
Christ, what’s a man to do?

Exactly, what is a man to do when belief systems go to war. Sort of like Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s famous film clip “Two Tribes” when Reagan and Gorbachev went at it.

And how good is the guitar solo from EVH?

Then the single “When It’s Love” keeps the pop metal momentum going, but “AFU(Naturally Wired)” is vintage EVH. Its chaotic and yet so focused. And how cool is that bridge riff just before the crazy solo. I know Sammy loves “Cabo Wabo” and I love the solo section of the song and I dig the music, but man, I don’t like the lyrics.

“Source Of Infection” is wild abandonment on the steroid level scales of “Hot For Teacher”.  “Feels So Good” is a favourite of mine and “Finish What Ya Started” is groovy and sleazy. To be honest, I’ve overdosed on these songs as the clips always appeared on the TV shows, but man, those verses on “Feels So Good” just get me all the time.

“Black and Blue”, “Sucker In A 3 Piece” and “A Apolitical Blues” close out the album, and the star here is “Sucker In A 3 Piece”. It should have come after “Finish What Ya Started”.

And everything these bands represent is opposite to what is adored today by the masses. Today it’s all about the beat and it doesn’t feel personal which is opposite of what music should be. Music is personal. So while some people go to the show to have a good time, the majority of people still go to connect with the band on the stage.

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