Inside the 1989 Debut of John Sykes’ BLUE MURDER

It was only right to send off a decade full of splendid solid gold rock music with a bang. So many fascinating things happened during the last year of the ‘80s and Blue Murder’s debut album was definitely one of the musical highlights (at least to me). After all, what else can you expect from master guitarist and songwriter John Sykes if not the best?

One of my favorite things to discuss when it comes to old-school rock is the huge pile of underrated artists and bands that deserved way more than they actually got. I often talk about Blue Murder and John Sykes because the band and the album should’ve taken over the world. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, they didn’t.

John Sykes proved that he is a worthy monster guitarist as a member of household names such as Tygers of Pan Tang and Thin Lizzy. What followed next was a career-defining move which secured him a pretty solid position on the popular hard rock movement during the second half of the ‘80s. David Coverdale took John Sykes in after the release of Slide It In in 1984. After a couple of recording sessions and a successful tour in support of the album, John Sykes was already in line for “the next best guitarist in town” crown. Whitesnake kept momentum with what is often considered as one of the most Whitesnake Whitesnakeenormous hard rock records of all time. Yes, of course I’m talking about that influential 1987 album that spawned timeless hit singles like “Here I go again”, “Still of the Night” and “Is This Love”, known by every single soul on this universe. If you thought that these monstrous songs were crafted all by David Coverdale himself, you are greatly mistaken. John Sykes co-wrote the majority of tracks, recorded the killer guitars and even did some back up vocal work here and there. Unfortunately, sometimes partnerships in life don’t last as much as we want them to. Personalities often clash and this is exactly what happened in the case of John vs. David. I won’t be getting into details because that’s not the main focus of this publication. All in all, they both went their separate ways, even though the magic they did sold over 8 million copies in the USA alone.

It was time to move on and most importantly, entirely devote to making great music once again. Geffen Records also lend a helping hand, singing Sykes to a new great deal. You can’t just let go of someone so immensely talented, right? He quickly recruited Vanilla Fudge drummer Carmine Appice and The Firm bassist Tony Franklin and the line-up was all set and done, ready to make the next big album! That’s how Blue Murder was formed in 1988.

In April, 1989, Blue Murder’s self-titled debut album was released to the public. It’s a pity that the record couldn’t generate a big fuss, however the brilliant guitar work showcased on this album did influence generations of musicians, making it important on a whole different level. “Blue Murder” possessed all the right ingredients to become the biggest release of 1989, including out-of-this-world guitar solos, intriguing song themes and spellbinding hard rock melodies. Of course, most of the tunes were written by John Sykes himself, however the team spirit and great collaboration between the members of the supergroup is quite obvious. Under the skillful leadership of John Sykes, each could bring something great to the table. Moreover, Blue Murder recruited legendary producer Bob Rock who worked with Kingdome Come, Bon Jovi, Metallica, Bryan Adams, Motley Crue and many other big industry names. The 1989 debut album turned into one of the highlights of the huge pile of profitable melodic, yet ferocious hard rock releases he produced.

The Songs

The albums that are hard to explain with words are usually the ones that are that good. The powerful magical guitar world opens up with the earth-shattering, throat-grabbing “Riot” which in my book is one of the best opening tracks of all time. Other songs of similar nature include “Blue Murder” and “Black-Hearted Woman” which deserve nothing but to be played as loud as possible. Heavy guitar riffing, killer rhythm sections and hypnotizing vocal delivery are just some of the reasons why your socks might get knocked off just after the first time you play them. The epic 8-minute “Valley of the Kings” is my personal favorite and arguably the greatest moment on the record. From the enchanting intro, followed by John’s mighty screams, to the ecstatic lengthy guitar solos, “Valley of the Kings” is one of those songs you can play for days. The power ballad “Out of Love” is as breath-taking as any other power ballad that hit the big numbers in 1989 but unfortunately couldn’t make a splash. Never understood why so few people actually appreciate and remember this passionate heart-breaking tune when in fact is one of the best among all power ballads of the decade. “Jelly Roll” is an interesting song, brightened with a little blues feel that makes all the difference in the world.   

Every track on “Blue Murder” is infectiously good! The album captures hearts with  impeccable musicianship and satisfying variety, ranging from electrifying hard rock, to stunning blues-influenced rhythms. Valuable and well-crafted albums like this one are hard to spot so in case you are one of the many people out there who still haven’t discovered the greatness of “Blue Murder”, now is the time to do it!

John Sykes is a genius and a guitar virtuoso and he deserves nothing but respect and adoration! Enjoy the songs!


Riot

Valley of the Kings

Out of Love

Jelly Roll


References:
“Blue Murder” (Album) Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Murder_(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~

[’80s Rock Album Focus] STRANGEWAYS – Native Sons (1987)

strangeways-native-sons

NATIVE SONS

Released: 1987
Genre: AOR / Pop Rock / Hard Rock
Duration: 44:52
Label: Hangdog Records / Majestic Rock Records (2006)
Producer(s): John Punter

native-sons-back-and-front

buy-from-amazon


OVERVIEW

In 1987, the British-American AOR/Melodic rock band Strangeways released arguably their finest work, titled “Native Sons”. The follow-up to their respectable 1984 eponymous debut also proved that the right singer can make all the difference in the world. Original vocalist Tony Liddell was replaced with Terry Brock – a renowned back-up singer for some of the biggest names of the era, including Foreigner and Journey. What followed after he stepped in as the new frontman, could easily be described as pure musical magic. “Native Sons” is a brilliant melodic rock record that guarantees you nothing but delight and feelings of great pleasure.  The album carries all the best genre elements of the era, including colourful keyboards, splendid guitar playing and glittering hooks. Add Terry’s powerful vocals, the edgy hard-rock vibe and the A-level songwriting and you end up with a melodic treasure that could effortlessly stand on its own two feet against the big AOR titles of the late ‘80s.

If AOR/melodic rock runs through your blood, this might be the right album for you. Kicking things off with the playful but classy tune “Dance With Somebody”, “Native Sons” properly sets the mood for the remarkable things that are about to come. The mellow rocker “Only a Fool” is another track that stands out with its gorgeous melody and touching lyrics. Terry Brock’s spirited vocal delivery could easily turn this song into your next favorite ballad. “Empty Streets” is unquestionably the hidden pearl of “Native Sons” and one of the finest AOR gems I have ever heard in my life. The high-powered guitars, heated up by Terry’s fiery vocals give me thrills every time I play it. “Where Do We Go From Here”, “Stand Up and Shout” and “Never Gonna Lose it” are just a couple of the other warm and powerful 100% AOR-authentic masterpieces you can find on “Native Sons”.

“Native Sons” remains one of the forgotten and highly underrated representatives of the large AOR scene of the late ‘80s, despite the admirable qualities and superb songwriting it showcases. Thankfully, there are still people like me (and you) who know that picking up an apple from the top of the basket doesn’t mean that it’s the best apple of the bunch. “Native Sons” is a melodic bliss from start to finish – play any song from the tracklist and you get a melodic rock classic and a couple of minutes in rock paradise. I can’t recommend this album enough. Strangeways’ junior album “Walk In The Fire” (1989) is what you should get next, after “Native Sons”!
Cheers to great music!

 

Tracklist:

“Dance With Somebody” – 4:26
“Only a Fool” – 4:42
“So Far Away” – 4:57
“Where Do We Go From Here” – 3:58
“Goodnight L.A.” – 5:02
“Empty Streets” – 4:20
“Stand Up and Shout” – 3:28
“Shake the Seven” – 4:33
“Never Going to Lose It” – 4:47
“Face to Face” – 4:39


Dance With Somebody

Only a Fool

Where Do We Go From Here

Empty Streets

Stand Up and Shout

…or listen to the entire album here:


 

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 DEEP PURPLE’s “Stormbringer”

First time I listened to Deep Purple’s “Stormbringer” was a life-changing moment for me. I may have been just a little girl but I knew well how to experience music and let it flow through my body and soul. After the first couple of times I played it, I knew two things: first, that male vocalist will occupy an important part of my life; second, this will be one of the tunes I will be seeking empowerment and strength from.

I don’t know a person who doesn’t love Deep Purple, even though fans’ preferences when it comes to line-ups are sometimes different. I love the classic Purple years, as well as their grandiose 80s comeback with “Perfect Strangers” but the Coverdale years, I believe, are always what I come back to. That’s why I wanted to give the spotlight to a beloved Deep Purple track of mine, performed by the magnificent David Coverdale. On top of all, he introduced the song to a whole new generation a couple of years ago on Whitesnake‘s 2015 “The Purple Album”. With all that in mind, I believe we have to acknowledge the significance of “Stormbringer” and most importantly, never forget to play it as loud as possible!

  • deep-purple-stormbringer“Stormbringer” is the opening track to Deep Purple’s 1974 album of the same name. It’s the second release, after “Burn” to feature David Coverdale as the lead vocalist of Deep Purple. The album failed to match the commercial excellence of the band’s previous releases, such as the iconic “Machine Head”, “Who Do We Think We Are!” and even “Burn”; however it did give birth to some outstanding classics. “Stormbringer”, “Soldier of Fortune” and “High Ball Shooter” are some of the tunes from the album that surely stood the test of time. Moreover, it will always be remembered as the album that brought the (temporal) departure of Ritchie Blackmore and the album with the perfect Coverdale/Hughes vocal collaboration.

  • Written by Ritchie Blackmore and David Coverdale, “Stormbringer” is a powerful heavy metal blast, showcasing the band’s love for hard solid rock&roll, soul and even funk music. The tune grabbed everyone’s attention with its peculiar lyrics and intriguing title, making it one of Deep Purple’s essential live acts during the ‘70s.

  • The title and theme of the song have always been subjected to questions and constant fan interest. The charismatic mysticism that surrounds “Stormbringer” has often been associated with Michael Moorcock who uses the same name to describe a magical sword, appearing on a couple of his fantasy novels. David Coverdale, however, denied any relation with Moorcock’s works or that he had any prior knowledge of his work, before writing the song.

“I wrote the lyrics about a mythical creature called Stormbringer who, in a surrealistic story, creates a lot of trouble. But I never even considered Michael Moorcock‘s work,” David Coveradle explained in a 1974 interview with New Musical Express.

  • At the beginning of “Stormbringer”, David Coverdale speaks some gibberish which always sounded quite spooky and devilish, at least to me. According to Glenn Hughes, this was in fact the “dialogue that Linda Blair’s character utters in the film The Exorcist when she is questioned by the priest.” [?]

  • “Stormbringer”’s hook line – “Ride the rainbow, Crack the sky” is supposedly where Ritchie Blackmore got the idea to name his next band “Rainbow”.
  • whitesnake-the-purple-albumIn 2015, Whitesnake released “The Purple Album”, consisting of interpretations of classic songs from Deep Purple band lineups Mark III and Mark IV – the time when David Coverdale was DP‘s frontman. Among the remakes were tunes such as “Burn”, “Soldier of Fortune”, “Might Just Take Your Life”, “Mistreated” and of course “Stormbringer”. This newer version of the 1974 gem was heavier, more intense and in my personal opinion, better than the original.

Whitesnake‘s version of “Stormbringer” (The Purple Album, 2015)


 

Stormbringer Lyrics

Comin’ out of nowhere
Drivin’ like rain
Stormbringer dance
On the thunder again
Dark cloud gathering
Breaking the day
No point running
‘Cause it’s coming your way

Ride the rainbow
Crack the sky
Stormbringer coming
Time to die
Got to keep running
Stormbringer coming
He’s got nothing you need
He’s gonna make you bleed

Rainbow shaker
On a stallion twister
Bareback rider
On the eye of the sky
Stormbringer coming down
Meaning to stay
Thunder and lightning
Heading your way

Ride the rainbow
Crack the sky
Stormbringer coming
Time to die
Got to keep running
Stormbringer coming
He’s got nothing you need
He’s gonna make you bleed

Coming out of nowhere
Drivin’ like a-rain
Stormbringer dance
On the thunder again
Dark cloud gathering
Breaking the day
No point running
‘Cause it’s coming your way

 


 

References:
Lyrics retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com

DEEP PURPLE’s Stormbringer Turns 40 – “I’ve Never Embraced The Expression Heavy Metal Because All My Themes Are Emotional”, retrieved from http://bravewords.com/features/deep-purples-stormbringer-turns-40-ive-never-embraced-the-expression-heavy-metal-because-all-my-themes-are-emotional
“Stormbringer” (Album) Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stormbringer_(album)

“Stormbringer” SongFacts, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=14243

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 JOURNEY’s “Open Arms”

There are great rock ballads and then there’s Journey’s “Open Arms” – a song that goes beyond the realms of any ordinary power ballad with its distinctive poeticism and ability to break down even the toughest hearts out there. Back in the day, when I knew so little about Steve Perry or Journey, it was “Open Arms” that convinced me that there is something special about this band and I should dig deeper. Now, years later, I look back at that moment when I fell in love at first listen and I can’t but be grateful for this gorgeous song that found a way to appear in my life and brought Journey with it.

I thought it’s high time this out-of-this-world power ballad got the spotlight on [My Rock Mixtapes]. I have gathered some interesting facts and personal interpretations which hopefully my readers will find beneficial. Don’t get too emotional (though I know I will).

Journey_Escape

– “Open Arms” was released as the third single from Journey’s highly successful 1981 album “Escape”. Written by Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain, the delicate ballad turned into an instant radio sensation and a fan-favorite. Moreover, not only it skyrocketed the album sales but it became the band’s highest charting single, occupying #2 spot for six weeks! (Surprise! Journey’s most popular tune “Don’t Stop Believin’” didn’t even reach top5 positions in the States).
All in all, what “Open Arms” achieved should come as no surprise because it was in fact a revolutionary song at the time – after its release and commercial success, it became an absolute necessity for any rock act to release a power-ballad.

journey-open-arms– Initially, Jonathan Cain wrote the melody of “Open Arms” for The Babys – a band, led by John Waite. However, to John the tune was simply too sentimental and had absolutely no interest in recording it. Imagine how different the future would’ve looked like for “Open Arms” if it wasn’t Journey who released it at the end. (Huge mistake, John…)

Things didn’t kick off that smoothly in the Journey corner as well, though. The rest of the band members, including lead guitarist Neal Schon, had their doubts about the mellow rocker as it was way too different than anything they had ever recorded before. Basically, Steve Perry was the only one who rooted for the song till the very end. He was committed and knew what was right. Let’s all thank Steve Perry for not giving up on “Open Arms”.

– “Open Arms” is a perfect marriage between melody and lyrics. Steve Perry is such a magical being; how could he come up with words so touching and so affecting, is beyond my comprehension. Simple, yet so moving, those lines are effortlessly playing on the strings of your heart, making you fall apart with each second. There’s a reason why many fans and critics refer to “Open Arms” as one of the greatest ballads of all time – not many ballads can actually provoke an emotional and physical reaction in you.

journey-open-arms– To me, the song is about that “soft” and “sincere” love between two people, who may have “drifted apart” for one reason or another, but the true feelings they have for each other never actually changed. Steve is singing about someone he wants back, ready to welcome her with “open arms” and start their beautiful life once again, forgetting the past. At the end of the day, I think it’s all about what your heart wants; when there’s “nothing to hide” and that sweet love means so much to you, it’s never too late to welcome it back to your life. My favorite lines from “Open Arms” are “…But now that you’ve come back, Turned night into dayI need you to stay”they can perfectly summarize the entire concept of the tune. If you have broken up with someone you love dearly and gotten back together, this is the song you should play on your first date back as a couple.

(Do I even need to comment on Steve Perry and his God-like vocal delivery? I will just let him do the talking…)


“Open Arms” Lyrics

Lying beside you
Here in the dark
Feeling your heartbeat with mine
Softly you whisper
You’re so sincere
How could our love be so blind
We sailed on together
We drifted apart
And here you are
By my side

So now I come to you
With open arms
Nothing to hide
Believe what I say
So here I am
With open arms
Hoping you’ll see
What your love means to me
Open arms

Living without you
Living alone
This empty house seems so cold
Wanting to hold you
Wanting you near
How much I wanted you home

But now that you’ve come back
Turned night into day
I need you to stay

So now I come to you
With open arms
Nothing to hide
Believe what I say
So here I am
With open arms
Hoping you’ll see
What your love means to me
Open arms


References:
“Open Arms” Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/journey/openarms.html
“Open Arms” official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Arms_(Journey_song)
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 Classic Rock Debut Albums

favorite-debut-albums

Debut albums – they can make or break your career. First impressions are always important and that is valid in pretty much every sphere of life, including in the tough and highly competitive music industry sector. During the “golden age of rock”, as I like to call the ‘70s and ‘80s, tons of outstanding bands made their first statement with strong and memorable albums, some of which are still relevant and widely-appreciated on a worldwide level.  Of course, it takes time to properly assemble a band, create a distinctive sound and style, and choose the perfect way to point your efforts and influences at the right direction, resulting in a powerful, slamming rock wave!

Just like any other classic rock fan out there, I also have my top 10 favorite rock debuts. For one reason or another, these ten albums left quite the impression on me and were the reason why I got into those bands in the first place. These “eye-opening” debuts are as a matter of fact among some of my most beloved albums of all time. From punk rock to progressive rock; from AOR treasures, to supergroup debuts, I am presenting you, [My Rock Mixtape]’s Top 10 Classic Rock Debuts!


1. Def Leppard – On Through the Night (1980)

debut-def-leppard-on-through-the-night

Hello Def Leppard! It’s absolutely impossible not to fall in love with the rawness, energy and straightforward hard rock spirit that surrounds “On Through the Night”. With that organic rock&roll sound and influences, drawn by bands like The Rolling Stones and Thin Lizzy, it was no surprise that this album became a leading force in the new wave of British heavy metal movement. Def Leppard were a couple of British guys with a big dream – to conquer the States and eventually the world. They did manage to fulfill their dream, despite receiving a lot of criticism from local fans and press, for “selling-out” to the American audience. Nevertheless, the dark, unprocessed and rather fresh approach to hard rock, Def Leppard presented in 1980, was exactly what the music scene needed.“Hello America”, “Rock Brigade”, “Wasted”, “Sorrow is a Woman” – all splendid heavy metal rockers that defined the early ’80s. Def Leppard drifted a little from their initial “hard solid” sound and musical direction; however, it was the right thing to do, believe me.


2. Boston – Boston (1976)

boston-boston

The tremendous strength with which Boston’s self-titled debut album smashed into the music world in the mid-70s could easily be justified with the 25 million copies sold worldwide. Not only that, but “Boston” was actually the best-selling debut album of all time before Guns N’ Roses released “Appetite for Destruction” in 1987. There should be a reason for such enormous recognition, right? Well, the album is just that good! The record found the perfect balance between pop and rock by crafting a splendid mixture of gorgeous vocal harmonies, gentle, yet rough guitar riffs, spellbinding melodic hooks and dreamy lyrics, all wrapped up under the influence of the classical music, Tom Scholz – the man behind Boston, grew up listening to. “More Than a Feeling”, “Piece of Mind” and “Rock & Roll Band” are some of the classics appearing on the album, which I don’t see disappearing from the radio stations anytime soon.

Why is BOSTON’s Debut Album One Of The Greatest Albums Of All Time


3. ASIA – ASIA (1982)

asia82

This monstrous debut record by the supergroup Asia was released back in 1982 and proved that there was indeed a reason why those immensely talented and versatile musicians from YES, ELP, King Crimson and The Buggles got together in the first place. “Asia” spawned one of the most distinctive rock tunes of the 80s – “Heat of the Moment” which became their ultimate signature song. That was not the end of it, though – the record is full of catchy hooks and fine melodies, perfectly designed to fit the demands of the commercial radio stations.“Sole Survivor”, “Time Again”, “Only Time Will Tell” – some of the finest moments on “ASIA”, showcasing a marvelous fusion between progressive rock, pop and hard rock.

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] ASIA – ASIA


4. Bad Company  – Bad Company (1974)

bad-company-debutBad Company’s glorious 1974 debut achieved much more than critical and commercial success; the self-titled album of the supergroup brought good old-fashioned rock&roll back into the music scene. Filled with catchy straightforward classics, “Bad Company” is the perfect example of album oriented blues rock, showcasing the band’s biggest selling point – their moody but quite soulful signature sound. Loaded with classic rock staples like “Can’t Get Enough”, “Rock Steady” and “Ready for Love”, the record was destined for success.  I have always found an immense attachment to “Ready for Love” (original by Mott the Hoople) – Paul Rodgersvocals absolutely did it for me. If you want to get into Bad Company, this is the record you should start with. Play it as loud as possible if you want to experience the ageless magic of pure hard solid rock&roll.

The Triumphant Debut of BAD COMPANY (1974)


5. Cinderella – Night Songs (1986)

cinderella-night-songs-2I don’t think Cinderella could’ve made a better debut album! Cinderella were everything BUT your ordinary glam rock band. Unfortunately, their image was what often confused people, though their talent goes above and beyond the big hair, tight leather pants and leopard shirts. We also have to consider their secret weapon – Tom Keifer who is one of the most unique voices of rock music and one of my favorite vocalists of all time. “Night Songs” offers an excellent selection of blues-oriented explosive metal riffs of guitarist Jeff LaBar, flavored by the scratchy fierce voice of Tom Keifer, all cloaked under dark, mysterious and quite intriguing character of the record. “Shake Me”, “Nobody’s Fool”, “Night Songs”, “Somebody Save Me” – there’s just no weak song on this debut album; all are among the greatest glam rock tunes ever released!

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] CINDERELLA – Night Songs


6. Van Halen – Van Halen (1978)

van-halen-debut

One of the most essential rock acts of all time, Van Halen, debuted in 1978 with an enormous self-titled album that is often regarded as the greatest rock&roll debut albums of all time by fans. Despite being heavily criticized by critics back in the day, it didn’t take that long for the album to become an absolute worldwide sensation and set new standards for rock&roll. Eddie Van Halen’s God-like guitar skills erupted on this album and we are more than thankful for that. Revolutionary rockers like “Runnin’ With the Devil”, “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘bout Love” and the splendid cover of The Kink’s “You Really Got Me” (which with all due respect is better than the original, in my opinion) defined the rock scene in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s like no other tunes. Not to mention the electrifying solo “Eruption” which put all the guitarists to shame. There’s no surprise this brilliant rock debut found its way to my heart and became one of my favorite debuts of all time.


7. King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King (1969)

king-crimson-in-the-court-of-the-crimson-king-1969

I still remember the first time I heard King Crimson’s “Epitaph” it was one of the most sensual experiences of my life. I just knew a special relationship between me and the band is about to develop and wasn’t wrong. The fathers of progressive rock – King Crimson, debuted with “In the Court of the Crimson King” in 1969, which many fans and critics consider as the birthplace of progressive rock. Not only that, but the highly experimental, out-of-this-world sound of the album inspired generations of progressive rock acts. Greg Lake’s soul-touching vocals, accompanied by surreal music, mixing all genres, styles and forms you can imagine, conquered me right from the very beginning. In addition to “Epitaph”, “Moonchild” andThe Court of the Crimson King” are among my favorite progressive rock pieces. This, in my book, is probably the most influential debut albums of all time!


8. Ramones – Ramones (1976)

ramones-debut

Hey ho, let’s go! The fathers of punk rock, The Ramones debuted in 1976 with one of the most uplifting, enjoyable and spirited rock albums of all time. I always had a soft spot for punk rock and this album was the reason why; there’s just something so charming about The Ramones and their carefree, breezy and laid-back style and approach to music. Coming out of the CBGB stage, The Ramones were the main catalysts for the punk rock, underground movement of the late ‘70s in the USA. Moreover, Ramones went on to become the most important punk rock act, inspiring generations of musicians, such as the Sex Pistols and The Clash.
Classics like “Blitzkrieg Bop”, “Judy is a Punk” and “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” are synonymous with punk rock! “Ramones” is also one good example of how an album which couldn’t achieve big commercial success, achieved something that goes way beyond that.


9. Giant – Last of the Runaways (1989)

giant-last-of-the-runawaysGiant’s outstanding debut album, “Last of the Runaways” deserved so much more than it actually got. Unfortunately, the time wasn’t right for it – by 1989, the heydays of album-oriented rock were long gone. Despite its high production value, melodic quality and outstanding vocals and riffs by Dann Huff, “Last of the Runaways” somehow got lost in the transition period from the ‘80s to the ‘90s.“I’m a Believer”“Innocent Days”, “Can’t Get Close Enough” and “No Way Out” are just a few of the dangerously obsessive rock tornadoes that could be heard on this album. “Last of the Runaways” gives us three of the greatest power ballads ever written – “Love Welcome Home”, “It Takes Two” and of course their most commercially successful song, “I’ll See You in My Dreams”. How Dann and the rest of the guys wrote such powerful and emotionally-charged pieces of art is beyond my understanding. This is a gorgeous rock piece and I can’t recommend it enough!

[’80s Rock Album Focus] GIANT – Last Of The Runaways


10. Firehouse – Firehouse (1990)

firehouse-debut-2

FireHouse was an absolute glam rock revolution, in the sense that they brought so much more than glitter and gold to the table. The critical and audience appreciation was on point – those four guys weren’t joking around – armed with great talent, for FireHouse the sky was the limit. Their 1989 debut album, “FireHouse” offers a selection of twelve, well-polished pop/metal jewels, which respectfully clogged he radio stations and mesmerized (and still do) the fans with gorgeous riffs and superb vocals. “All She Wrote” “Shake & Tumble”, Rock on the Radio“ and Don’t Treat Me Bad” are just a few of the catchy rockers that turned this debut album into one of my favorite albums of all time! Don’t even get me started on “Love of a Lifetime”, which in my book is one of the greatest power ballads ever written!

In 1990, FIREHOUSE Released a Debut Album of a Lifetime


+ Honorable Mentions

Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Emerson, Lake & Palmer

elp-debut

The Beatles – Please Please Me (1963)

please-please-me-beatles

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin (1969)

Led Zeppelin - Babe I'm gonna Leave You

Rainbow – Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (1975)

rainbow23

Winger – Winger (1988)

http://aornightdrive.blogspot.com.br/

Foreigner – Foreigner (1977)

foreigner-debut

Thunder – Backstreet Symphony

thunder-backstreet-symphony

Bad English – Bad English

bad-english-bad-english

DIO – Holy Diver

Dio - Holy Diver


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~

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.

In 1992, Eric Clapton Made History With an Iconic “Unplugged” Album

eric-clapton-unpluggedA lot of exciting things were happening on the music scene in 1992. Some people, including myself, consider it to be one of the last years of fine rock music. Among the pile of fascinating 1992 releases was an album, which not only became one of the most important live records but went on to sell 26 million copies worldwide. It even won three Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, Best Rock Male Vocal Performance and Best Rock Song. When such a tremendous success is at present, we can’t but think about the significance of Eric Clapton’s “Unplugged” album.

In January 1992, armed with an acoustic Martin, backed by just a couple of musicians, in front of a small audience, legendary guitar hero Eric Clapton performed acoustic versions of original compositions, along with a few blues classics for the infamous MTV Unplugged TV series. The concert album became one of the first-ever MTV albums and consequently, a turning point in Eric Clapton’s career.After a series of ’80s AOR jewels, including “August” and “Journeyman”, Clapton successfully went on to complete a once in a lifetime project, which critics often consider his best, most sincere release of all time.The classy, yet charming and immensely soul-soothing “Unplugged” record was as important to Clapton as it was to MTV – it enhanced the reputation of the music medium, proving that it’s a place where icons, such as the great Eric Clapton himself, can freely express and re-define the boundaries of their musicianship.

It takes a great deal of courage and inner strength to overcome the endless trials of life and Eric Clapton surely had to face so many of them. On top of being a drug and alcohol recovering addict and burying good friends, Eric had to experience the tragic loss of his 4-year old son, Conor in 1991. Out of his grief and indescribable pain, one of the most tearing and emotional ballads was born. “Tears in Heaven” debuted as a soundtrack to the movie “Rush”; however Eric Clapton recorded a new version of the song for the “Unplugged” album. The tender and absolutely heartbreaking hit single went on to become one of Clapton’s highest career achievements and ultimately the highlight of the concert record.

Tears in Heaven

Eric Clapton’s most famous work during his time with Derek & The Dominos“Layla” is re-invented into a cozy acoustic bliss on “Unplugged”. Comparing it with the original 7-minute epic ballad would be unreasonable, though many fans found more comfort in this slower, less-aggressive and more easily-digested version of the legendary song. The gentle guitars, along with Clapton’s heart melting vocal delivery, turns “Layla” into the perfect lullaby.

Layla (Unplugged)

One of Journeyman’s (1989) most successful singles – “Old Love” was also chosen as one of the 14 performances on “Unplugged”. The equally deserving revised version of the bluesy tune guarantees an experience of a lifetime.

Old Love

“Unplugged” is filled with fine moments, capturing Eric Clapton’s honesty and pure effortless talent. One thing he never forgets to do on his projects is to pay his respects to the legendary bluesmen he grew up listening to, by immortalizing their songs and introducing them to newer generations. Among the blues classics he chose to cover on “Unplugged” are “Bo Diddley’s “Before You Accuse Me”, Leadbelly’s “Alberta” and of course, Robert Johnson‘s “Walkin’ Blues” and “Malted Milk”.

On the deluxe edition of “Unplugged” we also get to listen to early versions of “My Father’s Eyes” and “Circus”, which would eventually be featured in “Pilgrim”, six years later.

Alberta

“Unplugged” was Eric Clapton’s 90s coming out party. The ‘80s were gone and with them his radio-friendly, AOR, highly produced approach to music. Don’t get me wrong, his ‘80s releases are actually among my favorite records of all time; however we have to keep in mind that musically they did reflect the time period. As much as he kept his authenticity as a bluesman, those ‘80s records still fall under the category of contemporary ‘80s soft rock. Then, when the ‘90s came, Clapton took off on a new journey – a journey of self-discovery and absolute frankness. That’s exactly why “Unplugged” became so enormously successful – it was the perfect “what you see is what you get” record. Eric Clapton just rose from the ashes with ease and comfort. You could feel his confidence and sincerity coming out of every note.

No wonder “Unplugged” won three Grammy Awards and sold millions of copies all over the world. The audience already knew and loved Clapton but this stripped down album, featuring new interpretations of his classics gave them a new perspective. This album revitalized his career and I think it helped him move on with his life, after the tragic loss of his son. On top of it all, the biggest musical force – MTV, was backing him up. After the enormous popularity of “Unplugged”, the show turned into a much bigger force, hosting some of the most talented musicians of all time – Roxette, Nirvana, Bruce Springsteen, Eagles and so on.

Familiar, relaxing, cozy…what else can I say? “Unplugged” celebrates a career of an outstanding musician and because of its unique format you can feel like you are a part of the audience and the whole experience. It has been over 20 years since its release, but this concert album will forever remain one of the highest moments of Eric Clapton’s career and as a matter of fact, one of the biggest legacies of MTV.


…You can listen and watch the entire show here:


References:
“Unplugged” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unplugged_(Eric_Clapton_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~

The Story of Electric Light Orchestra’s “EVIL WOMAN” (1975)

elo-evil-womanSymphonic/progressive rock is my guilty pleasure and to people who know me it would come as no surprise that I am a HUGE fan of Jeff Lynne and Electric Light Orchestra. Records such as “Out of the Blue”, “Face the Music” and “Eldorado” have always been an inseparable part of my life. There is just something so magical about the music of ELO – immensely uplifting, spirited, incorporating elements of modern rock, classical music, friendlier pop-sounds, piano, string instruments, keyboards…It’s all mixed up in a perfect (at least to me)  symphonic rock extravaganza.

“Evil Woman” is one of the songs that stood out to me the most throughout the years. The playful tune features one of the most striking and instantly recognizable intros of all time. From start to finish, this song is just begging you to get on the dance-floor and loosen up for a while. The funky beat, emphasized by ELO’s signature piano, strings and drums formula, turned this song into one of their most glorious works.

“Evil Woman” was released in 1975 as a single from their album “Face the Music”. The song became the band’s ticket to worldwide stardom as it conquered the charts in Italy, Netherlands, Canada, Ireland and other countries.

It takes time and a lot of thought to craft a timeless piece of art but that was definitely not the case with Jeff Lynne and “Evil Woman”. The recordings for “Face the Music” were already completed but Jeff wasn’t ready to wrap things up just yet. In about 30-minutes, “Evil Woman” was ready, becoming one of the quickest he had ever written. Despite initial intentions to have it as a mere filler track for the album, the song was apparently too good to be overlooked by fans. Writing a career-defining song in just 30 minutes is an accomplishment not many artists could achieve. But then again, Jeff Lynne is not your ordinary musician and he will never be.

“You made a fool of me, but them broken dreams have got to end…” turned into one of the most exciting opening lines in the history of music.  The lyrics aren’t hard to read and are perfectly summarized in the title – “Evil Woman”. She manipulated him, played with his body and heart, destroyed the virtues the Lord gave her and made a complete full of himself. He will always come to her when she cries because he loves her that much but at the end of the day, she is just using him. Many people have been in a similar situation, regardless of the gender or type of relationship. It’s a pity how cruel someone can be only to achieve his/her selfish desires. Interestingly, the lines “There’s a hole in my head where the rain comes in” were written as a tribute to The Beatles‘ song “Fixing a Hole”.

In 2012, Jeff Lynne released a compilation of his own re-recordings of ELO hits, titled Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra”. It was only natural for “Evil Woman” to get its deserving place on that release. The new version of the song received praises from fans for its stripped-down, back-to-the-roots sound and excelled production quality.

“Evil Woman” Live

Jeff Lynne’s ELO Performed Evil Woman & Mr. Blue Sky at 2015 Grammys Award ft. Ed Sheeran

“Evil Woman” Lyrics

You made a fool of me, but them broken dreams have got to end.

Hey woman, you got the blues, cos’ you ain’t got no one else to use.
There’s an open road that leads nowhere, so just make some miles
between here and there.
There’s a hole in my head where the rain comes in,
You took my body and played to win,
Ha Ha woman it’s a crying shame,
But you ain’t got no one else to blame.

[CHORUS]
E-evil Woman, E-evil Woman, E-evil Woman, Evil Woman

Rolled in from another town,
Hit some gold too hot to settle down,
But a fool and his money soon go separate ways,
And you found a fool lyin’ in a daze,
Ha Ha woman what you gonna do,
You destroyed all the virtues that the Lord gave you,
It’s so good that you’re feeling pain,
But you better get yourself on board the very next train.

[CHORUS:REPEAT]

Evil woman how you done me wrong,
But now you’re tryin’ to wail a different song,
Ha Ha funny how you broke me up, you made the wine now you
drink the cup,
I came runnin’ every time you cried,
Thought I saw love smilin’ in your eyes,
Ha Ha very nice to know, that you ain’t got no place left to go.

[CHORUS:REPEAT]


References:
Lyrics retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/electriclightorchestraelo/evilwoman.html
“Evil Woman” SongFacts page: http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=6714
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~