Why is “RUBBER SOUL” My Favorite BEATLES Album

Everyone loves The Beatles!
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison – do I have to say more? The history of rock&roll can simply be divided into two periods – before and after the Beatles! No other artist or band could or ever will be able to match their universal appeal and limitless talent, not to mention the social and cultural impact they left. Despite a recording career that lasted for about only 8 years, the worldwide craze and popularity turned them into the greatest success story in music history. Let’s also not forget that the British Invasion started with the Beatles – they opened the door for the rest of the British bands who conquered North America and well, the rest is history…

“If greatness is measured in commercial success and popularity, the Beatles were the greatest popular musicians of the twentieth century.”

It wasn’t just one or two albums that cemented their position as the perfect rock&roll band. From their early sound, which was basically a sophisticated meeting between Chuck Berry, Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and Little Richard, to their later, more experimental, psychedelic and way ahead of its time music, The Beatles kept on challenging themselves and overcoming all odds. Each and every one of their albums played a particular role and left a deep, irremovable mark in music history. However, many fans and critics consider “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” to be the absolute creative peak of their career and I actually can’t agree more. Many fans often refer to it as their favorite Beatles album. Other popular choices are “Revolver” or “Abbey Road” – both groundbreaking albums. Personally, however, as much as I adore every musical effort of the Beatles, I’ve always had a soft spot for “Rubber Soul”. I bet there are more people out there who feel the same way. I wanted to talk a little bit more about this transitional album because sometimes it gets lost in translation when in fact I believe it’s their most interesting and story-filled album. Let me tell you why…

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Let’s go back to 1964 when Bob Dylan went down to New York to meet the Beatles. That fateful meeting marked a very crucial point in the careers of everyone involved in it. Imagine the amount of talent and artistic capacity that was about to explode in that room where those two influential rock acts met! Bob Dylan and the Beatles connected right away as ideas and influences started flying around the room. Bob was still strictly an acoustic musician, but it all changed after that meeting. He plugged it in and became a rock&roll player just like that overnight. The Beatles, on the other hand, were influenced artistically and lyrically. Up until that point, their approach to music was simplistic, straightforward and quite innocent. After meeting Bob Dylan, the “poet with a guitar”, however, they no longer came back to the cute love songs – their lyrics became more philosophical and sophisticated and that’s exactly what they needed. That event has always been quite intriguing to me – I do believe that a great conversation can absolutely change your life. This is exactly what happened with Bob and the guys – they pushed each other out of their comfort zones and things were never the same again.
(Bob Dylan also introduced them to marijuana, but that’s a whole new story…)

After releasing a brilliant soundtrack album – “Help”, containing the most covered song in history – “Yesterday”, the Beatles quickly mobilized and “Rubber Soul” was released just in time for Christmas.

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Why do I love “Rubber Soul” so much?

The album cover: The photograph is so engaging – all of the guys are looking to their right, except Lennon, who’s directly looking at you. It makes me feel a bit uncomfortable but quite curious at the same time. One more thing – they didn’t put their name on the cover! Why would they? Everyone knew how the Beatles looked like. It had nothing to do with confidence or arrogance – it’s all clever marketing.

The title: African American soul musicians would often call Mick Jagger (or other white musicians), singing blues and soul music a “plastic soul”. They used that as a reference for the title. It’s just so hilarious…

The music: “Rubber Soul” was the album in which they grew up musically and lyrically. As I already mentioned, this was a transitional album – they turned their back on the simple cheery love songs and focused on delivering a complete and original piece of art. The impact Bob Dylan had on their lives shows off on this album. The change was in the air – they were clearly stimulated by his poetry. The lyrics on “Rubber Soul” are abstract, mysterious, quite ambiguous, and even a bit weird. That is exactly why I love this album so much. The Beatles took that extra step and became even better musicians and songwriters than they were. It’s so impressive to see how their artistry reached new peaks. At the same time, however, “Rubber Soul” still had a little bit of that past naiveté here and there. I guess that’s why it appealed so much to me – it is not that heavy or pretentious as the ones to come; and not as cheesy and sweet as their early stuff. Many people say that “Rubber Soul” was the pot and “Revolver” was the acid and they are absolutely right.

The songs: So many interesting things are going on in this record! Where do I even begin? “Norwegian Wood” – probably my favorite Beatles song. Highly experimental and innovative – no other rock band included an Eastern-Asian instrument in a composition before. The sitar makes the whole experience so special and atmospheric. The lyrics and Lennon’s vocals make it even more special… “I once had a girl…or should I say, she once had me…” ;
“Drive My Car” – uplifting and highly entertaining tune with memorable lyrics and compelling beats. “I told that girl I can start right away, And she said, Listen baby I got something to say. I got no car and it’s breaking my heart, But I’ve found a driver and that’s a start”.
I have a soft spot for Lennon, so “In My Life” and “Girl” are the other moments of the record that won me over. “What Goes On” is such a sweet surprise – Ringo kills it on lead vocals; it’s probably my favorite Ringo song of all time. Recently, I had the chance to listen to him perform this song live and I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it felt! “Think for Yourself” and “If I Needed Someone” with Harrison on lead vocals are superb. One more reason I really appreciate this record is because George was starting to wake up and little by little he got out of his shell and proved that Lennon and McCartney were not the only creative geniuses in the band when it comes to songwriting.

 

I have always been drawn to the magic of “Rubber Soul”. This mid-career record of the Beatles offers so many interesting concepts and ideas. I’ve always enjoyed observing and analyzing the evolving process of a band – when you understand that they are growing up and adopting new styles, new sounds, and new approaches. With “Rubber Soul”, thought the transition was quite obvious, it wasn’t that hard to swallow – Beatles didn’t sacrifice their mass appeal, despite sophisticated instrumentation, quality melodies and deep lyrics. I just love how they started searching for a new meaning in music and came up with this highly appealing record… Always (and forever) a pleasure to listen to it!


 

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~

Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band in one Unforgettable Night in Seoul, South Korea

ringo

2016 was a busy year for Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band. Starting with a North American tour and moving on to Asia, these legendary musicians took on a long but quite important journey to remind people that no one can do it better than the originals. On the 4th of November, it was time for South Korea to experience for the very first time the magic of Ringo’s cheery, one-of-a-kind persona on the stage of Jamsil Indoor Stadium in Seoul. He was not the only highly anticipated star, though. Six other, A-CLASS musicians joined him for a perfect night, full of pleasant surprises, festivities and of course, breath-taking music.

I was so excited and was literally counting the days till the day of the concert ever since I found out about the event and bought my ticket. I was a little bit surprised that they included S.Korea in their tour because not many legendary rockstars are often coming here. So I naturally wasn’t gonna miss it for the world.

Experiencing the music, the aura, the talent and the legacy of such outstanding artists who worked so hard and achieved so much can be a life-changing moment. Let’s talk about the Beatles – the game-changers, the greatest of the greatest, the biggest rock band in the world! Those fabulous four guys made history not only with their music, but with the cultural and social impact they inflicted upon the world. Unfortunately, we don’t have Lennon or Harrison with us any longer. Starr and McCartney are the only two Beatles that are still alive and still rocking pretty good for their age! The amount of respect I have for the Beatles – all four of them, is limitless. So for me, to finally be able to see one of the guys I admire with all my heart and soul, was a moment of a lifetime. I hope I will get to see Paul anytime soon as well. Ringo Starr aside, let’s talk about the other members of his band – all great rockers who previously worked with some of the finest names in the industry. Steve Lukather, guitarist of the great (and one of my ultimate favorite bands) Toto; Richard Page from the 80s band Mr. Mister; Todd Rundgren who produced and worked with so many musicians, in addition to being in the band Utopia; Gregg Bissonette, a drummer coming from The David Lee Roth Band; Warren Ham, a saxophonist who toured with Olivia Newton John; and Gregg Rolie from Santana and Journey who is one of the greatest masters of the organ and keyboards. What else do I have to say? Astonishing assembly of monstrous talents; an exceptional evening was absolutely guaranteed.

Let me tell you a few things about the concert itself. I will try to be as brief as possible because when all you have to say is positive and full of love, there’s no need for extra talking. The only thing I wish I could change was the size of the audience. Unfortunately not as many people as I thought came to the concert but I can understand it up to some extend because it’s South Korea. Over here people are not head-over-heels for old-school bands and rock&roll, especially younger generations who are more involved with newly-emerged genres like K-pop. There were so many foreigners, like myself, which was no surprise at all since Seoul is an international capital.

The show lasted for about two hours, throughout which I couldn’t stop smiling, clapping and screaming. Ringo started the show with a couple of uplifting songs, performed by him. Among them was “Matchbox” (Carl Perkins/The Beatles), “What Goes On” (The Beatles) and his first solo single after the break-up of The Beatles, “It Don’t Come Easy”. Each of the band members took turns in leading a song which provided us with the ultimate experience – it was like a box full of unique chocolates and you get to enjoy each one of their specific tastes and attributes. The moment that will be forever immortalized in my head was when I heard my favorite Toto songs performed live, by Steve Lukather. “Hold the Line”, “Rosanna” and “Africa” were the absolute highlight of my evening and I wanted them to never end. The feeling of witnessing how a song you love so much takes a physical live form is one of the greatest and warmest sensations in the world. Richard Page’s performance of “Broken Wings” was another breathtaking moment for me because it’s one of my most beloved songs. Gregg Rolie delivered superior acts as well that totally stole the show. There was a foreign guy sitting behind me who couldn’t stop screaming “Gregg f***ing Rolie” every few seconds! We heard some Santana songs but unfortunately no Journey which was kind of a disappointment because I’m a huge fan of Journey. They carried out “Evil Ways”, a song they did during Woodstock Festival in 1969 and absolutely stole my heart with it. The song that electrified the audience the most had to be “Yellow Submarine” – that’s the kind of tune it is, I guess. We were singing along and clapping like crazy. Just like that after a series of empowering rockers, the concert was coming to its end. Ringo wrapped things up quite obviously, with of course a Beatles’ song, “Act Naturally” and Sgt. Pepper’s “With a Little Help from My Friends” which is his absolute staple. He couldn’t have finished the night with a better song.

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Setlist

Ringo is such a character. During the show, he took time to make jokes and engage with the audience which naturally everyone loved. He read the signs of the people out loud and made some hilarious comments about them. There was a sign reading “Ringo 4 President” which I think he enjoyed the most! Also, at one point he said something like “You know, when I was in the Beatles, I wrote a lot of songs, none of which got recorded, of course…” and everyone started laughing because we all know who were the main songwriters of the band.

The guys had so much chemistry and such a beautiful aura. I couldn’t get enough of that refreshing air circling the venue, filled up with so much passion and great music. I had an awesome time and am so happy that I got the opportunity to see them live for the first time ever! Here are some photos from the event!


 

Me with my Beatles T-shirt, all ready for the concert;

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Getting closer to the arena…

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And we are here, right on time to grab our tickets and take photos!

Peace & Love

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Me & my lovely Malaysian friend/roommate posing in front of the huge poster!

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Tickets and cool fluorescent bracelets we got ^^

These guys were hilarious! Loved how devoted they were…just look at the masks!

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The venue from the inside:

 

And let the show begin…

Obviously we weren’t up front in the best (and most expensive) seats but the view from above was pretty good as well~

Thank you Ringo & Steve & Todd & Richard & Gregg B. & Warren & Gregg R. for the memories! You guys are the real deal!

We all live in a yellow submarine
Yellow submarine, yellow submarine
We all live in a yellow submarine la la la…

ringo-twitter2


 

P.S. All the photos are mine. Please be kind and make sure that you don’t just save and use them without my permission! Rock on!

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] BAD ENGLISH – Bad English

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BAD ENGLISH

Released: June 26, 1989
Genre: Glam Rock / Hard Rock
Duration: 62:10
Label: Epic
Producer(s): Richie Zito
Certified: Platinum (RIAA)

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OVERVIEW

The supergroup Bad English rose from the ashes of Journey and The Babys. Despite their short-lived career which spawned only two studio albums, keyboardist Jonathan Cain, guitarist Neal Schon, vocalist John Waite, bassist Ricky Phillips and drummer Deen Castronovo deserve a praise for crafting a debut album that not only wrapped up the 80s in quite the fashionable way but also left behind a series of great tunes that still lift our rock spirits!

The debut, self-titled album of Bad English offers a refreshing and quite fantastic, if I may say, mixture of ballads and rockers. The band adopted a simpler, more accessible pop sound, rather than going for the loud hard rock approach. However the quality, flexibly and diversity of this melodic rock bliss resulted in a substantial airplay and a considerable commotion in the last year of the 80s. The ballads of “Bad English” are shining much brighter than the other tracks, though. “When I See You Smile” is a power-ballad staple and a number 1 hit. It’s also the song that made them famous and established them as pioneers of such type of songs. Fans see nothing wrong with that as “When I See You Smile” is nothing but a sweet and quite catchy romantic song with pretty memorable keyboard intro. Kudos to Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Diane Warren for writing it! The other thrilling ballads from the record, “Ghost in Your Heart”, “Possession” and “Price of Love” further cemented their position as a band that just knows how to deliver touching but fairly heated slower tunes. The striking rocker “Best of What I Got” is an absolute personal favorite due to my immense love for the movie “Tango & Cash” (1989). The tune was featured in the soundtrack and became the reason why I got to meet Bad English for the first time when I was a kid (I still have the video cassette). Very underrated rock song despite possessing such an electrifying aura; it’s one of those tracks that can immediately fix my rainy days. “Heaven is a 4 Letter Word” is another catchy, rather hot AOR hit, leaving a lasting aftertaste.  

I honestly cannot say a bad (English) word about this album (see what I did, there hehe). This pop/rock assembly has so much energy in it that there’s no way you wouldn’t enjoy it. The guys are incredible songwriters and John’s vocals fit perfectly into the whole picture. If you love melodic hard-rock, this is the album for you.

 

Tracklist:

“Best of What I Got”
“Heaven is a 4 Letter Word”
“Possession”
“Forget Me Not”
“When I See You Smile”
“Tough Times Don’t Last”
“Ghost In Your Heart”
“Piece of Love”
“Ready When You Are”
“Lay Down”
“The Restless Ones”
“Rockin’ Horse”
“Don’t Walk Away”

Best of What I Got

(From “Tango & Cash”, 1989)

Heaven is a 4 Letter Word

Forget Me Not

When I See You Smile

Ghost In Your Heart


References:
“Bad English (album)” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_English_(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 Story of SURVIVOR’s Gorgeous Ballad – “Ever Since The World Began”

survivor-1982

I recently talked about Survivor’s long list of breathtaking ballads and even made a publication that specifically outlines 5 Beautiful SURVIVOR Ballads That Keep On Melting Our Hearts… Make sure to check it out if you are a person who truly appreciates gentle, well-written and gorgeously sung rock ballads!

I briefly talked about “Ever Since the World Began” but this time I would like to 100% shift your attention to this track because I recently discovered that many people are simply not aware of this track or have completely forgotten about its existence. Needless to say, this makes me feel more anxious than it should because the track is an absolute melodic masterpiece and believe me, I don’t get to say that for a lot of songs.

– Coming out of as the second single from the highly successful “Eye of the Tiger” (1982) – the ultimate staple of AOR in the 80s, “Ever Since the World Began” was completely overshadowed by the commercial success and the attention the title track got. Critics often point out that none other song from the album is worthy of our admiration or is as powerful as the title one, however here I have to step in and make it clear that the album is so much more than that. This right here is a perfect example of how one track can completely overtake an entire album. People like me, however, we come in and try to find the hidden treasures and reveal it to the mass because sometimes the most gorgeous diamonds are not on the surface. 

“Ever Since the World Begin” is credited to the songwriting partnership of Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan.

– The heart and soul of this song is of course, Dave Bickler’s emotional vocal delivery which gives you a whole new perspective on how talented he is. “Ever Since the World Begin” is a perfect marriage of vocals and lyrics, an absolute match made in heaven.

– In 1989, after a brief disbandment, Jimi Jamison, Survivor’s second vocalist, recorded the song for the movie “Lock Up”. I am not going to compare the two vocalists or the two versions because I love and respect both those outstanding musicians way too much to do it. I posted the two videos,  you decide for yourself.

– Lyrics! Lyrics! Lyrics! We have to always think about the importance of the lyrics! A simple word, expression or a story, told within the boundaries of a song, can have such a huge impact on someone’s emotional state and understanding of the world. “Ever Since the World Begin” is a song that gives you hopes that destiny will simply do its magic and even though you might not understand how it all began, it’s all part of the plan. I don’t know about you, guys, but I really believe in the idea that the road you take with someone, it was all written somewhere, when the world begun. Seasons will change and you will rise and fall, but destiny will guide you and if your so-called predetermined soulmate is right there, next to you, love will always keep you together.


Dave Bickler on vocals (“Eye of the Tiger”, 1982)


Jimi Jamison on vocals (Soundtrack from the movie “Lock Up”, 1989)


 

Ever Since The World Began Lyrics


💕🎶 I’ll never know what brought me here,

As if somebody led my hand,
It seems I hardly had to steer,
My course was planned.
And destiny it guides us all,
And by it’s hand we rise and fall,
But only for a moment,
Time enough to catch our breath again.

And we’re just another piece of the puzzle,
Just another part of the plan,
How one live touches the other,
Is so hard to understand.
Still we walk this road together,
We travel through as far as we can,
And we have waited for this moment in time,
Ever since the world began.

Taking in the times gone by,
We wonder how it all began,
We’ll never know and still we
Try to understand.
And even though the seasons change,
The reasons shall remain the same,
It’s love that keeps us holding on
Till we can see the sun again.

And we’re just another piece of the puzzle,
Just another part of the plan,
And we have waited for this moment in time,
Ever since the world began.

And I stand alone, a man of stone,
Against the driving rain,
And the night it’s got your number,
And the wind it cries your name,
If we search for truth, win or lose,
In this we’re all the same,
The hope still burns eternal,
We’re the keeper of the flame.

And we’re just another piece of the puzzle,
Just another part of the plan,
How one live touches the other,
Is so hard to understand.
Still we walk this road together,
We try and go as far as we can,
And we have waited for this moment in time,
Ever since the world began. 💕🎶


 

References:
“Ever Since The World Began” Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/survivor/eversincetheworldbegan.html
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~

’90S ROCK BLAST: DEF LEPPARD – RETRO ACTIVE

def-leppard-retro-active

RETRO ACTIVE

Released: October 5, 1993
Genre: Hard Rock/Glam Rock
Duration: 56:04
Label: Mercury
Producer(s): Def Leppard
Singles: “Two Steps Behind”, “Desert Song”, “Miss You In A Heartbeat”, “Action”, ““Two Steps Behind (re-issue)”
Certified: Platinum (RIAA)

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OVERVIEW

Def Leppard released four albums during the 90s but this time I will specifically focus on “Retro Active”, despite “Adrenalize” being their most commercially and critically successful 90s record. I wanted to talk a little bit more about “Retro Active” because of its unique format that combines groomed up versions of unreleased/B-sides tracks and a couple of covers from previous albums. The album carries with it Def Leppard’s genuine and classic ‘80s sound, making it their most deserving work that came out in the ‘90s. Don’t get me wrong, “Adrenalize” and “Euphoria”, for instance are groundbreaking albums, but they cannot match the variety and character of “Retro Active”. Fuelled up with first-class production quality and of course, the dynamic and charismatic spirit of Def Leppard, the record is the ultimate cause for celebration, especially for die-hard fans of the band, like me. On top of it all, the band gives us one more chance to honor the late Steve Clark (RIP) by revisiting his legacy and experiencing his enormous talents and contributions all over again. We get to hear the first recordings with the new guitarist Vivian Campbell, as well.

In terms of songs, “Retro Active” is an absolute rock festival from start to finish. We get to enjoy a couple of gorgeous ballads -“Miss You in a Heartbeat” and “Two Steps behind You”, both presented in acoustic and electric versions.  Listening to those excellent pieces of art makes me such a proud fan of Def Leppard. “Miss You in a Heartbeat”, especially, is one in a lifetime kind of song – memorable and easy to sing with chorus, heartbreaking lyrics and an unmatchable classy aura. I have always been entranced by Joe’s vocals on this track. “She’s too Tough”, originally released on the “Heaven Is” single (1993) is such a delightful surprise and definitely my favorite moment of “Retro Active”. Energizing and empowering, the track is definitely something to anticipate as you go from start to finish. Playful, even sexy lyrics that generate an immediate visual in your mind, which is one of the reasons why I love Def Leppard so much – they tell a story with their music and make things so much more interesting. Kicking things off gently and then quickly teleporting us to a pure solid hard rock realm, “I Wanna Be Your Hero” is another groundbreaking point. On “Retro Active”, you get to find tons of other deserving rockers, such as the covers “Action” (Sweet) and “Only After Dark” (Mick Ronson). The mind-blowing first two opening tracks “Desert Song” and “Fractured Love”, both from Hysteria sessions, are bringing us back to Def Leppard’s early raw roots. The epic “Ride into the Sun” is another personal favorite of mine, probably due to the long history it carries with it – the track was actually featured on Def Leppard’s first ever self-produced EP, released back in 1979 before it was rerecorded in 1987 as a B-side to the “Hysteria” single. “Retro Active” wraps things up with a hidden track – a tender piano version of “Miss You in a Heartbeat”. Leaving us absolutely speechless, you can’t but go on the “Retro Active” journey once again, after the final song is over; the feeling is just that strong!

This album is for everyone, though I do believe that die-hard fans of Def Leppard would enjoy it much more than everyone else. The collection of songs offers a little something for all the rock souls out there – from attractive hard rockers to sentimental ballads, “Retro Active” provides you with the ultimate Def Leppard experience. The album is important also because it’s a final farewell to Steve Clark, the irreplaceable force, without which the band wouldn’t have reached such heights. Grab a copy and enjoy the superb production and quality of this record. Definitely in my top 5 Def Leppard albums! That should tell you something!


Tracklist:

“Desert Song” (Steve Clark, Joe Elliott, Rick Savage)
Outtake from the Hysteria album sessions (1984–87)

“Fractured Love” (Clark, Elliott, Savage) – 5:08
Outtake from the Hysteria album sessions

“Action” (Andy Scott, Brian Connolly, Steve Priest, Mick Tucker)
Original version released on the “Make Love Like a Man” single (1992)

“Two Steps Behind” (Acoustic version) (Elliott)
Original version released on the “Make Love Like a Man” single
Originally released on the Last Action Hero soundtrack (1993)

“She’s Too Tough” (Elliott)
Original version released on the “Heaven Is” single (1993) and is the bonus track for the Japanese pressing of Adrenalize (1992)

“Miss You in a Heartbeat” (Phil Collen)
Original version released on the “Make Love Like a Man” single

“Only After Dark” (Mick Ronson, Scott Richardson)
Original version released on the “Let’s Get Rocked” single (1992)

“Ride into the Sun” (Clark, Collen, Elliott, Savage)
Original version released on the “Hysteria” single (1987)
First recording of the song released on The Def Leppard E.P. (1979)

“From the Inside” (Elliott)
Originally released on the “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad” single

“Ring of Fire” (Clark, Collen, Elliott, Robert John “Mutt” Lange, Savage)
Original version released on the “Armageddon It” single (1988)

“I Wanna Be Your Hero” (Clark, Collen, Elliott, Lange, Savage)
Original version released on the “Hysteria” single

“Miss You in a Heartbeat” (Electric version) (Collen)
This was the Japanese bonus track for Adrenalize

“Two Steps Behind” (Electric version) (Elliott)

“Miss You in a Heartbeat” (Piano version) (Hidden track)) (Collen)

She’s Too Tough

Miss You In A Heartbeat

I Wanna Be Your Hero

Action

Two Steps Behind

Desert Song


References:
“Retro Active” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retro_Active
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] CINDERELLA – Night Songs

cinderella-night-songs-2

NIGHT SONGS

Released: August 2, 1986
Genre: Hard Rock/Glam Metal
Duration: 36:05
Label: Mercury
Producer(s): Andy Johns
Certified: 3xPlatinum (RIAA)
Singles: “Shake Me”, “Nobody’s Fool”, “Somebody Save Me”

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OVERVIEW

I’m putting this record under the category of “The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s”, because as subjective as it may sound, this album has no weak, boring or spiritless song. I don’t think Cinderella could’ve made a better debut album!  “Night Songs” was often criticized for being too generic and quite indistinguishable among the endless sea of hair metal bands, releasing pretty similar music, all cooked by following the well-established recipe for success in the late 80s. I can never agree with this statement because Cinderella were everything BUT your ordinary glam rock band. Unfortunately, their image was what often confused people, though I always say that their talent goes above and beyond the big hair, tight leather pants and leopard shirts. We also have to consider their secret weapon – Tom Keifer. Unfortunately, when we talk about male rock vocalists he is often forgotten, despite possessing one of the most unique high-pitched voices. On top of that, he was/is a brilliant songwriter – each and every song on “Night Songs” is written by him! Such a talent!

“Night Songs” offers an excellent selection of blues-oriented explosive metal riffs of guitarist Jeff LaBar, flavored by the scratchy fierce voice of Tom Keifer, all cloaked under dark, mysterious and quite intriguing character of the record. Their first single “Shake Me”, despite not making it on the charts, rocks pretty hard; sexy, suggestive, catchy and uplifting, the song is one of their ultimate classics. The power-ballad “Nobody’s Fool” is the song that actually got me into their music years ago. One of the most intense and beautifully written power-ballads of the era though I’m not sure I can put it under the same category as the numerous other silly little love ballads of the 80s – it’s too special and so much better! “Nobody’s Fool” is just a different kind of monster, though I definitely hear some AC/DC and Def Leppard influence. “Nothin for Nothin”, “Hell on Wheels” and “In From the Outside” – all infectious rockers, with not so much lyrical depth but still leaving quite the aftertaste! The title track “Night Songs” is a bit darker and gloomier, though quite rhythmic and obsessive. The third single “Somebody Save Me” has quite the memorable MV with their benefactors Bon Jovi appearing at the end. The song itself is one of the finest moments of the record with the most memorable lyrics, telling us about the failed American dream.

To sum up, don’t get turned off by how Cinderella look because believe me, there’s so much more to them than their image!! Cinderella are no Poison or Warrant – their music comes from deeper places. “Night Songs” has a special aura, fuelled with actual music competence in addition to the obvious blues base – all that makes things so much more interesting. After just one listen you will understand what’s the difference between Cinderella and all the other spandex-wearing boys of the era. It’s such a shame that this album and the band never actually got the recognition they deserved. But I’m here to remind you and get to you – listen to this gorgeous explosion of riffs full of live and vocals out of this world!

Tracklist:

“Night Songs” – 4:12
“Shake Me” – 3:44
“Nobody’s Fool” – 4:49
“Nothin’ for Nothin'” – 3:33
“Once Around the Ride” – 3:22
“Hell on Wheels” – 2:49
“Somebody Save Me” – 3:16
“In from the Outside” – 4:07
“Push, Push” – 2:52
“Back Home Again” – 3:30

Shake Me

Nobody’s Fool (#13, 1986)

Somebody Save Me (#66, 1986)

Nothin For Nothin


References:
“Night Songs” Official Wikipedia Webpage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_Songs_(Cinderella_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~