Why is B.B. King and Eric Clapton’s “Riding with the King” One of My Favorite Blues Albums?

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

It’s no secret that I’m just as big of a blues fan as am I a glam rock one. In fact, my journey on the rock&roll appreciation lane started with the blues, naturally, and in particular with the musical love of my life – Mr. Eric Clapton. I can easily divide my musical adventures into two parts – before and after Clapton and before Clapton there was just so little. Now is the time to thank my parents who’ve been playing his songs at home since I was a little kid and lighted that blues candle inside my heart which eventually transformed into a big wild fire! I can talk about Clapton and his blues for ages because you can’t just have it any other way with him. A career that started in the early 60s, dozens of accomplishments, awards, albums, collaborations, pop culture influences and so on. Not just that but he’s still here, making music, concerts and giving his all, despite numerous health issues he’s facing due to his age. Clapton is pure class – a dying breed of musicians who just know how to sustain their genuineness and status by backing it up with quality and constant desire to make history!

I love early Clapton and everything he did with The Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, etc. but late Clapton (1980s – ) has to be my favorite time of his career. “August”, “Money and Cigarettes”, “Journeyman”, “Pilgrim”, etc. – they all fall under the “my favorite works by Mr. Slowhand category”. Today, however, I want to specifically talk about one of the most respected collaborations in the recent history of blues music – Eric Clapton and B.B. King; a friendship that resulted in one of the best modern-day blues records – “Riding with the King”; a strong musical bond that gave birth to an album, without which I cannot imagine my life. Many aspects of “Riding with the King” have turned this album into one of the Top 5 albums I always recommend to people who just want to get a taste of the blues. I will briefly mention where my adoration is coming from and will let you decide whether I’m right or wrong (even though we all know I am totally right). Let’s get on that ride now!!!

The Legends

Eric Clapton, B.B. King – do I have to say more? When your name is as heavy as the Earth itself, you don’t need justification or any other form of additional explanation to why exactly your music must be heard and appreciated. Both Clapton and B.B. King are pure synonyms of the blues and have certainly been through a lot to establish themselves as such. I don’t think you need me to tell you the environment under which artists like B.B. King had to grow up and what they had to fight and overcome to secure the future of blues music and eventually rock&roll. It’s because of the sweat and tears of those great African-American bluesmen that the world managed to experience not just musical but cultural revolution and learn how to celebrate people of every color and music of every genre, basically. “The king of Blues” is certainly known for many things, but he will always be remembered for living life on the stage. It’s that immense dedication to the public that drove him to perform till his very last breath and forever be refered to as one of the kings of the blues guitar.

Eric Clapton rose to stardom after his early days in the Yardbirds. He quickly proved that he wasn’t just your regular white English boy, trying to play the blues. He had the talent, the vision, the heart… It’s been an ongoing, never-stopping career full of ups and downs, personal struggles, self-discovery and tons of other life challenges, all of which Clapton faced with a guitar hanging on his neck. You don’t need me to tell you why he’s a legend and why he’s everyone’s favorite guitar hero. “Clapton is God” many say, and you have a 50-year-old career to investigate if you don’t agree.

Clapton met B.B. King in the late ‘60s and ever since, it’s been a dream of him to record with one of his all-time idols. It wasn’t until the late ‘90s when the two of them finally made some serious musical magic together for B.B. King’s duets album, “Deuces Wild”. After the foundations of the friendship were strengthened it was a matter of time before those two make something precious out of it. After all, you rarely have so much potential in one place.
3 years later, “Riding with the King” finally materialized and everyone was more than happy with the results. Clapton put everything into his album – from picking the song to co-producing the album, “Riding with the King” turned into a very important turning point for the career of then 55-year-old Clapton. The best thing is that he perfectly knew who’s he recording with and didn’t even for a second try to outstage him or become the center of it all. You can quickly notice that B.B. King is leading on the majority of songs as Clapton is taking the backseat. That my friend is called respect and is one of my favorite aspects of this album.

The Songs & the Sound

(Vintage meets Modern)

eric clapton bb king riding with the king album cover12 gorgeous manifestations of blues music have been put together for “Riding with the King”. Among them we can find classic B.B. King songs from the 50s and the 60s, as well as other vintage blues covers and interpretations. The title song, which easily could be referred to as the highlight of the album, is written by John Hiatt for his sixth album (1983) and surprise – it’s about the king of Rock&Roll, Elvis Presley! For BB and Clapton’s album, Hiatt had to redo the lyrics a little bit to fit the new production and style and of course – for the King of Blues. The result was phenomenal. The cover is certainly a refreshing twist on the song and definitely the better version (at least in my own humble opinion). Who says blues is boring? “Riding with the King” has to be one of the most empowering, uplifting and day-improving tunes of the genre. I can always count on this song to help me go through the day and kick me with that much needed thrill.

Another extremely refreshing moment is “Marry You”, which is not often mentioned by fans and critics when it comes to this album, yet I strongly support its relevance and immense contribution to turning this project into the perfect modern-day blues record. “Three O’Clock Blues” is one of BB’s specialties and a kind reminder of why this whole collaboration was indeed a great idea put together at a great time. Same goes for “Ten Long Years” which every self-respected blues fan gotta know. The new production and Clapton’s involvement (though supportive, rather than equal) is bringing so much color to those blues staples that at one point I just forgot those songs existed before this album. “I Wanna Be” is a splendid introduction song to a youngster, transitioning from melodic rock to the blues.

“Riding with the King” was released in 2000 and I think the time period was very crucial to the sound and thus the influence of the album. I think they couldn’t have picked a better day to make such statement. The “father/son” collaboration mixed together all the ingredients needed to please the old-school bluesmen and the newer generation of fans who at that time, given the bands which dominated the charts, probably thought they would never listen to blues music. The most attractive part of “Riding with the King” and the reason why it’s one of my favorite blues records of all time is not just the fact that it’s full of atmospheric, well-balanced compositions and not just because it’s a collaborative effort of legends like Eric Clapton and B.B. King. It’s one of my most beloved and respected works because it’s a contemporary blues record, keeping that old spirit alive and the ideal “generation-doesn’t-matter” album. I was 8 years old when the album came out and it’s been with me ever since. I’m glad I had the chance to witness its release and blossoming into what is known by fans today. Thank you B.B. King (RIP) and Clapton for keeping the blues alive.

“Riding with the King”

“Marry You”

“Three O’Clock Blues”

 


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from: https://earofnewt.com/2015/02/01/b-b-king-says-that-eric-clapton-was-like-his-girlfriend-on-riding-with-the-king/
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~

10 Rock Ballad Compilation Albums for All Ballad Lovers Out There

balladscollage

I love rock ballads…please don’t tell me you were actually surprised to read that….!?

I’ve told the story before but it all started with Def Leppard’s “Love Bites” and it developed into one huge obsession with power ballads and we got to the point where I can actually list rock ballad compilation albums without even blinking… It’s just my thing, I guess. I have accumulated a number of ballad compilation albums (digitally and physically) and I decided to share some of those releases which I find the most appealing and worthy of possessing. Some of the following I don’t actually own because they are merely impossible to find BUT it’s easy to re-create them if you already own the band’s discography. Ultimately, my list can also give you some ideas or make you check out some of those bands’ beautiful ballad songs (I recommend all).

I would like to finish by saying that it’s high time Def Leppard released a ballad album! (please please please)

Don’t forget to follow my blog and Twitter account! Cheers!


Gary Moore – Ballads & Blues 1982–1994

gary

I just had to kick things off with this absolute masterpiece and the album that introduced me to and made me a fan of Gary Moore. Where do I even begin? “Still Got the Blues (For You)”, “Always Gonna Love You”, “Story of the Blues”, “Midnight Blues” and so on – those are just some of the precious soul-crushing and world-spinning soulful romantic pieces you can find on that album. Every time I talk about compilation albums, I start the discussion with this one. On top of it all, Ballads & Blues 1982-1994 contains three unreleased ballads which are definitely a worthy addition to Gary’s classics.


Harem Scarem – Ballads

harem scarem

Maybe you didn’t expect to see this totally underrated band on my list but you know that I’m always rooting for the less-known but highly deserving rock bands out there. The Canadian hard rockers Harem Scarem won me with the astonishing ballad “Honestly” which of course is on this compilation album and of course became the reason why I put this album here…This Japanese release was out in 1999 and it also contained a couple of unreleased before surprises in it, in addition to the well-known classics.


Thunder – Ballads

thunder

This rock jewel is one of my favorite ballad compilations of all time and that’s mainly because it’s by Thunder – one of those hard rock bands which have a very very special place in my hard. The ballad compilation album was released in 2003 and nowadays it seems like it’s impossible to find it but I haven’t given up just yet. “Love Walked In”, “Until My Dying Day”, “A Better Man” and many more gems from Thunder’s classic and not-so-classic days of rock can be heard on that CD.


Whitesnake – Best Ballads…

The masters of hard rock, Whitesnake, lead by none other than the man whose voice can send you to heaven, David Coverdale released a couple of (unofficial) ballad compilation albums from Russia, Ukraine, UK and other European countries. Ultimately, timeless rock classics like “Don’t Fade Away”, “Is This Love”, “Love Ain’t No Stranger” and of course my favorite Whitesnake song, “Looking for Love” are on all of them. Don’t hesitate to get it if you come across it. So far, I’ve seen those releases only on Ebay, unfortunately.


Scorpions – Gold Ballads

gold ballads

“Gold Ballads” by Scorpions was released in 1984 in Europe only. The 5-song compilation features Scorpions’ best romantic tunes, including the timeless “Still Loving You” and “Holiday”. I should mention that in 2003, they released a new ballad CD, simply titled “Ballads” (only in Singapore, though as they have a massive fanbase there) which is another worthy piece.


Eric Clapton – Ballads

eric ballads

This compilation was released in 2003 in Japan only but that doesn’t mean we can’t get our hands on it (especially if you are a die-hard fan like me). The breathtaking compilation features some of Clapton’s most outstanding, tear-jerking ballads, including “Tears in Heaven”, “Miss You”, “Old Love” and “Layla” ( of course ). It’s one of my favorite ballad albums of all time and it’s such a pity that I don’t have it in my CD collection (yet).


Toto – Best Ballads

toto best balads

Toto are the kings of ballads and I’m thankful that we had this awesome release, where all of their beautiful, soul-touching masterpieces gathered together. The compilation features some of my favorite melodic rock ballads of all time, including “I’ll Be Over You”, “Mama”, “Rosanna” and the saddest song in history, “I Won’t Hold You Back”. “Best Ballads” was originally released in 1995 and it contains 17 songs. In 2003, they released “Love Songs” – yet another worthy record full of love and heartbreak.


Nazareth – the Ballad Album

nazareth

The 10 song CD titled “The Ballad Album” by Nazareth was released in 1985 only in Germany. This golden piece of music features some of Nazareth (and some of the greatest of all time) rock ballads, including “Love Hurts”, “Dream On”, “Where Are You Now”, “Games” and more. I love playing this compilation, it’s so atmospheric.


REO Speedwagon – The Ballads

reo

In 1999, REO Speedwagon released a ballad compilation album with a long list of their previous, well-known classics and a couple of surprises which unfortunately couldn’t make that big of a fuss back then. It was a ballad that got me into REO Speedwagon. Yes, of course I’m talking about that special song, “I Can’t Fight This Feeling” which is undoubtedly one of the most instantly recognizable melodic rock song out there and of course, the favorite ballad of all the softies out there. In addition to their beloved hit, “The Ballads” features “Keep On Loving You”, “Take It on The Run” and “Here with Me”.


Various – The Very Best of Power Rock Ballads [3CD Box Set]

ballads1

I’m finishing my list with a compilation treasure I found years ago, titled “The Very Best of Power Ballads”. There are hundreds of similar compilations, featuring identical, evergreen hits but If I have to recommend a worthy assortment of rock ballads, it has to be this one. “The Very Best of Power Ballads” was released in 2005 as a 3CD box set with a total of 50 mind-blowing songs.  You have all the classics – Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is”, Queen’s “We are the Champions”, Chicago’s “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”, etc. Not only that but you also get to enjoy Jefferson Airplane, Whitesnake, John Waite, Cher, REO Speedwagon, The Rolling Stones and many more.


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~

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

asia-alpha

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

asia-alpha

“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

asia82

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)

asia-alpha

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

asia82

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

asia-phoenix-2008

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

cover

“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

asia-astra

“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

asia-xxx

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~

10 Essential DEF LEPPARD Ballads

What happens when you listen to your favorite band rocking the hell out of a beautiful ballad? Well, you have the time of your life (at least I do). My immense adoration for Def Leppard comes as no surprise, especially to people who have been following my blog and/or twitter page. To me, they are the perfect rock act and I don’t see myself connect with another band’s music on such deep, emotional level as I did with Def Leppard’s. There’s just something so special about these hardworking Sheffield guys and their turbulent, but exceptional career, spawning some of the most brilliant rock classics of all time! I can talk all day and night about Def Leppard’s accomplishments and unquestionably legacy, starting with their raw debut in 1981 with “On Through The Night”, moving on to the biggest blockbuster of the ‘80s, “Hysteria” (1987) and end up with their latest self-titled release in 2015, proving that they can still blow our minds away with solid rock music. However, now I would like to focus on a specific side of their music catalog – Def Leppard’s ballads. The majority of rock fans are well aware of classics like “Love Bites” or “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak”, but there are a couple of more mellow rockers that deserve your attention. Leppard’s ‘90s releases, especially, are filled with beautiful ballads which unfortunately are not as popular as their ‘80s classics. As a die-hard fan of Def Leppard and a rock ballad enthusiast, it’s my duty to remind you of some of those songs or give you at least one new ballad to add to your playlist! Let’s listen to 10 essential Def Leppard ballads!


Long Long Way To Go (from “X”, 2002)

def-leppard-x

“Long Way to Go” is by far one of Def Leppard’s saddest songs, at least to me. The ballad comes from their 2002 release, titled “X” and is their last UK Top 40 hit single, surprisingly. This tune became a major reason why I fell in love with the album, as it was the first “X” song I heard back in the day. The crying guitars, accompanied by Joe Elliott’s heavyhearted but hopeful vocals are drawing the perfect ballad picture for me. The lyrics are what caught my attention in the first place, as I found myself in them…

“…Then every time I turn around
And you’re nowhere to be found
I know I got a long, long way to go
Before I can say goodbye to you…”

Unbelievable (from “X”, 2002)

def-leppard-x

I always wondered why critics were  judging “X” so harshly and condemning it as Leppard’s worst release, when in fact it is filled with so greatly-written and delicate songs like “Long Way to Go” and “Unbelievable”. It wasn’t as commercially successful as their previous releases but who the hell cares? “Unbelievable” is unbelievably astonishing. Not as gloomy as “Long Way to Go”, but sweeter, more uplifting with such a memorable anthem-like ending. Both ballads are the only two songs from “X” not co-credited by a member of Def Leppard.

“…You don’t say that it’s over, over
Never thought this could die
But you speak without words
Making me feel so damn good, ‘bye
It’s unbelievable…”


Goodbye (from “Euphoria”, 1999)

def-leppard-euphoria

“Goodbye” comes from Def Leppard’s 1999 release, titled “Euphoria”. Written by Rick Savage, this has to be one of their most overlooked ballads, despite being one of their best in my book. The song is a beautiful confession; the protagonist is proclaiming his love and is ready to give his everything for that special person. After all, who wouldn’t like to hear words like that:…

 “…I’d be there if the sun refused to shine
As the night gets colder I will be your shoulder
I give you my heart until death us do part
Every day, every moment, forever?”


Blood Runs Cold (from “Slang”, 1996)

def-leppard-slang

Written by Joe Elliot and Phil Collen, this has to be my favorite tune from Def Leppard’s 1996 release, titled “Slang”. “Slang”, along with “X” are the two albums to which critics didn’t do much justice, despite being absolutely phenomenal. I mean, just listen to the elegant guitars and Joe’s perfect vocal harmonies and tell me how it is possible to say something bad about the song or the album? Not to mention that “Blood Runs Cold” is another beautiful tribute to the late Steve Clark, who died of an alcohol poisoning. Def Leppard turned their immense pain over the loss of their friend to a superb ballad. It carries and important message too:…

“I guess what I’m trying to say
Is whose life is it anyway because livin’
Living is the best revenge
You can play…”  


When Love & Hate Collide (from “Vault”, 1995)

def-leppard-vault

In 1995, Def Leppard released their greatest hits album, titled “Vault”. In addition to their timeless classics, fans got the opportunity to enjoy one newly recorded song, the power ballad “When Love and Hate Collide”. The history of that tune dates back to their 1992 album “Adrenalize”; its demo was actually the last recorded guitar solo by Leppard’s original guitarist, Steve Clark before he died in 1991.
When it was released as a single in 1995, the song became an instant success – as a matter of fact it’s one of their most successful singles in the UK. Not surprised at all, the tune is so attractive; you must have a “heart of stone” to not fall in love with it.

“…Without you
One night alone Is like a year without you baby
Do you have a heart of stone
Without you
Can’t stop the hurt inside
When love and hate collide…”


Two Steps Behind (from “Retro Active”, 1993)

Def Leppard - Retroactive tough girl

Track number 4, on Def Leppard’s 1993 album, “Retro Active” is the acoustic bliss, titled “Two Steps Behind”. It’s also featured on the “Last Action Hero” soundtrack. “Two Steps Behind” is another ballad with a long history, going back to 1989, when Joe recorded the original demo. It was also released on the “Make Love like a Man” single in 1992 (from “Adrenalize”). There are two versions of this tune, equally brilliant; however, for the purpose of this playlist, I preferred to take the acoustic one over the electric.
Joe Elliot wrote the song, but it was Phil Collen’s suggestion to record an acoustic version – a pretty good suggestion, don’t you think? The results were magnificent; I love every note and every word! Its simplicity is groundbreaking.

 “…(Whatever you do)
I’ll be two steps behind you
(Wherever you go)
and I’ll be there to remind you
that it only takes a minute of your precious time
to turn around and I’ll be two steps behind…”

Miss You In A Heartbeat (from “Retro Active”, 1993)

Def Leppard - Retroactive tough girl

The second ballad on “Retro Active” (1993) is “Miss You in a Heartbeat”, which I think is one of their most touching and heartbreaking compositions. Once again, there are two versions – acoustic and electric and I am giving you the chance to check both of them out, because I couldn’t pick just one. Written by Phil Collen as a bonus track for “Adrenalize” (1992), it was originally recorded by The Law, led by the great Paul Rodgers (ex-Free, Bad Company and The Firm). I am not going to compare both versions, I will leave it to you, guys.

“Miss You in a Heartbeat” gives you the perfect chance to say “I miss You” to someone you love…The lyrics are breathtaking:…

“…I believe, that there’s something deep inside
That shouldn’t be from time to time.
I sure found out, thought love was such a crime
The more you care, the more you fall
No need to worry, no need to turn away
‘Cause it don’t matter, anyway …”

“Miss You in a Heartbeat” by The Law


Have You Ever Needed Someone so Bad (from “Adrenalize”, 1992)

Def_Leppard_-_Adrenalize

Let’s move on to Def Leppard’s “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad”, from their multi-platinum 1992 release, “Adrenalize”.  The ballad was a total success – not only did it reach top chart positions but it turned into one of Def Leppard’s most beloved mellow rockers of all time. It was destined for such enormous worldwide appreciation and I blame it on the relatable lyrics. Def Leppard always mange to convey a strong, engaging message in a simple, yet elegant way.

“…Why save your kisses for a rainy day
Baby let the moment take your heart away…
Have you ever needed someone so bad, yeah
Have you ever wanted someone
You just couldn’t have
Did you ever try so hard
That your world just fell apart
Have you ever needed someone so bad…”


Love Bites (from “Hysteria”, 1987)

Def_Leppard_-_Hysteria_(vinyl_version)

One way or another, we were destined to bump into “Love Bites” because let’s face it, we can’t talk about essential Def Leppard ballads and not mention their GREATEST, most successful one of all time – “Love Bites”, released from the 1987 blockbuster “Hysteria”. The influence it had on the audience was colossal – not only it topped the charts but it completely redefined the importance of power ballads in the last couple of years of the ‘80s. Brilliantly produced by Mutt Lange, “Love Bites” will forever remain synonymous with “power ballad”.

“…I don’t wanna touch you too much baby
‘Cos making love to you might drive me crazy
I know you think that love is the way you make it
So I don’t wanna be there when you decide to break it
No!…”


Bringin’ On The Heartbreak (from “High ‘n’ Dry”, 1981)

Def Leppard - High n Dry

I will wrap things up with Def Leppard’s 1981 power ballad “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak”. Released as the second single from their “High ‘n’ Dry” album, the tune marks a very important point as it set an early standard for power ballads. It’s also one of Def Leppard’s catchiest, least-sweet and “cheesy- sounding” ballads of their career. It was written by Steve Clark, Pete Willis, and Joe Elliott. Mariah Carey did a cover version in 2002 – if you are curious about it, go to YouTube, I won’t be posting it on my blog. The lyrics are very engaging, I love the chorus!

“…I’m sorry but it’s true
You’re bringin’ on the heartbreak
Takin’ all the best of me
Oh can’t you see?
You got the best of me
Whoah can’t you see? …”


10 is never enough…

Let Me Be The One (from “X”, 2002)

Breathe a Sigh (from “Slang”, 1996)

Where Does Love Go When It Dies (from “Slang”, 1996)

All I Want is Everything (from “Slang”, 1996)

You Can’t Always Get What You Want (from “Adrenalize”, 1992, original by The Rolling Stones)

Tonight (from “Adrenalize”, 1992)

Hysteria (from “Hysteria”, 1987)

Too Late for Love (from “Pyromania”, 1983)


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

[Song of the Week] Judas Priest – New Beginnings

My choice for “song of the week” is Judas Priest’s “New Beginnings” from their 2008 concept album “Nostradamus”. To be honest, I totally forgot about this record and it is definitely not something I actually listen to on a daily basis. However, my heavy metal playlist was on shuffle and suddenly this rock opera started playing and somehow entranced me…To be honest, it took me a few seconds to comprehend what was going on. I carefully listened to the lyrics which I believe are the essence of the track and even re-played it only to once again experience those words. The atmosphere of “New Beginnings” is definitely a bit melodramatic, overly emotional and Rob doesn’t really sound confident or fully committed, however among those lines, I could find something I was truly in need of – hope and anticipation for new beginnings. Those words are for all the people out there who want to hear it – guys, it is tough out there but someday someone will come to your life and change everything.

For a better experience, listen to the track together with “Hope”~

 


“New Beginnings” Lyrics

Now at last my dream is real
I found peace
True love can heal
On the journey throughout time
A new beginning has arrived
At the crossroads of my life
This new love keeps me alive

I never knew that this could happen to me
So many lonely days and nights
I never knew that you were waiting for me
Hope was out of dight
And suddenly I see the future clearly
No longer living in the past
As I let go

Living the dream
Of my life
I was alone no-one in sight
This love – make me believe that you’re the one
Never give up – our day has come

I never felt that this could happen to me
So many lonely days and lonely nights
I never knew that you were waiting for me
Hope was out of sight
And suddenly I see the future clearly
Finally I know at last
I can let go


 

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~

Overview of DAVID GILMOUR’s Solo Albums

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Where do I even begin? I always get so excited when I have to talk about the musicians I admire and love with all my heart! Forgive me if I’m being too subjective but David Gilmour and his music mean too much to me and I can’t really hold my adoration by any means! It’s not just the music, though. I don’t know him in person (of course) but he always seemed so sweet, kind and beautiful person; he also loves animals and has this very special aura around him – he’s a goodie, I can tell. On a personal note, I sometimes have trouble sleeping, quite often these days, actually. When I’m troubled and sad and stressed and I cannot fall asleep, it’s David Gilmour’s gentle voice, lyrics, guitar and music that helps me calm down and close my eyes. For that, I will always love him.

Whether we talk about Pink Floyd or his solo projects, the David’s efforts somehow always find a way to my soul. I can talk a lot about the whole Roger Waters vs. David Gilmour debate but I think I’m going to save that for later. Bottom line is, you can consider me as one of the few people who prefer David Gilmour’s lyrical, vocal and guitar approach. Yes, I’m not denying the impeccable talents of Roger Waters and I LOVE the classics but the post-Waters era and albums like “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” and “The Division Bell” are my favorites! Pink Floyd aside, I wanted to talk more about David Gilmour’s solo albums because I think they deserve some recognition and appreciation. He will always be admired and critically-acclaimed for his work with Pink Floyd, no doubt about it…But let’s just forget about Pink Floyd for a while and enjoy the one and only David Gilmour. On top of everything, last year he released “Rattle That Lock” which completely blew my mind! He still has it, guys!!!


 

David Gilmour (1978)

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David Gilmour’s debut self-titled album was released back in 1978. He was also the producer. Filled up with gorgeous instrumentals, blues and guitar-oriented rock songs, he managed to prove that he was not just one of the faceless members of a band. I guess, he really wanted to make his own music and focus on himself for a while, as he was starting to suffocate from Pink Floyd. The album itself is not as grandiose or as polished as Pink Floyd’s releases; however it’s so attractive, pleasing and emotional, at least to me that is. The piano-dominated “So Far Away” is an absolute favorite. The single “There’s no Way Out of Here” is another high point that hooked me with its dreamy harmonica details. “I Can’t Breathe Anymore” has that Pink Floyd vibe and it’s definitely a must-hear (I feel like he’s singing about himself at that moment in his life)! Overall, David seems happy on this album and if you love his work and musical approach, you’d enjoy the record as much as I am!

“So Far Away”

“I Can’t Breathe Anymore”


About Face (1984)

david-gilmour-about-face

David Gilmour’s second solo album, “About Face” hit the market in 1984. The record is definitely more radio-friendly, welcoming and pop-oriented than before. Hey, he even included a disco track – “Blue Light” which is really good, by the way! With the help of his friend – Pete Townshend from The Who, he wrote two beautiful, typical 80s tracks – “Love on the Air” and “All Lovers are Deranged”. The soft acoustic tune “Murder” is an absolute “killer” (ha-ha, see what I did there…). “Until We Sleep” is a synthesizer hypnotic mess but wouldn’t skip it for the world!

“Love on the Air”

“All Lovers are Deranged”


 

On an Island (2006)

COPERTINA.pdf

Of course this would be my favorite David Gilmour solo album! “On an Island” was released 10 years ago but it’s still an inseparable part of my playlist. He took his sweet time (22 years) to record it but the results were brilliant. He wrote some of the tracks with his wife – Polly Samson, which makes it even more special! What can I say? – A gorgeous and delicate combination of instrumentals and soul-soothing tracks, proving that David is the real deal! Such a brilliant guitarist, knowing exactly how to both calm your soul and make it fly at the same time. The opening track, Castellorizon”, is a haunting instrumental demonstrating his superb guitar skills, backed up by beautiful orchestral arrangements. Both of the singles, “On an Island” and “Smile” are dreamy and so easy to fall in love with. “Red Sky at Night” is my absolute favorite and the reason is, of course, the thrilling saxophone arrangements which are perfect for my tastes! If dreams can become music, this is what they would sound like! By the way, it’s David Gilmour himself who plays the saxophone on that one. Yes, he is as good with sax as he is with his guitar!

“On an Island”

“Red Sky at Night”


 

“Rattle That Lock” (2015)

david-gilmour-rattle-that-lock

David is definitely not the most prolific musician – it took him 9 years to release a new album and finally we got it lost year! “Rattle That Lock” has been five years on the making and I can only assume how hard it was to choose just 10 songs from all the possible tunes that David and his wife wrote throughout those years. Nevertheless, the result is extremely pleasing. I don’t like saying it, but the title track is pretty much all you need to hear from this album if you are not a die-hard David Gilmour fan. To me, it’s so much more than that, however. The whole album represents such a beautiful cycle – from the first instrumental, titled “5 A.M.” to the finishing (and my favourite instrumental of the album) one “And Then…”, the whole experience is unmatchable. The catchy title song is definitely one of the most admirable and fresh works, released by a classic rock artist for the past years. “Today” is such an enjoyable surprise – a song that starts like a rich aria and transforms into a strong base-driven rhythmic euphoria.

“Rattle That Lock”

“Today”


 

References:

“Rattle That Lock” official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rattle_That_Lock 

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] Sammy Hagar’s Best Vocal Moments

sammy hagar smile

When we talk about rock male vocalists, Sammy Hagar’s name immediately comes to our minds. He is one of those notable and unquestionable talents who can do wonders with his voice. People who know me are quite well aware of the fact he is indeed one of my most favorite voices of rock and every time I hear him sing, I immediately feel much better and in a better mood. I feel like his personality is very much transferred into his vocal delivery and it’s only natural to feel so good when you listen to him singing – he is such a charismatic, passionate, loving and fun person.

Throughout his long career that started in the ‘70s, Hagar has been involved with numerous musical projects; wrote countless songs; has been in several bands, such as Montrose and more recently Chickenfoot; fronted one of the greatest rock bands in the world – Van Halen and successfully launched a solo career. He surely wasn’t wasting his time or talents and thank God, he didn’t!

Of course, the majority of people, including myself are mostly familiar with his prolific time in Van Halen. Actually, that is also how I was first introduced to this amazing man. The moment I heard him sing, I realized that there’s something very special there! In addition to his Van Halen days, however Sammy Hagar has actually released a lot of solo projects, including the hit record “Three Lock Box” (1982) and “I Never Say Goodbye” (1987).

I’m sure that there are countless of great songs we can think of when we talk about Sammy Hagar and his career. Whether we are talking about his solo projects or Van Halen days, one thing is sure – Sammy Hagar knows how to sing and deliver a very passionate performance that can’t but impress you. There are some song which I perceive as his best one in terms of vocal delivery and effect they have on me. I have collected them and came up with this playlist! I hope you would enjoy it as much as I do…

 

Playlist:

‘When It’s Love’ (1988) (with Van Halen)
‘Right Now’ (1991) (with Van Halen)
‘Judgment Day” (1991) (with Van Halen)
‘Heavy Metal’ (1981) (from “Standing Hampton”)
‘I’ve Done Everything for You’ (1978) (from “All Night Long”)
‘I Can’t Drive 55′ (1984) (from ‘VOA’)
‘Little White Lie’ (1977) (from “Marching to Mars”)
‘Things Have Changed’ (2002) (from “Not 4 Sale”)
 ‘Sexy Little Thing’(2009)(with Chickenfoot)
‘Shaka Doobie’ (2000) (from “Ten 13”)


 

Sammy Hagar as the frontman of Van Halen – best in thing there ever was in rock music! I surely miss those glory days. Of course, during that time, the number of hit singles, phenomenal songs and outstanding tours that were held is too much to even try and count. However, when we talk about vocal delivery, I believe that those three songs best represent the ability of Sammy to just kill it with those great growls and depth of voice.  

‘When It’s Love’ (1988) (with Van Halen)

‘Right Now’ (1991) (with Van Halen)

‘Judgment Day” (1991) (with Van Halen)

‘Heavy Metal’ (1981) (from “Standing Hampton”)

‘I’ve Done Everything for You’ (1978) (from “All Night Long”)

‘I Can’t Drive 55′ (1984) (from ‘VOA’)

‘Little White Lie’ (1977) (from “Marching to Mars”)

‘Things Have Changed’ (2002) (from “Not 4 Sale”)

 ‘Sexy Little Thing’(2009)(with Chickenfoot)

‘Shaka Doobie’ (2000) (from “Ten 13”)


 

[PLAYLIST] My Good Morning Classic Rock Mixtape

Good Morning, everyone!

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I don’t know which side of the world you live in, but for me it’s time to rise and shine and marry the day! Like many other rock fans out there, I can’t really imagine waking up and start preparing for the day, without listening to some rock ‘n’ roll tunes as a background. However, mornings can be pretty tough – we are still too sleepy, still very tired and it takes time for the coffee to start working…So, to some people, including myself, solid hard rock sounds and crazy guitars might not be the best option for your morning…especially if it’s the beginning of the week. Thus, a few years ago, I made the so called “morning playlist” or “morning mixtape”, featuring classic rock tunes which I think are perfect for the early start of your day. I love collecting songs and making playlists, so I decided to share with you guys, some of the songs you can find on this morning playlist of mine (My personal playlist is too long, so I decided to share just 20 songs from it). They are indeed more soft and melodic than the usual songs I post on the blog, because I just can’t handle the crazy riffs at 6 am in the morning (haha). I hope you guys will enjoy the mixtape I prepared for you and might get some ideas for your own “morning playlist”. It’s a personal selection, combining classic rock songs with no common grounds, except being suitable for your busy and tiring mornings ( of course, based on my opinion only). Let’s play!


 

Eagles – I Can’t Tell You Why ( 1979 )

 

Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight ( 1977 )

 

Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven ( 1971 )

 

Whitesnake – Don’t Fade Away ( 1997 )

 

Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Lucky Man

 

The Alan Parsons Project – Some Other Time ( 1977 )

 

Skid Row – I Remember You ( 1989 )

 

Fleetwood Mac – Over My Head ( 1975 )

 

Pink Floyd – Learning to Fly ( 1987 )

 

Eagles – Tequila Sunrise ( 1973 )

 

Def Leppard – Unbelievable ( 2002 )

 

Dire Staits – Lady Writer ( 1979 )

 

Foreigner – Waiting For a Girl Like You
( 1981 )

 

Chicago – You’re the Inspiration ( 1984 )

 

Bad English – Time Stood Still ( 1991 )

 

John Lennon – Woman ( 1981 )

 

Queen – Somebody to Love ( 1976 )

 

Survivor – You Know Who You Are ( 1993 )

 

Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure
( 1982 )

 

The Police – Every Breath You Take ( 1983 )