When I was a little girl, my favorite activity was to record songs from the radio on my cassettes. I had this old school Panasonic cassette recorder and I used to listen to the radio all day long and wait for my favorite songs to be played so that I can record them and make the “ultimate mixtape”. I had like hundreds of these tapes filled up with playlists featuring classic rock songs, pop and dance music. I loved it! Nothing has changed, though…. Nowadays, I’m sure people don’t really record songs from the radio – we have the Internet, we have online streaming, we have our smartphone music players, PC music libraries, etc. However, people still do create music playlists…Whether we make it for a special occasion and collect songs exploring a particular theme or just features newly released albums, people who love music are always doing it…If you check my smartphone music player you’d understand what I’m talking about (and probably think I’m crazy) – I have playlists for “when I’m sad”, “when I want to fall asleep”, “when I want to feel energized” and of course the “recently added” song playlist. At the end of each week I usually add or remove songs and arrange my playlists for the upcoming week. I know it’s Thursday, but that doesn’t really matter… I thought it’s high time I started making classic rock mixtapes on my blog…
With the following selection of 10 songs, I would like to invite you to either go down memory lane or experience new emotions and feelings with classic rock songs which you may not have heard before. I do hope you guys enjoy it!
Time to have a glimpse at my personal music player and which songs can you find in there… Have a listen…
“The 80’s is it, it belongs to Van Halen.” – David Lee Roth, 1980
On the 26th of this month, we celebrate the 36th anniversary of Van Halen’s third studio album – “Women and Children First”. Released back in 1980, the album marked the beginning of a very special and important era – both for Van Halen, as well as for the rock music in general. In the spirit of the upcoming birthday of the album, I decided to prepare a little publication, focusing on the album and its songs. I have to say, it’s most certainly not my favorite Van Halen album – and as a matter of fact it’s not even in my personal top 3 Van Halen albums. However, I cannot deny how incredibly well-written and influential this album is. Not only “Women and Children First” was the first album to feature music written solely by Van Halen themselves, but this album brought to the world a different and more striking feel of the band – their sound, theme and image became heavier and much “darker” than before.
“I love it. I think it’s our best one yet because it’s got more variety. It’s not too guitar dominated; it’s just got a little bit of everything on it. It’s got acoustic, it’s got piano, it’s got the ball-bustin’ rock. It’s got it all.” – Eddie Van Halen
The album was produced by Ted Templeman – a notable American record producer. Throughout his career, he has worked with numerous outstanding musicians, such as the Doobie Brothers, Van Morrison, Carly Simon, Eric Clapton, Aerosmith and many others. He is actually the mastermind behind a few other Van Halen, as well as Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth solo albums. Furthermore, “Women and Children First” spawned one single – “And the Cradle Will Rock…” – a song that is very significant to me and this blog (I will explain myself later…). The song performed quite well on the charts, not as much as one might predict, though – it only got to 55th place on Billboard Hot 100. As far as album sales are concerned, it is certified 3 times Platinum by the RIAA and 2 times Platinum by Music Canada. Overall, it did achieve considerable amount of success, however it wasn’t until 1984 that Van Halen reached their commercial peak and worldwide recognition. Nevertheless, this album is excellent – from its first to its last song, no second opinion about it. It’s a must for your record collection!
Now let’s talk songs!
The powerful party-rock anthem which also happens to be the opening track and my personal favorite song from the album is called “And the Cradle Will Rock…” and has a few interesting background details worth mentioning. First of all, it’s the first song that featured the keyboard playing of Eddie Van Halen. Eddie’s new ideas and visions for the band’s music and future directions were already making a strong statement. Instead of being driven by a guitar, the song’s dominant instrument is the keyboards – something that was considered a bit too experimental and not “as rock ‘n’ roll” as one might say back then. Later on, Eddie’s creative ambitions and insights on the issue of the band’s musical angels would clash with David Lee Roth’s lust and endless desire for fun and partying while playing the rock ‘n’ roll. Nevertheless, this piece of music provides a very interesting beginning for their 80s style. In addition, the song begins with very mind-boggling sounds which many of you guys might think come from a guitar; however that’s not the case. It’s actually a “phaseshifter-effected Wurlitzer electric piano played through Eddie Van Halen’s 1960s model 100-watt Marshall Plexi amplifier” – how cool is that? In terms of lyrics – the song is mainly about how younger generations misbehave and all they want to do is party and rock ‘n’ roll. A “cradle” in the context of the song, is a metaphor for “home” – no wonder the cradle is rocking – the kids are out of control.
One last thing – I thought of the name of this blog “that mixtape will rock” while I was listening to “And the Cradle Will Rock…” I absolutely adore the song and the lyrics – they inspired me to come up with the name and that says a lot really.
And this right here might be indeed the worst lip-sync in history…
The other party anthem of the album would be “Everyone Wants Some” which in my opinion, has to be one of the heaviest songs of Van Halen, along with “Loss of Control”. I get a lot of hardcore punk vibes coming out of those two songs (especially from “Loss of Control”) and that can’t but make me super happy, having in mind the fact that I am and always will be a punk rock kid. Those two songs became an absolute staple for any of Van Halen’s upcoming life concerts and tours and we can clearly understand why. The pure hard rock energy that comes out of them is just too strong to handle. Not to mention the richness and speed Eddie displays in those two masterpieces…Just have a listen…
“Everybody Wants Some” still remains one of David Lee Roth’s favorite Van Halen songs – even when he left Van Halen, he still kept on playing it during his concerts…
Van Halen’s growth in terms of musicianship, song-writing and technical improvement is probably most evident in “Fools”. To me, this song has one of the most powerful and captivating intros. The guitar riffs are pure gold and I just can’t but think of Eddie as some sort of an alien who came to this world to hypnotize us with his guitar… In addition, I really enjoy the brilliant lyrics and the message behind them – even when society wants you to follow and obey all the rules, people have personal desires and dreams that might not fit into the predetermined picture. Different people are good at different things – why should we hide our ambitions?
“They say I’m crazy from the wrong side of the tracks I never see them but they’re always so far back”….
“My teachers all gave up on me No matter what they say, I disagree”
In addition to the heavy sounds and dynamic guitar riffs, the album offers a few low-key, acoustic country-blues feelings with song such as “Could this be Magic” and “Take Your Whiskey Home”. I have to say, those two songs are most certainly not in my “greatest Van Halen songs of all time” list – I find them a bit too silly and frivolous. However, they do provide the necessary balance in the album.
By the way, “Could This Be Magic” features the only female backing vocal ever to be recorded on a Van Halen song. Nicolette Larson – an American country/pop singer who worked with musicians such as Neil Yong sings during some of the chorus.
Van Halen’s first attempts at a power-ballad resulted in the closing song of the album, titled “In a Simple Rhyme”. Their desire for a more graceful and soft melody however is quickly cut off by their rock driven nature, though. It took Van Halen a few more years before they finally refined their perfect rock ballad sound, at least in my opinion.
This is a life performance from last year…David’s voice might not be what it used to be, however we still appreciate it!
The album’s other two songs – “Romeo Delight” and “Tora! Tora!”, also deserve an honorable mention. Those high-speed metal sounds are the reason why I said that the album has a bit of a “black hart” situation. Just listen…
Well, this is it for now. I hope my readers got the chance to remind themselves of this brilliant album which features some of the most unforgettable Van Halen tunes ever. In conclusion, I would say that if you are a Van Halen fan, this album is a must for your record collection. “Women and Children First” is the album with which Van Halen gloriously stepped into the 80s – it was a perfect statement that the decade is theirs to conquer. With a more refined and original sound, the band proved that they matured and got more serious about their music. I hope you guys love and appreciate it as much as I do!
Cheers! …And the cradle will rock!
Van Halen Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/ Van Halen “Women and Children First”, retrieved from http://www.allmusic.com/ Van Halen, “And the Cradle Will Rock”, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.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~
Each and every song has a specific background story and is surrounded by numerous interesting facts and details that led to its existence. I don’t know about you guys, but one of my favorite past time activities is digging out information and finding out more about my favorite songs. That’s why these types of publications – “the story of…” are so frequent on my blog. I mean, if a particular song means a lot to you and you love it with all your heart and soul, you should at least know some basic data about it – who wrote it, when was it released or does it have a special hidden meaning…? I’m not sure how many of you guys I’m sharing favorite songs with, however I do try to choose ultimate rock classics, known by everyone. The goal of such publications is to not only learn a little bit more about some of rock music’s greatest songs but to also remind ourselves of a forgotten song – you’d be surprised to know that for many people it may have been ages since they last played Toto, for instance…Also, I love interpreting the meaning behind the lyrics…
Anyhow, for today I decided to focus on another fantastic rock song from the late 70s by the American rock band Toto. Since the moment they released their debut album, Toto have been enjoying enormous success within the mainstream audience, especially from the 70s till the 80s. To date, they have sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and are proud owners of numerous awards, including Grammys. Throughout the years, the band had numerous line-up changes but they still warm up our hearts with awesome songs such as “Hold the Line”, “Rosanna” and “Africa”. Among all songs from their lengthy career and huge catalog, I have to say that “Hold the Line” is indeed my favorite song of theirs. In addition to the brilliant lyrics, I have to say the guitar backing is beyond remarkable and influential. The piano intro, the drums and the guitar are just too sweet and striking…
“Hold the Line” was released back in 1978 as the band’s first single EVER and also featured in their debut self-titled album. Not many artists had the opportunity to leave such an outstanding first impression the moment they stepped into the cutthroat world of music industry. However, Toto did it with this song – it immediately reached top positions in the USA, Swedish, South African, Canadian and Australian charts. It’s also RIAA certified as “GOLD”. The song was written by the keyboardist of the band – David Paich and the lead vocals are performed by the incredibly talented Bobby Kimball. I am absolutely inlove with his voice…and how can I not be – his timbre penetrates your soul and mind without any effort or whatsoever.
The song features a single-note piano percussion, which was a quite popular technique at that time. In addition, in my opinion, the song’s biggest asset would be the elegant but vigorous “creamy” guitar riff. The song simply proved that six talented session musicians, who used to back up other famous artists can actually make magic on their own from the first try!
“It started out with the piano riff that is in the intro. I started playing this riff and I just couldn’t stop playing it. I played it for days, and I started singing, “Hold the line, love isn’t always on time.” It was a phrase that just came into my head. . . . it was a blessing. (The words) came to me in the night, and then I went to the verse. I wrote it in 2 hours. Sometimes songs come quickly like that, and sometimes I spend 2 years trying to finish a song,” said David Paich about the writing of the song.
“Hold the Line’ was a perfect example of what people will describe as your heavy metal chord guitar licks, your great triplet A-notes on the piano, your ‘Sly’-hot-fun-in-the-summertime groove, all mishmashed together with a boy from New Orleans singing… and it really crossed over a lot of lines,”said Jeff Porcaro, the band’s drummer.
Now, I wish to say a few words about the lyrics of the song, which are very metaphorical but quite easy to construe and relate with. Basically, the song is about love and relationships – nothing new, right? The phrase “hold the line” is an expression we use when we want someone to remain at their current position and simply don’t go anywhere. In the context of the song – the man tells his girl to be patient and stay with their relationship. Love, just like many things in this world is sometimes all about the perfect timing – for some people love might not come instantly or they might need some time to truly devote themselves to another person and truly fall inlove with him/her. Despite all that, love will come. I believe that the tone of the song is quite inspirational and motivational. Love will show its face when the time is right – simple as that! Till that time comes, we need to be willing to endure, stay calm and don’t settle for something that’s not real.
Most of this song’s lyrics start with the words, “It’s not.” According to David Paich, once he came up with the title, he started writing lines about what love isn’t: “It’s not in the way you say you’re mine,” “It’s not in the way you say you care.” Through process of elimination, he’s trying to figure out what love is.
It’s essential to know that Toto was one of the first rock musicians to release a music video at that time. As we all know, MTV hit the air in 1981 so for them to record a MV years before its launch was quite challenging and even risky. Basically, it’s one of those trendy obligatory performance music videos which each and every band of that time used to film. The budget was obviously quite low, however I do enjoy their fashion – especially the Steve Lukather’s suspenders and wicked hairstyles. Check out the original music video:
“Hold The Line”
It’s not in the way that you hold me It’s not in the way you say you care It’s not in the way you’ve been treating my friends It’s not in the way that you’ll stay till the end It’s not in the way you look or the things that you say that you do Hold the line Love isn’t always on time It’s not in the words that you told me It’s not in the way you say you’re mine It’s not in the way that you came back to me It’s not in the way that your love set me free It’s not in the way you look or the things that you say that you do Hold the line Love isn’t always on time It’s not in the words that you told me It’s not in the way you say you’re mine It’s not in the way that you came back to me It’s not in the way that your love set me free It’s not in the way you look or the things that you say that you do
Hold the line Love isn’t always on time
It’s not in the way that you hold me It’s not in the way that you make me feel You see It’s all about the way you do the things you do The way you do it You’ve got to hold it Hold it
Hold the line Love isn’t always on time
Well, this is it for now – I hope you guys got reminded of or learned something new and interesting about this brilliant classic rock song. Despite being released almost 40 years ago, it will forever remain one of my personal favorites. I don’t know about you guys, but I truly consider this song to be one of the earliest signs of the upcoming change in mainstream rock music. The 80s was even sweeter for Toto. Now it’s the time to check your old CD/Vinyl or Cassette collection or go through your music library – Toto will hold the line for you…
Keith Emerson – the keyboardist of the progressive rock supergroup Emerson, Lake & Palmer has died today at the age of 71. It’s only March, but 2016 already took the lives of so many notable and legendary figures of rock music – I don’t really know what to say, except feel sad about it and pay tribute to those artists who made such a huge difference…
Emerson, Lake and Palmer are probably the first progressive rock supergroup, formed back in the 70s. With their distinctive approach, sustainability, innovation and if I may say rather classical approach to rock music established them as a radio phenomenon and gained them a solid fanbase. Their enormous commercial success opened up the doors to numerous progressive rock bands, such as YES. Progressive rock was never easy to sell to mainstream audiences, however ELP were one of those exceptions as they found a way to gain the love of millions of fans. I don’t consider ELP as one of those progressive rock bands that have a clear cut rock vision or like to stay within the boundaries of safe rock. On the contrary, in comparison to other progressive rock bands, such as YES or Pink Floyd, ELP often choose to go with more classical music adaptations, in combination with jazz and symphonic rock elements. For instance, Keith Emerson was famous for excessive use of the Hammond organ and piano, in addition to the synthesizer.
As a result, their first few albums enjoyed a massive success during the 70s – apparently mixing classical elements with rock music was their recipe for fame. They simply proved that classically-trained musicians can also be rockstars and compete for the arena-scale audiences.
The success of the band is largely credited to Keith Emerson, who was not afraid or worried with what was happening in the industry or how will people respond to their progressive musicianship. “Keith was a gentle soul whose love for music and passion for his performance as a keyboard player will remain unmatched for many years to come. He was a pioneer and an innovator whose musical genius touched all of us in the worlds of rock, classical and jazz,” says Carl Palmer.
Needless to say, Keith was a keyboard virtuoso and a music genius to whom we owe a lot. As a tribute to him, I decided to dedicate a publication to the super trio and pick up 10 of their most famous and loved songs throughout the years. It’s unfortunate that we lost another great artist but he will always be remembered and respected for his music and contributions. Let us not remember such rock icons only when they leave this world – let’s cherish and appreciate their music throughout eternity …
Lucky Man (1970)
From The Beginning (1972)
“Karn Evil 9” (1973)
Knife Edge (1970)
C’est La Vie (1997)
Peter Gunn Theme (1979) [Live]
Fanfare for the Common Man (1977)
Still…You Turn Me On (1973)
Rest in peace, Keith Emerson!
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the credits and rights go to the owners and/or publishers.
Recently, Ithaca Audio – a company that specializes in audio visual remixing presented their awesome new project to the public. The 15 minute video montage features more than 300 rockstars and walks us through the history of rock music from its early beginnings. In addition to this idea being absolutely innovative and if I may say very essential, I found it quite interesting to hear never-done-before audio remixes. I have to say, I never thought that some rock songs would sound so cool when mixed together with others… (for instance Zeppelin with Fleetwood Mac??)
Furthermore, what is the most fascinating aspect and probably the reason why the video triggered such great response is the fact that it tells the story of rock music as if Facebook existed back in the 60s and 70s – you can see the artists uploading videos, liking posts and commenting – how cool is that?
I encourage you to watch it and have fun! Cheers to those guys at Ithaca Audio!
The clip features 348 rock stars, 84 guitarists, 64 songs and 44 drummers, and includes songs from Elvis Presley, The Yardbirds, The Rolling Stones, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, The Kinks, The Doors, Queen, The Beatles, The Who, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, The Eagles, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, The Clash, The Police, Journey, Dire Straits, Duran Duran, Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica, Nirvana, Oasis, Blur, The Verve, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Killers, Foo Fighters, U2, Linkin Park, The White Stripes, The Strokes, Gorillaz and Kings of Leon.
(Extract and Information taken from http://classicrock.teamrock.com)
By the way – I find it hard to believe that they decided to exclude Van Halen – you know being one of the most important rock bands in terms of musicianship, influence and achievements but…
Everyone knows how much I LOVE Def Leppard – they are indeed my most favorite rock band of all time. When it comes to their music, influence and importance, not only in the lives of so many fans around the world, but in the history and development of music, they forever remain the ultimate undefeated rockstars. I’ve expressed my enthusiasm, respect and adoration for Def Leppard numerous times before, so I won’t be repeating myself today or bore you with some cliché words about how great, amazing and perfect they are to me… Instead, I decided to prepare a little playlist of 20 songs, which I consider to be Def Leppard’s most admirable and exceptional ones among all the other songs from their catalog. Don’t get me wrong, as a passionate fan it was very difficult for me to choose just 20 – I love and cherish each and every one of their songs. However, recently it came to my attention that many not-die-hard-fans like me are quite unfamiliar with other essential and equally important DL songs, such as for instance “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” or “Hello America”. Every person who listens to and enjoys rock music, especially from the 80s, has heard of “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, “Photograph” or “Love Bites”. However, I believe that many fans need to be reminded of or hear some other greatly produced and exceptionally-crafted DL songs. Anyhow, I collected all of DL’s masterpieces throughout the years and came up with this playlist – for you guys, and for me as well – I really like making playlists. Of course, needless to say, the selection is quite subjective – but it’s my blog, after all, so I hope I can be excused!
In the spirit of this special occasion, I came up with this idea of gathering 60 classic rock songs that are perfectly suitable for this day – a day that celebrates love, adoration, romance, true feelings and two people being happy together. The YouTube playlist I made includes songs from the 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s. It’s a personal selection based on songs I truly love and appreciate. In addition, I think that this playlist would also fit quite well as a musical background during a romantic dinner or any other activity you’d like to engage in throughout Valentine’s Day (-.-‘). I chose 60 songs, all of which celebrating and commemorating love in all its forms and phases. I truly believe that I was able to capture the spirit of the day quite well – each and every song is able to create a romantic atmosphere, mostly through the lyrics and the tenderness that comes out of them. I tried to include as much songs as I could – from many different artists, eras, genres, etc., but at the end of the day, I decided to just make them 60 – it’s a nice and round number and the playlist may last you for 2-3 hours. I hope you will enjoy it, as much as I do and even play some of the songs on this special day. I wish all of you, guys a wonderful day… and for those of you who haven’t found their partner yet, I’d say go out and have fun regardless… Spread the love!
The Rolling Stones – Let’s Spend the Night Together
The Rolling Stones – Wild Horses
Tina Turner ft. Bryan Adams – It’s Only Love
Van Halen – Beautiful Girls
Van Halen – Love Walks In
Whitesnake – Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City
Whitesnake – All I Want is You
Whitesnake – Is This Love
P.S Honestly, I am not such a huge fan of this day and I don’t really get what the huge crazy is all about – if you love and cherish someone, you should make sure they feel loved each and every day of the year…You don’t wait for this day to come, so that you can prove how much someone means to you…And what’s with all the merchandise and the hearts and the teddy bears!? Of course, another way to stuff more money into the bank accounts of huge corporations that don’t really care about people…
I dedicate the following publication to a special someone…
Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love Vinyl Sleeve (credits to the owner of the photo)
These past few months I’ve been listening to Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” so many times – I don’t really know why, how and when it became one of those songs you call “yours” and that you just have to play every day! I’ve known this song since I was in middle school but I never really paid much attention to it. I adore LZ but this song was definitely not one of my all-time favorites – maybe I was too young to appreciate it and get it. Years later, things changed and now I think it is one of my most favorite LZ songs. Not to mention that there’s a personal reason behind it, which I’m not going to reveal, of course. Anyhow, I decided to dedicate this publication to “Whole Lotta Love” and try to give some more insight about it, as well as to simply remind everyone of this classic masterpiece by the greatest of them all – Led Zeppelin.
I’m going to start with the basics. This song was released back in 1969 and it is the lead single from LZ’s second album. It quickly became a major hit and topped the charts in the USA, Germany and many other European countries. Also, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it 75 on their list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It was indeed a huge phenomenon and we can understand why – I mean just listen to this inhumane slide guitar…
Moreover, the song was produced by non-other than Mr. Jimmy Page (of course). How come these people just come up with riffs like this one – saying that he is a genius does not even begin to cover it… I was able to find an interview with him from The Wall Street Journal, talking about the song and the memorable riff:
“I came up with the guitar riff for “Whole Lotta Love” in the summer of ’68, on my houseboat along the Thames in Pangbourne, England. I suppose my early love for big intros by rockabilly guitarists was an inspiration, but as soon as I developed the riff, I knew it was strong enough to drive the entire song, not just open it. When I played the riff for the band in my living room several weeks later during rehearsals for our first album, the excitement was immediate and collective. We felt the riff was addictive, like a forbidden thing.”
I’m not sure I can find the right words to properly describe the guitar riffs and the brilliance of this song because when it comes to legends like Jimmy Page it is indeed very difficult. He was the brain behind the production and the recording of the song which clearly shows his abilities to construct brick by brick a true work of art. The famous riff itself is very monstrous and it builds up some sort of energy and excitement inside of you which just wants to go out. Also, with this song it’s all about the intro…I’ve said it before – a rock song needs to have a mighty and compelling intro. “Whole Lotta Love” is the perfect example of how a strong and mind-blowing rock song intro should sound like.
In addition to Jimmy Page’s excellence, the vocal delivery of Robert Plant is another reason why this song has such a strong influence on me. This song is one of the perfect examples of how expressive, capable and “heavy” his voice is. Also, he sings quite suggestively and evocatively which also contributes to the whole “experience”.
“Robert’s vocal was just as extreme. He kept gaining confidence during the session and gave it everything he had. His vocals, like my solos, were about performance. He was pushing to see what he could get out of his voice. We were performing for each other, almost competitively.” (The Wall Street Journal)
In terms of lyrics, the song is quite easy to remember and sing with. The chorus are repeated and the verses include just a few lines. I should mention that there was a dispute going on concerning the words of “Whole Lotta Love” – the lyrics turned out to be quite similar with lyrics written by Willie Dixon for another song, recorded by Muddy Waters. Eventually, after a few lawsuits, Willie Dixon got the co-credit that, in my opinion, just had to be given a lot earlier. Overall, I truly enjoy the lyrics – nothing so deep, nothing so unreasonable and just simply talking about how we need love…
You need coolin’, baby, I’m not foolin’, I’m gonna send you back to schoolin’, Way down inside honey, you need it, I’m gonna give you my love, I’m gonna give you my love.
Wanna Whole Lotta Love (X4)
You’ve been learnin’, baby, I’ve been yearnin’, All them good times, baby, baby, I’ve been yearnin’, Way, way down inside honey, you need it, I’m gonna give you my love… I’m gonna give you my love.
You’ve been coolin’, baby, I’ve been droolin’, All the good times I’ve been misusin’, Way, way down inside, I’m gonna give you my love, I’m gonna give you every inch of my love, Gonna give you my love.
Way down inside… woman… You need… love. Shake for me, girl. I wanna be your backdoor man. Keep it coolin’, baby.
It’s an awesome song – no other opinion about it. It’s one of LZ’s early works, so it does mean a lot nowadays – it was a beginning of an era and proved that Led Zeppelin were a true rockstars. I hope I reminded some of you about this song and now you will play it and hopefully enjoy it as much as I do. I’m not a huge fan of the “futuristic”, “trippy”, “lusty” and yes – crazy middle part of the song in which Robert makes those weird sounds and John Bonham accompanies him with his drums BUT – that’s probably its biggest charm. I’m so gonna play it right now… I hope I can click the “stop” button because with this song it’s somehow quite difficult to do it… Cheers
On the 20th of January, we celebrated the 33th anniversary of Def Leppard’s groundbreaking and era-defining album “Pyromania”. Released back in 1983, this album not only changed the face of the 80s, but it also became one of the biggest reasons behind Def Leppard’s major success and fan recognition back in the days. To me personally, “Pyromania”, along with their following album “Hysteria” are the two albums that mostly characterize and represent Def Leppard…not to mention that those two albums are some of my all-time favorites. To mark the anniversary of this incredible masterpiece, I decided to dedicate a publication which can hopefully give some insight and also show my appreciation and love for it. Also, I would like to provide some basic information about it so that the readers can have a better idea of the impact and the greatness that lies within this album. Needless to say, I adore and appreciate each and every song from this album which makes this publication a very special one. Finally, this album focus marks the beginning of a new category of posts on this blog – The Greatest Albums of the 80s…what better way to start than with Def Leppard’s “Pyromania”?
Since this is going to be an album focus publication, I would like to begin with some of the major details regarding the album. “Pyromania”, as already mentioned, was released on the 20th of January back in 1983 and it’s Def Leppard’s third studio album. Along with the album, the band also organized a concert tour that lasted for one whole year, in order to support and present their new project to the world. It was an European tour, however it did have a huge impact…after all, in the 80s it was all about the “live concert experience”. Going back to the album itself, it was indeed a huge success as it reached number 2 on the Billboard 200, number 4 in Canada, and number 18 on the UK album charts – those are some major achievements and prove that the album was and still is worthy of admiration and listening. In its original release, the album sold more than 6 million copies in the USA alone and since than it sold more than 10 million copies – thus It was certified 10x “platinum” by the RIAA in 2004. The artwork of the album is also pretty amazing, don’t you think? It includes a skyscraper caught on fire and a bullseye which is directly pointed at the flaming building. The artist behind this memorable and classic hard rock cover is Andie Airfix – the guy who also a few years later does the cover of “Hysteria”. Some say it predicted 9/11 and consider it rather controversy; however I try to stay away from such interpretations. To me it’s fresh, futuristic and rocknroll!
The reasons behind the album’s positive response from the public are numerous but to me personally, the success of the album comes from the brilliant hard rock mastermind of the producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange. He not only set new standards and characteristics of mainstream hard rock of the 80s with this album, but he was also responsible for the memorable, radio-friendly and easy to remember and sing with lyrics. Sometimes, people don’t really understand the role and the importance of the music producer – he/she is not only another full-time member of the band but also the figure that glues together ideas, concepts and intentions for the songs, lyrics, performances, etc. In this case, Mutt Lange’s ingenious vision is what lies behind the success of “Pyromania”. In order to get the right sound and create this “hard rock stronghold”, the producer recorded each member of the band individually – a rather unique approach causing many bumps along the way. Despite all, the results were beyond impressive. To me and probably to many other rock music fans and critics, this albums serves as a transition – a turning point and progression from their previous rather raw, wild and heavy metal albums to more radio-friendly, modern, catchy, sophisticated and easier to fall in love with sound. As David Fricke of Rolling Stone magazine said, they put “some much-needed fire back on the radio” with this album!
Furthermore, “Pyromania” is the first album to feature guitarist Phil Collen. I absolutely adore him and his talent – his guitar riffs are like thunder!! He comes in the band after the previous lead guitarist – Pete Willis was fired due to alcohol problems. The album was already half-recorder when he steps in and I guess that things were not that easy at the beginning. I’m not going to get into details about Phil right now but what we need to know is that he still remains the band’s lead guitarist – quite impressive, don’t you think? I am so proud of them, being together for so many years and overcoming so many obstacles. Except firing their previous lead guitarist and the death of Steve Clark (co-lead guitarist and songwriter), the band’s members have always been together and that’s one of the many reasons why I respect them so much.
Let’s talk a little bit more about the songs of the album. The tracklist includes 10 songs, all of which possessing that special spirit, aura and groundbreaking new sound of the band. “Photograph”, “Rock of Ages” and “Foolin” found their place in top 40 USA charts and in people’s hearts as well. Those three songs received major recognition and constant airplay on MTV due to their melodic hooks, refined guitar riffs and captivating passionate lyrics. This exposure gave Def Leppard the chance to prove that they are not just another radio-time-filler-band, but rather an important and powerful name, ready to make history. Just listen…
(The music videos are just so typical for the 80s era…hilarious!)
I hope many of you got reminded of these all-time classics! Along with the three songs, the album includes “Rock! Rock (Till You Drop)”, “Stagefright”, “Too Late For Love”, “Die Hard the Hunter”, “Comin’ Under Fire”, “Action! Not Words” and “Billy’s Got A Gun”. All these songs are beyond remarkable, however I am entitled to have a favorite one and that has to be “Too Late For Love”. This song, to me is one of the greatest power ballads of the 80s and it perfectly illustrates the vocal abilities of Joe Elliot like no other song… not to mention the powerful lyrics and compelling guitar riffs that just make you lose yourself…This song is one of the reasons why 1980s melodic hard rock movement gained popularity. It is the perfect ballad and I recommend each and every one of you guys to listen to it again…
Of course, the other songs are worth listening to as much as the ones I put here, however, I’m gonna let you guys go grab the album from your CD shelf and play it or if you became curious and interested – to go and buy it at your local CD store. Overall, it is a brilliant album – no second opinion about it. It can appeal to any audience of any age – it’s just that good! It is also a MUST HAVE album in your CD/Vinyl collection. If someone asks me to name some of the most distinctive rock albums of the 80s, I will most certainly start with this one. It is that influential and that era-representing. It becomes obvious how hard the producer and the members worked to create it. The details, the musicianship and the lyrics of the songs made it a major catalyst and stimulant for numerous follow-up bands and the overall rock sound of the 1980s. Def Leppard just simply changed the rules of the game…
Oh and of course – I just had to…
This is it for now, stay tuned for more rock music!