Previously, I have expressed so many times how much I love when rock musicians feature piano in their songs – there is something very touching and captivating when a guitar and a piano play together. However, what I adore even more than that is the combination of rock ‘n’ roll and saxophone. There is just something so magical and fascinating about the saxophone as an instrument…and when you add some brilliant rock tunes, you get the finest thing in the world! To many people, such blends might be rather unusual and difficult to swallow, however I truly believe that sax and rock ‘n’ roll go very well together. I strongly believe that saxophone might be the perfect detail to any rock song and can enhance it like no other instrument or digital effect. To prove that saxophone truly belongs in rock music, I have gathered 10 of my favorite rock songs, featuring an outstanding saxophone solos! I truly hope that there are more people out there who truly cherish and admire this magical collaboration. Let’s listen to…
The first two songs come from Pink Floyd and they are probably the finest examples of how well a saxophone can enhance the overall atmosphere of the song and create something outstanding as a result. These two songs were featured in their 1973 album “Dark Side Of The Moon” and are my personal favorites! Just listen to the brilliant saxophone solos…
Pink Floyd – Us And Them ( 1973 )
Pink Floyd – Money ( 1973 )
And the song that made me love saxophone and rock together so much is this one! Another perfect example of how well a sax solo fits in a perfect and catchy hard rock melody. Foreigner’s “Urgent” is an absolute classic and the sax might be the reason why…Listen…
Foreigner – Urgent ( 1981 )
This has got to be one of the greatest songs in history. No one can deny the energy and power that comes out of that saxophone. The song is more soft and melodic but the presence of the sax solo is what makes it so colorful and unique…
Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street ( 1978 )
David Bowie’s “Modern Love” is another example of how a saxophone can bring so much energy and completely change your mood for better. Just look at them having the time of their lives on that stage…..
Miss you, David…
David Bowie – Modern Love ( 1983 )
I love everything about this song – the rhythm, the vocals…and of course the outstanding saxophone solo by Sonny Rollins. This is actually one of my favorite Rolling Stones songs – It makes me feel soo goood….
Rolling Stones – Slave ( 1981 )
I just had to include this ultimate classic by the legendary Bob Seger… And people still have the guts to tell me sax and rock don’t go together!!!? This right here is probably my favorite example to give…
Bob Seger – Old Time Rock and Roll ( 1978 )
The boss loves saxophones and his songs often feature a sax accompaniment. This one is I think my personal favorite because we can listen to the smooth sounds of the sax throughout the entire song..
Bruce Springsteen – Spirit In The Night
( 1973 )
This song is a relatively recent discovery of mine and I’m so happy it came into my life…it’s an absolute masterpiece! I wish I could hear more saxophone but still, the sax details make it so beautiful!
Dream Theater – Another Day ( 1992 )
Finally, I decided to include something more hardcore to show you guys that a song doesn’t necessarily have to be soft to include a saxophone solo. Steve Mackay is the brilliant sax technician who made this song so perfect…
You won’t believe how excited I am to talk about this album. If you follow my publications, you would know that Foreigner and I go way back and my relationship with their music is very personal and very strong – I cannot think of any other band which defines me so much (except Def Leppard, of course). Since we have already established my unconditional love for Foreigner, I think it’s time to move on to their smashing hit record “4” which also happens to be one of my favorite Foreigner albums of all time! I would like to take a moment of your time to talk a little bit more about the album and the brilliant songs you can find on it. Also, I would like to emphasize that there is absolutely no possible excuse for not having this record in your personal collection – it’s a MUST and I urge you to go and get it if you don’t have it yet! If you love classic rock, you should know that “4” is one of the albums that defined the 80s and gave the music industry something to talk about for decades ahead!
Released: July 2, 1981 Recorded:1981 at Electric Lady Studios, New York City Genre:Hard Rock, Rock Length:42:10 Label:Atlantic Records Producer(s):Robert John “Mutt” Lange, Mick Jones Singles:“Urgent”, “Waiting For A Girl Like You”, “Juke Box Hero”, “Break It Up”, “Luanne” Personnel:Lou Gramm – lead vocals, percussion; Mick Jones – guitar, backing vocals, keyboards; Rick Wills – bass guitar, backing vocals; Dennis Elliott – drums, backing vocals;
1. “Night Life” 2. “Juke Box Hero” 3. “Break It Up” 4. “Waiting for a Girl Like You” 5. “Luanne” 6. “Urgent” 7. “I’m Gonna Win” 8. “Woman In Black” 9. “Girl On The Moon” 10. “Don’t Let Go”
+Bonus Tracks On 2002 Reissue, Recorded In 1999
– “Juke Box Hero” (Nearly Unplugged Version) – “Waiting for a Girl Like You” (Nearly Unplugged Version)
Before we move on to the specific songs, I would like to say a few words about the overall sound and influence of “4”. Foreigner’s “4” hold the #1 position on the Billboard album chart for exactly 10 weeks – this is a phenomenal success and speaks volumes! The album sold over 7 million copies in the US alone and naturally, it was certified as Platinum by the RIAA. Not only that, but “4” achieved some unbelievable success in Europe, as well – for that I can also guarantee personally because in Bulgaria, Foreigner and especially this album are quite loved and deeply appreciated! Tracks such as “Urgent” and “Waiting for a Girl like You” topped the mainstream rock charts and completely changed the course of rock music! Furthermore, all the songs from the album are written and composed by Mick Jones and/or Lou Gramm. This right here is what I’m talking about – artists writing their own music and lyrics and producing something authentic and truly valuable. That’s definitely what I miss nowadays…
Also, we should not forget about the lengendary Mr Mutt Lange! I’ve said it before and I will say it again – when it comes to producers, Mutt Lange is the absolute genius. With his impeccable attention to detail and ability to just come up with the perfect strategies, Mutt Lange just once again proved that he is a brilliant mastermind when it comes to crafting music and helping an artist reach the top! Interesting fact, he actually contributed with some backing vocals as well – a producer does so many things for a project!
In terms of sound, “4” marked Foreigner’s full shift to hard rock. Their previous albums, “Head Games” and “Double Vision” established them as one of the most notable AOR bands of the era; however “4” was actually the album that gave them the ultimate ticket to stardom. With the help of Mutt Lange, who had just finished working on AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, Foreigner were able to craft a very rare and unique combination of mainstream rock sound and one-of-a-kind sounding. In this album, you can also find some of the most brilliant lyrics ever to be written in the history of rock music. Every song tells us a very alluring and colorful story and your imagination can’t but start working the moment you hear Lou’s voice. I’ve always appreciated the way some bands make your imagination go wild with their lyrics – it’s a very pleasant experience as you just dive yourself into the story and imagine being “the woman in black” or the “juke box hero”.
There are countless songs that explore the topic of achieving the dream of “becoming the ultimate rockstar”; however no other song is as exceptional as “Juke Box Hero”. The rhythm, the chorused vocals, the captivating sudden melody changes and of course the superb lyrics can provide you with the much needed power boost and you can indeed feel the energy running through your veins. Maybe it’s just me, but every time I play “Juke Box Hero” (which by the way is at least 2-3 times per day), I get chills down my spine – this song is better than any energy drink!
…That one guitar, felt good in his hands Didn’t take long, to understand Just one guitar, slung way down low Was one way ticket, only one way to go
So he started rockin’ Ain’t never gonna stop Gotta keep on rockin’ Someday he’s gonna make it to the top…
Another song I’d like to focus your attention on is titled “Waiting for a Girl like You” which in my book, happens to the ultimate example of a flawless classic rock ballad. Since its release, the track has become a must-play for any rock radio and one of the main reasons why the album turned out to be so successful. When we talk about Foreigner and tearjerker songs, naturally “I Want to Know What Love Is” (which comes a few years later in their “Agent Provocateur” album) is the first that comes to our minds. However, if you ask me which Foreigner’s most defining ballad is, I would say “Waiting for a Girl Like you”. To me, this song has everything – touching lyrics, beautiful vocals and most importantly, the feeling of hope…
…It feels so right, so warm and true I need to know if you feel it too
Maybe I’m wrong Won’t you tell me if I’m coming on too strong This heart of mine has been hurt before This time I want be be sure…
At last, I would like to move on to the funky, upbeat and probably Foreigner’s most memorable and career-defining songs – “Urgent”. There’s one thing I love more than piano in rock songs and that’s sax in rock songs! Junior Walker‘s signature saxophone solo is the absolute point of delight for me – I can just listen to this song for days!
…Got fire in your veins Burnin’ hot but you don’t feel the pain Your desire is insane You can’t stop until you do it again
But sometimes I wonder as I look in your eyes Maybe you’re thinking of some other guy But I know, yes I know, how to treat you right That’s why you call me in the middle of the night…
Some other energetic, catchy, impeccably written melodic rock tunes from “4”, include “Don’t Let Go”, “Luanne” and my personal favourite “Woman in Black”. Just listen to this awesome guitar intro…
…I saw a dark silhouette, at the table I tried to talk, but I was unable She drew me in right under her spell I was hypnotized by the sudden temptation
Of that woman in black, she’s a mystery She’s everything a woman should be Woman in black, she’s got a hold on me She’s in control, she won’t set me free…
I will wrap up things by saying that through it all, vocalist Lou Gramm does his role in the most exceptional way one could imagine. I’ve said it before – he is without doubt one of the finest voices of his generation. “4” is probably the album which completely assured his throne in the category of the greatest male rock vocalists. Song such as “Urgent”, “Waiting for a Girl like You” and “I’m Gonna Win” perfectly illustrate his vocal capacity and I am beyond delighted with the way those tracks match his voice! Nothing more to say – his voice is everything! The following years were quite turbulent for Foreigner, as Lou Gramm and guitarist Mick Jones would often clash and engage in countless ego wars. Eventually, those tensions would lead to the band’s collapse. Nevertheless, “4” remains their ultimate career pick and one of the greatest rock albums ever!
Everyone who knows me is well aware of the fact that Foreigner and I go way back. They are probably one of the most important bands of my childhood and the first classic rockers I got into. In addition to the memories, deep appreciation and respect I have for them, their music is what has always been there for me. There are a handful of bands I can point out for certain as my ultimate favorites due to their music matching my taste and personality 100%…and Foreigner is one of those bands! Imagine my emotional state, when I found out that they will be performing in my native country and I won’t be able to attend due to studying abroad…!? I’m still devastated and I’m not sure I will ever get over it.
Tour concert aside, at least what I always had and always will have is their brilliant music I’ve been listening to since as long as I can remember. As I previously said, it can be so challenging to find a band whose music completes you in each and every way possible – it’s like they wrote all these songs ESPECIALLY for you, knowing exactly what you like and you look for in a song. That’s how I feel about Foreigner – they are just that important to me! Can we also talk about Lou Gramm whose vocals are EVERYTHING (at least to me)! His ability to kill those high notes and his tough, yet gentle vocal delivery are just a few of the reasons why I consider him as one of the most talented and notable rock vocalists ever!
…Of course, the fact that they are one of the best-selling rock bands of all time proves that apparently I’m not the only one who carries such deep affection for them. Not to mention that they sold more than 80 million records worldwide… Yes, to reach to such highs and succeed so massively, you need to have excellent musicianship skills and know how to make splendid rock tunes that can reach to and have a special effect on people… Well, they sure as hell knew how to do that! Throughout the years, they released phenomenal records, such as “Double Vision” (1978), “Head Games” (1979), my two personal favorites – “4” (1981) and “Agent Provocateur” (1984) and many more. The amount of exceptional rock tunes you can find on those records goes beyond. Even though, picking up favorite songs from their extensive music catalog has to be the most difficult thing in the world, I really wanted to list some of my favorite Foreigner tunes on my blog – songs that really mean a lot to me for one reason or another. Besides, I would never miss another chance of listening to those loved songs of mine. I hope my readers love Foreigner as much as I do and have a good time while reminding themselves of those remarkable classics! I decided to include songs sung only by Lou Gramm. I’m sorry, Foreigner and I’m sorry, other fans of Foreigner who don’t really share my view but to me the situation goes like this – No Lou Gramm = No Foreigner ! Thanks for reading and please enjoy the songs!!!
That Was Yesterday ( 1984 – Agent Provocateur )
You were the only one The only friend that I counted on How could I watch you walk away I’d give anything to have you here today…
Cold As Ice ( 1977 – Foreigner )
You’re as cold as ice You’re willing to sacrifice our love You never take advice Someday you’ll pay the price, I know…
She’s Too Tough ( 1984 – Agent Provocateur )
My girl, everybody says she’s alright And I know that she’s more than alright Well, she’s a hard headed woman Got a mean attitude I may have bitten off more than I can chew I get a little light headed At her altitude But she goes one step higher…
Jukebox Hero ( 1981 – 4 )
He heard one guitar, just blew him away He saw stars in his eyes, and the very next day Bought a beat up six string in a secondhand store Didn’t know how to play it, but he knew for sure…
Reaction To Action ( 1984 – Agent Provocateur )
It’s hard getting through to me I’m truly elusive I got my own point of view I am the one of a kind And I tell you l’il girl I’m fascinated by you There’s something about you That makes all the difference…
Woman In Black ( 1981 – 4 )
I saw a dark silhouette, at the table I tried to talk, but I was unable She drew me in right under her spell I was hypnotized by the sudden temptation
Of that woman in black, she’s a mystery She’s everything a woman should be Woman in black, she’s got a hold on me She’s in control, she won’t set me free…
Feels Like The First Time ( 1977 – Foreigner )
I have waited a lifetime Spent my time so foolishly But now that I’ve found you Together we’ll make history
And I know that it must be the woman in you That brings out the man in me I know I can’t help myself You’re all that my eyes can see…
Waiting For A Girl Like You ( 1981 – 4 )
Maybe I’m wrong Won’t you tell me if I’m coming on too strong This heart of mine has been hurt before This time I want be be sure
I’ve been waiting for a girl like you To come into my life I’ve been waiting for a girl like you A love that will survive I’ve been waiting for someone new To make me feel alive Yeah, waiting for a girl like you To come into my life…
Double Vision ( 1978 – Double Vision )
Never do more than I, I really need My mind is racing, but my body’s in the lead Tonight’s the night, I’m gonna push it to the limit I’ll live all of my years in a single minute…
Growing Up The Hard Way ( 1984 – Agent Provocateur )
He’s got nothing to say, he’s got no excuse He’s just made that way, and he’s gonna stay that way Like a dog on the loose in a firework display in a world of his own No, no, no, he won’t back down or go running back home…
HONORABLE MENTIONS ….
Soul Doctor ( 1992, The Very Best … and Beyond )
I need to see the soul doctor Before the fever begins You know I’m searching for the soul doctor When love is wearing thin Doctor soul is in…
Prisoner of Love ( 1992, The Very Best … and Beyond )
In your book of broken hearts You had my name now the story starts We’ll never be the same again, I have known…
I’m a victim of circumstance I’m the one that got the second chance One chance that’s all I need, and I won’t let go
Now you’ve got to understand I’m ready I won’t be denied This lonely heart must be satisfied…
Say You Will ( 1987 – Inside Information )
I can’t sleep I keep dreaming I’m losing you Feel so alone in the night, scared to open my eyes I’m in too deep, I’m in over my head this time Can’t get you out of my mind no matter how hard I try…
Urgent ( 1981 – 4 )
Got fire in your veins Burnin’ hot but you don’t feel the pain Your desire is insane You can’t stop until you do it again
But sometimes I wonder as I look in your eyes Maybe you’re thinking of some other guy But I know, yes I know, how to treat you right That’s why you call me in the middle of the night…
Blue Morning, Blue Day ( 1978 – Double Vision )
Out in the street it’s 6 am, another sleepless night Three cups of coffee, but I can’t clear my head from what went down last night No we won’t have our own little ways, but somehow we keep it together You hear me talk, but you don’t hear what I say, I guess it don’t even matter…
Of course, I had to wrap things up with this song……
I Want To Know What Love Is ( 1984 – Agent Provocateur )
Now this mountain I must climb Feels like a world upon my shoulders I through the clouds I see love shine It keeps me warm as life grows colder
In my life there’s been heartache and pain I don’t know if I can face it again Can’t stop now, I’ve traveled so far To change this lonely life…
Hello, everyone and happy weekend! I hope everyone is enjoying their last working day and is ready for some fun, excitement and relaxation. (I sure as hell am ready to get some rest this weekend).
When we talk about the weekend, we think of doing something cool, letting loose, meeting some friends, etc. For me personally, weekends can’t be fun if there’s no rock ‘n’ roll in them! I’m pretty sure my readers think exactly the same. In the spirit of the upcoming two days of freedom, I decided to prepare a little mixtape, a.k.a a playlist, featuring some serious classic rock tunes, which I think would be perfect for your weekend mood! I told you before – making playlists is my specialty and I love doing it. I even remember, when I was a little kid, I had an audiocassette with “weekend” songs (there were a lot of disco tunes in that cassette, as far as I remember…). The goal of this publication is to simply give you guys a playlist to listen to over the weekend. Or, you can just play a few songs and remind yourself of those classics. One thing is for sure – all the songs I collected are here to create a perfect atmosphere and a lovely good mood! I hope you are ready for some no-more-work-for-two-days music!
One more thing – It’s a personal selection and I tried to include various classic rock tunes from the 70s, 80s and 90s, exploring different topics and themes, such as love, having fun, relaxing, partying, etc. Some of those songs are perfect for having a drink, while some of them are great for a dance party! Even if for some reason you can’t party or you can’t loosen up this weekend, you can still put on your headphones, turn the volume to the max and enjoy the music – the greatest thing in life!
Happy Friday and Happy Weekend!
Genesis – I Can’t Dance (1991)
Loverboy – Working for the Weekend (1981)
Duran Duran – Skin Trade (1987)
Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (1983)
Wang Chung – Everybody Have Fun Tonight (1986)
AC / DC – Have a Drink On Me (1980)
Foreigner – She’s too Tough (1979)
Judas Priest – Living after Midnight (1980)
KISS – Rock and Roll All Nite (1975)
Autograph – Turn up the Radio (1984)
Kenny Loggins – Footloose (1984)
Kenny Loggins fr. Steve Perry – Don’t Fight It (1982)
Today we celebrate the 71st birthday of none other than Mr Eric Clapton – one of the most brilliant rock musicians in the world and one of my personal favorite rockstars of all time. He is such an inspirational figure and I don’t know any other musician that possesses so much talent, passion and devotion to music. Despite being 71 years old, he keeps on making music and touching the souls of millions of people around the world. Clapton is very special to me as I grew up listening to songs such as “Wonderful Tonight” and “Let It Rain”. In the spirit of his birthday, I decided to make a little publication, in appreciation of the limitless talent of this guitar God! I hope you guys would enjoy it and remind yourself of some of his most remarkable tunes throughout the years.
Eric Clapton was born on the 30th of March 1945 in Ripley, Surrey, England. His early career is associated with the infamous blues-oriented rock band – The Yardbirds. He stayed with them from 1963 till 1965. During that time, Clapton developed his own signature style and quickly became one of the most talked-about guitarists in the British music scene.
The Yardbirds’ manager, Giorgio Gomelsky, was actually the one who gave Eric Clapton his famous nickname “Slowhand” in early 1964.
In Clapton – The Autobiography (2007), Eric said, “On my guitar I used light-gauge guitar strings, with a very thin first string, which made it easier to bend the notes, and it was not uncommon during the most frenetic bits of playing for me to break at least one string. During the pause while I was changing my string, the frenzied audience would often break into a slow handclap, inspiring Giorgio to dream up the nickname of ‘Slowhand’ Clapton.”
The following year, Clapton undertook numerous projects with bands, such as John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and the Glands. By 1966 – the time he formed his new band Cream, Clapton was already a well-established and extremely influential guitar player. Everyone was captivated by his talent and wanted to hear more and more… The years he spent with Cream helped him reach his full song writing potential, which grabbed the attention of the American audience – something that was not achieved before that. Despite the Cream’s commercial success in both USA and Europe, the band had a relatively short life due to conflicts between the members and alcohol abuse. Nevertheless, they are still considered as one of the most influential rock bands of the era. Songs such as “Sunshine of Your Love” and “Crossroads” keep on living and reminding us of their musical virtuosity.
During the autumn of 1967, an admirer of Clapton spray-painted the famous slogan “Clapton is God” on an Islington Underground station. There a very famous photograph of this wall, capturing a dog that pees on the same wall…
“I never accepted that I was the greatest guitar player in the world. I always wanted to be the greatest guitar player in the world, but that’s an ideal, and I accept it as an ideal, ” he says…
Eric Clapton’s next musical project was the supergroup Blind Faith (1969). In addition to being a member of Blind Faith, he was also participating in various other acts in bands such as Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, thePlastic Ono Band, playing lead guitar in some of Lennon’s songs and many others. He was probably the busiest guitarist at that time. In 1970, he finally released his first self-titled album, including masterpieces such as “Let it Rain”, “After Midnight” and “Blues Power”.
Originally called “Eric Clapton and Friends”, his next band – “Derek and the Dominos” was the first step towards a decade full of love and turbulence, mixed with rehab and immense commercial success. His deep infatuation for George Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd inspired the band’s first and only album “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” (1970) and gave birth to one of Clapton’s most famous and loved tunes of all time – “Layla”.
ERIC CLAPTON IN THE 70S ~
ERIC CLAPTON IN THE 80S~
The beginning of the 90s was very emotional for Clapton, as he lost his four-year old son. His sadness was channeled into the song “Tears in Heaven” for which he received six Grammy awards.
Since then, Clapton has released 11 studio albums and we are waiting for his 12th one which is going to be released on May 20th this year. Personally, among all the albums he made throughout the years, an honorable mention should receive “Riding with the King” (2000), “Me and Mr. Johnson” (a tribute to the legendary bluesman Robert Johnson, 2004), “Back Home” (2005), “Clapton” (2010) and “Old Sock” (2013). If you are a fan of Clapton, those albums are a must!
Needless to say, Eric Clapton is a true legend – one of the most respected and appreciated guitarists and music-writers of all time. People love him for what he is – a talented and passionate musicians and a true role model. Throughout his life, he had to fight with alcohol and drug abuse, see the death of his son and go through so many other personal and professional challenges. However, his love for music was always there to bring happiness, joy – a little bit of every feeling possible to the people all over the world. His spirit is unbreakable and his career is unstoppable. Thank you, Eric for all the songs and emotions you brought to this world. I hope you never stop making music! We love you…
Hello, everyone! Happy new week! I do hope it’s going to be a good one for all! It’s Monday, so I thought that there’s no better way of kicking off the week than listening to some pure rock ‘n’ roll! I previously mentioned that I love collecting songs and making playlists and I’ve been doing it ever since I was a kid. Thus, I thought that it’s only natural to continue with this tradition on my blog and prepare a weekly “mixtape” for my readers.
This week, once again, I’ve chosen 10 classic rock songs which I’m sure many of you guys are quite familiar with or have heard at least a few times before. Nevertheless, I think it’s a good way to remind ourselves of some brilliant masterpieces from the past and listen to them one more time. I’ve made my choice based on personal preferences and there’s no specific order or category – just songs I love and listen to quite often. I hope you guys would enjoy this week’s playlist … I hope some of you might also discover a song they’ve never heard before!
When I was a little girl, my favorite activity was to record songs from the radio on my cassettes. I had this old school Panasonic cassette recorder and I used to listen to the radio all day long and wait for my favorite songs to be played so that I can record them and make the “ultimate mixtape”. I had like hundreds of these tapes filled up with playlists featuring classic rock songs, pop and dance music. I loved it! Nothing has changed, though…. Nowadays, I’m sure people don’t really record songs from the radio – we have the Internet, we have online streaming, we have our smartphone music players, PC music libraries, etc. However, people still do create music playlists…Whether we make it for a special occasion and collect songs exploring a particular theme or just features newly released albums, people who love music are always doing it…If you check my smartphone music player you’d understand what I’m talking about (and probably think I’m crazy) – I have playlists for “when I’m sad”, “when I want to fall asleep”, “when I want to feel energized” and of course the “recently added” song playlist. At the end of each week I usually add or remove songs and arrange my playlists for the upcoming week. I know it’s Thursday, but that doesn’t really matter… I thought it’s high time I started making classic rock mixtapes on my blog…
With the following selection of 10 songs, I would like to invite you to either go down memory lane or experience new emotions and feelings with classic rock songs which you may not have heard before. I do hope you guys enjoy it!
Time to have a glimpse at my personal music player and which songs can you find in there… Have a listen…
Each 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…
“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.
Now, 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.
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:
“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…
It’s Saturday and it’s time for my weekly scheduled publication dedicated to a particular song. Once again, I would like to say that the choice is primarily based on my personal preferences and decisions. I was wondering which song to talk about today and suddenly the playlist on my phone decided to play this one so I thought it would be nice to tell you something about this iconic song by Peter Gabriel. Actually, it also happens to me one of my favorite songs of the 80, even though I’m not such a huge fan of Peter Gabriel. Don’t get me wrong, he is indeed one of the greatest “blue-eyed” soul singers, along with others such as Phil Collins, Steve Winwood and Robert Palmer. However, to me Peter Gabriel was always too eccentric and a little bit weird, wild and careless. I mean, we all remember those grotesque Genesis live performances in which he was dressed as a frog and a flower… He is though one of the most iconic figures of the 80s and I give him all the credit for that. He is not only famous for his distinctive vocal delivery, but he was also an activist and also made a protest song for Steve Biko – a noted black South African anti-apartheid activist who died in a prison.
Now let’s talk a little bit more about the song (somehow I always get carried away for which I’m sorry…). “Sledgehammer” was written, produced, composed, performed and pretty much all done by Peter Gabriel himself. The song was released back in 1986 from one of his most famous albums – “So”. It quickly became a huge hit – it topped Billboard Hot 100 in the USA, became #1 in Canada, #4 in UK, etc. Everyone simply fell in love with this catchy upbeat song with such distinctive and unique lyrics. Peter Gabriel’s music has always been influenced by 1960s soul musicians and we can also clearly see it in “Sledgehammer”. In particular, in this song, we can see the influence of Memphis label – Stax Records. Furthermore, the song has numerous distinctive elements, including a horn section and a synthesizer flute with which the song begins. I have to say the flute at the beginning is probably the most memorable part of the song! The reason why I love this song so much is because it has very interesting lyrics – I’m not saying they have special quality, I’m saying to me they are funny and catchy. Also, I love the drums, bass and sax in the song – the whole composition is just perfect! In term of genre, I would say most certainly a mixture between classical “blue-eyed” soul and commercial rock. However I think it has a lot of elements of funk music – The incredibly well-crafted mixture of genres is what made this song so legendary…
The music video is also one of the greatest music videos of all time – that’s just my personal opinion. Maybe now to many of you guys it may seem like nothing, however back in the days the MV was revolutionary! Say whatever you wish to say but facts are facts – up to date, the music video of “Sledgehammer” is the MOST PLAYED music video in the history of MTV!!! This speaks volumes! In addition, Peter Gabriel won the impressive nine MTV awards at the 1987 MTV Music Video Awards – the most awards a music video has ever won. He also got best British video award during 1987 Brit Awards. He also got nominated for Grammys – record of the year, song of the year and best vocal performance. Unbelievable, right…? The song and its music video were just making history and everyone loved it! The music video includes “claymation, pixilation, and stop motion animation that gave life to images in the song” done by Aardman Animations and Brothers Quay. The whole thing looks extremely unique and I can’t believe back in the 80s people could make things like that…revolutionary! There’s of course an irony in all this… Peter Gabriel absolutely hated the idea of music videos. To him, the emergence of MTV and the trend to produce music videos for every song was meaningless and was declining the value of the artist. I guess he also thought that “video killed the radio star”. Finally after so many years of pulling away and resisting the new trend and demand, he decided to produce a music video – and what a video that was. I guess he just said to himself – if I have to do it, I may as well just make something people have never seen before…and he did!
With no further due – enjoy the song and the memorable music video!
Single / Album Cover
You could have a steam train If you’d just lay down your tracks You could have an aeroplane flying If you bring your blue sky back
All you do is call me I’ll be anything you need
You could have a big dipper Going up and down, all around the bends You could have a bumper car, bumping This amusement never ends
I want to be your sledgehammer Why don’t you call my name Oh let me be your sledgehammer This will be my testimony Show me round your fruit cakes ‘Cause I will be your honey bee Open up your fruit cakes Where the fruit is as sweet as can be
I want to be your sledgehammer Why don’t you call my name You’d better call the sledgehammer Put your mind at rest I’m going to be-the sledgehammer This can be my testimony I’m your sledgehammer Let there be no doubt about it
Sledge sledge sledgehammer
I kicked the habit (I kicked the habit) Shed my skin (Shed my skin) This is the new stuff (This is the new stuff) I go dancing in, (We could go dancing in) Oh won’t you show for me (Show for me) I will show for you (Show for you) Show for me (Show for me), I will show for you
Yea, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I do mean you Only you, you’ve been coming through Going to build that power Build, build up that power, hey I’ve been feeding the rhythm I’ve been feeding the rhythm Going to feel that power, build in you
Come on, come on, help me do Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, you I’ve been feeding the rhythm I’ve been feeding the rhythm It’s what we’re doing, doing All day and night, come on and help me do, come on and help me do