[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] WINGER – Winger

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WINGER

Released: August 10, 1988
Genre: Glam Rock / Hard Rock / Progressive Metal
Duration: 43:50
Label: Atlantic
Producer(s): Beau Hill
Certified: Platinum (RIAA)

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OVERVIEW

By the time Winger, led by the charismatic vocalist and bass player Kip Winger, debuted, the popularity of glam rock, along with the attention it received from media outlets, was already disappearing, in favor of grunge acts. Nevertheless, their 1988 self-titled release, still managed to impress the audience with its high quality musicianship, ranging from unforgettable melodies to earth-shaking guitar riffs by Reb Beach. Let’s not forget Kip’s vocal range, which put to shame the majority of male vocalists of that era (even the big names).  On the surface, “Winger” may sound like your standard, “safe” hard rock album, fueled with the same old lyrics and well-known rock stunts. However, once you get to know it a little bit deeper, you can easily feel how different it is from the rest of the late ‘80s hard rock albums. Winger’s debut deserves a round of applause for showcasing first-class songwriting skills and distinctive progressive metal touches, hidden here and there in almost each song.

Every track on “Winger” is a potential radio hit. The opening tune, “Madalaine”, which also was their first single, grabs you by the throat right from the very beginning. The immensely catchy and sexy “Seventeen” is one of Winger’s instantly recognizable classics; there’s no way you can forget those fiery riffs. “Hungry” is one of a kind rock fiesta, combining string instruments, haunting chorus and explosive rhythms. The crown jewel of the album has to be the ultimate power ballad “Headed for Heartbreak”. There’s no way you won’t get hooked right from its first opening seconds. That electrifying race between keyboards and guitars, decorated with Kip’s thrilling groans, is something you don’t hear every day! This may as well be one of the top 10 power ballads of the ‘80s! “Without the Night” is the other mid-tempo ballad, which is equally fierce and intriguing as “Headed for Heartbreak”.

Don’t overlook this brilliant album, that’s all I want to say to you. I strongly believe that “Winger” can easily appeal to any rock fan out there – it has the strong hooks, the right lyrics and the flaming riffs, all wrapped under excellent music craftsmanship and superb talent. It’s a must for any record collection!

Read the Story of Winger’s “Headed for A Heartbreak”

 

Tracklist:

Madalaine
Hungry
Seventeen
Without The Night
Purple Haze
State of Emergency
Time To Surrender
Poison Angel
Hangin On
Headed for a Heartbreak
Higher & Higher

Hungry

Seventeen

Madalaine

Without the Night

Headed for a Heartbreak


 

References:
“Winger(album) Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winger_(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 Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT – The Turn Of A Friendly Card

the-alan-parsons-project-the-turn-of-a-friendly-card

THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD

Released: November 1, 1980
Genre: Progressive Rock / Art Rock
Duration: 40:25
Label: Arista
Producer(s): Alan Parsons

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OVERVIEW

It’s time for some fine progressive rock, coming directly from one of the pioneers of the genre – the British rockers The Alan Parsons Project. “The Turn of a Friendly Card” opens up a door to the world of gambling by offering a brilliant selection of tunes, dealing with the theme. Often referred to as their most memorable and ear-pleasing work, featuring two of their greatest hits of all time “Games People Play” and “Time”, the record stood the test of time and is still on top of people’s minds when talking about progressive rock. Naturally, it became a commercial success as well, peaking at #13 on the Billboard 200 Chart. “The Turn of a Friendly Card” offers vocal variety and strength as throughout the album we get to hear Eric Woolfson’s delightful debut as a lead vocalist (“Time”), Chris Rainbow, Lenny Zakatek and Elmer Gantry. The record is well-produced, imaginative and highly enjoyable. Definitely one step away from the pretentious, overly-dramatic and world-spinning progressive music of the 70s but it still carrying out its idea in quite the exquisite way.

The sensitive ballad “Time”, the album’s finest work, is a song which can dissolve even the toughest, most resilient soul after just one listen. A song drifting away from the main theme of the album but if I may say their most beautiful work with some of the saddest lyrics in music history…”Goodbye my love, Maybe for forever, Goodbye my love, The tide waits for me, Who knows when we shall meet again, If ever…” If that doesn’t make you feel like you need a hug and a shoulder to cry on, then you truly are made of stone. The essence of the song comes from the superb vocal debut of Eric Woolfson who just makes the whole journey so much more enchanting. The synthesizer-driven “Games People Play” is another classic, captivating with its thrilling intro that transforms into a great mid-tempo rocker. “The Gold Bug” is a spellbinding instrumental that is often referred to as one of the band’s finest instrumentals. “Snake Eyes” is the album’s hidden rhythmic treasure, leaving us with a little sweet reggae aftertaste. The powerful but anxious title track, performed by Chris Rainbow, delivers a strong message with its lyrics, “…And they think it will make their lives easier, For God knows up till now it’s been hard, But the game never ends when your whole world depends, On the turn of a friendly card”.  The song is sending me to another century with its mysterious, quite antique atmosphere.

 “The Turn of a Friendly Card” is an album that can satisfy the desires of both progressive rock and pop fans. That doesn’t mean it lacks imagination or that it doesn’t tempt us with its thoughtful themes and interpretations. On the contrary, it’s one of the most curious and alluring albums from the early years of the 80s. Needless to say, it’s also an absolute favorite of mine.  

Listen and enjoy!

 

Tracklist:

“May Be a Price to Pay”
“Game People Play”
“Time”
“I Don’t Wanna Go Home”
“The Gold Bug”
“The Turn of a Friendly Card” (Part One)
“Snake Eyes”
“The Ace of Swords”
“Nothing Left To Lose”
“The Turn of a Friendly Card” (Part Two)

 

Time

Games People Play

I Don’t Wanna Go Home

 The Turn Of A Friendly Card


References:

“The Turn of a Friendly Card” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Turn_of_a_Friendly_Card

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] ASIA – ASIA

Asia - Asia


ASIA

Asia - AsiaReleased: March 18, 1982
Recorded: June – November 1981, Townhouse Studios, London
Genre: AOR, Progressive Rock, Rock, Pop Rock
Length: 44:22

Label: Geffen
Producer(s): Mike Stone
Singles: “Heat of the Moment”, “Only Time Will Tell”, “Soul Survivor”
Personnel: Steve Howe – guitars, backing vocals, Geoff Downes – keyboards, backing vocals, John Wetton – bass guitar, lead vocals, Carl Palmer – drums, percussion

Certified: 4xPlatinum (RIAA)

TRACKLIST:

“Heat of the Moment”
“Only Time Will Tell”
“Sole Survivor”
“One Step Closer”
“Time Again”
“Wildest Dreams”
“Without You”
“Cutting it Fine”
“Here Comes the Feeling”

aSIA - ASIA - CD

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OVERVIEW:

This monstrous debut record by the supergroup Asia was released back in 1982 and proved that there was indeed a reason why those immensely talented and versatile musicians from YES, ELP, King Crimson and The Buggles got together in the first place. “Asia” spawned one of the most distinctive rock tunes of the 80s – “Heat of the Moment” which became their ultimate signature song. That was not the end of it, though – the record is full of catchy hooks and fine melodies, perfectly designed to fit the demands of the commercial radio stations. If you are looking for some traces of YES or ELP on this album, you won’t find them. “Asia” doesn’t really impress with lengthy instrumentals or heavy lyrics but it does impress with its style and class. We cannot deny the excellent collaboration of Steve Howe‘s guitar Carl Palmer’s drums and Geoff Downes’ keyboards. Plus of course, John Wetton’s vocals which are the essence of the record! They created a much needed spark with this record and it’s quite sad that they couldn’t live up to this album in their following endeavors.

“Heat of the Moment” sets the tone for the record by definitely kicking things off with the biggest bang ever. It’s one of those songs that leave a lasting memory and definitely one of the most memorable and enjoyable classics from the 80s. “Only Time Will Tell” is one of the fines moments of the record as it demonstrates the perfect fusion between pop and rock. The track can’t but affect us with its harmonies and perfect little details, such as Palmer’s powerful drums and layered chorus. “Sole Survivor” is the absolute rocker from the record, combining excellent Hammond organ playing and a basic straight-up rock ‘n’ roll fashion. Some other fine moments from the record include the intriguing and quite fierce guitar intro of “Time Again” which definitely has the “wow” effect on listeners. The essential melancholic track comes in the form of “Without You”, which again demonstrates fine keyboard playing and smoky vocals.

Many people have rather conflicting opinions about this album; however I believe the above mentioned songs are good enough to make it up for the lack of substantiality that could be felt in the rest of the album. Overall, it’s a “modern-classic” record that brought together extraordinary people and spawned hit singles which we still love and listen to even today! Good job~

HEAT OF THE MOMENT

SOLE SURVIVOR

TIME AGAIN


 

Credits:
“ASIA” official Wikipedia webpage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asia_%28Asia_album%29
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 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.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Great Whitesnake Ballads That Taught Us What Love Is…

A huge portion of my music library is dedicated to power ballads of the 80s (and ballads in general). I am sure many of you guys will agree with me when I say that those songs, usually performed by glam rock bands, are so influential, possess such a special aura and are even “magical”. Characterized with sensual lyrics, hard rock sound and a strong vocal delivery, the power ballads of the 80s appealed to many people and turned into a huge and unforgettable trend (that of course brought a lot of money)…
When I think about power ballads of the 80s, probably the first band name that comes out of my mind is Whitesnake. To me personally, they are the kings of power ballads and there’s a reason behind it. The reason is called David Coverdale – who happens to be one of the greatest male vocalists of all time. I’ve listened to many rock ballads, performed by many rock musicians such as Warrant, Poison, Foreigner, etc., however none of those ballad songs have influenced me the way Whitesnake’s ballad songs have. To me, David has the perfect voice for rock ballads and every time I hear him perform those heartbreaking love songs, I get goosebumps. His voice is perfectly designed for a rock ballad and I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but the moment he starts singing about love, I completely melt down. Of course, being a huge Whitesnake fan, I love pretty much each and every song of theirs. However, among all, the ballads are my ultimate favorites – even after so many years of listening, I always get these feelings and emotions each time I play power ballads such as “Looking for Love” or “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City”. I’m not sure I can find the right adjectives to describe David’s voice but I find his singing very sensual and his voice is definitely one of those “mysterious” and “smoky” voices that captivate your soul immediately.

In order to celebrate my love for Whitesnake’s (power) ballads and David’s brilliant vocal deliveries, I came up with this idea of collecting 5 of my favorite Whitesnake love songs. Also, I hope my readers can be reminded of some of those classics from back in the day. In the spirit of the upcoming Valentine’s Day, I thought it’s a good time to think about love and what better way to do it, than listen to this outstanding artist pouring his soul out into the music…

 

Looking For Love

I will start things with my favorite Whitesnake song, favorite power ballad from the 80s and one of my top 10 favorite songs of all time (yes, it’s that important to me). The song is part of their self-titled album which also happens to be their most successful album of all time. It was released back in 1987 and later on, the band also introduced a very interesting (?) music video that circulated around MTV. The reason why I adore this song with all my heart is the beautiful lyrics and of course, David’s vocal delivery – it turns from soft and gentle to strong and even a bit aggressive in a matter of seconds. To me, this is just the perfect rock ballad…

“I look in the mirror
Don’t like what I see
In my reflection
A stranger is staring at me
Looking for love”

Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City

The next rock ballad by Whitesnake is actually not an original song – it’s a cover version of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s song, written by Michael Price and Dan Walsh back in 1974. The original version is more blues and R&B oriented, rather than hard rock. Whitesnake’s interpretation of this song was included in their debut EP – “Snakebite” in 1978 and it actually became one of their most successful and loved songs. Later on, they also included a live performance of this song in their 1980s Live…in the Heart of the City Live album. Needless to say, I absolutely adore this song and their version of it. Once again, David demonstrates how powerful and yet tender his voice can be.

“Ain’t no love in the heart of the city,
Ain’t no love in the heart of town.
Ain’t no love, sure ’nuff is a pity,
Ain’t no love ‘cos you ain’t around.
Baby, since you been around.”

Is This Love

I just had to include this song which also happens to be one of the perfect examples of 80s power ballads. Not to mention that they owe a lot of their success and public recognition to this breathtaking power ballad. It is indeed probably the first song that comes to everyone’s mind when we think about Whitesnake. The song was released in 1987 from their self-titled album and quickly reached number 2 in the USA charts. It is a beautiful and very well-written song. The music video is also very distinctive and “very 80s”. Interesting fact, David was asked to think of some ideas for a new Tina Turner song and that’s when he came up with “Is This Love”…Anyhow, I’m glad they kept the song for themselves. As much as I love Tina, this song just fits him and the band so perfectly that I just can’t imagine anyone else singing it…
P.S You can check out my previous publication in which the song was also included : – Greatest (Power) Rock Ballads Of The 80s

”I find I spend my time
Waiting on your call,
How can I tell you, baby
My back’s against the wall
I need you by my side
To tell me it’s alright,
‘Cos I don’t think I can take anymore”

Only My Soul

This is also another one of my favorite Whitesnake ballads. One might say that it’s not as powerful, ground-breaking and wall-shaking as some of their other ballads but what appeals to me are the guitar riffs as well as its atmosphere – a bit more relaxed, calming and even exquisite than some of their other ballads. The violins are also a nice touch. “Only My Soul” is featured in “Snakebite” – their first official release back in 1978. This album produced so many fascinating songs.

“Only my soul, stops me crying,
Wondering why I feel alone
And only my love keeps me from
Weeping, so bad,
Giving me strength, to carry on”

The Deeper The Love

The last song from my selection comes from Whitesnake’s 1989 album “Slip of the Tongue” and it’s called “The Deeper the Love”. It’s a very melodic and a bit more dynamic and it happens to be one of my favourite (power) ballads of all time. The song and as a matter of fact the whole album, are a little bit different than their original sound from the early 80s, however I still enjoy listening to it – especially this song. His voice is just so full of soul…it takes my breath away. The lyrics are also very emotional and full of hope – it’s all about how strong a man’s love can be…

“So when the sun goes down
An’ those nights grow colder,
I will be there
Looking over your shoulder
An’ the deeper the love
The stronger the emotion,
An’ the stronger the love
The deeper the devotion”

~~~

Well, this is it for now – five beautiful (power) rock ballad songs, coming from Whitesnake – one of the greatest hard rock bands of all time. The selection was very personal and subjective so I apologize if you didn’t see some of your favorite songs. I would like to make part 2 and include other beautiful ballads of Whitesnake and David because there are so much more… His voice is everything – I hope you guys feel the same way I do and truly enjoy those five breath-taking love songs…


 

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~

[Saturday Night Song Focus] Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer

Greetings!

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!

Velina

xoxox

Single / Album Cover


 

Music Video


 

Lyrics

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


Credits:

[90s] [Album Focus] Best-Selling Soundtrack Of All Time – The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album

Greetings!

So I’ve been meaning to dedicate a publication to the greatest soundtrack albums of all time, however due to busy schedule I’m afraid I cannot do it at this point. Instead, I decided to focus on just one for the – the best of the best, the greatest of the greatest and the best-selling soundtrack albums of all time – Whitney Houston’s “The Bodyguard”.
As I always do, I’m going to start the post with some background information…Back in the day, especially in the 80s and in the 90s there was a heavy cross-media promotion. Unlike today, in the past a media product was usually heavily tight with other media products such as books and music. The movie industry started relying heavily on soundtrack in order to boost the popularity of the movie – it was the other way around as well – soundtracks were relying on the movies to boost their sales. Basically, films and music were together in an inseparable marriage. I don’t know what actually happened, however… – nowadays I feel like movies don’t really invest much in memorable and grandiose soundtracks the way they did before. Time has surely changed…
The practice of cross-promotion between a movie and a soundtrack became a trend since the introduction of Television back in the 50s and 60s. It was a brilliant win-win strategy which left us with the most memorable movie themes and songs ever! Helping the other industry out and capitalizing heavily at the same time became a major business model. Simply all the movie and music producers were working together in order to create a unique and memorable artistic product. In addition, 70s and the 80s marked the rise of blockbusters – you know, those high budget and incredible movies featuring all the famous stars and great effects. Blockbusters have always relied on promotions and heavy exposure to the public in order to obtain revenues – that’s only natural. One way to gain additional promotion was to use music – which of course became the most powerful tool! I’m not sure what the correct line of events is though – one could argue – is the soundtrack promoting the movie or the movie was promoting the soundtrack!? See, that’s what I’m talking about – those two media products were inseparable and had a huge impact on one another! The music of a movie simply represents the spirit and the identity of the movie itself – it is as equally important – no second opinion about that! Little by little, from just one or two theme songs, the idea of a whole album became a cultural phenomenon –producers started investing on whole albums filled with music from the movie. I believe it all started with Saturday Night Fever – one of the greatest soundtrack albums of all time, that’s for sure (kudos to BeeGees). Once it was established that such albums are extremely popular and well-accepted from the audience, everyone just simply jumped on the bandwagon – soundtrack after soundtrack – great albums after great albums. I mean, who can ever forget the original soundtrack albums of “Flashdance” or “Footlose” or “Dirty Dancing”? – no one that is…

Going back to the greatest soundtrack of all-time… I don’t think the album or the movie needs much introduction. It’s one of the all-time classics which will simply remain in history for their brilliance…I will focus on the soundtrack album because it’s an album-related publication, after all. So here we go…the best-selling soundtrack of all time by the princess of pop herself…


 

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Released: November 17th, 1992
Genre: Pop, RnB
Label: Arista
Producer: Clive Davis, Whitney Houston, Jazz Summers, Tim Parry
Tracklist:
*“I Will Always Love You”
*“I Have Nothing”
*“I’m Every Woman”
*“Run to You”
*“Queen of the Night”
*“Jesus Loves Me”
*“Even If My Heart Would Break” (performed by Kenny G and Aaron Neville)
*“Someday (I’m Coming Back)” (performed by Lisa Stansfield)
*“It’s Gonna Be A Lovely Day” (performed by the S.O.U.L.S.Y.S.T.E.M.)
*“(What’s so Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding” (performed by Curtis Stigers)
*“Waiting for You” (performed by Kenny G)
*“Trust in Me” (performed by Joe Cocker, featuring Sass)
Singles: “I Will Always Love You”, “Someday (I’m Coming Back)”, “I’m Every Woman”, “I Have Nothing”, “Run to You”, “Queen of the Night”, “It’s Gonna Be a Lovely Day”


 

The album features a bunch of  other artists – many people think it’s just her songs; however that’s not the case. We have Lisa Stansfield and Kenny G and of course, Joe Cocker…all brilliant musicians and voices. The album was co-executive produced by Whitney Houston and the great Clive Davis – the person behind ARISTA records. Whitney had full control over the album – she chose specifically each and every song. The theme song was supposed to be a completely different one; however they lost it to another movie.Can you imagine that – one of the greatest ballads of all time – the ballads of the ballads, the most powerful and tear-breaking performance by a female artist almost didn’t happen….Whitney’s male co-star – Mr. Kevin Costner was actually the one who suggested that they should record “I Will Always Love You” as the theme song. Maybe some of you don’t know but the original song was written and performed by Dolly Parton – the famous country diva. How did they manage to transform such a slow, rather boring and I’d say “background” music to this amazing and powerful composition, I have no idea. Kudos to the brilliant producers!
The success of the album was almost immediate. Whitney became the first act to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period! This makes the album the fastest-selling album in the history of music! She also won a Grammy and for the album of the year and the RIAA certified the album 17 times Platinum. Over 44 million copies have been sold worldwide to day, which makes the album the best-selling soundtrack of all time – well, how can it not be?

Of course, the album is mostly remembered by the phenomenal ballad we all know and love with all our hearts – “I Will Always Love You”. The song appealed to all markets and to people of all ages – it was a mixture of soul, RnB, pop and contemporary music. It also received huge airplay. The single spent fourteen weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The album itself topped the Billboard 200 for 20 weeks. The following singles that were released from the album followed the success of the theme song – with “I’m Every Woman” (a Chaka Khan cover) and “I Have Nothing”, Whitney Houston became the first female act to have three songs in the Top 20 at the same time.

Not only was the soundtrack a musical phenomenon and a complete triumph, but the movie itself simply became one of the greatest romance stories of all time. This whole project once again proves my point – cross-promotion is needed and it should be very well thought of! In this case, the movie promoted the soundtrack and vice-versa. The results – smashing box-office success and the greatest and most memorable ballad of time… In my opinion, the powerful an unmatched vocal delivery of Whitney Houston and the success of the album completely overshadowed the movie. However, in this case it turned out just great!

There’s absolutely no point in talking about the quality and excellence of this soundtrack – just listen to the songs and lose yourself to the feeling… Every song is so inspirational and so well-crafted that you just can’t stop replaying. That’s the magic of Whitney’s voice and her aura in general – she is able to convey so many emotions with her voice that at one point you just don’t know whether to cry, smile or be happy. I grew up listening to this album (yes, I have it in my CD collection, of course) and it just means the world to me! I am extremely sad that we lost this gorgeous queen and will always wish I could go back in time and enjoy her projects all over again…
One thing I have to say, she was also a brilliant actress and we can most certainly see it in “The Bodyguard”. I miss her and I will always love her…
Also, I wish they could make great soundtracks like this one nowadays – I’ve been waiting and waiting but so far all we have does not deserve to even be mentioned… Let’s wait and see….

Velina

xoxox


Credits:
“The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album” by Arion Berger, November 13, 2013, retrieved by Rolling Stones Magazine
“Top 10 Best Selling Movie Soundtracks”, retrieved by http://www.sky.com
“The Bodyguard (soundtrack)”, retrieved from Wikipedia

 

Top 5 Best-Selling Debut Albums of All Time

Debut Albums collage!with link

Greetings!

For today’s publication I decided to make another informative (hopefully) list which this time is going to be dedicated to albums, rather than singes or songs. The publication won’t be based on my personal opinion; rather I would like to list the top 5 best-selling debut albums of all time.

First impressions count! The following albums made such great first impressions that they not only launched successful careers but also became a cultural landmark. The success of a debut album may give us some sort of idea how popular an artist/band can be. It also works as a key to set up a fan base and make impressions in the music industry. In my opinion, the initial impact has to be for sure the strongest one. Smash hit album release is a MUST in order to grab the audience and establish a name for yourself in the industry. Also, a debut album is important because it sets some sort of standards and expectations from the musician/s and the following projects. Many musicians are remembered by their unbelievably good debut albums. Unfortunately, some of them were not able to live up to those high standards in their second albums or following projects. Such are the cases with some of the following musicians – Guns ‘n’ Roses for instance – great debut album but where are they now? My point is that, in music industry, especially nowadays with the development of media, artists need CONSISTENCY – which also happens to be one of the most difficult things to achieve! That’s why musicians such as Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson were so great (and still are). Album after album they completely proved to their fans and to the industry that they most certainly are not a one-album-wonder.
Back to the debut albums, the following is a list of 5 best-selling debut albums. I am considering a part 2, which hopefully can happen sooner. I hope you enjoy the music and learn something new!
Here we go…


Guns ‘N Roses – Appetite For Destruction

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The ultimate game changer for Guns ‘n Roses and in my opinion the main and only reason why they are so famous and loved by fans all over the world. It also happens to be the best-selling debut album of all times! It is also the 11th best-selling album in the United States alone! The album sold more than 30 million copies worldwide – such an impressive number! The album was released on July 21st, 1987 and it spent more 147 weeks on Billboard chart! Axl, Slash and the boys spawned 7 singles from the album. Four of those singles – “Sweet Child O’ Mine“, “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City” each peaked top 10 positions on the Billboard Hot 100 (#1, #5, and #7). Producer Mike Clink deserves nothing but huge applause! The album was released under the Geffen Records label – do I have to say more? This is probably one of the greatest record labels in history! The album became one of the most powerful forces in rock music history and its songs will always be a hit! Unfortunately, the only member left in the band is Axl and nowadays things are just not working well for him. The rest of the members departed and pursued solo careers. This is a perfect example how a band can have a tremendous success and in time gradually but steadily fall from its grace~ Too bad, the guys were rockin’ it!


 Boston – Boston

Boston-1.jpg

It saddens me that so many people are not aware of this amazing band and the legacy they left. Their self-titled album “Boston” was released back in 1976 and the success of the album was a surprise to so many people. Indeed, this unknown band came literally out of nowhere and dropped this amazing album which still remains the second best-selling debut album of all time! The album was released under the label of Epic Records and was produced by the great John Boylan and Tom Scholz, The album produced three singles, each of them absolute and smashing hits – “More Than a Feeling”, “Foreplay/Long Time” and “Peace of Mind”. Interesting fact, till today the songs from this album are constantly being played on radios all around the world, mostly in the USA, of course. The style of the album is often referred as “Boston style” rock, however in my opinion if I have to place a genre or style of music, I would say radio-friendly rock with classic elements and melodic guitar hooks! The influence and trend this album created was enormous. They were blamed for the creation of so called “corporate” rock and for the “transition of mainstream American rock from blues-based proto-metal to power pop”.


 Hootie and the Blowfish – Cracked Rear View

Cracked-Rear-View-cover

On number three, we have the debut album of Hootie & the Blowfish – Cracked Rear View, which was released back in 1994 under the label of Atlantic Records. Till today, it remains their most successful album. It was also the best-selling album of 1995! The album spawned five hit singles – “Let Her Cry,” “Hold My Hand”, “Only Wanna Be with You”, “Time” and “Drowning”, four of which became ultimate smashing hits. There was some sort of controversy – they were sued by Bob Dylan for unauthorized use of his lyrics in the song “Only Wanna Be With You”. Regardless, the album became a total hit! It appealed to both young people and the older generation – one of the reasons why it was such a success story. Another reason may be the catchy but soulful lyrics. The sound of the album is more alternative, pop oriented rock rather than heavy-sounding like the previous two albums.


Britney Spears – …Baby One More Time

Britney-Spears-Baby-One-More-Time-cover

Oh my…Remember when Britney was like 18 years old and became this huge global phenomenon back in the late 1990s? The popularity of this debut album was unimaginable! Oh and yes, I also had it – I was a kid once! I was 7 years old when this album came out and I remember how happy I was the moment I got my hands on it. She was the perfect pop star and quickly became my idol – only because of this influential debut album! The album came out on January 1999 and it quickly won the hearts of many young fans all over the world! The album is fourteen times platinum, according to the RAA and it turned into the 5th best-selling album of all time in the USA. She released five singles from the album – “…Baby One More Time”, “Sometimes”, “(You Drive Me) Crazy”, “Born to Make You Happy” and “From the Bottom of My Broken Heart”. Needless to say, the title song of the album was the most successful one among these songs, even though each one of them broke the records! The songs were catchy, rhythmic, easy to dance to and so innocent – they immediately reached to the hearts of the teenagers of the 90s! Britney got tons of nominations, Grammys and pretty much all the acknowledgements you can imagine – people and the music industry simply fell in love with this pop sensation! Interesting fact, the title song – “…Baby One More Time” was originally supposed to be given to the famous girl trio TLC, however they rejected it – such a huge mistake, if you ask me. In conclusion, I have to say this album is everything! It gave a new meaning to pop and it changed the music industry! This is one perfect example of how powerful a debut album can be! It was the ultimate revival of teen pop! Rolling Stone wrote: “Britney Spears carries on the classic archetype of the rock & roll teen queen, the dungaree doll, the angel baby who just has to make a scene.”


Backstreet Boys – Backstreet Boys

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Backstreet Boys! The famous boyband we all love and grew up listening to! I’m 100% sure that all of the 90s girls had a crush on them – they were those perfect, talented and handsome guys, singing about love and romance. My favorite one was Nick – he was just so adorable! Anyhow, back to the album – it is a bit confusing because internationally, the album was released in 1996 in Canada, Europe and Asia. However, their debut in the USA was one year later – in 1997 and they repackaged the initial international album and released a new version with some new songs. The USA release coincided with their second international album, titled “Backstreet’s back” so it contained songs from both the original 1996 debut and the 1997 follow-up “Backstreet’s Back“…It was always so puzzling to me and difficult to follow which album was where and when… Bottom line is, the debut album became one of the most successful debut albums of all time. It reached number four on Billboard and has been certified fourteen times Platinum by the RIAA for sales. The numbers are beyond impressive…but how can they not be? – the album produced some of their most famous and signature songs – songs we still know by heart and sing. I mean, who doesn’t know “Quit Playing Games with My Heart” or “As Long As You love me”… or of course…”Everybody”! The debut album also established their names and crafted their special and unique sound and style. I just want to go back in time…… too many memories!


This is it for now! The top 5 best-selling debut albums of all time! We have rock, alternative and pop artists who did so well with their career-launching albums that they simply made history!
I deeply recommend you guys listen and enjoy the albums because they have really beautiful and meaningful songs – they are best-selling for a reason!
Enjoy~

Velina

xoxoxo

 


Credits:
“Top 10 Best Selling Debut Albums in US History” by Adriano Valente, retrieved from http://www.therichest.com
“List of best-selling albums”, retrieved from Wikipedia

[Saturday Night Song Focus] Daryl Hall & John Oates – Out Of Touch

Greetings!

Due to busy schedule unfortunately the blog had to be left without a daily publication for a few days. For that I am sorry and I would definitely try my best to post things regularly from now on! The first few posts were a bit here and there – I am still experimenting and establishing the blog’s identity and what types of publications I would like to have on here. I was thinking about it and decided to make something like a weekly program – a consistent publication that will appear every week and will deal with a similar issue. I was wondering what it could be and then I decided that I’m gonna turn Saturday night into a song analysis/focus night! Every Saturday from now on, there will be a publication dedicated to a song. Of course, needless to say, the song would be chosen based on my personal preferences and views. I would also like to emphasize on variety – I will try to include different genres, eras, styles, etc. Those weekly song focus publications will also present additional song related media materials such as music video, artwork, lyrics and others. Most importantly, however, the aim of this publication would be to give some background, historical overview and significance of the song. I hope by doing so, my readers can learn something interesting about a song while listening to it!

*drumroll* ….
The first song I am going to talk about is Daryl Hall & John Oates’s “Out of Touch”. I know it is supposed to be a song review; however I cannot just say nothing about those two! Their story began from Philadelphia – the place where soul music bloomed. The duo was heavily influenced by 60s Motown soul artists and we could most certainly hear it in their work. In terms of production and signwriting they were considered simply as white people copying Motown sound. However, in the 1980s they finally established their own style. Believe it or not, they soon invented a very distinctive fusion between rock ’n’ roll and soul music. They called this genre “ROCK AND SOUL” – sounds cool, right? Their sound was carefully crafted by heavy use of electronic elements and they even experimented with funky and futuristic styles. “At their best, Hall & Oates’ songs were filled with strong hooks and melodies that adhered to soul traditions without being a slave to them by incorporating elements of new wave,” – said critics Stephen Thomas Erlewine and J. Scott McClintock. One of their first big successes was the song “I can’t go for that” which topped the Billboard chart in 1981. The song was covered by numerous artists. Personally, my favorite cover of this song is Simply Red’s “Sunrise”. Their success continued with songs such as “Maneater” which also topped the chart in 1982. If I have to be honest, “Maneater” is probably one of my most favorite pop songs from the 80s – it’s just so good! Their sound however was becoming way too soft, so they called Mr. Neil Kernon – a notable heavy metal producer who worked with bands such as Scorpions and Judas Priest. He helped them enhance their sound and make it a little bit heavier. The result was the song I want to present today – “Out of Touch”. Furthermore, I wanted to say a few more things about Hall & Oates before focusing on the song. When we think about the most successful duos of all time, many of you would probably say Righteous Brothers or Simon & Garfunkel or Tina & Ike or Everly Brothers or even Daft Punk. Surprise! According to the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) Hall & Oates is the most successful duo in popular music! They have seven RIAA platinum albums and six RIAA golden albums. They have sold more than 40 million records which makes them the second best-selling duo of all time (the Carpenters hold the record with more than 150 million records sold). Those two were unstoppable! Great innovators and probably the most definitive blue eyed soul artist of the era!

About the song itself, “Out of Touch” was released in 1984 and was the lead single from their 1984 album Big Bam Boom. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for two weeks in December 1984. Just a quick reminder that back in the 80s it was very difficult for a song to top the charts –since there were so many ground-breaking and prolific artists, a song rarely stuck on top of the charts for a long period of time. As writers and producers of the song, both guys are being credited. Also, if I have to place a specific genre next to the song I would say pop rock, definitely.
The video is just hilarious! Every little element of it just perfectly illustrates what a wild, crazy and irrational decade the 80s was! The MV begins with the “Dance on Your Knees” intro, which is the opening song of the album. Daryl Hall manages to quite well embrace the spirit of the song and as we can see he is totally feeling it – the funny leopard costumes, jumps, awkward dances, overly dramatic gestures and of course – the definitive hairstyle of the era! I just love his style of delivery in the MV. John Oates is also bringing it – he and his extremely odd and bizarre dancing moves are so entertaining to watch. It was obvious that they don’t really know what’s going on but they don’t even care – the musicians of the 80s were all about having fun, feeling good, free and dance crazily. My favourite element of the MV has to be the huge drums and the huge drumsticks! Watching Oates sitting behind those enormous drums and trying to play with the huge drumsticks is absolutely hilarious! The Music Video was also heavily featured on MTV back in the day when MTV actually played music!
I will wrap things up by saying that this is one of my most favorite songs from the 80s! The lyrics are extremely catchy and you can’t but sing with them! The value of the song, at least in my opinion, lies with the distinctive drum and bass elements and in the funky, new wave sound. In terms of vocal delivery, Hall is just perfect!
Nothing more to say! Just enjoy the song!

(Oh and by the way, I am not going to talk about the dreadful cover that was made a few years ago by United Nations. To me it was just one huge mess and the only thing it managed to achieve is to insult the work of Hall and Oates. Not to mention the tasteless and horrible music video.)

Single Cover

daryl-hall-and-john-oates-out-of-touch-rca

MUSIC VIDEO

 

LYRICS

Shake it up is all that we know
Using the bodies up as we go
Waking up to fantasy
The shades all around aren’t the colors we used to see
Broken ice still melts in the sun
And times that are broken can often be one again
We’re soul alone
And soul really matters to me
Take a look around

You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around
x2

Reaching out for something to hold
Looking for a love where the climate is cold
Manic moves and drowsy dreams
Or living in the middle between the two extremes
Smoking guns hot to the touch
Would cool down if we didn’t use them so much
We’re soul alone
And soul really matters to me
Too much

You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around
x2

Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
(Out of touch)
(Out of touch)

You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around
You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around
You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around
You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around
You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around
You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around
You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around
You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around

Songwriters: HALL, DARYL / OATES, JOHN
Out Of Touch lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.