The Story of JOURNEY’s “Raised on Radio” (1986)

Journey

Journey - September 3rd, 1981By 1986, Journey was already a household name in the popular music scene not only in their homeland of the USA but also all over the world. Multi-platinum albums, sold-out concerts, millions of fans – that was just the beginning of it. The kings of radio crafted a universally-beloved sound which was basically the secret behind their ultimate success. The appealing mixture of rock and pop, colored by mesmerizing keyboards, rhythm sections and unforgettable hooks, all topped by Steve Perry’s unbelievable, out-of-this-world voice was basically the formula that sky-rocketed their career. AOR treasures, like the 3xtimes Platinum “Departure” (1980), the 9xtimes Platinum “Escape” (1981) and the 6xtimes Platinum “Frontiers” (1983) became inseparable parts of every person’s collection; hit singles like “Don’t Stop Believin’”, “Separate Ways” or “Open Arms” defined the ‘80s and influenced generations of musicians. Whatever more I say would be obsolete. Journey was and still is one of the greatest bands out there and their songs will live forever!


The Years before “Raised on Radio”

the threeThe songwriting partnership between Steve Perry, Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain was what kept the band on the top shelves for an entire decade, basically. Things got out of hand, though. We’ve heard the story before with many other bands – fame, success and worldwide recognition can sometimes be the reason why tensions arise within the band, egos start clashing and can sometimes lead to members going their separate ways. After Journey released the smashing hit album “Frontiers” in 1983, guitarist Neal Schon and vocalist Steve Perry took some time off to focus on individual “journeys”. Neal Schon teamed up with Sammy Hagar and released “Through the Fire” in 1984 and Steve Perry recorded that “little” solo album “Street Talk” which was out the same year. Guess which endeavor was more successful?

Steve Perry said so many times that while writing and recording “Street Talk” he had the time of his life and even considered leaving Journey for good. I can understand; after all, if you are as talented as Steve Perry and you found what makes you truly happy then there’s nothing wrong to pursue it. Same goes to Neal Schon who by the way is one of the most networked musicians of all time. It was keyboardist Jonathan Cain who somehow pursued Steve Perry to come back and finish with what was started years ago. That’s the short version of how “Raised on Radio” became a reality.

I am not one of those people who would say that Steve Perry was JOURNEY but I am one of those people who ask themselves whether there could be a JOURNEY without Steve Perry. I’m not going to go into details on who did what and who was given what before Perry came back to record “Raised on Radio” but ultimately, there was a line-up change, along with a shift in musical as well as leadership direction in the band.  We are here to talk about the music, though! I get that there might be some people interested in the “juicy” stuff but whatever happened happened. The results were more than satisfying so it’s time to focus on the content, rather than on its background.

“Raised on Radio”

“Raised on Radio” was out just in time for the hot summer of 1986. Steve, Neal and Jonathan were back to their usual songwriting days, except this time Steve Perry took over the production role as well. He did a marvelous job on his solo debut so giving him this opportunity was a justified decision, I think. A few tracks were written by Steve and Jonathan only; the majority of tracks were crafted by the trio.

journey raised on radioI was always drawn by that bright blue album artwork; it’s just so appealing to me. I find it quite simple, elegant and so suitable for the songs and the overall musical atmosphere of the album. It’s like when I think of that beautiful blue color and I immediately think of groovy uplifting songs like “Girl Can’t Help It” or “Positive Touch” (it goes the other way around as well). Interestingly, what’s shown on that artwork is actually the studio and antennas of KNGS (AM Radio), formerly owned by Steve’s parents. He was also the one who renamed the album to “Raised on Radio” (the original name for that album was “Freedom”). It just seems like this whole project was very close to Steve Perry and he wanted to make it as personal as possible.

In terms of commercial success, “Raised on Radio” couldn’t really match the enormous popularity and critical acceptance of the previous two albums of Journey. Nevertheless, it was certified 2xPlatinum and it did spawn a few mind-blowing singles that took over the charts.

One more thing you gotta know about this album is that Steve, Neal and Jonathan weren’t just the main songwriters of Journey. They were actually the only official members left. That’s right, “Raised on Radio” was done by those three, along with dozens of guest musicians. You might ask what happened with Journey’s drummer and bass player and why was the band just trimmed down to a trio? Well, what can I say – sometimes things work out, sometimes they don’t. Don’t worry though, those two came back and are still rocking with Journey.


The Songs

It’s a matter of opinion and fan devotion when it comes to this album. Some people strongly believe that “Raised on Radio” was just Steve Perry calling all the shots without being able to fill in that hole left by the two guys that got fired. To others, this album was Journey’s natural progression, reflected by the time period. To me, this is just a piece of beautiful pop/rock fusion album that sounded just as good as “Frontiers” and “Escape” and to some extent, even better!

The song that introduced me to the greatness of this album was “It Could Have Been You” which is also a personally-relevant song. I fell for the lyrics, along with that somehow mellow (at least to me) vibe of the song. It’s difficult to describe it but I always felt so sad while listening to this tune, despite its uplifting grooves; I mean just listen to Steve singing: “I can’t wait all my life, on a street of broken dreams, It could have been you my love, where are you now…I still wonder if you remember the night, It could have been you…” – that’s just so heartbreaking.

“Girl Can’t Help It” – the third single from the album is definitely one of the catchiest, most uplifting songs of Journey; there’s just so much life in that song. “I’ll Be Alright Without You” – the ultimate post-break up track is also another highlight on “Raised on Radio”. Excluding the fact that Steve Perry can turn any song into a memorable body/mind experience, this song is indeed quite affecting and empowering. “Suzanne” is another rhythmic, immensely atmospheric tune just waiting for you to go to the dancefloor. The rest is just as good – “Once You Love Somebody” which came out straight from a ‘80s action movie is a personal favorite and “Why Can’t This Night Go On Forever” is your typical world-spinning Journey ballad, so full of soul. The title song is absolutely stunning; Perry’s sincere tribute to his rock&roll heroes who he grew up with at his parents’ radio station is a key track on “Raised on Radio” and one of Journey’s best if you ask me. “Be Good to Yourself” is another spirited track that was actually written and recorded in a flash of inspiration on the day they were supposed to finish the record. Steve was going through some tough personal times and he was seeking for inner strength and affirmation.

The great thing about “Raised on Radio” is that there are tons of enjoyable and easy to fall for ear-candies. That’s not all, though. The album is in no shortage of genuine rock tunes, full of feelings and emotional backstories. Overall, this is a positive, eager and exceptionally well-written and produced album. I don’t necessarily think that “Raised on Radio” brought that much to the band; it didn’t really get them that higher. The general mood of the album seems a bit different from their previous work; it is energetic and enthusiastic but not on the same levels as before. Some songs are too sweet but since it’s Steve singing them, I’m totally cool with that!

Now, it’s your turn to listen and feel the great music on “Raised on Radio”…


“Girl Can Help It”

“It Could’ve Been You’

“I’ll Be Alright Without You”


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~

Inside Lou Gramm’s 1987 Solo Debut Album, “Ready or Not”

Late ‘80s was a very unsettling time for Foreigner. After e series of smashingly successful albums, including “4” (1981) and “Agent Provocateur” (1984), things needed to cool down for a second before moving on to the next step. Lou Gramm and Mick Jones took some time off to explore their individual artistic strengths. That’s when Lou released the album I will be talking about – “Ready or Not”.

I cannot understand the pressures of the business; I can only imagine how turbulent and stressful it was for Foreigner to constantly be under the radar and asked when the band’s next big hit will be played on the radio. On top of it all, there always comes a time when egos, ideas and opinions clash, especially if you worked with someone for so many years. That’s why taking time apart and going on an adventure (in our case, releasing your first solo album) is totally justifiable.

inside information foreignerNevertheless, after Lou Gramm finished with his debut and the promotional activities and concerts he did come back (along with Mick Jones) to record Foreigner’s sixth studio album, “Inside Information” (1987). Unfortunately, that great album, featuring classics like “Say You Will”, also became the last album to feature the ’80s winner line-up, making it the end of an iconic, historically relevant era of rock music. Gramm did come back in the early ’90s (“Mr. Moonlight”, 1994) but then departed again. Foreigner moved on without Lou, naturally. It’s a whole different topic whether there can be a Foreigner without Lou Gramm, though, but will save it for some other time.

The Album

lou1“Ready or Not” was released at the very beginning of 1987 and it definitely signaled the arrival of a strong (if not the strongest) year for rock music. Overall, the album did make quite the fuss – a top30 chart position in the USA, a #1 hit single (“Midnight Blue”), dozens of concerts and happy faces, etc. etc… No surprises there – “Ready or Not” is as good as you might expect it to be (we are talking about Lou Gramm after all).  Numerous rock band vocalists of the era, including Peter Cetera (Chicago) and Steve Perry (Journey), for example, released solo albums so what Lou did wasn’t really that surprising. What also didn’t surprise fans was the commercial and critical triumph of the album. Lou Gramm and producer Pat Moran crafted some serious melodic rock magic and proved to be a winning team. The Foreigner vibe is still there – I mean come on, what did you expect? Lou was after all a huge part of Foreigner’s sound. Interestingly, though, there’s something unique and distinctive about “Ready or Not” which cannot be found on his previous work with the band. To me, it sounds a little bit more soulful and sincere, less sweet and even a bit edgier.  One more thing that impressed me was the guitar work courtesy of Nils Lofgren who was like a breath of fresh air for the fans.

My final verdict is that “Ready or Not” is a beautiful gift to anyone who loves and appreciates God-given talent and melodic rock, of course. Top notch production quality, superb guitar work and catchy, highly entertaining, full of life songs are some of the characteristics that make this album worthy of your time. In time, people forgot about it but I am here to remind you!

The Songs

One thing that truly frustrates me is that every time I have a conversation about the greatest hits of the ‘80s, songs like “Midnight Blue” or “Ready or Not” never get a mention. “Midnight Blue” is a fantastic pop/rock single which absolutely proved that Lou Gramm is more than fine on his own. The title track, “Ready or Not” is my personal favorite – those drum rhythms, vocal and melodic hooks took my breath away. Lou knows how to craft a beautiful ballad and he perfectly uses that gift of his on “Ready or Not As Well”; The stunning ballad “If I Don’t Have You” might as well be one of the most overlooked ballads of the era, despite its qualities. The excellent rockers “Heartache” and “Until I Make You Mine” are just a couple of the other tracks that back up my statement – “Ready or Not” is Lou Gramm’s purest manifestation of at his creative and artistic power and most certainly a turning point for his career. Don’t forget to play the songs!

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Ready or Not

If Don’t Have You

Midnight Blue

Listen to the entire album on YouTube:


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 15 Rock Albums, Released in 1989

1989 – What an awesome year for rock music! Where do I even begin?

1989 collage2After being a rock music enthusiast for so long, I can with an absolute clear conscious declare 1989 as one of the best years of rock music! It was the end of a strong, rock&roll decade, grunge music was already becoming a formidable force on the scene, so it was basically do or die for many returning or debuting bands. Out of this turbulent, trend-shifting period, however, tons of great releases managed to come out and leave a memorable trace behind them. From one of Eric Clapton’s strongest albums, featuring a Grammy winning song, to powerful, multi-platinum debuts, such as Skid Row’s eponymous album, 1989 was overflowing with excitement and monumental rock music!  

With time, I also came to the conclusion that many of my personal favorite hard rock albums were released around that time as well. Plenty of those records came out in 1989. For the fun of it, I decided to prepare this little list, consisting of 15 albums that to me had (and still have) the best, most appealing and intriguing musical presence during 1989. It’s a personal selection, based on my liking and preferences but I would love to know more about your favorite 1989 albums! Enjoy my list and feel free to comment and share your thoughts and selections! Cheers!


Eric Clapton – Journeyman

Eric_Clapton_JourneymanEric Clapton always comes first when it comes to my personal selections, especially if we talk about his 80s’ releases. “Journeyman” was the absolute peak of Eric Clapton’s career, featuring a Grammy winning song, “Bad Love” and tons of other beautiful blues tunes, such as “Before You Accuse Me” and “Hard Times”. What really impressed me was Clapton’s obvious confidence on “Journeyman”. He overcame his alcohol abuse and all the other ghosts of the past and released one of the most phenomenal blues/rock albums of all time. The album definitely sounds modern, more pop-influenced, rather than strictly focusing on that heavy blues mood, Clapton adores so much. Some of the other highlights and personal favorite songs from “Journeyman” include “Pretending”, Anything for Your Love”, “Old Love” and “Breaking Point”. It’s definitely an album worthy of your time and appreciation!


TNT – Intuition

tntNorwegian rockers TNT completely blew me away with their 1989 release, “Intuition”. It quickly became a personal favorite and an album I simply cannot live without. I often say that it’s extremely underrated – I mean, just listen to the catchy, outstanding rockers, including the title song, “Caught Between the Tigers”, “Forever Shine On” and of course, one of my FAVORITE songs of all time, the power ballad “Tonight I’m Falling”. “Intuition” didn’t really make a huge splash on the charts or sold that well, compared to other similar glam rock releases of the era; however it did manage to conquer my heart with just one listen. Tony Harnell is a brilliant vocalist and I will forever be thankful to him and guitarist Ronni Le Tekrø for crafting such an enjoyable piece of art.  


Giant – Last of the Runaways

giant-last-of-the-runawaysGiant’s “Last of the Runaways” is one of the most underappreciated rock releases of all time which I think is unforgivable! In addition to the famous power ballad, “I’ll See You In My Dreams”, “Last of the Runaways” has so much more to offer. The whole debut album is just simply a beautiful, well-balanced selection of arena rock tunes, perfectly demonstrating the artistic skills and qualities of Giant. “Innocent Days”, “Can’t Get Close Enough” and “No Way Out” are just a few of the dangerously obsessive rock gems that could be heard on this album. “Love Welcome Home” and “It Takes Two” are also some of the highlights! Once again, the timing wasn’t right for those talented guys. Let’s not forget Dann Huff who brought so much character to “Last of the Runaways” with his emotional and unforgettable vocal delivery.


Strangeways – Walk in The Fire

strangeways-walk-in-the-fire-1988The Scottish AOR/Melodic rock band, Strangewaysthird album, titled “Walk in the Fire” was the reason why I got to know them in the first place. I played the first track – “Where are they Now” and I was immediately captivated by the gorgeous melody and the superb killer-vocals of Terry Brock. Their Americanized sound can be characterized as mixture between Journey, Boston and Bad Company, but with a little something extra. In addition to “Where are they now”, some other highlights include the charming power ballad “Love Lies Dying” and the uplifting “Every Time You Cry”.
“Walk in the Fire” didn’t really achieve commercial success, despite its first class AOR qualities. The album, along with the band should’ve been so much bigger back in the day. Nevertheless, they are worth discovering. I can’t recommend this album enough.


Danger Danger – Danger Danger

danger-danger-albumDanger Danger debuted in the summer of 1989 with a self-titled album, strictly following the well-established glam rock formula for success. Fueled with catchy, rhythmic and easy to absorb tunes, the record could easily be described as an “enjoyable Friday night experience”. To be fair, the record does sound a bit too generic and can’t really stand out with an exceptional musicianship, outstanding vocal delivery or profound lyrics. Nevertheless, this melodic hard rock jewel can almost guarantee you a perfect mood which is the reason why is on this list! “Naughty Naughty” and “Bang Bang” were released as singles and turned into Danger Danger’s best-known classics. (Those guys really enjoyed double titles.) Both tracks are fun and highly entertaining, despite their obvious commercial-driven goals. “Saturday Nite”, “Rock America”, “Feels Like Love” and “One Step from Paradise” are just a few of the other satisfying rockers who made this album so appealing to me. Danger Danger got all the pieces of the puzzle with this project; however they were 5-10 years later for the party. This album would’ve got so much attention on AOR radio!


Treat – Organized Crime

Treat - Organized CrimeSwedish rockers Treat grabbed my attention with their third album, “Dreamhunter” (1987), however their 1989 release, titled “Organized Crime” turned me into a die-hard fan. I always felt so sad because despite being so talented, they couldn’t become a household name in the 1980s melodic rock scene. Anyhow, back to “Organized Crime” – their fourth release is home to mind-blowing rockers, such as the unbelievably catchy “Get You On The Run”, “Party All Over”, “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” and the beautiful ballad, “Stay Away”. Attractive melodies, smooth vocals and hard-rocking sound are just some of the reasons why I think that there’s absolutely no way this album can’t win over any melodic/AOR fan.


Bonham – The Disregard of Timekeeping

bonham-disregardAnother debut and another perfect rock album! “The Disregard of Timekeeping”, the first actual attempt of Jason Bonham to hit it big commercially, became a reality in 1989. The project caused quite the stir among the rock fan communities but it was only natural – the son of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer was about to unleash a new force to the competitive hair metal musical market and fans just had to see through it all! “The Disregard of Timekeeping” spawned exceptional songs, including “Guilty”- a song that won me over with its mesmerizing intro, unparalleled vocal delivery by Daniel MacMaster and that soul-demolishing violin solo by bassist John Smithson. “Wait for You”, “Playing to Win” and “Room for Us All” are other worthy and highly memorable moments on Bonham‘s 1989 debut.


Skid Row – Skid Row

skid-row-1989Now we’re talking!!!

Fronted by one of the most charismatic and talented vocalists of all time, Sebastian Bach, Skid Row‘s self-titled debut became one of the best-selling and most influential albums of the year. “Youth Gone Wild”, “18 and Life”, “I Remember You”, “Piece of Me” – do I have to say more? There are plenty of reasons why this album got certified 5x Platinum by the RIAA and you can easily discover them if you listen to it from start to finish. “Skid Row” brought that much-needed sass and danger into the music scene, incorporated among serious melodic riffs. MTV loved them as well, which further more boosted their image as the new hot kids on the block! What else is there to say – it’s an amazing and highly entertaining album and no wonder it’s on my favorite 1989 albums list!


Blue Murder – Blue Murder

blue-murder3John Sykes proved that he is a worthy monster guitarist as a member of household names such as Tygers of Pan Tang and Thin Lizzy. Then, he and David Coverdale crafted what is often considered as one of the most enormous hard rock records of all time. Yes, of course I’m talking about that influential 1987 album that spawned timeless hit singles like “Here I go again”, “Still of the Night” and “Is This Love”, known by every single soul on this universe. After they went their separate ways, John Sykes formed Blue Murder and in 1989, they released their self-titled, debut album, which is yet again a highly underrated album, despite its out-of-this world qualities and songs that are able to conquer every part of your soul! I’m not exaggerating, believe me – if the timing and situation was different, this album would’ve been so huge! Some of the earth-shattering songs on “Blue Murder” include “Riot”, “Black-Hearted Woman” and the title track. Of course, the sweetest moments come in the face of “Valley of the Kings” which is one of those tunes you can play for days and naturally (at least for me) the mesmerizing ballad “Out of Love”.


Mr. Big – Mr. Big

Mr. Big - Mr. BigIn the summer of 1989, Mr. Big became one of the many bands to release a debut album. The eponymous record did manage to leave an impression on the charts and it did sell over 300,000 copies in just a year, so we can conclude that it was somewhat successful. It did, however, deserve way more than that. I still remember the first time I heard the opening track, “Addicted to That Rush” – it was like a powerful shot of adrenaline and it made me feel so good! The entire album is one energizing piece of music that was made to give you that much needed kick! “Wind me Up”, “Had Enough” and “Blame it On My Youth” are just a few of my favorite tracks that could be heard on “Mr. Big”. Paul Gilbert and Eric Martin are an exceptional team and I have nothing but respect and adoration for this album!


Tesla – The Great Radio Controversy

teslaTesla!!! Where do I even begin? I love this band and this album so much!!

In 1989, Tesla released their sophomore album, titled “The Great Radio Controversy” – an album I first got to know through the groundbreaking ballad, “Love Song” which is so unique and different from all the other power ballads released at that same time. That’s not all of it though. The entire album is one splendid mixture of blues, hard rock, pop rock and metal. On top of it all, the distinctive vocals of Jeff Keith made sure that I will forever remember and hold this album dear. In addition to that well-known ballad, “The Great Radio Controversy” is home to one of the most empowering tunes – “Hang Tough”. “Lady Luck”, “Paradise”, “Lazy Days, Crazy Nights”, “Be a Man” and basically each and every other song on this album are highly spirited and so easy to fall in love with. “The Great Radio Controversy” was certified double platinum for a reason!


Great White – …Twice Shy

great-white-twice-shyThe unquestionable commercial highlight of Great White’s career has to be “…Twice Shy”. I’m not saying it’s their best album but it most certainly is an amazing release, worthy of acknowledgment. Great White’s cover of Ian Hunter‘s “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” and of course “The Angel Song” are the most popular tunes that came out of the album, conquering charts and leaving a timeless trace. Moreover, “House of Broken Love” is yet another highlight, dedicated to the love struggles vocalist Jack Russell and guitarist Mark Kendall were going through at that time. “Baby’s On Fire” and “Heart Hunter” are a couple of my other favorites on the record! “…Twice Shy” got certified double platinum and is still considered as one of the staples of ‘80s glam rock!


XYZ – XYZ

xyzProduced by none-other than Don Dokken himself, XYZ’s self-titled debut turned into another one of the underrated highlights of 1989. All in all, “XYZ” is an album that could have easily blown out any other hard rock album of that era, even the multi-platinum ones. Fantastic stand-out tracks such as “Inside Out”, “What Keeps Me Loving You”, “Take What You Can” and “Come On N’ Love Me” deserve nothing but to be enjoyed and played as loud as possible. Frontman Terry Ilous is contributing significantly to the overall satisfying experience that is this debut release. Tons of talent and full of character – I can’t recommend this release enough!


Kingdom Come – In Your Face

kingdome comeI am a huge Kingdom Come fan so no surprises here. Their sophomore album, titled “In Your Face” is a worthy follow-up to their well-deserving debut album and the second of the trilogy of good releases by Kingdom Come, at least in my opinion. “In Your Face” impressed me with uplifting songs like “Who Do You Love”, “The Wind” and laid-back tunes such as “Just Like a Wild Rose”. All in all, “In Your Face” is an enjoyable album and despite the obvious influences, drawn by Led Zeppelin, I do enjoy listening to this record from time to time. I agree that it’s a bit inconsistent and it does have its flaws but if you like AOR, you’re gonna love this, just like I do!


Whitesnake – Slip of the Tongue

Whitesnake - Slip of the TongueLast but not least, I just had to include Whitesnake’s eight studio album, “Slip of the Tongue”. Many people, including David Coverdale himself think of this album as one of Whitesnake’s weakest releases; however that’s definitely not what I think. As a matter of fact, it’s my favorite Whitesnake album and a couple of songs are the reason why. “The Deeper the Love”, “Judgement Day” and “Now You are Gone” have been an inseparable part of my daily playlist for so many years. Let’s also not forget about that impressive re-recording of “Fool for Your Loving”. Sound shift or not, Whitesnake did wonders with this glorious hard rock album and I will forever defend its greatness.


 

The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. The publication presents a selection of 15 albums, picked based on my personal preferences and ideas, fitting the purpose of this article. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.

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~

In 1985, RATT Avoided the Sophomore Slump With “Invasion of Your Privacy”

First impressions are extremely important, especially for an artist! Debut albums can either make or break your career. Releasing a smashingly successful first album, however, also means that all eyes and ears will be pointed at you, waiting impatiently for your next big step. A follow-up to a great debut, however, can turn into quite the formidable task. Many bands have failed; the results can be devastating and even career-ending. That wasn’t the case with Ratt, though, at least in my humble opinion.

ratt 1

coverIn 1984, Ratt threw one hell of a coming out party with “Out of the Cellar” – an album that not only got certified triple platinum by RIAA but it also turned Ratt into a household name on the glam metals scene of LA. Classic heavy metal staples, like the monstrous “Round and Round”, “Wanted Man” and “Communication Breakdown” brought nothing but fame and recognition to the five talented rockstars. One listen from start to finish would give you a clear idea of why this album turned into such a huge sensation, surpassing the releases of even bigger names, such as Motley Crue.

None of Ratt’s future releases were able to compete with “Out of the Cellar” in terms of commercial success or influence. Nevertheless, their sophomore album, titled “Invasion of your Privacy” was still a worthy comeback, full of energy and passion that cannot be overlooked. With powerful, mind-crushing hard rock tornadoes, like “You’re In Love”, “Lay it Down” or “Give it All”, “Invasion of Your Privacy” and of course, Ratt, deserve nothing but praises and respect for all the good time they guarantee you!


ratt invasion of your privacy album coverIn 1985, Ratt once again followed the well-established “Out of the Cellar” formula for success, including top notch glossy production qualities, out-of-this world riffs and of course, the suggestive lyrics. “Invasion of Your Privacy” didn’t create an explosion as big as the first album did, however the sophomore release managed to do one quite essential thing – it strengthened Ratt’s position as one of the most exciting glam rockers of the age. Moreover, the music videos for “Lay it Down” and “You’re in Love” were constantly aired on MTV, which further boosted Ratt’s high standing on the competitive LA hard rock scene of the ‘80s.

Ratt welcomed back producer Beau Hill, who worked with big names like Alice Cooper and plenty other glam rockers of the mid/late-80s music scene, such as Warrant and Winger.  Beau Hill, together with vocalist Stephen Pearcy, guitarists and songwriter Robbin Crosby and Warren DeMartini, bass player Juan Croucier and drummer Bobby Blotzer came up with a competent playlist of songs, full of entertaining hooks and playful lyrics.

The riff-cantered “You’re In Love” is a thrilling opener with an iconic Music Video which I’m sure many of you guys still remember from the good old-days of MTV. The choruses are brilliant and the overall sexy vibe of the song makes things so much interesting – you just can’t wait to experience it all. “Lay it Down” and “What You Give is What You Get” – the other two singles are simply two more shots of adrenaline with great verses and powerful melodies. I can’t begin expressing my satisfaction with Stephen Pearcy’s well-matched vocal delivery; that slick pop/heavy metal fusion that Ratt became famous for, couldn’t have been accompanied by a better-fitting vocalist. “Between the Eyes” is a hidden gem; “Got Me on the Line” is a personal favorite – a song I can play all day long and nod my head at least a dozen times with the catchy rhythms! “Closer to My Heart” is Ratt’s attempt at a power ballad or at least at a song, designed to cool things off for a while. It’s a splendid, if not one of the most splendid gems that came out of “Invasion of Your Privacy”.  

Final verdict: Ratt avoided the “sophomore slump” with grace. “Invasion of Your Privacy” is pure ‘80s glam metal, presented in all its greatness – both visual and sonic (mostly sonic, of course). Shame if you don’t have this album in your collection. It’s most certainly one of my favorite follow-up albums and my favorite Ratt album as a whole. Enjoy!

“You’re In Love”

“Lay It Down”

“Closer to My Heart”

“What You Give is What You Get”

…Or you can listen to the entire album here:


References:
“Invasion of Your Privacy” by Ratt: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion_of_Your_Privacy
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~

Billy Squier’s “Don’t Say No” Might Be The Catchiest Album You’d Ever Listen To

Everyone loves a good melodic rock hook and this album right here has plenty of those, believe me! The reason why I titled this publication “the catchiest album you’d ever listen to” is because the whole record might as well be played on every single radio station out there, all day long and people will still be excited and singing joyfully with it. Yes, it’s that ear-pleasing, that catchy and that familiar.

don't say noBilly Squier (William Haislip Squier) is a name known by many die-hard rock fans out there, especially those who grew up in the States. I, as an European, got the chance to experience his music for the first time quite recently. The most important thing however is that those immensely captivating rhythms of classics like “The Stroke” and “In The Dark” managed to conquer me and now it’s to pass the torch to other young fans out there who must yet discover the magic of those gems. Also, it might be a good way for older rock generations to remind themselves of Billy Squier’s biggest accomplishment of his career which is of course, his 1981 album, “Don’t Say No”.


“Don’t Say No” spawned a long list of gratifying tunes that solidified its position on the Billboard album chart for over two years! This interesting fact should tell you enough about its colossal impact on the music market. Moreover, every single from “Don’t Say No”, including “In the Dark”, “Lonely Is the Night”, “My Kinda Lover” and “The Stroke” established itself as a major radio hit, playing on every station, all over the States for the entire first half of the ‘80s. Last but not least, the album sold over 3 million copies in the US alone, making it one of the most-desirable and beloved records of all time!

Now let’s talk about that hard-to-resist, hard-to-beat sound that made this album so famous back in the day. Honestly, when I heard “Don’t Say No” for the first time, I could swear it was released in the late ‘80s; it just sounded too “polished” and “radio-ready” to me. I was highly surprised when I found out that this album got out so early in the decade. It seems like it was one of those well-done, commercial releases that set the tone for the years to come. A round of applause to the famous record producer and sound engineer Reinhold Mack (a.k.a. Mack) who previously worked with big names like Deep Purple, Scorpions, Queen, ELO and countless more; he surely left his magical trace on “Don’t Say No”.

I can write plenty on how entertaining, groovy and great-sounding this album is. However, it would be way better for you guys to listen and sing along with the following tunes. The title sums it up quite well – “Don’t Say No” to this album!

“In The Dark”

“The Stroke”

“My Kind of Lover”

“Lonely is the Night”

…& don’t forget to listen to the entire album:

Release Date: April 13, 1981
Genre: AOR / Pop Rock / Hard Rock
Duration: 38:11
Label: Capitol
Producer(s): Mack and Billy Squier

buy-from-amazon


References:
“Don’t Say No” Official Wikipedia Page:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don%27t_Say_No_(Billy_Squier_album)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inside Out

What Keeps Me Loving You

Take What You Can

…or you can listen to the entire album here:

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

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

buy-from-amazon


References:

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

Cheers~

Inside the 1989 Debut of John Sykes’ BLUE MURDER

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

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

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

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

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

The Songs

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

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

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


Riot

Valley of the Kings

Out of Love

Jelly Roll


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

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

power-ballads-collage

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

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

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

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


10.Skid Row – I Remember You

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

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


9. Cheap Trick – The Flame

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

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

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

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


8. Mötley Crüe – Home Sweet Home

8-motley-crue-home-sweet-home

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

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

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

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

7. Journey – Faithfully

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

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


6. Def Leppard – Bringin’ On the Heartbreak

Def Leppard - High n Dry

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

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

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


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

cinderella-dont-know

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

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

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


4. Dokken – Alone Again

dokken-tooth-and-nail

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

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

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


3. Scorpions – Still Loving You

scorpions-still-loving-you

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

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

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

2. Whitesnake – Is This Love

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

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

5 Great Whitesnake Ballads That Taught Us What Love Is…


1. Def Leppard – Love Bites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The Story of SKID ROW’s “Youth Gone Wild” (1989)

skid-row1For the past following weeks, I’ve been having kind of a Skid Row marathon, which I guess is the reason why I wanted to talk about “Youth Gone Wild”. Also, I’ve been binge watching “Gilmore Girls” and Sebastian just keeps on popping and making me crank up some Skid Row right after the episode is over. I got to know the band and of course, their charismatic leader, because of that “little” 1989 debut album. I was making the first steps towards my “late-‘80s-hair metal enlightenment” and it was absolutely inevitable to come across Skid Row on my long and hairy road. I’m a sucker for power ballads so of course “I Remember You” became the reason why I fell for the band and the album. The second place goes to “Youth Gone Wild” which is actually one of my top empowering songs and the reason why Sebastian Bach is one of the most notable rock vocalists in my book. I guess what I felt after hearing it for the first time was exactly what the song was intended to provoke in its listeners – confidence, sense of control and the scream of your inner strength after being set free.

Let’s not forget that Skid Row is a household name when it comes to hard rock, so if you are looking to expand your knowledge or learn more about that band that just keeps on appearing everywhere on your “YouTube suggested videos” section, their debut single might be the right place to start.Let’s go wild with this ultimate hard rock classic!


 

  • “Youth Gone Wild” is Skid Row’s debut single, released from their 1989 eponymous album. Written by bass player Rachel Bolan and guitarist Dave Sabo, the uplifting, rebellious tune quickly became one of Skid Row’s signature live acts and an absolute fan favorite. Despite the major commercial success of the debut album (certified 5xPlatinum by the RIAA), “Youth Gone Wild” barely made it on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Then again, that’s not a merit for the significance and brilliance of a song. The impact and significance of that song turned out to be colossal – both for the band’s legacy and the history of hard rock.
  • In 1992, Skid Row re-released the song on their cover album “B-Side Ourselves”. The re-introduction of “Youth Gone Wild” got awarded with a Top30 position on the UK Singles Chart.
  • youth-gifThe iconic music video to accompany the anthem-like song “Youth Gone Wild” was an absolute sensation, receiving tons of airplay on MTV. The video features a dynamic stage performance of Skid Row, cut by scenes of the members of the band running, breaking fences till one gets caught by what appears to be a police officer. Similar-style music videos were countless back in the day, however this one seems to stand out – whether it’s because of the song or because of Sebastian being handsome as hell, I don’t know. The important thing is that MTV loved this video.

Music Video

“When Skid Row wanted me to join the band, they sent me a cassette with a bunch of songs on it and that song was probably my favorite. When I joined the band, I got the tattoo of ‘Youth Gone Wild’ on my arm before we had a record deal, before we had a manager. I got ‘Youth Gone Wild’ tattooed on my arm when we were a club band.”

“I believed in that song with all my heart before anybody else did that I know about,” he added. “A lot of people think I got that tattoo after we had sold a million copies of the record. I got it when we were completely unknown, when nobody knew that song. That’s when I got it.”

(Sebastian Bach for Guitar World;
Quote, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5511)
  • The most fascinating point of “Youth Gone Wild” (at least in my opinion) is its lyrical strength and aggressiveness. The striking title says it all – this song is about those misfit kids, who never played by the rules and stayed true to their nature; “Youth Gone Wild” is a song about not doing what others tell you to do but stand for what you believe in. The track is one hell of a kiss-ass way of saying “screw you, I am young and I am wild and I will follow my heart!” “Youth Gone Wild” is the perfect teenage anthem!
    Moreover, to me this song was Skid Row‘s way of making a statement regarding the way rock fans were seen as back in the day. He would often say, right before he starts singing “Youth Gone Wild”, that this is all about the prejudice against people who listen to rock&roll.

    The debut single of Skid Row is the kind of song that makes people knock the socks off everyone and everything! Yes, it’s that powerful. If we add Sebastian’s legendary vocals, we get this perfect sonic force that can easily cause an earthquake. If you are looking for music to make your blood boil and give you an extra dose of confidence, look no further!


A couple of reasons why this song was a live staple ~

Skid Row – Youth Gone Wild (Live at Wembley Stadium 1991)

“Youth Gone Wild” Live in Japan (n.d)

Sebastian Bach “YOUTH GONE WILD”, M3 Rock Festival, 2014


“Youth Gone Wild” Lyrics

[Bolan, Snake]

Since I was born they couldn’t hold me down
Another misfit kid, another burned-out town

Never played by the rules I never really cared
My nasty reputation takes me everywhere

I look and see it’s not only me
So many others have stood where I stand
We are the young so raise your hands

They call us problem child
We spend our lives on trial
We walk an endless mile
We are the youth gone wild
We stand and we won’t fall
We’re the one and one for all
The writing’s on the wall
We are the youth gone wild

Boss screamin’ in my ear about who I’m supposed to be
Getcha a 3-piece Wall Street smile and son you’ll look just like me

I said “Hey man, there’s something that you oughta know.
I tell ya Park Avenue leads to Skid Row.”

I look and see it’s not only me
We’re standin’ tall ain’t never a doubt
We are the young, so shout it out

They call us problem child
We spend our lives on trial
We walk an endless mile
We are the youth gone wild
We stand and we won’t fall
We’re the one and one for all
The writing’s on the wall
We are the youth gone wild

They call us problem child
We spend our lives on trial
We walk an endless mile
We are the youth gone wild
We stand and we won’t fall
We’re the one and one for all
The writing’s on the wall
We are the youth gone wild
We are the youth gone wild


References:
“Youth Gone Wild” Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/skidrow/youthgonewild.html
“Youth Gone Wild” facts, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5511

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

The Story of Bonham’s 1989 Debut,”The Disregard of Timekeeping “

When you are the son of one of the members of probably the biggest rock act out there and carry that colossal family name “Bonham” you don’t really have much of a choice, except to fully embrace that musical spirituality you were born with. As a person who grew up in a family of musicians, I can’t but relate to that – that passion for music and the burning desire to be part of that world are running through your veins and absolutely nothing or no one can change that.

jason-bonham-32Jason Bonham, being born into the big Led Zeppelin family, has been drumming ever since he was a little kid, naturally. At the age of four, he appeared alongside his father on that “little” film, “The Song Remains The Same” and the rest is …one hell of a rock&roll ride! By the age of 17, he was already opening up for AC/DC and Queen with his band Air Force. That should tell you something! Throughout his long and productive career, he has collaborated with major names, such as Jimmy Page, Paul Rodgers, Foreigner, Sammy Hagar, UFO and many more. He has done a great job and his father would’ve been so proud of him! Excellent drummer, a brilliant songwriter and a dedicated artist who always gave and keeps on giving his all – Jason Bonham is the perfect example of how nothing in life should be taken for granted, even a royal family name. You gotta work twice as hard and make your own path of success!

One of the many outstanding things he did was forming the hard rock band Bonham in 1989. Together with the one-of-a-kind singer Daniel MacMaster, bassist/keyboardist John Smithson and guitarist Ian Hatton, they truly had all the right characteristics to be the next big name in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s rock music scene. For one reason or another, however, the band lasted for about two albums only. Nevertheless, Bonham still enjoyed a certain amount of commercial and chart success, as well as one lengthy tour and of course, tons of radio airplay. Arguably, “The Disregard of Timekeeping” has to be the better album out of the two they released. I thought it’s high time I featured this glorious hard rock typhoon on my blog!

jason-bonham-band1


 

bonham-disregard

Released: 1989
Genre:
Hard Rock / Hair Metal
Duration:
57:00
Label:
Sony Music Entertainment (CBS Records)
Producer(s):
Bob Ezrin

buy-from-amazon


The Album:

  • “The Disregard of Timekeeping”, the first actual attempt of Jason Bonham to hit it big commercially, became a reality in 1989. The project caused quite the stir among the rock fan communities but it was only natural – the son of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer was about to unleash a new force to the competitive hair metal musical market and fans just had to see through it all!

    The powerful, instantly recognizable drumming techniques of Jason weren’t going to be enough to carry the weight of the band. Daniel MacMaster – a Canadian-born vocalist (ex-Scorcher) was recruited to complete the picture, along with influential bassist John Smithson and lead guitarist Ian Hatton. The final touches were added by producer Bob Erzin who significantly helped in shaping the band’s distinguishable contemporary sound.

    The Led Zeppelin comparisons were inevitable and immediate. No one expected it to be otherwise. Was it more because of people’s already fixed perceptions of what to expect from the band or because it was actually true, Bonham’s debut album “The Disregard of Timekeeping” does have a part of that Led Zeppelin vibe. Also, is it just me, or Daniel MscMaster does sound a little bit like Robert Plant?

    Daniel’s tenor, in combination with Jason’s drum domination perfected a superb AOR sound, which unfortunately wasn’t good enough for the English audiences. Then again, let’s not forget that that’s exactly what happened with Led Zeppelin back in the day! Bonham’s debut album didn’t even find a spot on the English charts. Canadian and American fans, however, were as always more welcoming and gave the band the chance they deserved. A top 40 position on the Billboard 200 Chart and a top 70 position on the Canadian charts, in addition to hitting the gold RIAA status were just a couple of the outcomes. Successful, never-ending tours with major bands, like Bad Company and The Cult granted them an even more favorable position in the hearts of American audiences.

The Songs:

  • “The Disregard of Timekeeping” spawned two singles, both becoming absolute classics of the genre. The Top-10 song, “Wait for You”, credited to all four members of Bonham, turned into an absolute sensation and probably the biggest hit of their career. To fully experience the magic of “Wait for You”, you have to listen it right after the opening instrumental, which bears the same name as the album. The tune itself was of course, a perfected product of the era, but why would we be mad about it? It’s a catchy, sensual, haunting even rock composition, which despite often forgotten, could easily match any other big title from the era. I am a sucker for rock songs that feature a string section. “Wait for You” does hint a little bit of that epic string feeling but it’s their second single – “Guilty” that truly made me fall in love with that album. It just has it all – a mesmerizing intro, unparalleled vocal delivery by Daniel MacMaster and that soul-demolishing violin solo by bassist John Smithson that is sending me to another dimension.

    “Bringing Me Down” is another highly memorable moment on “The Disregard of Timekeeping”. Perhaps that Led Zeppelin influence is way too obvious on that one, but I can totally forgive and forget about it. “Holding On Forever” and “Don’t Walk Away” are the songs I love to crank up because that’s the only way you can do justice to their captivating, thrilling sound. “Playing to Win” is winning me with its lyrics. “Cross Me and See” is another mid-tempo doze of instant satisfaction. “Just Another Day” is a personal favorite, yet again thanks to that exciting string section which just dances with my soul in a beautiful, shattering rhythm. Symbolically, the album wraps things up with a song, titled “Room for Us All”. We live in a forever-changing world but yes, there’s always a room for talented and spirited artists who do things for the right reasons.

What followed next?

  • The perks of that newfound glory, included a busy rockstar lifestyle, lengthy tours and tons of pressure, coming from all directions and people. New management, along with drug and alcohol problems were just a couple of the obstacles, Bonham had to deal with. Vocalist Daniel MacMaster even said that he never wanted to sing again – he was that mortified by the music industry.

    mad-hatter-bDespite all, in 1992, however, Bonham did come back with a sophomore album, titled “Mad Hatter”. Unfortunately, the album wasn’t even half as successful as the debut one was. On top of it all, it was 1992 –people were shifting their preferences towards the big grunge movement which eventually wiped out hard rock acts, including Bonham. Nevertheless, I still consider the sophomore album as a solid effort; definitely not as good as the first one and obviously the band was trying hard to distance themselves from that Led Zeppelin-influenced sound, but still, I give it full points.
    Jason Bonham is still as active as ever, mostly occupied with his Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience project, touring all over North America.

 

RIP Daniel MacMaster (July 11, 1968 – March 16, 2008)

daniel


Guilty

Wait for You

Bringing Me Down

Don’t Walk Away


References:
“Bonham” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonham_(band)
“The Disregard of Timekeeping” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Disregard_of_Timekeeping
+ Information about the album, referenced from the CD Booklet I own

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~