The Story of YNGWIE MALMSTEEN’s 1986 Masterpiece “TRILOGY”

trilogy-yngwieIt doesn’t take that long to fall in love with the right music – the kind of music that completes you, empowers you and fills up your heart with nothing but pure delight. I had a similar experience when I heard Yngwie Malmsteen’s You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget” for the first time. Songs like this one made me experience that “love at first listen” feeling, which I think is one of the most beautiful things in the world. A whole new world opened for me after that song; I just simply had to find and listen to more! I got the album and that’s how my Yngwie journey started. “Trilogy” was the album that completely redefined my attitude and expectations towards guitarists. One listen from start to finish was more than enough for me to learn how to further appreciate aspects of guitar playing, such as speed and technicality and not just take it for granted. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of superb guitar players who possess admirable qualities and are able to turn every song into a magical experience. However, there are a few who go beyond those well-known and highly enjoyable electrifying riffs. Yngwie Malmsteen is one of them and if you listen to “Trilogy” you will understand what I’m talking about.

Background:

  • Despite Yngwie’s steady reputation as a guitar virtuoso and a debut album that completely blew everyone’s minds away, his junior album – “Trilogy” couldn’t really make a huge statement on the charts, outside his homeland of Sweden. Nevertheless, as I keep on repeating over and over again – chart positions and commercial performance are not the greatest merit of the brilliance and quality of an album. In fact, “Trilogy” remains probably the second most critically appraised and beloved album of Yngwie Malmsteen (after “Rising Force”, 1984). 
  • Released in November 1986, “Trilogy” is Yngwie Malmsteen’s thoughtful dedication to Swedish Prime Minister, Olof Palme, who was assassinated earlier that year. 
  • The album carries the name of the closing instrumental, titled “Trilogy Suite Op:5”. The name is of course related with the fact that it is after all Yngwie’s third release. Many fans consider this album and its title as a perfect way to wrap up an exceptional trilogy of albums, featuring “Rising Force” (1984), “Marching Out” (1985) and “Trilogy” (1986).

Themes and Songs:

  • One quick glance at the tracklist will instantly give you an idea of what kind of themes and atmosphere to expect from the album. “Dark Ages”, “Fury”, “Fire”, “Magic Mirror”, “Queen In Love”, etc. – the titles are telling a medieval story, filled with fantasy, magic and skilfully portrayed in intriguing, imagination-stimulating lyrics. It’s not all about dungeons and dragons, though. The opening track, “You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget” is Yngwie’s attempt at crafting a radio-friendly, more universally-acceptable tune and I believe he did a splendid job with that. Vocalist Mark Boals is giving his all. His vocal style and Yngwie’s music is simply a match made in heaven. The mad guitar-genius sends chills down our spines right from the very start – that thrilling intro grabs you by the throat and doesn’t even give you a second to prepare yourself for what’s coming. I have always emphasized on the importance of a song intro and this right here is one great example of how things should be done! What comes next is as exciting as you can predict. “Liar” is yet another forceful, mind-blowing guitar tornado that destroys everything that stands on its way. Mark is hitting those high notes with blissful ease. “Queen In Love” is another high point on “Trilogy” and a personal favorite of mine. The soul-shredding guitar solos and alluring chorus are surely going to leave an everlasting impact on the listener. Yngwie’s guitar is gently moaning on the acoustic euphoria, titled “Crying”. The emotionally-charged instrumental is the much needed breath of fresh air, after the explosive first tracks. “Fury”, “Fire”, “Magic Mirror” and “Dark Ages” are the last couple of drops to make up this violent sea of heavy metal flames. Yngwie’s secret master plan was to make our minds go up in smoke once we listen to those tunes. The closing instrumental, “Trilogy Suite Op:5” is in my opinion one of Yngwie’s highest points of his career. No words can describe the power that comes out of those riffs. It’s an absolute supernatural force that took a musical form.

“You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget”

“Liar”

“Queen in Love”

“Crying”

“Fire”

Album Artwork:

  • The album artwork of “Trilogy” definitely has a spot on my list of favorite album covers. I mean, just look at it – can it be any cooler? I don’t think so. A three-headed dragon vs. a guitarist – a battle of a lifetime! A magical journey to distant lands, filled with intriguing adventures, monsters and queens. Believe me, you will never forget the musical  once you open that record and set foot on Yngwie’s mystical creation, named “Trilogy”.

trilogy2

What Followed Next?

  • yngwie-odysseyIn 1987, a fatal car crash accident almost took Yngwie Malmsteen’s life. Regardless, one year later, his next project, titled “Odyssey” was released. Together with one of the most talented rock vocalists of all time – Joe Lynn Turner (Fandango, Rainbow, Deep Purple), Yngwie once again crafted a dreamy, stylish and very up-to-date album, quite suitable for a constant radio play. There wasn’t any place for his mystical, dungeons-and-dragons, medieval neo-classical themes. It was time for something more romantic, approachable. Most importantly, it was the time to make hits. He couldn’t have picked a better singer to collaborate with. Songs like “Dreaming (Tell Me)”, “Déjà vu”, “Heaven Tonight” and “Crystal Ball” are the perfect blend between raw guitars, captivating vocals and perfect melodies.

References:
“Trilogy” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trilogy_(Yngwie_Malmsteen_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~

[Song of the Week] Judas Priest – New Beginnings

My choice for “song of the week” is Judas Priest’s “New Beginnings” from their 2008 concept album “Nostradamus”. To be honest, I totally forgot about this record and it is definitely not something I actually listen to on a daily basis. However, my heavy metal playlist was on shuffle and suddenly this rock opera started playing and somehow entranced me…To be honest, it took me a few seconds to comprehend what was going on. I carefully listened to the lyrics which I believe are the essence of the track and even re-played it only to once again experience those words. The atmosphere of “New Beginnings” is definitely a bit melodramatic, overly emotional and Rob doesn’t really sound confident or fully committed, however among those lines, I could find something I was truly in need of – hope and anticipation for new beginnings. Those words are for all the people out there who want to hear it – guys, it is tough out there but someday someone will come to your life and change everything.

For a better experience, listen to the track together with “Hope”~

 


“New Beginnings” Lyrics

Now at last my dream is real
I found peace
True love can heal
On the journey throughout time
A new beginning has arrived
At the crossroads of my life
This new love keeps me alive

I never knew that this could happen to me
So many lonely days and nights
I never knew that you were waiting for me
Hope was out of dight
And suddenly I see the future clearly
No longer living in the past
As I let go

Living the dream
Of my life
I was alone no-one in sight
This love – make me believe that you’re the one
Never give up – our day has come

I never felt that this could happen to me
So many lonely days and lonely nights
I never knew that you were waiting for me
Hope was out of sight
And suddenly I see the future clearly
Finally I know at last
I can let go


 

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

Song Of The Day : DURAN DURAN – NOTORIOUS

duran-duran-notoriousTime to funk things up ‘80s style!

There is not even a single thing I don’t like about Dura Duran! What is there not to like? – Great musicians, brilliant songwriters, hardworking, charismatic and the list goes on and on! They are definitely one of the most iconic bands of the ‘80s – if not THE band of the ‘80s! Leading the second wave of British Invasion, the fab five quickly found a way to the hearts of fans from all over the world. At the peak of their career, they broke into two separate units – Arcadia and Power Station which unfortunately shook their strength as a unit. “Notorious” was their 1986 comeback album but this time, they were a three-piece band – Simon Le Bon, John Laylor and Nick Rhodes. The title track won them top 10 positions in both the UK and the USA and topped the charts in Italy and Canada, even. There was no way this track wouldn’t make it big – legendary producer Nile Rodgers was part of the team, after all; he even played lead guitar!  

Funky, energetic, fresh, dynamic…this tune has always been in my top 5 favorite Duran Duran songs of all time! I got reminded of their outstanding musicianship today so I immediately played this tune and listened to the whole flawless album! This is my choice for “song of the day” and I really hope I reminded you of this lovely tune that just makes you jump off your chair and start dancing like nobody’s watching! Enjoy and make sure you check out the glorious live performances below the MV!

MV

LIVE (1986)

LIVE (2015)

“Notorious” Lyrics

No-no-Notorious. Notorious. Ah. No-no-Notorious.

I can’t read about it.
Burns the skin from your eyes.
I’ll do fine without it.
Here’s one you don’t compromise.
Lies come hard in disguise.
They need to fight it out.
Not wild about it.
Lay your seedy judgements.
Who says they’re part of our lives? [CHORUS]
You own the money ;
You control the witness.
I’ll leave you lonely.
Don’t monkey with my business.
You pay the prophets to justify your reasons.
I heard your promise,but I don’t believe it.

That’s why I’ve done it again. No-no-Notorious.

Girls will keep the secrets (uh)
So long as boys make a noise.
Fools run rings to break up.
Something they’ll never destroy.
Grand Notorious slam (bam).
And who really gives a damn for a flaky bandit?
Don’t ask me to bleed about it;
I need this blood to survive.

[CHORUS]

That’s why I’ve done it again. No-no-Notorious.

[CHORUS]

[CHORUS]

That’s why I’ve done it again. No. No.
That’s why I’ve done it again. No-no-Notorious.
That’s why I’ve done it again. No-no-Notorious.
No-no-Notorious. Yeah.
That’s why I’ve done it again. No-no-Notorious.
No-no-Notorious. Yeah.
That’s why I’ve done it again. No-no-Notorious.
No-no-Notorious.


“Notorious” Lyrics, retrieved from: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/duranduran/notorious.html
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~

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] Toto IV

Toto IV Album Cover


 

IV

Released: April 8, 1982
Length: 41:59

Label: Columbia
Singles: “Rosanna”, “Make Believe”, “Africa”, “I Won’t Hold You Back”
Certified: 3xPlatinum (RIAA)

~

Tracklist:

“Rosanna”
“Make Believe”
“I Won’t Hold You Back”
“Good For You”
“It’s a Feeling”
“Afraid of Love”
“We Made It”
“Waiting For Your Love”
“Africa”

buy-from-amazon


 

OVERVIEW:

With the release of Toto IV on April 8, 1982, the band quickly turned their occasional radio presence into a total domination of the waves. Unfortunately, Toto’s previous efforts couldn’t bring them to the spotlight, despite the amount of hard work and professionalism they invested. Toto IV was truly their last chance of hopping on the train and they couldn’t have done it better. Toto rose to the challenge and with an immense doze of enthusiasm and impeccable songwriting craft, they produced their most successful and visionary album.

After just one listen of the album, you can easily feel the unique aura and distinguishable details of the record. Toto worked harder on refining the melodies and harmonies – the tempo is slowed down, matching the quite bouncy beats of the songs. Guitars, trumpets, saxophones and trombones are having the most ear-pleasing dance. The lyrics are quite simple and innocent, dedicated to the themes of love, heartbreak and hope. The vocals of Bobby Kimball are much improved and strengthened, backed up by having other group members singing. Timothy B. Schmit was also on board as backing vocals on “I Won’t Hold You Back”, “Good For You”, and “Africa”.

Undoubtedly, “Rosanna” and “Africa” are the absolute career-peak compositions of David Paich and the ultimate hit singles of Toto IV. Not to mention that those two songs are also some of the most notable symbols of the 80s pop/rock scene. The golden single “Rosanna” impresses with its dreamy lyrics and playful beats. “Africa” on the other hand, demonstrates a fantastic scope of elements, including refined solo keyboards from Steve Porcaro, graceful yet high-reaching vocals of Bobby Kimball and prominent bass rhythms by David Hungate who is dearly missed on all the following Toto albums. “I Won’t Hold You Back” is yet another beautiful soft rock knockout, full of intense emotions and feelings. I often referred to it as one of the saddest songs ever composed. “Make Believe” is surprisingly uplifting and features excellent saxophone blends.

Toto IV, however, is so much more than “Rosanna” and “Africa”. The record is extremely polished, professional-sounding and full of timeless classics. Furthermore, it’s also both the group’s triumphant recovery and their absolute peak. The industry and the public acknowledged the brilliance of this album with 5 Grammy Awards, including Best Album and Record of the Year (Rosanna). Nothing more to say – a true iconic record you NEED to have!

Cheers.

 

Africa

Rosanna

I Won’t Hold Back

Make Believe

 

 


References:
Toto IV” official Wikipedia webpage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toto_IV
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~

My Favorite ’80s Rock Albums! (PART 2)

Albums - Part 2


 

Hello, everyone!

Previously, I have listed 10 of my favorite rock albums from the 80s (you can check the publication by clicking here – [CLICK HERE] My Top 10 ’80s Rock Albums! ). However, since we are talking about the 80s and rock music, naturally, much more than 10 albums are in “my favorite” category. Therefore, I decided to prepare a part 2 and list 10 more incredible records from the golden era of rock, I love and appreciate with all my heart and soul. There will be a part 3, 4, etc. for sure because let’s face it – 80s were the greatest decade for rock music and one can’t but love all the music that was released back then… It is indeed very difficult for me to choose favorites but I will try…

Now – here we go again…


 

Survivor – Vital Signs ( 1984 )

Survivor - Vital SignsAnyone who knows me is quite aware of the fact that I ADORE Survivor and Jimi Jamison is one of my favorite male vocalists of all time. “Vital Signs” happens to be the first album with him as their frontman and as a bonus we can find some awesome classics, such as “I Can’t Hold Back”, “High on You” and “First Night”. I think this is my favorite Survivor album in general and I am particularly fond of the song “Popular Girl” which is very catchy and has such captivating lyrics… “When she’s breaking your heart, she’s the state of the art… with license to take what she wants…”


 

AC/DC – For Those About To Rock We Salute You ( 1981 )

acdc for those about to rock we salute you albumThe follow up of AC/DC’s highly successful album “Back in Black” turned out to be equally important for their career and as perfect as one can imagine. I also consider “For Those About to Rock We Salute You” as their greatest album in terms of technicality, vocal delivery and quality of production. The title song is also one of my favorite 80s tunes – the lyrics and the energy of it are out of this world. Songs such as “Let’s Lit It Up” and “Spellbound” are also among my favorite tracks of the era. The album is the third and final collaboration between AC/DC and famous producer Mutt Lange.


 

Steve Perry – Street Talk ( 1984 )

Steve Perry - Street TalkThe first solo album of Steve Perry turned out to be a phenomenal project and of course it’s going to be in my favorite rock albums from the 80s! The title track of “Street Talk”“Oh Sherrie” is beyond impressive and I can’t have my day going without listening to it at least once. In addition to this massive hit, songs such as “Foolish Heart” and “She’s Mine” are also among my ultimate favorite tracks from the album (and from the 80s as well). Steve Perry is an incredible talent and I am so happy he released this album – it’s the golden egg of my collection!


 

Eric Clapton – Money and Cigarettes
( 1983 )

Eric Clapton - Money and CigarettesI have a whole publication dedicated to the greatness of this album – you can read it here: [CLICK HERE] [The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] Eric Clapton – Money and Cigarettes
What else can I say? This is my favorite album of Eric Clapton and contrary to the popular belief I think what he did in the 80s was quite impressive! The sound is indeed a little bit more commercial but the songs are very well-written and create such a beautiful mood. Among all, I think “Pretty Girl” and “I’ve Got a Rock ‘n’ Roll Heart” are my ultimate favorite songs from this album.


 

Genesis – Invisible Touch ( 1986 )

Genesis - Invisible TouchTill today, “Invisible Touch” remains Genesis’ best-selling album and one of the most loved records of the era. I love Phil Collins and I’ve always preferred him as their frontman in comparison with Peter Gabriel. The record has so many beautiful and quite famous tracks – “Invisible Touch”, “Land of Confusion” and of course my personal favorite – “In Too Deep”. The overall sound of the album may be too soft for some people, but to me it sounds perfect. I particularly enjoy the electronic drums.

 


 

Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms ( 1985 )

Dire Straits - Brothers in ArmsI love Dire Straits and this is absolutely my favorite album of theirs. With awesome tracks such as “Money for Nothing”, “So Far Away” and “Walk of Life”, the album was destined for success. It occupied top chart positions for months!  “Money for Nothing” was also one of the most played music videos in the history of MTV. It’s an awesome track – probably one of THE tracks of the 80s and the MV is also quite memorable and era-defining – let’s just watch it…


 

Def Leppard – High ‘n’ Dry ( 1981 )

Def Leppard - High n DryOf course you will find yet another album of Def Leppard in here, on this list…you know now much I love all of their work! “High ‘n’ Dry” was the album that signaled that something strong and powerful was coming and it was going to change to course of rock music – that thing was called Def Leppard! “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak”, “Lady Strange” and “On through the Night” are just a few of the songs I love from this album. The 80s belonged to Def Leppard and this album is indeed one of their finest projects. Interesting fact – it’s their final album with guitarist and original member Pete Willis.


 

Judas Priest – Turbo ( 1986 )

Judas Priest - TurboThis has to be my favorite Judas Priest album of all time. “Turbo” marked the band’s first use of guitar synthesizers and as a result, a very unique and interesting sound was crafted. Songs such as “Turbo Lover”, “Locked In” and “Rock You All around the World” are ultimate classics and I do really enjoy listening to them on a daily basis. The reason why this album in particular is here, on this list is because it’s somehow different from all of their works – the theme of love and romance is heavily emphasized and I absolutely like it!


 

Foreigner – Agent Provocateur ( 1984 )

Foreigner - Agent ProvocateurBut of course Foreigner’s ultimate hit record “Agent Provocateur” is going to be on my list!! I love Foreigner and this album is so special and important to me. It was a bit criticized for being too commercial and ordinary; however to me this album is everything! It contains the band’s biggest hit single, “I Want to Know What Love Is” and my most favorite Foreigner song of all time – “That Was Yesterday”. Also, I have a very special bond with “Reaction to Action” and I can’t have my day without listening to this song at least a few times…


 

Rainbow – Bent Out of Shape ( 1983 )

Rainbow - Bent Out of ShapeRainbow with Joe Lynn Turner was the most amazing combination ever! During his time as their frontman, they released some awesome albums and Bent out of Shape” has to be my favorite one among all. “Can’t Let You Go” and “Street of Dreams” are classics which will always be remembered, played and performed – they will forever remain some of the most appreciated anthems of the 80s!


 

This is it for now! Tell me your favorite rock albums from the 80s!
Stay tuned for part 3!

Velina

xoxo

The Story of Toto’s “Hold the Line”

Toto - Hold the Line1Each and every song has a specific background story and is surrounded by numerous interesting facts and details that led to its existence. I don’t know about you guys, but one of my favorite past time activities is digging out information and finding out more about my favorite songs. That’s why these types of publications – “the story of…” are so frequent on my blog. I mean, if a particular song means a lot to you and you love it with all your heart and soul, you should at least know some basic data about it – who wrote it, when was it released or does it have a special hidden meaning…? I’m not sure how many of you guys I’m sharing favorite songs with, however I do try to choose ultimate rock classics, known by everyone. The goal of such publications is to not only learn a little bit more about some of rock music’s greatest songs but to also remind ourselves of a forgotten song – you’d be surprised to know that for many people it may have been ages since they last played Toto, for instance…Also, I love interpreting the meaning behind the lyrics…

Anyhow, for today I decided to focus on another fantastic rock song from the late 70s by the American rock band Toto. Since the moment they released their debut album, Toto have been enjoying enormous success within the mainstream audience, especially from the 70s till the 80s. To date, they have sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and are proud owners of numerous awards, including Grammys. Throughout the years, the band had numerous line-up changes but they still warm up our hearts with awesome songs such as “Hold the Line”, “Rosanna” and “Africa”. Among all songs from their lengthy career and huge catalog, I have to say that “Hold the Line” is indeed my favorite song of theirs. In addition to the brilliant lyrics, I have to say the guitar backing is beyond remarkable and influential. The piano intro, the drums and the guitar are just too sweet and striking…

 

Toto2“Hold the Line” was released back in 1978 as the band’s first single EVER and also featured in their debut self-titled album. Not many artists had the opportunity to leave such an outstanding first impression the moment they stepped into the cutthroat world of music industry. However, Toto did it with this song – it immediately reached top positions in the USA, Swedish, South African, Canadian and Australian charts. It’s also RIAA certified as “GOLD”.
The song was written by the keyboardist of the band – David Paich and the lead vocals are performed by the incredibly talented Bobby Kimball. I am absolutely inlove with his voice…and how can I not be – his timbre penetrates your soul and mind without any effort or whatsoever.

The song features a single-note piano percussion, which was a quite popular technique at that time. In addition, in my opinion, the song’s biggest asset would be the elegant but vigorous “creamy” guitar riff. The song simply proved that six talented session musicians, who used to back up other famous artists can actually make magic on their own from the first try!

 

“It started out with the piano riff that is in the intro. I started playing this riff and I just couldn’t stop playing it. I played it for days, and I started singing, “Hold the line, love isn’t always on time.” It was a phrase that just came into my head. . . . it was a blessing. (The words) came to me in the night, and then I went to the verse. I wrote it in 2 hours. Sometimes songs come quickly like that, and sometimes I spend 2 years trying to finish a song,” said David Paich about the writing of the song.

 

“Hold the Line’ was a perfect example of what people will describe as your heavy metal chord guitar licks, your great triplet A-notes on the piano, your ‘Sly’-hot-fun-in-the-summertime groove, all mishmashed together with a boy from New Orleans singing… and it really crossed over a lot of lines,” said Jeff Porcaro, the band’s drummer.

 

TOTO3Now, I wish to say a few words about the lyrics of the song, which are very metaphorical but quite easy to construe and relate with. Basically, the song is about love and relationships – nothing new, right? The phrase “hold the line” is an expression we use when we want someone to remain at their current position and simply don’t go anywhere. In the context of the song – the man tells his girl to be patient and stay with their relationship. Love, just like many things in this world is sometimes all about the perfect timing – for some people love might not come instantly or they might need some time to truly devote themselves to another person and truly fall inlove with him/her. Despite all that, love will come. I believe that the tone of the song is quite inspirational and motivational. Love will show its face when the time is right – simple as that! Till that time comes, we need to be willing to endure, stay calm and don’t settle for something that’s not real.

 

Most of this song’s lyrics start with the words, “It’s not.” According to David Paich, once he came up with the title, he started writing lines about what love isn’t: “It’s not in the way you say you’re mine,” “It’s not in the way you say you care.”
Through process of elimination, he’s trying to figure out what love is.


(extract retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/)

 

It’s essential to know that Toto was one of the first rock musicians to release a music video at that time. As we all know, MTV hit the air in 1981 so for them to record a MV years before its launch was quite challenging and even risky.
Basically, it’s one of those trendy obligatory performance music videos which each and every band of that time used to film. The budget was obviously quite low, however I do enjoy their fashion – especially the Steve Lukather’s suspenders and wicked hairstyles.
Check out the original music video:

 

 LYRICS:

 

“Hold The Line”

It’s not in the way that you hold me
It’s not in the way you say you care
It’s not in the way you’ve been treating my friends
It’s not in the way that you’ll stay till the end
It’s not in the way you look or the things that you say that you do Hold the line
Love isn’t always on time It’s not in the words that you told me
It’s not in the way you say you’re mine
It’s not in the way that you came back to me
It’s not in the way that your love set me free
It’s not in the way you look or the things that you say that you do Hold the line
Love isn’t always on time It’s not in the words that you told me
It’s not in the way you say you’re mine
It’s not in the way that you came back to me
It’s not in the way that your love set me free
It’s not in the way you look or the things that you say that you do

Hold the line
Love isn’t always on time

It’s not in the way that you hold me
It’s not in the way that you make me feel
You see
It’s all about the way you do the things you do
The way you do it
You’ve got to hold it
Hold it

Hold the line
Love isn’t always on time

~~~

 

 

Well, this is it for now – I hope you guys got reminded of or learned something new and interesting about this brilliant classic rock song. Despite being released almost 40 years ago, it will forever remain one of my personal favorites. I don’t know about you guys, but I truly consider this song to be one of the earliest signs of the upcoming change in mainstream rock music. The 80s was even sweeter for Toto. Now it’s the time to check your old CD/Vinyl or Cassette collection or go through your music library – Toto will hold the line for you…

Cheers.


 

 References:
Toto Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/toto/holdtheline.html
TOTO – “Hold the Line”, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=12396
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.

 

The Story of Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” – The Ultimate Power Ballad

It’s Wednesday evening which for me usually means power ballad time! Every person who knows me is well aware of my immense adoration for power rock ballads of the 80s (I have also expressed it in pretty much all publications). These songs are so magical, so gentle – but at the same time possess such a beautiful spirit and intensity that can’t but make you lose yourself in the feeling. I have this long playlist of wonderful and notable power ballads from the 80s and every evening I somehow find myself listening to it – it just calms me down and creates the perfect mood.

Anyhow, I am sure that my readers are well aware of what a power ballad means, but just for the sake of it, I’m going to remind some of the major characteristics of the trend which brought a lot of money and fame to many classic rock bands. It has been estimated that the power ballad trend broke into the mainstream American radio in the beginning of the 70s with songs such as “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin and “Dream On” by Aerosmith. However, the polished versions, ideas and the ultimate peak of this direction were reached in the 80s. Simply put, a power ballad is hard rock/metal songs that usually explore the topics of love and heartbreak. In addition to being excessively emotional and poetic, the power ballad has the ability to portray the soft and gentle side of 80s and 90s rockstars which as we know didn’t appear to be so soft or gentle. Sometimes, they can be too cheesy but the most important thing is that the power ballad is a rock song that combines tender melodies and gentle vocal delivery with heavy guitar riffs and a steady buildup, especially towards the end of it. That’s the essence of it – you can get both sentimental and teary, but at the same time still possessed by the empowerment of hard rock music.

Back to what I was saying (I’m sorry I felt like if I’m going to talk about this song, I may as well give you a bit of background information)…when we talk about power ballads from the 80s, the first songs that come to our mind are “Love Bites” by Def Leppard, “Always” by Bon Jovi, “November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses, “When I see You Smile” by Bad English…and of course the ULTIMATE power ballad song – “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison. I really love and appreciate the true beauty of this song and it always makes me feel a bit nostalgic but it also calms me down at the same time. I know is not necessarily the song that’s supposed to bring out some intense and heavy emotional reactions; however it can indeed make you think about many things. Its great power comes from the beautiful lyrics which to me are the lifeblood of the song…

“Every Rose Has Its Thorn” is a power ballad song by the American glam metal band Poison. It was released back in 1988 and it immediately made a statement on the charts – #1 on Billboard Hot 100, #8 in New Zealand and Ireland and top 20 positions in many other countries around the world. Furthermore, it was released as Poison’s third single from their second album “Open Up and Say… Ahh!” – It’s a pretty decent album, by the way, you should check it out if you haven’t done it yet. Many notable music institutions such as VH1 and MTV also gave it some huge praises – number 34 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Songs of the 80s” and number 7 on MTV and VH1 “Top 25 Power Ballads”. Unfortunately, throughout their career Poison didn’t score another number one hit song, so “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” remained their only number one.

 

Poison lead singer Bret Michaels wrote this in response to a failed love affair with Tracy Lewis. After playing at a bar in Dallas, Texas, Michaels called his girlfriend at her Los Angeles apartment and heard a man’s voice in the background. The next day the disconsolate Michaels took his acoustic guitar with him to a Laundromat and wrote the song right there. He explained in Rolling Stone June 10, 2010: “I remember using a pay phone to call this girl I was dating. We were on the road, touring in our Winnebago, and my relationship was falling apart. I still have the yellow legal pad I wrote it on. There are, like, a bazillion verses that I later edited down.”

(paragraph retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com)

 

Musically speaking, the song is quite quiet and melodic. It features two guitar solos – one of which is more soft and mellow and one that is a bit faster and more solid. Again, what I said before – the power ballad is a combination of delicate melodic rock and raw and even a bit aggressive one.

With this song, what makes things a bit more interesting is the country vibe you get when listening. There’s a reasonable explanation – it was done intentionally! During the time of this song’s release, the band had been playing at a famous cowboy bar in Dallas, Texas. This environment, naturally, influenced them and they generated it all into this song. We can clearly catch the twang in Bret Michaels’ vocals which is probably the main reason why we get this cowboy feeling. By the way, for those who don’t know, twang is a “high frequency singing sound especially affected by country singers”. Doesn’t matter – you don’t have to know what twang is to feel it – he sounds so country. Also, we can sense the whole cowboy theme in the lyrics as well – “Just as every cowboy sings a sad sad song, every rose has its thorn”.

 

“This was back before anyone thought about a crossover. We had ‘Every Rose Has Its Thorn’ at #1 Pop, #1 Rock, and Top 40 Country, which was unheard of,” Bret Michaels said.

 

As much as I love the song, the music video is quite dull, at least to me. It’s one of those videos which pretty much each and every rock band of the 80s has – the frontman (in our case Michaels) sitting down, dramatically playing the guitar while we see some black and white scenes from their concerts. I feel like they could’ve done something else – I have so many ideas about a music video for this beautiful song…

Regardless of the lack of originality in the music video, the song is very sentimental and soulful. To many it may sound very cliché and I can understand why – it explores one of the most talked about issues and characteristics of humans – people may present themselves as beautiful and trustworthy but no one knows what they have hidden deep down inside and what their true motives are. Sometimes, we cannot see it at first – we are simply mesmerized by the other person’s charm, good looks, smiles and promises…but life is full of surprises and one day your world may fall apart… The lyrics of this song perfectly illustrate this point and make us think a little bit deeper about life. What happens to the one that’s left with the broken heart? Even if you have moved on, is still hurts to know that the person you’ve been admiring and cherishing like a delicate rose is now with another one…

Humans are flawed – they have thorns…so be careful not to get pricked…

Hope you guys love the song as much as I do…Don’t forget to play it!

 

xoxox

Lyrics:

“Every Rose Has Its Thorn”

We both lie silently still in the dead of the night
Although we both lie close together we feel miles apart inside
Was it something I said or something I did?
Did my words not come out right?
Though I tried not to hurt you
Though I tried
But I guess that’s why they say

[Chorus:]
Every rose has its thorn
Just like every night has its dawn
Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song
Every rose has its thorn

Yeah it does

I listen to our favorite song playing on the radio
Hear the DJ say love’s a game of easy come and easy go
But I wonder does he know?
Has he ever felt like this?
And I know that you’d be here right now
If I could have let you know somehow
I guess

[Chorus]

Though it’s been a while now
I can still feel so much pain
Like a knife that cuts you the wound heals
But the scar, that scar remains

I know I could have saved a love that night if I’d known what to say
Instead of makin’ love we both made our separate ways
And now I hear you found somebody new
And that I never meant that much to you
To hear that tears me up inside
And to see you cuts me like a knife
I guess

[Chorus]

Credits:
Poison Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com

Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com

P.S I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the credits go to the publishers, owners and/or right holders.
cheers.

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] DEF LEPPARD – PYROMANIA (1983)

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Def Leppard – Pyromania Album Cover (by Andie Airfix)

Greetings!

On the 20th of January, we celebrated the 33th anniversary of Def Leppard’s groundbreaking and era-defining album “Pyromania”. Released back in 1983, this album not only changed the face of the 80s, but it also became one of the biggest reasons behind Def Leppard’s major success and fan recognition back in the days. To me personally, “Pyromania”, along with their following album “Hysteria” are the two albums that mostly characterize and represent Def Leppard…not to mention that those two albums are some of my all-time favorites.
To mark the anniversary of this incredible masterpiece, I decided to dedicate a publication which can hopefully give some insight and also show my appreciation and love for it. Also, I would like to provide some basic information about it so that the readers can have a better idea of the impact and the greatness that lies within this album. Needless to say, I adore and appreciate each and every song from this album which makes this publication a very special one.
Finally, this album focus marks the beginning of a new category of posts on this blog – The Greatest Albums of the 80s…what better way to start than with Def Leppard’s “Pyromania”?

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Def Leppard 1983 ; (credits to the owner of the photo)

Since this is going to be an album focus publication, I would like to begin with some of the major details regarding the album. “Pyromania”, as already mentioned, was released on the 20th of January back in 1983 and it’s Def Leppard’s third studio album. Along with the album, the band also organized a concert tour that lasted for one whole year, in order to support and present their new project to the world. It was an European tour, however it did have a huge impact…after all, in the 80s it was all about the “live concert experience”. Going back to the album itself, it was indeed a huge success as it reached number 2 on the Billboard 200, number 4 in Canada,  and number 18 on the UK album charts – those are some major achievements and prove that the album was and still is worthy of admiration and listening. In its original release, the album sold more than 6 million copies in the USA alone and since than it sold more than 10 million copies – thus It was certified 10x “platinum” by the RIAA in 2004. The artwork of the album is also pretty amazing, don’t you think? It includes a skyscraper caught on fire and a bullseye which is directly pointed at the flaming building. The artist behind this memorable and classic hard rock cover is Andie Airfix – the guy who also a few years later does the cover of “Hysteria”. Some say it predicted 9/11 and consider it rather controversy; however I try to stay away from such interpretations. To me it’s fresh, futuristic and rocknroll!

The reasons behind the album’s positive response from the public are numerous but to me personally, the success of the album comes from the brilliant hard rock mastermind of the producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange. He not only set new standards and characteristics of mainstream hard rock of the 80s with this album, but he was also responsible for the memorable, radio-friendly and easy to remember and sing with lyrics. Sometimes, people don’t really understand the role and the importance of the music producer – he/she is not only another full-time member of the band but also the figure that glues together ideas, concepts and intentions for the songs, lyrics, performances, etc. In this case, Mutt Lange’s ingenious vision is what lies behind the success of “Pyromania”. In order to get the right sound and create this “hard rock stronghold”, the producer recorded each member of the band individually – a rather unique approach causing many bumps along the way. Despite all, the results were beyond impressive. To me and probably to many other rock music fans and critics, this albums serves as a transition – a turning point and progression from their previous rather raw, wild and heavy metal albums to more radio-friendly, modern, catchy, sophisticated and easier to fall in love with sound. As David Fricke of Rolling Stone magazine said, they put “some much-needed fire back on the radio” with this album!

Furthermore, “Pyromania” is the first album to feature guitarist Phil Collen. I absolutely adore him and his talent – his guitar riffs are like thunder!! He comes in the band after the previous lead guitarist – Pete Willis was fired due to alcohol problems. The album was already half-recorder when he steps in and I guess that things were not that easy at the beginning. I’m not going to get into details about Phil right now but what we need to know is that he still remains the band’s lead guitarist – quite impressive, don’t you think? I am so proud of them, being together for so many years and overcoming so many obstacles. Except firing their previous lead guitarist and the death of Steve Clark (co-lead guitarist and songwriter), the band’s members have always been together and that’s one of the many reasons why I respect them so much.

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Phil Collen – guitarist of Def Leppard Pyromania – Tour ’83 (credits to the owner of the photo)

Let’s talk a little bit more about the songs of the album. The tracklist includes 10 songs, all of which possessing that special spirit, aura and groundbreaking new sound of the band. “Photograph”, “Rock of Ages” and “Foolin” found their place in top 40 USA charts and in people’s hearts as well. Those three songs received major recognition and constant airplay on MTV due to their melodic hooks, refined guitar riffs and captivating passionate lyrics. This exposure gave Def Leppard the chance to prove that they are not just another radio-time-filler-band, but rather an important and powerful name, ready to make history. Just listen…
(The music videos are just so typical for the 80s era…hilarious!)

I hope many of you got reminded of these all-time classics! Along with the three songs, the album includes “Rock! Rock (Till You Drop)”, “Stagefright”, “Too Late For Love”, “Die Hard the Hunter”, “Comin’ Under Fire”, “Action! Not Words” and “Billy’s Got A Gun”. All these songs are beyond remarkable, however I am entitled to have a favorite one and that has to be “Too Late For Love”. This song, to me is one of the greatest power ballads of the 80s and it perfectly illustrates the vocal abilities of Joe Elliot like no other song… not to mention the powerful lyrics and compelling guitar riffs that just make you lose yourself…This song is one of the reasons why 1980s melodic hard rock movement gained popularity. It is the perfect ballad and I recommend each and every one of you guys to listen to it again…

 

Of course, the other songs are worth listening to as much as the ones I put here, however, I’m gonna let you guys go grab the album from your CD shelf and play it or if you became curious and interested – to go and buy it at your local CD store.
Overall, it is a brilliant album – no second opinion about it. It can appeal to any audience of any age – it’s just that good! It is also a MUST HAVE album in your CD/Vinyl collection. If someone asks me to name some of the most distinctive rock albums of the 80s, I will most certainly start with this one. It is that influential and that era-representing. It becomes obvious how hard the producer and the members worked to create it. The details, the musicianship and the lyrics of the songs made it a major catalyst and stimulant for numerous follow-up bands and the overall rock sound of the 1980s. Def Leppard just simply changed the rules of the game…

Oh and of course – I just had to…

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Me, wearing DEF LEPPARD’s PYROMANIA album T-shirt

This is it for now, stay tuned for more rock music!

—-

Credits:
  1. Rolling Stone Magazine – “Best Albums of the Eighties” (Def Leppard – Pyromania no. 62), retrieved from http://www.rollingstone.com
  2. The Story of Def Leppard’s Breakthrough Album, ‘Pyromania’ by Michael Gallucci, retrieved from http://ultimateclassicrock.com
p.s I do not own the videos and the photographs from this publication (except the last one). The credit goes to the owners and uploaders of the media materials.