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

Forgotten 2

The Playlist

Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)
Twisted Sister

How fortunes change for artists?

Twisted Sister was the top band in 1984. Dee Snider was everywhere, on the cover of magazines, newspapers and even hosting a show on MTV that would go on to become “Headbangers Ball”. For a band that toughed it out for a decade, success came and went in half of that.

Who cares if “Love Is For Suckers” was meant to be a solo album?

Who cares if Mark Mendoza and Jay Jay French hate the album?

Who cares if studio musicians contributed to it?

It’s listed as a Twisted Sister album, it sounds like a Twisted Sister album and like all Twisted Sister albums, Dee is still the main songwriter and it should be given its dues as a Twisted Sister album. That means, playing the excellent “Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)” live.

Who the hell are they to say
What we can do and how we can play
We got the numbers, yeah,
We got the might
We got the strength and
We got the right
We got the reason, yeah,
We got the night
So wake up the sleeping giant

Dee was always good at writing the anthem of the SMF’s vs the world. “Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)” is no different. The WE in the song is the fans, the black sheep, the ones that everyone was calling devil worshippers in 1984.

It’s our rights they’re abusing,
It’s our right to fight back
So rally the troops and
Let’s start the attack

It’s the war cry against the censorship taking place against heavy metal and hard rock music. Freedom comes with a choice and sometimes, we sign away our freedom because we like to create an enemy, someone to blame when it all goes to hell.

It’s our boss’s fault because we are not making our mortgage repayments. If only we earned more.

It’s our leaders fault because we have our rights taken away a little bit at a time.

We like to have someone else in control.

Around the world, our internet is under attack from governments and corporations. They want to control it, regulate it and charge a premium for it. The Net Neutrality war is real and it’s happening and only a handful of people are speaking up against it. The rest are ignorant.

Snider’s message is good. It’s right, but the SMF misfits had grown older and they had responsibilities. Rising up against the institutions wasn’t their mission anymore. It changed to performing duties and keeping a roof over their head or their own families head.

The more metal inclined fans of Twisted Sister moved their loyalties to the thrash and metal movements and the more pop rock casual fans moved their loyalty to Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet” and Whitesnake’s 1987 release. And in that climate, the album couldn’t compete.

Magic Touch
Aerosmith

With “Dude Looks Like A Lady”, “Rag Doll” and “Angel” taking all the attention, this little classic had no chance. Which is a shame, as the song is up there when it comes to Aerosmith. It’s got the classic bluesy groove the band is well-known for and a wickedly good vocal melody. Plus Joey Kramer sounds louder than hell on the drums.

It’s written by Tyler, Perry and Jim Vallance (yep, that same Jim Vallance who co-wrote “War Machine” with Bryan Adams, plus the majority of Bryan Adams catalogue).

Don’t need no wedding with a shotgun, shotgun

Ahh, the problem with the male species is our basic load control. An innocent moment of explosion and that accidental shotgun wedding might be very real. Then again, that’s how it was in the past. In today’s age not so much.

Dancing On Glass
Motley Crue

Man, that riff from Mick Mars, is sleazy and dangerous. You can safely call “Dancing On Glass” the prequel to “The Heroin Diaries”.

In 1987, Nikki was asking if he is in Persia or just insane. In 2005, Nikki via Sixx A.M was reminiscing about how a girl with golden eyes talks to him in Persian, telling Nikki, she loves him.

There are plenty of other auto biographical lines about Sixx’s drug life.

“Valentines in London, found me in the trash”
“One extra push, last trip to the top”
“Silver Spoon and needle, witchy tombstone smile
“I’m no puppet, I engrave my veins in style”

“Wild Side” and “Girls, Girls, Girls” sold the album but to me, the third track is just as good.

Breakin’ All The Rules
Ozzy Osbourne

I know there was a film clip for it and it was a single, but “Miracle Man” was that strong and Ozzy’s earlier catalogue was still selling well, “Breakin’ All the Rules” was just ignored.

But what a riff to kick it off, under a rumbling Randy Castillo groove.

Nobody thinks the way I do
I guess that nobody dares

I read an article about a computer scientist guy who took all the google searches people make and found that we basically lie when it comes to everything public. The only place we don’t lie is within our Google searches because we believe we are alone and they are private. And Google Searches show what we really think and really like. And guess what, Google sells this data to marketeers.

And I know
That you would love to know the answers
But to you
The truth is just another lie

Some people don’t care about reason or a different point of view. With Ozzy being the whipping boy for all the religious institutions, you can see where Bob Daisley was going with the lyric. Funny how the religious entities classed Ozzy as satanic when his whole house is littered with crucifixes.

Rising Power
AC/DC

It’s a solid album, coming out after the holy trinity of albums, their U.S breakthrough “Highway To Hell” in 1979, the mega selling “Back In Black” from 1980 and it’s 1981 successor “For Those About To Rock”. Some personnel changes happened as well. Simon Wright is in the drummers’ chair, replacing Phil Rudd. The producer of their holy trinity albums, Mutt Lange was also out. Their manager Peter Mensch was also out.

Angus and Malcolm stepped up to give the world a live and raw version of AC/DC and the result is a lot of groove and swagger but no classics.

My body’s blown a fuse
Rising power
We’ll raise the night
Rising power

Rise/Rising = hard on. Blow a fuse = climax. Johnson is rolling out the metaphors.

Rocket Queen
Guns N Roses

The closing track to the epic “Appetite For Destruction” album. It was never a single, but the audience knows the lyrics. It’s just one of those songs on an album full of audience classics.

I’ve got a tongue like a razor
A sweet switchblade knife
And I can do you favors
But then you’ll do whatever I like

Ahh, yes, Axl and his tongue… Guess someone is going down.

Here I am
And you’re a Rocket Queen

The opening lines of the Chorus. Every Gunner’s fan knows it.

I’ve seen everything imaginable
Pass before these eyes
I’ve had everything that’s tangible
Honey you’d be surprised

The rock and roll debauchery and decadence summed up in four lines.

And then that outro. It’s basically another song within a song. First the power chords and then the open E and B string arpeggios over shifting notes on the G string, mapping out the E major scale.

I see you standing
Standing on your own
It’s such a lonely place for you
For you to be
If you need a shoulder
Or if you need a friend
I’ll be here standing
Until the bitter end

You think you have friends and lovers when you’re a star and then when the lights go away, who is left.

Or think I, I mean you harm
Of those that take you
Leave you strung out
Much too far

Law enforcement efforts to stop cocaine and heroin increased the narcotic production ten-fold. The use of narcotics today is high and the war against drugs is 50 plus years old. And it’s the vulnerable/lonely people who turn to it. And the most vulnerable are our heroes, on the road, playing theaters or arenas and surrounded by people who profit from them.

Good Enough
Get Up

Van Halen

Any album (especially a Van Halen album) that kicks off with “Hello Baby”, you know you’re in for a ride. In “Good Enough” Sammy Hagar compares a great looking woman to a premium cut of beef. I’ll have another cut please.

Wow, U.S. Prime, grade A stamped guaranteed
Grease it up and turn on the heat
You gotta throw it down and roll it over once, maybe twice
Then chow down, down, down, down

“Get Up” is basically a speed rock song. And EVH breaks out some excellent riffage in this one as well.

Feel like throwin’ in the towel?
Don’t be a fool
They’re out to knock you out
And put you down for the count

I feel like throwing in the towel a lot of times. Some days feel like a battle against the forces of society. Making people believe that working hard and paying things off will get you freedom is a dream promoted by the banking sector and the 1% that control it.

Ah, there’s still some fight in me
That’s how it’ll always be
Hold your head up high, look ’em in the eye
Never say die

It’s the human spirit. Never say die, never give up. The thing with “5150” is the pop rock songs got so much attention. I’ll be honest, all of the pop songs are excellent, however it was a shame the real heavy rock songs like “Good Enough” and “Get Up” got lost in the noise.

Blindman
Aint Gonna Cry No More
Looking For Love
You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again

Whitesnake

Coming into 1980, Whitesnake 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.

To me, “Ready an’ Willing” is the album that started Whitesnake’s rise which culminated in the 1987 self-titled album selling millions around the world.

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
“Like a Blindman, I can feel the heat of the sun, But like a Blindman, I don’t know where it’s coming from…” from BLINDMAN

“Aint Gonna Cry No More” is White Led Zep Styx Snake and I swear Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades built Damn Yankees on the backs of songs like these. Influences aside, it’s a track that’s good enough to stand on its own

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

Then fast forward to 1987 and two of the best tracks didn’t end up on the normal world-wide release.

I didn’t hear “Looking For Love” until many years later. It’s better than “Is This Love” however at over 6 minutes long, it wasn’t a commercially viable song. David Coverdale was shocked when he heard that John Kalodner would be cutting the song from the final album release.

The candle is burning, it’s way down low
I just need someone
To show me the way, the way to go
Which way to go

Isn’t life like that. We are always looking for some guidance. That’s why tarot card readers, astrologists, clairvoyants, psychologists have a career.

“You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again”, “Don’t Break My Heart Again”. David Coverdale was the master song title re-user.

How huge is the riff in “You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again”.

Sykes goes to town on this song, a derivative version of “Children Of The Night”. It’s got all of his uniqueness in it, from fast palm muted staccato runs, a shredelicious and melodic lead and to using thirds and minor chord inversions instead of the standard power chords.

Perfect Timing
Knucklebones

David Lee Roth

“Perfect Timing” is written by David Lee Roth and keyboardist Brett Tuggle, so it’s got that melodic rock vibe happening.

I’m thinkin’ this is the right time
I’m hoping you feel the same
‘Cause that light at the end of the tunnel
Is the front of an oncoming train

It had to be David Lee Roth that linked love to standing on the train line in front of an oncoming train. Then again, he always had a way with words.

“Knucklebones” is written by Gregg and Matt Bissonette along with David Lee Roth.

So we’re hittin’ the road
And we’re pumpin’ thunder
Mama look out for down below
Get the show on the road
It’s the feeling we’re under
You can feel it right down to your knucklebones

One of a million songs about the rock and roll show.

One of these dark nights, as the saying goes
There’s some dirty work
To be done down by the crossroads
And I know it’s true

Always love a supernatural tale at the crossroads. There’s some dirty work to be done.

Livin’ For The Minute
Poison

It wasn’t even on the album. A B-side on the “Nothin’ But A Good Time” 7 inch single.

“Open Up and Say…Ahh!” was huge for Poison. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”, “Nothin’ but a Good Time” and “Fallen Angel” took all the glory. Hell, even a cover of “Your Mama Don’t Dance” charted okay. But “Livin’ For The Minute” is just perfect.

Magazine covers always shootin’ poor Billy’s face
He kept a score of his ladies chalked up on his guitar case
He was a bad-ass rockin’, baby, always rollin’ out the sounds
Like some freight train come and did a six-string strut and just tore the damn place to the ground

It’s a character driven story about a guitar slinger called Billy, who kept a groupie monument in his guitar case and man, he could play. Sort of like Johnny. There is no doubt the song is influenced by “Johnny Be Goode” in the lyrical department. Quick! Call the lawyers.

Slave To Love
Quiet Riot

A great piece of melodic pop rock, however like many other bands that broke through in 1983/84, by 86/87 they became old news. Forgotten.

We made a slave to love
That’s what I’ll always be
A victim of your touch
You stole my soul and now I’m just a slave to love, yeah

DuBrow was never known as a great lyricist and I suppose that became his downfall. There are only so much clichéd and generic rhymes a fan could take. But for some reason AC/DC seemed to get away with it.

All The Fools Sailed Away
Dio

Music is written by Dio and Goldy, while lyrics are all done by Dio.

What can I say about this song that I haven’t said before about classic Dio songs?

The drumming is epic, great vocal melodies, great movements between loud and soft and when the chorus comes in with the backing vocals, it’s time to sing along.

There’s perfect harmony
In the rising and the falling of the sea
And as we sail along
I never fail to be astounded by
The things we’ll do for promises

If our ancestors never set sail to find new lands, who knows what the world would be like. Our sense of adventure is the backbone of the human psyche.

We are the innocent
We are the damned
We were caught in the middle of the madness
Hunted by the lion and the lamb

Society is founded on the persecution of races. And as we get more advanced, persecution exists between the haves and the have-nots. The divide is only getting bigger.

And all the fools sailed away
All the fools sailed away
Sailed away

People need to move and find new lands/cities to thrive and survive.

They say you’re beautiful
And they’ll always let you in
But doors are never open
To the child without a trace of sin

I watched “Split” recently and the James McEvoy split personality character wouldn’t kill a person that was as beautiful as him (which meant scarred from some past abuse). And I suppose sin is what makes us who we are. How can we learn from our mistakes or the mistakes of others if we don’t make them or don’t believe we make them?

Stand Up And Fight
Fantasy

M.A.R.S

Putting this band, supergroup, one-off project together proved to be one of the best decisions ever made by Shrapnel Records supremo Mike Varney.

You have hotshot newcomer Tony MacAlpine on guitars. Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge are on bass/drums. Another newcomer in Rob Rock is on vocals. The potential is unlimited. The melodic rock is amped up to 11. Yeah, the lyrics are clichéd and some of the melodies and rhymes are overused, however don’t let that get in the way of a good listen.

The big X-factor, star quarterback, star centre forward is Tony MacAlpine. He’s a virtuoso keyboardist and guitarist all rolled into one. He churns out brilliant riff after brilliant riff. Craig Goldy was their original guitarist, but he left to join Dio and I think Tony MacAlpine had a better and more creative musical career than Goldy.

Isn’t it funny how a no-brainer decision in the past, in hindsight maybe didn’t pan out to be such a great decision?

“Stand up and fight for your rights, stand up and be free”

Prisoner
Dokken

From the excellent “Back For The Attack” album and it’s sequenced straight after “Kiss Of Death”. And it works. The basic Am to F to G chords underpin the song, while the double stop bends in the intro lead make it sound unique.

Then it slows down in the verse, only to build it all back up to the arena rock chorus. A great piece of song writing.

“I’m a prisoner chained by love”

Long Cold Winter
Cinderella

Blues music is simple however to make it sound simple is a challenge. In this case, Keifer and Co. show the hard rock MTV world how to play the blues and they make it sound simple.

“A long cold winter without your love”

Winds Of Change
Y&T

1981’s “Earthshaker” started Y&T’s rebirth. “Black Tiger” released in 1982 would enhance and refine their signature sound. The album was recorded in England and produced by Max Norman. At that time, he had just finished working with Randy Rhoads on two career defining albums, so he knew how to work with excellent Californian guitarists.

Winds of change
Blowing strongly

The song has this “Kings and Queens” Aerosmith vibe. I dig it.

Far From Over
Frank Stallone

Sly Stallone’s nepotism to family members is evident here. His brother Frank is singing one of the signature songs from the “Staying Alive” movie, which is the sequel to “Saturday Night Fever”.

I dig this song a lot. It’s written by Frank Stallone and Vince DiCola.

I’m diggin’ in,
I want it more than anything I’ve wanted

How bad do you want it and how far are you prepared to go to sacrifice to get it.

I am down but I am far from over

An unwritten rule of life.

On The Line
Tangier

After doing the Philadelphia scene for 5 plus years, the band finally got a chance to showcase for a few labels. ATCO head, Derek Schulman was successful in getting their signature and he got producer Andy Johns from Led Zeppelin fame on board for “Four Winds.”

“On The Line” has a good feel and groove, but man the lyrics about a stranger waiting in the alley way to take your life just don’t do it for me. Only Dee Snider could get away with lyrics like that.

Free’N’Easy
Devils Toy

The Almighty

Ricky Warwick is known today as the lead singer/guitarist for “Black Star Riders” but back in the 80’s/90’s he had a pretty cool band called “The Almighty”.

They were signed by Polydor in March 1989 and recorded their first album, “Blood, Fire and Love” the same year. These songs are from their second album “Soul Destruction” which was released in March 1991. I know I cheated by chucking these ones in the list.

“Everything is so Free ‘N’ Easy”

The modern-day slogan.

Love, only love,
Love is the devils toy

Yes, something so pleasurable has to be evil.

Driving Wheels
Last Frontier
Too Much Ain’t Enough Love
Walk On

Jimmy Barnes

I bet a lot of Journey fans would have no idea the influence of the Journey songwriters on this album. “Freight Train Heart” is the third studio album by Australian rock singer Jimmy Barnes.

“Driving Wheels” is written by Barnes, Jonathan Cain and David Roberts. Yep, the same David Roberts who wrote songs for Bad English, Lee Aaron, House of Lords, Signal and Starship.

“Too Much Aint Enough Love” is written by Barnes, Cain, Neal Schon, Randy Jackson (bass player and recently known for his work on American Idol) and Tony Brock (drummer for The Babys and Jimmy Barnes).

“Do or Die” and “Last Frontier” are written by Barnes and Cain.

“I Wanna Get Started with You” is written by Barnes, Cain and Schon.

“I’m Still on Your Side” is written by Barnes, Cain and Jim Vallance. Yep the same Jim Vallance from Aerosmith and Bryan Adams fame.

“Lessons in Love” is written by Barnes, Vallance, Cain and Jeff Neill (Canadian guitarist who had success with Shama and Streetheart. He toured with Jimmy Barnes before dedicating his time to song writing and producing.

“Waitin’ for the Heartache” is written by Barnes and Desmond Child. Yep the same Desmond from Kiss, Jovi and Aerosmith fame.

“Walk On” is written by Desmond Child and Joe Lynn Turner. Yep the same Joe Lynn Turner from Rainbow fame. The track also appears on a Sunstorm album from 2009.

“Seven Days” is a track Bob Dylan wrote for Ronnie Wood.

Jonathan Cain was on hand to produce, however due to interference from Geffen Records and Cain’s creative vision being different to Barnsey’s vision, the album production was brought back to Australia, with Mick Stone producing and a supergroup of musicians playing on it.

It’s the rhythm of the highway
As he rolls on down
And city lights as they fade from sight
Drives the man behind the driving wheels

Truckie lifestyle, hell in the modern world it’s the morning two-hour commute to work for a lot of people.

Well he’s thought about settling down
A little diner on the edge of town
But in this world of push and shove
He’s still got freedom in his blood

The corporations, the banking industry and our leaders don’t like people like this. Hard to control and bring into the system.

The below is from “The Last Frontier”.

The lawless and the brave, searching for a dream
When all they found was sand and stone
Where rivers once had been

Australia was populated by the convicts and the ones who had dreams of a better life outside of the UK.

And suffered in a sunburnt land
Down in the last frontier

Australia is known as the sunburnt land.

And they sent them to another land
Into the greatest fear
To fight and die for freedoms cry
And for the last frontier

The U.K goes to war and their front lines are made up of soldiers from their colonies.

You Won’t See Me Cry
Signal

And if my world should end tonight
When you walk out of my life
You won’t see me cry

And that’s the end of another Forgotten playlist from the 80’s with an exception for “The Almighty” who even though the album was released in 91, it feels like it was heard in the 80’s.

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

Release Radar

Spot On Spotify

These are the songs that Spotify’s algorithms got spot on. Click the link to listen

Midnight Flyer by The Night Flight Orchestra
My favourite Swedish supergroup of metal heads is back, playing the classic rock music I love. This time around, it’s about a galactic space opera, where the human race is pitted against female space commanders with pearl necklaces. Brilliant

“I’m a stranger to myself
But still I long for the unknown”

Our love of adventure is what drives the world around.

Sinking Ship by Harem Scarem
What a funky groovy foot stomping riff?

How good is Pete Lesperance on guitar?

Along with Harry Hess they have navigated 30 years of Harem Scarem and 14 studio albums, plus their solo work and side projects. As a fan, I’m looking forward to the release of “United”.

When there’s no one out
When there’s nothing left
I’m gonna stand my ground
On a sinking ship

It sums up the career of Harem Scarem. When everyone abandoned hard rock, Harem Scarem, stood their ground. And the sinking ship of the genre is back on the ocean sailing to new horizons.

It’s The Right Time by Mitch Malloy featuring Van Halen
The long lost audition tapes between Van Hager and Van Cherone. As a guitarist, I dig the verses and the way EVH plays it, with palm muted arpeggios and staccato chords. It’s creative and innovative and that improvisation factor makes EVH unique.

In the end, I guess it wasn’t the right time for Malloy to join Van Halen.
“I go on gut feelings, and it was clear to me that something was amiss, so why continue?” It seemed like they were uneasy, and that whole presentation with Dave thing that they did for MTV … I mean everybody kind of knows now … that they were forced to [do that]. But I didn’t know they were going to do that, it was kind of like, ‘What is going on right now?’ It was a very strange time, and it didn’t feel good. [So] I was like, well, if they don’t want me, let me do them a favour and bow out.”
Mitch Malloy on why he didn’t join Van Halen 

Snakes In Paradise by Crazy Lixx
Great melodic rock from Sweden about snakes in paradise that feed you lies. What more do you want?

Never Was A Forever by Honeymoon Suite
It’s a good return to form for an old favourite of mine.

Don’t say you’re sorry
It’s an empty word when you don’t know what it means

It’s a brilliant lyric.

Light Me Up by Doom Unit
It’s got this swampy bluesy feel which I really dig. Plus the vocal melodies are addictive. And they are from Finland. I’ll be honest, there is something in the culture water’s around Northern Europe because there is so much good music coming out of the region.

When I start another day
I’m slowly drowning all the way
Light me up

Straight To The Top by Creye
Creye is another melodic rock band from Sweden with big keys and big 80’s chorus’s.

All the way to the end
This is your life
Don’t give up, don’t give in
Give it all you got
All the way to the end
Just follow your heart
Don’t give up, don’t give in
You’re going straight to the top

Yeah I know it’s clichéd and been used a million times, but it works.

Underneath by Blacktop Mojo
It’s a nice acoustic piece from these Texas boys who started off playing old country covers, and from time to time they would throw in some of their own stuff. With time, their originals got less twang and more distortion.

I trade this cloud for a hurricane
With enough water to wash away

What great lyrics to kick off the song.

Big Sky Country by KXM
There are some good musical movements. It actually sounds pretty similar to Metallica’s “Now That We’re Dead” in the intro, just a touch slower and a lot more groove.

“Shoot before you run”

It’s relevant to what is happening right now, with governments spying on their own citizens and terrorists driving their vehicles into crowds of people.

Undecided

These are the songs that have done enough to have me interested to check out some more. So I suppose it’s close to “Spot On Spotify” than “Misses”.

Broken by Falling In Reverse
I think this band has the potential to go really high and once they realise it, their classic metal masterpiece will come.

Age Of The Raven by The Raven Age
It’s aggressive and in a modern metal style I like. Just the lyrics are not connecting with me right now.

Stand My Ground by Adrenaline Rush
Musically it’s good, melodic rock but the vocals ruin it.

Remain Violent by Warbringer
It’s got that “Fight For Your Right to Party” vibe..

Half As Dead by Demonhunter
I’ve never heard any music from Demonhunter before this song, and with a name called Demonhunter, I expected a certain style. But I was surprised at the quality of the song, and that groovy riff.

Welcome To The Night by Night Demon
Again, I wasn’t sure what style I expected, but the New Wave Of British Of Heavy Metal merged with melodic rock was not the style I expected. At one stage it reminded me of Iron Maiden’s first album.

Warrior by Dead By April
This band kills me. Drop the screamo vocals, because musically the song is brilliant and when the clean tone vocals happen, it’s on.

Eating Lies by Blaze Bayley
Musically the song is brilliant, but man Blaze’s vocals really don’t connect with me.

How Could I Let You Go by Confess
The song is a typical power melodic rock ballad, however I am interested to hear how they rock, because even though the ballad doesn’t move my world, it’s done well.

Only The Dead by Westfield Massacre
It’s got enough there to get me interested.

Misses

Only Broken Heart by Warrant
Not too sure what to make of their Thin Lizzy inspired vibe. I suppose Warrant will forever be remembered as Jani Lane’s Cherry Pie instead of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and April 2013. Hence the reason to retire the Warrant name and start afresh, in the same way, Black Star Riders retired the Thin Lizzy name and started new.

Day and Night by Night Ranger
They have released a few songs from the new forthcoming album. “Truth” and “Comfort Me” are okay, this one is a big miss.

Lonely Nights by Bonfire
These are 50 year old men, singing about “Lonely Nights” and believing they are 20 again. Such a shame, as Bonfire between 1988 and 1994 was essential listening for me.

All I Got Is You by Deep Purple
Sorry guys, as good as the music is, the lyrics just don’t connect.

Shimmering Status by Cellador
Epic speed power metal just doesn’t do it for me. Dragonforce made sure of that.

Trouble by Tesseract
It’s a dance act that uses the same name as the progressive rock band I follow. Lame Spotify, surely you are able to distinguish between dance acts and rock acts.

Song For The Dead by Carach Angren
Don’t know why this would be in my release radar as I don’t listen to artists that could be even similar nor do I even follow this band.

Here’s To The Crazy Ones by John 5
“The Black Grass Plague” was a brilliant instrumental fusing country with metal. This one is a miss.

Hand Of Hell by The Doomsday Kingdom
The riffs are okay.

Click the link to listen

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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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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

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

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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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Unsung Heroes

Piracy, Lost Sales and Profits

I am sure that everyone has come across the “Minecraft” game in some form or way. My exposure to this game was when my kids asked me last year if they are allowed to download the free version of the game, which I agreed. After playing it for months and unable to save their progress, they kept on asking me to download the full version, which cost $6.99AU.

I said NO.

They kept on playing the game and as they did new features kept on getting added to the game that made it better. However they still couldn’t save their progress and they kept on asking me to allow them to download the full version.

Eventually after a stellar week of good behaviour I couldn’t say NO to them and they got the full version at the beginning of the year.

For the uninitiated, Minecraft is one of the biggest games in the world right now. It debuted on Mac and Windows PC in May 2009. By February, 2014, it had sold 15 million copies of the PC version. Also in the same month, Mojang (the makers of Minecraft) had sold more than 21 million copies of Minecraft: Pocket Edition on Android and iOS; more than 12 million copies of the Xbox 360 Edition; and more than 1.5 million copies of the PlayStation 3 Edition — making for a sum very close to the 50 million mark. They have over 100 million registered users.

Just imagine if a streaming service had those numbers. However, the argument would still be the same. Artists are not getting paid. We all know why this is so. Talk to your record label.

And they did all of this with piracy being rampant on the game. However, Minecraft’s developer Notch (Markus Persson) has been on record in saying that worrying about piracy was a waste of time, and it was much more important to focus on giving people a reason to buy.

“Piracy is not theft. If you steal a car, the original is lost. If you copy a game, there are simply more of them in the world. If you just make your game and keep adding to it, the people who copyright infringed would buy it the next week.”

Persson adds features to the game based on conversations he has on Twitter with random people and he fixes bugs based on the Minecraft community voting on the priorities. He is engaging with the users and a majority of those users are people who said that they copied the game initially, but then bought a copy for both themselves and a friend. Or they are people who didn’t ever buy a copy, but had friends who learned about it through them who then went on to buy copies.

There is a clear indicator here for any artist.

Make sure that everyone has access to your music.

I remember a time when I went to Utopia Records and I purchased four CD’s. They were “Subhuman Race” from Skid Row, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” from Slash’s Snakepit, “Balance” from Van Halen and “Waiting For The Punchline” from Extreme. I hand over my cash and a sale goes onto their chart record.

The fact that “Subhuman Race” and “Waiting For The Punchline” gathered dust on the shelves, while I played the hell out of “Balance” and “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” didn’t even come into the equation. All of those bands got a “SALE” or a “COUNT” from me. The fact that two albums connected with me more than the other didn’t even come into the equation. Probably the reason why SLASH is still such a force to be reckoned with in the music business, while Skid Row and Extreme, not so much.

That is why a lot of the Eighties bands couldn’t understand or get a handle on their decline in popularity. Everything under the sun got blamed, however the real reason was ignored.

WHAT DOES A SALE OF A PIECE OF PLASTIC/VINYL REALLY MEAN?

Everyone saw a sale as a fan number, a unit to add up, however the fact that the real fans listened to the music non stop and due to playing it to death they had to re-purchase the album.

In my music collection, anyone will see that for bands like Motley Crue, Dokken, Megadeth, Van Halen, Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Twisted Sister, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Stryper, Ratt and many more, that I would have an LP, plus a CD, plus for a select few, remastered releases and remastered releases with bonus tracks. That means that I have re-purchased the bands whole catalogue over 4 times. And I am sure I am not alone in that.

In other words, a sale of an album never reflected what we (the fans of music) did with the albums after we purchased them. The second-hand music market thrived for a reason as music consumers got rid of those albums that gathered dust. However, was this stat shown.

But what about all the tons of money, lawsuits, lobbying, education campaigns, advertising, threats, news reports and the like from the recording industry, all telling people who unauthorized downloading was unquestionably morally wrong and that each download is a lost sale.

The developers of Minecraft (who struck even bigger when they got acquired by Microsoft in 2014) showed that you can compete with free and that you can get people to commit if you focus on the art. Making money was always a byproduct and in the end they made a bunch of it.

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