TOP 10 Rock Albums of 2016

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2016 was the year of the comebacks – some of them great, some of them not so great, but if we look at the big picture, this year definitely rocked pretty hard. Right from the very beginning, David Bowie’s “Blackstar” signaled the arrival of a strong rock&roll year. We lost David just a couple of days later, but we are beyond grateful for his last gift to us. January awarded us with Megadeth’s “Dystopia” and Dream Theater’s “The Astonishing”. After that, all hell broke loose – Elton John released “Wonderful Crazy Night”, Last In Line debuted with “Heavy Crown” and Iggy Pop came back with a new studio album – “Post Pop Depression”. The spring brought a lot of color and joy with the much anticipated releases of Cheap Trick with “Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello”, Sixx:A.M.‘s “Prayers for the Damned: Vol. 1”, Cyndi Lauper’s “Detour”, Eric Clapton’s “I Still Do” and many more. The summer of 2016 was hotter than ever thanks to Paul Simon, Roxette, Neil Young, Jeff Beck, Steve Vai, Heart and Steven Tyler. The last four months of 2016 were, in my opinion, the strongest in terms of rock releases. After 16 years, Kansas came back on the horizon with “The Prelude Implicit”. Along with them, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Barry Gibb, Leonard Cohen, Glenn Hughes, Bon Jovi, Sting, Simple Minds and of course, Metallica with “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct”, left quite the impression with their new albums. December gave us The Rolling Stone’s “Blue & Lonesome” –they surely know how to wrap things up with style.

Coming up with a “Top 10 Rock Albums of 2016” can be quite the formidable task. So many interesting things happened on the music scene this year and I think all of the above mentioned artists deserve a round of applause and our deep appreciation. Of course, the beauty of music is that it has something for everyone and this year there were plenty of releases with which I managed to establish a deep connection. The following 10 albums stood out to me for one reason or another and I truly believe they are among the greatest rock jewels 2016 spawned. I would like to say that this is a personal selection, driven by my taste in music. In case you haven’t listened to those albums yet, I strongly recommend you to do so! Here we go!


1. Kansas – The Prelude Implicit

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The album that tops my list of favorite 2016 releases is Kansas’ long awaited comeback – “The Prelude Implicit”. Even before the album was officially out in September, I somehow sensed that I will fall in love with it. The elevating, colorful mixture of progressive and hard rock, along with the refreshing vocals of new singer Ronnie Platt created the perfect rock experience for me. David Ragsdale’s heated violin playing was the final element that sealed the deal. “The Prelude Implicit” is absolutely stunning – from the charming opening rocker “With this Heart” to the spectacular instrumental “Section 60”, the whole album just keeps on throwing one strong punch after another. “Camouflage” became my absolute favorite song from “The Prelude Implicit” and I am still waiting for a music video, actually. “Camouflage”, along with “Crowded Isolation” and the exciting hard rocker “Rhythm in the Spirit” are some of the highlights of the album. I can’t recommend this enough.

Read My Full Review Here : Kansas – “The Prelude Implicit” Album Review

My Copy of “The Prelude Implicit”

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2. Glenn Hughes – Resonate

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Number 2 on my list is Glenn Hughes’ powerful hard rock dynamite, titled “Resonate”. No words can describe the dangerous, electrifying and absolutely mind-blowing aura of the record. Glenn is one of a kind legend and this jaw-dropping album only solidifies his position as one of the best rockers out there. “Resonate” is no joke, it’s the ultimate galvanizing rock experience of 2016! Glenn hits hard right from the beginning with the aggressive “Heavy” and moves on to “My Town”, “Let It Shine” and “God of Money” – all explosive, guitar-driven tornadoes. “When I Fall” demonstrates the gentle side of the rock monster. Overall, if you want to get drunk on pure hard rock, this is the album for you. Glenn is still here, still relevant and still releasing incredible material. The youngsters need to take notes – “Resonate” is a great example of how real hard rock should sound like.

Read My Full Review Here : Glenn Hughes – “Resonate” Album Review


3. Eric Clapton – I Still Do

Eric Clapton - I Still Do (2016)

Legendary guitar hero Eric Clapton released his twenty-third solo album in May 2016 and as a long-time fan of him I just couldn’t be happier! For “I Still Do”, the king of blues recorded original songs, as well as cover versions of classics by artists such as Robert Johnson and Bob Dylan. Positively laidback, the album definitely grabs your attention with its bluesy easy-going and breezy aura that creates the perfect mood. The songs are rather homogeneous and once again perfectly aligned with Eric Clapton’s standards and practices of reviving and exploring old ways and meanings of music. The original composition “Spiral” is one of the highlights of the record, on which Clapton demonstrates how well he can improvise with a guitar and how effortlessly he can create something so fanciful and memorable. Robert Johnson’s “Stones in My Passway” and JJ Cale’s Somebody’s Knocking” showcase Clapton’s confidence when it comes to the blues. The genuine “I Still Do” reflects Eric’s current self-assured spirit – he wants to do music his own way and he couldn’t care less what everyone things about it. The album just goes beyond class – it’s everything I dreamed of.

Read My Full Review Here : Eric Clapton – “I Still Do” Album Review

Me With My Copy of “I Still Do”

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4. Last In Line – Heavy Crown

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Former members of DIO – drummer Vinny Appice, bassist Jimmy Bain, guitarist Vivian Campbell, and keyboardist Claude Schnell, along with vocalist Andrew Freeman formed Last In Line in 2012, with their name, of course, coming from DIO’s 1984 album. Kicking off things as a mere tribute band, reminding fans of the glory days of DIO and explicitly focusing on the classic albums “Holy Diver”, “The Last in Line”, and “Sacred Heart”, the guys quickly stirred things up the excitement among the fans. It wasn’t long before they decided that it’s time they pave their own way with original compositions. “Heavy Crown” was released in February 2016 and it instantly captivated the audience, including myself. I am a huge fan of Vivian (because of Def Leppard, of course), so I was impatiently waiting to see how he will lead Last In Line into triumph, which he absolutely did with this unbelievably good old-school hard rock blast, titled “Heavy Crown”. “Starmaker” and “Devil In Me” are the instant attention-grabbers with their fiery tempos and of course, the soaring chants of Andrew, who is absolutely killing it on this record. “Burn This House Down”, “I Am Revolution” and “Blame It On Me” are a couple of others energizing metal explosions, completely overpowering every one of our senses. “Heavy Crown” follows the strong spirit of DIO but at the same time, goes beyond that, quite successfully if I may say. Moreover, this album gives us one more chance to experience the talents of Jimmy Bain, which in itself is a reason enough to put the record in my top 5.


5. The Rolling Stones – Blue & Lonesome

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Since I love the blues so much, including The Rolling Stones’ “Blue & Lonesome” on my list would come as no surprise. The rock&roll Gods came back with a phenomenal collection of spirited covers, bringing us back to the golden days of blues. “Blue & Lonesome” is Rolling Stones’ first album to feature exclusively cover songs. Among the twelve blues jewels, we get to listen to interpretations of forgotten but classic tracks by Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, Buddy Johnson, Memphis Slim and other legendary bluesmen. Recorded within just a few days, with no preparation whatsoever, “Blue & Lonesome” is the perfect example of how The Rolling Stones can effortlessly craft some serious magic out of nowhere and still sound as confident as ever. Mick Jagger is absolutely killing it on songs like “Just Your Fool” (Buddy Johnson), “Little Rain” (Ewart G. Abner Jr. and Jimmy Reed), “All of Your Love” (Magic Sam) and the atmospheric title track “Blue & Lonesome” (Memphis Slim) – raw, brave and soulful, his vocal delivery is obviously reflecting his high level of satisfaction with this album. I am mind blown by the terrific guitar work of Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood and the drum beats of Charlie Watts. Also, my idol – Eric Clapton also appears on “Everybody Knows About My Good Thing” and “I Can’t Quit You Baby”. “Blue & Lonesome” offers a galvanizing blues experience and I definitely recommend it.

Read My Full Review Here: The Rolling Stones – “Blue & Lonesome” Album Review


6. Cheap Trick – Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello

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In 2016, Cheap Trick were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, but that definitely didn’t mean they were done with rocking and rolling – on the contrary, their golden days are far from over. Their “Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello” simply proved that those guys have a lot more energy, talent and joy to spread to the world. Uplifting, spirited, charming and highly entertaining – the record was the perfect spring rock sonata. Cheap Trick are still rocking pretty hard and we can clearly see it in songs like “Heart on the Line”, “When I Wake Up Tomorrow”, “Blood Red Lips” and “Do You Believe Me?”. The band’s first release for the country giants Big Machine Records is also the first album without the presence of long-time drummer Bun E. Carlos. Nevertheless, this modern-day rock extravaganza is everything but boring. Guitarist Rick Nielsen is doing a superb job; I am absolutely in love with the catchy riffs on “Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello”. A well-deserving comeback by Cheap Trick, I recommend you guys to take a listen or two!


7. David Bowie – Blackstar

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David Bowie’s last album – “Blackstar” was released just a few days before we lost him. I still can’t believe this beautiful human being is not with us anymore, it was such a tragic loss for everyone. I am beyond grateful for “Blackstar” – the last chance to say goodbye and experience his magical voice and one of a kind musicianship. The value of the album lies in its aggressive experimentalism which for many people may be a bit difficult to absorb, but as a long-time fan of progressive/art rock, the anxiety of “Blackstar” perfectly matched my tastes. The twenty-fifth album of Bowie, produced by long-time collaborator and a friend, Tony Visconti, presents seven intriguing, devilish even compositions, each reminiscent of Bowie’s ‘70s glory days but still compiling tons of new and exciting elements. Songs like “Girl Loves Me”, “Lazarus” and “I Can’t Give Everything Away” are fuelled with pure drum’n’bas wickedness. David’s moody groans are the foundation of “Blackstar”. It’s so inspiring to hear him perform so bewitching given what his condition was at that time. Saxophonist Donny McCaslin is also bringing so much to the table. You will never ever hear anything like “Blackstar” again and for that it deserves to be listened and appreciated.


8. Heart – Beautiful Broken

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“I Jump” was my absolute favorite song of summer 2016! I couldn’t have my day going without listening to this glorious tune by the Wilson sisters. As a matter of fact, this song itself is one big part of the reason why this album is even in my top 10.
On “Beautiful Broken”, sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson are simply offering an intriguing selection of seven re-imagined and re-recorded cherry picks from their early career, along with a few new exciting additions to their catalogue. Ann Wilson will always be one of my favorite female vocalists of all time and this record definitely proves that she still got it! Some highly appealing things are happening on this record, including the guest appearance of Metallica’s James Hetfield, whose roaring vocals work quite well with Ann’s soulful and clear singing. The heavy orchestral “I Jump” possesses that Led Zeppelin vibe, which is not surprising at all – the girls are often crediting Led Zeppelin as their biggest musical influence. “Two” and “Heaven” are a couple of other high points from “Beautiful Broken”. Many of the fans out there, including myself, are quite sentimental and prefer the original classics, however “Beautiful Broken” definitely deserves a chance – if not for the old-new songs, than for the three gorgeous new additions to their music library. Also, Ann’s voice is a reason enough to have this record!

Read My Full Review Here: Heart – “Beautiful Broken” Album Review


9. Metallica – Hardwired To Self-Destruct

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The mighty metal Gods survived through the long gap, after which the majority of rock acts would’ve been totally obliterated by the constantly changing music scene, and rose from the ashes with a smashing new heavy metal storm, titled “Hardwired…to Self-Destruct”. The expectations were high but they did deliver something quite satisfying so let’s give a round of applause to singer-guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich who co-wrote almost the entire set of throat-grabbing tunes.
“Hardwired…to Self-Destruct” is an epic double monster album, spitting 12 fiery tracks which run for almost 80 minutes! At first I thought that the record could be easy to inhale but once I heard the entire set, I realized that probably they should’ve just stopped after CD1 (which by the way is the reason why this album is in my top 10). “Dream No More” quickly became a personal favorite; I am enjoying this dark and highly-intense tune every time I play it. Some other memorable moments from “Hardwired…to Self-Destruct” include the opening track “Hardwired” and of course the surprisingly splendid tribute to Lemmy Kilmister, “Murder One”Metallica build up quite the excitement among fans, including me, so it’s natural to completely lose your mind over this album.

Read My Full Review Here: Metallica – “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct” Album Review


10. Jeff Beck – Loud Hailer

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This summer, Jeff Beck surprised us with a brilliant 11th album, which completely blew me away. I must say, I was sceptical at first, but the album just grew on me with every listen. “Loud Hailer” is not your typical Jeff Beck record – it’s a completely different kind of monster. Then again, it would be foolish to expect him to do the same thing over and over again, so I am applauding him for this revolutionary work on “Loud Hailer”. Two immensely talented female musicians – vocalist Rosie Bones and guitarist Carmen Vandenberg are the reason why there’s so much color and intrigue on this record. Bones sings about apathy, greed, politics, media and a number of other issues, destroying our society. That’s one of the reason why it appealed to me that much. “Live in The Dark” is the highlight of “Loud Hailer”, at least to me. I am falling in love with the thrilling vocals and time-stopping rhythms over and over again every time I play it. The haunting instrumental “Pull It” is feeding my soul with so much power. “Shrine” wraps things up with a similar folk-blues vibe, which sends you to another dimension. “Loud Hailer” melts me with ever listen. I can’t recommend it enough.


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.

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~

In 1992, Eric Clapton Made History With an Iconic “Unplugged” Album

eric-clapton-unpluggedA lot of exciting things were happening on the music scene in 1992. Some people, including myself, consider it to be one of the last years of fine rock music. Among the pile of fascinating 1992 releases was an album, which not only became one of the most important live records but went on to sell 26 million copies worldwide. It even won three Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, Best Rock Male Vocal Performance and Best Rock Song. When such a tremendous success is at present, we can’t but think about the significance of Eric Clapton’s “Unplugged” album.

In January 1992, armed with an acoustic Martin, backed by just a couple of musicians, in front of a small audience, legendary guitar hero Eric Clapton performed acoustic versions of original compositions, along with a few blues classics for the infamous MTV Unplugged TV series. The concert album became one of the first-ever MTV albums and consequently, a turning point in Eric Clapton’s career.After a series of ’80s AOR jewels, including “August” and “Journeyman”, Clapton successfully went on to complete a once in a lifetime project, which critics often consider his best, most sincere release of all time.The classy, yet charming and immensely soul-soothing “Unplugged” record was as important to Clapton as it was to MTV – it enhanced the reputation of the music medium, proving that it’s a place where icons, such as the great Eric Clapton himself, can freely express and re-define the boundaries of their musicianship.

It takes a great deal of courage and inner strength to overcome the endless trials of life and Eric Clapton surely had to face so many of them. On top of being a drug and alcohol recovering addict and burying good friends, Eric had to experience the tragic loss of his 4-year old son, Conor in 1991. Out of his grief and indescribable pain, one of the most tearing and emotional ballads was born. “Tears in Heaven” debuted as a soundtrack to the movie “Rush”; however Eric Clapton recorded a new version of the song for the “Unplugged” album. The tender and absolutely heartbreaking hit single went on to become one of Clapton’s highest career achievements and ultimately the highlight of the concert record.

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Eric Clapton’s most famous work during his time with Derek & The Dominos“Layla” is re-invented into a cozy acoustic bliss on “Unplugged”. Comparing it with the original 7-minute epic ballad would be unreasonable, though many fans found more comfort in this slower, less-aggressive and more easily-digested version of the legendary song. The gentle guitars, along with Clapton’s heart melting vocal delivery, turns “Layla” into the perfect lullaby.

Layla (Unplugged)

One of Journeyman’s (1989) most successful singles – “Old Love” was also chosen as one of the 14 performances on “Unplugged”. The equally deserving revised version of the bluesy tune guarantees an experience of a lifetime.

Old Love

“Unplugged” is filled with fine moments, capturing Eric Clapton’s honesty and pure effortless talent. One thing he never forgets to do on his projects is to pay his respects to the legendary bluesmen he grew up listening to, by immortalizing their songs and introducing them to newer generations. Among the blues classics he chose to cover on “Unplugged” are “Bo Diddley’s “Before You Accuse Me”, Leadbelly’s “Alberta” and of course, Robert Johnson‘s “Walkin’ Blues” and “Malted Milk”.

On the deluxe edition of “Unplugged” we also get to listen to early versions of “My Father’s Eyes” and “Circus”, which would eventually be featured in “Pilgrim”, six years later.

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“Unplugged” was Eric Clapton’s 90s coming out party. The ‘80s were gone and with them his radio-friendly, AOR, highly produced approach to music. Don’t get me wrong, his ‘80s releases are actually among my favorite records of all time; however we have to keep in mind that musically they did reflect the time period. As much as he kept his authenticity as a bluesman, those ‘80s records still fall under the category of contemporary ‘80s soft rock. Then, when the ‘90s came, Clapton took off on a new journey – a journey of self-discovery and absolute frankness. That’s exactly why “Unplugged” became so enormously successful – it was the perfect “what you see is what you get” record. Eric Clapton just rose from the ashes with ease and comfort. You could feel his confidence and sincerity coming out of every note.

No wonder “Unplugged” won three Grammy Awards and sold millions of copies all over the world. The audience already knew and loved Clapton but this stripped down album, featuring new interpretations of his classics gave them a new perspective. This album revitalized his career and I think it helped him move on with his life, after the tragic loss of his son. On top of it all, the biggest musical force – MTV, was backing him up. After the enormous popularity of “Unplugged”, the show turned into a much bigger force, hosting some of the most talented musicians of all time – Roxette, Nirvana, Bruce Springsteen, Eagles and so on.

Familiar, relaxing, cozy…what else can I say? “Unplugged” celebrates a career of an outstanding musician and because of its unique format you can feel like you are a part of the audience and the whole experience. It has been over 20 years since its release, but this concert album will forever remain one of the highest moments of Eric Clapton’s career and as a matter of fact, one of the biggest legacies of MTV.


…You can listen and watch the entire show here:


References:
“Unplugged” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unplugged_(Eric_Clapton_album)
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

10 Classic Rock Records That Should Be Owned By Everyone

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Innovation, brilliant musicianship and timeless impact are the three criteria based on which I chose the following list of 10 albums I believe should be owned by absolutely every person who values and understands music. There are indeed SO MANY groundbreaking albums that re-defined history but then again, we have those 10 which I think went far beyond re-defining – they simply turned things upside down. The echoes of their strong collision with the music world were so loud we could still hear them every day. Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Eagles and Fleetwood Mac are among the artist the works of which I would like to draw your attention to. I am positively certain that my readers know and are already in possession of those record but in case you don’t own a copy, grab your things and rush to the nearest record store!

(P.S. I made this list based on my personal expertise and opinion. I realize that some of you may not agree, but I still think those 10 albums deserve to be on everyone’s record shelf)


The Beatles – Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

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I just had to kick things off with this groundbreaking masterpiece, because let’s face it – no other record can actually beatSgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” when it comes to influence, cutting-edge music and artistry. Beatles retired as a live band and focused entirely on writing new music and experimenting with latest techniques in the studio. In June 1967, the results were in. Beatles didn’t have to worry about playing this album live, so they could go in any direction they want – they had the absolute freedom to arrange and produce things the way they wanted them to be. On Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, each of the Beatles adopted a new imaginary persona, which made things so much more interesting. The album also marked the beginning of album-oriented rock. “Sgt. Pepper” is a concept album you just have to listen from start to finish in order to truly understand its beauty; the record is simply one 40-minute song, an entity, an exceptional musical monster. Not only that, but it was the psychedelic, highly experimental, ambiguous, quite surreal nature of the record that gave rise to art and progressive rock, as well. Let us not forget that “Sgt. Pepper” has one of the most original artworks which re-evaluated the importance of album covers for future releases. “A Day in the Life”, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, “When I’m Sixty Four”, “Penny Lane” – songs that live forever.


Led Zeppelin – IV (1971)

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With masterpieces like “Stairway to Heaven”, “Black Dog” and “Rock and Roll”, Led Zeppelin’s fourth album was destined for success. Surprisingly this album never actually topped the US charts, despite being in top 5 best-selling albums in the States of all time and being owned by pretty much every person who lived during the 70s. The organic and folky but quite atmospheric song “Stairway to Heaven” became the most requested song on a FM radio ever, breaking that 3 minute song barrier. It didn’t matter what the critics said about Zeppelin or this album – what mattered is that they made history.


David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)

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The absolute peak of David Bowie’s career has to be the adventurous concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”. For this album, the white duke adopted the persona of a Martian who comes to Earth liberate human kind. The album, along with David Bowie himself became synonymous with art rock, praising individualism, mysticism, theatrical performances and fashion. David was so ahead of his time – he simply offered a glimpse to another world, where you can be whoever you want to be.


Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)

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“The Dark Side of the Moon” shook the grounds of progressive rock the moment it was released to the public. It was this album that forever shattered the notion that progressive rock couldn’t be enjoyed by everyone – Pink Floyd simply brought this style to the mainstream audience. “The Dark Side of the Moon” is not just your ordinary influential rock album of the 70s – it’s an absolute cultural landmark and a celebration of cutting edge techniques, keyboards, synthesizers, sounds effects and coherent musicianship. With its highly intellectual, avant-garde lyrics, the album explores themes such as time, money and the dark-sides of human nature. “The Dark Side of the Moon” spent 471 consecutive weeks on the Billboard album chart – an achievement no other album could ever surpass. Kudos to the brainchild of David Gilmour and Roger Waters!


Eagles – Hotel California (1976)

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Eagles are probably one of the most beloved American bands of all time – Americans wouldn’t trade them even for the Beatles. In 1976, they just blew off the roof with the concept album “Hotel California” which eventually became one of the best-selling albums of all time and one of the most critically acclaimed records of all time. “New Kid in Town”, “Life in the Fast Lane”, “Hotel California” – all brilliant rockers with an everlasting impact! The title tracks contains one of the most memorable guitar solos; lyrics-wise, it deals with topics still relevant nowadays – self-destruction, corruption, drugs and the greed in the music industry.


The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966)

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Whether you like Beach Boys or not, you gotta respect them for their legacy and especially for “Pet Sounds” – one of the most influential albums of all time, loved by critics and fans from all over the world. Brian Wilson’s goal was to create “the greatest rock album ever made” – a powerful rock tornado with absolutely no weak points or filler songs. I am not sure we can refer to “Pet Sounds” as the greatest rock album but it’s definitely in the top 10. Brian Wilson adopted so many interesting, cutting-edge techniques and approaches for this album – from unusual instruments to sounds of dogs barking and bicycle bells; from complex symphonic arrangements to sophisticated vocal harmonies. No wonder “Pet Sounds” changed history – it offered the ultimate musical experience. Not to mention that, just like “Sgt. Pepper”, “Pet Sounds” was equally responsible for the development of art and progressive rock.


Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977)

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Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” is essential for so many reasons. If, for a moment, we put aside the fact that it’s one of the BEST SELLING albums of all time and won a Grammy award for album of the year, “Rumours” was the album that forever blurred the lines between pop and rock. On top of that, “Rumours” was recorded when all members of the band were divorcing or breaking up with each other. There was no way a good album would come out of it. However, against all odds, their brutal frankness somehow stroke a chord with the audience and the album achieved something they never even hoped for – immortality. Candid, open-minded, emotional – I guess it’s true that the greatest masterpieces come out of pain, sorrow and heartbreak. Every song on this album, though it’s about sadness and break-up, is worth listening to.


Derek & The Dominos – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)

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I don’t even know where to begin with when it comes to this album. Often considered as Eric Clapton’s greatest career achievement, the double album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs”, can’t stop captivating the audience with its emotional intensity and groundbreaking guitar work. Eric Clapton was simply giving it his all on this record. The inspiration 7-minute epic ballad title-song, “Layla”, has to be one of the highlights of the 70s and the ultimate staple of what a love song should sound like. The album is so much more than that though – “Bell Bottom Blues”, “I Am Yours”, “Anyday” – any song of the record offers comforting blues, solid rock&roll, raw guitars and a great mood.


Black Sabbath – Paranoid (1970)

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After careful consideration, I decided to wrap things up with Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”. When it comes to the origins of heavy metal, things might be a little bit blurred. The foundations of the genre were laid in time, with the contribution of so many bands, styles, approaches, etc. However, to me personally one of the first records that presented a clear-cut vision of what heavy metal should sound like was “Paranoid”. There’s no surprise that many critics refer to this album as “the birthplace of heavy metal”. The simplistic approach to music, heavy guitar hooks, gloomy lyrics, exploring dark subjects and of course – the loud and quite sharp vocal delivery of Ozzy, defined the sound and image of heavy metal.

How many of these records you guys own?


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

Eric Clapton Melting Our Hearts With This Gorgeous Performance of “Wonderful Tonight” from His New LIVE Album

This beautiful live performance of “Wonderful Tonight” was just uploaded on Eric Clapton’s official YouTube account to promote his most recent live album – “Live in San Diego With Special Guest J.J. Cale”. The video shows Eric, along with his band, delivering a soulful performance of the gorgeous 1977 ballad, written for his then-wife Pattie Boyd.

The live album documents Eric Clapton‘s performance in San Diego’s iPayOne Center on the 15th of March, 2007. Many faces appear on that stage, including his idol J.J. Cale, with whom he performs the timeless classics “Cocaine” and “After Midnight”.

Watch the performance below:


 

‘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

asia-alpha

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.

 

Eric Clapton In 10 Outstanding Live Performances

Eric Clapton Live 2You know how much I love Eric Clapton so this post should come as no surprise to you, guys. I think he is absolutely one of the last of his kind of musicians who still got it – in the record studio, as well as on stage.

The list of concerts, events and shows he did throughout his long career is never-ending but since I had to draw the line somewhere, I decided to pick 10 outstanding live performances of Eric, just for you, guys. It’s quite the task, since he doesn’t really have a weak show and he has always been giving it all on the stage. Just watch the following videos and you will understand what I’m saying.

Enjoy~

 


“I Shot the Sheriff”, 1987


“Layla”, 1992, MTV Unplugged


“Layla” (ft. Phil Collins, Live Aid 1985)


“Cocaine”, 2015


“My Father’s Eyes”, 2007


“Bad Love”, 1990


“Anyway The Wind Blows” (ft. JJ Cale, 2007)


“Tearing Us Apart” (ft. Tina Turner, Phil Collins and Dire Straits)


“Change the World”, 2007


“Tears in Heaven”, 2013


 

+ Bonus Track

Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Sting & Phil Collins- Money for Nothing (Live Montserrat)

10 Classic Rock Songs about Missing Someone [PART 2]

Based on the success of the previous publication, I decided to prepare a part 2 of “10 Classic Rock Songs about Missing Someone” playlist. Apparently, the theme of missing someone special in your life and experiencing those emotions through songs is one of the most popular and preferred themes among listeners. I do hope the second set of songs I’ve gathered give you what you are looking for. Listen, enjoy and don’t be sad – life is full of hope and the time for holding someone you love once again or meeting a new love, might come sooner than you think…

Listen to PART 1 –
10 Classic Rock Songs about Missing Someone [PART 1]


Guns N’ Roses – Patience

Shed a tear ’cause I’m missin’ you
I’m still alright to smile
Girl, I think about you every day now
Was a time when I wasn’t sure
But you set my mind at ease
There is no doubt
You’re in my heart now


Eric Clapton – Tears in Heaven

I must be strong
And carry on
‘Cause I know I don’t belong
Here in heaven
Would you hold my hand
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand
If I saw you in heaven?


Scorpions – Lonely Nights

Since you’re gone
There is an empty space
Since you’re gone
The world is not the same
I go back to the places we’ve been
It feels like you’re still there
I live all those moments again
Wishing you were here


Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time

Lying in my bed I hear the clock tick,
And think of you
Caught up in circles confusion –
Is nothing new
Flashback – warm nights –
Almost left behind
Suitcases of memories,
Time after…


Bon Jovi – Always

It’s been raining since you left me
Now I’m drowning in the flood
You see I’ve always been a fighter
But without you I give up

Now I can’t sing a love song
Like the way it’s meant to be
Well, I guess I’m not that good anymore
But, baby, that’s just me…


Bryan Adams – When You’re Gone

I’ve been wandering around the house all night
wondering what the hell to do
I’m trying to concentrate but all i can think of is you
well the phone don’t ring cuz my friends ain’t home
I’m tired of being all alone
got the TV on cuz the radio’s playing songs that remind me
of you…


Carole King – So Far Away

So far away
Doesn’t anybody stay in one place anymore
It would be so fine to see your face at my door
Doesn’t help to know you’re just time away
Long ago I reached for you and there you stood
Holding you again could only do me good
Oh, how I wish I could
But you’re so far away…

Journey – Wheel in the Sky

Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin’
I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow
Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin’
I’ve been trying to make it home
Got to make it before too long
I can’t take this very much longer
I’m stranded in the sleet and rain
Don’t think I’m ever gonna make it home again
The mornin’ sun is risin’
It’s kissing the day


The Byrds – Here Without You

Daytime just makes me feel lonely
At night I can only dream about you
Girl you’re on my mind nearly all of the time
It’s so hard being here without you
Words in my head keep repeating things that you said
Wen I was with you
And I wonder is it true do you feel the same way too
It’s so hard being here without you, being here without you…


+Bonus Track:
Tenacious D  – Dude, I Totally Miss You

Dude, i totally miss you
The things we did together
Where have you gone?
Totally miss the honesty
And special times, and honestly
I totally miss the fu**ed up thing ya do…


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] Classic Rock Songs for (not) Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye might be the hardest thing in life. Whether we have to separate from a friend or someone we love, goodbyes can completely change you and leave an everlasting impact. However, the change doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad one. Sometimes people say goodbye to save themselves and start a new life. Regardless of the situation, the theme of saying farewell to a loved one or to a friend has been a popular music theme for generations. Here is a personal selection of 10 songs that deal with the issue of saying goodbye and experiencing pain when the person you love is no longer here with you. I do hope you enjoy the playlist and remind yourself of those classics! ^^

PLAYLIST:

Def Leppard – Goodbye
Bon Jovi – Never Say Goodbye
Eric Clapton – Tears in Heaven
Rolling Stones – Ruby Tuesday
Motley Crue – Time For Change
Simple Minds – Don’t You Forget About Me
Ozzy Osbourne – See You On The Other Side
The Guess Who – No Time

+Blues Bonus

Roy Orbison – Cryin
Bill Withers – Ain’t No Sunshine


Def Leppard – Goodbye

You won’t ever have to say goodbye
You won’t ever have to say “I’ve wasted all my time”
If the dream you dream ain’t what it seems
Just look into my eyes
You won’t ever have to say goodbye…


Bon Jovi – Never Say Goodbye

Remember how we used to talk
About busting out – we’d break their hearts
Together – forever
Never say goodbye, never say goodbye
You and me and my old friends
Hoping it would never end
Say goodbye, never say goodbye
Holdin’ on – we got to try
Holdin’ on to never say goodbye


Eric Clapton – Tears in Heaven

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong
And carry on,
‘Cause I know I don’t belong
Here in heaven…


Rolling Stones – Ruby Tuesday

She would never say where she came from
Yesterday don’t matter if it’s gone
While the sun is bright
Or in the darkest night
No one knows
She comes and goes
Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I’m gonna miss you…


Motley Crue – Time For Change

The lines on their faces so deep, yeah
A revolution, or reach out
And touch the day
We’re overdue, child
Change
Now it’s time for change
Nothing stays the same
Now it’s time for change…


Simple Minds – Don’t You Forget About Me

…Love’s strange so real in the dark
Think of the tender things that we were working on
Slow change may pull us apart
When the light gets into your heart, baby
Don’t You Forget About Me
Don’t Don’t Don’t Don’t
Don’t You Forget About Me…


Ozzy Osbourne – See You On The Other Side

Leaving, I Hate To See You Cry
Grieving, I Hate To Say Goodbye
Dust And Ash Forever, Yeah
Though I Know We Must Be Parted
As Sure As Stars Are In The Sky
I’m Gonna See You When It Comes To Glory
And I’ll See You, I’ll See You On The Other Side
Yes, I’ll See You, I’ll See You On The Other Side…


The Guess Who – No Time

No time for a summer friend
No time for the love you send
Seasons change and so did I
You need not wonder why
You need not wonder why
There’s no time left for you
No time left for you…


Roy Orbison – Cryin

Oh, you wished me well
You, you couldn’t tell
That I’d been crying over you
Crying over you
When you said, “So long”
Left me standing all alone
Alone and crying, crying
Crying, crying…


Bill Withers – Ain’t No Sunshine

…Hey, I oughtta leave young thing alone
But ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
Only darkness every day.
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And this house just ain’t no home…


References:
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