What is AOR?

beatles sAlbum 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.

boston-bostonThings 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.

Journey_EscapeEventually, 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.

kansas-the-prelude-implicitThis 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~

[Rock History] Today in 1967, The Beatles released “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

beatles s

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!

beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

  • 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.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band back cover

  • 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.

beatles sgt


References:
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sgt._Pepper’s_Lonely_Hearts_Club_Band
“50 Sgt. Pepper Facts”, retrieved from http://www.udiscovermusic.com/the-beatles-sgt-pepper
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~

15 Facts You Need To Know About JUDAS PRIEST

judas-priest-logo

Hello, everyone!

Today we are going to talk about one of my favorite classic rock bands – Judas Priest. Actually I haven’t been a die-hard fan of Judas Priest for that long (in comparison with other bands, such as Ramones or Def Leppard, for instance), however, I got instantly captivated by the music of those metal Gods and now I can’t really stop listening to their classics or imagine a day without playing “Turbo Lover” or “Living After Midnight” (those two songs in particular are a instant mood changer for me)…

A couple of days ago, we actually got some great news – Judas Priest are back in the studio, ready to blow our minds away with new and awesome music. In the spirit of this incredible news and because I love and respect the band so much, I’ve decided to prepare a little informative publication for my readers and for myself, actually. I consider Judas Priest as one of the most essential and influential bands in the rock music scene, so regardless of whether you are a crazy JP’s fan or not, there are some things you have to know about the band – some essential band profile characteristics. Also, in case some of you guys have forgotten about their most appreciated albums and loved songs, this publication might refresh your memory! Now – let’s talk details!

Judas Priest - 80s 2


 

~ Judas Priest are a heavy metal band, formed in Birmingham, England, back in 1969.

~ The inspiration for the band name was Bob Dylan’s 1967 song The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest. Bruno Stapenhill was the one who came up with the name. The band was also regularly rehearsing at Dylan’s house in Stone Cross.

~ Judas Priest revolutionized heavy metal fashion. They were famous for their image of S&M leather, spikes and other rather taboo and provocative clothing which became very influential during the glam metal era of the 80s.

~ During the 70s, Judas Priest struggled by going through numerous lineup changes, unsupportive producers and basically had no major commercial success. However, during the 80s, things completely changed for them, as they adopted simpler and friendlier sound.

~ So far, Judas Priest have 17 studio albums, 6 live albums, 6 compilation albums, 10 video albums and 33 singles. The band have sold more than 40 million albums worldwide, with 12 million copies in the United States.

~ Their 1980 album “British Steel” is the album responsible for their major success and public attention during the era. “Breaking the Law”, “United”, and “Living After Midnight” were the songs, released as singles. The Guardian also named British Steel” as the record that defined heavy metal.

~ The album “British Steel” takes its name from Judas Priest guitarist Glen Tipton who was once an apprentice at British Steel – a metal manufacturing company.

Judas Priest - British Steel
“British Steel” Album Cover

 

~ In 1985, two teenagers shot themselves after listening to Judas Priest’s album “Stained Class”. They were unsuccessfully sued by the mother of the kid who survived. He claimed that subliminal messages on the song “Better By You, Better Than Me” had caused those suicide attempts.

(P.S. I don’t know about you guys, but the only thing that this song makes me do is turn the volume to the max…)


~ Judas Priest’s tenth studio album, titled “Turbo”, released in 1986, marked the band’s first use of guitar synthesizers.

Judas Priest - Turbo
“Turbo” Album Cover

~ Before becoming the lead singer of Judas Priest, Halford was a lighting engineer for stage productions. He transferred his love for theatrics and light effects to the band’s concerts, by using various smoke machines, spotlights and numerous other visual effects. A trademark of the band is his stage entrance on a motorcycle.

~ Singer Rob Halford had a temporal departure from the band in the early 1990s. Faced with an ever-growing demand for a reunion, Rob Halford returned triumphantly for the release of the CD box set “Metalogy”, which was followed by a European tour and new album – “Angel of Retribution” (2005).

Judas Priest - 2005
Judas Priest – 2005

 

~ Tim “Ripper” Owens replaced Rob Halford as a lead singer in 1996. Owens turned from a die-hard fan of the band to their frontman in a night. He recorded 2 albums with his heroes. The 2001 movie “Rock Star” – telling a story about a tribute band singer who is asked to join the real band is loosely based on Owens’ life.

~ In 2010, Judas Priest won a Grammy for Best Metal Performance, for their song “Dissident Aggressor”.


 

~ “Redeemer of Souls”, released in 2014, is Judas Priest’s highest charting position album so far – it peaked at number 6 on the Billboard 200 chart. It also marked their first top-10 debut album in the US.



~ On Season 25 of the Simpsons, Judas Priest were called “black metal”. In the following week’s episode, an apology was given – Bart Simpson wrote “Judas Priest is not death metal” on the black board.

Simpsons blackboard


 

Credits:
“Artistfacts for Judas Priest”, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/facts-judas_priest.php
“British Steel Turns 35: Celebrate The Judas Priest Classic With 35 Album Fact”, retrieved from http://www.vh1.com/news/5134/judas-priest-british-steel-35-album-facts/
“Judas Priest Wikipedia Page”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judas_Priest
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights go to the owners and/ publishers.

CBGB And The Birth Of Punk Rock And New Wave

LOGO CBGB

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!

CBGB place

CBGB-NYC-Rock-Landmarks
CBGB in the 70s…

~ It was in 1973, when Hilly Kristal opened CBGB in Manhattan’s East Village.

Hilly Kristal 2

~ 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.

CBGB - after closing
The entrance of CBGB on the day it was closed…

Now, let’s talk music!

Ramones

Ramones in the 70s

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!


Blondie

Blondie in the 70s

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

Talking Heads

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!

Television – “Blank Generation”, 1974

Patti Smith – “Dancing Barefoot”, 1979

Beastie Boys – “Egg Raid On Mojo”, 1983

Guns N’ Roses – “Patience”, 1987

Social Distortion – “Ball And Chain”, 1992


 

Credits:
CBGB: 10 Classic Moments That Helped Define the Birthplace of Punk, retrieved from http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/6414266/cbgb-10-classic-moments
“10 Influential Bands That Got Their Start at CBGB”, retrieved from http://diffuser.fm/cbgb-bands/?trackback=tsmclip
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~

How These 10 Classic Rock Bands Came Up With Their Names?

Greetings, everyone! Happy weekend – I hope you guys are doing well and having a wonderful “no-work-for-two-days” time!

For this Saturday’s publication I really wanted to prepare something informative and interesting for my readers. Then, I came up with an idea which hopefully will clear things up for some of you or reaffirm the knowledge of others. Nevertheless, it always feels quite amusing to go back to the beginning of the story of our favorite rock bands and understand how they came up with their music, lyrics, style and unique approach that was able to differentiate them among the numerous other artists in the industry. One of those special and extremely essential aspects of any rock band is of course… their name! Needless to say, in any given situation, whether it’s a company, a product, a person, a street, a city, a rock band…we define, refer, recognize and remember through names.

Some bands have indeed rather peculiar and extraordinary names which clearly identify their music, genre, characteristics and expression. With the following publication, I am going to reveal the origin of their names and try to explain why they chose to call themselves like that. I am sure that many devoted rock fans are quite familiar with the stories behind the names; however there might be people out there who are not so sure and would like to know.

We love and listen to the music of bands such as The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Guns N’ Roses, The Ramones and we can’t stop repeating their names. Now, it’s time to find out how they came with them… I chose ten classic, old-school rock bands which I believe have some of the most interesting and memorable names in the history of rock music. Forgive me for the rather peculiar mixture, however those bands do have a lot in common…and it starts with having very cool names!


 

 

The Beatles

THEBEATLES 203Let’s start with the fab five! The story begun in 1957, when young John Lennon assembled his skiffle group, first calling it the Black Jacks and eventually changing it into the Quarry Men. Throughout the years, they had a few name changes, such as Johnny and the Moondogs, the Beatals, the Silver Beetles, the Silver Beats, and the Silver Beatles, before they finally settled on the Beatles.  
John Lennon actually wrote a humorous story about how the name came from. It appeared in an article in a Liverpool magazine. He said, It came in a vision–a man appeared in a flaming pie and said unto them “From this day on you are Beatles with an A.” “Thank you, Mister Man,” they said, thanking him. (Paul McCartney even put an album called “Flaming Pie.”)

As far as the serious version is concerned, it’s quite simple – The Crickets (Jerry Allison, Buddy Holly, and Joe B. Mauldin) were cited as a major inspiration for the name. Furthermore, the misspelling of “beetles” is a play on words, basically describing the unique “beat” of the band. In an interview, Lennon stated, “Well, I remembered the other day when somebody mentioned the Crickets at a press conference. I’d forgotten all about that. I was looking for a name like the Crickets that meant two things, and from Crickets I got to Beatles. I changed the B-e-a because it didn’t mean two things on its own — B, double-e-t-l-e-s didn’t mean two things. So, I changed the ‘a,’ added the ‘e’ to the ‘a’, and it meant two things, then….. It was beat and beetles, and when you said it people thought of crawly things, and when you read it, it was beat music.”


 

The Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones - nameNow I can’t talk about the Beatles and not talk about The Rolling Stones now can I? The story of how they decided to call themselves like that is pretty short and simple as well. The band was heavily influences by Chess Records artists, such as Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Howlin’ Wolf and many other blues musicians. In June 1962, the band’s line up consisted of Jagger, Jones, Richards, Stewart, Taylor, and drummer Tony Chapman. According to Keith Richards, Brian Jones saw a Muddy Waters LP lying on the floor, while he was talking to Jazz News on the phone. When they asked him what his band was called, he thought of Muddy Waters’ track “Rollin’ Stone”…the rest is history.


 

The Doors

The Doors 2Why did choose to call themselves the Doors? It’s very philosophical and poetical but what else did we expect from the most intense and progressive rock bands of the 60s? Jim Morrison came up with the name which was derived from a passage in William Blake’s “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”“When the doors of perception are cleansed, things will appear to man as they truly are… infinite.” The same passage also inspired the title of Aldous Huxley’s 1954 essay on his first psychedelic experience – “The Doors of Perception” which Jim Morrison had read.


 

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd - DrawingThe details behind the origin of their band name vary, however the story goes like this: At first, the band was playing under multiple names, including “Tea Set”. However, imagine their surprise when they turned up at a gig and found up that another band on the lineup was also called “Tea Set”. Syd Barret, under pressure, had to quickly come up with a new name. The alternative he settled on was The Pink Floyd Sound, after two blues musicians – Pink Anderson and Floyd Council – two of his favorite artists. Barret took the names from his record collection – perhaps he saw the sleeves side by side and had a sudden inspiration – we don’t know for sure. There’s no evidence that those two bluesmen have ever worked or recorder together, despite the fact that some people wishfully believe that Anderson and Council actually made a recording together.
The Sound part was dropped quite quickly, but The was kept for a while, until 1970. David Gilmour is also known to have referred to the group as The Pink Floyd as late as 1984.


 

QUEEN

QUEENQueen were originally called “Smile” – quite nice and lovely, right? Singer Freddie Mercury was the one who came up with the new name and this is what he said about it, Years ago I thought up the name ‘Queen’ … It’s just a name, but it’s very regal obviously, and it sounds splendid … It’s a strong name, very universal and immediate. It had a lot of visual potential and was open to all sorts of interpretations. I was certainly aware of gay connotations, but that was just one face of it.” Many people associate the band name with Freddie’s sexual orientation; however that’s not the case – Queen is a very powerful word and it did open quite a few doors for the band!


 

KISS

KISS - nameWhen you heard the name “KISS” for the first time you thought about lovely kisses and smooches, right? Well, you may be so close and yet so far… There have been a few speculations about the name of the band. According to a rumor, going around in the 1980s, their name as an acronym for (K)ids (I)n (S)atan’s (S)ervice. Well, KISS did piss a lot of people off with their image and music, so naturally you have no idea how many of them thought of KISS as a “devil band”. Some people even believed that their records included Satanic messages when played backwards.
The not so evil version of the story goes like this: Peter Criss, the original drummer of the band was in a car with Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Ace Frehley in New York. The members knew that Peter used to be in a band named LIPS. They were brainstorming some ideas about a band name when Paul suddenly said, “How about KISS?”… the rest is history. Ace Frehley was the one who designed the KISS logo in 1973, which is still used today.


 

YES

YES band 2It’s time for YES to make their official debut on my blog! I have to say, the band can’t really brag about their name since honestly it’s not so clever or that original. However, that’s the magic of it! The details behind the origin story of the name once again vary. What we know so far is that the band members were having a hard time coming up with a good name but their first gig was coming so they had to think of something quite fast. For their debut gig, they chose the name YES, suggested by Banks as being “short, positive, direct, and memorable”. It was supposed to be a temporary solution but obviously, the name stuck.

Jon Anderson told Yesspeak that while they were brainstorming for band names, Jon Anderson thought of Life, Chris Squire thought of World, and Peter Banks, kept saying yes. They asked him, whether he means “The Yes?” but he said “No, Yes”…

There’s also the “Yellow Submarine” theory, according to which they got the name from the long scene during “It’s Only a Northern Song” where the word “Yes” multiples on the screen in big bold block letters with exclamation points.


 

The Ramones

Ramones - nameSay hello to The Ramones – the Punk Rock Gods I love so much! I’m sure that at one point we were all asking ourselves what does “Ramones” stand for and how did they chose this particular family name? Well, according to sources, they chose the name as a tribute to Paul McCartney who used the alias “Paul Ramone” when he would book or check into hotels, incognito. All band members adopted pseudonyms ending with the surname “Ramone”, even though that was not their given name and were not related in any way – original members named themselves Joey Ramone, Johnny Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone and Tommy Ramone; other members include Marky Ramone, Richie Ramone, Elvis Ramone and C. J. Ramone.


 

Guns N’ Roses

guns n roses - nameI decided to include Guns N’ Roses because to my surprise, a lot of people are not so familiar with the origin story of the band name, which by the way is so short and simple.

When I heard the name for the first time, I thought it was a clever symbolic representation of their music: “guns” – something deadly and dangerous, and “roses” – something gentle and romantic. However, the reason why they chose the name is because of the members’ previous bands. Axl Rose and and rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin of Hollywood Rose, joined forces with lead guitarist Tracii Guns, bassist Ole Beich, and drummer Rob Gardner of L.A. Guns. They simply combined the names of both previous group and settled upon Guns N’ Roses.


 

Judas Priest

Judas Priest - 80sComing from Birmingham, England, Judas Priest is probably the heavy metal band that matters the most, judging by the nickname they got – The Metal Gods.
The expression “Judas Priest” was once used to cloak the words “Jesus Christ” when these were intended as a curse – something like “Gee” or “Gosh!” However, that’s not the case with Judas Priest. The inspiration for the band name was the song The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest, carved into vinyl by Bob Dylan in 1967. Bruno Stapenhill was the one who came up with the name. The band was also regularly rehearsing at his house in Stone Cross.


 

Credits:
“Where did the Beatles come up with the band’s name?”, retrieved from https://www.quora.com/Where-did-the-Beatles-come-up-with-the-bands-name
The Doors Biography, retrieved from https://rockhall.com/inductees/the-doors/bio/
What is the meaning of Pink Floyd that inspired the band’s name?, retrieved from https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-meaning-of-Pink-Floyd-that-inspired-the-bands-name
Stories Behind Band Names, retrieved from http://www.noiseaddicts.com/2011/02/band-names-poison-queen-kiss-bon-jovi-motley-crue/
YES – band name origin, retrieved from http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=8362
Guns N’ Roses – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guns_N’_Roses
Judas Priest Band name meaning, retrieved from http://bandnaming.blogspot.kr/2013/04/judas-priest-band-name-meaning.html
Why did they choose the name Ramones?, retrieved from http://dyingscene.com/news/why-did-they-choose-the-name-ramones/
List of band name etymologies, retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_band_name_etymologies
P.S . I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the credits and rights go to the owners and/or publishers.

Album Focus – Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (1975)

Some people say that the era of the CDs is long gone. However believe it or not, there are people like me out there who still purchase and collect CDs. I have this little CD shop near the place I live (I have to take a picture next time) and I just love spending hours and hours there. They have these huge wooden shelves with tons and tons of CDs and even vinyl records. The whole atmosphere just screams my name!
Anyhow, a few days ago I went there to look for some albums and spend some quality “me” time. After hours of literally checking every single album on the shelves and a huge struggle not to buy all the albums I saw, I ended up buying the debut album of one of my most favorite rock bands – Rainbow. The title of the album is “Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow” and it was released on the 4th of August, 1975. Can you believe this? It has been 40 years since this album hit the shelves. It turned out I bought it on its 40th year anniversary – such a pleasant coincidence. Originally I was hoping to come across and buy their “The Very Best of Rainbow” album that came out in 1997, however I couldn’t find it (still not giving up, though). Then, the lady from the CD shop was kind enough to find me the debut album from the storage. The album itself was imported from the USA and of course, it’s a remaster. I just had to buy it – it is such a rare precious and a must for every Rainbow or Ritchie Blackmore or Ronnie James Dio fan. In the following post I would briefly present the album and its songs. This is not a band profile publication, so I would like to focus on the album itself, rather than the members. I decided to dedicate my first publication to this debut album because it is the most recent CD I purchased and because it is the debut of my blog

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Album Title : Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow
Released: 1975 (Vinyl Record) ; 1999 (CD in remastered form)
Genre: Hard Rock, Progressive Rock, Heavy Metal
Record Label: Oyster (UK) ; Polydor (Worldwide)
Members: Ronnie James Dio – lead vocals; Ritchie Blackmore – guitar; Micky Lee Soule – piano, mellotron, clavinet, organ; Craig Gruber – bass; Gary Driscoll – drums
Singles: “Man On The Silver Mountain” ; “Snake Charmer” (October 1975)
Produced by: Ritchie Blackmore, Martin Birch and Ronnie James Dio
Interesting fact: The album was recorded in Germany. It is the first ever project of Ritchie Blackmore after his departure from Deep Purple. Vocalist Ronnie James Dio, consider this album as the best Rainbow album.

Tracklist:
1.Man on the Silver Mountain
2.Self Portrait
3.Black Sheep of the Family
4.Catch the Rainbow
5.Snake Charmer
6.Temple of the King
7.If You Don’t Like Rock n’ Roll
8.Sixteenth Century Greensleeves
9.Still I’m Sad (The Yardbirds cover)

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Firstly, I would like to start with the album cover. It was made by American fine artist David Willardson. Honestly speaking, I am not such a huge fan of cartoon-style album covers. Realistic album covers (photographs) or simplistic designs have always been more striking to me. On the cover we see a castle which also happens to be a guitar and there’s a rainbow behind it. It is very colorful and too Disney-like I would say. It’s only natural since the artist worked for Disney at that time, but still…The trend of putting unique and rather strange, surrealistic art on an album cover was very strong at that time – especially the second part of the 70s. For instance artists such as Roger Dean and Storm Thorgerson were extremely popular with bands like Pink Floyd, YES and Asia. Back to Rainbow’s cover, I do really like it – why? – because it is very distinctive and easy to remember. Also, there’s something very magical and mysterious in the painting itself – I just want to enter into the rock castle and never go out…
Real-life picture of the album cover ~ That’s how it looks; Very distinctive, right?

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Secondly, I would like to talk more about the songs from the album. I am not going to comment on each and every song; rather than that I will focus on the overall picture, as well as on two songs in particular – my favorite songs from the album.
Bottom line is, if you like the combination of hard rock and poetic, fantasy-oriented lyrics – this is the album for you. Most of the songs are a bit gloomy in terms of lyrics, except “If You Don’t Like Rock ‘N’ Roll” which is very upbeat and in my opinion is the perfect 60s rock’n’roll nostalgia song! In terms of vocal and guitar delivery I would say that the album is rather simplistic, not as progressive and innovative as some people would like it to be. However, to me that is exactly why the album is so good! Ritchie’s riffs are not as complicated and aggressive as they used to be back when he was with DP and that is the beauty of it! Ronnie, on the other hand is just perfect – in my book of the greatest male rock vocals of all time, he is definitely in top 10. I don’t think anyone can sing those highs the way he does – just play “Black Sheep Of The Family” or “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves” and you will see what am I talking about!

The two songs I wanted to talk about are “Man On The Silver Mountain” and “Catch The Rainbow”, which in my opinion are the best songs of the album.

One of the most memorable song intros ever (at least to me)! Ronnie said that it’s “a semi-religious song, the man on the silver mountain is a kind of God figure everyone is crying out to.” – rather interesting right? It was co-written by Dio and Blackmore. When Ronnie died in 2010, the words “The man on the silver mountain Ronnie James Dio” were put on his grave. The song is a classic and it defines an era – I don’t have to say more. It’s memorable, catchy and very powerful – the greatest thing is that it delivers that power to the listeners. Ronnie’s vocals are beyond perfect! Personally, my favorite part of the song, as well as lyrics is when Ronnie sings :
“Come down with fire
Lift my spirit higher
Someone’s screaming my name
Come and make me holy again” ….and then we hear the memorable guitar riff! ❤

“Catch The Rainbow” is probably the gloomiest song from the album. However, I don’t think it is that type of song that brings out sad emotions and feelings (at least to me). The song itself was not released as a single, however it remains one of their most famous works. The song is loved that much probably because it is often connected with  “Little Wing” by “The Jimmy Hendrix Experience”. To me personally, its strongest point is the simplistic yet powerful guitar riff and the background choirs that create a very mysterious and a bit psychedelic vibe. Lyrically speaking, the song is very poetic and beautiful. I especially love the chorus:
“We believed we’d catch the rainbow
Ride the wind to the sun
Sail away on ships of wonder”

A real life picture of the CD with the tracklist and the covers of each and every song on the right part of the case. Very well-packaged, indeed!

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Finally, I just want to say that to me, this is one of the most expected and successful debut albums of all time. Ritchie and Ronnie are an amazing team and I wish Ronnie was still with us to continue working together… I am very glad I bought the album and I would recommend it to everyone who enjoy rock music from the 70s. The album possesses an essence…a special and unique atmosphere which is no longer present in today’s music; not to mention quality songwriting and brilliant musicianship… Catch the rainbow!

Me, enjoying the newest addition to my CD collection!

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