[MIXTAPE] My Top 10 ALAN PARSONS PROJECT Songs

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Thank God Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson – two of the most notable geniuses of progressive rock, decided to join creative forces in 1975 and create The Alan Parsons Project, a band whose presence entirely redefined progressive rock and the music scene of the time. Accompanied by talented session musicians and various vocalists, The Alan Parsons Project quickly established a name as the ultimate pioneers of concept album releases.

Alan Parsons, or as I like to call him Mr Everything, already had a long list of achievements, including engineering Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” and helping with The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” and “Let it Be”. For such an outstanding songwriter, audio-engineer, producer, signer and most importantly – a man with a unique perspective and approach to music, the sky was the limit. He saw a respectful partner in crime in the early 1970s in the face of the equally talented lyricists, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Eric Woolfson and… the rest was history.  

The Alan Parsons Project debuted with in 1976 with a concept album titled “Tales of Mystery and Imagination”. The band’s identity was yet to be solidified, though. In the years to come, the duo crafted groundbreaking albums like “I Robot” (1977), “The Turn of a Friendly Card” (1980), “Eye in the Sky” (1982), “Ammonia Avenue” (1984) which cemented the duo as one of the highest and most important British progressive rock towers in the mid-1970s and 1980s.

In their 40-year career, Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson managed to craft some serious magic. Ten studio albums, each with its own thought-provoking concept, spawned numerous timeless hit singles, still relevant and appreciated by (progressive) rock fans all over the world. Heavily-orchestrated, enigmatic, a bit melancholic even, decorated with powerful lyrics – their music has always been my biggest soothing agent. It is impossible to cherry-pick ten songs from their extensive catalogue and label them as “my absolute favorites”, however I did my best to at least craft a reasonable playlist for the fans who wish to experience the music of The Alan Parsons Project. I do hope you enjoy it!


Eye in the Sky (1982)

The mesmerizing “Eye in the Sky” is among Alan Parsons Project’s biggest commercial successes. Coming from their 1982 album with the same name, the track brought them top chart positions in countries all over the world. Eric Woolfson provided lead vocals for “Eye in the Sky”, which perfectly aligned with the soothing, quiet, yet funky and thrilling rhythms of the song. The lyrics are what captivate the listener the most, in my opinion. Just listen…


Games People Play (1980)

“Games People Play” – another immensely satisfying tune, this time coming from Alan Parsons Project’s 1980 album “The Turn of a Friendly Card”Lenny Zakatek brought so much life into the tune with his memorable vocals. The concept of the song is pretty straightforward, directly related to the overall theme of the record. The lyrics are once again the strongest point, at least to me.


Time (1980)

“Time” comes from “The Turn of a Friendly Card”(1980) and is in my opinion one of the saddest songs ever to be made. Eric Woolfson’s quiet and gentle vocal delivery is everything but comforting. – It just makes me so emotional. Interestingly, this is one of the few songs in which we can hear Alan Parsons himself singing on the background.


Sirius (1982)

“Sirius” and “Eye in the Sky” are meant to be listened one after the other; however I separated them because the 2-minute instrumental has its own charm and sometimes I just play it on a loop, without moving on to the next tune. “Sirius” segues into “Eye in the Sky” and both were usually played as a package on radio stations. The instrumental, however, made a name for itself by becoming an opening number for many sport events.


Ammonia Avenue (1984)

The title track of Alan Parsons Project’s 1984 “Ammonia Avenue” album became one of the reasons why I got into the band in the first place. It seems like songs, performed by Eric Woolfson somehow always get to my heart. A little bit dramatic, but highly enjoyable, this soothing tune has often been there to help me when I am feeling down. I highly recommend it to everyone, it’s just so calming…


Children of the Moon (1982)

“Eye in the Sky” is indeed a very special album to me, as you can see. Another tune from that fabulous progressive rock extravaganza found its place in my top 10. “Children of the Moon” with David Paton on vocals is a rhythmic treasure with a sweet reggae aftertaste and gorgeous lyrics. Have a listen~


Some Other Time (1977)

Alan Parsons Project’s 1977 “I Robot” was their coming out party. Filled with outstanding progressive rock jewels, the record signalled the arrival of a strong prog rock force. The epic “Some other Time”, performed by Peter Straker and Jaki Whitren, stood out to me with its triumphant horn sections and memorable lyrics.


In the Real World (1985)

This tune represents a stronger, more rock-oriented side of Alan Parsons Project which is equally intriguing and worthy of appreciation. “In The Real World” comes from their ninth album, titled “Stereotomy” (1985). The highlight of that record has to be the instrumental “Where’s The Walrus?” which even got them a Grammy Award. However, the uplifting rocker “In The Real World”, performed by Graham Dye, appealed the most to me.


Pipeline (1984)

“Pipeline” is one of the alluring instrumentals on “Ammonia Avenue” (1984) and generally, one of my favorite instrumentals of all time. Alan Parsons Project just know how to craft a time-enduring pieces of art that are equally intriguing with or without lyrics.


Separate Lives (1985)

Alan Parsons Project’s 1985 “Vulture Culture” was probably the last commercial and critical success of the duo. The ‘80s arrived and with them new musical trends, directions and possibilities. There was just little room left for progressive rock. Nevertheless, I find this record to be exceptional, especially “Separate Lives”, once again performed by Eric Woolfson.


+ I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You (1977)

A bonus tune – “I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You” from Alan Parsons Project’s highly successful “I Robot” (1977).  Vocalist Lenny Zakatek brought so much to the table, it was no wonder that later on he would sing so many of the band’s songs. You can’t but be compelled by this funky, disco-sounding tune!


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~

Want to Get Drunk on Progressive Rock? Listen to These 5 Albums:

One of my greatest musical passions is progressive rock. There is just something so magical and immensely captivating in mixing rock with elements of classical music, all wrapped up under layers of complex instrumentation, life-changing lyrics, intense experimentation and supreme technicality. Not to mention the groundbreaking album artworks those beautiful compositions come with. The origins of progressive rock are quite debatable – many people, including myself, believe that it all started in the late 60s as a logical advancement of psychedelic rock. It’s important to mention the significance of albums like “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by The Beatles which is credited by many critics as the album where the idea of progressive rock began. It wasn’t until the ‘70s when prog rock found its way to the hearts of the general audience. Albums like “The Dark Side of the Moon” (1973) by Pink Floyd completely transformed the notion that this type of music is very difficult to enjoy. For the rest of the decade, prog rock was a predominant force on the worldwide music scene, especially among British audiences. Rock acts like YES, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Genesis, Jethro Tull, The Moody Blues, Frank Zappa and many more are notable names in the genre.

My gigantic adoration for progressive rock grew out of a couple of albums which till today remain my ultimate soul-feeding musical pieces. The following albums are definitely part of the list. Not only that, but each of them has its own unique place in the history of progressive rock and music in general. If you are not so familiar with the genre and are looking for the start, look no further – these five records are surely going to provide you with the ultimate progressive rock experience. Noticeably, I haven’t included the earth-shattering prog rock titles like “The Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd because I wanted to demonstrate a little bit of variety and give the green light to other equally essential records. Also, Pink Floyd are a completely different monster.
Please enjoy my selection and I hope those albums can bring you at least a little bit of the comfort they bring me.


King Crimson – In The Court of the Crimson King (1969)

king-crimson-in-the-court-of-the-crimson-king-1969This might be a bit heavy for some listeners who are not accustomed to the sound of progressive rock but bottom line is – every conversation about progressive rock should begin and end with this album! Historically relevant, highly experimental, critically acclaimed and seen by many as the birthplace of progressive rock – meet King Crimson’s 1969 debut album “In The Court of Crimson King”. Personally, I see is as one of the most impactful forces in the history of rock in general. Where do we even begin with this album? Jazz, blues, classical influences, psychedelic rock elements, mind-blowing lyrics, questioning your entire existence. “In The Court of Crimson King” is THE progressive rock album! The monumental artwork is another reason behind the album’s significance – just look at it! That is how you will react when you listen to King Crimson for the first time!


Yes – Fragile (1971)

Yes - Fragile - Roger DeanIf you want to experience progressive rock at its fines, YES’ “Fragile” (1971) is another album you should devote your time to. “Roundabout” is YES’ ultimate classic and one of the reasons behind the commercialization of progressive rock. People were, and still are, simply in love with the elegant guitars of Steve Howe, accompanied by mindblowing organs, stunning keyboards, mind-altering drums and of course Jon Anderson’s a-list vocals. This whole record is a fantasy coming alive. It became a rock staple and influenced generations of musicians.


Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Brain Salad Surgery (1973)

emerson-lake-palmer-brain-salad-surgery-1973And ladies and gentleman the album that changed my life – Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s “Brain Salad Surgery” (1973). This record is like a door to a new colorful world, a world in which there are no limitations to what your body and soul can experience. I can’t even begin describing why this album is such a huge masterpiece. “Still. . . You Turn Me On”,“Toccata”,“Karn Evil 9” – all sending you on a mind-altering journey after which you feel like a different person. The trio is simply phenomenal – Keith is running through the keyboard with unimaginable precision; Carl is the king of the drums and Greg’s impactful but gentle vocal delivery is releasing you from every little trace of stress and negativity. That’s just how it affects me…


Jethro Tull – Thick as a Brick (1972)

jethro-tull-thick-as-a-brick-1972Jethro Tull’s “Thick as a Brick” is just one 44-minute song which really does it for me. Concept, parodies and tricks aside, I do really enjoy diving into the atmosphere of this musical treasure from time to time. You click on “play” and for the next 40 minutes you have the perfect background to your work. I feel like this type of music synchronizes quite well with your work tempo and gives you that extra push! (Or maybe It’s just me). It’s a beautiful piece of progressive rock and musically speaking it is the whole package, not to mention the dozens of instruments we get to enjoy throughout this tune – trumpet, saxophone, timpani, violin and so much more.


Rush – Moving Pictures (1981)

rush-moving-pictures-1981Another album you have to listen to if you are into “progressive rock mood” would be Rush’s “Moving Pictures” (1981). Both critically and commercially acclaimed this is one of the albums that truly deserve a spot on your shelf and in your heart. I included it as a part of my selection because despite coming out relatively late, compared to other progressive rock jewels, it did manage to leave a lasting trail of classic prog rockers and radio staplers. It’s a perfect combination between hard rock, adopting a lot of experimental techniques and state of the art technologies to craft the perfect sound. It’s accessible progressive rock at its finest; a natural evolution of a genre!


 

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] GIANT – Last Of The Runaways

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Last Of The Runaways

Released: August 29, 1989
Genre: Rock/Hard Rock/AOR
Duration: 55:16
Label: A&M
Producer(s): Terry Thomas

buy-from-amazon


OVERVIEW

 

Giant’s “Last of the Runaways” deserved so much more than it actually got. Unfortunately, the time wasn’t right for it – by 1989, the heydays of album-oriented rock were long gone. Despite its high production value, melodic quality and outstanding vocals and riffs by Dann Huff, “Last of the Runaways” somehow got lost in the transition period from the ‘80s to the ‘90s. Nevertheless, there will always be rock fans like me and you, who can truly appreciate a piece of art when they see it, regardless of any other factors. The debut album of Giant has a lot to offer – from solid rockers, fueled with mind-blowing riffs, to emotional power-ballads, the whole album is a pure melodic paradise.

“Last of the Runaways” makes a clear statement right from the first tune – “I’m a Believer” is a solid rocker with one of the most chilling, hair-raising guitar intros. What follows next is a beautiful, well-balanced selection of arena rock tunes, perfectly demonstrating the artistic skills and qualities of Giant. “Innocent Days”, “Can’t Get Close Enough” and “No Way Out” are just a few of the dangerously obsessive rock tornadoes that could be heard on this album. I’m saving the best for last – “Last of the Runaways” gives us three of the greatest power ballads ever written – “Love Welcome Home”, “It Takes Two” and of course their most commercially successful song, “I’ll See You in My Dreams”. How Dann and the rest of the guys wrote such powerful and emotionally-charged pieces of art is beyond my understanding, but believe me when I say this – If you are searching for a heart-stirring musical experience, look no further than those three tunes, especially “I’ll See You In My Dreams”. (I mean just listen to those lyrics “…Time, time will never be a friend of mine again, It tries to make your memory fade, but I won’t let it end…”)

Last of the Runaways” wrapped up the ‘80s in an outstanding way, with excellent music craftsmanship and gorgeous selection of rockers. I can’t recommend it enough! Giant’s next step – the sophomore album “Time to Burn” yet again proved that they weren’t your ordinary hard rock/hair metal band. Listen to the songs and I hope you will understand what I’m saying…

Tracklist:

I’M A BELIEVER
INNOCENT DAYS
I CAN’T GET CLOSE ENOUGH
I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS
NO WAY OUT
SHAKE ME UP
IT TAKES TWO
STRANGER TO ME
HOLD BACK THE NIGHT
LOVE WELCOME HOME
THE BIG PITCH

I’m a Believer

I’ll See You In My Dreams

It Takes Two

No Way Out


 

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

10 Classic Rock Records That Should Be Owned By Everyone

albums-you-must-own-collage

Innovation, brilliant musicianship and timeless impact are the three criteria based on which I chose the following list of 10 albums I believe should be owned by absolutely every person who values and understands music. There are indeed SO MANY groundbreaking albums that re-defined history but then again, we have those 10 which I think went far beyond re-defining – they simply turned things upside down. The echoes of their strong collision with the music world were so loud we could still hear them every day. Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Eagles and Fleetwood Mac are among the artist the works of which I would like to draw your attention to. I am positively certain that my readers know and are already in possession of those record but in case you don’t own a copy, grab your things and rush to the nearest record store!

(P.S. I made this list based on my personal expertise and opinion. I realize that some of you may not agree, but I still think those 10 albums deserve to be on everyone’s record shelf)


The Beatles – Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

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I just had to kick things off with this groundbreaking masterpiece, because let’s face it – no other record can actually beatSgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” when it comes to influence, cutting-edge music and artistry. Beatles retired as a live band and focused entirely on writing new music and experimenting with latest techniques in the studio. In June 1967, the results were in. Beatles didn’t have to worry about playing this album live, so they could go in any direction they want – they had the absolute freedom to arrange and produce things the way they wanted them to be. On Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, each of the Beatles adopted a new imaginary persona, which made things so much more interesting. The album also marked the beginning of album-oriented rock. “Sgt. Pepper” is a concept album you just have to listen from start to finish in order to truly understand its beauty; the record is simply one 40-minute song, an entity, an exceptional musical monster. Not only that, but it was the psychedelic, highly experimental, ambiguous, quite surreal nature of the record that gave rise to art and progressive rock, as well. Let us not forget that “Sgt. Pepper” has one of the most original artworks which re-evaluated the importance of album covers for future releases. “A Day in the Life”, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, “When I’m Sixty Four”, “Penny Lane” – songs that live forever.


Led Zeppelin – IV (1971)

led Zeppelin 4

With masterpieces like “Stairway to Heaven”, “Black Dog” and “Rock and Roll”, Led Zeppelin’s fourth album was destined for success. Surprisingly this album never actually topped the US charts, despite being in top 5 best-selling albums in the States of all time and being owned by pretty much every person who lived during the 70s. The organic and folky but quite atmospheric song “Stairway to Heaven” became the most requested song on a FM radio ever, breaking that 3 minute song barrier. It didn’t matter what the critics said about Zeppelin or this album – what mattered is that they made history.


David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)

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The absolute peak of David Bowie’s career has to be the adventurous concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”. For this album, the white duke adopted the persona of a Martian who comes to Earth liberate human kind. The album, along with David Bowie himself became synonymous with art rock, praising individualism, mysticism, theatrical performances and fashion. David was so ahead of his time – he simply offered a glimpse to another world, where you can be whoever you want to be.


Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)

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“The Dark Side of the Moon” shook the grounds of progressive rock the moment it was released to the public. It was this album that forever shattered the notion that progressive rock couldn’t be enjoyed by everyone – Pink Floyd simply brought this style to the mainstream audience. “The Dark Side of the Moon” is not just your ordinary influential rock album of the 70s – it’s an absolute cultural landmark and a celebration of cutting edge techniques, keyboards, synthesizers, sounds effects and coherent musicianship. With its highly intellectual, avant-garde lyrics, the album explores themes such as time, money and the dark-sides of human nature. “The Dark Side of the Moon” spent 471 consecutive weeks on the Billboard album chart – an achievement no other album could ever surpass. Kudos to the brainchild of David Gilmour and Roger Waters!


Eagles – Hotel California (1976)

hotel-california-eagles

Eagles are probably one of the most beloved American bands of all time – Americans wouldn’t trade them even for the Beatles. In 1976, they just blew off the roof with the concept album “Hotel California” which eventually became one of the best-selling albums of all time and one of the most critically acclaimed records of all time. “New Kid in Town”, “Life in the Fast Lane”, “Hotel California” – all brilliant rockers with an everlasting impact! The title tracks contains one of the most memorable guitar solos; lyrics-wise, it deals with topics still relevant nowadays – self-destruction, corruption, drugs and the greed in the music industry.


The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966)

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Whether you like Beach Boys or not, you gotta respect them for their legacy and especially for “Pet Sounds” – one of the most influential albums of all time, loved by critics and fans from all over the world. Brian Wilson’s goal was to create “the greatest rock album ever made” – a powerful rock tornado with absolutely no weak points or filler songs. I am not sure we can refer to “Pet Sounds” as the greatest rock album but it’s definitely in the top 10. Brian Wilson adopted so many interesting, cutting-edge techniques and approaches for this album – from unusual instruments to sounds of dogs barking and bicycle bells; from complex symphonic arrangements to sophisticated vocal harmonies. No wonder “Pet Sounds” changed history – it offered the ultimate musical experience. Not to mention that, just like “Sgt. Pepper”, “Pet Sounds” was equally responsible for the development of art and progressive rock.


Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977)

fleetwood-mac-rumours

Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” is essential for so many reasons. If, for a moment, we put aside the fact that it’s one of the BEST SELLING albums of all time and won a Grammy award for album of the year, “Rumours” was the album that forever blurred the lines between pop and rock. On top of that, “Rumours” was recorded when all members of the band were divorcing or breaking up with each other. There was no way a good album would come out of it. However, against all odds, their brutal frankness somehow stroke a chord with the audience and the album achieved something they never even hoped for – immortality. Candid, open-minded, emotional – I guess it’s true that the greatest masterpieces come out of pain, sorrow and heartbreak. Every song on this album, though it’s about sadness and break-up, is worth listening to.


Derek & The Dominos – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)

LAYLA

I don’t even know where to begin with when it comes to this album. Often considered as Eric Clapton’s greatest career achievement, the double album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs”, can’t stop captivating the audience with its emotional intensity and groundbreaking guitar work. Eric Clapton was simply giving it his all on this record. The inspiration 7-minute epic ballad title-song, “Layla”, has to be one of the highlights of the 70s and the ultimate staple of what a love song should sound like. The album is so much more than that though – “Bell Bottom Blues”, “I Am Yours”, “Anyday” – any song of the record offers comforting blues, solid rock&roll, raw guitars and a great mood.


Black Sabbath – Paranoid (1970)

black-sabbath-paranoid

After careful consideration, I decided to wrap things up with Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”. When it comes to the origins of heavy metal, things might be a little bit blurred. The foundations of the genre were laid in time, with the contribution of so many bands, styles, approaches, etc. However, to me personally one of the first records that presented a clear-cut vision of what heavy metal should sound like was “Paranoid”. There’s no surprise that many critics refer to this album as “the birthplace of heavy metal”. The simplistic approach to music, heavy guitar hooks, gloomy lyrics, exploring dark subjects and of course – the loud and quite sharp vocal delivery of Ozzy, defined the sound and image of heavy metal.

How many of these records you guys own?


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

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)

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

“So Far Away”

“I Can’t Breathe Anymore”


About Face (1984)

david-gilmour-about-face

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

“Love on the Air”

“All Lovers are Deranged”


 

On an Island (2006)

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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~

10 Of The Most Underrated Classic Rock Albums Ever

 

This is going to be obviously VERY subjective, however I felt like it’s high time I did this. I’ve always been drawn to the “underdogs” when it comes to music, artists, albums and even songs. Somehow, in an album, I always seem to enjoy the less popular tracks, rather than go for the released singles and ultimate hits. Same goes with albums. When it comes to rock music from the 70s and 80s, there are these extraordinary blockbuster albums that we can’t but love – for instance AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, Led Zeppelin’s fourth album, Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon”, Def Leppard’s “Hysteria”, Van Halen’s 1984, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I adore those albums with all my heart and soul but when it comes to the individual bands, I always seem to go for the less popular ones, as I said. I love seeing the beauty in the less appreciated work of musicians and believe me there are SO many underrated and underappreciated albums when it comes to classic rock music. From not so well-received comebacks to the so-called “transitional” albums (albums on which bands haven’t fully developed their distinctive sound), there’s a list of albums which I think should’ve gotten more attention and love from the public, as well as from the critics. Let me know what do you think and which other album would you put there?


 

Survivor – Too Hot to Sleep

too-hot-to-sleep-survivor

Before “Too Hot to Sleep”, Survivor had major success with “Vital Signs” and “When Seconds Count” with Jimi Jamison as vocalist. And of course, before him coming to the band and before Survivor became the ultimate staple of AOR in the 80s, Dave Bickler was the voice of the smashing hit album”Eye of the Tiger” which made Survivor quite famous! But then, in 1988, after they released “Too Hot to Sleep” things changed drastically. The album was an absolute disappointment in terms of sales and chart positions and I really don’t understand why. On top of it all, after the album, the tension between Frankie and Jim – founding members of Survivor became too big to bear.
“Too Hot to Sleep” offers an excellent collection of rockers! Songs such as “Desperate Dreams”, “She’s a Star”, “Burning Bridges”, “Across the Miles”, “Here Comes Desire” ARE SO BEAUTIFUL! I wish people would appreciate the record as much as I do…


 

Judas Priest – Turbo

Judas Priest - Turbo

If we exclude the title track – “Turbo”, this album always remains in the shadows when we talk about Judas Priest. People were not happy when they went on and filled up their tunes with synthesizers, synthesizer guitars and electric drums. Judas were even called “sellouts” after the release of “Turbo” in 1986. I have always been defending this record because it’s so much more than just the regular “going mainstream” album. Judas Priest did a very decent job here – the songs sound good, well-polished, rhythmic and enjoyable. “Out in the Cold”, “Private Property” – all awesome rockers! “Turbo” sold relatively well, but people still didn’t receive it that well and a huge chunk of their fans were disappointed. I don’t get it but hey – we all have our differences.


 

Toto – Fahrenheit

toto-fahrenheit

The first album of Toto to feature Joseph Williams on lead vocals and somewhat always forgotten, “Fahrenheit” remains one of my favourite 80s albums of all time. It didn’t sell that well initially – it took the album almost 10 years to get to the “gold” stage. Really makes you wonder why, doesn’t it? With awesome tracks such as “Till the End”, “Can’t Stand it Any Longer” and “Without Your Love”, this album should’ve seen higher skies but it didn’t. It’s difficult to swallow up a new vocalist – I get and realize it, however if you give it a chance, you will see what I’m saying…


 

Van Halen – Fair Warning

van-halen-fair-warning

“Fair Warning” remains Van Halen’s slowest-selling album from the David Lee Roth era. Commercial disappointment aside – people seem to be happy with it and enjoy the album, however it’s still somehow forgotten when we think about Van Halen. Released in 1981, Rolling Stone Magazine says that the record has “the most significant musical development is the synthesizer introduced at the end of Fair Warning, which would be exploited to greater effect on later albums.” But still, when I talk about Van Halen with other people, we never really mention Fair Warning, which is such a shame because “So This is Love?” and “Unchained” are awesome singles. The album is raw, nasty and I should listen to it more often…


Eric Clapton – August

Eric Clapton - August

“August” might be Eric Clapton’s best-selling LPs up to date, however, critics don’t really like it and I just cannot understand why… The album definitely failed to generate a hit single or a track as memorable or essential as “Layla” or “Cocaine”, HOWEVER, to me tunes such as “Miss You”, “It’s In The Way That You Use It”, “Run” and of course the brilliant duet with Tina Turner, “Tearing Us Apart”, will forever remain in my heart.


Whitesnake – Restless Heart

front

Very unpopular opinion right here, however that’s just me. This record was supposed to be a David Coverdale solo album but it ended up being released under the “David Coverdale & Whitesnake” moniker. Facts aside, it’s an awesome album and I truly enjoy it. Critics say that David failed (just like many 80s glam/pop/hard rock bands) to do the “modern-day makeover” and showcased boring and monotonous tunes with no development whatsoever. I completely disagree and will always defend the beauty of this record. Doesn’t matter if it was the end of the 90s and people were still under that grunge influence – the album was and still is precious! “Don’t Fade Away” is actually my favorite David Coverdale/Whitesnake track and will always be. I also adore “You’re So Fine” and the bluesy “Stay With Me”.


 

Pink Floyd – Obscured by Clouds

pink-floyd-obscured-by-clouds

“Obscured by Clouds” has to be the most overlooked album from the classic days of Pink Floyd. A year after its release “The Dark Side of The Moon” kicked in and people just forgot about it, I guess. The album was transitional, signalling the future directions and ambitions of the band. Many fans don’t really consider it as a genuine Pink Floyd album because it actually is a compilation of songs for the French movie La Vallée (The Valley) by Barbet Schroeder. Soundtrack or not, the music on this album is brilliant (or at least to me). No actual standout songs from the album, but the flow is good and “Obscured by Clouds” is one of their strongest instrumentals so far!


 

Genesis – Duke

duke-genesis

I’m putting Genesis’ “Duke” on the list because it was heavily and UNJUSTLY criticized for being too “commercial” and “radio-friendly”. It was the second album of Genesis as a trio and even though it was their first album to reach the number 1 position, many people were disappointed with their “descent”. Personally, I think it’s very melodic, enjoyable and the lyrics (the thing that always gets me) are brilliant. Another “transitional” album that’s worthy of your time!


 

Aerosmith – Done With Mirrors

This album is such a cool mess! Understandably underrated, if I may say, mostly due to some holes in the production. However, still I believe it has some quite pleasant rockers. Fans have contradicting points of view when it comes to this record – some say it’s too “lame”, others love it – It’s up to you, at the end of the day but still, if you like raw, unpolished sound, this is the album for you. The album couldn’t bring them back to the spotlight, as it took a couple of more years till they released “Permanent Vacation” but remained as an example how a bad production and guidance can cost you a lot.

aerosmith-done-with-mirrors


Asia – Alpha

asia-alpha

The self-titled debut album of ASIA was phenomenal – no second opinion about it. So, naturally, people had very high expectations about the follow-up album, “Alpha”. It did sell well, however according to fans and critics, it couldn’t match the influence and force of the previous album. Very familiar story that happened with many bands and artists, actually. Nevertheless, I must say “Alpha” has a lot to offer too. “Don’t Cry” is a beautiful rocker that got them a top10 spot. “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” is a touching ballad, marking another high point of the album. Check it out!


And many many more….

 


P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
Cheers~
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.

 

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