Celebrating ERIC CLAPTON’s Birthday with 10 of His Timeless Classics

ericLegendary bluesman, member of The Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek & The Dominos and many more, Eric Clapton, celebrates his birthday today! One of the most prolific and influential artists of all time, turns 72 so nothing but good wishes are in order! Happy Birthday, Mr. Clapton! Thank you for your devotion, hard work and exceptional music I grew up with and still can’t live without! Thank you for making me fall in love with the blues and learn how to appreciate great guitar work and technicality. Thank you for bringing peace to my life with your music!

Not many musicians can brag with a career, as long, fruitful and impressive as Eric Clapton’s. From his strong debut as a young guitar virtuoso in The Yardbirds, to recording one of the most important blues albums of all time with John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers; from a never-ending struggle with alcoholism to self-rediscovery and a powerful comeback in the ’80s, Eric Clapton’s life is surely one fascinating roller-coaster that keeps getting more and more exciting with each step of the way.

To celebrate Clapton‘s birthday, I have chosen 10 of his most beloved classics, including songs from his time as a member of The Yardbirds, Cream and Derek and the Dominos. There is certainly no better excuse to play Clapton all day long than commemorating his birthday! Let’s listen to the blues and forget about everything else! 


 

The Yardbirds – “For Your Love” (1965)

for your love


Cream – “Sunshine of Your Love” (1967)

sunshine


John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers (with Eric Clapton) – “Ramblin’ on My Mind“ (1966)

The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton


Derek & The Dominos – “Layla” (1970)

LAYLA

Derek & The Dominos – Bell Bottom Blues (1970)

LAYLA


“Cocaine” (1977)

cocaine


“Wonderful Tonight” (1977)

wonderful tonight


“Bad Love” (1989)

eric bad love


“My Father’s Eyes” (1998)

piligrim cclapton


“Riding With the King” (2000)

riding with the king


+ “Spiral” (2016)

Eric Clapton - I Still Do (2016)


clapton70s

… Or play the entire playlist here:


 

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

HARDLINE’s “DOUBLE ECLIPSE” – An Album Worth Discovering

I’ve talked about that magical year of 1992 before in my “16 Reasons Why 1992 Rocked Pretty Hard!” article and it’s time to talk about it yet again!

The times, they were changing; the ‘80s were long gone and with them the good old ways of rock&roll. Grunge was occupying all the attention of major music media outlets and labels and people were shifting their musical preferences from heavier hard rock to softer alternative rock. Nevertheless, the strong heavy metal thunder could still be heard during the first couple of years of the new decade. From solid comebacks to refreshing debuts, the early ‘90s offered a wide range of intriguing rock music events before it all died out by mid-decade.

This time I would like to focus on a band that formed in 1991 and debuted in 1992 with what I consider as one of the most exciting albums of that year. I’m talking about Hardline and their coming out party, titled “Double Eclipse”.

Brothers Johnny Gioeli and Joey Gioeli joined forces with none other than Bad English and Journey’s Neil Schon, along with bass guitarist Todd Jensen and drummer Deen Castronovo. All together, they attacked the music scene with a highly satisfying, though overlooked, glam rock record, possessing every little detail needed to captivate the hearts of any heavy metal fan out there.  

From a fan’s point of view I can only say two things about this album. First of all, the inclusion of Neil Schon in the picture shouldn’t scare you at all – there’s no trace of that sweet, tender, quite melodic Journey or Bad English vibe on “Double Eclipse”. It’s a ferocious rock release, with a lot more edge and tons of character. Needless to say if you are a fan of ‘80s hard rock, you most certainly can’t go wrong with “Double Eclipse” – it’s the exact thing you need to complete your collection! Second of all, once in your life you might come across an album which is worthy of occupying almost an hour of your life. “Double Eclipse” is one of those rare gems with no fillers and no boredom – every song is a potential favorite and guarantees a good time!

Speaking of songs, let’s talk a little bit about the playlist. We have our radio staples – the catchy, energetic “Takin’ Me Down”, the lovely ballad “Can’t Find My Way” and of course Hardline’s version of Danny Spanos“Hot Cherrie” which actually scored a top 30 chart position in 1992. The solid opener and a personal favorite, “Life’s a Bitch” turned into one of my theme songs. The lyrics are on point and don’t even get me started on those mind-blowing guitars. “Rhythm From A Red Car” is yet another hair-raising surprise that guarantees a splendid time! The mid-tempo, “Love Leads The Way” and the guitar-driven ballad “Change of Heart” are just a couple of the other valuable assets, characterizing “Double Eclipse”.

Final verdict: “Double Eclipse” by Hardline is an album worth discovering and adding to your AOR/Hard Rock collection. Too bad Neil Schon didn’t stick around much with those talented guys and went on to pursue other projects. Don’t think twice – crank it up and enjoy it!

Takin’ Me Down

Life’s a Bitch

Can’t Find My Way

Hot Cherie


Release Date: April 28, 1992
Genre: AOR / Hard Rock

Duration: 56:53
Label: MCA
Producer(s): Neal Schon

buy-from-amazon


 References:
“Double Eclipse” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Eclipse
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

The Story of XYZ’s Self-Titled 1989 Debut Album

I’ve said it before and I will say it again – 1989 was one of the greatest, most prolific years when it comes to hard rock and this album right here is yet another fine example, backing up my statement. We witnessed some great rock debuts during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s – XYZ, Giant, Danger Danger, Slaughter, Heavens Edge, Firehouse and so many countless others; and I never understood why all of a sudden every major music media outlet and label turned their back on those immensely talented musicians in favor of the grunge wave…Anyhow, what’s in the past is in the past. All we can do right now is to keep on discovering music that is worth discovering and appreciate talent when we see/hear it! That’s the reason why I wanted to talk about one of the forgotten but deserving late-‘80s-bands – XYZ and specifically their self-titled debut album.  Not only it showcases an excellent playlist of feel-good rockers but it’s a great collection piece for all hard rock fans out there who love to recall the good old days!

don dokken1I discovered XYZ rather recently, as I was taking one of my routine walks on the endless paths of old-school hard rock. There was something highly captivating about their sound which puzzled me as I rarely have this instant connection. I fell for the album, without knowing the reason why it felt so cozy and so familiar. Later on I discovered the reason why I was so easily hooked up… Their debut was produced by none other than Don Dokken!  I am a huge Don Dokken fan and this should come as no surprise, especially to the people who follow my postings. Of course, everyone knows who Don Dokken is and is well-aware of all the beautiful things he did as a frontman and co-songwriter of the hard rock band, Dokken. If you love Dokken as much as I do, there is no way you won’t fall for XYZ and that first album of theirs!

By the time XYZ’s debut album was released, Dokken had already split due to the turbulent relationship between Don Dokken and George Lynch. Before Don wrapped things up with his first solo album “Up from the Ashes” (1990), he jumped in as the skillful producer of the French-American band, XYZ’s coming-out party. Unfortunately, the household name Don Dokken printed on the back of the album under “produced by” didn’t really help that much. XYZ’s debut album barely got into the Billboard charts, under #99.

Despite the moderate success, three singles and two music videos were released. The MVs for “Inside Out” and “What Keeps Me Loving You” got a little bit of that MTV spotlight. The third single, “Maggy” didn’t get a MV, however found its way to the big screen, as a soundtrack piece for the 1990 Dolph Lundgren movie, “Come in Peace”.

xyzAll in all, “XYZ” is an album that can easily blow out any other hard rock album of that era, even the multi-platinum ones. It’s such a shame when talent remains behind the shadows due to unreasonable circumstances. The four guys – Terry Ilous (vocals), Marc Richard Diglio (guitar), Paul Monroe (drums) and Patrick Fontaine (bass) crafted a steady piece of rock music that is suitable for any music-fanatic out there who is ready to have a great time! Don Dokken’s producer touch could easily be felt as we proceed from one song to another. Yes, the album does sound like a little bit like Dokken, but the sound is rougher, edgier and possesses that young and hungry spirit.

Where do I even begin? “Inside Out” is a satisfying rock masterpiece which can only be enjoyed if played as loud as possible. Glorious guitar work and don’t even get me started on the vocals – Terry is simply fantastic! “What Keeps Me Loving You” is the turning point – a power ballad ready to knock your socks off with its soul-grabbing melody and tender lyrics! “Take What You Can” impresses with its mind-blowing, thunderous guitar intro, which introduces us to a world, dominated by Terry Ilous’ violent screams. “Follow the Night” is yet another praiseworthy ballad I grew an attachment to. The second half of the album is as intriguing as the first – “Come On N’ Love Me”, “Souvenirs” and “After the Rain” are all offering one memorable sonic experience! The strong power ballad presence on the album makes things so interesting for me!

Final verdict: XYZ is another underrated killer band with a superb debut album that should’ve been way bigger! Tons of talent and full of character – I can’t recommend it enough!

Inside Out

What Keeps Me Loving You

Take What You Can

…or you can listen to the entire album here:

Release Date: October 17, 1989
Genre: AOR / Hard Rock

Duration: 41:12
Label: Enigma Records
Producer(s): Don Dokken

buy-from-amazon


References:

XYZ (album) Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XYZ_(XYZ_album)
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.

Cheers~

TOP 10 BEST (POWER) BALLAD(S) Of The ’80s: READERS’ CHOICE

power-ballads-collage

1980s rock ballads? Now that’s one hell of a topic, isn’t it! Where do we even begin talking? There is just so much to say, so many names to mention, so many breath-taking songs to sing!

That softer, much gentler side of rock turned into an essential component of pretty much every record, released in the ‘80s. All hard rock acts jumped on that well-established bandwagon which would certainly take them on a journey to success and fan recognition. Labels demanded it too – if you wanted to hit it big in the ‘80s, you just had to write a killer ballad! Hard rock aside, blues, pop and even heavy metal musicians were also participants of the phenomenon. Don’t get me wrong, ballads have always been important and they will continue to be, however, the amount of ballads, as well as their importance and wall-to-wall presence was way heavier than it is now, for example. Artists were simply putting more effort and emphasis on crafting that perfect soul-soothing sound which I think turned into one of the reasons why we love ‘80s rock music so much!

The formula for (power) ballads was perfected by the mid-80s. Around that time, some of the staples of the flow were released. From Whitesnake to Def Leppard, from Cinderella to Scorpions – all of these great bands left a great number of strong, unforgettable ballads with an everlasting impact. These classic ballads of the ‘80s are still relevant and loved by every music enthusiast around the world. With this in mind, along with my immense adoration for ballads, I decided to ask my readers and followers on which song do they think is the greatest (power) rock ballad of the ‘80s. For about one month, everyone was able to vote and participate in the poll. The results are in and we can now enjoy this exceptional playlist, you guys created! Also, this might be a good chance for us to get in touch with our emotional side! Let’s listen…

Click Here to See the Results:
[POLL] VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE ’80S (Power) BALLAD(S)


10.Skid Row – I Remember You

Skid Row’s 1989 debut spawned an incredible ballad, titled “I Remember You”. This gorgeous tune, written by Rachel Bolan and Dave “the Snake” Sabo, turned into one of Skid Row’s most instantly recognizable and beloved songs of all time. No surprises there! With Sebastian Bach’s near-perfect vocal delivery and that haunting melody, the tune was destined for success. There’s no self-respecting rock fan out there that doesn’t know what follows after “Woke up to the sound of pouring rain…”

Interestingly, the song played a huge part in American popular culture in the year of 1990 – “I Remember You” came to be the most essential component of every prom dance, creating special memories in the hearts of millions.


9. Cheap Trick – The Flame

The highlight of Cheap Trick’s 1988 album “Lap of Luxury” is most certainly the emotional ballad, “The Flame”. The ballad was written by British songwriters Bob Mitchell and Nick Graham and it was first offered to another artist, before Cheap Trick cashed in. “The Flame” is probably one of the most widely-known and profitable rock ballads of all time. Achievements like topping the charts in the USA, Australia and Canada is merely the start of its long legacy. Most importantly, “The Flame” became the life vest of Cheap Trick as they were struggling to stay afloat after the commercial failure of their previous album.

“The band was very skeptical about performing this song live, because we only liked to perform songs written by us. However, a young man from, oh, I don’t know, somewhere, confirmed to us after a show in Florida about a week after the song was released that the song was great and, get this, would be a #1 single. As we joked about the guy’s prediction, we later realized whoa! This guy was right. I thank him for that,” said vocalist Robin Zander.

(quote retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Flame_(Cheap_Trick_song) )

[’80s Rock Album Focus] CHEAP TRICK – LAP OF LUXURY


8. Mötley Crüe – Home Sweet Home

8-motley-crue-home-sweet-home

According to some sources, the power ballad “Home Sweet Home” by Mötley Crüe is arguably one of the first of its kind. Nevertheless, the iconic tune held tons of personal relevance to the band and they had to fight with all they got for it to be included in their 1985 album “Theatre of Pain”. Mötley Crüe got the big “no” but still bet everything they had on the song, even funded the music video with their own money. Despite never making it that big commercially, “Home Sweet Home” turned into Mötley Crüe’s signature concert finishing track. Moreover, the iconic music video, featuring pre-concert and stage performing scenes is notable for being one of the most requested MVs on MTV back in the day.

“Bands didn’t have a power ballad and MTV as a vehicle to have a hit. That just wasn’t the way it was. After ‘Home Sweet Home’, every band had the one ballad that came as their second or third single….I think the reason we did it was because it was so anti-Mötley Crüe and it was funny, because it threw us into the mainstream….

Trust me, none of us had the foresight to see that,” said Nikki Sixx for In The Studio: The Stories Behind History’s Greatest Rock Bands.

(quote retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=3725 )

7. Journey – Faithfully

Journey’s 1983 album, “Frontiers” has tons of brilliant surprises inside and “Faithfully” is certainly one of the highlights. The power ballad, written by Jonathan Cain and portraying the hardships and endless struggles of being married while constantly on the road, became one of Journey’s most beloved and respected songs of all time. Not only that but “Faithfully” ended up conquering charts and influencing a generation of artists, including Bryan Adams whose hit single “Heaven” was inspired by “Faithfully”.

The “on the road” music video created quite the fuss as well and was one of the first of a long line of similar-concept videos, adopted by bands like Genesis, Motley Crue and Bon Jovi. Journey started making music videos with the release of “Frontiers” even though they truly disliked it. Nevertheless, thanks to that iconic music video and the exposure on MTV, along with of course the great attributes of the song, “Faithfully” was immortalized.


6. Def Leppard – Bringin’ On the Heartbreak

Def Leppard - High n Dry

Arguably, the finest moment of Def Leppard’s sophomore 1981 album “High ‘N’ Dry” has to be the ballad, “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak”. With this song, not only did they set the standard for power ballads, but challenged the perception that these types of songs could only be performed by female artists, such as Bonnie Tyler for instance. Initially titled “A Certain Heartache”, the track, produced by A-class producer Robert “Mutt” Lange, was quickly picked up by the recently launched MTV station where the music video received a heavy rotation and led to the revival of album sales. 2 million copies later, it was more than safe to say that Leppard were the next big and worthy thing on the horizon.

In 1984, “High ‘N’ Dry” was re-issued, featuring a remixed version of “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak”. This time, the song finally made it to the charts, peaking at a top70 position. The song got a brand new music video as well! Check it out!

[’80s Rock Album Focus] Def Leppard – High ‘n’ Dry


5. Cinderella – Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)

cinderella-dont-know

Right in the middle of our top10 (power) ballad song playlist, we have Cinderella‘s “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” which surprisingly is not in the top3, despite its immense popularity. Written by singer-songwriter and co-founder of Cinderella, Tom Keifer and released as a single from their second album “Long Cold Winter” (1988), “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” remains the band’s highest charting single and most successful track of all time. The emotional and highly intense power ballad got a beautiful MV, filmed nearby Mono Lake in California. MTV did justice to it by playing it every couple of minutes on a daily basis (which was totally fine by everyone).

Tom Keifer is an outstanding vocalist and if you question this statement, you most probably haven’t listened to this song yet. This gorgeous human being wrote the most sincere and soul-crushing rock ballad of all time and if it was up to me, it would’ve been in an even higher position.

The Story of CINDERELLA’s – Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)


4. Dokken – Alone Again

dokken-tooth-and-nail

Written by vocalist Don Dokken and bass guitarist Jeff Pilson, the power ballad “Alone Again” was released as a single from Dokken’s 1984 album “Tooth and Nail”. After a highly unsuccessful debut album, it was do or die for Dokken. The label barely agreed to give them a second chance but thank God they did, otherwise brilliant songs such as “Alone Again” would’ve remained on a paper, rotting somewhere under a pile of music notebooks. The track didn’t really hit it that big in terms of chart success, which in my books makes it one of the greatest unappreciated power ballads of the ‘80s ever!

Interestingly, Don Dokken wrote the words of “Alone Again” in the ‘70s when he was barely 25 years old. We can’t but be thankful that the song resurfaced in mid-80s and ended up being an irreplaceable component of “Tooth and Nail”.

The Story of DOKKEN’s Breathtaking Ballad “Alone Again”


3. Scorpions – Still Loving You

scorpions-still-loving-you

Not surprised to see Scorpions “Still Loving You” in a top 3 position on our rock ballad playlist. The 1984 album, “Love at First String” defined their career like no other album did, spawning immortal hit singles like “Rock You like a Hurricane” and of course, “Still Loving You”. The European rockers made quite the statement on the US charts, hitting a top 10 position with the album and a top 70 position with the song. The French gave it the #1, though!
“Still Loving You” is one of the most emotional rock ballads of all time, telling us a story about a broken romance and longing for a second chance.

“…It’s a story about a love affair where they recognized it may be over, but let’s try again. It’s the old story; always the old story. I mean, what can we use? We can’t reinvent the wheel. What we always do, is say something which has already been said many times, in our own way,” said Scorpions guitarist Rudolf Schenker.

(quote retrieved from  http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=3158)

2. Whitesnake – Is This Love

Whitesnake’s “Is This Love” comes at number two with just a couple of votes behind the number one. When we talk about universal appeal and strength of impact, no other ballad had it as big as this one. Everyone knows it, everyone sings it and is everyone’s favorite Whitesnake song. Written by vocalist David Coverdale and guitarist John Sykes, the idea for “Is This Love” was initially born after they were asked to come up with some good material for a new Tina Turner song.

Whitesnake‘s enormous 1987 album gave birth to a number of hit singles but no other song can actually compete with the legacy of this mind-blowing tune. Just like in our little playlist, “Is This Love” peaked at #2 in the US singles chart. The song, of course, got the music video makeover where Coverdale’s then-girlfriend Tawny Kitaen could be seen, along with a band, playing on a misty stage. Coverdale is the only Whitesnake member to be featured on the video. Now is not the time to explain why, though!  Enjoy the classic!

5 Great Whitesnake Ballads That Taught Us What Love Is…


1. Def Leppard – Love Bites

Number 1 on our ‘80s hard rock ballad playlist is Def Leppard’s “Love Bites”. Coincidentally, this track is also Def Leppard’s only #1 hit so far!

The year is 1987 and the album is “Hysteria” – do I have to say more? It turned out to be the perfect marriage between pop and hard rock that can easily be felt as we go from one song to another. To make the sound of “Hysteria” so unique and essential, producer Mutt Lange went above and beyond by using a variety of technology, vocal and sound layering and adopting numerous other effects to give the tracks a “stadium rock vibe” and “extra solid sound” that pierce your heart and gives you chills the moment you play them.  

Joe Elliott’s gentle but rather extreme vocal delivery techniques crate a beautiful tension which I believe is the reason why “Love Bites” grabbed the attention of so many people. Moreover, the simple, yet painfully truthful lyrics made it universally relatable.

Interestingly, producer Mutt Lange was the one who brought the song to the band. Initially it was a country-style ballad that eventually got the Def Leppard hard rock treatment and turned into this gorgeous power ballad.

“It was just a standard rock ballad but it had something else going for it. Lyrically, it kind of painted a picture, and in a song you always want to do that, paint a picture. ‘On a dark desert highway,’ the first line of ‘Hotel California,’ great song, it just paints an image for you straight off the bat and that’s the sign of a really good song. It takes you right there. ‘Love Bites’ did that as well,” said Joe Elliott.

(quote retrieved from  http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5114)

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] Def Leppard – HYSTERIA


References:
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

Inspirational Hard Rock Tunes For When Life is Tough

powerful-tunesI’ve never been that good of an inspirational talker to be honest. Life is one crazy mess, full of challenges and obstacles. Nothing is ever steady and things can turn around at any given second. What else is there to say? I don’t want to sound too pessimistic but it is what it is – people are dealing with struggles of every kind on a daily basis. Some of us are going through an emotional meltdown, others are heartbroken; some can’t fulfill their dreams and feel lost, others are dealing with depression – all that and way more!

I’ve always thought that when you feel like the whole world has unleashed its might on your fragile self, music is the only thing to help you stand up on your feet and give you that much needed strength to move on. I’ve always sought empowerment from my music and as I matter of fact, I’ve always found it in it! Every time, I’ve felt like I just can’t take it anymore, music has always been there, right next to me. Every time I wanted to just screw it all and give up on everyone and everything, music was there to remind me that I shouldn’t.

There is something quite powerful about the thought that someone somewhere, years ago, was able to create this beautiful piece of art I am listening to right now and that gives me comfort – it tells me that songs like these are the reason why this world is not such a bad place after all. Then, there’s also that “little” role lyrics and melody play when it comes to inspiration. Nothing…absolutely nothing in life can give me the same amount of confidence and extra push as I get from pounding guitar riffs and thunderous drums, decorated with well-written passionate words. I’m sure many other music enthusiasts out there are feeling the exact same way! There are many things people do when life is tough and giving up on it seems like the only option. My way is experiencing the pain through music. Enjoy these gorgeously-written encouraging tunes and I hope your day feels a little bit brighter!


Survivor – Eye of the Tiger (1982)

survivor-eye-of-the-tiger-rocky

Rising up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive…


Triumph – Never Surrender (1983)

triumph-never-surrender

Never Surrender – keep your dreams alive
Never Surrender – hold your head up high…


Triumph – Magic Power (1981)

triumph-allied

I’m young, I’m wild and I’m free
Got the magic power of the music in me…


Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’ (1981)

journey-dont-stop-believin

Workin’ hard to get my fill
Everybody wants a thrill
Payin’ anything to roll the dice
Just one more time
Some will win
Some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues…

Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to that feelin’…


Van Halen – Dreams (1986)

51 50 VAN HALEN

World turns black and white
Pictures in an empty room
Your love starts fallin down
Better change your tune
Reach for the golden ring
Reach for the sky
Baby just spread your wings…


Foreigner – I’m Gonna Win (1981)

Foreigner - 4 Woman in Black

I was not born, to be a fighter
But now’s the time I have to learn
To keep my head, above the water
Gotta play with fire, but not get burned…


Fair Warning – Don’t Give Up (1995)

fair-warning-rainmaker

Don’t give up
Whatever may come
There still shines a light
Keep your dreams
When the walls come tumbling down
Just stand up and fight…


Tesla – Hang Tough (1989)

tesla

Sometimes love can make you blue.
A heartache made just for you.
But you can’t let it bring ya down.
If you should stumble, if you should fall,
Pick yourself up off the floor.
Fight for what’s right and stand your ground…


Ramones – Strength to Endure (1992)

ramones-mondo

Walking through the cross fire heart
Feeling heavy and hopeless.
Wonderin’ how I ever willsee
Through this darkness.
Every drop of blood can be
So beautiful
And I sure was bleedin’ the drops by
The bucketful…


Rainbow – Power (1982)

rainbow-straight

Everybody’s sayin’ that the times are gettin’ rough
You gotta stay loose baby and you gotta be tough… oh
I get knocked down… get right back up again
Cause I never give up and I never give in…


+ Bonus Tracks

Bon Jovi – It’s My Life'(2000)

bon-jovi-its-my-life

It’s my life
It’s now or never
I ain’t gonna live forever
I just want to live while I’m alive…


QUEEN – The Show Must Go On (1991)

queen-show-must-go-on

Whatever happens, I’ll leave it all to chance
Another heartache, another failed romance
On and on, does anybody know what we are living for?
I guess I’m learning, I must be warmer now
I’ll soon be turning, round the corner now
Outside the dawn is breaking
But inside in the dark I’m aching to be free…


P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

[PLAYLIST] Norwegian/American Rockers TNT Ruled the ’80s With These 10 (Favorite) Songs

tnt-banner

Excluding the dozens of hard rock acts that came out of the United Kingdom, Europe surely had a lot more to offer during the rocking days of the ‘80s. Norway was just one of the other countries on the continent that squeezed out a pretty decent hard rock band that is actually still alive and kicking. Yes, I’m talking about TNT! The non-stopping lineup changes didn’t really prevent the band from releasing twelve studio albums and a couple of really impressive live ones as well. Ever since their promising debut back in 1982, TNT kept things intriguing, especially with their early releases. The first four albums (1982-1989) represent the best stage of their career as they brought nothing but fame and recognition to their name. Moreover, those four releases are all packed up with some incredible hard rock staples which deserved way more love than they actually got back in the day. TNT are in my opinion one of the strongest acts that came out of Europe during the heydays of rock. Can you really imagine a world without AOR treasures like “10,000 Lovers (In One)” or “Tonight I’m Falling”? Because I surely can’t! Let’s listen to some awesome classics by TNT! Hope you guys will enjoy my little playlist, dedicated to TNT’s ‘80s hard rock albums!

tnt-band


Harley Davison

tnt-debut-album

I’m kicking things off with the opening track of TNT’s self-titled, 1982 album. The catchy, highly enjoyable rhythmic tune was written by lead vocalist Dag Ingebrigsten and composer Gustav Alfheim. Their first album remained the only one to feature songs with Norwegian lyrics and “Harley Davison” wasn’t an exception. At first, the song was available in Norwegian only and was sung by original member and lead vocalist Dag Ingebrigsten. However, later on, the guys re-recorded the track in English (Thank Thor) many times, with different vocalists and on different albums. Tony Harnell and Tony Mills both did a version of “Harley Davison” in English. Drummer and co-founder of TNT, Morten “DieselDahl also featured this tune on his 1997 release, titled “Recycled”. This time, it was Frode Henriksen on lead vocals. There is also a version with vocalist Jorn Lande! All in all, this turned out to be one of THE songs of their career. Nothing surprising there – the catchy, uplifting tune is able to captivate the hearts of everyone! Not to mention that it’s the perfect song to crank up while you are driving alone on those long and lonely roads and feel like the king of the world.

Norwegian Version

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From “Recycled”(Diesel Dahl & Friends)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Eddie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Similarly to “Harley Davison”, the story of TNT’s “Eddie” also begins from their self-titled debut album. A Norwegian tune, written by lead vocalist Dag Ingebrigsten and composer Gustav Alfheim was simply too limiting to the international audiences, if I may say. Thankfully, the beautiful song was re-recorded for their second album – Knights of the New Thunder” (1984) with new vocalist Tony Harnell as a bonus track. Little by little the Norwegian tunes started to re-appear in English, which of course was the right thing to do. “Eddie” is a breathtaking ballad which I still believe got overlooked. In my opinion it is one of the best songs that came out in 1984 (talking about the English version, of course). The most fascinating aspect of the rocker is the powerful guitar solos, which can easily send you to another dimension.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


U.S.A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another important song for TNT’s (early) career was the anthem “U.S.A” which once again has two versions – one in Norwegian (with Dag Ingebrigsten on vocals) from their 1982 debut album and one in English (with Tony Harnell on vocals), released from their sophomore album in 1984. There is a difference in the lyrics; however, as Tony re-wrote the song before it was officially included in Knights of the New Thunder”. “U.S.A” impresses with its memorable chants and energizing guitar riffs. It’s a great experience, believe me.

Norwegian Version

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

English Version

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Seven Seas

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The opening track of Knights of the New Thunder” is this beautiful Viking metal/glam rock extravaganza which I still consider one of the highlights of their career. That sophomore album spawned incredible rockers and this one tops them all, if we gotta be honest with ourselves. Tony is a superb vocalist and I gotta say he was certainly the perfect fit for TNT. “Seven Seas” was credited to the entire band and that’s why it’s so special. Moreover, it’s a worthy opening track that captivates you right from the beginning. I am personally enjoying every second of this melodic treasure and I can’t recommend it enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


10,000 Lovers (In One)

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Time to travel back to 1987 when TNT released their junior album, titled “Tell No Tales”. I have to admit, it’s a recent discovery of mine but it took me exactly one listen from start to finish to fall in love with it! So many magical things are happening on this release and “10,000 Lovers (In One)” has to be one of them – 100% pure Norwegian heavy metal with a little bit of that European flavor that always makes things so interesting. The song is just a solid opening to an excellent ‘80s heavy metal/glam rock album. Fantastic guitars (courtesy of Ronni Le Tekrø), solid melodic hooks and outstanding vocal performance by Tony Harnell – just listen and you will see for yourself! There truly was a reason why this song conquered the American audiences and even won a Norwegian Grammy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Everyone’s A Star

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Everyone’s A Star” is yet another brilliant moment on “Tell No Tales”. I’ve always been amazed by the vocal range of singer Tony Harnell and this song is just another mindblowing example of how great he is! The iconic MV received a heavy rotation on MTV back in the day too! “Everyone’s A Star” is a great song for when you feel down and you need that extra push. I just love songs that make you feel special and brighten up your mood!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


As Far as the Eye Can See

tnt-tell-no-tales

My third pick from “Tell No Tales” is “As Far As The Eye Can See”. Written by lead vocalist Tony Harnell and lead guitarist Ronni Le Tekrø, it’s yet again a worthy example of how great TNT were back in the day. There’s just so much heart and passion in their music! Not to mention Ronni’s demolishing guitar sounds this should’ve given him a seat among the best guitarists of all time.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Intuition

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We arrived at our final destination – “Intuition” (1989) which has to be my favorite TNT album! Yes, we could easily point it out as their most commercial-sounding album but then again, what’s wrong with that? As long as you do things with love and devotion and you obviously have tons of talent, things will turn out great!
The title track of “Intuition” would be a reason enough to understand what am I talking about. Gorgeous hard rock melodies, spirited guitars, Tony killing it yet again (that man’s an alien I just know it) and tons of good mood! The song is everything you’ll ever need in case you are feeling down! Enjoy!

 

 

 

 


Caught Between the Tigers

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Let’s move on to “Caught Between the Tigers” which impresses with its funky, energetic hard rock sound. You listen to songs like this one and you can’t but wonder why the hell weren’t those guys way bigger back in the day? Why in the name of Thor weren’t Tony Harnell or Ronni Le Tekrø right alongside the biggest names of rock music? Frustrations aside, both this tune and the album are perfect!

 

 


Tonight I’m Falling

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I saved the best for last. “Tonight I’m Falling” is the absolute crown jewel of TNT’s “Intuition” (arguably of their career too) and maybe it’s just me but the song has one of those indescribable auras that bring nothing but happiness and joy to your life. Where do I even begin? The first time I heard it, it was like a door to a new world opened in front of me. The lyrics, the melody, the vocal delivery, the guitars…they all compose this endless river of emotions you just gotta experience. My heart starts beating faster every time I hear the haunting intro. Thank you, TNT for this song and thank you Tony Harnell and Ronni Le Tekrø for writing it.

 


 

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

My TOP 10 John Wetton ASIA Songs

john-wetton-collage

Unfortunately the last day of January brought us the loss of one of the pioneers of progressive rock – John Wetton. The co-founder of ASIA and bassist/singer for King Crimson, Uriah Heep and Roxy Music, died at the age of 67 after a battle with cancer. Seems like 2017 picks up where 2016 left off – yet another veteran and a beloved rockstar is gone now and we can’t but be devastated. The smile has left our eyes…

I have been a huge fan of ASIA for as long as I can remember. It all started with the first couple of albums – “Asia” and “Alpha”. These two albums introduced me to this unique supergroup, composed of ex- YES, ELP, King Crimson and The Buggles members. I can’t really imagine my life without those records and frankly, I don’t even want to. Songs, like “Heat of the Moment”, “Don’t Cry”, “Sole Survivor”, “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” and many other classics will always run through my blood. One of the reasons why ASIA became such a huge inspiration for me was of course John Wetton. I found so much comfort and peace in his singing so the only thing I feel like saying right now is one huge “thank you” to him for bringing harmony to my life when I needed it with his blissful voice. I will truly miss him…

To honor his memory and remind my readers about ASIA – one of the supergroups which not only defined the sound of the ‘80s but also became an international sensation, I have prepared a playlist of my most beloved John Wetton songs from his time in ASIA. He was with the band for the release of “Asia” (1982), “Alpha” (1983), “Astra” (1985), “Then & Now” (1990), “Phoenix” (2008), “Omega” (2010), “XXX” (2012) and “Gravitas” (2014). I am the person who would always s prefer the classics, however there are some glorious gems in all of these albums. Let’s listen to some ASIA!


Don’t Cry

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The absolute crown jewel of ASIA‘s career (in my opinion, of course) has to be their #1 hit single, “Don’t Cry”. I immediately fell for this beautiful progressive rock masterpiece, combining catchy hooks and superb guitar work. The song was written by vocalist John Wetton and keyboardist Geoff Downes.The lyrics are I believe the absolute strongest point of the song. Probably because I am a girl, but words like “Don’t Cry now that I’ve found you. Don’t Cry take a look around you. Don’t Cry it took so long to find you. Do what you want, but little darling please Don’t Cry…” are affecting me on a deep level.


The Smile Has Left Your Eyes

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“The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” comes from Asia’s sophomore platinum album “Alpha” (1983). The stunning intro and divine melodies turned it into one of the most beautiful ballads of the ‘80s (even though it could’ve been produced a little bit better). The lyrics and John’s vocals are sending me to another world every time I play it! “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” is the only track from “Alpha” that was written by John Wetton alone (the rest of the songs are credited to the songwriting collaboration of Wetton and Downes). The emotional lyrics can’t but provoke a strong response in the listener: “…Now it’s too late you realized, Now there’s no one can sympathize, Now that the Smile Has Left Your Eyes…”


Sole Survivor

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Written by Geoffrey Downes and John Wetton, “Sole Survivor” came out as the fourth single from their groundbreaking 1982 self-titled album. Top 10 chart positions, worldwide recognition and covers from so many artists are just some of the triumphant outcomes, the release of the song triggered. “Sole Survivor” impresses with its solid guitars and empowering melody. I am also captivated by the lyrics, which can’t but give you that extra push: “…And from the wreckage I will arise, Cast the ashes back in their eyes, See the fire, I will defend, Just keep on burning right to the end…”


My Own Time (I’ll Do What I Want)

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Another song from “Alpha” (no surprises there, that’s my favorite Asia album). “My Own Time (I’ll Do What I Want)” is yet another blissful progressive/AOR tune that proves that John Wetton is a brilliant songwriter with outstanding voice, capable of bringing nothing but sweet delight to your life. The intriguing lyrics are also sending a strong message – sometimes you have nothing to lose so you gotta let go of the rules and have faith in yourself! “…You think you always had me under ties, Someone better tell you that the table’s turned, Getting your fingers burned, how does it feel? Now it’s for real this is the deal…”


Time Again

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How can you not fall inlove with that mesmerizing intro of “Time Again”? It’s absolutely brilliant, if not one of the best intros of all time! First time I heard “Time Again” I thought the song has that perfect balance between old-school progressive rock vibes and new-age radio-friendly sounds. Moreover, it’s the only song from “Asia” (1982) to feature a songwriting contribution by Carl Palmer which by the way is absolutely evident! The lyrics talk about betrayal and the loss of trust: “…But others wouldn’t see things you could only see, And someone showed you, then why was it always me, You knew the limit you were always out of bounds, How could I trust you when I caught you messing ’round…”


Never Again

asia-phoenix-2008

“Phoenix” was an absolute breakthrough – finally, in 2008, all four original member of Asia got back together and put it all behind them. The marvelous opening tune, “Never Again” is a strong statement of power and commitment. The energy that comes out of this song is indescribable! Once again, Wetton and Downes wrote something magical! “…NEVER AGAIN will I bear arms against my brother, NEVER AGAIN will I dishonour anyone, NEVER AGAIN will I wish evil on another, NEVER AGAIN will I spill blood of any mother’s son…”


I Will Remember You

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A very touching song about missing someone and having that sad fire still burning inside you because they are no longer with you… The 2008 comeback album, “Phoenix” gave birth to incredible songs and “I Will Remember You” is definitely one of the most deserving ones on the album. I have a soft spot for ballads so it comes as no surprise that I included it in my favorite Asia/Wetton songs. It’s a very sad songs, so in case you are longing for someone you lost, I suggest you don’t listen to it; the outcomes might be heartbreaking, especially because of lyrics like these: “…Locked in my memory, Your silhouette, The only face I see, I can’t forget…”


Light the Way

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“Light The Way” is the seventh track of Asia’s 2010 album “Omega”. Written by Steve Howe and John Wetton, the tune may not be the typical choice for a favorite Asia song, however there was something very intriguing that drove me to it, like a magnet. Was it John’s vocal performance, the mysterious melodies, that guitar solo…the excellent keyboard intro or the lyrics, I cannot say for sure. Bottom line is I think this is a splendid tune and for something so precious to come out in 2010, it was quite the surprise! The lyrics are very uplifting and hopeful: “…No matter what it is, be sure it can be fixed, Letting go of yesterday, Might – just might – light the way…”


Go

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“Astra” was the last album to feature John Wetton (before he came back in 2008 for “Phoenix”). The 1985 release didn’t really make a huge splash on the charts, compared to the previous two albums, however that doesn’t mean the album lacks substantiality and great tracks. The opening tune “Go”, for instance, is your ultimate first-rate journey on finding your inner strength. Sometimes in life we gotta make a faithful choice, pick up the right direction and simply go. We can be lost and lose our balance but as long as we “go” things might fall into place! “…There’s some way out, there’s some way through, But I’m lost, I’m lost, I’m down again, My direction is changing, which way, Which way can I go…”


Face On the Bridge

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The final album to feature the original line-up, led by John Wetton was out in 2012. XXX (or thirty) celebrated the 30th anniversary of Asia’s debut in quite the elegant way, if I may say. The album showcased a perfect sound blend between modern-day and old-school Asia. I gotta say, the first single, “Face on the Bridge” absolutely did it for me. Nothing much to say when something is done in such an outstanding way; first-class Asia and John, being his best-self!  


+ Honorable mentions…

Without You

Only Time Will Tell

Never in A Million Years

Finger On The Trigger

Prayin’ 4 A Miracle

Heat of the Moment


The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
Cheers~