Album Recommendations: DIRTY LOOKS – TURN OF THE SCREW (1989)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

Before we get down to business, here’s a song to check out! If you love the late ’80s as much as I do and you’re into hard rock music, you will most certainly like it and won’t hesitate to go down and read/check out the following album I’m recommending this week (in case you haven’t done it yet, of course – if you are familiar with it, then it’s time for you to go down memory lane)…

 “Nobody Rides for Free”

I’ve told you before – 1989 was indeed a magical year for rock music and gems like this one are the reason why! I can’t stress this enough – you wanna get drunk on authentic hard rock music, just look for 1989 ’cause that’s your year!! (check out my previous blog publication where I list 15 favorite 1989 rock releases)

DIRTY LOOKS - TURN OF THE SCREW (1989)Let’s go back to Dirty Looks and focus on their intoxicating second major-label studio album, “Turn of The Screw”. What you need to know about the band in case that’s the first time they are crossing your path is that their major-label debut was in 1988 with what is often regarded to as one of the best hard rock debuts of all time – “Cool From the Wire”. Danish born vocalist Henrik Ostergaard was the man behind it all. The voice, the attitude, that street vibe, coming out of the band and this album in particular was mainly brought by him. Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to that raspy, quite distinguishable voice in 2011 (RIP). 

“Turn of the Screw” might not present an entirely different formula for a hard rock release. Given the time, the ambitions and the trends, Dirty Looks just had to take on that well-established hard rock road so don’t expect a sound you’ve never heard before. What you can expect, though, is a rough, solid and highly motivating gem that in my opinion deserved way more than it actually got. They did just put another brick on the enormous hard rock wall, but if you pay enough attention and devote some time into investigating 1989 album by album, you will see that that brick had its own colors and charms, worthy of your attention.

Ultimately, if you love bands like Kix, Great White, Cinderella, etc. you will love this album. “Turn of the Screw” is what introduced me to the band some time ago and It was love at first listen. “Nobody Rides for Free”, “Turn of the Screw”, “Take What Ya Get” and that special special song “L.A. Anna” which is my favorite cut from this release are as good as any other hard rock tune from the era. Atlantic Records yet again delivered something valuable to my collection so I can’t but thank them for that. The album has a little bit of those blues vibes I adore so much here and there so that’s one thing that might attract you even more. 

Now go ahead and listen! Make sure you tell me what you think of the album and which is your favorite song!!

“Turn of the Screw”

“C’mon Frenchie”

Here’s the entire album on YouTube for you to check out. It’s worth it, I promise!


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~

[PLAYLIST] 10 Rock Songs That Get You Through Tough Times

“Seek empowerment from your music, Velina!” – this is what I always tell myself each time I have to face a tough situation, make a difficult decision or end up sitting at home, staring at the ceiling while the depression just consumes me piece by piece.

Those are words I always try to tell my friends as well, regardless of what they are going through. Life can be cruel and in my opinion, there’s no better way of overcoming the endless difficulties than giving yourself away to art and music, in particular. That’s just my way, I’m not saying it’s the right way but what keeps my head up has always and will always be music. Needless to say, I refer to my beloved rock&roll and not to just any genre of music.

Recently, I had to face a lot of challenges on a personal and a professional level and even though I have my family and friends to support me, the inner healing comes from within. I turned to music yet again to help me with everything that happened and I’m glad I did. Playing some favorite tunes with suitable lyrics or uplifting tempo or diving into a completely new band is what helped me get out of this enormous black hole I was in…

So, because of the situation I was in, I decided to ask my dear music buddies on Twitter to make a “mixtape” with rock songs that can get you through tough times. I picked 10 which I would’ve picked myself too and crafted this little playlist for you – my beloved readers. If you feel down, if nothing is working, if your relationship is crumbling or you are dealing with stress, depression, constant mood-swings, etc., I truly believe those songs can open at least one of the doors you closed yourself with.

Check out the rest of the playlist under twitter! Everyone contributed with incredible tunes…

Comment below with your picks!!! I’m sure we can talk for ages about such tunes…


Def Leppard – Rock! Rock! Till You Drop

Bad English – Tough Times Don’t Last

Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now

Mötley Crüe – Kickstart My Heart

AC/DC – Ride On

Ramones – Strength to Endure

Pink Floyd – Coming Back to Life

Starship – We Built This City

Accept – I’m a Rebel

Triumph – Magic Power

+ bonus track

Dire Straits – Walk of Life

 


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~

15 Favorite Rock Albums that Celebrate a 30th Anniversary This Year

I get excited just by thinking of this year – the marvelous year of 1987!!! So many people on social media asked me which I think was the best year for rock music. I always say 1987 with no hesitation. Why? Check my list and you will certainly find out why!

All those outstanding releases are celebrating a 30th anniversary this year (2017) and I really wanted to list all my favorites together, in one place. Of course, I might have missed some of your favorites and yes, Appetite for Destruction is not in my top15 (surprise surprise!) but it is what it is. From Great White to Treat and Def Leppard, I honestly and straightforwardly am telling why exactly I love these albums with the idea to celebrate them and remember that it might have been 30 years since they were released, but the love and excitement over them hasn’t gone anywhere.

Don’t forget to tell me what do you think and which one is your favorite album released in 1987!?

 


Great White – Once Bitten

great white save your loveOnce you hear the mesmerizing ballad “Save Your Love” or the hard-rocking opener “All Over Now”, you will understand why Great White’s junior album deserves a place in your collection. The album came out in the hot summer of 1987 and quickly made a fuss around the band, eventually reaching a platinum status just a year after its release. The highlight and the most-instantly recognizable song from the album has to be “Rock Me” – I bet you know it. “Once Bitten” is actually my favorite Great White album and this song is a pretty solid reason behind my choice.


TNT – Tell No Tales

tnt-tell-no-tales“Everyone’s a Star”, “10 000 Lovers (In One)”, “As Far as the Eye Can See”…and on and on. TNT’s junior album is one of the best releases of 1987 and no one can take that away from it. As biased as I am (obviously), you can’t actually deny the power of vocalist Tony Harnell or the brilliance of guitar player Ronni Le Tekrø who make the perfect dream team. I got “Tell no Tales” in a record store as a “blind purchase” and this turned out to be the best decision of my life!! There are still so many people out there who haven’t discovered the greatness of this band so I urge them to do it now!


Dokken – Back for the Attack

Dokken back for the attackDokken’s fourth studio release also happens to be their best-selling album of all time and certainly one of the most interesting and captivating hard rock gems of 1987. “Prisoner”, “Night by Night” and of course the legendary “Dream Warrior” – the theme song for the horror film “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” are just a few of the stunning rockers on “Back for the Attack”. Some critics and fans don’t consider this album as Dokken’s finest hour but then again I never actually cared about that. The album is full of jaw-dropping rockers and it deserves its place in my list.


White Lion – Pride

white-lion-prideWhite Lion’s sophomore album is an absolute classic and a musical piece that cannot really be described with words. Though my favorite White Lion album is “Mane Attraction”, “Pride” gets the honorable second place! “Wait” and “When the Children Cry” are the hits that came out of it, though I gotta go with “Hungry” as my favorite song from the album. Mike Tramp and Vito Bratta can craft some serious magic and this is one of their strongest products, for sure.


Strangeways – Native Sons

strangeways-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. “Dance with Somebody”, “Only a Fool”, “So Far Away”…go check for yourself if you have never listened to these songs. Vocalist Terry Brock is one of the strongest voices of melodic rock and this is his finest hour.


McAuleySchenker Group – Perfect Timing

msg perfect timingA predictable choice, don’t you think? I mean of course I will include the debut album of the Michael Schenker and Robin McAuley, released in the fall of 1987. This project and this album represent one of my favorite collaborations in rock music. Those two were a match made in heaven and once you play songs like “Gimme More” or my personal favorite “Follow the Night” you will get what I’m saying. “Perfect Timing” deserves all the love and attention you have and I’m not “just saying it”. 


Treat – Dreamhunter

treat-dreamhunter-1987I’ve been introducing those amazing guys to fans who have a very little idea how much more there is to the world of AOR. “Dreamhunter” is the third studio album of Swedish rockers TREAT and it’s one of those underrated gems that should’ve been way bigger. It didn’t leave a big impact on the world of music but it left a tremendous impact on me and my little rocknroll heart. “Sole Survivor”, “Take Me on Your Wings” and “You’re The One I Want” are some of the stand outs from “Dreamhunter”, all impressing with great production value and brilliant melodies.There’s absolutely no way this album can’t win over any melodic/AOR fan.


Foreigner – Inside Information

inside information foreignerSometimes when we talk about the great Foreigner, this album gets left out of the conversation and I’m not quite sure why. I mean, yes – when you have enormous era-defining albums like “4” and “Agent Provocateur”, the follow-ups might get forgotten sometimes. In fact, though, (honesty hour) the sixth studio album of Foreigner – “Inside Information” might be my favorite release by Foreigner. “Say You Will”, “Can’t Wait” and the title songs are some of their greatest works, indeed. One more thing – it’s the last album to feature the 80’s core lineup of Gramm, Jones, Wills and Elliott, making it quite relevant.


REO Speedwagon – Life as we Know It

reo life as we know itHuge REO fan right here so no surprises that their 1987 album “Life as we Know It” is in my list of favorites. The twelfth studio album of the beloved band features some outstanding music, including “That Ain’t Love”, “New Way to Love” and “In My Dreams” – all beautifully written and highly pleasing tunes, solidifying REO Speedwagon’s position as melodic rock giants. Things after this release were never quite the same in terms of commercial performance and popularity and that could be traced back to the growing tensions between the members of the band; however we do have this fine piece of music and I’m so glad it saw the light.


Helix – Wild in the Streets

helix wild in the streetsHelix might as well be my favorite Canadian band so I just had to include their highly underrated sixth studio album “Wild in the Streets”. The beginning of their career was pretty strong but by the time this album was released, the fire was already fading out. The release is filled with memorable, close-to-my-heart rockers, including “She’s too Tough”, “Never Gonna Stop the Rock” and the gorgeous cover of Nazareth’s ballad “Dream On”. Never understood why this release wasn’t that big but that never prevented me from falling in love with it. 


Pink Floyd – A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Pink Floyd - A momentary lapse of reason front“A Momentary Lapse of Reason” is often misunderstood and extremely underrated record, despite magnificent songs such as “Learning to Fly”, “Sorrow” and “On The Turning Away”. I often clash with lack of objectivity when it comes to this album but then again, everyone has their own opinion and views. For me, the magic started when David Gilmour took over and released “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” and “The Division Bell” which instantly became my favorite PF albums. I love the classics and Roger Water is indeed a genius but this album right here is the PF release I connected with on a very personal level.


Tommy Shaw – Ambition

tommy shaw ambitionI wish more people would know of this album, because Tommy Shaw truly deserves it. His third solo release, “Ambition” is like a gentle autumn leaf touching your skin. Honestly, it was this beautiful piece of music right here that fully opened my eyes to his musical abilities. Not that I wasn’t appreciating him in Styx but I was always drawn to his melodic rock releases and especially this one. “No Such Thing”, “Dangerous Game” and of course – that magical cover of Survivor’s “Ever Since the World Begin” are offering a memorable experience that can make you a fan of Tommy in an instant.


Fleetwood Mac – Tango in the Night

fleetwood macFleetwood Mac forever blurred the lines between pop and rock in the ’70s with relevant releases like “Rumors”. Their style didn’t change that much in the ’80s as well. “Tango in the Night” is probably my favorite release by the legendary band and “Big Love”, “Seven Wonders” and “Little Lies” might make you agree with me. “Tango in the Night” is their 14th studio album (wow, you read right, don’t worry) and the last studio album from the band’s most successful line-up of Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. This release certainly is more pop than rock but …it’s the late ’80s we are talking about after all! 


Whitesnake – 1987

Whitesnake WhitesnakeDo I actually have to introduce or talk about this album? I don’t think so, but here we go…

Whitesnake’s most essential and internationally recognized record till today remains their seventh self-titled studio album. Released back in 1987, “Whitesnake” turned into a major successful hit, producing timeless rock tunes like “Is This Love”, “Looking for Love” and “Still of the Night”. What made this album such an impressive masterpiece is the unique combination of classic solid rock and melodic rhythms. This all became true due to the great songwriting collaboration between singer David Coverdale and guitarist John Sykes. Melody, energy, passion and outstanding production are just some of the characteristics of the album that contributed to its phenomenal success.


Def Leppard – Hysteria

hysteria coverI saved the best (and my all time favorite album) for last. No need for me to tell you why this album is here and what it means to me because you probably know all about it. The monstrous game-changing and history-defining record turned into one of the highlights of the era, not only because of its production values, 7 hit singles and multi-platinum status, but also because it symbolized the strength of the human spirit and how with a little bit of faith and tons and tons of hard work, you can achieve anything. “Love Bites” is certainly my favorite song from “Hysteria”, though every second of it is like a heaven on Earth.


References:
Photos, retrieved from Wikipedia and Amazon
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

In 1989, BADLANDS Released a Perfect Blues Rock Album

I’ve talked about the year of 1989 before on My Top 15 Rock Albums, Released in 1989 and it’s time to once again travel back to that golden year of rock and examine one of the finest releases that significantly contributed to the overall image of 1989 (and to why I consider it as one of the greatest years of rock).

The band

In life when one door closes, you gotta look for another one to open and make your way out of the darkness. In the late 1980s, prominent guitarist Jake E. Lee was no longer involved with Ozzy Osbourne after a successful tour for the “Ultimate Sin” album, so he had to build a new highway on which to take off. His efforts brought him to a very talented, New York-born vocalist, named Ray Gillen who ironically had just separated from a brief tour/fiasco with Ozzy’s bandmates from Black Sabbath. Two more members were added, both also sharing a history with Black Sabbath – bass player Greg Chaisson and drummer Eric Singer.

All in all, that’s how Badlands came to existence (or at least the very short version of it). The important thing to acknowledge is that regardless of what brought them together, the four members were simply ready to open a new, more exciting page in their careers and with that debut album, they certainly did it. The promising quartet was supposed to last for a while but unfortunately due to inner conflicts, unfavourable music climate and problems with the label, only three albums came out under their name, one of which was a demo release. In 1993, vocalist Ray Gillen passed away (RIP).

The self-titled album

We are here, however, to talk about, remember and listen to their stunning debut album, which makes you ask yourself the question: “If an album is that brilliant, why the hell didn’t it leave a much bigger trace behind its back?”… Needless to say, “Badlands” is a highly underrated killer gem which is a must for any rock fan out there who appreciates and respects good rock musicianship.

The true value of the album is its original sound which can basically be described as early ‘70s Led Zeppelin, meeting ‘80s Sunset-Strip rock scene (no over-the-top craziness, though). “Badlands” is sophisticated, yet fun and highly entertaining. The ways in which those guys managed to capture that fancy blues-vibe that defined the careers of Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, The Yardbirds, The Animals…and mix it so skilfully with refreshing, late ‘80s metal sound, is something you don’t see or hear every day. Once you play “Badlands”, you will receive a significant upgrade to your rock music sensitivity, trust me.

The vocals are breath-taking, no need to question or even talk about the powerful screams of Ray Gillen. One thing that immediately stood out to me, though, was Jake E. Lee’s impressive guitar work, making all the difference. “Badlands” is a guitar-driven album, just like any other blues album out there, but with a modern-day electric flavour, courtesy of this exact same genius I’m talking about – Mr. Lee.

A few words about the songs and I will let you listen in peace. The first two songs – “High Wire” and “Dreams in the Dark” (which by the way got the MTV approval stamp) are marvellous examples of how to show personality in your music and lead the listeners to a new world, going a step away from the polished, sparkling image and sound of the late ‘80s. (“Dreams in the Dark” has always been my favorite songs from the album). “Rumblin’ Train” and “Seasons” are some of the reasons why I consider this album one of the best blues rock albums of all time – it’s difficult to describe the magic surrounding this blues-influenced blissfulness. The stormy “Dancing on the Edge” is another track to watch out for! & it goes on and on…

Old-school minded, ‘80s hard rock bands are important and I strongly recommend Badlands if you are hungry for something distinctive, yet familiar!


“High Wire”

“Devil’s Stomp”

“Dreams in the Dark”


References:
Album cover retrieved from http://ohrenbalsam.blogspot.bg/2011/06/badlands-badlands-cd-1989.html
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

[Playlist] 10 Forgotten but Deserving Hard Rock Gems [Part 2]

New media technologies allowed users to upload, share and promote content of any kind, including music. Thanks to platforms, like YouTube, I was able to discover a lot of outstanding, lesser known bands and albums from the ’80s/’90s and enrich my library with rock music that doesn’t just come out of the big acts of the industry. Actually, unearthing these hidden gems which for one reason or another didn’t achieve that big of a commercial success and these days are not particularly on everyone’s minds, is one of my favorite things to do…you just never know what will come out!
I previously wrote a similar publication, which you can check out in case you haven’t : 10 Forgotten but Deserving AOR Classics and now I wanted to once again prepare a little playlist with songs from albums (and entire albums) that might had been in time but still managed to captivate me and found a way into my library. In case you know some of these AOR treasures, now it might be a good time to remember. Let’s go…


Hanover Fist – Hungry Eyes (1985)

hanover

This beauty right here I found while watching videos on YouTube. I was attracted by the album artwork but never expected to become such a fan of this album. The pleasantly obscure, rather heavy release, titled “Hungry Eyes” is actually a re-release of Canadian rockers’ 1983 debut album, with with a slightly different tracklist. I wish I had a long and interesting story but I don’t – the band lasted for about 3 years and that was it…

“Fits Ya Good”, “Hungry Eyes”, “Metal of the Night” – all songs I recommend and truly believe will fit into the playlist of every rock fan out there. Give it a chance:


Fury – Fury (1993)

12

I honestly don’t know much about these guys or this album, because it’s just impossible to unearth any background information. What I do know, however, is that this self-titled 1993 release contains every ingredient I like and enjoy in a melodic rock record. I often go back to this video I accidentally found on YouTube just so I can play this album from start to finish. My favorite songs include “Trouble” and “Higher Ground” – brilliant hooks and selection of sing-alongs.


Persian Risk – Rise Up (1986)

persian risk rise up

I think that many people probably know or have heard about the NWOBHM band Persian Risk but I also think that it’s high time I refreshed your memories of them. The British band formed in the late ’70s and actually have a long story so if you’re into that genre, go ahead and dig deeper. I have Carl Sentance – their vocalist (who is now fronting Nazareth) to thank for giving me a heads up on their stunning albums. “Rise Up” – their debut 1986 release is one of the gems you simply must hear. “Jane” has to be one of their most memorable songs. Check it out:


Stage Dolls – Stage Dolls (1988)

10

This album I found as I was casually browsing through YouTube (thankfully). I knew that they had to be from somewhere other than the UK or the USA and I was right. Stage Dolls is actually a Norwegian band, formed in the early ’80s. Their self-titled 1989 album is actually their junior one, released in Norway first and becoming a total hit over there. Not so sure about becoming a hit everywhere else, but with songs like “Still in Love” and “Waitin’ For You”, they are true winners in my book. Another proof that Norwegians just know how to make rock music!!


Von Groove – Von Groove (1992)

von groove

A great example of early ’90s hard rock – it was excellent (but overlooked) albums like this one that kept the spirit of the genre alive, against the upcoming grunge invasion. The Canadian band Von Groove’s debut album is everything you can ever ask for if you are a fan of this type of music. Terrific songs like “Once Is Not Enough” or “Better than Ever” will give you a clearer picture of what I’m saying.


Silent Rage – Don’t Touch Me There (1989)

silent rage

LA might at its finest! Oh, boy – this album is pure fire!! “Don’t Touch Me There” is the band’s sophomore release and in my opinion their finest hour. Led by the talented Jesse Damon, Silent Rage is definitely one of those bands who grab you by the throat and don’t let go. I simply love this album! “I Wanna Feel It Again”, “Rebel With a Cause” and the power ballad, “Tonight You’re Mine” – all stunning examples of late ’80s hard rock.


Saints & Sinners – Saints & Sinners (1992)

saints&sinners1992

Saints & Sinners – another Canadian band with tons of unrealized potential. Their 1992 release remained the band’s first and final effort. The timing wasn’t right and the album just couldn’t stand against the alternative scene, occupying everyone’s attention.

Simply put, you love glam metal, if you love catchy riffs and solid rocking melodies, colored by magnificent vocals, you will LOVE this album. I would definitely point “Wheels of Fire” and “Walk the Walk” as my two favorite tracks from it so go ahead and check them out:


Jagged Edge – Fuel for Your Soul (1990)

Jagged Edge U.K.

Lesser-known English band with an outstanding Swedish vocalist – Matti Alfonzetti. I found “Fuel for Your Soul” as I was browsing through YouTube and the opening track immediately caught my attention. Jagged Edge, unfortunately, split up after the release of this album and we couldn’t really observe how and what will they develop into but hey – we have this album which is full of memorable rockers that can stand against the bigger hits of the era. I highly recommend those guys and not just because of the killer vocals…


Helix – Wild in the Streets (1987)

helix wild in the streets

Canadian band Helix achieved great success in the beginning of their career and still are adored by fans from all over the world (including me). However, this album right here – “Wild in the Streets” somehow always remains forgotten when we talk about them. “Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge”, “No Rest for the Wicked” and “Long Way to Heaven” always take the spotlight.

“Wild in the Streets” couldn’t really bring a lot of attention and commercial success to the band which led to them losing their U.S. deal with Capitol Records. I never understood why this album wasn’t appreciated! I mean, we have a brilliant cover of Nazareth’s “Dream On” and of course “She’s too Tough”, written by Joe Elliott of Def Leppard. The album offers so much more, though…I hope you all agree with me.


Lionsheart – Lionsheart (1992)

Lionsheart_-_Lionsheart

Lionsheart formed in the early 90s in the UK. Overall, they released four albums and one live one before calling it quits in the early 2000s. They weren’t that big in the continent, however achieved success in Japan.

This time, I would like to focus on their 1992 coming out party with their self-titled album “Lionsheart” which is ready to satisfy every hard-rock thirsty soul out there. The sound is very aggressive and hard-edged; the album offers an experience that will knock your socks off. “Had Enough” and “World of Pain” are the songs to watch out for (along with the others of course). 


References:
Photos fetched from: amazon.com / Wikipedia / discogs.com
Videos retrieved from YouTube
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Celebrating The 37th Anniversary of AC/DC’s “Back In Black”

It’s been 37 years since this album changed the name of the industry and is still going as strong as ever. There’s not a rock fan in this world who has never heard of AC/DC or haven’t yet experienced that deafening musical strength “Back in Black” carries within. 

ac dcWe all know the facts – AC/DC lost their frontman Bon Scott in the beginning of 1980. The decision on whether to continue as a band or not had to be taken (and it had to be taken quickly). Following up the tragic death of the voice and face of the band, AC/DC were facing numerous difficulties and the thought of quitting wasn’t that far actually. Newly-recruited frontman, Brian Johnson was also dealing with many obstacles as the new vocalist. Things were shaky there for a while BUT thanks to one brilliant producer, famous for his precision and obsession with achieving the perfect sound, AC/DC crafted a sound that ended up bringing “Back in Black” the “second-best selling album of all time” title (the first is, of course, MJ’s “Thriller”.) That’s right, I’m talking about the influential producer Mutt Lange who stepped in with brand new approaches and guided the birth of “Back in Black” – an album that perfectly captured the electrifying energy, astonishing technical and lyrical arrangements and a new and reborn AC/DC, ready to take over the world. The album was released in 1980 and it quickly became their most critically respected album. It spawned 4 huge singles – “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “Hells Bells”, “Back in Black” and “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”, all of which redefined hard rock music and left a mark that can never be erased!

Whatever I say about this album would be totally useless. Why? Well, because if rock&roll was a kingdom, this album would be its prince. Everyone loves it, overplayed or not; everyone sings along with anthems like “Back in Black” or “Have a Drink on Me”. Here’s to 37 more years!

What is your favorite track? Personally, I gotta go with “Have a Drink on Me” or the title song. Hearing those opening riffs is a moment of epiphany for every young rock fan out there…

“Back in Black”

“Hells Bells”

“Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”

“You Shook Me All Night Long”


References:

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Guns N’ Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction”

1987 was one of the strongest years of rock music and this album right here is most certainly one of the main reasons why. Today, on the 21st of July, 2017, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of one of the biggest rock statements. To commemorate its release, I think it’s only fair to dedicate a little publication, remembering some of the timeless highlights on it – songs that defined generations of rockers and fans…

Guns n roses -In 1987, Guns N’ Roses blew up the music industry by exploding onto the national scene with their first and best album! In addition to being one of the best-selling albums of all time, “Appetite for Destruction” also happens to be the best-selling debut album in history of music! What a debut that was! Not only did it peaked at the number one spot on the Billboard 200 Chart, but it also reached top 10 positions in Australia, Canada, Norway and Sweden.

Needless to say, the album was an absolute turning point for the hard rock/metal genre and its direction. Ferocious rock anthems such as “Paradise City”, “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Nightrain” have been clogging the airwaves ever since the release of this rock tornado. Guns N’ Roses crafted something extremely dangerous, raw and quite nasty that actually brought nothing but fun and great time to the public. The sound is rough, the lyrics are vulgar and fierce but it’s the 80s we’re talking about – the ultimate time to be as outrageous as you want to and enjoy it to the max! The success of the album was somehow contributed to its hedonistic “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll” theme which greatly appealed to the mass. The band incorporated elements of punk rock, glam metal, hard rock and metal music to come up with this primal sound that reached the absolute level of breakthrough. I personally don’t think the band will ever reach such highs, such speed or such level of musicianship. Bottom line is, “Appetite for Destruction” is the record that proved that people can’t really escape from themselves but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

guns

The album makes its clear statement right from the beginning. The first track, “Welcome to the Jungle” is a symbolic door through the brutal, nasty, drug-infested and dark world of L.A. The track sends us on a journey to the city’s most awful secrets. The story, told by Axl and his exceptional but rather ghostly howls, quickly brings out to the surface our deepest fears. This song has to be one of the most powerful intros in rock music! The MV is also a classic.

“Paradise City” is probably the single track they owe their success to. With an exceptional mixture of blues, punk and hard rock motives, the song is everything but your ordinary 80s rock tune. “Paradise City” captivates right from the beginning with its unique rhythm, escalating guitar riffs and Axl’s aggressive, quite forceful but energetic vocal delivery. The theme of the song is similar to that of “Welcome to the Jungle” – they knew how to convey a message using the proper tools and words!

This is my personal favorite song from the album and I’m particularly fond of the music video! Can we please go back and attend such concerts??

In the power ballad “Sweet Child o’ Mine”, Axl, Slash and company prove that they can be vulnerable and deliver something romantic and atmospheric with no efforts. This song perfectly demonstrates the outstanding guitar abilities of Slash and surprises us with a very catchy hard-rock beat and beautiful lyrics.

“Nightrain” is another song I would like to focus your attention at. Yet again, we are transferred to the sinful, alcohol and drug-fueled world of L.A. Axl’s vocal delivery, in combination with metallic hard rock guitar riffs give us a little bit of an AC/DC vibe.

“Think about You” is in my opinion a very underrated track. By including it in this publication, I only wish more people would realize and experience its true value. It’s a sweet love song that creates the perfect mood! The rhythm and the lyrics absolutely do it for me!

Last but not least, let’s remember “Rocket Queen” which seems to be everyone’s favorite track! I’m absolutely inlove with the riffs and the lyrics on this one…

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My Copy of the CD…

What is your favorite track?

 


References:

Album cover retrieved from http://smartlifeos.blogspot.bg/2015/06/music-everybody-loves-80s-tutti-amano.html

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Bringing Back the ’80s with TOTO’s Classic Seventh Album (1988)

Toto and The Seventh Album

toto seventh oneToto is a household name when it comes to classic rock music and no one can change that. The best time to play their timeless classics? Well, that would be anytime! Is there actually a person out there who has never heard of “Africa” or “Rosanna” or “Hold the Line”? I don’t think so. Late ’70s and early ’80s were unquestionably the heydays of Toto. From their smashing 1978 debut to their fourth release in 1982 which is basically synonymous with ’80s rock music, the band was just at the top of the game.

toto straight
TOTO – Straight for the Heart (Photo retrieved fromhttp://www.45cat.com/record/3807945)

I grew up with Toto IV and that album will always have a very special place in my heart. I think the majority of fans would also pick this album as their favorite and for a reason! As I was getting older and had more chances to experience and understand music and formed a solid music personality, I discovered that when it comes to Toto, their seventh studio album goes right at the top of the list of my personal favorites. I don’t think it’s a popular opinion because neither the original voices of Toto, Bobby Kimball or Steve Lukather (who I adore so much) are the ones taking the lead on this one;. When Toto were re-introduced in my life at a later point, I used to listen to “Straight for the Heart” all the time, every day! This is till today one of the most upbeat and bright songs I have ever heard of. I got the album eventually and here we are – to a point where I can, with certainty, state that this is my favorite Toto album and not only because of that one song I love so much; there are just so many things happening on it! 

 

Before we get to the seventh one, let’s go back further in time. The mid-’80s was a turbulent time for Toto. Boby was fired, his replacement Fergie Frederiksen was also dismissed from the band so as you can imagine time was ticking and the stakes were high. Show had to go on, though. In 1986, Toto released Fahrenheit – the first album with new vocalist Joseph Williams and an album I really love (surprise, surprise). “Fahrenheit” couldn’t make a splash despite all the hopes and hard work put into it.

Two years later, in 1988, The Seventh One was out and the situation was even worse. It’s funny how my favorite Toto album is the lowest-charting album of their career (not that it matters). On a positive note, the album was very well-accepted by overseas audiences, especially in Europe and Asia. My love for vocalist Joseph Williams is satisfied on two* classic albums only. Unfortunately, after The Seventh One, he was also fired because of  troubles with his (gorgeous) voice. It took the band about 4 years to re-assemble but as we all know it, the music industry was very different in the ’90s so even the great Toto couldn’t stand a chance. 

*Just FYI, Joseph Williams did come back to Toto for Toto XIV, released in 2015.


The songs

I want to say it so I’m just going to say it – this album is so much better than their fourth one (in my opinion of course). The rhythmic, groovy, dance/pop sound of the record is unbeatable!

We gotta start with “Pamela” which remained the only top40 hit from the album. I don’t understand why American audiences were so unwelcoming to this single (and the album as a whole) but Asian and European fans embraced it so warmly? For one reason or another this mysterious, brilliantly performed track didn’t get the attention it deserved and is one more reason to back up a statement I’ve been saying for years – chart positions mean nothing!

“Straight for the Heart” is a cheerful, sunny, pop/rock track, capable of conquering absolutely anyone out there! For me that song was a turning point – a new singer was added to my “favorite vocalists of all time” list and the rest is just history. There are many songs that makes you wanna smile, dance and forget about it all, but this song right here does all these things on a whole new level. I just love the melody and lyrics so much!

“Stop Loving You” is a very interesting track because it features my beloved Jon Anderson (vocalist of YES) on backing vocals. Not only that, but the entire song is such a blissful experience for my ears. I was listening to it while writing this and unconsciously I started moving! Seriously! I just love songs that provoke a physical reaction in you. So much live and character, what a tune!

The gorgeous ballad “Anna” (the other lady on the album), the dynamic “Stay Away” and the reggae-inspired ,“These Chains” are some of my other personal favorites on the album. The style, the atmosphere – this has to be Toto’s most energetic and groovy release so far. I am insanely happy that Joseph is back with them and cannot wait to see what the future holds! For now, enjoy these…

“Straight for the Heart”

“Pamela”

“Stop Loving You”

“Anna”


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from: https://www.pinterest.co.kr/pin/519251032017554090/
“Straight for the Heart” artwork, retrieved from http://www.45cat.com/record/3807945
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

ZINATRA – a Dutch Rock Band, Worthy of Discovering

You know how much I love digging up late ‘80s/early ‘90s hard rock bands that unfortunately didn’t last that long for one reason or another (mostly because of the grunge fever spreading all over the place.) I am the kind of person who just listens to these forgotten AOR/hard rock bands because judging by experience, some of them are worthier than many of the big names of the industry.  Unearthing buried music is a very rewarding experience, believe me. Swimming through the YouTube videos of AOR music with fewer than 1,000 views is something I recommend to everyone! That’s how I found this band I will talk about today – Zinatra. Don’t stick to the usual suspects, let yourself explore the bands that couldn’t hit it that big; thankfully, we have the Internet so use it!

A few things about the band before we jump into the music;

What you need to know about Zinatra (what a cool name, I wonder how did they come up with it) is that they are a hard rock band from the Netherlands, consisting of five members.

The band was formed in 1986 and disbanded in 1991 after the release of just two albums. Some of the highlights of their career include opening up for David Lee Roth on his “Skyscraper” tour and a top20 hit – “Love or Loneliness” from their debut album. Moreover, the band achieved success in Asian and South-American territories where they embarked on tours, filled venues and topped charts with songs like “Hero”.

The sophomore release featured a new keyboardist (Robby Valentine) and a solid determination to make an even bigger splash this time. The album was very well-received, especially in Japan (I love how much Japanese people were into ’80s hard rock music); Unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough. Vocalist Joss Mennen kicked off his solo activities and Robby Valentine got a signing deal with Polydor so this was basically it for Zinatra. Just wasn’t meant to be I guess. The changing musical climate were in my opinion the biggest factor that drove the guys away.

zinatra band
ZINATRA

1988 Self-titled debut

Zinatra debut album

I have included three songs which I believe best represent this album. Hopefully you will check the rest of it all, after you hear it. “Love or Loneliness” is undoubtedly their most famous track. The other two are equally appealing. I am very fond of “Hero” and that’s not just because I’m a softie. The ballad is absolutely gorgeous! To me, it’s always been all about the melody and this album right here is full of beautiful melodies that can satisfy any fan out there, like myself. This album is nothing phenomenal or unheard of but it’s something you just gotta experience. Vocalist Joss Mennen is just a bliss for my ears. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


“The Great Escape” 1990

Zinatra Album artwork

This album and the catchy “There She Was” introduced me to the band back in the day. I actually saw this album in its original Japanese packaging which led me to the music and to writing this now. I like the debut but this album I like a little bit more and I think that’s because Robby Valentine was added to the line-up; he was not just a keyboardist, he also contributed as a songwriter which clearly hit the spot for me. The album is melodic/pop rock at its finest. In addition to the entertaining bright track, “There She Was”, I included two more songs for you to check out – the rocker “Only Your Heart” and the power ballad “Too Blind to See”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from: https://www.pinterest.co.kr/pin/377246906263230272/
Album artwork #2 retrieved from http://ohrenbalsam.blogspot.bg/
Band photo, retrieved from https://heavyharmonies.com/cgi-bin/glamcd.cgi?BandNum=896&CDName=Zinatra
“Zinatra” on http://melodic-hardrock.com/bios/zinatra/
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

ELECTRIC BOYS’ “Funk-O-Metal Carpet Ride” is Yet Another Reason why 1989 Rocked Pretty Hard!

 

I already talked about 1989 and how important this year was for rock music. In fact, why don’t I just put it right here so that you can have a look, in case you haven’t – MY TOP 15 Rock Albums, Released in 1989

Maybe it’s personal or it’s indeed a fact, but there’s just something very special about that year of 1989. Why? Well, first of all, it was the year that marked the end of a decade of solid rocking and rolling; Second of all, grunge was slowly but steadily making its way into the industry. The winds of change started to feel much colder all of a sudden so it was basically do or die for many bands. Shaky or not, this year will forever remain one of the strongest years of rock in my book. From powerful comebacks to solid debuts, 1989 had tons to offer to the fans. To some people this album I want to talk about today may just be one of the many late ’80s glam rock albums that flooded the scene; however to me, it’s a beautifully-made, highly entertaining and immensely captivating “modern” hard rock release that guarantees tons and tons of great time! I give you Electric Boys and their  1989 debut album “Funk-O-Metal Carpet Ride”.


Electric Boys

electric boys band
ELECTRIC BOYS (Photo, retrieved from https://heavyharmonies.com/)

For those of you who don’t know much about Electric Boys, I will try to briefly introduce the band and what they did throughout the years just so you can hopefully get intrigued and decide to dig a little bit deeper by yourself. You thought those handsome, long-haired guys come from the USA? Well, guess again! Electric Boys actually come from Sweden – yes, THAT country which spawned so many brilliant rockstars, including my beloved TREAT, ROXETTE and of course…EUROPE!

Originally a duo, Conny Bloom (guitar/vocals) and Andy Christell (bass guitar), hit it big locally with the ultra catchy single “All Lips and Hips” in 1988. What happened next? Well, you see talent anan opportunity and you grab it! Two more people were added to the line-up and the band’s debut album Funk-O-Metal Carpet Ride saw the light in 1989, with of course that “little” song “All Lips and Hips” leading the way! Do I even have to say that they didn’t get what they deserved? Well, I’m going to say it – they didn’t get what they deserved. A little bit of success here and there, a great tour supporting my lovelies, Thunder and that was it basically. By the time the follow-up album was released, grunge was already a strong force so no luck for our Electric Boys and their pretty decent sophomore effort.

Three albums and the band was no more. Thankfully, there was a reunion in 2009 and a new album in 2011. We will see what the future holds…

“Funk-O-Metal Carpet Ride”

electric boysWe are here for this album after all, so let’s get down to it! It’s all about the music at the end of the day now isn’t it? I already mentioned that “Funk-O-Metal Carpet Ride” is Electric Boys‘ debut album, released in 1989 but what you really need to remember are the electrifying songs and I’m sure you will because they are THAT good. Let’s start with the obvious mega hit, “All Hips N’ Lips” – a playful, sexy and absolutely hypnotizing piece of music which just begs you to crank it up and dance your ass off to it! This was the first song of theirs I heard and since I had no idea who was performing it, I had to write down the lyrics and search for it later on. Imagine what happened when I found it – listened to it for days without stopping. This seductive catchy rocker makes you wanna dance in the middle of the street without a single care in the world. Who cares whether this song is cheesy or doesn’t shine with that much lyrical or musical depth? I don’t. I absolutely adore vocalist Conny Bloom and we need tracks like this one in our lives every now and then. The album is so much more than this song, though. “Psychedelic Eyes” is equally appealing with its perfect mixture of raw energy and pleasant melodies. “If I Had a Cigar” is the song that finally explains why this album’s title says “Funk-O-Metal”. The groovy, alluring tune is one of the highlights of the album. I love the choruses. Moving on to another satisfying tune – “Rags to Riches”. Where do I even begin? There’s just something a bit aggressive in their approach to music and I simply love how they combined it with the desired melodic rock sound to create universal appeal…with a twist! What I miss is a gentle rock ballad – the ones I’m always looking for in an album but actually Funk-O-Metal Carpet Ride gives me way too much energy to even think about why they didn’t include a solid tear-jerker. The whole album is one huge invitation to dance, party and basically a way to lift your spirits up! There’s no way you can resist it. Funky, heavy, melodic – what else can you ask for! Listen to the songs, I dare you!

All Hips N’ Lips

Psychedelic Eyes

Listen to the entire album from start to finish:


References:

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