25 Facts You May (not) Know About the Mighty Def Leppard

Def Leppard x
Def Leppard – Photosession for their 2002 album “X”

Greetings everyone!

After the nice feedback and overall audience response for the previous informative publication I made about Bon Jovi –10 Facts You Probably (don’t) Know about Bon Jovi ” , I decided that I should make similar posts about other classic rock bands as well. Then, I thought that it’s been a while since I last wrote something about my most favourite classic rock band – Def Leppard, so here we are… The following publication will present some interesting facts and details about the band, accompanied by some of their most famous and loved songs. I know that there are many Def Leppard fans like me out there, so for some of you these stories and facts might be well-known. However, there are people who might also not be so familiar with the band. This publication is for everyone who wants to know more or re-fresh their fan memory. I do hope you enjoy it!

Before I continue, I would like to say a few words about the band and their legacy. Def Leppard debuted in 1980 with their excellent album “On through the Night”. That album launched the professional career of one of the most appreciated and respected rock bands in the world. With a bit of uncertainty and yet unrefined and not very well-polished sound, Def Leppard jumped on the rock music scene of the 80s with hopes and dreams of becoming the next “Led Zeppelin”. As years, projects and numerous hardships went by, the band members, as well as their sound significantly grew and evolved and as a result, they created some of the most well-written and highly-processed album of the era. Of course, we should mention the help of top producer Mutt Lange who was by their side. “Pyromania” (1983) and “Hysteria” (1987) are the albums that basically ruled the 80s and turned Def Leppard into absolute rock Gods. Catchy, radio-friendly and energetic songs, combined with a mixture of shiny new pop hooks and classic hard rock was their recipe for success. And what a success story that was…and still is…


 

1.Def Leppard is an ENGLISH band from the steel-producing town of Sheffield. In 1977, Rick Savage, Tony Kenning and Pete Willis were already the members a rock band, called Atomic Mass. Originally, Willis was on guitar, Savage on the bass and Kenning on the drums. At that time, Joe Elliot was only 18 years old. He auditioned for the band as a guitarist. However, during the try out it was decided that Joe is a better singer than a guitarist. He was hired immediately as a lead-vocalist.

 

Def Leppard - end of the 70s
Def Leppard in the late 70s.


2. Joe Elliot proposed the band adopt a new name. He suggested they call themselves “Deaf Leopard” – a name he came up with while writing reviews for imaginary rock bands in his English class. Elliot was always dreaming about forming a band in school. He was creating song lists, band logos and band names while his classmates were studying. Kenning, however, suggested that they should alter the spelling of the name to “Def Leppard” in order to seem less punk rock. (P.S. The name was also a reference to the band Led Zeppelin.)

3. In January, 1978, guitarist Steve Clark successfully auditioned and eventually was accepted into the band. According to Joe Elliot, Steve Clark did a phenomenal job playing Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” in its entirety, without accompaniment. Later on, Steve Clark would be know as the “riff master” for his ability to come up with tons of catchy tunes for the band.

4. Tony Kenning – their original drummer unexpectedly left the band in the beginning of 1978. The mother of Rick Allen, who was 14 back then was the one to actually respond to the ad placed by the band, looking for a new drummer (“Leppard loses skins” was the ad’s headline). On his fifteenth birthday – November 1st, 1978, Rick Allen joined the band and eventually dropped out of school. Today, he is known as the “thunder God”.

5. Their first concert was in 1978 in a high school gymnasium in their home town of Sheffield, England. It’s said that only about six people went to it. It is said that the band smuggled beer into the event by hiding it in the drum kit. 

 

6. Phil Collen – a former guitarist of the glam rock band called Girl was hired by the band in 1982 as a replacement of former guitarist Pete Willis. Pete Willis had to be released from the band because of his excessive alcohol and drug abuse.

7. Phil Collen and Steve Clark became very close friends and were eventually given the nickname “The Terror Twins” (a reference to Aerosmith’s Toxic Twins).

Steve and Phil
“The Terror Twins”

 


8. The famous producer Mutt Lange is the mastermind behind Def Leppard’s High ‘N’ Dry (1981), Pyromania (1983) and Hysteria (1987). He was also the executive producer of Adrenalize (1992) and co-wrote “Ring of Fire” and “I Wanna Be Your Hero” from Retro Active, (1993) and “Promises”, “All Night” and “It’s Only Love” from Euphoria (1999).

9. Def Leppard’s ultimate hit single “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” from their second album “High ‘n’ Dry” became one of the first rock videos to be played on MTV in 1982. The song’s working title was actually “A Certain Heartache” but they had it changed. 

 

10. Def Leppard is one of the few rock bands that have had two studio albums which sold more than 10 million copies in the USA alone. As many might guess, those two albums are Pyromania (1983) and Hysteria (1987).

 

11. Pyromania’s (1983) lead single “Photograph” is probably their most essential song, as it completely established the name and image of the band among the mainstream audience. The video for “Photograph” succeeded Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” as the most requested video on MTV. The song became a daily “must play” for every rock station and a standard for any hard rock song in the 80s.

 

12. Drummer Rick Allen lost his left arm in a car crash on 31st of December 1984, when he was racing in his Corvette outside the band’s home city of Sheffield. Rick flew through the windshield and his arm was ripped off by the seat belt. Despite the horrible disaster, Rick Allen was determined and fully committed to continuing his duties as Def Leppard’s drummer. Eventually, he realized that he could use his legs to play the drums. He worked with Simmons to design a special custom-made electronic drum kit. The other members were very supportive and never thought of replacing him with another drummer. In just a few months, the strength of Rick’s will and his enormous desire to make music resulted in his very powerful comeback. Allen gathered the other band members and played the intro to the Led Zeppelin’s version of “When the Levee Breaks” to show them his progress. According to Joe Elliot this was a very emotionally-intense moment for all of them.

 

Rick Allen 2
Rick Allen

 

13. Def Leppard’s Hysteria (1987) is one of the few albums which spawned not one, not two, not three, but SEVEN hit singles – “Animal”, “Rocket”, “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, “Women”, “Hysteria”, “Armageddon’ It” and “Love Bites”. Furthermore, up to date, Hysteria is Def Leppard’s best-selling album of all time – it sold more than 25 million copies worldwide. It also remained in the album charts for about three years. (wow!!!)

14. “Pour Some Sugar on Me” is one of Def Leppard’s most famous and instantly-recognizable tunes. It is said that Joe Elliot came up with the title for the song while he was sitting in his apartment in London. He asked producer Mutt Lange for some sugar for his tea. Lange replied by asking whether Joe wanted one lump or two. Joe said, “I don’t care, just pour some sugar on me”…and the rest is history. (I should say that this story varies according to different sources.)
P.S. Upon asked about the title, Joe said, “It’s not for me to say, It’s for you to interpret”… so who knows?
Joe also said that “Pour Some Sugar On Me” is “The metaphor for whatever sexual preference you enjoy”…

 

15. “Love Bites” (from Hysteria, 1987) is one of the most famous power ballads of the 80s. Up to date, it’s Def Leppard’s only number one hit single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

 

16. The “Riff-Master” – guitarist Steve Clark died of a drug and alcohol overdose on January 8th, 1991.

17. Between 1991 and 1992 the band held numerous auditions to replace Steve Clark. In February 1992, the band chose Vivian Campbell. Before joining Def Leppard, Vivian played in Dio and Whitesnake.

 

18. Def Leppard’s album “Adrenalize” was dedicated to Steve Clark and was released a year after his death – 1992. The album debuted at number 1 on the USA Billboard 200 and peaked number 1 position on the UK Album Chart as well. Adrenalize is Def Leppard’s final glam metal album. After it, the band started exploring different music directions and styles.

Def_Leppard_-_Adrenalize
Def Leppard – “Adrenalize” Album Cover


19.
One of the most unique accomplishments of the band was achieved on October 23th, 1995 – Def Leppard entered the Guinness Book of World Records by playing three 45-minute shows on three different continents. The performances were in Tangier, Morocco, London and Vancouver, Canada. The band decided to carry out this rather stressful and extraordinary situation in support of Vault (Greatest Hits 1980-1995).

20. On the September 5th, 2000, Def Leppard were inducted into the Rock Walk of Fame on Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood by their good friend Brian May of Queen.

 

Def Leppard walk of fame

21. In 2001, VH1 produced and aired a biopic, titled Hysteria – The Def Leppard Story. The docudrama was portraying the band’s history between 1977 through 1986. The first broadcast of the movie produced some of VH1’s highest ever TV ratings. The movie is also available on DVD.
(P.S. I thought it was a very decent movie and I recommend it, especially for people who are very interested in knowing more about this awesome band.)

Hysteria MOVIE


22.
Def Leppard won an award for “Favorite Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Artist” and “Favorite Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Album” for Hysteria during 1989’s American Music Awards. They also got numerous nominations in music video and best stage performance categories.

23. Def Leppard have an album which includes only cover songs from their childhood years. The album is titled “Yeah!” and it pays tribute to artists such as Blondie, The Kinks, ELO and others.

 

YEAH!
Def Leppard – “YEAH!” Album Cover

 

24. Up to date, Def Leppard has 11 Studio Albums, 2 live albums, 4 compilation albums, 8 video albums, 33 music videos, 50 singles and 18 concert tours. The band’s latest album called “Def Leppard” was released on the 30th of October last year and it debuted at number 10 on the Billboard charts. It became the band’s seventh album to peak at a top ten position on the chart. The first single from the album is called “Let’s Go”.

 

25. This past January, Def Leppard released their latest music video for the song “Dangerous” from their 2015 self-titled album.

 


Credits:
Def Leppard Artist Facts, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/facts-def_leppard.php
Def Leppard Biography, retrieved from http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Def_Leppard.aspx
“10 Things You Might Not Know about Def Leppard”, retrieved from http://www.kshe95.com/blogs/ten-things/10-things-you-might-not-know-about-def-leppard
“You Think You Know Def Leppard”, retrieved from http://ultimateclassicrock.com/you-think-you-know-def-leppard/
Def Leppard – Official Wikipedia Page, retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Def_Leppard
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/or various other right holders.

10 Classic Rock Songs about Missing Someone

Missing someone can be the worst feeling in the world – life becomes so difficult when there’s someone out there who cannot be with you right now for one reason or another. Missing someone is basically your heart telling you that you truly love this person and wish you could be together at this moment and forever… It is just so painful to have someone in your heart but not have them in your arms! Being is such state can trigger overwhelming feelings of sadness and emotional stress and can affect pretty much every aspect of your life. Needless to say, not being able to physically and emotionally connect with the person you feel you should be with can be mentally agonizing. However, sometimes out of suffering and unimaginable pain, the most beautiful and touching works of art have emerged. A lot of people choose to overcome their agony by writing a poem, drawing a picture or…making a song.

These days, I’ve been thinking a lot about a certain someone who, sadly, I cannot see or be with at this moment. I’m not going to tell you my life story, but the point is that my heart is reaching for someone who is just not here to reach back…and it hurts like hell…But what can we do in such situation? We smile and act like nothing’s wrong – but only we, ourselves know what our hearts truly long and cry for…

Loneliness, broken heart, physical or any kind of distance between two people has been a popular song theme for as long as we can remember. Sometimes, those songs that explore the matter of missing someone can be a very good way to overcome the pain, obtain some strength or just realize your true feelings towards another person… Since this is a blog dedicated to classic rock music, I thought about preparing a little playlist that deals with the topic of how missing someone special has been portrayed in some of the most beautiful rock songs from a few decades ago.
I think that the majority of people may be familiar with the awful feeling of wanting to be with someone who is so far away. I apologize if the following songs bring some sadness or other painful emotions or memories to you, however I thought that something positive might come out of it…After all, life goes on and things change. Songs are a good way to remind ourselves of the long and scary road we once walked…
Regardless, I hope you guys enjoy the songs…It’s a personal selection and deep feelings aside – they are awesome classics!

Listen to PART 2 –

10 Classic Rock Songs about Missing Someone [PART 2]


 

 

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.


John Waite – Missing You (1984)

You don’t know
How desperate I’ve become
And it looks like I’m losing this fight
In your world
I have no meaning
Though I’m trying hard
to understand
And it’s my heart that’s breaking
Down this long distance line tonight


Scorpions – Still Loving You (1984)

The things that killed our love
Your pride has built a wall, so strong
That I can’t get through
Is there really no chance
To start once again
I’m loving you


 

Journey – Faithfully (1983)

And being apart
Ain’t easy on this love affair
Two strangers learn to fall in love again
I get the joy of rediscovering you
Oh, girl, you stand by me
I’m forever yours
Faithfully


 

Electric Light Orchestra – Turn to Stone (1977)

The dancing shadows on the wall THE TWO-STEP IN THE HALL
are all I see since you’ve been gone TURNING TURNING TURNING
Through all I sit here and I wait I TURN TO STONE I TURN TO STONE
You will return again some day TO MY BLUE WORLD


 

The Rolling Stones – Miss You (1978)

Well, I’ve been haunted in my sleep
You’ve been staring in my dreams
Lord I miss you.
I’ve been waiting in the hall
Been waiting on your cal…


Aerosmith – I don’t Wanna Miss a Thing (1998)

‘Cause even when I dream of you
The sweetest dream would never do
I’d still miss you, baby
And I don’t wanna miss a thing…


 

Kiss – Beth (1976)

You say you feel so empty
That our house just ain’t a home
And I’m always somewhere else
And you’re always there alone


 

Def Leppard – Miss You in a Heartbeat (1992)

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


Steve Perry – Missing You (1994)

Still I remember
Things I never meant
Memories surround me
Won’t let me forget
I was so wrong
The secret’s not worth keeping
I had no faith
That you would still believe


 

+BONUS track ~

Eric Clapton – Miss You (1986)

You know I’ve come this far without you;
It won’t be too hard to be alone.
I’ve got choices all around me,
So I won’t be spending too much time at home.
Girl, I’m gonna miss you.
I’m gonna miss you, baby.
I can’t forgive you,
Still I’m gonna miss you, baby.


Credits:
Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics
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 Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain”

GunsNRoses - November Rain Cover

GunsNRoses1.jpg

Let’s travel back to the beginning of the 90s – I promise you, it’s totally worth it!

I was looking for a song that was released on the year I was born in – 1992 and I suddenly realized that one of the most touching, emotionally-intense and well-written rock ballads EVER came out the same year. That’s right, I’m talking about Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain”. The song is, without doubt, a true masterpiece and in my opinion probably their greatest one. In addition to appreciating the true value of this work of art, I thought that it’s quite essential to familiarize ourselves and truly understand the meaning of the song, its lyrics and music video, as well. I don’t know about you guys, but if you are a lyrics-lover like me, I believe you can’t but be moved by the beauty of those words… Let’s dive into the song…

 

 

GunsNRoses - Use Your Illusion 1
Guns N’ Roses – “Use Your Illusion I” (1991)  album cover

Even though “November Rain” was released as a single in 1992, it actually featured in their 1991 album “Use Your Illusion I”. By the way, it’s an awesome album and in my opinion their most admirable one. Not to mention that it was certified 7x times platinum by the RIAA, got a bunch of Grammy nominations and peaked at number 2 on the Billboard charts. (I feel like I should just mention that “Use Your Illusion I” and “Use Your Illusion II” were released simultaneously, however I still stand for what I said in terms of which one is better)
“November Rain” was written by Guns N’ Roses’ lead singer – Axl Rose and was recorded sometime between 1990 and 1991. He actually wrote it on his piano in the early 80s…The power-ballad style song made a huge statement the moment it was released to the public. In the USA, it got to number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and worldwide it reached top 10 positions in countries such as Australia, Canada, UK, Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand, Ireland and others. Furthermore, “November Rain” is the longest song in history to enter the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 chart – it runs for 8:57 minutes. The original version, by the way, was 25-minutes long – wow! However, they had to cut it short – a completely understandable move, having in mind the radio and TV limitations back then. I would honestly love to listen to this song for almost half an hour, though.

 

 When we were doing that EP for L.A. Guns, like ’83? He was playing “November Rain” — and it was called “November Rain” — you know, on piano. The guitar solo is amazing. Way back then. It was the only thing he knew how to play, but it was his. He’d go, “Someday this song is gonna be really cool.” And I’d go, “It’s cool now.” “But it’s not done”, you know, he used to say. And, like, anytime we’d be at a hotel or anywhere, there’d be a piano; he’d just kinda play that music. And I’d go, “When are you gonna finish that already”, you know? And he’d go, “I don’t know what to do with it. I need Moody’s help,” said Tracii Guns, founding member of Guns ‘N Roses about Axl Rose working on this song since at least 1983.

 

Slash - November Rain Guitar GIFInteresting fact, the song contains the longest ever guitar solo in a Top 10 single. Actually, Slash plays a few guitar solos in the song ( depending on how you see it). As I said, the lengthy artistic visions of Rose had to be cut down, along with the guitar solos of Slash… (the song was shortened to almost 9 minutes).

During the Chinese Democracy Tour, back in 2006, Axl Rose shared with the audience that the other band members were opposing the production and release of this song. He stated that his ideas and visions for a more symphonic, power-ballad style rock song were rejected from Slash and McKagan. According to him, they wanted for the band to stick to rough rock music and don’t go with a song like this one. He said that eventually he managed to convince them that this could be a good direction for the band. I am not sure how truthful those statements are because Axl Rose likes to make up stories every now and then. I should say that based on my research, Slash completely disagreed and contradicted such claims.

On an interesting note, it seems like Axl was always striving towards making a song that resembles “Stairway to Heaven” or “Bohemian Rhapsody”. In a several occasions, he mentioned that Zeppelin and Queen, especially, were a huge influence to him and his career. “November Rain” has a few similarities with both those songs which can be observed in the advancement and progression of the melody and quick changes of the rhythm.

 

Now let’s talk about the music video…

 

The music video was directed by Andy Morahan – a noted English music video director who worked with artists such as George Michael, Ozzy Osbourne, Cyndi Lauper, Simply Red, Tina Turner and many others. The essence of the video is its narrative quality – it tells us a story about love and many other things that come and go with it…

November Rain - GIFNaturally, one could imagine how expensive such lengthy and beautifully made music video would cost – in our case, the video costs were over $1.5 million – it makes it one of the most expensive MVs in history. The price was high, however what the band got out of it was much more valuable and it proved that it was a totally worthy investment. Not only the video got A LOT of play on MTV (and by A LOT I mean that people were watching the video literally every second), but it won them a “best cinematography” award at the 1992 MTV Music Awards where it also got a Video Vanguard award (by the way, the performed the song with Elton John on piano during the show – it’s such a beautiful performance). In addition, MTV also placed it at #1 on their 100 videos of 1992. It was also voted as the “BEST video clip” in Metal Edge’s 1992 Readers Choice Awards. Back to 2016 – it is the most viewed music video on YouTube that was not made in the 21st century – as of this moment, it has 549,443,803 views.

Check out the live performance I was telling you, guys  about… ❤⬇

 

“We got into doing these huge production videos and by ‘November Rain’ it was too much, just too involved. At the end of the day it was a great video but that’s when I started realizing that it was getting out of hand,” said Slash to Q magazine on July 2004.

 

There are so many facts and intriguing details about the music video. For your and actually mine convenience, I decided to prepare a few bullet points, instead of just filling up the space with lengthy and dense amount of text…

  • Actress and model Stephanie Seymour – Axl Rose’s girlfriend at that time is the main female protagonist of the music video.GunsnRoses - November Rain Gif2
  • The video portrays a lavish wedding between her and Axl Rose, interrupted by a rainfall; the wedding scenes intercut with a live performance of the song in a theater.
  • Slash is Axl’s best man
  • There has been some speculation as to how she dies in the video. Some people say that she died from a gunshot, while others say that she was struck by lightning during the storm. Personally, I think she was driven to suicide…
  • “November Rain” is based on the short story “Without You”, written by Del James and published in his book “The Language of Fear” a few years later. The story is basically about a rock star, grieving over the death of his girlfriend, who had committed suicide. It was inspired by Axl Rose’s troubled relationship with Erin Everly.
  • Some people say that the MVs for “November Rain“, “Don’t Cry” and “Estranged” form an unofficial trilogy, though it was never officially confirmed. (I’ve never thought about it, to be honest…)
  • The priest was an Italian man named Gianantonio, who was also a friend of Axl. The church from the video is actually where he served for many years, before the shooting of the video.
  • The video was shot in LA and New Mexico.
  • The MV was filmed during the winter season.
  • The MV uses the full version of the song, including all the guitar solos and symphonic performances (not the 30 minute version, but the almost 9 minute one)
  • The guy who ruins the wedding cake by crashing into it (around the 7-minute mark of the video) is Riki Rachtman – a host of the MTV show Headbangers Ball. He is also one of Axl’s good buddies.
  • The awesome rock ‘n’ roll outfit worn by Slash in the music video can be seen at Hard Rock Café in Orlando, Florida.

You can watch the making of the video here :


 

Guns N Roses - November RAIN Gif 4

In terms of lyrics, as Axl himself once said, the song is about “not wanting to be in a state of having to deal with unrequited love.” Those words are difficult to interpret, though…
This song can relate to so many people who are or were in a similar situation, however I can still feel how personal this is to him – I think a lot of his experiences and emotions were placed together in those lyrics and that’s the reason why when I listen to the song, I feel like a bit of an outsider, rather than a participant. I don’t know – maybe it’s just me …. I get all weird with songs sometimes…

Hearts can change and even a candle that once burned bright cannot stay lit in the cold November rain… A love that once used to mean everything and was shining with the brightest colors can change through time. One day, people might wake up and realize that they might lose their loved one and be left all alone…
However, there’s some positive note in the song – he says that “everybody needs somebody” and just like the November rain cannot last forever, the wounds might heal over time and the two of them can be together again. There’s a suggestion that both of them just need a little bit more time but at the end – they will find their way back to each other.  

The words are so beautiful – no second opinion about it. There’s nothing more sincere and true in this world than realizing that you need another person in your life and instead of hating and hurting each other, two people should find a way to be together. Life will end – just like the “November rain” – so it’s better to live it with the person you love and think of every day…

Lyrics:

❤🎸🎶 When I look into your eyes
I can see a love restrained
But darlin’ when I hold you
Don’t you know I feel the same

‘Cause nothin’ lasts forever
And we both know hearts can change
And it’s hard to hold a candle
In the cold November rain

We’ve been through this such a long long time
Just tryin’ to kill the pain

But lovers always come and lovers always go
And no one’s really sure who’s lettin’ go today
Walking away

If we could take the time
To lay it on the line
I could rest my head
Just knowin’ that you were mine
All mine
So if you want to love me
Then darlin’ don’t refrain
Or I’ll just end up walkin’
In the cold November rain

Do you need some time…on your own
Do you need some time…all alone
Everybody needs some time… on their own
Don’t you know you need some time…all alone

I know it’s hard to keep an open heart
When even friends seem out to harm you
But if you could heal a broken heart
Wouldn’t time be out to charm you

Sometimes I need some time…on my own
Sometimes I need some time…all alone
Everybody needs some time… on their own
Don’t you know you need some time…all alone

And when your fears subside
And shadows still remain
I know that you can love me
When there’s no one left to blame
So never mind the darkness
We still can find a way
‘Cause nothin’ lasts forever
Even cold November rain

Don’t ya think that you need somebody
Don’t ya think that you need someone
Everybody needs somebody
You’re not the only one
You’re not the only one ❤🎸🎶


 

This song is one of those classic work of art which will never die. Axl’s vocal delivery and Slash’s virtuosity created something so beautiful and so unique – a song of a generation. I remember when I was just a few years old and I saw the music video on MTV – I had no idea what the whole thing was all about. However, some scenes – like Slash playing the guitar on the field and Axl kissing his girlfriend remained forever in my head – it just looked so beautiful. I couldn’t speak English back then but I knew that the song tells a touching and romantic story – I could feel it…

I hope you guys love this song as much as I do…It’s just one unbelievable masterpiece…
By the way, I’m still searching for the 30 minute version of the song…

GunsNRoses - NovemberRain - Keep Calm!

 

Guns ‘N’ Roses Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/gunsnroses/novemberrain.html
Guns N’ Roses – November Rain, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=2904
Guns N’ Roses – November Rain – Lyrics Meaning, retrieved from  http://www.musicbanter.com/lyrics/Guns-N-Roses-November-Rain.html#ixzz43Xi9tTKU
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the credits go to the owners and/or right holders.

The History of Rock in 15 Minutes

 

Recently, Ithaca Audio – a company that specializes in audio visual remixing presented their awesome new project to the public. The 15 minute video montage features more than 300 rockstars and walks us through the history of rock music from its early beginnings. In addition to this idea being absolutely innovative and if I may say very essential, I found it quite interesting to hear never-done-before audio remixes. I have to say, I never thought that some rock songs would sound so cool when mixed together with others… (for instance Zeppelin with Fleetwood Mac??)
Furthermore, what is the most fascinating aspect and probably the reason why the video triggered such great response is the fact that it tells the story of rock music as if Facebook existed back in the 60s and 70s – you can see the artists uploading videos, liking posts and commenting – how cool is that?

I encourage you to watch it and have fun! Cheers to those guys at Ithaca Audio!

The clip features 348 rock stars, 84 guitarists, 64 songs and 44 drummers, and includes songs from Elvis Presley, The Yardbirds, The Rolling Stones, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, The Kinks, The Doors, Queen, The Beatles, The Who, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, The Eagles, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, The Clash, The Police, Journey, Dire Straits, Duran Duran, Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica, Nirvana, Oasis, Blur, The Verve, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Killers, Foo Fighters, U2, Linkin Park, The White Stripes, The Strokes, Gorillaz and Kings of Leon. 
(Extract and Information taken from http://classicrock.teamrock.com)

By the way – I find it hard to believe that they decided to exclude Van Halen – you know being one of the most important rock bands in terms of musicianship, influence and achievements but…

 

The Ultimate Def Leppard Playlist

Everyone knows how much I LOVE Def Leppard – they are indeed my most favorite rock band of all time. When it comes to their music, influence and importance, not only in the lives of so many fans around the world, but in the history and development of music, they forever remain the ultimate undefeated rockstars. I’ve expressed my enthusiasm, respect and adoration for Def Leppard numerous times before, so I won’t be repeating myself today or bore you with some cliché words about how great, amazing and perfect they are to me… Instead, I decided to prepare a little playlist of 20 songs, which I consider to be Def Leppard’s most admirable and exceptional ones among all the other songs from their catalog. Don’t get me wrong, as a passionate fan it was very difficult for me to choose just 20 – I love and cherish each and every one of their songs. However, recently it came to my attention that many not-die-hard-fans like me are quite unfamiliar with other essential and equally important DL songs, such as for instance “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” or “Hello America”. Every person who listens to and enjoys rock music, especially from the 80s, has heard of “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, “Photograph” or “Love Bites”. However, I believe that many fans need to be reminded of or hear some other greatly produced and exceptionally-crafted DL songs. Anyhow, I collected all of DL’s masterpieces throughout the years and came up with this playlist – for you guys, and for me as well – I really like making playlists. Of course, needless to say, the selection is quite subjective – but it’s my blog, after all, so I hope I can be excused!

Enjoy the playlist!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who took a Grammy for “Best Rock Song” in the 90s

The 2016 Grammy Awards ceremony is happening as we speak! Probably many of you guys are super excited to find out who will win big time this year…not to mention the awesome live performances we are just dying to see.
As we all know, there are plenty of categories, however to me personally (for rather obvious reasons), the nominations and winners for “best rock performance”, “best metal performance”, “best rock album” and in particular “best rock song” have always triggered tremendous emotions in me, which include both happiness and appreciation, as well as criticism and dissatisfaction.

Anyhow, since the Grammy Awards Ceremony is happening today – 15th of February, I thought it’s only natural to prepare a little publication dedicated to some of the past winners of this prestigious award. In particular, I would like to remind my readers of the best rock songs that won a Grammy. I decided to include winners only from the 90s because – well, after that (at least to me), things just changed drastically. Besides, I think the 90s were a very good decade for rock music and throughout this period of 1992 to 1999, some of my favorite rock tunes have emerged as winners. I was born in the 90s and I grew up listening to those songs – this makes this publication even more special to me.

The first time a Grammy for a best rock song was given in 1992 (which also happens to be the year I was born in) and the first one to grab the gramophone trophy was Sting, with the song “The Soul Cages”. I should mention that the award is given not to performers (singers) but the writers of a song, even though I’m sure most of you guys already know that. In some cases, the songwriter and the performer are two different people; however they may also be the same person – such as the case with Sting and Eric Clapton, for instance. This time, as I said, I will be focusing on the quality of the song itself (lyrics, technicality, complexity, excellence, impact, etc.), rather than the vocal or live performance of it (despite those elements being probably the most important reasons for its success, I believe). This award is also given regardless of a rock song’s chart position or previous awards (yeah, right…). Interesting fact, our favorite Mr. Bruce Springsteen actually holds the record for most wins and nominations in this category ever, not just in the 90s – he has nine nominations and won four times – he deserves it and we all love his music! (He said goodbye to the 80s and entered the 90s with such a tremendously successful jump!)
The following is a list of songs that, as I already said won a Grammy award for “best rock song”. I won’t be focusing on each song individually; however I am going to include the names of the songwriters, performers and the year it won the award. I hope by doing so, some of you guys may get reminded of those long-lost tunes from when we were a little bit younger. Also, while you are checking those songs out, try to detect the difference between the way rock songs were made 20 years ago and the way we do it nowadays. I am sure many of you would easily spot the contrast – in pretty much every aspect of the rock song. Here we go!

Sting – The Soul Cages (1992)
Songwriter(s): Sting
Performer(s): Sting

Eric Clapton – Layla (Unplugged Version) (1993)
Songwriter(s): Eric Clapton, Jim Gordon
Performer(s): Eric Clapton

Soul Asylum – “Runaway Train” (1994)
Songwriter(s): Dave Pirner
Performer(s): Soul Asylum

Bruce Springsteen – “Streets of Philadelphia” (1995)
Songwriter(s): Bruce Springsteen
Performer(s): Bruce Springsteen

Alanis Morissette – “You Oughta Know” (1996)
Songwriter(s): Alanis Morissette, Glen Ballard
Performer(s): Alanis Morissette

Tracy Chapman – “Give Me One Reason” (1997)
Songwriter(s): Tracy Chapman
Performer(s): Tracy Chapman

The Wallflowers – “One Headlight” (1998)
Songwriter(s): Jakob Dylan
Performer(s): The Wallflowers

Alanis Morissette – “Uninvited” (1999)
Songwriter(s): Alanis Morissette
Performer(s): Alanis Morissette

All of the above listed songs have one thing in common – they were all exceptionally well-written, composed and possess a special aura – a distinctive character, if I may say. Obviously, they were awarded for a reason. I don’t necessarily agree with the winners (especially from the last few years of the decade), however it is what it is. I hope you guys got reminded of some of those classics! Let’s wait and see what happens this year! Cheers!

[Playlist] 60 Classic Rock Songs for Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s day to all!

In the spirit of this special occasion, I came up with this idea of gathering 60 classic rock songs that are perfectly suitable for this day – a day that celebrates love, adoration, romance, true feelings and two people being happy together. The YouTube playlist I made includes songs from the 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s. It’s a personal selection based on songs I truly love and appreciate. In addition, I think that this playlist would also fit quite well as a musical background during a romantic dinner or any other activity you’d like to engage in throughout Valentine’s Day (-.-‘). I chose 60 songs, all of which celebrating and commemorating love in all its forms and phases. I truly believe that I was able to capture the spirit of the day quite well – each and every song is able to create a romantic atmosphere, mostly through the lyrics and the tenderness that comes out of them. I tried to include as much songs as I could – from many different artists, eras, genres, etc., but at the end of the day, I decided to just make them 60 – it’s a nice and round number and the playlist may last you for 2-3 hours. I hope you will enjoy it, as much as I do and even play some of the songs on this special day. I wish all of you, guys a wonderful day… and for those of you who haven’t found their partner yet, I’d say go out and have fun regardless… Spread the love!

 

[CLICK HERE] – Classic Rock Songs for Valentine’s Day

 

Tracklist:

  1. Aerosmith – Angel
  2. Aerosmith – Crazy
  3. Alice Cooper – You and Me
  4. Bad English – Heaven is a 4 Letter Word
  5. Bad English – Straight to Your Heart
  6. Bad English – When I see You Smile
  7. Bon Jovi – Always
  8. Bon Jovi –Bed of Roses
  9. Boston – More than a Feeling
  10. Boston – Something about You
  11. Bruce Springsteen – I’m on Fire
  12. Bryan Adams – (Everything I do) I Do it For You
  13. Bryan Adams – Heaven
  14. David Bowie – Modern Love
  15. Def Leppard – I Wanna be Your Hero
  16. Def Leppard – Love and Affection
  17. Dire Straits – Think I love You Too Much
  18. Eagles – I can’t Tell You Why
  19. Eagles – Love Will Keep Us Alive
  20. Eagles – The Best of my Love
  21. ELP – From the Beginning
  22. Elton John – Your Song
  23. Elvis Presley – Burning Love
  24. Elvis Presley – Fever
  25. Eric Clapton – Forever Man
  26. Eric Clapton – Pretty Girl
  27. Eric Clapton – See What Love Can Do
  28. Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight
  29. Fleetwood Mac – You Make Loving Fun
  30. Foreigner – I don’t Want to Live without You
  31. Foreigner – Prisoner of Love
  32. Foreigner – Soul Doctor
  33. Foreigner – Waiting for a Girl Like You
  34. Heart – Crazy on You
  35. John Lennon – Woman
  36. Journey – Faithfully
  37. Kiss – Beth
  38. Led Zeppelin – All My Love
  39. Neil Young – Heart of Gold
  40. Peter Frampton – Baby I love Your Way
  41. Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  42. Queen – Love of My Life
  43. Roxette – A Thing About You
  44. Roxette – Neverending Love
  45. Simple Minds – Let There Be Love
  46. Starship – Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now
  47. Styx – Lady
  48. Survivor – First Night
  49. Survivor – High on You
  50. Survivor – Is This Love
  51. Survivor – The Search is Over
  52. The Beatles – Something
  53. The Rolling Stones – Let’s Spend the Night Together
  54. The Rolling Stones – Wild Horses
  55. Tina Turner ft. Bryan Adams – It’s Only Love
  56. Van Halen – Beautiful Girls
  57. Van Halen – Love Walks In
  58. Whitesnake – Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City
  59. Whitesnake – All I Want is You
  60. Whitesnake – Is This Love

 

 

P.S Honestly, I am not such a huge fan of this day and I don’t really get what the huge crazy is all about – if you love and cherish someone, you should make sure they feel loved each and every day of the year…You don’t wait for this day to come, so that you can prove how much someone means to you…And what’s with all the merchandise and the hearts and the teddy bears!? Of course, another way to stuff more money into the bank accounts of huge corporations that don’t really care about people…

 

 

[90s] [Album Focus] Best-Selling Soundtrack Of All Time – The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album

Greetings!

So I’ve been meaning to dedicate a publication to the greatest soundtrack albums of all time, however due to busy schedule I’m afraid I cannot do it at this point. Instead, I decided to focus on just one for the – the best of the best, the greatest of the greatest and the best-selling soundtrack albums of all time – Whitney Houston’s “The Bodyguard”.
As I always do, I’m going to start the post with some background information…Back in the day, especially in the 80s and in the 90s there was a heavy cross-media promotion. Unlike today, in the past a media product was usually heavily tight with other media products such as books and music. The movie industry started relying heavily on soundtrack in order to boost the popularity of the movie – it was the other way around as well – soundtracks were relying on the movies to boost their sales. Basically, films and music were together in an inseparable marriage. I don’t know what actually happened, however… – nowadays I feel like movies don’t really invest much in memorable and grandiose soundtracks the way they did before. Time has surely changed…
The practice of cross-promotion between a movie and a soundtrack became a trend since the introduction of Television back in the 50s and 60s. It was a brilliant win-win strategy which left us with the most memorable movie themes and songs ever! Helping the other industry out and capitalizing heavily at the same time became a major business model. Simply all the movie and music producers were working together in order to create a unique and memorable artistic product. In addition, 70s and the 80s marked the rise of blockbusters – you know, those high budget and incredible movies featuring all the famous stars and great effects. Blockbusters have always relied on promotions and heavy exposure to the public in order to obtain revenues – that’s only natural. One way to gain additional promotion was to use music – which of course became the most powerful tool! I’m not sure what the correct line of events is though – one could argue – is the soundtrack promoting the movie or the movie was promoting the soundtrack!? See, that’s what I’m talking about – those two media products were inseparable and had a huge impact on one another! The music of a movie simply represents the spirit and the identity of the movie itself – it is as equally important – no second opinion about that! Little by little, from just one or two theme songs, the idea of a whole album became a cultural phenomenon –producers started investing on whole albums filled with music from the movie. I believe it all started with Saturday Night Fever – one of the greatest soundtrack albums of all time, that’s for sure (kudos to BeeGees). Once it was established that such albums are extremely popular and well-accepted from the audience, everyone just simply jumped on the bandwagon – soundtrack after soundtrack – great albums after great albums. I mean, who can ever forget the original soundtrack albums of “Flashdance” or “Footlose” or “Dirty Dancing”? – no one that is…

Going back to the greatest soundtrack of all-time… I don’t think the album or the movie needs much introduction. It’s one of the all-time classics which will simply remain in history for their brilliance…I will focus on the soundtrack album because it’s an album-related publication, after all. So here we go…the best-selling soundtrack of all time by the princess of pop herself…


 

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Released: November 17th, 1992
Genre: Pop, RnB
Label: Arista
Producer: Clive Davis, Whitney Houston, Jazz Summers, Tim Parry
Tracklist:
*“I Will Always Love You”
*“I Have Nothing”
*“I’m Every Woman”
*“Run to You”
*“Queen of the Night”
*“Jesus Loves Me”
*“Even If My Heart Would Break” (performed by Kenny G and Aaron Neville)
*“Someday (I’m Coming Back)” (performed by Lisa Stansfield)
*“It’s Gonna Be A Lovely Day” (performed by the S.O.U.L.S.Y.S.T.E.M.)
*“(What’s so Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding” (performed by Curtis Stigers)
*“Waiting for You” (performed by Kenny G)
*“Trust in Me” (performed by Joe Cocker, featuring Sass)
Singles: “I Will Always Love You”, “Someday (I’m Coming Back)”, “I’m Every Woman”, “I Have Nothing”, “Run to You”, “Queen of the Night”, “It’s Gonna Be a Lovely Day”


 

The album features a bunch of  other artists – many people think it’s just her songs; however that’s not the case. We have Lisa Stansfield and Kenny G and of course, Joe Cocker…all brilliant musicians and voices. The album was co-executive produced by Whitney Houston and the great Clive Davis – the person behind ARISTA records. Whitney had full control over the album – she chose specifically each and every song. The theme song was supposed to be a completely different one; however they lost it to another movie.Can you imagine that – one of the greatest ballads of all time – the ballads of the ballads, the most powerful and tear-breaking performance by a female artist almost didn’t happen….Whitney’s male co-star – Mr. Kevin Costner was actually the one who suggested that they should record “I Will Always Love You” as the theme song. Maybe some of you don’t know but the original song was written and performed by Dolly Parton – the famous country diva. How did they manage to transform such a slow, rather boring and I’d say “background” music to this amazing and powerful composition, I have no idea. Kudos to the brilliant producers!
The success of the album was almost immediate. Whitney became the first act to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period! This makes the album the fastest-selling album in the history of music! She also won a Grammy and for the album of the year and the RIAA certified the album 17 times Platinum. Over 44 million copies have been sold worldwide to day, which makes the album the best-selling soundtrack of all time – well, how can it not be?

Of course, the album is mostly remembered by the phenomenal ballad we all know and love with all our hearts – “I Will Always Love You”. The song appealed to all markets and to people of all ages – it was a mixture of soul, RnB, pop and contemporary music. It also received huge airplay. The single spent fourteen weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The album itself topped the Billboard 200 for 20 weeks. The following singles that were released from the album followed the success of the theme song – with “I’m Every Woman” (a Chaka Khan cover) and “I Have Nothing”, Whitney Houston became the first female act to have three songs in the Top 20 at the same time.

Not only was the soundtrack a musical phenomenon and a complete triumph, but the movie itself simply became one of the greatest romance stories of all time. This whole project once again proves my point – cross-promotion is needed and it should be very well thought of! In this case, the movie promoted the soundtrack and vice-versa. The results – smashing box-office success and the greatest and most memorable ballad of time… In my opinion, the powerful an unmatched vocal delivery of Whitney Houston and the success of the album completely overshadowed the movie. However, in this case it turned out just great!

There’s absolutely no point in talking about the quality and excellence of this soundtrack – just listen to the songs and lose yourself to the feeling… Every song is so inspirational and so well-crafted that you just can’t stop replaying. That’s the magic of Whitney’s voice and her aura in general – she is able to convey so many emotions with her voice that at one point you just don’t know whether to cry, smile or be happy. I grew up listening to this album (yes, I have it in my CD collection, of course) and it just means the world to me! I am extremely sad that we lost this gorgeous queen and will always wish I could go back in time and enjoy her projects all over again…
One thing I have to say, she was also a brilliant actress and we can most certainly see it in “The Bodyguard”. I miss her and I will always love her…
Also, I wish they could make great soundtracks like this one nowadays – I’ve been waiting and waiting but so far all we have does not deserve to even be mentioned… Let’s wait and see….

Velina

xoxox


Credits:
“The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album” by Arion Berger, November 13, 2013, retrieved by Rolling Stones Magazine
“Top 10 Best Selling Movie Soundtracks”, retrieved by http://www.sky.com
“The Bodyguard (soundtrack)”, retrieved from Wikipedia

 

Top 5 Best-Selling Debut Albums of All Time

Debut Albums collage!with link

Greetings!

For today’s publication I decided to make another informative (hopefully) list which this time is going to be dedicated to albums, rather than singes or songs. The publication won’t be based on my personal opinion; rather I would like to list the top 5 best-selling debut albums of all time.

First impressions count! The following albums made such great first impressions that they not only launched successful careers but also became a cultural landmark. The success of a debut album may give us some sort of idea how popular an artist/band can be. It also works as a key to set up a fan base and make impressions in the music industry. In my opinion, the initial impact has to be for sure the strongest one. Smash hit album release is a MUST in order to grab the audience and establish a name for yourself in the industry. Also, a debut album is important because it sets some sort of standards and expectations from the musician/s and the following projects. Many musicians are remembered by their unbelievably good debut albums. Unfortunately, some of them were not able to live up to those high standards in their second albums or following projects. Such are the cases with some of the following musicians – Guns ‘n’ Roses for instance – great debut album but where are they now? My point is that, in music industry, especially nowadays with the development of media, artists need CONSISTENCY – which also happens to be one of the most difficult things to achieve! That’s why musicians such as Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson were so great (and still are). Album after album they completely proved to their fans and to the industry that they most certainly are not a one-album-wonder.
Back to the debut albums, the following is a list of 5 best-selling debut albums. I am considering a part 2, which hopefully can happen sooner. I hope you enjoy the music and learn something new!
Here we go…


Guns ‘N Roses – Appetite For Destruction

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The ultimate game changer for Guns ‘n Roses and in my opinion the main and only reason why they are so famous and loved by fans all over the world. It also happens to be the best-selling debut album of all times! It is also the 11th best-selling album in the United States alone! The album sold more than 30 million copies worldwide – such an impressive number! The album was released on July 21st, 1987 and it spent more 147 weeks on Billboard chart! Axl, Slash and the boys spawned 7 singles from the album. Four of those singles – “Sweet Child O’ Mine“, “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City” each peaked top 10 positions on the Billboard Hot 100 (#1, #5, and #7). Producer Mike Clink deserves nothing but huge applause! The album was released under the Geffen Records label – do I have to say more? This is probably one of the greatest record labels in history! The album became one of the most powerful forces in rock music history and its songs will always be a hit! Unfortunately, the only member left in the band is Axl and nowadays things are just not working well for him. The rest of the members departed and pursued solo careers. This is a perfect example how a band can have a tremendous success and in time gradually but steadily fall from its grace~ Too bad, the guys were rockin’ it!


 Boston – Boston

Boston-1.jpg

It saddens me that so many people are not aware of this amazing band and the legacy they left. Their self-titled album “Boston” was released back in 1976 and the success of the album was a surprise to so many people. Indeed, this unknown band came literally out of nowhere and dropped this amazing album which still remains the second best-selling debut album of all time! The album was released under the label of Epic Records and was produced by the great John Boylan and Tom Scholz, The album produced three singles, each of them absolute and smashing hits – “More Than a Feeling”, “Foreplay/Long Time” and “Peace of Mind”. Interesting fact, till today the songs from this album are constantly being played on radios all around the world, mostly in the USA, of course. The style of the album is often referred as “Boston style” rock, however in my opinion if I have to place a genre or style of music, I would say radio-friendly rock with classic elements and melodic guitar hooks! The influence and trend this album created was enormous. They were blamed for the creation of so called “corporate” rock and for the “transition of mainstream American rock from blues-based proto-metal to power pop”.


 Hootie and the Blowfish – Cracked Rear View

Cracked-Rear-View-cover

On number three, we have the debut album of Hootie & the Blowfish – Cracked Rear View, which was released back in 1994 under the label of Atlantic Records. Till today, it remains their most successful album. It was also the best-selling album of 1995! The album spawned five hit singles – “Let Her Cry,” “Hold My Hand”, “Only Wanna Be with You”, “Time” and “Drowning”, four of which became ultimate smashing hits. There was some sort of controversy – they were sued by Bob Dylan for unauthorized use of his lyrics in the song “Only Wanna Be With You”. Regardless, the album became a total hit! It appealed to both young people and the older generation – one of the reasons why it was such a success story. Another reason may be the catchy but soulful lyrics. The sound of the album is more alternative, pop oriented rock rather than heavy-sounding like the previous two albums.


Britney Spears – …Baby One More Time

Britney-Spears-Baby-One-More-Time-cover

Oh my…Remember when Britney was like 18 years old and became this huge global phenomenon back in the late 1990s? The popularity of this debut album was unimaginable! Oh and yes, I also had it – I was a kid once! I was 7 years old when this album came out and I remember how happy I was the moment I got my hands on it. She was the perfect pop star and quickly became my idol – only because of this influential debut album! The album came out on January 1999 and it quickly won the hearts of many young fans all over the world! The album is fourteen times platinum, according to the RAA and it turned into the 5th best-selling album of all time in the USA. She released five singles from the album – “…Baby One More Time”, “Sometimes”, “(You Drive Me) Crazy”, “Born to Make You Happy” and “From the Bottom of My Broken Heart”. Needless to say, the title song of the album was the most successful one among these songs, even though each one of them broke the records! The songs were catchy, rhythmic, easy to dance to and so innocent – they immediately reached to the hearts of the teenagers of the 90s! Britney got tons of nominations, Grammys and pretty much all the acknowledgements you can imagine – people and the music industry simply fell in love with this pop sensation! Interesting fact, the title song – “…Baby One More Time” was originally supposed to be given to the famous girl trio TLC, however they rejected it – such a huge mistake, if you ask me. In conclusion, I have to say this album is everything! It gave a new meaning to pop and it changed the music industry! This is one perfect example of how powerful a debut album can be! It was the ultimate revival of teen pop! Rolling Stone wrote: “Britney Spears carries on the classic archetype of the rock & roll teen queen, the dungaree doll, the angel baby who just has to make a scene.”


Backstreet Boys – Backstreet Boys

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Backstreet Boys! The famous boyband we all love and grew up listening to! I’m 100% sure that all of the 90s girls had a crush on them – they were those perfect, talented and handsome guys, singing about love and romance. My favorite one was Nick – he was just so adorable! Anyhow, back to the album – it is a bit confusing because internationally, the album was released in 1996 in Canada, Europe and Asia. However, their debut in the USA was one year later – in 1997 and they repackaged the initial international album and released a new version with some new songs. The USA release coincided with their second international album, titled “Backstreet’s back” so it contained songs from both the original 1996 debut and the 1997 follow-up “Backstreet’s Back“…It was always so puzzling to me and difficult to follow which album was where and when… Bottom line is, the debut album became one of the most successful debut albums of all time. It reached number four on Billboard and has been certified fourteen times Platinum by the RIAA for sales. The numbers are beyond impressive…but how can they not be? – the album produced some of their most famous and signature songs – songs we still know by heart and sing. I mean, who doesn’t know “Quit Playing Games with My Heart” or “As Long As You love me”… or of course…”Everybody”! The debut album also established their names and crafted their special and unique sound and style. I just want to go back in time…… too many memories!


This is it for now! The top 5 best-selling debut albums of all time! We have rock, alternative and pop artists who did so well with their career-launching albums that they simply made history!
I deeply recommend you guys listen and enjoy the albums because they have really beautiful and meaningful songs – they are best-selling for a reason!
Enjoy~

Velina

xoxoxo

 


Credits:
“Top 10 Best Selling Debut Albums in US History” by Adriano Valente, retrieved from http://www.therichest.com
“List of best-selling albums”, retrieved from Wikipedia

5 Unforgettable Michael Jackson Duets & Collaborations

The-Legacy-The-Music-of-Michael-Jackson

Greetings, everyone!

Today’s publication is very special to me, since I am going to talk about the greatest entertainer that ever lived. The idea behind the publication came to me this morning when I was simply listening to the playlist I have on my phone and suddenly it played “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. As we all know, the song features Eddie Van Halen’s instantly recognizable and brilliant guitar riffs. This made me think about other famous and everlasting collaborations and duets he did throughout the years. I don’t think right now I will have the time to actually list all of them – they are that many. However, I wanted to present and cover at least five of my ultimate favorites and of course provide some background information about the projects.

It was very difficult to decide what to begin with actually, since we are talking about the King of the Kings – the person who did so much for the music industry – not only he broke the racial barrier on TV but he was also one of the greatest philanthropists. He gave the world something much more than music. Personally, I don’t think anyone can match his success or stage persona – he was that good. I was so lucky to be probably the last generation to be influenced by his music on such high levels. It is such a shame that we lost him…
Back to the publication, I don’t really think there were, are, or will be, any entertainers greater than him. However, he was a humble and gentle soul, everybody admired him and he had numerous friends in the industry. Throughout his career he made some unforgettable collaborations and duets with other artists. We grew up listening to those songs and we are still doing it – who can forget “USA for Africa” or “Beat It”? – No one.
I chose to talk about 5 songs in particular – my personal five I would say. In the future, I would most certainly plan on publishing a “part 2” so stay tuned for more. The following list of songs are not numbered chronologically or based on commercial success, popularity or any other recognition. The list simply reflects my preferences.

***********

“Beat It” (featuring Eddie Van Halen)
ROCK meets POP

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I won’t lie – the reason why I love this song so much is because of Eddie’s distinctive and powerful guitar riffs. Everyone who knows me is well aware of how much I love Van Halen, so it was only natural to begin with this song. Another reason why I chose to start with “Beat It” was because of its background story. The song itself was the third single from the singer’s sixth solo album, Thriller and it was released on February 3, 1983. It ultimately topped all the charts, including US R&B singles chart, US Billboard Top Tracks chart and Billboard Hot 100. Many music critics claim that this song was the best song of the album. I would agree for sure. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore Thriller and Billie Jean and pretty much every song from the album. However, “Beat it” did it perfectly to me. It is a perfect fusion of rock and pop and what a fusion that was!! “I wanted to write a song, the type of song that I would buy if I were to buy a rock song… That is how I approached it and I wanted the children to really enjoy it—the school children as well as the college students,” – He said. The story of how Eddie Van Halen ended up in the song is also pretty interesting. When he was first contacted by Quincy Jones, Eddie thought it was a prank call – really? However, once he realized that Michael really wanted to collaborate with him for a rock song, Eddie quickly agreed. What I love about this story is the fact that Eddie didn’t even ask for money – he simply did it for free. “I did it as a favour…I was a complete fool, according to the rest of the band, our manager and everyone else. I was not used. I knew what I was doing – I don’t do something unless I want to do it,” – Eddie said. His guitar riffs were a bit too much though, so the producers had to reduce the distorted guitar a little. Another interesting fact is that when they were recording his solo, a monitor speaker in the control room actually caught on fire – imagine the power coming out of the guitar! Unfortunately, Eddie was not allowed to be in the music video of the song (Shame!) however he did appear on stage with Michael during Jackson brothers “Victory Tour”. Bottom line is – they were both phenomenal! Eddie was ripping through those notes with the speed of light! He wrote his own guitar solo, of course. However I should mention that the song itself was composed, arranged and written by Michael – and what a song that is!
“You have to show them that you’re really not scared
You’re playin’ with your life, this ain’t no truth or dare
They’ll kick you, then they beat you,
Then they’ll tell you it’s fair…”

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“Say, Say, Say” (featuring Paul McCartney)
Legend vs Legend

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Two music geniuses coming together and creating such an amazing, catchy and everlasting song with probably one of the most memorable music videos ever! The song doesn’t need introduction. In my opinion it is Michael’s most successful collaboration with another artist ever! In terms of commercial success and popularity it is indeed one of the greatest duet songs ever. However, in my opinion the vocal delivery of both Paul and Michael is not as impressive as I would like it to be.
“Say, Say, Say” was released in 1983 and was produced by George Martin for Paul McCartney’s album, Pipes of Peace. It quickly hit number one in charts all over the USA and Europe. It was also certified as gold by the RIAA for sales of more than one million copies in 1983.
During the recording sessions, Michael actually stayed and lived with Linda and Paul with whom eventually he became good friends. The majority of the song lyrics were written by Michael and the song itself was produced by George Martin who worked with The Beatles before. I am sure most of you guys know the story behind the feud between those two but I really think it is hilarious – so I would like to share it once more. During Michael’s stay in Paul and Linda’s house, Paul shared with him how much money he makes from all the publishing rights he bought to hit songs. That is indeed through because if you own the publishing rights, every time someone covers the song or plays it on the radio – you get money. Michael got inspired and eventually bought the company that owned most of the Fab Four’s music catalog – such an irony, right! “…to be someone’s friend and then buy the rug they’re standing on…,” – Paul said.
“What can I do
Girl to get through to you?
Cause I love you, baby
Standing here, baptisted in all my tears
Baby through the years
You know I’m crying…”

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“Scream” (featuring Janet Jackson)
Brother vs. Sister

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Phenomenal! Exceptional! Brilliant! I don’t even know what to say about this collaboration and this song! Not to mention the video which is indeed one of the craziest videos of the 90s – but that is Michael, after all – the king of the music videos! The song is very rough, wild and quite angry I think – it about how media misinterpret and misinform the society. (Quite sensitive and popular topic, especially after the 90s)… In the first half of the 90s, Michael Jackson was often the center figure of media backlash – so he decided that the best way to respond is through his music! Specifically, the song addresses the sexual child abasement claims that were made against Michael in 1993.
In my opinion, however, when we talk about this specific Janet and Michael collaboration, what made it so famous is the music video, rather than the song itself. Don’t get me wrong – it is a song to die for. However, the MV was why it stood out and made such a buzz – both of them took on a much darker and wild persona and took off to space to get away from all the media hustle and bustle. One other thing I wanted to point out is that they both sounded very different from their usual selves, especially Michael. With this song and his vocal delivery, you could tell how frustrated and angry he was – and most certainly was not hiding it.
The single was released on May 31, 1995.
“Tired of injustice
Tired of the schemes
The lies are disgusting
So what does it mean
Kicking me down
I got to get up
As jacked as it sounds
The whole system sucks”

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“State Of Shock” (featuring Mick Jagger)
Fun, Crazy, Pure Rock’n’Roll….

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I love this song! This song and “Beat It” are probably my top favorite Michael Jackson collaborations of all time! Mick Jagger – do I need to say more? Mick brought so much energy, so much passion and so much fun to the song! It was written by Jackson and guitarist Randy Hansen and it reached number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 (huh? It deserved number 1)… It was originally supposed to be a song featuring only Jackson’s guitarist Randy, but then they came up with the idea of inviting a rockstar.
Interesting fact, the song was originally supposed to be a duet between Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury, however their schedules were so different, that Michael eventually recorded it with Jagger. Personally, I think they made the right decision. I don’t wish to compare Mick and Freddie since I adore them both on so many levels; however for this song in particular, Mick’s energetic vocal delivery did it for me!
“State Of Shock” was released in June 1984 “by The Jacksons and it was their last platinum effort.
“The lead singer of the Rolling Stones eyed the phenomenal success of Thriller with envy,”
– said Christopher P. Andersen.
“Mick became obsessed with Michael Jackson” and explained it saying, “He wanted to know every detail about Jackson’s life, his contract with Columbia, how the Thriller singles were selling,…,” said Arthur Collins, then president of Rolling Stones Records.
“You gotta be mine
‘Cause you’re so fine
I like your style
It makes me wild
You take it to me good
Know you should
You get me on my knees
Well, please, baby, please…”

+ bonus – a live performance I absolutely adore – featuring my favorite female rockstar Tina Turner during LIVE AID in 1985

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“Give Into Me” (featuring Slash)
Power, Power, Raw Power…

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After the phenomenal success of “Beat It”, I think it was only natural for Michael to start making more and more projects with famous guitarists. This time, he chose Slash from Guns n Roses and what a perfect match!!! The song is often considered as a hard rock ballad and it was released on February 1993 as the tenth track on Michael Jackson’s 1991 studio album Dangerous.
Many people are sometimes confused when it comes to Slash and Michael Jackson’s collaborations because the guitarist is often associated with the song “Black or White”. However to set the records straight, the song’s main riff is not played by Slash.
“Give Into Me” on the other hand turned into this sensual, wild and rather aggressive heavy metal ballad tanks to Slash’s genius guitar skills. It was also written, composed, and produced by Michael Jackson and Bill Bottrell. Slash also appeared on the music video, as well as other musicians such as Muzz Skillings (Living Color) and Gilby Clarke (Guns n Roses).
“You Always Knew Just How To Make Me Cry
And Never Did I Ask You Questions Why
It Seems You Get Your Kicks From Hurting Me
Don’t Try To Understand Me
Because Your Words Just Aren’t Enough”

This is it for now!
Those are my five most favorite Michael Jackson collaborations of all time!
He was indeed the greatest and whatever he was doing – he was doing it with class, love and a lot of hard work! That is why so many people loved him and wanted to work with him.
I hope I brought back some memories to you guys ~
Stay tuned for more!

 

Velina

xoxoxo

 

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Credits:
“31 Years Ago: Mick Jagger Releases ‘State of Shock’ with Michael Jackson” by Tony Rettman; Retrieved from http://ultimateclassicrock.com
“How ‘Scream’ became the craziest video of the 90s” by Michael Cragg; Retrieved from http://www.dazeddigital.com/music
“Paul McCartney vs. Michael Jackson” by Matthew Wilkening; Retrieved from http://ultimateclassicrock.com/paul-mccartney-vs-michael-jackson-nastiest-rock-feuds/
“10 unforgettable Michael Jackson collaborations” by Andy Huang; Retrieved from https://thebestten.wordpress.com