10 Essential DEF LEPPARD Ballads

What happens when you listen to your favorite band rocking the hell out of a beautiful ballad? Well, you have the time of your life (at least I do). My immense adoration for Def Leppard comes as no surprise, especially to people who have been following my blog and/or twitter page. To me, they are the perfect rock act and I don’t see myself connect with another band’s music on such deep, emotional level as I did with Def Leppard’s. There’s just something so special about these hardworking Sheffield guys and their turbulent, but exceptional career, spawning some of the most brilliant rock classics of all time! I can talk all day and night about Def Leppard’s accomplishments and unquestionably legacy, starting with their raw debut in 1981 with “On Through The Night”, moving on to the biggest blockbuster of the ‘80s, “Hysteria” (1987) and end up with their latest self-titled release in 2015, proving that they can still blow our minds away with solid rock music. However, now I would like to focus on a specific side of their music catalog – Def Leppard’s ballads. The majority of rock fans are well aware of classics like “Love Bites” or “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak”, but there are a couple of more mellow rockers that deserve your attention. Leppard’s ‘90s releases, especially, are filled with beautiful ballads which unfortunately are not as popular as their ‘80s classics. As a die-hard fan of Def Leppard and a rock ballad enthusiast, it’s my duty to remind you of some of those songs or give you at least one new ballad to add to your playlist! Let’s listen to 10 essential Def Leppard ballads!


Long Long Way To Go (from “X”, 2002)

def-leppard-x

“Long Way to Go” is by far one of Def Leppard’s saddest songs, at least to me. The ballad comes from their 2002 release, titled “X” and is their last UK Top 40 hit single, surprisingly. This tune became a major reason why I fell in love with the album, as it was the first “X” song I heard back in the day. The crying guitars, accompanied by Joe Elliott’s heavyhearted but hopeful vocals are drawing the perfect ballad picture for me. The lyrics are what caught my attention in the first place, as I found myself in them…

“…Then every time I turn around
And you’re nowhere to be found
I know I got a long, long way to go
Before I can say goodbye to you…”

Unbelievable (from “X”, 2002)

def-leppard-x

I always wondered why critics were  judging “X” so harshly and condemning it as Leppard’s worst release, when in fact it is filled with so greatly-written and delicate songs like “Long Way to Go” and “Unbelievable”. It wasn’t as commercially successful as their previous releases but who the hell cares? “Unbelievable” is unbelievably astonishing. Not as gloomy as “Long Way to Go”, but sweeter, more uplifting with such a memorable anthem-like ending. Both ballads are the only two songs from “X” not co-credited by a member of Def Leppard.

“…You don’t say that it’s over, over
Never thought this could die
But you speak without words
Making me feel so damn good, ‘bye
It’s unbelievable…”


Goodbye (from “Euphoria”, 1999)

def-leppard-euphoria

“Goodbye” comes from Def Leppard’s 1999 release, titled “Euphoria”. Written by Rick Savage, this has to be one of their most overlooked ballads, despite being one of their best in my book. The song is a beautiful confession; the protagonist is proclaiming his love and is ready to give his everything for that special person. After all, who wouldn’t like to hear words like that:…

 “…I’d be there if the sun refused to shine
As the night gets colder I will be your shoulder
I give you my heart until death us do part
Every day, every moment, forever?”


Blood Runs Cold (from “Slang”, 1996)

def-leppard-slang

Written by Joe Elliot and Phil Collen, this has to be my favorite tune from Def Leppard’s 1996 release, titled “Slang”. “Slang”, along with “X” are the two albums to which critics didn’t do much justice, despite being absolutely phenomenal. I mean, just listen to the elegant guitars and Joe’s perfect vocal harmonies and tell me how it is possible to say something bad about the song or the album? Not to mention that “Blood Runs Cold” is another beautiful tribute to the late Steve Clark, who died of an alcohol poisoning. Def Leppard turned their immense pain over the loss of their friend to a superb ballad. It carries and important message too:…

“I guess what I’m trying to say
Is whose life is it anyway because livin’
Living is the best revenge
You can play…”  


When Love & Hate Collide (from “Vault”, 1995)

def-leppard-vault

In 1995, Def Leppard released their greatest hits album, titled “Vault”. In addition to their timeless classics, fans got the opportunity to enjoy one newly recorded song, the power ballad “When Love and Hate Collide”. The history of that tune dates back to their 1992 album “Adrenalize”; its demo was actually the last recorded guitar solo by Leppard’s original guitarist, Steve Clark before he died in 1991.
When it was released as a single in 1995, the song became an instant success – as a matter of fact it’s one of their most successful singles in the UK. Not surprised at all, the tune is so attractive; you must have a “heart of stone” to not fall in love with it.

“…Without you
One night alone Is like a year without you baby
Do you have a heart of stone
Without you
Can’t stop the hurt inside
When love and hate collide…”


Two Steps Behind (from “Retro Active”, 1993)

Def Leppard - Retroactive tough girl

Track number 4, on Def Leppard’s 1993 album, “Retro Active” is the acoustic bliss, titled “Two Steps Behind”. It’s also featured on the “Last Action Hero” soundtrack. “Two Steps Behind” is another ballad with a long history, going back to 1989, when Joe recorded the original demo. It was also released on the “Make Love like a Man” single in 1992 (from “Adrenalize”). There are two versions of this tune, equally brilliant; however, for the purpose of this playlist, I preferred to take the acoustic one over the electric.
Joe Elliot wrote the song, but it was Phil Collen’s suggestion to record an acoustic version – a pretty good suggestion, don’t you think? The results were magnificent; I love every note and every word! Its simplicity is groundbreaking.

 “…(Whatever you do)
I’ll be two steps behind you
(Wherever you go)
and I’ll be there to remind you
that it only takes a minute of your precious time
to turn around and I’ll be two steps behind…”

Miss You In A Heartbeat (from “Retro Active”, 1993)

Def Leppard - Retroactive tough girl

The second ballad on “Retro Active” (1993) is “Miss You in a Heartbeat”, which I think is one of their most touching and heartbreaking compositions. Once again, there are two versions – acoustic and electric and I am giving you the chance to check both of them out, because I couldn’t pick just one. Written by Phil Collen as a bonus track for “Adrenalize” (1992), it was originally recorded by The Law, led by the great Paul Rodgers (ex-Free, Bad Company and The Firm). I am not going to compare both versions, I will leave it to you, guys.

“Miss You in a Heartbeat” gives you the perfect chance to say “I miss You” to someone you love…The lyrics are breathtaking:…

“…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 …”

“Miss You in a Heartbeat” by The Law


Have You Ever Needed Someone so Bad (from “Adrenalize”, 1992)

Def_Leppard_-_Adrenalize

Let’s move on to Def Leppard’s “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad”, from their multi-platinum 1992 release, “Adrenalize”.  The ballad was a total success – not only did it reach top chart positions but it turned into one of Def Leppard’s most beloved mellow rockers of all time. It was destined for such enormous worldwide appreciation and I blame it on the relatable lyrics. Def Leppard always mange to convey a strong, engaging message in a simple, yet elegant way.

“…Why save your kisses for a rainy day
Baby let the moment take your heart away…
Have you ever needed someone so bad, yeah
Have you ever wanted someone
You just couldn’t have
Did you ever try so hard
That your world just fell apart
Have you ever needed someone so bad…”


Love Bites (from “Hysteria”, 1987)

Def_Leppard_-_Hysteria_(vinyl_version)

One way or another, we were destined to bump into “Love Bites” because let’s face it, we can’t talk about essential Def Leppard ballads and not mention their GREATEST, most successful one of all time – “Love Bites”, released from the 1987 blockbuster “Hysteria”. The influence it had on the audience was colossal – not only it topped the charts but it completely redefined the importance of power ballads in the last couple of years of the ‘80s. Brilliantly produced by Mutt Lange, “Love Bites” will forever remain synonymous with “power ballad”.

“…I don’t wanna touch you too much baby
‘Cos making love to you might drive me crazy
I know you think that love is the way you make it
So I don’t wanna be there when you decide to break it
No!…”


Bringin’ On The Heartbreak (from “High ‘n’ Dry”, 1981)

Def Leppard - High n Dry

I will wrap things up with Def Leppard’s 1981 power ballad “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak”. Released as the second single from their “High ‘n’ Dry” album, the tune marks a very important point as it set an early standard for power ballads. It’s also one of Def Leppard’s catchiest, least-sweet and “cheesy- sounding” ballads of their career. It was written by Steve Clark, Pete Willis, and Joe Elliott. Mariah Carey did a cover version in 2002 – if you are curious about it, go to YouTube, I won’t be posting it on my blog. The lyrics are very engaging, I love the chorus!

“…I’m sorry but it’s true
You’re bringin’ on the heartbreak
Takin’ all the best of me
Oh can’t you see?
You got the best of me
Whoah can’t you see? …”


10 is never enough…

Let Me Be The One (from “X”, 2002)

Breathe a Sigh (from “Slang”, 1996)

Where Does Love Go When It Dies (from “Slang”, 1996)

All I Want is Everything (from “Slang”, 1996)

You Can’t Always Get What You Want (from “Adrenalize”, 1992, original by The Rolling Stones)

Tonight (from “Adrenalize”, 1992)

Hysteria (from “Hysteria”, 1987)

Too Late for Love (from “Pyromania”, 1983)


References:
Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/
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~

Remembering Greg Lake (1947-2016)

greg-lake-65I am writing this publication with tears in my eyes but I really felt like saying a little something to the person whose voice and music brought me so much comfort and joy when I really needed them. Greg Lake passed away on the 8th of December 2016 (age 69) after he lost a long battle with cancer. He was the frontman of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer – two bands that defined progressive rock and completely changed the course of music history with their extraordinary musicianship, experimentation with hard rock and symphonic elements, profound lyrics and never-seen before technicality. Two unbelievably talented bands, both led by Greg Lake – one of the most emotionally-fueled voices of rock music; a voice that always found a way to touch people’s souls and make them fly. I cannot believe we lost him…

My progressive rock journey started with ELP and in particular the song “Still…You Turn Me On”. I will always remember how immensely captivated I was by the bizarre, but gorgeous instrumentation, stunning lyrics and of course, Greg’s vocals that just sent me to another dimension. I felt so attracted to this song; my body, my mind instantly reacted and by the time I knew it, I was already listening to their entire discography. ELP opened a new chapter of my life and for that I will always love them. “Brain Salad Surgery”, “Trilogy”, “Pictures at an Exhibition” – all albums that showed me the true depth of music. One reason why I connected so much with the band was of course Greg Lake. His tender, calming voice was there to help me fall asleep while I was going through some tough times and couldn’t even close my eyes; his music guided me through the dark roads of despair and stress. They say that music helps the pain fade; for me, it was the music of ELP, fronted by Greg that helped me fight my demons and made me feel alive again.

After ELP, I moved on to the debut album of King Crimson “In the Court of the Crimson King” which many people refer to as “the birth of progressive rock”. In songs such as “Epitaph”, Greg perfectly demonstrates how immensely talented he is. I could listen to that song for ages and never get tired of hearing his mind-altering delicate voice. Just listen to his isolated vocals – that’s the kind of experience you will never get from music, being released nowadays. Greg Lake delivered sadness, comfort, happiness, sorrow…the whole rainbow of emotions trough his singing and believe me, for that he will always be appraised and loved.

Keith Emerson died earlier in 2016 and now we lost Greg Lake in the last month of 2016. Carl Palmer remains the third and final member of ELP to be alive. I am still in shock and refuse to believe that one of my favorite bands is down to its final piece. 2016 took so many lives and in my book it’s simply going to be remembered as “the year music died”.

No one is ever prepared and the loss is huge but I am glad that the world was able to witness his musical creativity, passion and vision. Greg Lake will be remembered as a first-class producer with a heavenly voice and an unforgettable approach to music. I will remember him as the artist who lovingly brought harmony and peace in my life. Thank you so much for your music! Rest in peace, my love….


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~

[Song of the Week] Judas Priest – New Beginnings

My choice for “song of the week” is Judas Priest’s “New Beginnings” from their 2008 concept album “Nostradamus”. To be honest, I totally forgot about this record and it is definitely not something I actually listen to on a daily basis. However, my heavy metal playlist was on shuffle and suddenly this rock opera started playing and somehow entranced me…To be honest, it took me a few seconds to comprehend what was going on. I carefully listened to the lyrics which I believe are the essence of the track and even re-played it only to once again experience those words. The atmosphere of “New Beginnings” is definitely a bit melodramatic, overly emotional and Rob doesn’t really sound confident or fully committed, however among those lines, I could find something I was truly in need of – hope and anticipation for new beginnings. Those words are for all the people out there who want to hear it – guys, it is tough out there but someday someone will come to your life and change everything.

For a better experience, listen to the track together with “Hope”~

 


“New Beginnings” Lyrics

Now at last my dream is real
I found peace
True love can heal
On the journey throughout time
A new beginning has arrived
At the crossroads of my life
This new love keeps me alive

I never knew that this could happen to me
So many lonely days and nights
I never knew that you were waiting for me
Hope was out of dight
And suddenly I see the future clearly
No longer living in the past
As I let go

Living the dream
Of my life
I was alone no-one in sight
This love – make me believe that you’re the one
Never give up – our day has come

I never felt that this could happen to me
So many lonely days and lonely nights
I never knew that you were waiting for me
Hope was out of sight
And suddenly I see the future clearly
Finally I know at last
I can let go


 

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

[Playlist] 5 PINK FLOYD Instrumentals That Will Blow You Away

instrumentals-pinkfloyd

In addition to monumental songs, filled with poetic gorgeousness that leaves you breathless, Pink Floyd can definitely brag about their haunting, but equally exciting progressive rock instrumentals. Sometimes, people definitely need to take a little break from the heavy, quite absurd even lyrics, which despite being an essential part of their music, can leave a very dismal and gloomy aftertaste. Not that it’s bad thing – on the contrary, I’d pick complex, well-thought of lyrics that deal with philosophical or other profound topics (such as isolation, greed, time, human nature, the universe) over lyrics about love and sex any day! Usually, I first connect with the words and then I connect with the melody or the different elements that make up the composition. I was never a person who listens to instrumentals – I need lyrics and that’s that. Till, of course, Pink Floyd came into my life and completely changed the way I think about rock instrumentals. The band was never deeply acknowledged for such types of songs, because when you have brilliant lyricists like David Gilmour and Roger Waters, you always expect to hear words that can make you shiver. However, they do deserve to be praised for their instrumentals and I am here to remind you of some of their most groundbreaking wordless creations that can and for sure will blow you away. These five beautiful pieces of art have always been an inseparable part of my playlist – all of them somehow manage to give me comfort, a much needed isolation and a long array of emotions that leave me questioning my entire existence.  Do you have favorite ones?


Obscured By Clouds (1972)

The title track of Pink Floyd’s 1972 soundtrack album “Obscured by Clouds” has always been one of their greatest instrumentals in my book. Highly experimental, adopting new analog synthesizers and recording techniques, the track can easily haunt you for days.

Any Color You Like (1973)

“The Dark Side of the Moon” is one of the wonders of our world and nothing can change that. Among the timeless classics such as “Time” and “Money”, this groundbreaking instrumental, titled “Any Color You Like” somehow manages to stand out on its own ground. A sensational keyboard solo, accompanied by state of the art studio technologies, all mixed up to create the perfect trance experience. A genius instrumental!

Terminal Frost (1987)

With Roger Waters gone, it was up to David Gilmour to keep the spirit of the band and produce groundbreaking music. “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” is a glorious album and probably one of my favorite Pink Floyd records of all time. “Terminal Frost” is the thrilling instrumental, featuring a complex combination of mind-blowing guitars, piano and saxophone. This tune was crafted by an alien, I swear…

Marooned (1992)

“The Division Bell” has to be my favorite Pink Floyd album of all time and nothing or no one can take that away from me. “Marooned” is the most creative, imaginative and rousing instrumental on this list, at least for me that is. It gets me every time…What a genius David is!

It’s What We Do (2014)

Pink Floyd’s farewell album offered a lot of pleasing compositions and this is one of them. It was somehow difficult for me to decide which instrumental to pick, since almost the entire album is instrumental-centered, but I settled on “It’s What We Do” because of the mesmerizing intro! This instrumental brought me back to their glory days, despite being released in 2014.


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~

Song Of The Day : DURAN DURAN – NOTORIOUS

duran-duran-notoriousTime to funk things up ‘80s style!

There is not even a single thing I don’t like about Dura Duran! What is there not to like? – Great musicians, brilliant songwriters, hardworking, charismatic and the list goes on and on! They are definitely one of the most iconic bands of the ‘80s – if not THE band of the ‘80s! Leading the second wave of British Invasion, the fab five quickly found a way to the hearts of fans from all over the world. At the peak of their career, they broke into two separate units – Arcadia and Power Station which unfortunately shook their strength as a unit. “Notorious” was their 1986 comeback album but this time, they were a three-piece band – Simon Le Bon, John Laylor and Nick Rhodes. The title track won them top 10 positions in both the UK and the USA and topped the charts in Italy and Canada, even. There was no way this track wouldn’t make it big – legendary producer Nile Rodgers was part of the team, after all; he even played lead guitar!  

Funky, energetic, fresh, dynamic…this tune has always been in my top 5 favorite Duran Duran songs of all time! I got reminded of their outstanding musicianship today so I immediately played this tune and listened to the whole flawless album! This is my choice for “song of the day” and I really hope I reminded you of this lovely tune that just makes you jump off your chair and start dancing like nobody’s watching! Enjoy and make sure you check out the glorious live performances below the MV!

MV

LIVE (1986)

LIVE (2015)

“Notorious” Lyrics

No-no-Notorious. Notorious. Ah. No-no-Notorious.

I can’t read about it.
Burns the skin from your eyes.
I’ll do fine without it.
Here’s one you don’t compromise.
Lies come hard in disguise.
They need to fight it out.
Not wild about it.
Lay your seedy judgements.
Who says they’re part of our lives? [CHORUS]
You own the money ;
You control the witness.
I’ll leave you lonely.
Don’t monkey with my business.
You pay the prophets to justify your reasons.
I heard your promise,but I don’t believe it.

That’s why I’ve done it again. No-no-Notorious.

Girls will keep the secrets (uh)
So long as boys make a noise.
Fools run rings to break up.
Something they’ll never destroy.
Grand Notorious slam (bam).
And who really gives a damn for a flaky bandit?
Don’t ask me to bleed about it;
I need this blood to survive.

[CHORUS]

That’s why I’ve done it again. No-no-Notorious.

[CHORUS]

[CHORUS]

That’s why I’ve done it again. No. No.
That’s why I’ve done it again. No-no-Notorious.
That’s why I’ve done it again. No-no-Notorious.
No-no-Notorious. Yeah.
That’s why I’ve done it again. No-no-Notorious.
No-no-Notorious. Yeah.
That’s why I’ve done it again. No-no-Notorious.
No-no-Notorious.


“Notorious” Lyrics, retrieved from: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/duranduran/notorious.html
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: THUNDER – BACKSTREET SYMPHONY

thunder-backstreet-symphony

BACKSTREET SYMPHONY

Released: April 4, 1990
Genre: Hard Rock
Duration: 56:26
Label: EMI, Geffen Records
Producer(s): Andy Taylor
Certified: Gold (BPI)

backstreet-symphony-casette

backstreet-symphony-vinyl

buy-from-amazon


OVERVIEW

I would like to draw your attention to this wonderfully done rock album by Thunder – an often forgotten British band which unfortunately couldn’t become as big as they should have, for one reason or another. It’s an absolute pity because there was and still is a huge chunk of talent over there – Danny Bowes is a brilliant vocalist and he absolutely kills it on this record.

“Backstreet Symphony” was their coming-out party; a debut album, full of enjoyable, spirited and full of enthusiasm rockers. The record doesn’t really offer any groundbreaking surprises in terms of lyrical approach or musicianship, but that doesn’t make it a bad one. From start to finish, “Backstreet Symphony” displays a great deal of skill and class, all wrapped up in a satisfying selection of hard-rockers, power-ballads and even blues-inspired tunes. “Love Walked In” is a terrific power-ballad and the finest moment of the record (and I’m not just saying it because I’m a power-ballad person). “Dirty Love”, “She’s so Fine”, “Backstreet Symphony”, “Distant Thunder” – all sensational tracks you can rock all day and all night with. “Until My Dying Day” is an interesting tune, transforming from acoustic to a quite intense, guitar-driven composition. The straight-up hard rock cover of the Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin’” adds another star to the record.

The unpretentious, spirited sound of “Backstreet Symphony” is what makes it so good. Any track has the potential of giving you some sweet time. Don’t pick just one, grab and listen to the entire album!

Tracklist:

(1990 Original release)

“She’s So Fine”
“Dirty Love”
“Don’t Wait for Me”
“Higher Ground”
“Until My Dying Day”
“Backstreet Symphony”
“Love Walked In”
“An Englishman on Holiday”
“Girl’s Going Out of Her Head”
“Gimme Some Lovin'”
“Distant Thunder” (CD only)

Love Walked In

Backstreet Symphony

Dirty Love

Gimme Some Lovin’

Until My Dying Day (LIVE)

An Englishman on Holiday


References:
“Backstreet Symphony” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backstreet_Symphony
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 Things You (Should) Know About YES

yes-band-2


Before we go to YES, do you know what is art rock or progressive rock?

Progressive rock emerged as a musical trend and evolved in the late 1960s and early 1970s, falling under the umbrella of the so called “art rock”. Art rock can be quite difficult to explain due to its complexity and numerous forms it can take, however simply put, it’s rock music that goes above and beyond. What I mean by that is that the style itself surpasses the norms of the ordinary hard rock as we all know it, by experimenting with instruments and various other elements, taken from other genres and forms of art, such as literature and theater. When we think of “art rock”, the first name that should come to our minds is definitely David Bowie – he revolutionized and popularized the concept of “art rock” with its music, looks and stage performances.

Now, let me get back to progressive rock. I couldn’t just jump in without saying a few words about art rock because progressive rock is often thought to be a subcategory of art rock. Briefly put, progressive rock is a sophisticated mixture of classical music elements; complex instrumentation;  supreme musical technicality; conceptualism; abstract and imaginative lyrics; heavy experimentation with sound and new technologies, such as keyboards and synthesizers; lengthy songs; visually stunning stage theatrics; and all that wrapped under beautifully drawn fancy cover album artworks that can make your imagination go wild. The roots of progressive rock are questionable but many people say that it all begun in the States with psychedelic bands, such as The Doors, before it moved to the UK, where it was mastered and transformed into a fully developed style and genre. Yes, it was once again the British who formulated and perfected it. It was only natural, giving in mind their rich traditions, refined literature and classical European music influence. One of the very first British bands to fully adopt the qualities of progressive rock were King Crimson in the late 1960s.

Progressive rock, however, fully developed and reached its commercial peaks in the 1970s. When we talk about progressive rock and the 70s, there are a few bands that should immediately appear in front of your eyes. Those bands are also often referred to as “The Big Four in Progressive Rock in the 1970s”. I’m talking about YES, Genesis, Pink Floyd and Emerson Lake & Palmer, of course!

Today I will specifically draw your attention to YES, because I think there are a few things that should be said and reminded about this outstanding band of classically trained musicians, creating structured rock music that simply sends us to another realm. Just like many other progressive rock bands, they moved on to more commercial, radio-friendly sound in the 80s which divides their career into two distinguishable periods. Maybe some of you know more about YES than me and it won’t be interesting to read those facts I’ve gathered for you but for those of you who want to know more about YES, here we go!


yes-logo-png3

  • YES is a British progressive rock band, founded in 1968 in London by singer Jon Anderson who previously played with other bands such as The Warriors and Gun. He briefly went solo before the fateful meeting with bassist/vocalist Chris Squire from the band the Syn. Both of them quickly bonded over similar interests and pursues in music and assembled a line-up, featuring Tony Kaye on keyboards, Peter Banks on guitar and Bill Bruford on drums.

yes-band


  • The name of the band “YES” came from their guitarist Peter Banks and was chosen due to being short, striking, straightforward and even a little sweet.
yes-logo
The band’s logotype was designed by artist Roger Dean and used since 1972.

 

  • YES’ debut, self-titled album was released in July 1969. The record included cover versions of rock, folk and jazz acts, including The Byrds and The Beatles. The majority of original compositions on the record were written by Jon Anderson. “YES” received positive reviews and signaled the arrival of a strong progressive force, despite both released singles failing on the charts. The album displayed brilliant harmonies and a classical approach to music, all wrapped up in a rather futuristic, even space aura; it clearly established the grounds of the band which would later on develop into the YES as we know them.

  •  YES had numerous line-up changes throughout the years, mainly due to disagreements in the musical directions of the band. For instance, Tony Kaye (keyboards) was fired because he refused to play on newly emerged and electronically-heavy keyboards. Founder Jon Anderson left the band in 1980, only to join a couple of years later for their highly successful album “90125”. Co-founder Chris Squire also left the band in the early 80s but came back for “90125” as well. Frequent line-up changes and ups and downs within the band members often affected their consistency and focus of production.

  • Yes - Fragile - Roger Dean“Fragile” is often considered to be YES’ finest record. Released in 1971, the album became synonymous with YES and quickly turned into a commercial and critical success. “Fragile” was popularized by its album cover, crafted by Roger Dean and the single “Roundabout”, which became their most famous and well-known songs.

  • Artist Roger Dean is the man behind the infamous album artworks of YES. Their long collaboration started with “Fragile” and is still going on. His futuristic and highly imaginative, colorful pieces of art became a trademark for the band and an inseparable part of their progressive style. His mesmerizing landscapes, environments and creatures perfectly fit the band’s concept and contribute to the overall experience and even visualization of their music.

  • YES - 90125YES’ “90125” is their best-selling album up to date. Often referred to as one of the most successful comebacks in history, “90125” presented a new, more contemporary and radio-friendly YES sound that appealed to the majority of audiences. Many fans criticize them for shifting from the complex, classical music-inspired rock to simpler, rather mainstream pop/rock music. However, many others were celebrating the new YES, rising from the ashes of Cinema – a band formed after the disbandment of YES in 1981 and consisting of bassist Chris Squire, drummer Alan White, singer Trevor Rabin and former YES keyboardist Tony Kaye. On top of that Jon Anderson was also on board, resuming his duties as a vocalist. The album showcased a fresh, innovative mash-up of progressive, electronic and typical ‘80s hard rock sounds.

  • “Owner of a Lonely Heart” from “90125” is YES’ one and only song to ever top the charts. In addition to being their most instantly recognizable tune, the track turned into the ultimate cross-over hit and a staple of ‘80s AOR. The opening killer riffs of Trevor Rabin made the intro of “Owner of a Lonely Heart” one of the most memorable song intros of all time.

  • Keyboardist Geoff Downes, who previously formed The Buggles (“Video Killed The Radio Star”) joined YES for the “Drama” (1980) album. After that, along with Carl Palmer from ELP, John Wetton from King Crimson and fellow YES guitarist Steve Howe, he became a member of the supergroup ASIA. The band’s debut self-titled album turned into one of the best-selling and most popular records of the ‘80s. Geoff Downes would later on return to YES once again in their Fly from Here (2011) and Heaven & Earth (2014) albums.

asia-band


  • heaven-and-earth-yes-album-coverYES is one of the longest running progressive rock bands in the history of music. The band released 21 studio albums and 32 compilation albums during their career that begun in 1969 and is still continuing. YES’s latest record, titled “Heaven & Earth” was released in 2014 and is the final album to feature original member and co-founder of the band Chris Squire before he died in 2015.

References:
YES official Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes_(band)
YES Biography: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/yes-mn0000685647/biography
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: DEF LEPPARD – RETRO ACTIVE

def-leppard-retro-active

RETRO ACTIVE

Released: October 5, 1993
Genre: Hard Rock/Glam Rock
Duration: 56:04
Label: Mercury
Producer(s): Def Leppard
Singles: “Two Steps Behind”, “Desert Song”, “Miss You In A Heartbeat”, “Action”, ““Two Steps Behind (re-issue)”
Certified: Platinum (RIAA)

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OVERVIEW

Def Leppard released four albums during the 90s but this time I will specifically focus on “Retro Active”, despite “Adrenalize” being their most commercially and critically successful 90s record. I wanted to talk a little bit more about “Retro Active” because of its unique format that combines groomed up versions of unreleased/B-sides tracks and a couple of covers from previous albums. The album carries with it Def Leppard’s genuine and classic ‘80s sound, making it their most deserving work that came out in the ‘90s. Don’t get me wrong, “Adrenalize” and “Euphoria”, for instance are groundbreaking albums, but they cannot match the variety and character of “Retro Active”. Fuelled up with first-class production quality and of course, the dynamic and charismatic spirit of Def Leppard, the record is the ultimate cause for celebration, especially for die-hard fans of the band, like me. On top of it all, the band gives us one more chance to honor the late Steve Clark (RIP) by revisiting his legacy and experiencing his enormous talents and contributions all over again. We get to hear the first recordings with the new guitarist Vivian Campbell, as well.

In terms of songs, “Retro Active” is an absolute rock festival from start to finish. We get to enjoy a couple of gorgeous ballads -“Miss You in a Heartbeat” and “Two Steps behind You”, both presented in acoustic and electric versions.  Listening to those excellent pieces of art makes me such a proud fan of Def Leppard. “Miss You in a Heartbeat”, especially, is one in a lifetime kind of song – memorable and easy to sing with chorus, heartbreaking lyrics and an unmatchable classy aura. I have always been entranced by Joe’s vocals on this track. “She’s too Tough”, originally released on the “Heaven Is” single (1993) is such a delightful surprise and definitely my favorite moment of “Retro Active”. Energizing and empowering, the track is definitely something to anticipate as you go from start to finish. Playful, even sexy lyrics that generate an immediate visual in your mind, which is one of the reasons why I love Def Leppard so much – they tell a story with their music and make things so much more interesting. Kicking things off gently and then quickly teleporting us to a pure solid hard rock realm, “I Wanna Be Your Hero” is another groundbreaking point. On “Retro Active”, you get to find tons of other deserving rockers, such as the covers “Action” (Sweet) and “Only After Dark” (Mick Ronson). The mind-blowing first two opening tracks “Desert Song” and “Fractured Love”, both from Hysteria sessions, are bringing us back to Def Leppard’s early raw roots. The epic “Ride into the Sun” is another personal favorite of mine, probably due to the long history it carries with it – the track was actually featured on Def Leppard’s first ever self-produced EP, released back in 1979 before it was rerecorded in 1987 as a B-side to the “Hysteria” single. “Retro Active” wraps things up with a hidden track – a tender piano version of “Miss You in a Heartbeat”. Leaving us absolutely speechless, you can’t but go on the “Retro Active” journey once again, after the final song is over; the feeling is just that strong!

This album is for everyone, though I do believe that die-hard fans of Def Leppard would enjoy it much more than everyone else. The collection of songs offers a little something for all the rock souls out there – from attractive hard rockers to sentimental ballads, “Retro Active” provides you with the ultimate Def Leppard experience. The album is important also because it’s a final farewell to Steve Clark, the irreplaceable force, without which the band wouldn’t have reached such heights. Grab a copy and enjoy the superb production and quality of this record. Definitely in my top 5 Def Leppard albums! That should tell you something!


Tracklist:

“Desert Song” (Steve Clark, Joe Elliott, Rick Savage)
Outtake from the Hysteria album sessions (1984–87)

“Fractured Love” (Clark, Elliott, Savage) – 5:08
Outtake from the Hysteria album sessions

“Action” (Andy Scott, Brian Connolly, Steve Priest, Mick Tucker)
Original version released on the “Make Love Like a Man” single (1992)

“Two Steps Behind” (Acoustic version) (Elliott)
Original version released on the “Make Love Like a Man” single
Originally released on the Last Action Hero soundtrack (1993)

“She’s Too Tough” (Elliott)
Original version released on the “Heaven Is” single (1993) and is the bonus track for the Japanese pressing of Adrenalize (1992)

“Miss You in a Heartbeat” (Phil Collen)
Original version released on the “Make Love Like a Man” single

“Only After Dark” (Mick Ronson, Scott Richardson)
Original version released on the “Let’s Get Rocked” single (1992)

“Ride into the Sun” (Clark, Collen, Elliott, Savage)
Original version released on the “Hysteria” single (1987)
First recording of the song released on The Def Leppard E.P. (1979)

“From the Inside” (Elliott)
Originally released on the “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad” single

“Ring of Fire” (Clark, Collen, Elliott, Robert John “Mutt” Lange, Savage)
Original version released on the “Armageddon It” single (1988)

“I Wanna Be Your Hero” (Clark, Collen, Elliott, Lange, Savage)
Original version released on the “Hysteria” single

“Miss You in a Heartbeat” (Electric version) (Collen)
This was the Japanese bonus track for Adrenalize

“Two Steps Behind” (Electric version) (Elliott)

“Miss You in a Heartbeat” (Piano version) (Hidden track)) (Collen)

She’s Too Tough

Miss You In A Heartbeat

I Wanna Be Your Hero

Action

Two Steps Behind

Desert Song


References:
“Retro Active” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retro_Active
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 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~