My TOP 10 John Wetton ASIA Songs

john-wetton-collage

Unfortunately the last day of January brought us the loss of one of the pioneers of progressive rock – John Wetton. The co-founder of ASIA and bassist/singer for King Crimson, Uriah Heep and Roxy Music, died at the age of 67 after a battle with cancer. Seems like 2017 picks up where 2016 left off – yet another veteran and a beloved rockstar is gone now and we can’t but be devastated. The smile has left our eyes…

I have been a huge fan of ASIA for as long as I can remember. It all started with the first couple of albums – “Asia” and “Alpha”. These two albums introduced me to this unique supergroup, composed of ex- YES, ELP, King Crimson and The Buggles members. I can’t really imagine my life without those records and frankly, I don’t even want to. Songs, like “Heat of the Moment”, “Don’t Cry”, “Sole Survivor”, “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” and many other classics will always run through my blood. One of the reasons why ASIA became such a huge inspiration for me was of course John Wetton. I found so much comfort and peace in his singing so the only thing I feel like saying right now is one huge “thank you” to him for bringing harmony to my life when I needed it with his blissful voice. I will truly miss him…

To honor his memory and remind my readers about ASIA – one of the supergroups which not only defined the sound of the ‘80s but also became an international sensation, I have prepared a playlist of my most beloved John Wetton songs from his time in ASIA. He was with the band for the release of “Asia” (1982), “Alpha” (1983), “Astra” (1985), “Then & Now” (1990), “Phoenix” (2008), “Omega” (2010), “XXX” (2012) and “Gravitas” (2014). I am the person who would always s prefer the classics, however there are some glorious gems in all of these albums. Let’s listen to some ASIA!


Don’t Cry

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The absolute crown jewel of ASIA‘s career (in my opinion, of course) has to be their #1 hit single, “Don’t Cry”. I immediately fell for this beautiful progressive rock masterpiece, combining catchy hooks and superb guitar work. The song was written by vocalist John Wetton and keyboardist Geoff Downes.The lyrics are I believe the absolute strongest point of the song. Probably because I am a girl, but words like “Don’t Cry now that I’ve found you. Don’t Cry take a look around you. Don’t Cry it took so long to find you. Do what you want, but little darling please Don’t Cry…” are affecting me on a deep level.


The Smile Has Left Your Eyes

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“The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” comes from Asia’s sophomore platinum album “Alpha” (1983). The stunning intro and divine melodies turned it into one of the most beautiful ballads of the ‘80s (even though it could’ve been produced a little bit better). The lyrics and John’s vocals are sending me to another world every time I play it! “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” is the only track from “Alpha” that was written by John Wetton alone (the rest of the songs are credited to the songwriting collaboration of Wetton and Downes). The emotional lyrics can’t but provoke a strong response in the listener: “…Now it’s too late you realized, Now there’s no one can sympathize, Now that the Smile Has Left Your Eyes…”


Sole Survivor

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Written by Geoffrey Downes and John Wetton, “Sole Survivor” came out as the fourth single from their groundbreaking 1982 self-titled album. Top 10 chart positions, worldwide recognition and covers from so many artists are just some of the triumphant outcomes, the release of the song triggered. “Sole Survivor” impresses with its solid guitars and empowering melody. I am also captivated by the lyrics, which can’t but give you that extra push: “…And from the wreckage I will arise, Cast the ashes back in their eyes, See the fire, I will defend, Just keep on burning right to the end…”


My Own Time (I’ll Do What I Want)

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Another song from “Alpha” (no surprises there, that’s my favorite Asia album). “My Own Time (I’ll Do What I Want)” is yet another blissful progressive/AOR tune that proves that John Wetton is a brilliant songwriter with outstanding voice, capable of bringing nothing but sweet delight to your life. The intriguing lyrics are also sending a strong message – sometimes you have nothing to lose so you gotta let go of the rules and have faith in yourself! “…You think you always had me under ties, Someone better tell you that the table’s turned, Getting your fingers burned, how does it feel? Now it’s for real this is the deal…”


Time Again

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How can you not fall inlove with that mesmerizing intro of “Time Again”? It’s absolutely brilliant, if not one of the best intros of all time! First time I heard “Time Again” I thought the song has that perfect balance between old-school progressive rock vibes and new-age radio-friendly sounds. Moreover, it’s the only song from “Asia” (1982) to feature a songwriting contribution by Carl Palmer which by the way is absolutely evident! The lyrics talk about betrayal and the loss of trust: “…But others wouldn’t see things you could only see, And someone showed you, then why was it always me, You knew the limit you were always out of bounds, How could I trust you when I caught you messing ’round…”


Never Again

asia-phoenix-2008

“Phoenix” was an absolute breakthrough – finally, in 2008, all four original member of Asia got back together and put it all behind them. The marvelous opening tune, “Never Again” is a strong statement of power and commitment. The energy that comes out of this song is indescribable! Once again, Wetton and Downes wrote something magical! “…NEVER AGAIN will I bear arms against my brother, NEVER AGAIN will I dishonour anyone, NEVER AGAIN will I wish evil on another, NEVER AGAIN will I spill blood of any mother’s son…”


I Will Remember You

asia-phoenix-2008

A very touching song about missing someone and having that sad fire still burning inside you because they are no longer with you… The 2008 comeback album, “Phoenix” gave birth to incredible songs and “I Will Remember You” is definitely one of the most deserving ones on the album. I have a soft spot for ballads so it comes as no surprise that I included it in my favorite Asia/Wetton songs. It’s a very sad songs, so in case you are longing for someone you lost, I suggest you don’t listen to it; the outcomes might be heartbreaking, especially because of lyrics like these: “…Locked in my memory, Your silhouette, The only face I see, I can’t forget…”


Light the Way

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“Light The Way” is the seventh track of Asia’s 2010 album “Omega”. Written by Steve Howe and John Wetton, the tune may not be the typical choice for a favorite Asia song, however there was something very intriguing that drove me to it, like a magnet. Was it John’s vocal performance, the mysterious melodies, that guitar solo…the excellent keyboard intro or the lyrics, I cannot say for sure. Bottom line is I think this is a splendid tune and for something so precious to come out in 2010, it was quite the surprise! The lyrics are very uplifting and hopeful: “…No matter what it is, be sure it can be fixed, Letting go of yesterday, Might – just might – light the way…”


Go

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“Astra” was the last album to feature John Wetton (before he came back in 2008 for “Phoenix”). The 1985 release didn’t really make a huge splash on the charts, compared to the previous two albums, however that doesn’t mean the album lacks substantiality and great tracks. The opening tune “Go”, for instance, is your ultimate first-rate journey on finding your inner strength. Sometimes in life we gotta make a faithful choice, pick up the right direction and simply go. We can be lost and lose our balance but as long as we “go” things might fall into place! “…There’s some way out, there’s some way through, But I’m lost, I’m lost, I’m down again, My direction is changing, which way, Which way can I go…”


Face On the Bridge

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The final album to feature the original line-up, led by John Wetton was out in 2012. XXX (or thirty) celebrated the 30th anniversary of Asia’s debut in quite the elegant way, if I may say. The album showcased a perfect sound blend between modern-day and old-school Asia. I gotta say, the first single, “Face on the Bridge” absolutely did it for me. Nothing much to say when something is done in such an outstanding way; first-class Asia and John, being his best-self!  


+ Honorable mentions…

Without You

Only Time Will Tell

Never in A Million Years

Finger On The Trigger

Prayin’ 4 A Miracle

Heat of the Moment


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~

The Story of DEF LEPPARD’s “Rock of Ages”

🔥Time to…. Rise up, gather round and rock this place to the ground!🔥

Def Leppard’s “Pyromania” – do I have to say more? It’s one of those groundbreaking hard rock albums which don’t really need an introduction or a bunch of fancy words, describing how awesome and influential it is. I will just say one thing, though – if I have to choose one album to be buried with, it’s going to be “Pyromania” (together with “Hysteria” most probably). Yes, it’s that special to me!

“Pyromania” defined Def Leppard’s career like no other album. Most importantly, it gave birth to a couple of smashing hit singles, including “Photograph”, “Too Late for Love”, “Foolin” and of course, the absolute fan-favorite, “Rock of Ages”. I could write books about each one of the songs on “Pyromania” because they are that valuable and worthy to me and to the history of hard rock in general. However, this time I would like to focus on “Rock of Ages”, mainly because of its significant presence in popular culture, which is a reason enough to know a little bit more about the background of the tune. Also, there are a couple of really interesting facts, surrounding the making of “Rock of Ages”,which some of you might not know. [My Rock Mixtapes] gives you the story of Def Leppard’s “Rock of Ages”.


  •  “Rock of Ages” was released as the second single from Def Leppard’s multi-platinum 1983 album “Pyromania”, following the highly successful debut album single, “Photograph”. The song became an instant hit, peaking at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and topping the Top Tracks rock chart.
  • “Rock of Ages” was written by Joe Elliott, Steve Clark, and producer Mutt Lange. The music was all set and done, however coming up with the lyrics turned out to be a challenge for the guys. Until of course, that faithful discovery of a bible, left behind in the studio by a bible study group. The book was open to the hymn “Rock of Ages”…the rest is history. Another example of how ideas and inspirations can come from all sides of the world, as long as we pay attention to the signs of the universe!

MV

  • The iconic music video of “Rock of Ages” was directed by David Mallet and shot at the end of 1982. Here’s what Joe Elliott had to say about it:

mtv“It was the ridiculousness of it, which is exactly what the video needed to be. (Director David Mallet) was like, ‘I want you to walk down this drawbridge holding this sword.’ It’s like, ‘Oh, f–k off. Don’t make me do that!’ Of course, like an idiot, I submitted to his blinked eyes, looking at me like some long-lost dog. David Mallet‘s got a great way of manipulating people like that. I was young and dumb and went ‘OK.’ I look at that now, and I think ‘What the hell was I thinking?'”

(MTV Ruled the World – The Early Years of Music Video)

  • The verses contain no guitars, focusing entirely on the strength of the vocals. However, that turned out to be a problem for the MV making. Here’s what Joe Elliott said about it:

“There’s a couple of shots where Phil  was clapping along on the verse – because there’s no guitars – and he’s standing directly behind me, so I look like I have these clapping antlers coming out of my head.”

“Pretty funny when you look back. The robe thing took about 30 seconds to film. You kind of forget about that,” said guitarist Phil Collen.

(MTV Ruled the World – The Early Years of Music Video)

  • An owl appears on the music video right when Joe says “all right”. Director David Mallet thought that it sounds like “owl right” so he decided to include the owl as a joke!

owlleppard

  • One of the most peculiar and heavily-discussed aspects of the song is the opening phrase. The German-sounding “Gunter Glieben Glauchen Globen”, said by producer Mutt Lange doesn’t really mean anything in particular. It’s a rather funny way of simply saying “1…2…3…4…!” For those of you who are familiar with Mutt’s obsession with achieving that perfect recording, it won’t come as a surprise to find out that at one point, he got actually pretty tired of counting “1…2…3…4…!” Instead, he decided to make things more entertaining and used this gibberish. The combination of “Gunter Glieben Glauchen Globen”, followed by the laughs of Joe Elliott and the famous line “All right, I’ve got something to say! It’s better to burn out, than to fade away”, has to be one of the most memorable openings of all time!

  • The instantly-recognizable slogan was re-used in 1989 for The Offspring’s Pretty Fly (For a White Guy).

  • bettertoAnother curious (lyrical) “Rock of Ages” moment is of course that empowering saying “It’s better to burn out, than to fade away” at the beginning. The lines are a reference to Neil Young‘s song “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)”. According to some sources, however, Joe Elliott saw those lines on someone’s T-shirt and took them for the song, without actually knowing who they belong to.
  • The lines “It’s better to burn out, than to fade away” became even more important for the history of rock music when they appeared on Kurt Cobain’s suicide in 1994.

  • Def Leppard’s four-line version was used in the movie Highlander (1986) by the villain, the Kurgan.
  • “Rock of Ages” also appears on the Season 5 finale of the TV show Supernatural .

  • “Rock of Ages” is one of Def Leppard‘s most beloved live staples. It has been an inseparable part of their live shows, ever since its release.

1988 Live (Hysteria Tour)

2013 Live (Viva! Hysteria, The Hard Rock Hotel, Las, Vegas NV)


  • Similarly to Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock & Roll”, “Rock of Ages” is a powerful anthem, written to inspire and spread that fiery rock & roll spirit. Here is what Joe Elliot said about the connection between “Rock of Ages” and “I Love Rock & Roll” in an interview with Kaos 2000 magazine.

“We’d have never written ‘Rock Of Ages’ if we hadn’t have heard ‘I Love Rock And Roll’ by Joan Jett. But we didn’t steal her entire sound. We took that one song and thought, ‘This is very anthemic. We could get away with writing songs of this standard and style.’ And that’s what we did. It doesn’t particularly sound that much like her, the chorus a bit. The actual structure of the song is nothing alike.”
(Quote, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/)

  • A high-praised musical, titled “Rock of Ages” opened on Broadway in 2009. The show featured some of the biggest music hits of the ‘80s; however despite named after Def Leppard’s song, “Rock of Ages” doesn’t appear on it.

  • In 2012, the musical was turned into a movie, in which Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” was performed by Tom Cruise.

  • In 2012, Def Leppard re-recorded the song with the title “Rock of Ages 2012”. It was released in the summer of 2012, along with a newly-recorded version of “Pour Some Sugar On Me”.

rock-of-ages-2012

  • “Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection” was released in 2005 and it featured some of the band’s most definitive classics.

the-definitive-collection

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“Rock of Ages” Lyrics

Gunter glieben glauchen globen

All right
I got something to say
Yeah, it’s better to burn out
Yeah, than fade away
All right
Ow Gonna start a fire
C’mon!
Rise up! gather round
Rock this place to the ground
Burn it up let’s go for broke
Watch the night go up in smoke

Rock on! Rock on!

Drive me crazier, no serenade
No fire brigade, just Pyromania

What do you want? What do you want?
I want rock’n’roll, yes I do
Long live rock’n’roll

Oh let’s go, let’s strike a light
We’re gonna blow like dynamite
I don’t care if it takes all night
Gonna set this town alight

What do you want? What do you want?
I want rock’n’roll, Allright!
Long live rock’n’roll

Rock of ages, rock of ages
Still rollin’, keep a-rollin’
Rock of ages, rock of ages
Still rollin’, rock’n’rollin’

We got the power, got the glory
Just say you need it and if you need it
Say yeah!

Heh heh heh heh
Now listen to me
I’m Burnin’, Burnin’, I got the fever
I know for sure, there ain’t no cure
So feel it, don’t fight it, go with the flow
Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme one more for the road

What do you want? What do you want?
I want rock’n’roll, You betcha
Long live rock’n’roll

[Repeat Chorus]

We’re gonna burn this damn place down
Down to the ground

Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh


References:
“Rock of Ages” lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/defleppard/rockofages.html
“Rock of Ages” on SongFacts: http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1151

“Rock of Ages” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_of_Ages_(Def_Leppard_song)

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~

[PLAYLIST] ’80s GLAM ROCK Through the Music of 10 Great Bands

10-glam-rock-albums

Welcome to the ‘80s – the hair was too big, the fashion was outrageous but the music was GREAT!

Inspired by ‘70s British glam rock artists, such as David Bowie, T.Rex and Roxy Music, glam/pop metal became the biggest monster genre trend on the music scene in the States throughout the ‘80s. Kicking things off with bands such as Cheap Trick, Kiss, Van Halen and of course Alice Cooper and evolving into rock acts, like Cinderella, Ratt, Warrant, Dokken and so many others, the glam/pop metal domination was simply out of control. Not that this was a bad thing – on the contrary. The ‘80s gave birth to some of the most talented and exceptional musicians of all time. The looks played a huge role, I can’t argue with that. However, once you go beyond the heavy make-up and tight spandex pants, all you are left with is awesome music, crashing guitar riffs and catchy melodic hooks that bring you nothing but fun, excitement and tons of feelings and emotions of all kinds. Looks and music aside, places once again were significant for the popularization of a specific musical culture. The LA music scene and in particular that sinful Sunset Strip where all the rock bars and nightclubs were located, turned into the mecca of the entertainment industry. Basically, that “little” 2.4km stretch of Sunset Boulevard became the hottest place to be!

Back to the music talks, the glam rock frenzy was probably the best thing that could’ve happened in the ‘80s, at least to me. I can’t really imagine my life without representatives of the genre, such as Cinderella, Danger Danger and Dokken, for instance. These bands and their electrifying rockers, stunning power-ballads, tough attitude and weird, but still appealing music videos will always play such an important part of my life. Unfortunately, it all came to an end when grunge acts started appearing one after another. Don’t know what you got, till it’s gone, right?

Since I was in the mood for some serious hair metal power, I prepared this little playlist of 10 songs by famous (or not so famous) bands, which I have always considered as the best among all glam rockers of the ‘80s. Some of them are even among my most beloved bands of all time (like Cinderella, for instance). I have gathered tunes that I believe are the perfect example of the glam rock wave that flooded the music scene in the USA, especially in the second half of the ’80s. If you are a dedicated fan, you most certainly know them. If you are making your first steps towards the genre, this is a good place to start. [My Rock Mixtapes] gives you ’80s GLAM ROCK through the Music of 10 Great Bands.


Cinderella – Shake Me (1986)

cinderella-night-songs-2

In 1986, one of the most distinguishable and talented hard rock bands debuted with an album that put to shame even the rock veterans. Vocalist and lead songwriter Tom Keifer is one of the reasons why this world is such a great place! “Shake Me” was their debut single and I thought that it’s a very good place to start our glam rock discussion and playlist. The MV is iconic and the song that accompanies it is just brilliant! Tom is a killer, one-of-a-kind vocalist and “Shake Me” is a great uplifting and energizing tune that begs you to crank it up!


White Lion – When The Children Cry (1987)

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New York’s White Lion, led by Danish singer Mike Trampand and guitarist Vito Bratta debuted in 1983 but it was their sophomore album, titled “Pride” (1987) that drove them to stardom. I’ve always considered White Lion, along with Cinderella, as two of the most talented and worthy examples of glam rock bands. That sophomore album by White Lion is filled with outstanding rockers, including classics like “Wait” and “Tell Me”. This time, though, the focus would entirely be on the beautiful mellow rocker, “When the Children Cry”. This song proved (and still keeps on proving) my point – glam rock bands created some really meaningful and timeless compositions and it most definitely wasn’t all about the looks and the ladies!


Giuffria – Call To The Heart (1984)

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Giuffria (led by keyboardist Gregg Giuffria) debuted with a splendid self-titled album in 1984. Armed with breathtaking songs, like “Do Me Right”, “Don’t Tear Me Down” and of course “Call to The Heart”, no wonder the impact of that album was so colossal. “Call to the Heart” is I believe the greatest song of their career (not to mention a personal favorite). Vocalist David Glen Eisley should’ve been bigger. His voice strikes quite the resemblance with Steve Perry, actually. Anyhow, I stand by what I said – this album and this tune are amazing and should NOT be forgotten!


Great White – Once Bitten Twice Shy (1989)

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Although it’s a cover version of a popular song by Ian Hunter, I decided to include “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” by Great White because I think it’s much better (and more influential) than the original. On top of it all, it’s the song that defined Great White’s career like no other, reaching top 10 positions in both UK and the States. “…Twice Shy” (1989) was the crown jewel of Great White’s career, I believe. This song, along with classics like “The Angel Song” and “House of Broken Love”, also featuring on their fourth studio album, are absolute staples of the pop rock / glam metal musical phenomenon in the late ‘80s.


Warrant – Heaven (1989)

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Power ballads were a must for any hard rock band. No power ballad = no chance of getting signed to a label or releasing an album. Those were the rules of the game and Warrant just knew how to win it. “Heaven” was the second single from their 1989 debut album, “Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich”. It didn’t take that long for the track to became a sensation and turn into the band’s most commercially successful song of their career. The fans, the radio stations, the critics – everyone loved it and there’s a reason why, believe me. Jani Lane brought so much passion and beauty into a world full of songs about partying hard and drinking all day and all night. It’s definitely Warrant’s best song one of the best power ballads of the ‘80s.


Ratt – You’re In Love (1985)

ratt-invasion-of-your-privacy

I can’t talk about glam rock and not mention Ratt! Their sophomore album, titled “Invasion of Your Privacy” (1985) is a premium example of an album, following the musical trend and one of the best of its kind, as a matter of fact. Classics like “What You Give Is What You Get” and “Lay It Down” could be heard on that second release of theirs. For this playlist, however, I chose their second single “You’re in Love” because I love the strong vibe that comes out of this tune. One listen and you’re absolutely hooked. Moreover, I wanted to illustrate the various themes and topics, as well as types of songs glam rock bands were producing back in the day. Vocalist Stephen Pearcy is bringing so much to the table on this one. The MV is groundbreaking!


Skid Row – 18 and Life (1989)

skid-row-skid-row-debut

Moving on to Skid Row, I think this song right here is where all discussions about the band should begin. Don’t get me wrong, they have so many songs that deserve recognition (and got way more of it compared to this one), but I think if we have to choose just one, it has to be “18 & Life”. Released as a single from their debut self-titled album, the rocker quickly turned into Skid Row’s biggest hit and ultimately a turning point in their career. I am a huge fan of Sebastian Bach and I even though this tune wasn’t written by him, it’s his vocal performance that made me fall inlove with this band in the first place.


Poison – Nothin’ But A Good Time(1988)

poison-open-up-and-say-ahh

If for a moment there we don’t look at that bizarre and ridiculous album artwork, we can actually find some excellent glam rock gems inside the album. The first single from “Open Up and Say… Ahh!” (1988) carries the laid-back title Nothin’ but a Good Time”. I chose this song, because it sums it up quite well: the ‘80s, the glam metal, the music, the bands – it was all about having nothing but a really good time. It’s a fun tune, capturing the essence of the genre – both lyrically and musically. Vocalist Bret Michaels is doing some pretty decent job too!


Dokken – Into the Fire(1984)

dokken-tooth-and-nail

“Tooth and Nail” (1984) is an absolute masterpiece and one of my most beloved albums of all time. The strength and musical brilliance of the album were born out of the hardships Dokken had to go through before releasing it. It was a tough time to be a glam rock artist in the late 80s – a period dominated by the early grunge movement. Despite all, the album materialized and thank God it did otherwise we wouldn’t have songs like “Into the Fire”. I am highly biased but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. The album and the song are perfect!


Danger Danger – Naughty Naughty (1989)

danger-danger-album

We had a good time, we listened to some gorgeous power ballads and lyrically-rich tunes but now it’s time to wrap things up on a less-meaningful note. Danger Danger are the glam metal band to listen if you just want to have fun and forget about it all! Their self-titled debut album spawned some great songs, designed to bring you nothing but a sweet enjoyment! The debut single of their eponymous album bears the catchy title “Naughty Naughty” and as you suspected, it just can’t be taken seriously. That doesn’t mean it’s bad or unworthy. Not at all – it’s a super fun, sexy and exciting track. The guys are pretty good too! Ted Poley is a great vocalist too!


The playlist contains 10 Glam Metal tracks, selected based on my personal preferences and in accordance with the idea I am trying to deliver through this publication. There are plenty of other bands and artists who are representatives of the Glam Rock scene of the 1980s, but according to my opinion, the above 10 are some of the most notable ones. Please keep an open mind! Cheers

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~

 

[’80s Rock Album Focus] HELIX – Long Way To Heaven (1985)

helix-long-way

Released: November 9, 1985
Genre: Heavy Metal / Hard Rock
Duration: 36:25
Label: Capitol
Producer(s): Tom Treumuth

buy-from-amazon


OVERVIEW

If you are already in possession of Helix“Long Way to Heaven” or you just got your hands on it for the first time, there’s only one thing to do with it – CRANK IT UP and LET IT ROCK! The Canadian heavy metal rockers hit it quite big with their 1984 release Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge” so fans were pretty excited to see whether their third album for Capitol records will be as mighty as its predecessor. Don’t let the angelic album cover fool you – “Long Way to Heaven” is everything but innocent! The year was 1985 – the glam metal scene had already become an endless ocean where every 10 seconds a new band was trying to make its way between the shoals. That didn’t stop Helix from writing some top notch compositions and rocking the hell out of the ‘80s! Helix were never just about the hair, the glam, the big venues and the ostentatious music videos. They were a laid-back band that just knew how to make good old and highly enjoyable rock&roll. “Long Way to Heaven” doesn’t really stand out with its flashy production qualities, complicated arrangements or lyrics that can dig a hole in your heart. This album is all about having fun, drinking a beer and living life at its fullest!

“Long Way to Heaven” is one big ball of energy. It opens with “The Kids Are All Shakin’” – a worthy appetizer that builds up your excitement for what’s coming. Number two on the tracklist is the power ballad “Deep Cuts the Knife”. Released as the first album single (I love it when the first single is a ballad), the moving tune turned into one of the biggest radio hits from “Long Way to Heaven”. No surprises there – a bit heavier than your ordinary ‘80s power ballad which is exactly why it’s so good! What follows is a great playlist, featuring dangerously compelling rockers, like “Ride the Rocker”, “Long Way to Heaven” and my personal favorite “House on Fire”! I have previously expressed how much I adore a song with a persuasive guitar intro and “House on Fire’s” first 37 seconds just blew my mind! Every band had a song, named after a girl’s name. For Helix, it was “Christine” – another memorable, well-written moment, coming out of their fifth album!

Well-crafted hard rockers, superb vocals by Brian Vollmer and loads of straightforward hard rock spirit are the reason why “Long Way to Heaven” achieved the platinum status in Canada. Believe me, with this album the way to rock&roll is not that long! Cheers and take all the pleasure!


Long Way to Heaven

It’s a long way to Heaven
But only three short steps to Hell…

House on Fire

Deep Cuts the Knife

Christine

…or listen to the entire album here:


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

’90S ROCK BLAST: HEAVEN’S EDGE – HEAVEN’S EDGE

heavens-edge-1990-debut

HEAVEN’S EDGE

Released: May 2, 1990
Genre: Hard Rock / AOR / Pop Rock
Duration: 54:46
Label: Rock Candy
Producer(s): Neil Kernon

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OVERVIEW

Philadelphia glam rockers, Heaven’s Edge, had all the right skills, attitude and qualities to hit it big in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Unfortunately, the train they took turned out to be a very late one. Releasing a hard rock album right before the grunge wave flooded the music scene, didn’t help them at all. Well-polished AOR, catchy hooks, leather pants and long hair were no longer the characteristics major record companies were looking for in a band. Heaven’s Edge were quickly dropped from their label, without getting the stage they were truly made for. Despite all, their self-titled debut still remains a solid effort, filled with exciting rockers, seductive live recordings and a top-notch ballad that deserve nothing but to be cranked up all night long!

“Heaven’s Edge” is packed up with sexy, fun and highly captivating tunes, such as “Play Dirty”, “Can’t Catch Me” and the MTV favorite “Skin to Skin”. Vocalist Mark Evans and lead guitarist Reggie Wu are turning every tune into a heavenly kingdom where melodic rock is the only religion. “Find Another Way” can effortlessly make you fall in love with it at the very first listen. This first-class AOR gem should’ve gotten all the radio attention back in the day. I rarely find such a good balance between simplicity, thrill, atmospheric vocals and kick-ass guitars. “Bad Reputation” is yet another remarkably entertaining moment from the record. The hidden treasure is the power ballad “Hold On To Tonight”. If it was given the chance it deserved, it could’ve easily wiped out any ballad that stood on its way the late ‘80s and early ‘90s (even the biggest hits).

“Heaven’s Edge” is an album full of hits that should’ve made history. What’s in the past is in the past, though – it’s a band and an album that are truly worth discovering! If you lift your spirits by playing melodic rock as loud as possible (like me), this is your thing!


Find Another Way

Skin to Skin

Hold On To Tonight

…or listen to the entire album here:

Tracklist:

Intro
Play Dirty
Skin to Skin
Find Another Way
Up Against the Wall
Hold on Tonight
Can’t Catch Me
Bad Reputation
Daddys Little Girl
Is That All You Want?
Come Play the Game
Don’t Stop, Don’t 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~

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~

The Story of DOKKEN’s Breathtaking Ballad “Alone Again”

I guess there are a couple of tunes you could totally skip when you craft your “’80s power ballad playlist” but Dokken’s “Alone Again” should definitely not be one of them. In fact, when I talk about Dokken with other rock fans or introduce them to people who aren’t so familiar with their career and music catalog, the discussion always starts with “Alone Again”, the highest point of their 1984 sophomore album “Tooth and Nail”. I think it was because in general I am the type of person who always searches and falls for the power ballads, but it took “Alone Again” literally just a couple of seconds to become an instant favorite and a tune I simply can’t live without; there is just something so magical about that song, Don Dokken’s spellbinding vocals, astonishing melody transformations, jumping from gentle acoustic sounds to heavy electric tornadoes; and those lyrics that fill your heart with nothing but beautiful sorrow. It’s a gorgeous but heartbreaking rock tune and it’s my duty to remind you of it, give you another reason to play it just or introduce it to you for the first time.
[My Rock Mixgtapes] presents the story of Dokken’s “Alone Again”.

  • dokken-tooth-and-nailWritten by vocalist Don Dokken and bass guitarist Jeff Pilson, the power ballad “Alone Again” was released as a single from Dokken’s 1984 album “Tooth and Nail”. After a highly unsuccessful debut album, it was do or die for Dokken. The label barely agreed to give them a second chance but thank God they did, otherwise brilliant songs such as “Alone Again” would’ve remained on a paper, rotting somewhere under a pile of music notebooks.

  • Don Dokken wrote the song back in the 1970s, when he was barely 25 years old. Here’s what he recalls about the birth of “Alone Again” during an interview with the Sioux Falls, South Dakota radio station, KBAD 94.5 FM:

“I wrote it on a little 4-track recorder, put it on a cassette and it ended up in a box for, like, eight years. And the record company, on Tooth And Nail, our second album, they said ballads are the thing. Journey had a big hit with ‘Lights’ and Night Ranger… Everybody had ballads, and we didn’t have any ballads. So I dug out a bunch of times, and [I went], ‘What’s this? ‘Alone Again’ I don’t even remember it.’ So I listened to it, and Jeff Pilson, the [Dokken] bassist, listened to it, and he said, ‘That’s a cool chorus. Maybe we [can] revamp it.’ So we recorded ‘Alone Again.'”
(extract retrieved from http://www.blabbermouth.net)

  • Chart positions have never been a merit for the brilliance, quality or emotional impact of a song and the fact that “Alone Again” barely broke into a top 70 position on the Billboard charts, backs up my claim. Charting at #64 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #20 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart most certainly doesn’t make the song unworthy. On the contrary, I do believe that it’s one of the most beloved (though underappreciated) ‘80s power ballads of all time.
  • The lyrics of “Alone Again” have provoked the curiosity of many fans and music journalists and that’s not only in regards to the depressive, post-break up theme they carry. The sensual vocal delivery of Don Dokken truly makes us think whether there’s something more behind those mournful choruses. He was repeatedly questioned about the true story behind those touching words. Here’s what he says about it:

“This is a thing I wrote when I was very young, very naïve. Everybody says, ‘Who’d you write about?’ ‘I don’t know.’ ‘What was the girl’s name?’ ‘I don’t know.’ I must have been in love – it’s a very sad song – but I don’t remember who I wrote it about. I don’t know. It was just a song that came out, I always say, from here [points up above his head] – whatever that higher power is.”
(extract retrieved from http://www.blabbermouth.net)

  • Nothing obscure or overly-poetic about the lyrics; in fact the strength of those words is their simplicity, universalism and the way they are delivered to the public. Losing someone you love with all your heart can be one of the most traumatic and painful experiences of one’s life. You want to see this person “in the morning light” and feel him/her “when it comes to night” but for one reason or another you are all alone and can do nothing but feel sorry for yourself and let the tears “fall like rain”. Yes, for a couple of agonizing moments you will feel like you lost your way but this is life and unfortunately, we have to go through all that and hope that these terrible times will pass as soon as possible.

Alone Again Lyrics

I’d like to see you in the morning light
I like to feel you when it comes to night
Now I’m here and I’m all alone
Still I know how it feels, I’m alone again Tried so hard to make you see
But I couldn’t find the words
Now the tears, they fall like rain
I’m alone again without you
Alone again without you
Alone again without you I said stay, but you turned away
Tried to say that it was me
Now I’m here and I’ve lost my way
Still I know how it feels, I’m alone again

Tried so hard to make you see
But I couldn’t find the words
Now the tears, they fall like rain
I’m alone again without you

I tried so hard to make you see
But I couldn’t find the words
Now the tears, they fall like rain
I’m alone again without you

 


References:
Lyrics, retrieved from: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/dokken/aloneagain.html
Quotes and Extracts, retrieved from: “The Story Behind DOKKEN’s Most Famous Ballad ‘Alone Again”,  http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/the-story-behind-dokkens-most-famous-ballad-alone-again/#L9xtCYpi0LVSdxfS.99

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~