[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction

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After endless years, full of hope and anticipation, the long awaited reunion of Guns N’ Roses is finally a fact! Fans were more than thrilled to welcome the legends back on stage and experience true rock ‘n’ roll alongside their favorite band from the 80s. Furthermore, we just got the news that Axl Rose is joining AC/DC as their frontman so definitely, this year a lot of interesting and exciting things are happening for the members of Guns N’ Roses and their fans, of course. In the spirit of these awesome events, I decided to prepare a publication, focusing on Guns N’ Roses’ greatest album from the 80s – Appetite for Destruction”. Some might disagree, however to me personally this is also their most impressive record among all and probably the main reason why they reached such a phenomenal success and became the ultimate fan-favorites. The album is a true masterpiece – no second opinion about it. I believe it’s also one of those albums you just HAVE to have regardless whether you are a fan of the band or not. “Appetite for Destruction” is an absolute era-defining album and if you love classic rock music and you don’t have it yet – just go and buy it right now!
Let’s talk more about the album!


 

Appetite for Destruction

Appetite for Destruction 4Released: July 21, 1987
Recorded: March–April 1987
Genre: Hard Rock, Rock, Heavy Metal, Glam Metal
Length: 53:51
Label: Geffen
Producer(s): Mike Clink
Singles: “It’s So Easy”, “Welcome To The Jungle”, “Sweet Child o’ Mine”, “Break It Up”, “Paradise City”, “Nighttrain”
Personnel: Axl Rose – lead vocals, backing vocals, synthesizer; Slash – lead guitar; Izzy Stradlin – rhythm guitar, backing vocals, co-lead guitar; Duff “Rose” McKagan – bass guitar, backing vocals; Steven Adler – drums;

TRACKLIST:

1. Welcome To The Jungle
2. It’s So Easy
3. Nightrain
4. Out Ta Get Me
5. Mr. Brownstone
6. Paradise City
7. My Michelle
8. Think About You
9. Sweet Child O’ Mine
10. You’re Crazy
11. Anything Goes
12. Rocket Queen

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VINYL


 

Overview:

In 1987, Guns N’ Roses blew up the music industry by exploding onto the national scene with their first and best album! In addition to being one of the best-selling albums of all time, “Appetite for Destruction” also happens to be the best-selling debut album in history of music! What a debut that was! Not only did it peaked at the number one spot on the Billboard 200 Chart, but it also reached top 10 positions in Australia, Canada, Norway and Sweden.

Needless to say, the album was an absolute turning point for the hard rock/metal genre and its direction. Ferocious rock anthems such as “Paradise City”, “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Nightrain” have been clogging the airwaves ever since the release of this rock tornado. Guns N’ Roses crafted something extremely dangerous, raw and quite nasty that actually brought nothing but fun and great time to the public. The sound is rough, the lyrics are vulgar and fierce but it’s the 80s we’re talking about – the ultimate time to be as outrageous as you want to and enjoy it to the max! The success of the album was somehow contributed to its hedonistic “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll” theme which greatly appealed to the mass. The band incorporated elements of punk rock, glam metal, hard rock and metal music to come up with this primal sound that reached the absolute level of breakthrough. I personally don’t think the band will ever reach such highs, such speed or such level of musicianship. Bottom line is, “Appetite for Destruction” is the record that proved that people can’t really escape from themselves but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

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AXL


 

The album makes its clear statement right from the beginning. The first track, “Welcome to the Jungle” is a symbolic door through the brutal, nasty, drug-infested and dark world of L.A. The track sends us on a journey to the city’s most awful secrets. The story, told by Axl and his exceptional but rather ghostly howls, quickly brings out to the surface our deepest fears.

Personally, I think this song has one of the most powerful intros in rock music! The MV is also a classic.

Welcome to the jungle
It gets worse here everyday
Ya learn ta live like an animal
In the jungle where we play
If you got a hunger for what you see
You’ll take it eventually
You can have anything you want
But you better not take it from me….


 

“Paradise City” is probably the single track they owe their success to. With an exceptional mixture of blues, punk and hard rock motives, the song is everything but your ordinary 80s rock tune. “Paradise City” captivates right from the beginning with its unique rhythm, escalating guitar riffs and Axl’s aggressive, quite forceful but energetic vocal delivery. The theme of the song is similar to that of “Welcome to the Jungle” – they knew how to convey a message using the proper tools and words!

This is my personal favorite song from the album and I’m particularly fond of the music video! Can we please go back and attend such concerts??

Strapped in the chair of the city’s gas chamber
Why I’m here I can’t quite remember
The surgeon general says it’s hazardous to breathe
I’d have another cigarette, but I can’t see
Tell me who you’re gonna believe

Take me down
To the paradise city
Where the grass is green
And the girls are pretty
Take me home…


 

In the power ballad “Sweet Child o’ Mine”, Axl, Slash and company prove that they can be vulnerable and deliver something romantic and atmospheric with no efforts. This song perfectly demonstrates the outstanding guitar abilities of Slash and surprises us with a very catchy hard-rock beat and beautiful lyrics.

She’s got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky

Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that special place
And if I stared too long
I’d probably break down and cry

Sweet child o’ mine…


 

“Nightrain” is another song I would like to focus your attention at. Yet again, we are transferred to the sinful, alcohol and drug-fuelled world of L.A. Axl’s vocal delivery, in combination with metallic hard rock guitar riffs give us a little bit of an AC/DC vibe.


 

“Think about You” is in my opinion a very underrated track. By including it in this publication, I only wish more people would realize and experience its true value. It’s a sweet love song that creates the perfect mood! The rhythm and the lyrics absolutely do it for me!

There wasn’t much
in this heart of mine
There was a little left
and babe you found it
It’s funny how I never felt so high
It’s a feelin’ that I know
I know I’ll never forget
Ooh it was the best thing
I can remember
Ooh and the love we shared-
is lovin’ that’ll last forever

I think about you
Honey all the time
my heart says yes….


 

Many people will agree with me when I say that “Appetite for Destruction” is one of the best metal albums of the 80s! As good as Axl Rose’s shrilling voice is, the effect of the album wouldn’t have been so strong if it weren’t for the exceptional guitar skills of Slash and Izzy. The brutal and nasty world, Guns N’ Roses invite us in with this album can’t but fascinate you. I am truly happy we were blessed with this masterpiece and I wish they kept on with their winning streak. Unfortunately, after the phenomenal success of the record, the band couldn’t top themselves and  till today, “Appetite for Destruction” remains their greatest work and in my opinion, the reason why they were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Nevertheless, some people consider it as the “record of the 80” and as such, we should appreciate it! Now go listen to the other crazy tracks!

 

My copy of the album ~

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[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] VAN HALEN – Women and Children First

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Van Halen – “Women and Children First” Front Cover

 

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Van Halen – “Women and Children First” Back Cover

 

The 80’s is it, it belongs to Van Halen.” – David Lee Roth, 1980

 

 

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David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony

On the 26th of this month, we celebrate the 36th anniversary of Van Halen’s third studio album – “Women and Children First”. Released back in 1980, the album marked the beginning of a very special and important era – both for Van Halen, as well as for the rock music in general. In the spirit of the upcoming birthday of the album, I decided to prepare a little publication, focusing on the album and its songs. I have to say, it’s most certainly not my favorite Van Halen album – and as a matter of fact it’s not even in my personal top 3 Van Halen albums. However, I cannot deny how incredibly well-written and influential this album is. Not only “Women and Children First” was the first album to feature music written solely by Van Halen themselves, but this album brought to the world a different and more striking feel of the band – their sound, theme and image became heavier and much “darker” than before.

 

 

“I love it. I think it’s our best one yet because it’s got more variety. It’s not too guitar dominated; it’s just got a little bit of everything on it. It’s got acoustic, it’s got piano, it’s got the ball-bustin’ rock. It’s got it all.” – Eddie Van Halen

 

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Ted Templeman – a photo from the late 70s

The album was produced by Ted Templeman – a notable American record producer. Throughout his career, he has worked with numerous outstanding musicians, such as the Doobie Brothers, Van Morrison, Carly Simon, Eric Clapton, Aerosmith and many others. He is actually the mastermind behind a few other Van Halen, as well as Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth solo albums. Furthermore, “Women and Children First” spawned one single – “And the Cradle Will Rock…” – a song that is very significant to me and this blog (I will explain myself later…). The song performed quite well on the charts, not as much as one might predict, though – it only got to 55th place on Billboard Hot 100. As far as album sales are concerned, it is certified 3 times Platinum by the RIAA and 2 times Platinum by Music Canada. Overall, it did achieve considerable amount of success, however it wasn’t until 1984 that Van Halen reached their commercial peak and worldwide recognition. Nevertheless, this album is excellent – from its first to its last song, no second opinion about it. It’s a must for your record collection!

 

Now let’s talk songs!

AndtheCradleWillRock1980The powerful party-rock anthem which also happens to be the opening track and my personal favorite song from the album is called “And the Cradle Will Rock…” and has a few interesting background details worth mentioning. First of all, it’s the first song that featured the keyboard playing of Eddie Van Halen. Eddie’s new ideas and visions for the band’s music and future directions were already making a strong statement. Instead of being driven by a guitar, the song’s dominant instrument is the keyboards – something that was considered a bit too experimental and not “as rock ‘n’ roll” as one might say back then. Later on, Eddie’s creative ambitions and insights on the issue of the band’s musical angels would clash with David Lee Roth’s lust and endless desire for fun and partying while playing the rock ‘n’ roll. Nevertheless, this piece of music provides a very interesting beginning for their 80s style. In addition, the song begins with very mind-boggling sounds which many of you guys might think come from a guitar; however that’s not the case. It’s actually a “phase shifter-effected Wurlitzer electric piano played through Eddie Van Halen’s 1960s model 100-watt Marshall Plexi amplifier” – how cool is that?
In terms of lyrics – the song is mainly about how younger generations misbehave and all they want to do is party and rock ‘n’ roll. A “cradle” in the context of the song, is a metaphor for “home” – no wonder the cradle is rocking – the kids are out of control.
One last thing – I thought of the name of this blog “that mixtape will rock” while I was listening to “And the Cradle Will Rock…” I absolutely adore the song and the lyrics – they inspired me to come up with the name and that says a lot really.

And this right here might be indeed the worst lip-sync in history…

 

The other party anthem of the album would be “Everyone Wants Some” which in my opinion, has to be one of the heaviest songs of Van Halen, along with “Loss of Control”. I get a lot of hardcore punk vibes coming out of those two songs (especially from “Loss of Control”) and that can’t but make me super happy, having in mind the fact that I am and always will be a punk rock kid. Those two songs became an absolute staple for any of Van Halen’s upcoming life concerts and tours and we can clearly understand why. The pure hard rock energy that comes out of them is just too strong to handle. Not to mention the richness and speed Eddie displays in those two masterpieces…Just have a listen…
“Everybody Wants Some” still remains one of David Lee Roth’s favorite Van Halen songs – even when he left Van Halen, he still kept on playing it during his concerts…

 

Van Halen’s growth in terms of musicianship, song-writing and technical improvement is probably most evident in “Fools”. To me, this song has one of the most powerful and captivating intros. The guitar riffs are pure gold and I just can’t but think of Eddie as some sort of an alien who came to this world to hypnotize us with his guitar… In addition, I really enjoy the brilliant lyrics and the message behind them – even when society wants you to follow and obey all the rules, people have personal desires and dreams that might not fit into the predetermined picture. Different people are good at different things – why should we hide our ambitions?

“They say I’m crazy from the wrong side of the tracks
I never see them but they’re always so far back”….

“My teachers all gave up on me
No matter what they say, I disagree”

 

In addition to the heavy sounds and dynamic guitar riffs, the album offers a few low-key, acoustic country-blues feelings with song such as “Could this be Magic” and “Take Your Whiskey Home”. I have to say, those two songs are most certainly not in my “greatest Van Halen songs of all time” list – I find them a bit too silly and frivolous. However, they do provide the necessary balance in the album.

By the way, “Could This Be Magic” features the only female backing vocal ever to be recorded on a Van Halen song. Nicolette Larson – an American country/pop singer who worked with musicians such as Neil Yong sings during some of the chorus.

 

Van Halen’s first attempts at a power-ballad resulted in the closing song of the album, titled “In a Simple Rhyme”. Their desire for a more graceful and soft melody however is quickly cut off by their rock driven nature, though. It took Van Halen a few more years before they finally refined their perfect rock ballad sound, at least in my opinion.

This is a life performance from last year…David’s voice might not be what it used to be, however we still appreciate it!

 

The album’s other two songs – “Romeo Delight” and “Tora! Tora!”, also deserve an honorable mention. Those high-speed metal sounds are the reason why I said that the album has a bit of a “black hart” situation. Just listen…

 

Well, this is it for now. I hope my readers got the chance to remind themselves of this brilliant album which features some of the most unforgettable Van Halen tunes ever. In conclusion, I would say that if you are a Van Halen fan, this album is a must for your record collection. “Women and Children First” is the album with which Van Halen gloriously stepped into the 80s – it was a perfect statement that the decade is theirs to conquer. With a more refined and original sound, the band proved that they matured and got more serious about their music. I hope you guys love and appreciate it as much as I do!

Cheers! …And the cradle will rock!

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Credits:
Van Halen Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/
Van Halen “Women and Children First”, retrieved from http://www.allmusic.com/
Van Halen, “And the Cradle Will Rock”, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.

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] Eric Clapton – Money and Cigarettes

Today I woke up to some incredible news – one of my favourite male rockstars and in my opinion the greatest guitar hero ever – Eric Clapton will be releasing his 23rd solo album this spring! I am beyond happy and cannot wait to hear what this outstanding man has prepared for us this time.

In the spirit of the news, I decided to prepare a publication dedicated to my favourite Eric Clapton album – “Money and Cigarettes”, which also happens to be one of the greatest rock albums of the 80s (at least to me). This album is quite special and significant because it marks a new turning point in Clapton’s life – it’s the first album he releases after his rehabilitation from alcoholism. To many people who are not familiar with his story, the title of the album – “Money and Cigarettes” suggests that the songs you can find in it are all about the “rock ‘n’ roll wild life” – money, smoking, parties, etc. I thought about it myself when I first heard about it many years ago – Oh, another album about money and girls, etc…On the contrary, after his struggles with alcoholism, he felt very empty and devastated. He chooses this particular title “because that’s all I saw myself having left”, he said. Quite sad, isn’t it? Misfortunes aside, this album proved that he still had it – he was and still is a true rock ‘n’ roll God who always rises from the ashes and takes back his throne.

Before going any further with the songs and the themes, I would like to focus on some other important information and details. “Money and Cigarettes” was released back in 1983 as the eight studio album by Clapton. It consists of ten songs and it spawned three hit singles – “I’ve Got a Rock ‘n’ Roll Heart”, “The Shape You’re In” and “Slow Down Linda”. In terms of chart performance, it was not his greatest accomplishment indeed; however it got a few nice spots in Germany, Sweden and Norway’s album charts. In addition, his first single “I’ve Got a Rock ‘n’ Roll Heart” peaked at number 18 in the Billboard hot 100 chart, number 17 in Canadian top singles chart and unfortunately, barely got to UK top singles chart at number 83. I don’t understand why his native country didn’t respond that well to the album and its singles. In my opinion, the album didn’t quite match the new trends of the era – 80s and was still a little bit “old-school” and “70s”. Don’t get me wrong, personally I do love the way he blended his rock and blues with his one-of-a-kind low key, casual and gentle vocal delivery. I guess the people were just looking for something different, though.

The overall atmosphere of the album is very relaxing, calming and creates a very good mood – at least to me. The songs are easy to sing along with, not as complex as his previous works, however still possessing his special and distinctive touch. In addition, somehow all the songs from “Money and Cigarettes” can simply make you feel good while listening. For instance, songs like “Everybody Oughta Make a Change” (which is a cover by Sleepy John Estes by the way) or “Crosscut Saw” are very uplifting, spirited and perfect for having a drink with your best friend on a nice spring evening. On the other hand, love songs such as “Pretty Girl”, “Man in Love” and “Man Overboard” may be very pleasant, cheerful and gentle, however to some they might not be so memorable or in any-way original. To me, however, the sweet lyrics, in combination with a tender and unobtrusive guitar playing seem very soul-revealing and most certainly create a very warm feeling inside my heart, especially “Pretty Girl”.

 

 

Pretty girl you are the light of my life,
I mean my everything.
You are the one I chose to make my wife,
That’s why you wear my ring.

 

 

Feels like we’re falling into the arms of the night,
So if you’re not ready, don’t be holdin’ me so tight.
I guess there’s nothing left for me to explain;
Here’s what you’re gettin’ and I don’t want to change,
I don’t want to change.

 

 

I’ve seen you speeding down the highway when you ought to dig the scenery.
And you can wolf down your dinner in the time it takes to drink my tea.
You’re always rushing ’round everywhere you go,
You leave me eating dirt on the side of the road.
I can’t keep running much longer you always go too fast for me.

 

It ain’t no big deal, we’re all lucky to be alive,
I myself don’t believe in luck, or taking chances, I will survive.
Every move I make, every twist and every turn,
You scandalize and humble me, I may be slow but I will learn.

 

Many critics are not as thrilled as me when it comes to this album. For instance, some music reviews say that the album is an “average” effort from Clapton and it doesn’t actually possess any characteristic that can distinguish it from the enormous wave of rock albums, released at that time. I agree that some of his previous works are much more relevant, widely-recognized and produced with a unique “flavour” that is somehow missing in “Money and Cigarettes”. I mean – some of his preceding albums such as “Slowhand” and “No Reason to Cry” triggered such an explosive reaction from the fans and critics and if you hear some of the songs from those two albums you will get what I’m saying. However, what makes “Money and Cigarettes” so special (at least to me) is what it stands for – the strength of human will and the desire to change for better. Clapton quit drinking and became this positive person who took his life back and wanted to do something great with it. That’s one of the reasons why I respect him so much. This album marked a very new beginning in his life career-wise as well. He let go some of his previous band members and formed a new line-up. Furthermore, this album once again proves that his abilities to play and sing the blues are beyond extraordinary. It may not be as intriguing as his previous projects and most certainly not as commercial and mainstream as his next albums, however it does represent a very impressive point of his career. The songs from this album – songs such as “I’ve Got a Rock ‘n’ Roll Heart” or “Pretty Girl” are a symbol of his desire to move forward and create music for each and every mood or situation you can find yourself in. Also, this album tells us that he doesn’t necessarily have to be this outstanding, fiery and blistering guitar-God in order to create good music. Regardless, one thing he has always been to us – inspiring.

Check out the rest of the songs from the album! I’m sure you will immediately feel much more spirited and feel in a better mood!

Cheers!

Credits:
How Eric Clapton Got Out of Rehab and Released ‘Money and Cigarettes’, by By Nick DeRiso, retrieved from http://ultimateclassicrock.com
 I do not own any visual or audio material in this publication. All the credits and rights go to the owners and/or the publishers.