My TOP 20 Rock&Roll Solo Releases

Quite recently, I asked my Twitter followers what I assume is a very hard question to answer – “Which is your favorite release by a solo rock artist?” I thought it was a great question to ask because so far I think I have mainly emphasized on rock bands and their respectable careers and albums, putting aside important solo accomplishments who are equally deserving. Many people shared their answers and became part of this interesting online discussion (which of course was the basic idea behind this tweet). Artists like Bryan Adams, Phil Collins, Roger Waters and Dio were just a few of the names, mentioned by my fellow rock buddies. You told me who are yours…now it’s time for me to tell you mine! I do hope you enjoy the following list and get inspired! Please note that these albums aren’t really put in any special order, except maybe the first one. Listing them is difficult…can you imagine ranking them? I just can’t …

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Don Dokken – Up From the Ashes (1990)

up from the ashes - don dokkenIt must be something quite special if I’m placing this album at the number 1 spot, don’t you think? Well, yes it is! Everyone who knows me is aware of how much I love Dokken so it was only natural for me to fall that hard for Don’s 1990 solo debut. In addition to brilliant and personal favorite songs like the ballad “When Love Finds a Fool” or the catchy rocker “Mirror Mirror”, this album features a winning team of extraordinary musicians, led by Don, of course – John Norum (Europe), Billy White (Watchtower), Peter Baltes (Accept) and Mikkey Dee (King Diamond and pre-Motörhead)! How can you not craft something special with so much talent gathered together to support you? Don is a splendid vocalist and songwriter and I will forever thank him for the great job he did. It took him 18 years to release his second solo album, which wasn’t available for everyone, unfortunately.  


Lou Gramm – Long Hard Look (1989)

long hard look lou grammIt took me some time to decide which one of Lou’s solo albums I want to put in this list and eventually, my favorite Lou track, “Just Between You and Me”, turned out to be the deciding factor. “Long Hard Look” is his sophomore album, released at a time when Foreigner was no more (let’s not forget that he did come back in 1994). I love “Ready or Not” immensely, but “Long Hard Look” is where I think he truly embraced his strong qualities as a solo artist. Also, he took in one of the most splendid guitarists of all time – Vivan Campbell, along with Dann Huff (Giant), Bruce Turgon (Foreigner) and many more great artists, all completing each other in the name of this beautiful AOR release. Later on, Lou did assemble Shadow King and The Lou Gramm band with some of those well-known members.


Steve Perry – Street Talk (1984)

Steve Perry 1Steve freakin Perry! Do I have to say more? Are you actually surprised to see this album here? Well, you shouldn’t be. “Street Talk” is a classic AOR masterpiece with songs that will live longer than the world itself. “Oh Sherrie”, “She’s Mine”, “Foolish Heart”… – all mesmerizing melodic rock pieces who introduced Steve as a solo artist who just knows how to do things on his own. Obviously, Steve had a lot of fun writing, recording and producing this album. I could feel how important it was for him to do and try “his own thing”, separately from Journey. He literally put his heart and soul into the making of this album. We all know he can definitely hit a note or two, however with this album he also proved that The Voice himself can write timeless songs and produce quite respectably. Cheers to that!


Terry Brock – Diamond Blue (2010)

diamond blue terry brockI became a die-hard fan of Strangeways last year; didn’t even realize how quickly I was hooked and how albums like “Native Sons” and “Walk In The Fire” just stole my heart and never gave it back. One of the main reasons why I fell for Strageways was of course, the vocalist – Terry Brock. He eventually left the band and joined Giant which *SURPRISE* is another one of my all time favorite bands! His first solo album was out in 2001 (“Back to Eden”) but for this list, I chose “Diamond Blue”, released in 2010 via Frontiers Records. I am a true fan and hold a sentimental connection to Terry Brock so to me, this album is perfect. The touching ballad “The Rain” became the first reason why I fell for this album…the rest was history; If you are not a devoted fan you might not be interested but in any case, this lesser-known album is worth checking out!


Jimi Jamison – Never Too Late (2012)

jimi jamison never too lateBut of course one of the most powerful voices of rock music and one of my favorite rockstars of all time, Jimi Jamison, was going to be on this list. Many of you know how much I love Survivor and yes, Jimi is the primary reason why. I have established a very strong connection with his music and it kept on going strong with his solo releases as well.
“Never Too Late” is the last solo album he released. It came out in November, 2012, via Frontiers Records (of course). No one knew that this was going to be his last release but I don’t think we could’ve gotten a more beautiful farewell than this one. The inspiring title, the touching words and and heart-melting songs are just a few of the reasons why I consider this album to be one of the purest, most angelic pieces of music I have ever heard. Thank you, Jimi for this…I will always love and miss you.


Eric Clapton – August (1986)

Eric Clapton - AugustI may as well just list Eric Clapton’s entire solo discography and call it a day. Eric Clapton is my favorite solo artist of all time and there’s not even a single album of his I dislike. I wasn’t sure which one to put on my list but I ended up choosing “August” because it was one of the first albums of Eric Clapton I genuinely fell in love with back in the day and in my opinion, one of his strongest, most confident releases from his later years. On top of it all, it features that phenomenal duet with the queen of Rock&Roll, Tina Turner – “Tearing Us Apart”; “Miss You” is an important song for me as well. “August” was produced by Phil Collins who was responsible for its funky, radio-friendly sound.


Billy Squier – Don’t Say No (1981)

don't say noI got introduced to Billy Squier through Def Leppard; he was the one who actually brought them to North America for the very first time on his “Emotions in Motion” tour back in the early ’80s! The rest is just history. I heard “Don’t Say No” and that was it! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this is one of the catchiest, most uplifting albums of all time! “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!


Mark Free – Long Way from Home (1993)

mark-free-long-way-from-home-1993Mark Free fronted a couple of glam/hard rock bands such as King Cobra and Single but in 1993, he took off on a journey of his own with an AOR solo debut, titled “Long Way from Home”. The album is the ultimate catch for any melodic rock fan out there. It’s filled with gorgeous vocal performances, impressive hooks and superb keyboard details. “Long Way from Home” offers a great selection of rockers, among which striking tunes like “Someday You’ll Come Running to Me”, “Stranger Among Us”, “State of Love” and “The Last Time” are standing out with breathtaking melodies and lyrics. Overall, “Long Way from Home” is a bit softer and sweeter but definitely his best work as a performer and as a songwriter, that is in my opinion of course.


Alice Cooper – Trash (1989)

trash alice cooperNo surprises here! This album introduced me to Alice Cooper and it was the main reason why I became a fan. “Poison”, “Bed of Nails”, “House Of Fire” – all incredible classic rockers, defining an entire generation of fans. Not only that but my favorite Alice Cooper song of all time, “This Maniac’s in Love with You” comes from “Trash”, which makes it even more special.

“Trash” was a pivotal moment for Alice Cooper’s career; it came out at the right time and was crafted by the right people. Many guest performers and songwriters stepped in, including Joan Jett, Bon Jovi, Steven Tyler, Kip Winger and Richie Sambora. The results were stunning – “Trash” is the ultimate staple of the era and arguably, Alice’s finest moment.


David Coverdale – Into the Light (2000)

David Coverdale - Into the LightIn September 2000, David Coverdale released his third solo album, titled “Into the Light”, after he took a break from Whitesnake. I am a fan of everything he did throughout the years with Deep Purple and Whitesnake but I also admire his solo work just as much. I thought about featuring “Restless Heart” but since it was released under the “David Coverdale & Whitesnake” moniker (though it was a solo album), I decided to go with “Into the Light”.

The thing I love so much about “Into the Light” is the fact that David didn’t exactly embraced the modern-day characteristics of rock music and didn’t follow the new century trends; Rather than that, he released a classic hard rock effort, full of enjoyable AOR tracks that sound as if they were released in the ’80s, including my favorites “Don’t You Cry”, “River Song” and “Love is Blind”.


Tina Turner – Private Dancer (1984)

Tina Turner - Private DancerYou all know how much I love the Queen of Rock & Roll, Tina Turner; Not only is she one of my most beloved and close-to-heart artists but she’s a woman and a role model I truly admire and respect.

This album marked an important point in Tina Turner’s life and career. The messy divorce and Ike Turner were all in the past – it was time for her to shine and tell the world that she’s a strong and independent woman who just knows how to make great music! “Private Dancer” sky-rocketed Tina’s career and hit the multi-platinum status all over the world. Classic rock staples like the title song, “I Can’t Stand the Rain”, “Better Be Good to Me” and of course, “What’s Love Got to do With It” are a pretty solid reason why this album turned out to be one of the best albums of the ’80s! Not only that but she worked with Jeff Beck, Gary Barnacle, Graham Broad and dozens of other talented musicians, to ensure “Private Dancer” will truly make history.

What a triumphant comeback! I can’t express how much this album and Tina mean to me…


Sammy Hagar – VOA (1984)

Sammy Hagar - VOABefore Sammy Hagar joined Van Halen and released 5150, he hit it big with his eight solo album, titled “VOA”. Playing this album might give you a clear idea of why exactly he was chosen to replace David Lee Roth. He is a superb vocalist – we all know and love that about him. “Two Sides of Love” was the first track I heard from this album back in the day and it was enough for me to realize that “VOA” is an album that shouldn’t be overlooked (even though it is). “I Can’t Drive 55” is the lead single and one of Sammy’s most memorable and noted songs that kept on being relevant, even when he became a member of Van Halen. “Rock is In My Blood” and “Two Sides of Love” are some of my favorites as well.


David Gilmour – On An Island (2006)

David Gilmour - On An IslandThis would be my favorite David Gilmour solo album! “On an Island” was released 10 years ago but it’s still an inseparable part of my playlist. He took his sweet time (22 years) to record it but the results were brilliant. He wrote some of the tracks with his wife – Polly Samson, which makes it even more special! What can I say? – A gorgeous and delicate combination of instrumentals and soul-soothing tracks, proving that David is the real deal! Such a brilliant guitarist, knowing exactly how to both calm your soul and make it fly at the same time. The opening track, “Castellorizon”, is a haunting instrumental demonstrating his superb guitar skills, backed up by beautiful orchestral arrangements. Both of the singles, “On an Island” and “Smile” are dreamy and so easy to fall in love with. “Red Sky at Night” is my absolute favorite and the reason is, of course, the thrilling saxophone arrangements which are perfect for my tastes! If dreams can become music, this is what they would sound like! By the way, it’s David Gilmour himself who plays the saxophone on that one. Yes, he is as good with sax as he is with his guitar!


John Lennon – Imagine (1971)

John Lennon - ImagineThere had to be a John Lennon album in my list and it took me some time before I decide which one of his solo works I love the most; I ended up choosing “Imagine” over the critically-acclaimed “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band” because to me his sophomore album sounds more atmospheric, it’s much calmer and I absolutely adore songs like “Jealous Guy” and “How Do You Sleep?”. The title track is legendary, no need to even comment on it. I remember singing “Imagine” when I was in elementary, or was it middle school…I don’t remember but what I can say is that this song along with the album have been in my life for far too long, making them very personally-relevant and close to my heart. 


George Harrison – Cloud Nine (1987)

George Harrison - Cloud NineI miss this sunshine so much.

When we talk about rock&roll comebacks, I always mention this album. George Harrison took some time away from his solo career and in 1987 had one of the most triumphant comebacks with the commercially-successful and critically-acclaimed “Cloud Nine.” George is known as the quiet Beatle but this album right here is everything but quiet! “Devil’s Radio,” “Cloud 9,” “Just for Today” and the smashing cover of “Got My Mind Set on You,” turned this into one of his best, most beloved releases of all time. This is the album that introduced him to the mainstream audience, making it a very crucial move for his career. Let’s also praise the input of Jeff Lynn who co-produced this beautiful piece of music.


Bryan Adams – Reckless (1984)

bryan adams - reckless“Reckless” is a rocker full of enthusiasm, energy and that was the main reason why I fell for it back in the day. The multi-platinum release spawned some of ’80s most classic hits, including “Summer of 69”, “Run To You” and of course “Heaven”. Not only that but this pleasing work contains one of my most favorite duets of all time, “It’s Only Love”, featuring Tina Turner. 

The greatness of the album lies in its simplicity – yes, I do agree that the lyrics are too ordinary and not at all meant to trigger a deep emotional response and yes – the melodies are not as complicated and refined, however this is a fun, rock n’ roll radio-perfect album that is meant to be entertaining, fun and enjoyable. Bryan Adams made history with this one, that’s for sure.


Gary Moore – Still Got the Blues (1990)

Gary Moore - Still Got the BluesWhat can I say about Gary Moore and this album? Words are meaningless! “Still Got the Blues” has to be one of the most relevant blues-rock releases of all time. Emotional, sensational, passionate, soul-touching – all that and way more!

“Still Got the Blues” came to life once again thanks to a team of exceptional musicians, including George Harrison, Albert King and many more. No wonder this turned out to be his most commercially-successful release. What’s surprising, though is the fact that the title track – yes that superb, worldly-beloved blues songs, barely got a top100 position on the charts. Anyhow…

I was always touched by this brilliant blues-meets-hard rock album and there was no way I wouldn’t have added it.


Phil Collins – Face Value (1981)

Phil Collins - Face ValueI put a lot of thought into which Phil Collins album to pick for my list. Obviously, I ended up with “Face Value” for a few reasons and no, it’s not just because his most memorable song “In The Air Tonight” is the opening track – this album is so much more than that track.

I picked it because it was his first solo album and because it’s a classic staple of the ’80s music scene. Not only that, but I adore songs like “I Missed Again” and “Behind the Lines”. Phil Collins emerged as one of the strongest forces of rock/pop music scene of the decade and this album was just the beginning. What followed was a long line of exceptional solo releases and numerous collaboration, turning him into one of the most networked musicians of all time! Back to the album – it’s breezy, refreshing, atmospheric and definitely something you need to own in your collection just like I do.


Tom Keifer – The Way Life Goes (2013)

tom keifer the way life goesI’ve been a fan of Cinderella and Tom Keifer for a long time now; Honestly, I cannot even imagine having a day without listening to his unique voice. Tom is one of those artists I truly respect and admire not only because he’s a brilliant songwriter, but because he is an amazing human being, worthy of admiration.

In 2013, finally, after so many years of success, turbulence and hardships, he released his first solo album, suitably titled “The Way Life Goes”. It took about 10 years for this album to become a reality but it was worth it, believe me. Some critics claim that this is by far his greatest work. I cannot draw such conclusion but one thing is for sure – this rather intimate, highly impressive solo release is superb, from start to finish. I love “Thick and Thin”, “It’s Not Enough” and of course, the lead single, “The Flower Song”. This album represented Tom’s evolution as an artist and despite everything he went through, his vocals still sound better than ever!


Mark Slaughter – Halfway There (2017)

halfwaythere slaughterThis new release impressed me so much that no way in hell was I going to miss including it on my list! The special 10-track album (11 in Japan) hit the music market on the 26th of May, 2017 and let me tell you something – it hit it hard! I really missed that classic, Slaughter sound and Mark is just bringing it all back on this album – that and way way way more! “Halfway There” is a worthy progression and obvious artistic evolution for him but with a little bit of old-school hint. It was a pleasure for me to listen to it from start to finish. Rock anthems like “Hey You”, “Supernatural” and “Devoted” are just a few of the reasons why this album left me speechless and turned into a personal favorite. One of the most brilliant aspects of this album is that Mark was actually in charge of not only the vocals but he’s also the one playing the guitar, bass, keyboards and behind the orchestration as well. That should tell you something! This is clearly a very dear album to him and he put his soul, heart and every talent he has to make it sound as sincere as possible. Mark is a superb artist and taking full control over this entire record was definitely the right direction.


Hope you enjoyed my list! This is how things look in 2017… and who knows how my list will look like 5 or 10 years from now. One thing is for sure – the above 20 releases are very important and close to my heart!

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and share your favorite solo rock releases here or on my Twitter account!

 


References:

I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the images on this blog are copyright to their respectful owners. Please note that the digital brand, “My Rock Mixtapes” is for rock music educational purposes only and is in no way participating in any commercial activities.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

The Story of DEEP PURPLE’s “Stormbringer”

First time I listened to Deep Purple’s “Stormbringer” was a life-changing moment for me. I may have been just a little girl but I knew well how to experience music and let it flow through my body and soul. After the first couple of times I played it, I knew two things: first, that male vocalist will occupy an important part of my life; second, this will be one of the tunes I will be seeking empowerment and strength from.

I don’t know a person who doesn’t love Deep Purple, even though fans’ preferences when it comes to line-ups are sometimes different. I love the classic Purple years, as well as their grandiose 80s comeback with “Perfect Strangers” but the Coverdale years, I believe, are always what I come back to. That’s why I wanted to give the spotlight to a beloved Deep Purple track of mine, performed by the magnificent David Coverdale. On top of all, he introduced the song to a whole new generation a couple of years ago on Whitesnake‘s 2015 “The Purple Album”. With all that in mind, I believe we have to acknowledge the significance of “Stormbringer” and most importantly, never forget to play it as loud as possible!

  • deep-purple-stormbringer“Stormbringer” is the opening track to Deep Purple’s 1974 album of the same name. It’s the second release, after “Burn” to feature David Coverdale as the lead vocalist of Deep Purple. The album failed to match the commercial excellence of the band’s previous releases, such as the iconic “Machine Head”, “Who Do We Think We Are!” and even “Burn”; however it did give birth to some outstanding classics. “Stormbringer”, “Soldier of Fortune” and “High Ball Shooter” are some of the tunes from the album that surely stood the test of time. Moreover, it will always be remembered as the album that brought the (temporal) departure of Ritchie Blackmore and the album with the perfect Coverdale/Hughes vocal collaboration.

  • Written by Ritchie Blackmore and David Coverdale, “Stormbringer” is a powerful heavy metal blast, showcasing the band’s love for hard solid rock&roll, soul and even funk music. The tune grabbed everyone’s attention with its peculiar lyrics and intriguing title, making it one of Deep Purple’s essential live acts during the ‘70s.

  • The title and theme of the song have always been subjected to questions and constant fan interest. The charismatic mysticism that surrounds “Stormbringer” has often been associated with Michael Moorcock who uses the same name to describe a magical sword, appearing on a couple of his fantasy novels. David Coverdale, however, denied any relation with Moorcock’s works or that he had any prior knowledge of his work, before writing the song.

“I wrote the lyrics about a mythical creature called Stormbringer who, in a surrealistic story, creates a lot of trouble. But I never even considered Michael Moorcock‘s work,” David Coveradle explained in a 1974 interview with New Musical Express.

  • At the beginning of “Stormbringer”, David Coverdale speaks some gibberish which always sounded quite spooky and devilish, at least to me. According to Glenn Hughes, this was in fact the “dialogue that Linda Blair’s character utters in the film The Exorcist when she is questioned by the priest.” [?]

  • “Stormbringer”’s hook line – “Ride the rainbow, Crack the sky” is supposedly where Ritchie Blackmore got the idea to name his next band “Rainbow”.
  • whitesnake-the-purple-albumIn 2015, Whitesnake released “The Purple Album”, consisting of interpretations of classic songs from Deep Purple band lineups Mark III and Mark IV – the time when David Coverdale was DP‘s frontman. Among the remakes were tunes such as “Burn”, “Soldier of Fortune”, “Might Just Take Your Life”, “Mistreated” and of course “Stormbringer”. This newer version of the 1974 gem was heavier, more intense and in my personal opinion, better than the original.

Whitesnake‘s version of “Stormbringer” (The Purple Album, 2015)


 

Stormbringer Lyrics

Comin’ out of nowhere
Drivin’ like rain
Stormbringer dance
On the thunder again
Dark cloud gathering
Breaking the day
No point running
‘Cause it’s coming your way

Ride the rainbow
Crack the sky
Stormbringer coming
Time to die
Got to keep running
Stormbringer coming
He’s got nothing you need
He’s gonna make you bleed

Rainbow shaker
On a stallion twister
Bareback rider
On the eye of the sky
Stormbringer coming down
Meaning to stay
Thunder and lightning
Heading your way

Ride the rainbow
Crack the sky
Stormbringer coming
Time to die
Got to keep running
Stormbringer coming
He’s got nothing you need
He’s gonna make you bleed

Coming out of nowhere
Drivin’ like a-rain
Stormbringer dance
On the thunder again
Dark cloud gathering
Breaking the day
No point running
‘Cause it’s coming your way

 


 

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

DEEP PURPLE’s Stormbringer Turns 40 – “I’ve Never Embraced The Expression Heavy Metal Because All My Themes Are Emotional”, retrieved from http://bravewords.com/features/deep-purples-stormbringer-turns-40-ive-never-embraced-the-expression-heavy-metal-because-all-my-themes-are-emotional
“Stormbringer” (Album) Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stormbringer_(album)

“Stormbringer” SongFacts, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=14243

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

10 Of The Most Underrated Classic Rock Albums Ever

 

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


 

Survivor – Too Hot to Sleep

too-hot-to-sleep-survivor

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


 

Judas Priest – Turbo

Judas Priest - Turbo

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


 

Toto – Fahrenheit

toto-fahrenheit

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


 

Van Halen – Fair Warning

van-halen-fair-warning

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


Eric Clapton – August

Eric Clapton - August

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


Whitesnake – Restless Heart

front

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


 

Pink Floyd – Obscured by Clouds

pink-floyd-obscured-by-clouds

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


 

Genesis – Duke

duke-genesis

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


 

Aerosmith – Done With Mirrors

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

aerosmith-done-with-mirrors


Asia – Alpha

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


And many many more….

 


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

 

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] Whitesnake – WHITESNAKE (1987)

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‘80s were all about that glam rock feel, saturated with polished guitar hooks and melodramatic lyrics. One band almost instantly comes to our mind when we think about those two things – ‘80s rock music scene and glam rock, and of course the band is Whitesnake. Fronted by none other than one of the greatest voices of rock music – David Coverdale, Whitesnake turned into one of the most distinctive and successful bands on the arena.

Whitesnake’s most essential and internationally recognized record till today remains their seventh self-titled studio album. Released back in 1987, “Whitesnake” turned into a major successful hit, producing timeless rock tunes like “Is This Love”, “Looking for Love” and “Still of the Night”. What made this album such an impressive masterpiece is the unique combination of classic solid rock and melodic rhythms. This all became true due to the great songwriting collaboration between singer David Coverdale and guitarist John Sykes. Melody, energy, passion and outstanding production are just some of the characteristics of the album that contributed to its phenomenal success – it reached to #2 on the Billboard chart and got the band a very prestigious nomination for “Best British Group”. The story doesn’t end here…Keep on reading!

whitesnake 1987 - 3


 

WHITESNAKE (1987)

whitesnake bigReleased: April 7, 1987
Recorded: September 1985 – April 1986
Genre: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Glam Rock
Length: 53:00
Label: Geffen/Warner Bros (North America), CBS/Sony (Japan), EMI (Rest of the World)
Producer(s): Mike Stone & Keith Olsen
Singles: “Still of the Night”, “Crying in the Rain”, “Here I go Again”, “Is This Love”, “Give Me All Your Love”
Personnel: David Coverdale – lead vocals; John Sykes – guitar, backing vocals; Neil Murray – bass guitar;  Aynsley Dunbar – drums, percussion
Certified: 8xPlatinum (RIAA)


TRACKLIST:

“Crying in the Rain”
“Bad Boys”
“Still of the Night”
“Here I Go Again”
“Give Me All Your Love”
“Is This Love”
“Children of the Night”
“Straight for the Heart”
“Don’t Turn Away”

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buy-from-amazon


OVERWIEW:

Whitesnake’s 1987 self-titled album is became such a commercial breakthrough due to its impressive collection of loud and solid hard rockers and a set of melodic and much friendlier pop hooks. David Coverdale is at his best game and proves that his place is indeed among the finest male rock vocalists of all time. Guitarist John Sykes also deserves a round of applause for his impeccable guitar skills and solos that sound like fireworks. Sometimes as I am listening to the album, I feel like his guitar even outshines David’s voice and becomes the only thing people pay attention to while they play the tracks.

The mood of the album is concentrated around themes such as loneliness, heartbreak and of course – love. Whitesnake are the Gods of power ballads and this album is filled with these timeless melancholic rock tunes that people can never get tired of. Their major power ballad hit and probably the song that completely changed the game for them is of course “Is This Love”. This fantastic pop-rock track is a living proof that once you were able to actually listen to some great music on the radio. “Looking for Love” – another quite memorable power ballad from the album was completely outshined by “Is This Love”, despite being much better in terms of lyrics and vocal delivery. “Here I Go Again” is yet another absolute hit that has a nice slow build to very catchy and well-balanced melody, filled with David’s excellent gritty vocals and smooth keyboards, bass and drum playing. The album hits us strong right from the beginning. Their opening track – “Still of the Night” brings us back to the ‘70s with its Led Zeppelin vibes and classic rock sounding. “Children of the Night” has to be the heaviest song from the album and it just requires the listeners to turn their stereo as loud as possible!

“Whitesnake” is full of excellent rock anthems and the greatest thing about it is that is just as rocking and enjoyable as ever even today. These songs are just made to be played forever. The album has its fine moments and despite being described as “too cheesy”, it manages to keep you interested and curious till the very last song. This was perfectly achieved due to the brilliant arrangement of the songs. They don’t just place their strongest songs at the beginning but scatter them all over the tracklist.

Now, let’s listen to some music…


 

“Here I go Again” was originally released on their 1982 album “Saints & Sinners” and was re-recorded for their phenomenal 1987 album “Whitesnake” with slight changes in the lyrics. The 1987 version of the song immediately topped the charts and the new music video became one of the most played and loved music videos on MTV at that time. Needless to say, the song is an absolute masterpiece and features pretty much all the correct ingredients for success – brilliant lyrics, memorable vocal delivery and chilling guitar riffs. I absolutely adore it.

Here I Go Again

I don’t know where I’m going
But, I sure know where I’ve been
Hanging on the promises
In songs of yesterday
An’ I’ve made up my mind,
I ain’t wasting no more time
But, here I go again
Here I go again…


 

My absolute favourite song from the album has to be “Looking for Love”. To me this is the perfect power ballad and easily the best song of the album. I’m truly impressed and completely in love with David’s vocal techniques on this one – he effortlessly jumps from one note to a higher one and reaches my heart in an instant. The lyrics are what made this one of my most favourite rock tunes of all time…  

Looking For Love

I look in the mirror
Don’t like what I see
In my reflection
A stranger is staring at me
Looking for love

The love of a woman
The needs of a man
I try so hard to belive
But I don’t understand
The search goes on…


 

I don’t really need to introduce this song now, do I? It’s one of the most era-defining rock tunes and it’s the song that made everyone crazy about Whitesnake and especially David. Interesting fact, the song had originally been written for Tina Turner – imagine that? I think they were quite happy with the decision of keeping it for themselves! The MV is also a must-see – it conquered MTV during that time!

Is This Love

I should have known better
Than to let you go alone,
It’s times like these
I can’t make it on my own
Wasted days, and sleepless nights
And I can’t wait to see you again…


 

A couple of other fine moments from the album…

Still Of The Night

Crying in the Rain

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Overall, it’s an amazing album, filled with influential songs that can’t but touch your heart and soul in a way. Actually, during the ‘80s the rock scene was filled with such glam rockers with gorgeous voices, singing about heartbreak and love. Some might say that Whitesnake were just a band among the many with nothing new or distinctive to offer. However, this album somehow proved that they can write damn good songs and still be as glam as they want. Needless to say, it’s an absolute MUST for your record collection!

Cheers!


Credits:
Whitesnake lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/whitesnake
Whitesnake album Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitesnake_%28album%29
Whitesnake Album Review, retrieved from http://www.allmusic.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.
Cheers~

Highlights from the 31st ROCK & ROLL Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony


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The 31st Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was held on Friday, April 8 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, New York. As we all know, this year’s inductees are Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, N.W.A. and Steve Miller. In addition, the special guests list was also quite long and it included names such as Rob Thomas, The Black Keys, Kid Rock, Lars Ulrich, Kendrick Lamar and many more. We, the fans, were anticipating the event and looking forward to see what is going to happen on that stage. Once more, the organization was brilliant and there were many surprises, touching speeches and amazing performances. The following publication will present some highlights from the event, including video materials.

Huge thanks to all the people who uploaded videos and pictures from the ceremony! I hope YouTube doesn’t mute or delete the videos!

 

Rock Hall 3

 


 

The 2016 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony opened with a surprise tribute to David Bowie. David Byrne from Talking Heads, pop star Kimbra and hip-hop troupe the Roots teamed up and outstandingly honored David by performing “Fame” – a song from Bowie’s 1975 album “Young Americans”.

David Bowie Tribute 1



Deep Purple gave an emotional speech, as they took on the stage, along with new inductees David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes. Later on, they also performed a few of their classics with the current band lineup, featuring guitarist Steve Morse and keyboardist Don Airey, vocalist Ian Gillan, bassist Roger Glover and drummer Ian Paice. Ritchie Blackmore got an honorable mention too…(*)

Theo Wargo, Getty ImagesDeep Purple 3

Watch Lars Ulrich praising Deep Purple’s legacy and influence in the following induction speech.



The Black Keys
were the ones to include the outstanding Steve Miller into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during the ceremony this Friday. They referred to him as “one of the most iconic and lasting songwriters of a generation.”

The highlight of their speech was their conclusion – “With over 30 million albums sold, Steve Miller should have his own damn parking spot at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame if he wants it.”

Watch Steve Miller‘s induction speech and performances below ( He is such a brilliant guitarist )… I really enjoyed his speech and I think his conclusion was rather strong: “I wanna thank all the women in my life for pointing me in the right direction,” he said.

Steve Miller - induction
Kevin Kane, Getty Images

 

Glenn Frey was also remembered during the ceremony in another surprise tribute. Sheryl Crow and Grace Potter impressed everyone by performing a stripped-down version of Eagles’ “New Kid In Town”. I think what they did was truly amazing and more importantly, managed quite successfully to capture the spirit of the Eagles.  

Sheryl Tribute.jpg


 

Chicago were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Rob Thomas. After that they took the stage and blew our minds off by performing some of their biggest classics – “Saturday in the Park” and “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?”.

Chicago - Induction 2016
Watch the speeches and performances below:


 

Cheap Trick were inducted by none other than Kid Rock.

“There isn’t a band in this room that doesn’t think it’s really a live band,” Rock said. “You think you do it better than anyone else. Then you go and see Cheap Trick. That’s when you think, ‘Man, we kinda suck. I better step up my game.”

Cheap Trick Induction 2016

 


 

You can also watch the ceremony on HBO:

 

ROCK OF FAME 2016 -2


 

 

Credits:
Rock Hall 2016 related articles, retrieved from http://ultimateclassicrock.com
Photos taken from Rock Hall Official Twitter Account:  https://twitter.com/rock_hall
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.

 

5 Great Whitesnake Ballads That Taught Us What Love Is…

A huge portion of my music library is dedicated to power ballads of the 80s (and ballads in general). I am sure many of you guys will agree with me when I say that those songs, usually performed by glam rock bands, are so influential, possess such a special aura and are even “magical”. Characterized with sensual lyrics, hard rock sound and a strong vocal delivery, the power ballads of the 80s appealed to many people and turned into a huge and unforgettable trend (that of course brought a lot of money)…
When I think about power ballads of the 80s, probably the first band name that comes out of my mind is Whitesnake. To me personally, they are the kings of power ballads and there’s a reason behind it. The reason is called David Coverdale – who happens to be one of the greatest male vocalists of all time. I’ve listened to many rock ballads, performed by many rock musicians such as Warrant, Poison, Foreigner, etc., however none of those ballad songs have influenced me the way Whitesnake’s ballad songs have. To me, David has the perfect voice for rock ballads and every time I hear him perform those heartbreaking love songs, I get goosebumps. His voice is perfectly designed for a rock ballad and I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but the moment he starts singing about love, I completely melt down. Of course, being a huge Whitesnake fan, I love pretty much each and every song of theirs. However, among all, the ballads are my ultimate favorites – even after so many years of listening, I always get these feelings and emotions each time I play power ballads such as “Looking for Love” or “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City”. I’m not sure I can find the right adjectives to describe David’s voice but I find his singing very sensual and his voice is definitely one of those “mysterious” and “smoky” voices that captivate your soul immediately.

In order to celebrate my love for Whitesnake’s (power) ballads and David’s brilliant vocal deliveries, I came up with this idea of collecting 5 of my favorite Whitesnake love songs. Also, I hope my readers can be reminded of some of those classics from back in the day. In the spirit of the upcoming Valentine’s Day, I thought it’s a good time to think about love and what better way to do it, than listen to this outstanding artist pouring his soul out into the music…

 

Looking For Love

I will start things with my favorite Whitesnake song, favorite power ballad from the 80s and one of my top 10 favorite songs of all time (yes, it’s that important to me). The song is part of their self-titled album which also happens to be their most successful album of all time. It was released back in 1987 and later on, the band also introduced a very interesting (?) music video that circulated around MTV. The reason why I adore this song with all my heart is the beautiful lyrics and of course, David’s vocal delivery – it turns from soft and gentle to strong and even a bit aggressive in a matter of seconds. To me, this is just the perfect rock ballad…

“I look in the mirror
Don’t like what I see
In my reflection
A stranger is staring at me
Looking for love”

Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City

The next rock ballad by Whitesnake is actually not an original song – it’s a cover version of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s song, written by Michael Price and Dan Walsh back in 1974. The original version is more blues and R&B oriented, rather than hard rock. Whitesnake’s interpretation of this song was included in their debut EP – “Snakebite” in 1978 and it actually became one of their most successful and loved songs. Later on, they also included a live performance of this song in their 1980s Live…in the Heart of the City Live album. Needless to say, I absolutely adore this song and their version of it. Once again, David demonstrates how powerful and yet tender his voice can be.

“Ain’t no love in the heart of the city,
Ain’t no love in the heart of town.
Ain’t no love, sure ’nuff is a pity,
Ain’t no love ‘cos you ain’t around.
Baby, since you been around.”

Is This Love

I just had to include this song which also happens to be one of the perfect examples of 80s power ballads. Not to mention that they owe a lot of their success and public recognition to this breathtaking power ballad. It is indeed probably the first song that comes to everyone’s mind when we think about Whitesnake. The song was released in 1987 from their self-titled album and quickly reached number 2 in the USA charts. It is a beautiful and very well-written song. The music video is also very distinctive and “very 80s”. Interesting fact, David was asked to think of some ideas for a new Tina Turner song and that’s when he came up with “Is This Love”…Anyhow, I’m glad they kept the song for themselves. As much as I love Tina, this song just fits him and the band so perfectly that I just can’t imagine anyone else singing it…
P.S You can check out my previous publication in which the song was also included : – Greatest (Power) Rock Ballads Of The 80s

”I find I spend my time
Waiting on your call,
How can I tell you, baby
My back’s against the wall
I need you by my side
To tell me it’s alright,
‘Cos I don’t think I can take anymore”

Only My Soul

This is also another one of my favorite Whitesnake ballads. One might say that it’s not as powerful, ground-breaking and wall-shaking as some of their other ballads but what appeals to me are the guitar riffs as well as its atmosphere – a bit more relaxed, calming and even exquisite than some of their other ballads. The violins are also a nice touch. “Only My Soul” is featured in “Snakebite” – their first official release back in 1978. This album produced so many fascinating songs.

“Only my soul, stops me crying,
Wondering why I feel alone
And only my love keeps me from
Weeping, so bad,
Giving me strength, to carry on”

The Deeper The Love

The last song from my selection comes from Whitesnake’s 1989 album “Slip of the Tongue” and it’s called “The Deeper the Love”. It’s a very melodic and a bit more dynamic and it happens to be one of my favourite (power) ballads of all time. The song and as a matter of fact the whole album, are a little bit different than their original sound from the early 80s, however I still enjoy listening to it – especially this song. His voice is just so full of soul…it takes my breath away. The lyrics are also very emotional and full of hope – it’s all about how strong a man’s love can be…

“So when the sun goes down
An’ those nights grow colder,
I will be there
Looking over your shoulder
An’ the deeper the love
The stronger the emotion,
An’ the stronger the love
The deeper the devotion”

~~~

Well, this is it for now – five beautiful (power) rock ballad songs, coming from Whitesnake – one of the greatest hard rock bands of all time. The selection was very personal and subjective so I apologize if you didn’t see some of your favorite songs. I would like to make part 2 and include other beautiful ballads of Whitesnake and David because there are so much more… His voice is everything – I hope you guys feel the same way I do and truly enjoy those five breath-taking love songs…


 

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~