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
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Celebrating ERIC CLAPTON’s Birthday with 10 of His Timeless Classics

ericLegendary bluesman, member of The Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek & The Dominos and many more, Eric Clapton, celebrates his birthday today! One of the most prolific and influential artists of all time, turns 72 so nothing but good wishes are in order! Happy Birthday, Mr. Clapton! Thank you for your devotion, hard work and exceptional music I grew up with and still can’t live without! Thank you for making me fall in love with the blues and learn how to appreciate great guitar work and technicality. Thank you for bringing peace to my life with your music!

Not many musicians can brag with a career, as long, fruitful and impressive as Eric Clapton’s. From his strong debut as a young guitar virtuoso in The Yardbirds, to recording one of the most important blues albums of all time with John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers; from a never-ending struggle with alcoholism to self-rediscovery and a powerful comeback in the ’80s, Eric Clapton’s life is surely one fascinating roller-coaster that keeps getting more and more exciting with each step of the way.

To celebrate Clapton‘s birthday, I have chosen 10 of his most beloved classics, including songs from his time as a member of The Yardbirds, Cream and Derek and the Dominos. There is certainly no better excuse to play Clapton all day long than commemorating his birthday! Let’s listen to the blues and forget about everything else! 


 

The Yardbirds – “For Your Love” (1965)

for your love


Cream – “Sunshine of Your Love” (1967)

sunshine


John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers (with Eric Clapton) – “Ramblin’ on My Mind“ (1966)

The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton


Derek & The Dominos – “Layla” (1970)

LAYLA

Derek & The Dominos – Bell Bottom Blues (1970)

LAYLA


“Cocaine” (1977)

cocaine


“Wonderful Tonight” (1977)

wonderful tonight


“Bad Love” (1989)

eric bad love


“My Father’s Eyes” (1998)

piligrim cclapton


“Riding With the King” (2000)

riding with the king


+ “Spiral” (2016)

Eric Clapton - I Still Do (2016)


clapton70s

… Or play the entire playlist here:


 

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 Rock Duets [pt 1]

Throughout the years, many of our favourite rockstars have collaborated and created some of the most memorable tunes of all time. It has always been quite fascinating to observe and listen how two distinctive artists team up and come up with something magical that simply shapes history. It’s even more interesting to see how two musicians from different genres and with different styles or visions somehow find that perfect balance and harmony and achieve the ultimate result.

We all know and love those endless classics. Here are 10 of my favourite collaborations in rock music that I have always pointed out as the perfect examples of great duet songs. I hope you enjoy!

Playlist:

Bryan Adams & Tina Turner – It’s Only Love
Eric Clapton & Tina Turner – Tearing Us Apart
The Jacksons (Feat. Michael Jackson & Mick Jagger) – State of Shock
David Bowie & Queen – Under Pressure
Run-DMC & Aerosmith – Walk This Way
Lita Ford & Ozzy Osbourne – Close My Eyes Forever
Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty – Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around
INXS & Jimmy Barnes – Good Times
B.B. King & Eric Clapton – Rock Me Baby
Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash – Girl From The North Country


Listen here:

Bryan Adams & Tina Turner – It’s Only Love (LIVE)

What makes “It’s Only Love” such a great song is definitely the strong presence of the queen of rock ‘n’ roll – Tina Turner. Bryan Adams definitely made quite the choice as he spiced things up in his “Reckless” album. His 80s comeback wouldn’t have been the same without this passionate and sexy duet!


Eric Clapton & Tina Turner – Tearing Us Apart

For his 1886 album titled “August”, Eric Clapton teamed up with the ultimate rock diva – Tina Turner and made magic. “Tearing Us Apart” is an upbeat and very dynamic rock tune that can’t but lift your spirits up. It’s definitely one of my favorite duets of all time.


The Jacksons (Feat. Michael Jackson & Mick Jagger) – State of Shock

“State of Shock” has to be one of the most legendary duets of the 80s. I mean, how often do we get to witness such a huge collaboration – the king of pop and the greatest entertainer on Earth, Michael Jackson teaming up with over-the-top personality of none-other than the fabulous Mick Jagger? An absolute hit!


David Bowie & Queen – Under Pressure

Before Vanilla Ice decided to make a career out of this song, it was Queen and David Bowie who made history with this song. “Under Pressure” can easily be pointed out as one of the finest duets of all time as it combines two musicians for whose talents the world is simply not big enough. Sadly, both Freddie and David are no longer with us.


Run-DMC & Aerosmith – Walk This Way

“Walk This Way” is often pointed out as the song that saved Aerosmith’s career and brought them back on the music horizon. The unconventional idea of a new version of one of their older songs, including the hip hop stars Run-DMC was the ultimate recipe for success.


Lita Ford & Ozzy Osbourne – Close My Eyes Forever

In 1988, the prince of darkness – Ozzy Osbourne, along with Lita Ford created something truly beautiful. “Close My Eyes Forever” is the brainchild of Sharon, as she was managing both of them at that time. The results were immediate and could still be felt. The song is one of the most memorable power-ballads of the era.


Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty – Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around

Stevie Nicks – one of the queens of rock ‘n’ roll and often referred to as one of the most powerful female rockstars of all time, teamed up with her favorite singer Tom Petty and recorded “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”. Originally, Tom wrote the song for himself, but it ended up on Stevie’s debut solo album. What a story!


INXS & Jimmy Barnes – Good Times

This right here is one of Australia’s most favorite classics of all time. Originally released by The Easybeats in 1968, “Good Times” once again reemerged in 1987 when INXS and Jimmy Barnes recorded it for the soundtrack of “Lost Boys”. The MV is also quite iconic.


B.B. King & Eric Clapton – Rock Me Baby

“Rock Me Baby” is an absolute classic and one of the most recorded blues songs of all time. B.B. King released the track in 1964 and it quickly became one of his first and greatest hits. Years later, in 1997, he once again re-recorded the song with his long-time friend Eric Clapton for his duet album “Deuces Wild”. Eric was indeed the right person for this song as he brought something quite intriguing to the song. Just listen…


Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash – Girl From The North Country

This is quite the oldie, but you can’t but respect and admire such great collaboration. When two artists of such magnitude meet, you sit back and just listen, as your heart embraces the music. No ego-racing, no heavy-breathing – just two beautiful voices singing a simple but quite pleasant song. It’s Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, after all…


 

Stay tuned for part 2!

20 Classic Rock Songs for the Perfect Summer

Summer’s here! It’s time to think about those long road-trips and visits to the beach. Make sure that for every summer adventure, experience or party, you have these 20 classic rock songs in your playlist to ensure your perfect mood. Among these songs, I have included absolute classic rockers that can instantly change your mood and give you that amazing summer vibe.

Playlist:

Van Halen – Summer Nights
Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69
The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun
Guns N’ Roses – Paradise City
Alice Cooper – School’s Out
Chicago – Saturday in the Park
The Beach Boys – Surfin’ U.S.A
The Who – Summertime Blues
AC/DC – This House is on Fire
Steve Perry – Summer of Luv

Don Henley – The Boys of Summer
Blondie – In The Sun
Led Zeppelin – Dancing Days
Def Leppard – Ride into the Sun
Ramones – Rockaway Beach
Kiss – Rock N’ Roll All Nite
Billy Idol – Hot in the City
Eric Clapton – I’ve Got a Rock N’ Roll Heart
Sammy Hagar – Mas Tequila
Survivor – High on You


Van Halen – Summer Nights

Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69

The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun

Guns N’ Roses – Paradise City

Alice Cooper – School’s Out

Chicago – Saturday in the Park

The Beach Boys – Surfin’ U.S.A

The Who – Summertime Blues

AC/DC – This House is on Fire

Steve Perry – Summer of Luv


Don Henley – The Boys of Summer

Blondie – In The Sun

Led Zeppelin – Dancing Days

Def Leppard – Ride into the Sun

Ramones – Rockaway Beach

Kiss – Rock N’ Roll All Nite

Billy Idol – Hot in the City

Eric Clapton – I’ve Got a Rock N’ Roll Heart

Sammy Hagar – Mas Tequila

Survivor – High on You


 

[Playlist] 50 Songs For When You Want to Dance and ROCK!

I have to admit – this was indeed one of the most interesting and enjoyable playlists I’ve ever made (and believe me I’ve made a lot of playlists throughout my life). It’s June, summer is right around the corner, everyone is in a good mood and I truly believe that the best way to let loose and embrace this awesome summer feeling is through music! I collected 50 songs from various genres – classic/hard/soft/pop/ rock, etc. and came up with this playlist of songs perfectly suitable for your dance + rock mood! I do hope you enjoy it! I am jumping from one era to another but that doesn’t really matter – these rock tunes are here to make us feel good and DANCE!

Listen to some of the tracks and check the playlist below the videos:

 

Playlist:

Bob Seger – Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll
AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long
Aerosmith – Walk This Way
Tina Turner – Steamy Windows
Billy Joel – Uptown Girl
David Bowie – Let’s Dance
David Bowie – Fame
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama
Simple Minds – Don’t You Forget About Me
INXS – Need You Tonight
Kenny Loggins – Footloose
Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone
Steve Perry ft.  Kenny Loggins  – Don’t Fight It
Van Halen – Jump
Chubby Checker – Twist
Bryan Adams – She’s Only Happy When She’s Dancing
Def Leppard – Make Love Like a Man
Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar on Me
Queen – Another One Bites The Dust
Queen – I Want to Break Free
Roxette – The Look
Van Halen – Summer Nights
Van Halen – Jump
Van Halen – Dance The Night Away
Sammy Hagar – I Can’t Drive 55
Genesis – Invisible Touch
Genesis – I Can’t Dance
ELO – Don’t Bring Me Down
Eric Clapton – Cocaine
Kiss – Rock And Roll All Nite
Hall & Oates – Maneater
Hall & Oates – Out of Touch
Poison – Your Mama Don’t Dance
The Beatles – Twist and Shout
Bon Jovi – Bed Medicine
Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer
Guns N’ Roses – Paradise City
George Harrison – Got My Mind Set On You
Joan Jett – I Love Rock N’ Roll
Queen – We Will Rock You
ZZ TOP – Gimme All Your Lovin’
Bryan Adams – Summer of ‘69
Motley Crue – Girls, Girls, Girls
Duran Duran – Skin Trade

Foreigner – Reaction To Action
Foreigner – Hot Blooded
Warrant – Cherry Pie
Def Leppard – Rock Rock Till You Drop
Def Leppard – She’s Too Tough
Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode


 

[ Playlist ] Weekly MIXTAPE

Happy new week, guys! I do hope it’s a good one for all!
Time for mixtape Mondays and pure classic rock tunes! Kick off the new week with some timeless songs from the 70s 80s and 90s! Once again, I’ve collected 10 outstanding rock tracks from my personal music library and came up with this lovely playlist for you! I hope you will enjoy it as much as I am. What better way to start the new week than with playing some rock!
Let’s listen!

PLAYLIST:

Deep Purple – Soldier of Fortune (1974)
Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’ (1981)
AC/DC – Big Gun (1992)
Metallica – Nothing Else Matters (1991)
Guns N’ Roses – Rocket Queen (1987)
Queen – Under Pressure (1982)
Uriah Heep – The Easy Road (1974)
Rainbow – MISS Mistreated (1982)
Skid Row – The Threat (1991)
Def Leppard – Paper Sun (1999)


Deep Purple – Soldier of Fortune (1974)

Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’ (1981)

AC/DC – Big Gun (1992)

Metallica – Nothing Else Matters (1991)

Guns N’ Roses – Rocket Queen (1987)

Queen – Under Pressure (1982)

Uriah Heep – The Easy Road (1974)

Rainbow – MISS Mistreated (1982)

Skid Row – The Threat (1991)

Def Leppard – Paper Sun (1999)

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction

Appetite for Destruction 4

After endless years, full of hope and anticipation, the long awaited reunion of Guns N’ Roses is finally a fact! Fans were more than thrilled to welcome the legends back on stage and experience true rock ‘n’ roll alongside their favorite band from the 80s. Furthermore, we just got the news that Axl Rose is joining AC/DC as their frontman so definitely, this year a lot of interesting and exciting things are happening for the members of Guns N’ Roses and their fans, of course. In the spirit of these awesome events, I decided to prepare a publication, focusing on Guns N’ Roses’ greatest album from the 80s – Appetite for Destruction”. Some might disagree, however to me personally this is also their most impressive record among all and probably the main reason why they reached such a phenomenal success and became the ultimate fan-favorites. The album is a true masterpiece – no second opinion about it. I believe it’s also one of those albums you just HAVE to have regardless whether you are a fan of the band or not. “Appetite for Destruction” is an absolute era-defining album and if you love classic rock music and you don’t have it yet – just go and buy it right now!
Let’s talk more about the album!


 

Appetite for Destruction

Appetite for Destruction 4Released: July 21, 1987
Recorded: March–April 1987
Genre: Hard Rock, Rock, Heavy Metal, Glam Metal
Length: 53:51
Label: Geffen
Producer(s): Mike Clink
Singles: “It’s So Easy”, “Welcome To The Jungle”, “Sweet Child o’ Mine”, “Break It Up”, “Paradise City”, “Nighttrain”
Personnel: Axl Rose – lead vocals, backing vocals, synthesizer; Slash – lead guitar; Izzy Stradlin – rhythm guitar, backing vocals, co-lead guitar; Duff “Rose” McKagan – bass guitar, backing vocals; Steven Adler – drums;

TRACKLIST:

1. Welcome To The Jungle
2. It’s So Easy
3. Nightrain
4. Out Ta Get Me
5. Mr. Brownstone
6. Paradise City
7. My Michelle
8. Think About You
9. Sweet Child O’ Mine
10. You’re Crazy
11. Anything Goes
12. Rocket Queen

png CD

buy-from-amazon


 

VINYL


 

Overview:

In 1987, Guns N’ Roses blew up the music industry by exploding onto the national scene with their first and best album! In addition to being one of the best-selling albums of all time, “Appetite for Destruction” also happens to be the best-selling debut album in history of music! What a debut that was! Not only did it peaked at the number one spot on the Billboard 200 Chart, but it also reached top 10 positions in Australia, Canada, Norway and Sweden.

Needless to say, the album was an absolute turning point for the hard rock/metal genre and its direction. Ferocious rock anthems such as “Paradise City”, “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Nightrain” have been clogging the airwaves ever since the release of this rock tornado. Guns N’ Roses crafted something extremely dangerous, raw and quite nasty that actually brought nothing but fun and great time to the public. The sound is rough, the lyrics are vulgar and fierce but it’s the 80s we’re talking about – the ultimate time to be as outrageous as you want to and enjoy it to the max! The success of the album was somehow contributed to its hedonistic “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll” theme which greatly appealed to the mass. The band incorporated elements of punk rock, glam metal, hard rock and metal music to come up with this primal sound that reached the absolute level of breakthrough. I personally don’t think the band will ever reach such highs, such speed or such level of musicianship. Bottom line is, “Appetite for Destruction” is the record that proved that people can’t really escape from themselves but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

guns

AXL


 

The album makes its clear statement right from the beginning. The first track, “Welcome to the Jungle” is a symbolic door through the brutal, nasty, drug-infested and dark world of L.A. The track sends us on a journey to the city’s most awful secrets. The story, told by Axl and his exceptional but rather ghostly howls, quickly brings out to the surface our deepest fears.

Personally, I think this song has one of the most powerful intros in rock music! The MV is also a classic.

Welcome to the jungle
It gets worse here everyday
Ya learn ta live like an animal
In the jungle where we play
If you got a hunger for what you see
You’ll take it eventually
You can have anything you want
But you better not take it from me….


 

“Paradise City” is probably the single track they owe their success to. With an exceptional mixture of blues, punk and hard rock motives, the song is everything but your ordinary 80s rock tune. “Paradise City” captivates right from the beginning with its unique rhythm, escalating guitar riffs and Axl’s aggressive, quite forceful but energetic vocal delivery. The theme of the song is similar to that of “Welcome to the Jungle” – they knew how to convey a message using the proper tools and words!

This is my personal favorite song from the album and I’m particularly fond of the music video! Can we please go back and attend such concerts??

Strapped in the chair of the city’s gas chamber
Why I’m here I can’t quite remember
The surgeon general says it’s hazardous to breathe
I’d have another cigarette, but I can’t see
Tell me who you’re gonna believe

Take me down
To the paradise city
Where the grass is green
And the girls are pretty
Take me home…


 

In the power ballad “Sweet Child o’ Mine”, Axl, Slash and company prove that they can be vulnerable and deliver something romantic and atmospheric with no efforts. This song perfectly demonstrates the outstanding guitar abilities of Slash and surprises us with a very catchy hard-rock beat and beautiful lyrics.

She’s got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky

Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that special place
And if I stared too long
I’d probably break down and cry

Sweet child o’ mine…


 

“Nightrain” is another song I would like to focus your attention at. Yet again, we are transferred to the sinful, alcohol and drug-fuelled world of L.A. Axl’s vocal delivery, in combination with metallic hard rock guitar riffs give us a little bit of an AC/DC vibe.


 

“Think about You” is in my opinion a very underrated track. By including it in this publication, I only wish more people would realize and experience its true value. It’s a sweet love song that creates the perfect mood! The rhythm and the lyrics absolutely do it for me!

There wasn’t much
in this heart of mine
There was a little left
and babe you found it
It’s funny how I never felt so high
It’s a feelin’ that I know
I know I’ll never forget
Ooh it was the best thing
I can remember
Ooh and the love we shared-
is lovin’ that’ll last forever

I think about you
Honey all the time
my heart says yes….


 

Many people will agree with me when I say that “Appetite for Destruction” is one of the best metal albums of the 80s! As good as Axl Rose’s shrilling voice is, the effect of the album wouldn’t have been so strong if it weren’t for the exceptional guitar skills of Slash and Izzy. The brutal and nasty world, Guns N’ Roses invite us in with this album can’t but fascinate you. I am truly happy we were blessed with this masterpiece and I wish they kept on with their winning streak. Unfortunately, after the phenomenal success of the record, the band couldn’t top themselves and  till today, “Appetite for Destruction” remains their greatest work and in my opinion, the reason why they were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Nevertheless, some people consider it as the “record of the 80” and as such, we should appreciate it! Now go listen to the other crazy tracks!

 

My copy of the album ~

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