It’s been over a month since I saw the mighty Judas Priest in my hometown during “Hills of Rock 2018” Festival but I can still hear the voice of the Metal God, Rob Halford and still get those goosebumps when I think of how awesome the whole experience was. During the festival I had the chance to finally listen to “Painkiller” live – one of my favorite Judas Priest songs from my second favorite album of theirs. The moment I heard that iconic, instantly-recognizable opening drum solo, my heart jumped right off my chest and just fell on that stage. This was a moment I will forever remember and cherish.
Now, we are celebrating the anniversary of arguably one of Judas Priest’s finest albums in their career and what many fans consider as their greatest comeback. When “Firepower” hit the shelves this year, critics referred to it as Priest’s best album since “Painkiller”. The albums after “Painkiller” also suffered from the constant “Painkiller” comparison curse. Whatever those guys do, it seems like this 1990 release is always in the talks. There’s a reason why and I don’t think you need a long essay to convince you of the magnitude and influence of this album on the heavy metal scene.
Before I continue, here’s one of the songs I love the most from the album:
I know the dedicated fans are quite familiar with the story behind it but let’s just remember a few important details that I believe should be known about this release by every rock/metal fan out there. First of all, “Painkiller” is the last album to feature Rob Halford – that’s of course until he comes back in 2005. It’s also drummer Scott Travis’ debut and by the way – he is one of the best drummers I’ve seen live ever! The sounds itself was way more aggressive and with a reason – the band had to take something back and that was their redemption. The credibility was surely retrieved after the release of “Painkiller”. The band put back the “heavy” in “heavy metal” with that 1990 release and the critics acknowledged it. Fans, too! Tours, millions of copies sold and a newly-found fame was surrounding the band but as you know, Halford wanted to do his own thing for a while. That’s why they parted ways for some time and vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens stepped as the band’s new frontman in 1996. Still, Rob came back and the band was once again together.
Let’s celebrate the album by playing some of the most iconic songs from it. As I mentioned already, “A Touch of Evil” is my favorite song, though the title track is a close-second.
Let me know what you think of this album and what is your favorite song on the comment section below!
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.
Album Oriented Rock emerged as a phenomenon in the 70s, but it wasn’t until the ‘80s, when it became a global trend. Originally, the term was used to describe the works of bands like Pink Floyd, YES, King Crimson, The Beatles even in the late ‘60s which were meant to be listened as a whole, rather than just one single. Simply put, each song from the album was connected to the following, either thematically or musically. Therefore in order to get the ultimate experience from the record, one must listen from start to finish. For instance, let’s take The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, which many believe is one of the first good examples of AOR; it would be illogical and unadvisable to just listen to one or two songs and stop right there. Same goes with “The Dark Side of the Moon”. Of course, songs have individual strengths and characteristics, but ultimately the album should be considered as one whole unit. Progressive rock bands were in general following the concept of AOR in the ‘70s. Those bands were usually played on Album Oriented Radio stations where song duration was not an issue and DJs could exercise their freedom and play longer songs and entire albums, even. In fact, before bands, like The Beatles established the album format with albums like “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, for instance, it was the early FM radios and their DJs who would use the term to describe their approach to programming – it was all about focusing on album tracks or whole albums, rather than just playing one hit single for 2 minutes.
Things changed a little bit by the end of the ‘70s, when the term AOR became associated with popular American rock bands, such as the Eagles and Boston.Those bands still followed the album format, according to which an album is much more important and valuable than just one single. However, their music was very different – it was more melodic, inoffensive, pop-influenced, radio-friendly and easily-absorbed by listeners (compared to progressive rock). Due to such characteristics, the music of bands, like Boston and Kansas, for instance, received a lot of radio air play which consequently sky-rocketed their careers. Those bands and their music are referred to as Adult Oriented Rock which is different than Album Oriented Rock. Album Oriented Rock is after all a radio-centered idea, a programming direction; white Adult Oriented Rock refers to bands, like Boston and Asia, whose sound was, as I said friendlier, layered, synthesizer-driven.
Eventually, the term AOR evolved and people started calling those immensely popular “safe”, melodic rock bands AOR bands, mainly because their music received a heavy rotation on the radio stations. Whether we refer to it as a broadcasting term or more like a general style or approach to music production, ultimately AOR is associated with the mainstream appeal of rock music. In the ‘80s, bands like Journey, Toto, Bon Jovi, Foreigner, Survivor and many more, became synonymous with AOR. Their melodic, rather familiar approach to songwriting, granted them tons of radio recognition and ultimately, fame. Some albums we must mention are Journey’s “Escape”, Asia’s “Asia”, Toto’s “4”, Kansas’ “Leftoverture”, Foreigner’s “Agent Provocateur”, Survivor’s “Vital Signs”, REO Speedwagon’s “Hi Infidelity” and many more similar blockbusters. This phenomenon was observed in all genres and styles of music, not just rock. In the late ‘80s that trend continued with hair metal bands, such as Europe, Cinderella, Poison, Slaughter, Bad English, Giant, Winger, Firehouse, White Lion and more.
This particular tendency is still present and adopted by many rock acts even nowadays. Bands like Pride of Lions, Treat, (Jack Russell’s )Great White, Pretty Maids, Last in Line, Sixx:AM., Def Leppard, Kansas, Scorpions, Metallica even, are still going for that contemporary sound, wrapped under a strong consistent album, played on AOR FM stations. It’s all related, spreading across diverse genres and bands. Ultimately, it applies to rock bands with strong albums, full of songs, all suitable to be aired on radio stations and listened by everyone.
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~
Huge thanks to UltimateClassicRock for reminding me of this precious Van Halen moment! 20 Years ago, one of my most favorite rock bands of all time briefly reunited on the stage of MTV to present an award for Best Male Music Video.
The crowd went crazy, the moment they saw guitarist Eddie Van Halen, drummer Alex Van Halen and bassist Michael Anthony, alongside David Lee Roth. However, if you watch the whole appearance, you can easily spot the obvious estrangement and hidden tension between the members of the band. David’s a showman; he demands attention and gets it at all costs. I love him, however he just wanted that night to be all about him, instead of getting down to business – the MTV awards. At one point, Eddie was too embarrassed, so he physically pulled David away from the microphone.
Van Halen had no intention of getting back with David on a permanent basis. The MTV guest appearance was simply part of their promotional activities for Best Of – Volume 1. The foursome even recorded two new songs for the compilation album – “Me Wise Magic” and “Can’t Get This Stuff No More.”
Earlier that year, Sammy Hagar – their second frontman, left the band under questionable circumstances and it was the perfect time to briefly take David back in to record the surprise new songs for the 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. Cheers~ 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.
The legendary, three-day Woodstock Festival is one of those musical events which can never be forgotten and will always be referred to as the pivotal festival that simply made history. Everyone has heard of it and so many of our parents were even there to attend it! Unfortunately, my generation will never have the chance to witness such magic. I mean, legends such as Grateful Dead, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and many more together on one stage, performing in front of over 400,000 people…imagine the scale of such event!
Woodstock festival, billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music” was scheduled from August 15 to 17, 1969, but it continued till the 18th on a dairy farm in New York state. The event gathered together hippies, flower children, rockers, rock legends and every other person who wanted to be part of history. It was declared as a free concert, as the fences were torn down and the huge flows of people were just simply crushing everything on their way. Babies were born, two people actually died, 33 people were arrested, tons of food was eaten, and tons of marijuana was smoked. This anti-war festival successfully managed to provide the idealistic harmony and quality of music the audience was hoping for. Definitely the biggest event in music!
Since we celebrated the 47th anniversary of Woodstock ’69 quite recently, I decided to gather up some live performances and remind my readers of the scale and brilliancy of the event. I hope you guys will enjoy the music and be able to feel the magic of Woodstock!
The 8th studio album of The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released today in 1967! This is one of those records that don’t really need an introduction, accompanied by a bunch of words expressing how great and impressive it is. What do we need to understand and remember, though, is that this record is one of the most essential and unsurpassed albums ever made and its influence, contributions and success will forever remain unmatched. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is simply the holy grail of rock music; an absolute breakthrough masterpiece that features adventurous elements of rock&roll, classical music, psychedelia and art rock, all racing together on superior studio technology. The Beatles were fearless; boundaries were demolished and the ultimate achievement was reached. It’s been almost 50 years since its release but this record still remains the greatest musical statement of all time!
Let’s look through some facts about Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and listen to some music!
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is #1 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band spent 27 weeks at the top of the album charts in the UK and 15 weeks at #1 on the USA charts as well. It’s also the third best-selling album in the UK with over 5.1 million copies being sold.
Sgt. Pepper band is the name of the alter ego group they chose to present themselves as. This alter ego band gave them freedom and flexibility to experiment and explore new musical directions.
The Beatles spent over 129 days and 700 hours on the LP which was 30 times more than they did on their debut album “Please Please Me”.
George Martin – the producer of the record explained that Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was an attempt to match Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. “Without Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper never would have happened … Pepper was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds,” Martin stated.
The album cover art cost more than £3000 which was quite expensive at that time. It was designed by British pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth. The collage includes 57 photos and 9 waxworks of famous people, such as actors, scientists and writers, including Bob Dylan, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Stan Laurel, Oscar Wilde, Lewis Caroll and many more. Lennon wanted to include Jesus and Hitler, however his ideas were rejected.
Time magazine described the record as “a historic departure in the progress of music”.
The lyrics were printed in full on the back cover of the record. This was done for the first time on a rock LP.
Paul sings five lead vocals; John sings three; John and Paul share the lead on two; Ringo sings lead on one song and George, Paul and John share the lead on one song as well.
‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ was thought to be a reference to LSD. However, John stated that it was from a drawing made by his 4-year old son Julian.
All the songs were written and composed by Lennon–McCartney except “Within You Without You”, which was written by George Harrison.
The total length of the album is 39:52 as it includes 13 songs.
Paul wrote and sang lead on the title track “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. Three days after the record came out, the Jimi Hendrix Experience opened a show with their interpretation of the track.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is a record with songs designed in a way so that they couldn’t be performed live. The Beatles were embracing the studio experience and adopted numerous experimental approaches that simply cannot be adjusted for a live performance.
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 infamous bar CBGB(full name CBGB & OMFUG) is the birthplace of punk rock and new wave! It’s an iconic place and numerous important and influential musicians performed their first gigs there. The club owner – Hilly Kristal, helped bands such as Ramones, Blondie and Talking Heads kick off their careers by giving them a stage where they could rock as hard as they want! CBGB is the rock mecca of New York and naturally due to its enormous impact and importance, the majority of Americans are quite familiar with it. However, to many people outside America, the club and its significant role in the formation and development of the underground rock scene is quite unknown – and I’m saying it based on experience. Many people love and listen to Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads or the Heartbreakers; however they may not be so familiar with their origin stories and how they relate with CBGB in particular. Therefore, I decided to prepare a little informative publication in which I can talk a little bit more about CBGB and some of the bands that made their first steps as musicians on that infamous stage! I hope those of you who don’t know much would benefit from the publication! Cheers!
~ It was in 1973, when Hilly Kristal opened CBGB in Manhattan’s East Village.
~ In the beginning, it was a biker bar, named Hilly’s on the Bowery; however in time, the owner started booking rock acts and by doing so, he changed the course of music history.
~ The bar’s full name – CBGB & OMFUG—stands for “Country, Bluegrass, Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers”. Gormandizers in this context means “a voracious eater of … music”
~ The original idea of the club was to promote U.S. root music such as country, bluegrass, and blues music, along with poetry readings.
~ During the 70s, the bar would host shows by local punk rock legends, including Ramones, Blondie, Talking Head, Television, the Patti Smith Group, the Shirts, the Heartbreakers, the Fleshstones and many more. In addition, it also became the place where out-of-towners such as the Police and B-52’s made their first New York debuts.
~ In the 70s, unsigned artists were having a hard time finding clubs that would allow them to perform their own original music. To pay the bills, Hilly decided to allow some local promoters to bring their artists to the club, as long as they follow 2 rules – the bands had to move their own equipment by themselves, and they couldn’t play any cover songs.
~ It took less than a year for the club to become a central figure in New York’s rock scene. Bands and fans were coming from every corner of the city to experience the raw energy and loud authenticity of punk rock music.
~ In the 80s, CBGB became the hardcore punk mecca of New York. Due to the aggressive nature of hardcore music, such concerts would almost always end up in violent “disagreements” and fights. Thus, Hilly Kristal had no choice but to end up those hardcore bookings.
~ The club was closed in 2006 after a heavily disputed rent controversial. Now, the location of the club is occupied by John Varvatos fashions. One year after CBGB was shuttered, Hilly Kristal died. The famous CBGB awning was given to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
~ There’s a live action movie titled “CBGB” which was released in 2013. Alan Rcikman plays Hilly Kristal.
Now, let’s talk music!
When I think of CBGB, naturally, Ramones are the first band that comes to my mind. The reason why is because Ramones wouldn’t have been called the fathers of punk rock without CBGB – and it goes the other way around – CBGB wouldn’t have been called the birthplace of punk rock and new wave without the Ramones. Four guys with long hair and leather jackets stepped on that stage and did their first gig on August 16, 1974. They played their entire set of songs in less than 12 minutes – yes, that’s one characteristic of punk rock! That night, the guests of the club had no idea they are witnessing something so important and iconic! After the gig, Ramones would become regulars and attract so many fans with their straightforward and bizarre lyrics and raw and distorted riffs!
Time for some girl power! Before Blondie made their official debut at CBGB, singer Deborah Harry and guitarist Chris Stein were already veterans of the CBGB stage, performing in two different bands. Blondie’s first CBGB gig was on January 17, 1975 and they quickly turned into an absolute local sensation. With a charismatic, gorgeous and rebellious bad girl as their leader and music incorporating the sounds of punk, pop, reggae and doo-wop, they were destined for success! Even though, they became too mainstream and adopted friendlier and more pop-oriented sounds, CBGB has never left the hearts of Blondie!
Talking Heads made their debut on the CBGB stage on June 8, 1975, as the opening act for…Ramones! Those two bands are most certainly didn’t have much in common – Talking Heads preferred the sounds of the acoustic guitar, accompanied by poetic lyrics. The band would eventually be referred to as the artsy hipsters/geeks of the punk rock scene.
Here are some other quite memorable and essential live performances from the stage of CBGB!