BOSTON’s “Don’t Look Back” or How to Make a Sophomore Comeback with Style

Fans refer to many commercially successful rock bands who became widely popular in the ’70s and early ’80s as “classic rock bands”. When someone says “classic rock” (though these days the term became a little bit vague), what’s the first band that comes to your mind? To me, that band has always been Boston for certain. Not so much because it falls under the umbrella of a certain “term” or “radio format” but because Boston has the most classic, universally-beloved, timeless, evergreen sound that just doesn’t grow old.

Boston-1We all know the significance of Boston‘s 1976 self-titled debut album; I bet there’s not a single rock soul in the world who has never sang along with radio hit songs like “More Than a Feeling”. I have a whole publication about this album, which you can check here -> Why is BOSTON’s Debut Album One Of The Greatest Albums Of All Time

Boston’s smashing debut album was followed up by a long list of unexpected but widely-welcomed circumstances including becoming the second best-selling debut album of all time (first one being “Appetite for Destruction”, of course), turning into one of America’s most appreciated rock albums and establishing absolute dominance over all radio stations. Topping an era-defining album with such a strong impact is certainly an obstacle many rock bands can’t really overcome. Not Boston, though.

boston dont look back 19782 years after the release of “Boston”, the band came back with “Don’t Look Back”. As it was expected, the sophomore album didn’t really match the commercial strength of the debut one; however to many critics and fans (me included), “Don’t Look Back” still remains one of the most worthy sophomore comebacks of all time. Also, getting certified 7x Platinum is certainly something to consider.

“Don’t Look Back” wasn’t exactly released in the most pleasurable industry environment as the band or should I just say, Mr. Everything – Tom Scholz kicked off a legal battle with their record label.

Still, “Don’t Look Back” turned out to be equally impressive and received a well-deserved place among the ultimate classics of the era. One unfortunate thing about it is of course, its length. “Don’t Look Back” spreads over 8 songs only, 2 of which are under 3 minutes. That’s a little bit short for an album and turned out to be one of the reasons why Tom Scholz went on a war with the record label.

Whether it was rushed or not, the essence of the album, however, is what’s important here. I try to stay informed about the background stories and environments under which rock albums were crafted and released, but ultimately, it’s the sound, the music, the songs are all that’s left 30, 40, 50+ years later.

Three songs were released as singles – “Don’t Look Back”, “A Man I’ll Never Be” and “Feelin’ Satisfied”. Don’t think these songs need an introduction or fancy musical descriptions – they are way above that. Especially, “A Man I’ll Never Be” which has to be in my Top3 Boston songs of all time and certainly one of the most gentle and emotional rock ballads of all time.

“A Man I’ll Never Be”

“Feelin’ Satisfied”

“Don’t Look Back”

The 2-minute instrumental “The Journey” is often forgotten, despite its pivotal role in the album. To some, it may be a bit difficult to absorb but the way I see it, it’s a pretty well-placed musical piece that divides the two harder rocking songs “Don’t Look Back” and “It’s Easy”.

“The Journey”

Ultimately, Boston is…well Boston. I do like the first album a little bit more than this one,  despite critics claiming that “Don’t Look Back” was indeed a solid musical progression. I agree that Boston do sound more confident and the sophomore release does possess a more joyful vibe but I have an emotional attachment to the first one, so don’t listen to me, really.

There’s also this little part of me that cannot (or maybe doesn’t want to) divide those first two albums. I consider them just two parts of one bigger whole – maybe even as just one album. “Don’t Look Back” is like a side2 to “Boston” and I just love playing them one after the other.

Share your memories of “Don’t Look Back” below the publication or on Twitter; I would love to know what you think of this album and which is your favorite song:

 

boston dont look back 1
Me, holding a copy of “Don’t Look Back” which i bought during 2017’s “Record Store Day”

boston dont look back 2


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Look-Back-Boston/dp/B00Q99V0PA
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.

Bringing Back the ’80s with TOTO’s Classic Seventh Album (1988)

Toto and The Seventh Album

toto seventh oneToto is a household name when it comes to classic rock music and no one can change that. The best time to play their timeless classics? Well, that would be anytime! Is there actually a person out there who has never heard of “Africa” or “Rosanna” or “Hold the Line”? I don’t think so. Late ’70s and early ’80s were unquestionably the heydays of Toto. From their smashing 1978 debut to their fourth release in 1982 which is basically synonymous with ’80s rock music, the band was just at the top of the game.

toto straight
TOTO – Straight for the Heart (Photo retrieved fromhttp://www.45cat.com/record/3807945)

I grew up with Toto IV and that album will always have a very special place in my heart. I think the majority of fans would also pick this album as their favorite and for a reason! As I was getting older and had more chances to experience and understand music and formed a solid music personality, I discovered that when it comes to Toto, their seventh studio album goes right at the top of the list of my personal favorites. I don’t think it’s a popular opinion because neither the original voices of Toto, Bobby Kimball or Steve Lukather (who I adore so much) are the ones taking the lead on this one;. When Toto were re-introduced in my life at a later point, I used to listen to “Straight for the Heart” all the time, every day! This is till today one of the most upbeat and bright songs I have ever heard of. I got the album eventually and here we are – to a point where I can, with certainty, state that this is my favorite Toto album and not only because of that one song I love so much; there are just so many things happening on it! 

 

Before we get to the seventh one, let’s go back further in time. The mid-’80s was a turbulent time for Toto. Boby was fired, his replacement Fergie Frederiksen was also dismissed from the band so as you can imagine time was ticking and the stakes were high. Show had to go on, though. In 1986, Toto released Fahrenheit – the first album with new vocalist Joseph Williams and an album I really love (surprise, surprise). “Fahrenheit” couldn’t make a splash despite all the hopes and hard work put into it.

Two years later, in 1988, The Seventh One was out and the situation was even worse. It’s funny how my favorite Toto album is the lowest-charting album of their career (not that it matters). On a positive note, the album was very well-accepted by overseas audiences, especially in Europe and Asia. My love for vocalist Joseph Williams is satisfied on two* classic albums only. Unfortunately, after The Seventh One, he was also fired because of  troubles with his (gorgeous) voice. It took the band about 4 years to re-assemble but as we all know it, the music industry was very different in the ’90s so even the great Toto couldn’t stand a chance. 

*Just FYI, Joseph Williams did come back to Toto for Toto XIV, released in 2015.


The songs

I want to say it so I’m just going to say it – this album is so much better than their fourth one (in my opinion of course). The rhythmic, groovy, dance/pop sound of the record is unbeatable!

We gotta start with “Pamela” which remained the only top40 hit from the album. I don’t understand why American audiences were so unwelcoming to this single (and the album as a whole) but Asian and European fans embraced it so warmly? For one reason or another this mysterious, brilliantly performed track didn’t get the attention it deserved and is one more reason to back up a statement I’ve been saying for years – chart positions mean nothing!

“Straight for the Heart” is a cheerful, sunny, pop/rock track, capable of conquering absolutely anyone out there! For me that song was a turning point – a new singer was added to my “favorite vocalists of all time” list and the rest is just history. There are many songs that makes you wanna smile, dance and forget about it all, but this song right here does all these things on a whole new level. I just love the melody and lyrics so much!

“Stop Loving You” is a very interesting track because it features my beloved Jon Anderson (vocalist of YES) on backing vocals. Not only that, but the entire song is such a blissful experience for my ears. I was listening to it while writing this and unconsciously I started moving! Seriously! I just love songs that provoke a physical reaction in you. So much live and character, what a tune!

The gorgeous ballad “Anna” (the other lady on the album), the dynamic “Stay Away” and the reggae-inspired ,“These Chains” are some of my other personal favorites on the album. The style, the atmosphere – this has to be Toto’s most energetic and groovy release so far. I am insanely happy that Joseph is back with them and cannot wait to see what the future holds! For now, enjoy these…

“Straight for the Heart”

“Pamela”

“Stop Loving You”

“Anna”


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from: https://www.pinterest.co.kr/pin/519251032017554090/
“Straight for the Heart” artwork, retrieved from http://www.45cat.com/record/3807945
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.

Concert Experience: NAZARETH at Ancient Theater Plovdiv, Bulgaria (18/06/2017)

So far, 2017 has been a good year for me when it comes to rock&roll! Last month I saw Deep Purple and Europe and there was no way in hell I would’ve missed seeing the legendary Nazareth this June 18th! Not only that but they were going to perform in Plovdiv, my hometown, the place I grew up in and know better than anyone! What a fateful turn of events.

tix naI traveled back to Plovdiv, especially for this concert; it was raining cats and dogs, it was cold and I it was just me and my concert ticket…but who cares, right? Despite all the difficulties and poor weather conditions, this turned out to be a concert of a lifetime! I knew it was going to be a memorable experience but it ended up being way more than that. Despite nature being against it, I had the time of my life. I hope by telling you my story and supporting it with tons of visual materials, you will at least for a little while feel as if you were there with me…This concert was not just about the sound; it was also about the visual experience. I don’t think I can convey the array of emotions I felt because it was that incredible but I will at least try…


The current line-up of NAZARETH consist of bass player Pete Agnew, guitarist Jimmy Murrison, drummer Lee Agnew and vocalist Carl Sentance. The iconic band rose to stardom in the mid-70s with timeless albums like “Hair of the Dog” and “Close Enough for Rock ‘n’ Roll”. 23 Studio albums, a 50 year career, millions of albums sold, countless fans from every corner of the world…do I have to say more? do you actually need any more reasons to see them perform live? I don’t think so…

For their Bulgarian concert, Nazareth chose the famous Roman amphitheater, which is not only a popular choice for a venue but is one of the most famous tourist attractions of the city. Plovdiv is in fact the oldest town in Europe and Roman sculptures and ruins are spread all over it. Let me walk you to the venue…

This is the central part of the town and before we go to the amphitheater, we pass through …

 

Plovdiv1

Pretty soon we arrive to the Roman Amphitheater which is located in the Old part of the town. Not only that but the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine arts is right next to it. And get this, my mom and dad who are both musicians graduated from it! How cool is that…

It was raining and I arrived a little bit early so I had to wait for a little while…Had the chance to take some photos before they opened the gates to the theater.

Plovdiv 2

It was raining like hell so everyone was carrying raincoats and umbrellas; I wasn’t but right before the concert, it stopped, thankfully! I thought I will be soaking wet and catch a cold but it all turned out fine…

This is how it looked from the inside. Breathtaking, isn’t it? This is a place of art, rich history and monumental importance to Europe and my country. On top of it all, the restorations made it look so gorgeous. The Roman Amphitheater in Plovdiv is well-known for it’s strategical location and perfect acoustics! Those Romans knew how to build an arena!

I was one of the first ones to enter and managed to take a few shots before people started flooding in.

Plovdiv 3

As you can see, it’s a pretty tiny venue; It can hold up to around 3,000 people only. This is its charm, however. The atmosphere is more intimate and you can actually see very well from each and every seat! Moreover, you can immortalize your experience with stunning photos.

Plovdiv 7

Plovdiv 6

The show started at 9pm. The rain stopped and we were all ready to clap, sing along and enjoy the band. Frontman Carl Sentance came out on the stage like a tornado. I’ve been to many concerts and seen many vocalists but he blew me away with his pure uncontrollable captivating energy! This guy was simply phenomenal! I didn’t know what to expect because after Dan McCafferty retired in 2013 and then his successor Linton Osborne left the band so quickly, things were a bit uncertain for Nazareth. Carl took over the frontman duties in 2015 and this was my first time seeing him with the band and all I can say is that the guys were a match made in heaven! 

1 Nazareth Plovdiv Bulgaria 19 06 2017 28

2 Nazareth Plovdiv Bulgaria 19 06 2017 26

Songs kept coming one after another. They of course, played some of their classics, including the ’80s staple “Dream On” which melted my heart…

The crowd was clapping, smiling and absolutely loving the show. I was immensely happy that I chose to attend this concert. Then, all of a sudden, Carl Sentance invites the audience to come down in front of the stage, because after all, this is “the rock&roll way”. The moment I heard that I literally flew myself down, along with everyone else, and ended up being RIGHT IN FRONT of the stage. The feeling of closeness, direct eye-contact with the musicians and of course the way you listen to the live music is indescribable when you are right there in front of the stage. You feel so connected, so intimate! Not to mention that you get to move your body, dance and jump! This was the absolute turning point for me! I just knew that this was going to end up being one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to…The view in front of me changed to this…

10 Nazareth Plovdiv Bulgaria 19 06 2017 34

11 Nazareth Plovdiv Bulgaria 19 06 2017 32

12 Nazareth Plovdiv Bulgaria 19 06 2017 31

 

I wanted to share a couple of moments which took my breath away and which will forever be branded on my heart.

The first moment was when Carl and the guys performed “Love Hurts”. You all know that I’m a rock ballad person and this is one of the songs which entirely re-defined the power and importance of a rock ballad. I know that it’s a cover but it did change the rules of the game and became one of the best heartbreak songs of all time. Carl did a perfect job capturing that vocal emotion and sadness needed to complete the beautiful song. Here’s a video I made:

Secondly, some of you know that I have this fascination with the bass guitar though I never really knew how to play it. I adore bands and songs that emphasize on the bass and use it as a lead instrument. I knew Pete Agnew was a legend and I’ve always respected him for staying with the band since the very beginning (he’s the only original founding member of Nazareth who’s still with them) but seeing it and feeling it with your own eyes and soul is something entirely different. This 69 year old rockstar knocked my socks off with his bass guitar! During his solos my eyes and ears were all pointed at him and his guitar; I kept on smiling because he was just extraordinary. He smiled at me back many times – I was right in front of him!

nazareth 11

Finally, I wanted to share how much fun I had thanks to Carl Sentance! He played with the crowd like no other; he engaged with the fans, cracked jokes, jumped, danced and poured his soul out on that stage. He touched and shook hands with the fans in front of the stage, including me of course. Later on, when they performed “Hair of the Dog” he was singing “Red hot mama, down light charmer…” and he pointed at me smiling. Everyone turned to see me and I blushed so hard! It was such a sweet gesture that made my day, week, month…etc haha; Later on when the concert was over, he waved especially at me and gave me a thumbs up with the biggest smile ever! Such a lovely man! I will never never never forget him and how well he treated the fans and me, of course! Now I have so much respect for him as a live performer because believe it or not, transmitting energy from your body and voice to a group of people is immensely hard. He did it splendidly! My hands are still red from all the clapping; my legs still hurt from all the jumping! All thanks to him and his invitation to go down in front of the stage and make memories!

15 Nazareth Plovdiv Bulgaria 19 06 2017

16 Nazareth Plovdiv Bulgaria 19 06 2017 2

The concert was over sooner than I wanted it to be. I would’ve loved to listen to more and more. The sadness that consumes you after such a mind-blowing event is over has to be one of the most painful things. How do you go on living your ordinary life after this; You just want more and more. Concerts like this one make me feel alive! Thank you, Nazareth for one of the most memorable nights of my life! Thank you for bringing so much joy to my tiny little rock&roll heart! Till next time!

cover photo Nazareth Plovdiv Bulgaria 19 06 2017 1


P.S. All the photos are taken by me. Please be kind and considerate and make sure you don’t just save and use them without my permission! Rock on!

Concert Overview: DEEP PURPLE’s “The Long Goodbye Tour” Concert in Sofia, Bulgaria (14/05/2017)

Some things in life you gotta do while there’s still a chance. One of those must-do things for me was to attend a concert of at least one of “the three big” rock bands – Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, of course. I couldn’t say goodbye to Black Sabbath and any hopes of a Led Zeppelin reunion went down the drain years ago, so I was left with just Deep Purple. I knew that those guys still have it in them and will pull out something special from their sleeve. In 2017 we got it – a new phenomenal album and a tour! There is a reason why those guys are one of the most influential rock bands of all time – they just keep on going, never stopping, never disappointing.  

Well, finally, after SO MANY years, I can proudly tell the story of how I attended Deep Purple’s “Long Farewell Tour” and crossed it off my bucket list. I can now say that I witnessed how classic rock songs that defined generations of musicians and completely changed the history of rock music materialized on a stage in front of me. This is just so big!! (at least to me) …

The moment I found out that Deep Purple will include Bulgaria in their “Long Farewell Tour” and most importantly, I will also be in my home country at that exact time, I didn’t even blink! The tickets were bought in that exact same second (even managed to score a sweet discount because I got them very very early). To be honest, one of the reasons why I was so excited to visit Bulgaria (I was living in South Korea) was to see Deep Purple and say goodbye to them. My wish came true and with excitement, happiness and smiles I am ready to share my experience with you and show you some photos.

The promo poster for the Bulgarian concert from Deep Purple’s official website:

deep purple 4

The tickets:

IMG_20170511_010408_032

It was Sunday, May 14th; the weather, along with the mood, was GREAT!

deep purple concert 1 - edit

Concert selfies (from outside and inside the venue)
(I bought a T-shirt of my favorite Deep Purple album, “Stormbringer” before the concert)

concert selfie

That’s how the venue (Arena Armeec) looked from the outside [it was still quite early & the fans were just starting to come]

deep purple concert - arena 3

deep purple concert venue outside

To get to my seat, I had to take the elevator (man, I’m such a diva, never missing a chance to take a photo….)

deep purple concert selfies14

and this is how it looked from the inside (the crowd started filling in the arena…)

arena armeec inside deep purple concert

Part 1: Monster Truck

monster truck

In addition to seeing Deep Purple for the very first time in my life, I also got the chance to witness the incredible performance of the opening act, Monster Truck – Canadian rockers who actually played in front of a Bulgarian audience for the very first time! I didn’t know much about them but heard only nice things so naturally, I was equally excited to check them out. I was never disappointed by a Canadian rock band and this wasn’t gonna be the first time! Those guys totally blew me away and restored my faith in modern-day rock music. Monster Truck delivered one hell of an act. I was so impressed with them that the moment I got home, I immediately researched and listened to anything I could find on Spotify. The song that attracted me the most was “She’s a Witch” – that riff electrified the entire arena and don’t get me started on the vocal delivery! I have a new favorite band and I’m so happy!

What truly made Monster Truck’s performance so memorable was the guys’ sense of humor and enthusiasm. With that right attitude and refreshing positivism, they made a lot of new fans that night, I’m sure!

monster truck collage

monster truck 2-wordpress

Part 2: DEEP PURPLE

deep purple 1

After the explosive rock spectacle, delivered by Monster Truck, the stage was already hot enough and every single member of the audience was ready to welcome the giants! We took a little break after the opening act but we didn’t wait that long to welcome Ian Gillan and the rest of the legends. The crowd went wild the moment the lights went off and we heard the opening robotic monologue from their new song, “Time for Bedlam”. Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Ian Paice, Steve Morse and Don Airey settled comfortably on the stage and the party started! It was unbelievable…the great Deep Purple were in front of my eyes, performing a song from their latest album I just reviewed, “Infinite” and other eternal classics! I was lucky enough to witness how one of the most influential voices of heavy metal, Ian Gillan (who by the way is 71 years old) sang “Fireball”, “Bloodsucker”, “Strange Kind of Woman”, “Space Truckin’”, “Hush” and of course, my dearly beloved “Perfect Strangers” which I patiently waited for. Of course, they couldn’t just miss the song that defined the history of heavy metal and encouraged millions of people to grab a guitar and learn how to play it; Yes, I’m talking about that “little” track, “Smoke on The Water”, containing the simplest, most instantly-recognizable riff that was and ever will be created. Needless to say, we sang along, clapped, jumped and everything you do when such a BIG song starts playing.

A couple of memorable and highly impressive moments (at least for me) included the phenomenal keyboard solo of Don Airey who definitely stole the night! I have a soft spot for keyboard players, ever since I became a huge fan of Keith Emerson so naturally, I was all eyes in ears, diving into the breath-taking playing of Don.

Another moment I was waiting for was Roger Glover’s thrilling bass solo. One of my many dreams in life is to learn how to play the bass and seeing him crafting magic on that bass guitar so effortlessly really made me think that it’s high time I did something about that dream of mine. I always respected that guy – there’s just something so charming about him and he definitely has a good aura which spread through every corner of the arena.

The concert ended suitably, with “Black Night” (1970).

It was a delightful, unforgettable evening, full of extraordinary rock music – the kind of rock we don’t really get anymore these days. A couple of things I wanted to share, though: Ian Gillan obviously had no idea which country he was playing in (he never said “Good Evening, Bulgaria” or something like that), he only said that he was feeling “positive vibes”; also, the Bulgarian audience standing in front of the stage was a little bit too stiff (or maybe I was too wild)… I bought tickets for the sitting area which wasn’t that close BUT I was still having so much more fun than some of the people down there who were literally centimeters apart from the legends. I think it was because the audience in front of the stage was mostly composed of old-school fans who didn’t know the songs from the latest album and probably didn’t  have the energy to physically participate in the show (like they used to). One more thing, I was disappointed to see that not many young people actually attended the concert. The majority of the attendees were 40+ year old people – it is understandable, of course, but still raises questions related with the musical attitude of today’s youth. Last but not least, as much as those guys looked like (& were dressed like) our friendly grandpa neighbor who always says hi and smiles, they are still relevant and deserve all the respect they can get from every generation out there. They still have it, believe me! Long gone are their days of prime but that doesn’t mean anything when you have it inside you…

I was there, I loved it and I had the time of my life! Thank you, Deep Purple for the memories and for everything you did and will keep on doing! Till next time…

deep purple collage

bye bye deep purple wordpress

Setlist:

  1. Time for Bedlam
  2. Fireball
  3. Bloodsucker
  4. Strange Kind of Woman
  5. Johnny’s Band
  6. Uncommon Man
  7. The Surprising
  8. Lazy
  9. Birds of Prey
  10. Hell to Pay
  11. Keyboard Solo
  12. Perfect Strangers
  13. Space Truckin’
  14. Smoke on the Water

Encore:

  1. Hush
  2. Bass Solo
  3. Black Night

P.S. All the photos are taken by me. Please be kind and considerate and make sure you don’t just save and use them without my permission! Rock on!

5 Songs I Wish I Could Listen Again For The First Time

Recently, I asked my buddies on Twitter a very intriguing question:

question music

Plenty of my followers and dear rock friends from all over the world responded with various, personally relevant and undoubtedly breathtaking tracks, such as Led Zeppelin‘s “Stairway to Heaven”, Pink Floyd‘s “Comfortably Numb”, AC/DC‘s “Highway to Hell” and more. I was so happy to see that many people sharing their stories, feelings and reasons why they would give anything to experience hearing their favorite song for the first time again.

Of course, way before asking my followers, I thought about my personal choices. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, actually. A song you wish to hear for the very first time and experience that “love at first listen” all over again is not necessarily the same as a “favorite” track, though. We all have hundreds and thousands of songs we LOVE but do you actually remember how you felt or what kind of emotions were flying around the air the first team you heard each and one of them? I don’t think so. Just like me, probably most of you guys can remember the first encounters of only a few songs – those special, world-shattering songs that challenged your entire existence and brought so many mind and body reactions, even…The following five masterpieces are such songs for me – song so captivating that make me wish I could go back in time and recall those beautiful first moments with them…the moments that took my breath away and made me think, “oh, that’s a song I will love and listen till the day I die”. I hope you enjoy my list! Feel free to share your thoughts here or on Twitter!


Derek & The Dominos – Layla (1970)

layla-claptonI have never felt a connection so instant and so strong as the one I had when I first heard those opening riffs. I didn’t know about the long and painful story behind the song and of course, that famous love triangle but I could feel that there’s just so much going on…”Layla” is not just your regular romantic tune; it’s a 7-minute long epic ballad that features two highly impressive parts – a speedy blues-oriented assemble, followed by a gentler piano and side guitar instrumental.  I was young but I could truly understand why “Layla” is referred to as one of the most important songs rock songs of the ‘70s and Eric Clapton’s most outstanding work. For me, it all started with “Layla”; I needed to hear it just once to know that Eric Clapton will become a huge part of my life…Years later, I cannot even imagine my life without his music.


Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Still…You Turn Me On (1973)

emerson-lake-palmer-brain-salad-surgery-1973My 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 Lake’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.


Boston – More Than A Feeling (1976)

Boston-1“More Than a Feeling” is probably the main reason why Boston and their debut record became one of the most popular rock acts of the late 70s. Each and every second of this song was designed to instantaneously crawl under your skin, inject its blessing and leave you in a state of trance. I wasn’t an exception. This song was never just an opening track to a classic rock record from many many years ago. “More Than A Feeling” turned into my ultimate relaxation outlet and a way for me to experience sweet comfort right from the very second I heard those guitars. I guess Brad Delp’s killer vocals, relentlessly playing with your senses were another reason why this song grabbed me right form the beginning.


Def Leppard – Love Bites (1987)

Def_Leppard_-_Hysteria_(vinyl_version)One of my biggest musical obsessions is hard rock power ballads from the ’80s. Everyone who follows my blog and Twitter knows how passionate I am about the gentler, mellower side of rock music. It all had to start from somewhere, right? Well, for me it started with Def Leppard‘s only one #1 hit single, the most stunning rock ballad of all time – “Love Bites”. The moment I heard that passionate, thrilling, so sensual song I knew two things: 1) I will become a huge Def Leppard fan and I need to listen to every piece of music they released; 2) Power ballads would become my favorite kind of rock songs and I gotta find out more. The fact that I knew these things right after the first listen speaks volumes. Joe Elliott‘s vocals crawled under my skin and the rest is history. Interestingly, every time I play “Love Bites”, it feels like the first time…


Scorpions – Send Me an Angel (1990)

Scorpions - Send me an Angel2There are rock ballads and then there’s Scorpions’ “Send Me an Angel” – a song that brings tears to my eyes every time I play it. I remember my first moments with this track back in the day very distinctively because the sincere, so powerful and expressive vocal delivery of Klaus Meine left me speechless. I played that song over and over till I finally learned the lyrics by heart. I couldn’t interpret the words but I just knew how honest they were. I had the chance to witness the song materialize on stage during their 50th anniversary tour and I will never forget that magical experience…


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~

Song of The Day: J. Geils Band – Love Stinks (1980)

Unfortunately, yet another respectable rockstar left our world.

Guitarist John Warren Geils Jr., also known as J. Geils, a member of the eponymous American rock band, The J. Geils Band, was found dead on April 11.

j gailsBorn in 1946, the mechanical engineering-student formed The J. Geils Band in the late ‘60s, along with Danny Klein, Magic Dick Salwitz, Stephen Jo Bladd, and Peter Wolf, with Seth Justman. The band, heavily influenced by R&B and soul music, released a total of 11 studio albums. They are famous for rock classics like “Must of Got Lost”, “Freeze-Frame”, their cover of the song “Lookin’ for a Love” by The Valentinos and of course, “Love Stinks”, which is my choice for song of the day.  

To remember J. Geils and all he did as a musician and a member of The J. Geils Band, I give you “Love Stinks” – a catchy, fun, simple, highly enjoyable track, coming from the band’s 1980 album of the same name. The song deals with the uncertainty, heartbreak and constant turbulence that surround relationships and love in general. Singer Peter Wolf says “…You love her, But she loves him, And he loves somebody else, You just can’t win” – words that can relate to everyone. Many people love listening to this song on Valentine’s Day, jokingly!

Enjoy this lovely track and let’s all remember J. Geils and the good old times!

RIP!

Music Video:

Enjoy this live performance as well:


“Love Stinks” Lyrics

You love her
But she loves him
And he loves somebody else
You just can’t win
And so it goes
‘Til the day you die
This thing they call love
It’s gonna make you cry
I’ve had the blues
The reds and the pinks
One thing for sure (Love stinks)
Love stinks
Yeah, yeah
(Love stinks)
Love stinks
Yeah, yeah
(Love stinks)
Love stinks
Yeah, yeah
(Love stinks)
Love stinks
Yeah, yeah

Two by two and side by side
Love’s gonna find you, yes, it is
You just can’t hide
You’ll hear it call
Your heart will fall
Then love will fly
It’s gone, that’s all
I don’t care what any Casanova thinks
All I can say is

(Love stinks)
Love stinks
Yeah, yeah
(Love stinks)
Love stinks
Yeah, yeah
(Love stinks)
Love stinks
Yeah, yeah
(Love stinks)
Love stinks
Yeah, yeah

Shoo doo wop
Shoo doo wop
Shoo doo wop, shoop, shoop
Shoo doo wop
Shoo doo wop

I’ve been through diamonds
And I’ve been through minks
I’ve been through it all

(Love stinks)
Love stinks
Yeah, yeah
(Love stinks)
Love stinks
Yeah, yeah
Breakdown

Love stinks (Love stinks)
Yeah, yeah
(Love stinks)
Love stinks (Love stinks)
Yeah, yeah
(Love stinks)
Love stinks (Love stinks)
Yeah, yeah
(Love stinks)
Love stinks (I mean it stinks)
Yeah, yeah

(Love stinks)
Love stinks (Love stinks)
Yeah, yeah
(Love stinks)
Love stinks (Love stinks)


P.S.

Joan Jett did a cover of the song for the soundtrack of the 1996 movie “Mr. Wrong”.


References:
“Love Stinks” Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/jgeilsband/lovestinks.html
“Love Stinks” Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Stinks_(song)
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.

The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

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

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

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


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

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

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

“In The Dark”

“The Stroke”

“My Kind of Lover”

“Lonely is the Night”

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

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

buy-from-amazon


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

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

Inspirational Hard Rock Tunes For When Life is Tough

powerful-tunesI’ve never been that good of an inspirational talker to be honest. Life is one crazy mess, full of challenges and obstacles. Nothing is ever steady and things can turn around at any given second. What else is there to say? I don’t want to sound too pessimistic but it is what it is – people are dealing with struggles of every kind on a daily basis. Some of us are going through an emotional meltdown, others are heartbroken; some can’t fulfill their dreams and feel lost, others are dealing with depression – all that and way more!

I’ve always thought that when you feel like the whole world has unleashed its might on your fragile self, music is the only thing to help you stand up on your feet and give you that much needed strength to move on. I’ve always sought empowerment from my music and as I matter of fact, I’ve always found it in it! Every time, I’ve felt like I just can’t take it anymore, music has always been there, right next to me. Every time I wanted to just screw it all and give up on everyone and everything, music was there to remind me that I shouldn’t.

There is something quite powerful about the thought that someone somewhere, years ago, was able to create this beautiful piece of art I am listening to right now and that gives me comfort – it tells me that songs like these are the reason why this world is not such a bad place after all. Then, there’s also that “little” role lyrics and melody play when it comes to inspiration. Nothing…absolutely nothing in life can give me the same amount of confidence and extra push as I get from pounding guitar riffs and thunderous drums, decorated with well-written passionate words. I’m sure many other music enthusiasts out there are feeling the exact same way! There are many things people do when life is tough and giving up on it seems like the only option. My way is experiencing the pain through music. Enjoy these gorgeously-written encouraging tunes and I hope your day feels a little bit brighter!


Survivor – Eye of the Tiger (1982)

survivor-eye-of-the-tiger-rocky

Rising up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive…


Triumph – Never Surrender (1983)

triumph-never-surrender

Never Surrender – keep your dreams alive
Never Surrender – hold your head up high…


Triumph – Magic Power (1981)

triumph-allied

I’m young, I’m wild and I’m free
Got the magic power of the music in me…


Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’ (1981)

journey-dont-stop-believin

Workin’ hard to get my fill
Everybody wants a thrill
Payin’ anything to roll the dice
Just one more time
Some will win
Some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues…

Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to that feelin’…


Van Halen – Dreams (1986)

51 50 VAN HALEN

World turns black and white
Pictures in an empty room
Your love starts fallin down
Better change your tune
Reach for the golden ring
Reach for the sky
Baby just spread your wings…


Foreigner – I’m Gonna Win (1981)

Foreigner - 4 Woman in Black

I was not born, to be a fighter
But now’s the time I have to learn
To keep my head, above the water
Gotta play with fire, but not get burned…


Fair Warning – Don’t Give Up (1995)

fair-warning-rainmaker

Don’t give up
Whatever may come
There still shines a light
Keep your dreams
When the walls come tumbling down
Just stand up and fight…


Tesla – Hang Tough (1989)

tesla

Sometimes love can make you blue.
A heartache made just for you.
But you can’t let it bring ya down.
If you should stumble, if you should fall,
Pick yourself up off the floor.
Fight for what’s right and stand your ground…


Ramones – Strength to Endure (1992)

ramones-mondo

Walking through the cross fire heart
Feeling heavy and hopeless.
Wonderin’ how I ever willsee
Through this darkness.
Every drop of blood can be
So beautiful
And I sure was bleedin’ the drops by
The bucketful…


Rainbow – Power (1982)

rainbow-straight

Everybody’s sayin’ that the times are gettin’ rough
You gotta stay loose baby and you gotta be tough… oh
I get knocked down… get right back up again
Cause I never give up and I never give in…


+ Bonus Tracks

Bon Jovi – It’s My Life'(2000)

bon-jovi-its-my-life

It’s my life
It’s now or never
I ain’t gonna live forever
I just want to live while I’m alive…


QUEEN – The Show Must Go On (1991)

queen-show-must-go-on

Whatever happens, I’ll leave it all to chance
Another heartache, another failed romance
On and on, does anybody know what we are living for?
I guess I’m learning, I must be warmer now
I’ll soon be turning, round the corner now
Outside the dawn is breaking
But inside in the dark I’m aching to be free…


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] DARE – Out Of The Silence (1988)

dare-out-of-the-silence-1988

Out Of The Silence (1988)

Genre: AOR / Pop Rock / Hard Rock
Duration: 49:44
Label: A&M Records Ltd.
Producer(s): Larry Klein

buy-from-amazon


OVERVIEW

Rising from the ashes of Thin Lizzy, hard rock band Dare debuted in 1988 with a phenomenal collection of melodic rock gems, titled “Out of the Silence”. Led by keyboard player and vocalist Darren Wharton, Dare quickly established a solid fanbase with their powerful AOR statement. Don’t look for any traces of Thin Lizzy because you won’t find them. Dare’s “Out of the Silence” is an elegant melodic rock treasure, combining all elements, necessary to make it unforgettable. From the enhanced but highly pleasant keyboards to the intriguing lyrics; from the monumental hooks to the brilliant haunting voice of Darren Wharton “Out of the Silence” was destined to conquer and please our ears.

Well-polished rockers like “Abandon” and “Into the Fire” are a couple of the stand-outs and reasons why this is an absolute classic AOR album that should be owned by everyone. “Into the Fire” impresses with its mysterious intro that progresses into a magical, captivating sonic experience I wish everyone could experience on a daily basis. “Abandon” has to be one of the greatest opening tracks in the history of AOR records – indescribably satisfying hooks and persuasive chorus that could win the heart of anyone.  Let’s talk ballads – “King of Spades” is a supreme mellow rocker, granting you a first-row seat to the beautiful but touching confession of Darren Wharton. “Nothing Is Stronger Than Love” is a personal favorite and one of my most beloved guilty pleasures. Regardless of the high level of sugar, it’s still a sensual, quite cushy love song that is suitable for all the softies out there. “Runaway”, “Under the Sun”, “Return the Heart” – all unbelievably well-done songs that go straight to your heart and never leave.

All in all, “Out of the Silence” is a masterful testimony of how great the ‘80s were. Albums like this one possess those enchanting rock vibes that just make you play it over and over again. I am a sucker for melodic rock and this is one of my favorite AOR albums. I do hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do!
Cheers to Dare!

Tracklist:

  1. “Abandon” – 4:35
  2. “Into The Fire” – 4:53
  3. “Nothing Is Stronger Than Love” – 4:42
  4. “Runaway” – 4:29
  5. “Under The Sun” – 6:12
  6. “The Raindance” – 5:23
  7. “King Of Spades” – 4:44
  8. “Heartbreaker” – 3:38
  9. “Return The Heart” – 5:09
  10. “Don’t Let Go” – 5:37

Into The Fire

Abandon

Under The Sun

Nothing Is Stronger Than Love


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~

Jack Russell’s GREAT WHITE – “He Saw it Coming” Album Review

jack-russel-great-white

Released: January 27, 2017
Genre: AOR, Melodic Rock, Pop Rock
Label: Frontiers Music s.r.l

buy-from-amazon

Tracklist:

01. Sign Of The Times
02. She Moves Me
03. Crazy
04. Love Don’t Live Here
05. My Addiction
06. Anything For You
07. He Saw It Comin’
08. Don’t Let Me Go
09. Spy Vs Spy
10. Blame It On The Night
11. Godspeed

OVERVIEW

Coming out of the streets of LA, hard rock band Great White rose to stardom in the late 1980s with a series of hits and MTV staples, such as the infamous Once Bitten, Twice Shy” and “Rock Me”. The band kept on going strong during the ‘90s as well, releasing five studio albums and touring the US several times, headlining shows and teaming up with other big industry names, such as Ratt and Poison. After the disbandment of Great White, Jack Russell – the lead singer and an original member of the band took matters into his own hands. Armed with new-found emotional and physical strength, gained after a series of tragedies, it was time for Jack to gaze into the future and do what he does best which is of course, performing and writing music. Jack Russell’s Great White rose from the ashes of a long-forgotten past and progressed into a modern hard rock tornado, worthy of appreciation.

On the 27th of January, singer Jack Russell, together with former bandmate and friend Tony Montana on guitar and keyboards, Robby Lochner (Fight) on guitar, Dan McNay (Montrose) on bass  and Dicki Fliszar (Bruce Dickinson) on drums released their official full-length debut album, titled “He Saw it Comin'” (originally titled “The Gauntlet”) via Frontiers Music Srl. It was a busy month for the label but they did manage to kick 2017 off with some outstanding releases, one of which most certainly is “He Saw it Comin’”.

“It’s a powerful band,” Russell proclaims. “The music comes across very dynamically. It’s what I always wanted it to be. Tony was a catalyst for moving forward. I was never as close to him as I am now. We never had the opportunity to write music together before. I also never knew he played guitar. When I first heard him, I nearly fell of my chair. He’s my copilot. He’s one of my best friends. I wish we would’ve been this close back in the day.”

“It’s natural for all of us,” adds Montana. “There’s a solid chemistry, and we’re having a lot of fun.”

(Quote, retrieved from http://www.frontiers.it/album/5348)

“He Saw It Comin’” features 11 tracks, all capturing a satisfying blend between authentic hard rock sound and edgier, more opportunistic musical elements. The new album represents Jack Russell’s vision of a beloved old-school hard rock band, still blowing people’s minds away in 2017! “He Saw It Comin’” is suitable for the devoted fans and a great way for the younger audiences to experience that genuine rock&roll vibe. Jack Russell’s vocal delivery is at his finest. Just listen to the bluesy, laid-back rocker “Love Don’t Live Here” and you will see for yourself. “Sign of the Times” and “Blame it on the Night” are just a few of the future live staples and radio-hits we can find on the album.  “Anything for You” is a worthy, well-written ballad, bringing us back to the classic Great White days. “She Moves Me” is a total surprise – the guys are stepping out of their comfort zone and delivering an exciting, very sexy if I may say tune, suitable for any midnight affair. ”Crazy” is my personal favorite and I gotta thank the spellbinding guitar riffs for that.

Jack Russell did a splendid job with this one. He sounds confident and purposeful. “He Saw It Comin’” combines the best of both worlds – a little bit of that well-liked Great White spirit and a new, more intriguing approach to musicianship. Moreover, he still sounds as good as ever which in itself is an accomplishment enough. Guitars, melodies, lyrics – they all reflect the great chemistry between the members. When your heart is in the right place, the results can’t but lead to a massive success.
Now go listen and enjoy “He Saw It Comin’”!

Love Don’t Live Here

Blame It On The Night

Sign Of The Times


References:
Gack Russell’s Great White – “He Saw it Coming” on Frontiers Music Official Website: http://www.frontiers.it/album/5348
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~