[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT – The Turn Of A Friendly Card

the-alan-parsons-project-the-turn-of-a-friendly-card

THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD

Released: November 1, 1980
Genre: Progressive Rock / Art Rock
Duration: 40:25
Label: Arista
Producer(s): Alan Parsons

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OVERVIEW

It’s time for some fine progressive rock, coming directly from one of the pioneers of the genre – the British rockers The Alan Parsons Project. “The Turn of a Friendly Card” opens up a door to the world of gambling by offering a brilliant selection of tunes, dealing with the theme. Often referred to as their most memorable and ear-pleasing work, featuring two of their greatest hits of all time “Games People Play” and “Time”, the record stood the test of time and is still on top of people’s minds when talking about progressive rock. Naturally, it became a commercial success as well, peaking at #13 on the Billboard 200 Chart. “The Turn of a Friendly Card” offers vocal variety and strength as throughout the album we get to hear Eric Woolfson’s delightful debut as a lead vocalist (“Time”), Chris Rainbow, Lenny Zakatek and Elmer Gantry. The record is well-produced, imaginative and highly enjoyable. Definitely one step away from the pretentious, overly-dramatic and world-spinning progressive music of the 70s but it still carrying out its idea in quite the exquisite way.

The sensitive ballad “Time”, the album’s finest work, is a song which can dissolve even the toughest, most resilient soul after just one listen. A song drifting away from the main theme of the album but if I may say their most beautiful work with some of the saddest lyrics in music history…”Goodbye my love, Maybe for forever, Goodbye my love, The tide waits for me, Who knows when we shall meet again, If ever…” If that doesn’t make you feel like you need a hug and a shoulder to cry on, then you truly are made of stone. The essence of the song comes from the superb vocal debut of Eric Woolfson who just makes the whole journey so much more enchanting. The synthesizer-driven “Games People Play” is another classic, captivating with its thrilling intro that transforms into a great mid-tempo rocker. “The Gold Bug” is a spellbinding instrumental that is often referred to as one of the band’s finest instrumentals. “Snake Eyes” is the album’s hidden rhythmic treasure, leaving us with a little sweet reggae aftertaste. The powerful but anxious title track, performed by Chris Rainbow, delivers a strong message with its lyrics, “…And they think it will make their lives easier, For God knows up till now it’s been hard, But the game never ends when your whole world depends, On the turn of a friendly card”.  The song is sending me to another century with its mysterious, quite antique atmosphere.

 “The Turn of a Friendly Card” is an album that can satisfy the desires of both progressive rock and pop fans. That doesn’t mean it lacks imagination or that it doesn’t tempt us with its thoughtful themes and interpretations. On the contrary, it’s one of the most curious and alluring albums from the early years of the 80s. Needless to say, it’s also an absolute favorite of mine.  

Listen and enjoy!

 

Tracklist:

“May Be a Price to Pay”
“Game People Play”
“Time”
“I Don’t Wanna Go Home”
“The Gold Bug”
“The Turn of a Friendly Card” (Part One)
“Snake Eyes”
“The Ace of Swords”
“Nothing Left To Lose”
“The Turn of a Friendly Card” (Part Two)

 

Time

Games People Play

I Don’t Wanna Go Home

 The Turn Of A Friendly Card


References:

“The Turn of a Friendly Card” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Turn_of_a_Friendly_Card

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~

’90S ROCK BLAST: SCORPIONS – CRAZY WORLD

scorpions-crazy-world-coverart

CRAZY WORLD

Released: November 6, 1990
Genre: Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
Duration: 52:53
Label: Vertigo (Europe), Mercury (US)
Producer(s): Keith Olsen, Scorpions
Singles: “Tease Me Please Me”, “Don’t Believe Her”, “Wind Of Change”, “Send Me an Angel”
Certified: 2xPlatinum (RIAA)

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OVERVIEW

 “Crazy World” is the phenomenal 1990 comeback record of the German rockers Scorpions which proved that even though the 80s were gone, 100% pure hard solid rock wasn’t! With a new but quite famous producer on board – Keith Olsen (who worked with rock acts such as Whitesnake, Foreigner, Santana, Heart, Journey and many more), heavier sound, outstanding guitar solos and greater, much deeper lyrical work, “Crazy World” is often referred to as Scorpions’ finest work so far.  We cannot deny the impact of the album and its rightful place in the history of rock music. With immortal rockers, such as the gentle but empowering “Send Me an Angel” and arguably their most memorable classic “Wind of Change”, this album sends you on quite the fascinating journey!

Overall, the record is very catchy, soothing, and ear-pleasing – that is if you are into hard rock/heavy metal music, of course. The opening track, “Tease Me Please Me”, is an excellent injection of good old loud rock&roll, perfect for any wild night out. Other hot rockers include “Don’t Believe Her” and “Kicks After Six” – tracks that are not necessarily making a huge statement but are as equally enjoyable as any other tune on the record. The fantastic blend between alleviating harmonies and profound lyrics can be found in the two power-ballads “Send Me an Angel” and “Wind of Change”. Without doubt, those two mark probably the band’s finest point of their career as creative musicians and artists. Eye-opening and overwhelming lyrics, celebrating hope and new beginnings, accompanied by clean guitar work is the formula that turned those two emotional songs into the absolute turning point of Scorpions’ career. If you guys are wondering, “Wind of Change” is dedicated to the end of the Cold War which makes the song even more special.

Good hard rock never gets old! “Crazy World” is a classic and shame on you if you don’t have it in your record collection! Check out the songs and celebrate Scorpions’ outstanding musicianship with me!

Tracklist:

“Tease Me Please Me”
“Don’t Believe Her”
“To Be With You in Heaven”
“Wind of Change”
“Restless Nights”
“Lust or Love”
“Kicks After Six”
“Hit Between the Eyes”
“Money and Fame”
“Crazy World”
“Send Me an Angel”


Tease Me Please Me

Don’t Believe Her

Wind Of Change

Send Me An Angel


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

[’80s Rock Album Focus] BAD COMPANY – DANGEROUS AGE

bad-company-no-smoke-without-fire

DANGEROUS AGE

Released: August 23, 1988
Genre: Rock/Hard Rock
Duration: 44:31
Label: Atlantic Records
Producer(s): Terry Thomas

bad company dangerous age.png

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OVERVIEW

I would like to go over Bad Company’s “Dangerous Age” album because I feel like it should be heard or remembered and despite the fact that I’m probably in the minority here, I do believe that their 80s and 90s releases with Brian Howe on vocals are better and definitely among my favorites. He just has that perfect 80s hard/pop rock voice and that’s exactly what does it for me.

“Dangerous Age” is a hard rock solid comeback album which followed the AOR trends of the era – polished, melodic and radio-ready sound, sleek production, catchy and fun style. All that fit quite well with the arena rocking voice of Brian. Nevertheless, the record features some pretty sweet rockers, including the strong opening “One Night”; and the instant stand-out track that got tons of airplay, “No Smoke Without a Fire” – a winter song that immediately creates a path to your brain and just sticks there. I absolutely adore it, it’s too empowering, and definitely one of those tracks that should be listened with the volume up there to the max. The title track is also among one of the fines and most enjoyable moments of the album. “Bad Man” and “Shake it Up” are the hidden treasures which definitely deserve a listen (or preferably a two). “The Way That It Goes” has quite appealing melody to sing along with so check it out as well!

Give it a go, that’s all I can say! Bad Company is a great band and a bit underrated so I’m using this moment to spread the word and remind you guys of them. “Dangerous Age” is a powerful but often forgotten AOR album so if you are into that kind of music, this is the record for you. Beautiful vocals, empowering rock tunes, smokin’ riffs and tons of good mood!

Tracklist:

“One Night”
“Shake it Up”
“No Smoke Without a Fire”
“Bad Man”
“Dangerous Age”
“Dirty Boy”
“Rock of America”
“Something About You”
“The Way That It Goes”
“Love Attack”
“Excited”


“No Smoke Without a Fire”

“One Night”

“Dangerous Age”

“Love Attack”

 


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

Overview of DAVID GILMOUR’s Solo Albums

david-gilmour-solo-albums

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

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


 

David Gilmour (1978)

david-gilmour-solo

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

“So Far Away”

“I Can’t Breathe Anymore”


About Face (1984)

david-gilmour-about-face

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

“Love on the Air”

“All Lovers are Deranged”


 

On an Island (2006)

COPERTINA.pdf

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

“On an Island”

“Red Sky at Night”


 

“Rattle That Lock” (2015)

david-gilmour-rattle-that-lock

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

“Rattle That Lock”

“Today”


 

References:

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

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

Cheers~

Celebrating the Progressive Rock Album Art of Roger Dean

Album artworks are such an important part of a record. I have previously expressed my opinions on the issue and if you are curious to find out the stories behind some of the most iconic classic rock album artworks, you can read my previous publication here:

[Click Here] Behind some of the Most Iconic Classic Rock Album Artworks

Now, I would like to specifically focus on the famous artist Roger Dean whose imagination and talent covered the albums of so many amazing bands and musicians, such as ASIA, YES, Uriah Heep and many more. Roger Dean went far and beyond in his futuristic artworks. From fantastical creatures, to mysterious galaxies, his inventiveness stood the test of time and till today, he is often credited as one of the most inspirational and important progressive graphic designers. Not to mention his contributions to the popularization and vision of progressive rock. His works are absolute classics and how can they not be? He is responsible for creating the visual identities of so many bands and artists. That’s why I decided to dedicate this publication to (some of) his incredible art and hopefully remind you guys of these timeless records who became so famous not only because of the music, but because of their visual appeal, courtesy of Roger Dean!


 

ASIA

ASIA (1982)

Asia - Asia Cover

ALPHA (1983)

Asia - Alpha Album Cover

ARIA (1994)

Asia Aria Album Art

AURA (2001)

Asia Aura albm art

PHOENIX (2008)

asia phoenix album art

OMEGA (2010)

asia omega album art

XXX (2012)

Asia xxx album art.jpg

GRAVITAS (2014)

asia gravitas album art


 

YES

FRAGILE (1971)

Yes - Fragile - Roger Dean

CLOSE TO THE EDGE (1972)

CLOSE TO THE EDGE (1972) YES

YESTERDAYS (1975)

YESTERDAYS (1975) YES

DRAMA (1980)

DRAMA (1980) YES

CLASSIC YES (1981)

CLASSIC YES (1981) YES

UNION (1991)

UNION (1991) YES

Symphonic Music of Yes (1993)

Symphonic Music of Yes (1993)

OPEN YOUR EYES (1997)

OPEN YOUR EYES (1997) YES

THE LADDER (1999)

THE LADDER (1999) YES

House of Yes: Live from House of Blues (2000)

House of Yes Live from House of Blues (2000)

In a Word: Yes (1969–) (2002)

In a Word Yes (1969–)

HEAVEN & EARTH (2014)

HEAVEN & EARTH (2014)

Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome (2014)

Like It Is Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome (2014)

Like It Is: Yes at the Mesa Arts Center (2015)

Like It Is Yes at the Mesa Arts Center (2015)


 

URIAH HEEP

DEMONS AND WIZARDS (1972)

URIAH HEEP DEMONS AND WIZARDS (1972)


 

OSIBISA

OSIBISA (1971)

Osibisa_Osibisa


 

SYEVE HOWE

BEGINNINGS (1975)

STEVE HOWE BEGINNINGS

TURBULENCE (1991)

STEVE HOWE TURBULENCE


 

 BABE RUTH

FIRST BASE (1972)

BABE RUTH FIRST BASE


 

BUDGIE

SQUAWK (1972)

Squawk-cover

 


Us and Them: Symphonic Pink Floyd (1995)

Symphonic_Pink_Floyd

 


 

Credits and References:
By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1599553
By Official Yes website., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1502119
Category:Albums with cover art by Roger Dean (artist), retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Albums_with_cover_art_by_Roger_Dean_(artist)
The far-out prog-rock album art of Roger Dean”, retrieved from http://www.nme.com/photos/the-far-out-prog-rock-album-art-of-roger-dean/211255#/photo/2#IVkoPr8rRmouYhww.99
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the credits and rights go to the owners/publishers. The publications is merely a collection of visual artworks made by Roger Dean.
Cheers!
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