TOP 5 April 2018 Releases

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

It’s hard to believe that April is already gone and 2018 is almost cut in half! Music, alongside with nature is experiencing a spring revival and I feel like this spring we witnessed one hell of a musical awakening! Not that the first three months didn’t leave a strong impact on the scene (especially FM with their “Atomic Generation” album) but I feel like what happened this month in particular was beyond imaginable, even history-defining. Plenty of genres spawned releases worthy of admiration and earned their spot in our musical libraries.
Among the endless river of rock tornadoes hitting us this past month, the following 5 albums are the ones that stood out the most to me. As you can see there’s plenty of variety when it comes to genres, which only proves that great music can come in many forms and sub-genres of rock and metal music. Just like I always say, keep an open mind!
Needless to say, I highly recommend the following 5 albums and in case you haven’t heard them yet, now is the best time to do it!

I would love to know your TOP5 so feel free to comment below and tell me all about your picks!


5. Perfect Plan – All Rise

perfect plan all rise

A refreshing release, full of character and value. “All Rise” is Perfect Plan’s debut album and you can clearly see how much those guys put into their baby, right from the very first track. The album is what any melodic rock fan has been waiting for this month!

“In and Out of Love”


4. Stryper – God Damn Evil

stryper god damn evil

No surprises here. It was only natural for Stryper’s long-awaited comeback album to be in my top5! The guys did an amazing job and the musical and lyrical strength of this album will most probably push it to everyone’s top10 2018 albums.

“Sorry”


3. The Dead Daisies – Burn it Down

the dead dasies burn it down

When you wake up in the morning and you feel like there’s just nothing in this world, capable of energizing you or lifting your tired and exhausted spirit, remember to play this album. It’s been a while since something so fiery and full of passion has arrived at my home. The Dead Daisies are certainly going to bring that needed push in your life. The album is huge!

“Rise Up”


2. TesseracT – Sonder

tesseract sonder

TesseracT came into my life a few months ago and even though this is a genre I’m not quite familiar with and I don’t really play it on a daily basis, I feel like those guys have been with me since forever. It’s great that I became a fan right in time for their latest release, titled “Sonder”. Those grooves are illegal and if you’re in a mood for something different – to get you out of your comfort zone, this is exactly what you need!

“King”


1. Breaking Benjamin – Ember

breaking benjamin ember album cover

The absolute winner for me was Breaking Benjamin’s “Ember”. The highly-anticipated comeback of one of my all time favorite bands was exactly what I needed for. The album deserves all the appreciation, especially since it’s so rich in emotions and musicianship. Just listen to my favorite track and you will understand:

“The Dark of You”

 


References:
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~

[MIXTAPE] Favorite Ballads by THUNDER

thunder band

Lately I’ve been in a heavy Thunder mood. I think this might be due to the recent CD I purchased with their greatest hits. Thunder is one of those bands who should’ve been up there with the rest of the big names of rock music. Even though they released their debut album – “Backstreet Symphony” in 1990, which was certainly not the best time to release a hard rock album, the British rockers still captured the hearts and souls of die-hard rock fans who just know talent when they see it.

I’ve been a fan of Thunder since the moment I heard “Love Walked In” back in the day. The song just means the world to me. My instant connection with the band’s sound and of course, the brilliant vocals of Danny Bowes, led me to this moment right here…

The majority of rock fans who know or have heard of Thunder are familiar with “Love Walked In” which is arguably their most popular song. However, if you think that this is the only quality rock ballad Thunder made throughout their long and prolific career, you are so terribly wrong.

Since I’m one of those people who live for rock ballads, I decided to make a little “mixtape” with just a few of my favorite ballads by a band I adore so much – Thunder. Some of those might be new to you – which is awesome, please enjoy them; if, however you are familiar with those tracks, sit back, relax and relive the memories…


“A Better Man”

thunder laughing on judgement day


“Low Life In High Places”

thunder laughing on judgement day


“Like A Satellite”

thunder laughing on judgement day


“Once In A Lifetime”

thunder their finest hour


“Castles In The Sand”

thunder behind


“Love Walked In”

thunder-backstreet-symphony


“Right from the Start”

rip-it-up-thunder


References:
Band photo retrieved from: http://www.thunderonline.com/www/band
Album covers retrieved from Wikipedia and Google Images.
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

[Playlist] 10 Rock Songs With Iconic & Instantly Recognizable Intros (Part 1)

Every entertainment product follows a well-established formula that aims at grabbing the attention of the audience right from the very beginning. By doing so, the consumers easily get hooked and are more likely to view or listen to the entire piece. Such is the case with movies, TV shows, advertisements and of course, musical products. It’s a popular practice and I can totally understand why; humans are exposed to hundreds of songs per day and of course, time is valuable which often results in consumers quickly moving on to the next song in case they are not impressed during the first 30 seconds of a song. Such is the case with albums; why else do you think artists put their strongest, most powerful songs in the first positions?

Since we were talking about making an impact on the listener right from the very beginning, I decided to craft this little playlist, full of classic rock songs which can not only capture the listeners’ attention from the very first second but also gained acknowledgment with their instantly recognizable, catchy and memorable intros. Of course, there are plenty of tracks with immensely appealing, throat-grabbing intros, decorated with mesmerizing riffs or mind-blowing screams; the list is endless, as a matter of fact. Still, I had to draw the line somewhere and consider a couple of factors. Finally, the first part of my playlist of classic rock tunes with iconic intros is done. I hope you enjoy it and stay tuned for part 2!

Don’t forget to comment and follow my Twitter Page and blog!


The following two songs have something in common and that’s Eric Clapton. I don’t think I need to prove a point with those two.

“Layla” has the most iconic and memorable song intro of all time (in my book, that is). You hear those epic opening riffs and you just know that something magical will follow. You can’t but be hooked and expect the best…

Cream‘s “Sunshine of Your Love” is a similar case but this time, the intro is more psychedelic and may have a different effect on you. Rather than excitement, you may feel like you need to just light a cigarette and chill for a while while you listen to the entire song…

Derek & The Dominos – Layla

Cream – Sunshine of Your Love


The Kinks – You Really Got Me

I’m gonna say just one thing; you try to read it without singing or immediately recalling the melody; that’s gonna be enough to prove my case!

Ta ra ra ra ram…ta ra ra ra ram…Giiirl, you really got me now….
You got me so I don’t know what I’m doin’ now!!


Van Halen – Jump

Synthesizers and Van Halen = one of the most beloved rock songs of all time, Van Halen‘s biggest hit and of course, the intro that makes us “jump” to the dance floor right from the very first key. People say that the synthesizer was one of the reasons why David left the band; I don’t mind them, though. Objectively speaking, if we have to talk about the ’80s and “most instantly recognizable & iconic song intros” this gotta top the playlist.


Chuck Berry – Johny B. Goode

Nothing much to say about this track because no words are worthy enough to describe the great Chuck Berry and his art. The uplifting “Johnt B. Goode” is one of the highlights of his career and definitely one of the greatest rock&roll songs of all time. Most importantly, no force is strong enough to remove the memory of that opening riff once heard; it’s just that powerful.


Deep Purple – Smoke on the Water

I bet there’s not a single person on this universe who doesn’t recognize “the riff”. The four-note blues scale melody, composed by Ritchie Blackmore will forever remain in the history of rock music as one of the simplest, yet so captivating intros and central themes. Not to mention that every youngster learns how to play the guitar with this riff.


Survivor – Eye of the Tiger

This right here is a good example of how important it is to have a huge, powerful impact on the listeners right from the start. One of the reasons why this song is the ultimate staple of ’80s hard rock music is because people can feel the strength and get energized right from the start…by the end of the song you are ready to go and climb a mountain and fight with tigers (literally).


Metallica – Enter Sandman

Love them or hate them, you gotta admit that this intro is known by everyone…Once played, you immediately go “BAM! I know this, it’s Metallica” regardless of whether you are a metalhead or you listen to classical music.


The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again

“Won’t Get Fooled Again” is a glorious rock track, one of the greatest as a matter of fact. A song, sending such strong message needs a proper intro and The Who (Pete Townshend to be precise) knew how to draw the audience with a thrilling, organ-driven intro, progressing into a mass appealing, timeless classic.


Dire Straits – Money for Nothing

“I want my MTV”, says Sting at the beginning of “Money for Nothing”! (I want it too, dear…I want it back too, believe me). The colossal impact of the song and its immortality are unquestionable. That thrilling intro is just the beginning…What follows next is equally intriguing and has tons of story! Make sure you check it out…


+Honorable Mentions

The Ronettes – Be My Baby

(It may not fall under the “rock” genre category but Phil Spector and his wall of sound did play a huge role in the history of modern music. Moreover, that famous intro has been sampled and used (and abused) so many times since the ’60s which absolutely proves how influential and memorable it is! The Ronettes are rockstars and whoever disagrees is more than welcomed to listen to a rock&roll history lesson by me.)

Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall

Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven

&…many more


References:
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~

TOP 10 BEST (POWER) BALLAD(S) Of The ’80s: READERS’ CHOICE

power-ballads-collage

1980s rock ballads? Now that’s one hell of a topic, isn’t it! Where do we even begin talking? There is just so much to say, so many names to mention, so many breath-taking songs to sing!

That softer, much gentler side of rock turned into an essential component of pretty much every record, released in the ‘80s. All hard rock acts jumped on that well-established bandwagon which would certainly take them on a journey to success and fan recognition. Labels demanded it too – if you wanted to hit it big in the ‘80s, you just had to write a killer ballad! Hard rock aside, blues, pop and even heavy metal musicians were also participants of the phenomenon. Don’t get me wrong, ballads have always been important and they will continue to be, however, the amount of ballads, as well as their importance and wall-to-wall presence was way heavier than it is now, for example. Artists were simply putting more effort and emphasis on crafting that perfect soul-soothing sound which I think turned into one of the reasons why we love ‘80s rock music so much!

The formula for (power) ballads was perfected by the mid-80s. Around that time, some of the staples of the flow were released. From Whitesnake to Def Leppard, from Cinderella to Scorpions – all of these great bands left a great number of strong, unforgettable ballads with an everlasting impact. These classic ballads of the ‘80s are still relevant and loved by every music enthusiast around the world. With this in mind, along with my immense adoration for ballads, I decided to ask my readers and followers on which song do they think is the greatest (power) rock ballad of the ‘80s. For about one month, everyone was able to vote and participate in the poll. The results are in and we can now enjoy this exceptional playlist, you guys created! Also, this might be a good chance for us to get in touch with our emotional side! Let’s listen…

Click Here to See the Results:
[POLL] VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE ’80S (Power) BALLAD(S)


10.Skid Row – I Remember You

Skid Row’s 1989 debut spawned an incredible ballad, titled “I Remember You”. This gorgeous tune, written by Rachel Bolan and Dave “the Snake” Sabo, turned into one of Skid Row’s most instantly recognizable and beloved songs of all time. No surprises there! With Sebastian Bach’s near-perfect vocal delivery and that haunting melody, the tune was destined for success. There’s no self-respecting rock fan out there that doesn’t know what follows after “Woke up to the sound of pouring rain…”

Interestingly, the song played a huge part in American popular culture in the year of 1990 – “I Remember You” came to be the most essential component of every prom dance, creating special memories in the hearts of millions.


9. Cheap Trick – The Flame

The highlight of Cheap Trick’s 1988 album “Lap of Luxury” is most certainly the emotional ballad, “The Flame”. The ballad was written by British songwriters Bob Mitchell and Nick Graham and it was first offered to another artist, before Cheap Trick cashed in. “The Flame” is probably one of the most widely-known and profitable rock ballads of all time. Achievements like topping the charts in the USA, Australia and Canada is merely the start of its long legacy. Most importantly, “The Flame” became the life vest of Cheap Trick as they were struggling to stay afloat after the commercial failure of their previous album.

“The band was very skeptical about performing this song live, because we only liked to perform songs written by us. However, a young man from, oh, I don’t know, somewhere, confirmed to us after a show in Florida about a week after the song was released that the song was great and, get this, would be a #1 single. As we joked about the guy’s prediction, we later realized whoa! This guy was right. I thank him for that,” said vocalist Robin Zander.

(quote retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Flame_(Cheap_Trick_song) )

[’80s Rock Album Focus] CHEAP TRICK – LAP OF LUXURY


8. Mötley Crüe – Home Sweet Home

8-motley-crue-home-sweet-home

According to some sources, the power ballad “Home Sweet Home” by Mötley Crüe is arguably one of the first of its kind. Nevertheless, the iconic tune held tons of personal relevance to the band and they had to fight with all they got for it to be included in their 1985 album “Theatre of Pain”. Mötley Crüe got the big “no” but still bet everything they had on the song, even funded the music video with their own money. Despite never making it that big commercially, “Home Sweet Home” turned into Mötley Crüe’s signature concert finishing track. Moreover, the iconic music video, featuring pre-concert and stage performing scenes is notable for being one of the most requested MVs on MTV back in the day.

“Bands didn’t have a power ballad and MTV as a vehicle to have a hit. That just wasn’t the way it was. After ‘Home Sweet Home’, every band had the one ballad that came as their second or third single….I think the reason we did it was because it was so anti-Mötley Crüe and it was funny, because it threw us into the mainstream….

Trust me, none of us had the foresight to see that,” said Nikki Sixx for In The Studio: The Stories Behind History’s Greatest Rock Bands.

(quote retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=3725 )

7. Journey – Faithfully

Journey’s 1983 album, “Frontiers” has tons of brilliant surprises inside and “Faithfully” is certainly one of the highlights. The power ballad, written by Jonathan Cain and portraying the hardships and endless struggles of being married while constantly on the road, became one of Journey’s most beloved and respected songs of all time. Not only that but “Faithfully” ended up conquering charts and influencing a generation of artists, including Bryan Adams whose hit single “Heaven” was inspired by “Faithfully”.

The “on the road” music video created quite the fuss as well and was one of the first of a long line of similar-concept videos, adopted by bands like Genesis, Motley Crue and Bon Jovi. Journey started making music videos with the release of “Frontiers” even though they truly disliked it. Nevertheless, thanks to that iconic music video and the exposure on MTV, along with of course the great attributes of the song, “Faithfully” was immortalized.


6. Def Leppard – Bringin’ On the Heartbreak

Def Leppard - High n Dry

Arguably, the finest moment of Def Leppard’s sophomore 1981 album “High ‘N’ Dry” has to be the ballad, “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak”. With this song, not only did they set the standard for power ballads, but challenged the perception that these types of songs could only be performed by female artists, such as Bonnie Tyler for instance. Initially titled “A Certain Heartache”, the track, produced by A-class producer Robert “Mutt” Lange, was quickly picked up by the recently launched MTV station where the music video received a heavy rotation and led to the revival of album sales. 2 million copies later, it was more than safe to say that Leppard were the next big and worthy thing on the horizon.

In 1984, “High ‘N’ Dry” was re-issued, featuring a remixed version of “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak”. This time, the song finally made it to the charts, peaking at a top70 position. The song got a brand new music video as well! Check it out!

[’80s Rock Album Focus] Def Leppard – High ‘n’ Dry


5. Cinderella – Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)

cinderella-dont-know

Right in the middle of our top10 (power) ballad song playlist, we have Cinderella‘s “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” which surprisingly is not in the top3, despite its immense popularity. Written by singer-songwriter and co-founder of Cinderella, Tom Keifer and released as a single from their second album “Long Cold Winter” (1988), “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” remains the band’s highest charting single and most successful track of all time. The emotional and highly intense power ballad got a beautiful MV, filmed nearby Mono Lake in California. MTV did justice to it by playing it every couple of minutes on a daily basis (which was totally fine by everyone).

Tom Keifer is an outstanding vocalist and if you question this statement, you most probably haven’t listened to this song yet. This gorgeous human being wrote the most sincere and soul-crushing rock ballad of all time and if it was up to me, it would’ve been in an even higher position.

The Story of CINDERELLA’s – Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)


4. Dokken – Alone Again

dokken-tooth-and-nail

Written by vocalist Don Dokken and bass guitarist Jeff Pilson, the power ballad “Alone Again” was released as a single from Dokken’s 1984 album “Tooth and Nail”. After a highly unsuccessful debut album, it was do or die for Dokken. The label barely agreed to give them a second chance but thank God they did, otherwise brilliant songs such as “Alone Again” would’ve remained on a paper, rotting somewhere under a pile of music notebooks. The track didn’t really hit it that big in terms of chart success, which in my books makes it one of the greatest unappreciated power ballads of the ‘80s ever!

Interestingly, Don Dokken wrote the words of “Alone Again” in the ‘70s when he was barely 25 years old. We can’t but be thankful that the song resurfaced in mid-80s and ended up being an irreplaceable component of “Tooth and Nail”.

The Story of DOKKEN’s Breathtaking Ballad “Alone Again”


3. Scorpions – Still Loving You

scorpions-still-loving-you

Not surprised to see Scorpions “Still Loving You” in a top 3 position on our rock ballad playlist. The 1984 album, “Love at First String” defined their career like no other album did, spawning immortal hit singles like “Rock You like a Hurricane” and of course, “Still Loving You”. The European rockers made quite the statement on the US charts, hitting a top 10 position with the album and a top 70 position with the song. The French gave it the #1, though!
“Still Loving You” is one of the most emotional rock ballads of all time, telling us a story about a broken romance and longing for a second chance.

“…It’s a story about a love affair where they recognized it may be over, but let’s try again. It’s the old story; always the old story. I mean, what can we use? We can’t reinvent the wheel. What we always do, is say something which has already been said many times, in our own way,” said Scorpions guitarist Rudolf Schenker.

(quote retrieved from  http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=3158)

2. Whitesnake – Is This Love

Whitesnake’s “Is This Love” comes at number two with just a couple of votes behind the number one. When we talk about universal appeal and strength of impact, no other ballad had it as big as this one. Everyone knows it, everyone sings it and is everyone’s favorite Whitesnake song. Written by vocalist David Coverdale and guitarist John Sykes, the idea for “Is This Love” was initially born after they were asked to come up with some good material for a new Tina Turner song.

Whitesnake‘s enormous 1987 album gave birth to a number of hit singles but no other song can actually compete with the legacy of this mind-blowing tune. Just like in our little playlist, “Is This Love” peaked at #2 in the US singles chart. The song, of course, got the music video makeover where Coverdale’s then-girlfriend Tawny Kitaen could be seen, along with a band, playing on a misty stage. Coverdale is the only Whitesnake member to be featured on the video. Now is not the time to explain why, though!  Enjoy the classic!

5 Great Whitesnake Ballads That Taught Us What Love Is…


1. Def Leppard – Love Bites

Number 1 on our ‘80s hard rock ballad playlist is Def Leppard’s “Love Bites”. Coincidentally, this track is also Def Leppard’s only #1 hit so far!

The year is 1987 and the album is “Hysteria” – do I have to say more? It turned out to be the perfect marriage between pop and hard rock that can easily be felt as we go from one song to another. To make the sound of “Hysteria” so unique and essential, producer Mutt Lange went above and beyond by using a variety of technology, vocal and sound layering and adopting numerous other effects to give the tracks a “stadium rock vibe” and “extra solid sound” that pierce your heart and gives you chills the moment you play them.  

Joe Elliott’s gentle but rather extreme vocal delivery techniques crate a beautiful tension which I believe is the reason why “Love Bites” grabbed the attention of so many people. Moreover, the simple, yet painfully truthful lyrics made it universally relatable.

Interestingly, producer Mutt Lange was the one who brought the song to the band. Initially it was a country-style ballad that eventually got the Def Leppard hard rock treatment and turned into this gorgeous power ballad.

“It was just a standard rock ballad but it had something else going for it. Lyrically, it kind of painted a picture, and in a song you always want to do that, paint a picture. ‘On a dark desert highway,’ the first line of ‘Hotel California,’ great song, it just paints an image for you straight off the bat and that’s the sign of a really good song. It takes you right there. ‘Love Bites’ did that as well,” said Joe Elliott.

(quote retrieved from  http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5114)

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] Def Leppard – HYSTERIA


References:
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~

Inspirational Hard Rock Tunes For When Life is Tough

powerful-tunesI’ve never been that good of an inspirational talker to be honest. Life is one crazy mess, full of challenges and obstacles. Nothing is ever steady and things can turn around at any given second. What else is there to say? I don’t want to sound too pessimistic but it is what it is – people are dealing with struggles of every kind on a daily basis. Some of us are going through an emotional meltdown, others are heartbroken; some can’t fulfill their dreams and feel lost, others are dealing with depression – all that and way more!

I’ve always thought that when you feel like the whole world has unleashed its might on your fragile self, music is the only thing to help you stand up on your feet and give you that much needed strength to move on. I’ve always sought empowerment from my music and as I matter of fact, I’ve always found it in it! Every time, I’ve felt like I just can’t take it anymore, music has always been there, right next to me. Every time I wanted to just screw it all and give up on everyone and everything, music was there to remind me that I shouldn’t.

There is something quite powerful about the thought that someone somewhere, years ago, was able to create this beautiful piece of art I am listening to right now and that gives me comfort – it tells me that songs like these are the reason why this world is not such a bad place after all. Then, there’s also that “little” role lyrics and melody play when it comes to inspiration. Nothing…absolutely nothing in life can give me the same amount of confidence and extra push as I get from pounding guitar riffs and thunderous drums, decorated with well-written passionate words. I’m sure many other music enthusiasts out there are feeling the exact same way! There are many things people do when life is tough and giving up on it seems like the only option. My way is experiencing the pain through music. Enjoy these gorgeously-written encouraging tunes and I hope your day feels a little bit brighter!


Survivor – Eye of the Tiger (1982)

survivor-eye-of-the-tiger-rocky

Rising up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive…


Triumph – Never Surrender (1983)

triumph-never-surrender

Never Surrender – keep your dreams alive
Never Surrender – hold your head up high…


Triumph – Magic Power (1981)

triumph-allied

I’m young, I’m wild and I’m free
Got the magic power of the music in me…


Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’ (1981)

journey-dont-stop-believin

Workin’ hard to get my fill
Everybody wants a thrill
Payin’ anything to roll the dice
Just one more time
Some will win
Some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues…

Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to that feelin’…


Van Halen – Dreams (1986)

51 50 VAN HALEN

World turns black and white
Pictures in an empty room
Your love starts fallin down
Better change your tune
Reach for the golden ring
Reach for the sky
Baby just spread your wings…


Foreigner – I’m Gonna Win (1981)

Foreigner - 4 Woman in Black

I was not born, to be a fighter
But now’s the time I have to learn
To keep my head, above the water
Gotta play with fire, but not get burned…


Fair Warning – Don’t Give Up (1995)

fair-warning-rainmaker

Don’t give up
Whatever may come
There still shines a light
Keep your dreams
When the walls come tumbling down
Just stand up and fight…


Tesla – Hang Tough (1989)

tesla

Sometimes love can make you blue.
A heartache made just for you.
But you can’t let it bring ya down.
If you should stumble, if you should fall,
Pick yourself up off the floor.
Fight for what’s right and stand your ground…


Ramones – Strength to Endure (1992)

ramones-mondo

Walking through the cross fire heart
Feeling heavy and hopeless.
Wonderin’ how I ever willsee
Through this darkness.
Every drop of blood can be
So beautiful
And I sure was bleedin’ the drops by
The bucketful…


Rainbow – Power (1982)

rainbow-straight

Everybody’s sayin’ that the times are gettin’ rough
You gotta stay loose baby and you gotta be tough… oh
I get knocked down… get right back up again
Cause I never give up and I never give in…


+ Bonus Tracks

Bon Jovi – It’s My Life'(2000)

bon-jovi-its-my-life

It’s my life
It’s now or never
I ain’t gonna live forever
I just want to live while I’m alive…


QUEEN – The Show Must Go On (1991)

queen-show-must-go-on

Whatever happens, I’ll leave it all to chance
Another heartache, another failed romance
On and on, does anybody know what we are living for?
I guess I’m learning, I must be warmer now
I’ll soon be turning, round the corner now
Outside the dawn is breaking
But inside in the dark I’m aching to be free…


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~

[PLAYLIST] ’80s GLAM ROCK Through the Music of 10 Great Bands

10-glam-rock-albums

Welcome to the ‘80s – the hair was too big, the fashion was outrageous but the music was GREAT!

Inspired by ‘70s British glam rock artists, such as David Bowie, T.Rex and Roxy Music, glam/pop metal became the biggest monster genre trend on the music scene in the States throughout the ‘80s. Kicking things off with bands such as Cheap Trick, Kiss, Van Halen and of course Alice Cooper and evolving into rock acts, like Cinderella, Ratt, Warrant, Dokken and so many others, the glam/pop metal domination was simply out of control. Not that this was a bad thing – on the contrary. The ‘80s gave birth to some of the most talented and exceptional musicians of all time. The looks played a huge role, I can’t argue with that. However, once you go beyond the heavy make-up and tight spandex pants, all you are left with is awesome music, crashing guitar riffs and catchy melodic hooks that bring you nothing but fun, excitement and tons of feelings and emotions of all kinds. Looks and music aside, places once again were significant for the popularization of a specific musical culture. The LA music scene and in particular that sinful Sunset Strip where all the rock bars and nightclubs were located, turned into the mecca of the entertainment industry. Basically, that “little” 2.4km stretch of Sunset Boulevard became the hottest place to be!

Back to the music talks, the glam rock frenzy was probably the best thing that could’ve happened in the ‘80s, at least to me. I can’t really imagine my life without representatives of the genre, such as Cinderella, Danger Danger and Dokken, for instance. These bands and their electrifying rockers, stunning power-ballads, tough attitude and weird, but still appealing music videos will always play such an important part of my life. Unfortunately, it all came to an end when grunge acts started appearing one after another. Don’t know what you got, till it’s gone, right?

Since I was in the mood for some serious hair metal power, I prepared this little playlist of 10 songs by famous (or not so famous) bands, which I have always considered as the best among all glam rockers of the ‘80s. Some of them are even among my most beloved bands of all time (like Cinderella, for instance). I have gathered tunes that I believe are the perfect example of the glam rock wave that flooded the music scene in the USA, especially in the second half of the ’80s. If you are a dedicated fan, you most certainly know them. If you are making your first steps towards the genre, this is a good place to start. [My Rock Mixtapes] gives you ’80s GLAM ROCK through the Music of 10 Great Bands.


Cinderella – Shake Me (1986)

cinderella-night-songs-2

In 1986, one of the most distinguishable and talented hard rock bands debuted with an album that put to shame even the rock veterans. Vocalist and lead songwriter Tom Keifer is one of the reasons why this world is such a great place! “Shake Me” was their debut single and I thought that it’s a very good place to start our glam rock discussion and playlist. The MV is iconic and the song that accompanies it is just brilliant! Tom is a killer, one-of-a-kind vocalist and “Shake Me” is a great uplifting and energizing tune that begs you to crank it up!


White Lion – When The Children Cry (1987)

white-lion-pride

New York’s White Lion, led by Danish singer Mike Trampand and guitarist Vito Bratta debuted in 1983 but it was their sophomore album, titled “Pride” (1987) that drove them to stardom. I’ve always considered White Lion, along with Cinderella, as two of the most talented and worthy examples of glam rock bands. That sophomore album by White Lion is filled with outstanding rockers, including classics like “Wait” and “Tell Me”. This time, though, the focus would entirely be on the beautiful mellow rocker, “When the Children Cry”. This song proved (and still keeps on proving) my point – glam rock bands created some really meaningful and timeless compositions and it most definitely wasn’t all about the looks and the ladies!


Giuffria – Call To The Heart (1984)

giuffria-giuffria-1984

Giuffria (led by keyboardist Gregg Giuffria) debuted with a splendid self-titled album in 1984. Armed with breathtaking songs, like “Do Me Right”, “Don’t Tear Me Down” and of course “Call to The Heart”, no wonder the impact of that album was so colossal. “Call to the Heart” is I believe the greatest song of their career (not to mention a personal favorite). Vocalist David Glen Eisley should’ve been bigger. His voice strikes quite the resemblance with Steve Perry, actually. Anyhow, I stand by what I said – this album and this tune are amazing and should NOT be forgotten!


Great White – Once Bitten Twice Shy (1989)

great-white-twice-shy

Although it’s a cover version of a popular song by Ian Hunter, I decided to include “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” by Great White because I think it’s much better (and more influential) than the original. On top of it all, it’s the song that defined Great White’s career like no other, reaching top 10 positions in both UK and the States. “…Twice Shy” (1989) was the crown jewel of Great White’s career, I believe. This song, along with classics like “The Angel Song” and “House of Broken Love”, also featuring on their fourth studio album, are absolute staples of the pop rock / glam metal musical phenomenon in the late ‘80s.


Warrant – Heaven (1989)

warrant-dirty-rotten

Power ballads were a must for any hard rock band. No power ballad = no chance of getting signed to a label or releasing an album. Those were the rules of the game and Warrant just knew how to win it. “Heaven” was the second single from their 1989 debut album, “Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich”. It didn’t take that long for the track to became a sensation and turn into the band’s most commercially successful song of their career. The fans, the radio stations, the critics – everyone loved it and there’s a reason why, believe me. Jani Lane brought so much passion and beauty into a world full of songs about partying hard and drinking all day and all night. It’s definitely Warrant’s best song one of the best power ballads of the ‘80s.


Ratt – You’re In Love (1985)

ratt-invasion-of-your-privacy

I can’t talk about glam rock and not mention Ratt! Their sophomore album, titled “Invasion of Your Privacy” (1985) is a premium example of an album, following the musical trend and one of the best of its kind, as a matter of fact. Classics like “What You Give Is What You Get” and “Lay It Down” could be heard on that second release of theirs. For this playlist, however, I chose their second single “You’re in Love” because I love the strong vibe that comes out of this tune. One listen and you’re absolutely hooked. Moreover, I wanted to illustrate the various themes and topics, as well as types of songs glam rock bands were producing back in the day. Vocalist Stephen Pearcy is bringing so much to the table on this one. The MV is groundbreaking!


Skid Row – 18 and Life (1989)

skid-row-skid-row-debut

Moving on to Skid Row, I think this song right here is where all discussions about the band should begin. Don’t get me wrong, they have so many songs that deserve recognition (and got way more of it compared to this one), but I think if we have to choose just one, it has to be “18 & Life”. Released as a single from their debut self-titled album, the rocker quickly turned into Skid Row’s biggest hit and ultimately a turning point in their career. I am a huge fan of Sebastian Bach and I even though this tune wasn’t written by him, it’s his vocal performance that made me fall inlove with this band in the first place.


Poison – Nothin’ But A Good Time(1988)

poison-open-up-and-say-ahh

If for a moment there we don’t look at that bizarre and ridiculous album artwork, we can actually find some excellent glam rock gems inside the album. The first single from “Open Up and Say… Ahh!” (1988) carries the laid-back title Nothin’ but a Good Time”. I chose this song, because it sums it up quite well: the ‘80s, the glam metal, the music, the bands – it was all about having nothing but a really good time. It’s a fun tune, capturing the essence of the genre – both lyrically and musically. Vocalist Bret Michaels is doing some pretty decent job too!


Dokken – Into the Fire(1984)

dokken-tooth-and-nail

“Tooth and Nail” (1984) is an absolute masterpiece and one of my most beloved albums of all time. The strength and musical brilliance of the album were born out of the hardships Dokken had to go through before releasing it. It was a tough time to be a glam rock artist in the late 80s – a period dominated by the early grunge movement. Despite all, the album materialized and thank God it did otherwise we wouldn’t have songs like “Into the Fire”. I am highly biased but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. The album and the song are perfect!


Danger Danger – Naughty Naughty (1989)

danger-danger-album

We had a good time, we listened to some gorgeous power ballads and lyrically-rich tunes but now it’s time to wrap things up on a less-meaningful note. Danger Danger are the glam metal band to listen if you just want to have fun and forget about it all! Their self-titled debut album spawned some great songs, designed to bring you nothing but a sweet enjoyment! The debut single of their eponymous album bears the catchy title “Naughty Naughty” and as you suspected, it just can’t be taken seriously. That doesn’t mean it’s bad or unworthy. Not at all – it’s a super fun, sexy and exciting track. The guys are pretty good too! Ted Poley is a great vocalist too!


The playlist contains 10 Glam Metal tracks, selected based on my personal preferences and in accordance with the idea I am trying to deliver through this publication. There are plenty of other bands and artists who are representatives of the Glam Rock scene of the 1980s, but according to my opinion, the above 10 are some of the most notable ones. Please keep an open mind! Cheers

References:
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~

 

10 Essential DEF LEPPARD Ballads

What happens when you listen to your favorite band rocking the hell out of a beautiful ballad? Well, you have the time of your life (at least I do). My immense adoration for Def Leppard comes as no surprise, especially to people who have been following my blog and/or twitter page. To me, they are the perfect rock act and I don’t see myself connect with another band’s music on such deep, emotional level as I did with Def Leppard’s. There’s just something so special about these hardworking Sheffield guys and their turbulent, but exceptional career, spawning some of the most brilliant rock classics of all time! I can talk all day and night about Def Leppard’s accomplishments and unquestionably legacy, starting with their raw debut in 1981 with “On Through The Night”, moving on to the biggest blockbuster of the ‘80s, “Hysteria” (1987) and end up with their latest self-titled release in 2015, proving that they can still blow our minds away with solid rock music. However, now I would like to focus on a specific side of their music catalog – Def Leppard’s ballads. The majority of rock fans are well aware of classics like “Love Bites” or “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak”, but there are a couple of more mellow rockers that deserve your attention. Leppard’s ‘90s releases, especially, are filled with beautiful ballads which unfortunately are not as popular as their ‘80s classics. As a die-hard fan of Def Leppard and a rock ballad enthusiast, it’s my duty to remind you of some of those songs or give you at least one new ballad to add to your playlist! Let’s listen to 10 essential Def Leppard ballads!


Long Long Way To Go (from “X”, 2002)

def-leppard-x

“Long Way to Go” is by far one of Def Leppard’s saddest songs, at least to me. The ballad comes from their 2002 release, titled “X” and is their last UK Top 40 hit single, surprisingly. This tune became a major reason why I fell in love with the album, as it was the first “X” song I heard back in the day. The crying guitars, accompanied by Joe Elliott’s heavyhearted but hopeful vocals are drawing the perfect ballad picture for me. The lyrics are what caught my attention in the first place, as I found myself in them…

“…Then every time I turn around
And you’re nowhere to be found
I know I got a long, long way to go
Before I can say goodbye to you…”

Unbelievable (from “X”, 2002)

def-leppard-x

I always wondered why critics were  judging “X” so harshly and condemning it as Leppard’s worst release, when in fact it is filled with so greatly-written and delicate songs like “Long Way to Go” and “Unbelievable”. It wasn’t as commercially successful as their previous releases but who the hell cares? “Unbelievable” is unbelievably astonishing. Not as gloomy as “Long Way to Go”, but sweeter, more uplifting with such a memorable anthem-like ending. Both ballads are the only two songs from “X” not co-credited by a member of Def Leppard.

“…You don’t say that it’s over, over
Never thought this could die
But you speak without words
Making me feel so damn good, ‘bye
It’s unbelievable…”


Goodbye (from “Euphoria”, 1999)

def-leppard-euphoria

“Goodbye” comes from Def Leppard’s 1999 release, titled “Euphoria”. Written by Rick Savage, this has to be one of their most overlooked ballads, despite being one of their best in my book. The song is a beautiful confession; the protagonist is proclaiming his love and is ready to give his everything for that special person. After all, who wouldn’t like to hear words like that:…

 “…I’d be there if the sun refused to shine
As the night gets colder I will be your shoulder
I give you my heart until death us do part
Every day, every moment, forever?”


Blood Runs Cold (from “Slang”, 1996)

def-leppard-slang

Written by Joe Elliot and Phil Collen, this has to be my favorite tune from Def Leppard’s 1996 release, titled “Slang”. “Slang”, along with “X” are the two albums to which critics didn’t do much justice, despite being absolutely phenomenal. I mean, just listen to the elegant guitars and Joe’s perfect vocal harmonies and tell me how it is possible to say something bad about the song or the album? Not to mention that “Blood Runs Cold” is another beautiful tribute to the late Steve Clark, who died of an alcohol poisoning. Def Leppard turned their immense pain over the loss of their friend to a superb ballad. It carries and important message too:…

“I guess what I’m trying to say
Is whose life is it anyway because livin’
Living is the best revenge
You can play…”  


When Love & Hate Collide (from “Vault”, 1995)

def-leppard-vault

In 1995, Def Leppard released their greatest hits album, titled “Vault”. In addition to their timeless classics, fans got the opportunity to enjoy one newly recorded song, the power ballad “When Love and Hate Collide”. The history of that tune dates back to their 1992 album “Adrenalize”; its demo was actually the last recorded guitar solo by Leppard’s original guitarist, Steve Clark before he died in 1991.
When it was released as a single in 1995, the song became an instant success – as a matter of fact it’s one of their most successful singles in the UK. Not surprised at all, the tune is so attractive; you must have a “heart of stone” to not fall in love with it.

“…Without you
One night alone Is like a year without you baby
Do you have a heart of stone
Without you
Can’t stop the hurt inside
When love and hate collide…”


Two Steps Behind (from “Retro Active”, 1993)

Def Leppard - Retroactive tough girl

Track number 4, on Def Leppard’s 1993 album, “Retro Active” is the acoustic bliss, titled “Two Steps Behind”. It’s also featured on the “Last Action Hero” soundtrack. “Two Steps Behind” is another ballad with a long history, going back to 1989, when Joe recorded the original demo. It was also released on the “Make Love like a Man” single in 1992 (from “Adrenalize”). There are two versions of this tune, equally brilliant; however, for the purpose of this playlist, I preferred to take the acoustic one over the electric.
Joe Elliot wrote the song, but it was Phil Collen’s suggestion to record an acoustic version – a pretty good suggestion, don’t you think? The results were magnificent; I love every note and every word! Its simplicity is groundbreaking.

 “…(Whatever you do)
I’ll be two steps behind you
(Wherever you go)
and I’ll be there to remind you
that it only takes a minute of your precious time
to turn around and I’ll be two steps behind…”

Miss You In A Heartbeat (from “Retro Active”, 1993)

Def Leppard - Retroactive tough girl

The second ballad on “Retro Active” (1993) is “Miss You in a Heartbeat”, which I think is one of their most touching and heartbreaking compositions. Once again, there are two versions – acoustic and electric and I am giving you the chance to check both of them out, because I couldn’t pick just one. Written by Phil Collen as a bonus track for “Adrenalize” (1992), it was originally recorded by The Law, led by the great Paul Rodgers (ex-Free, Bad Company and The Firm). I am not going to compare both versions, I will leave it to you, guys.

“Miss You in a Heartbeat” gives you the perfect chance to say “I miss You” to someone you love…The lyrics are breathtaking:…

“…I believe, that there’s something deep inside
That shouldn’t be from time to time.
I sure found out, thought love was such a crime
The more you care, the more you fall
No need to worry, no need to turn away
‘Cause it don’t matter, anyway …”

“Miss You in a Heartbeat” by The Law


Have You Ever Needed Someone so Bad (from “Adrenalize”, 1992)

Def_Leppard_-_Adrenalize

Let’s move on to Def Leppard’s “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad”, from their multi-platinum 1992 release, “Adrenalize”.  The ballad was a total success – not only did it reach top chart positions but it turned into one of Def Leppard’s most beloved mellow rockers of all time. It was destined for such enormous worldwide appreciation and I blame it on the relatable lyrics. Def Leppard always mange to convey a strong, engaging message in a simple, yet elegant way.

“…Why save your kisses for a rainy day
Baby let the moment take your heart away…
Have you ever needed someone so bad, yeah
Have you ever wanted someone
You just couldn’t have
Did you ever try so hard
That your world just fell apart
Have you ever needed someone so bad…”


Love Bites (from “Hysteria”, 1987)

Def_Leppard_-_Hysteria_(vinyl_version)

One way or another, we were destined to bump into “Love Bites” because let’s face it, we can’t talk about essential Def Leppard ballads and not mention their GREATEST, most successful one of all time – “Love Bites”, released from the 1987 blockbuster “Hysteria”. The influence it had on the audience was colossal – not only it topped the charts but it completely redefined the importance of power ballads in the last couple of years of the ‘80s. Brilliantly produced by Mutt Lange, “Love Bites” will forever remain synonymous with “power ballad”.

“…I don’t wanna touch you too much baby
‘Cos making love to you might drive me crazy
I know you think that love is the way you make it
So I don’t wanna be there when you decide to break it
No!…”


Bringin’ On The Heartbreak (from “High ‘n’ Dry”, 1981)

Def Leppard - High n Dry

I will wrap things up with Def Leppard’s 1981 power ballad “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak”. Released as the second single from their “High ‘n’ Dry” album, the tune marks a very important point as it set an early standard for power ballads. It’s also one of Def Leppard’s catchiest, least-sweet and “cheesy- sounding” ballads of their career. It was written by Steve Clark, Pete Willis, and Joe Elliott. Mariah Carey did a cover version in 2002 – if you are curious about it, go to YouTube, I won’t be posting it on my blog. The lyrics are very engaging, I love the chorus!

“…I’m sorry but it’s true
You’re bringin’ on the heartbreak
Takin’ all the best of me
Oh can’t you see?
You got the best of me
Whoah can’t you see? …”


10 is never enough…

Let Me Be The One (from “X”, 2002)

Breathe a Sigh (from “Slang”, 1996)

Where Does Love Go When It Dies (from “Slang”, 1996)

All I Want is Everything (from “Slang”, 1996)

You Can’t Always Get What You Want (from “Adrenalize”, 1992, original by The Rolling Stones)

Tonight (from “Adrenalize”, 1992)

Hysteria (from “Hysteria”, 1987)

Too Late for Love (from “Pyromania”, 1983)


References:
Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

[Playlist] 10 Fiery Tracks For Your Perfect New Year’s Eve

  🎉 Happy New 2017, everyone! 🎉

All ready for the party? Cause I totally am!

You can’t have a decent New Year’s Eve party without some solid rockers and sweet dance rhythms to brighten up the mood and give you that extra push. This year, once again, I was in charge of the playlist, which unsurprisingly is mainly composed of old-school rockers and dance classics from the ‘80s and ‘90s. Since I love my readers and fellow music enthusiasts so much, I decided to share some of the songs which will be played at my home tonight. Make sure you add them to your playlist, in case you haven’t done it yet. All of them can absolutely guarantee you some pretty good times! Listen, enjoy and dance! Greet the new year with a blast!


💃 Let’s Dance 💃

Dead or Alive – You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) (1984)

Wang Chung – Everybody Have Fun Tonight (1986)

George Michael – Faith (1987)

Earth, Wind & Fire – Let’s Groove (1981)

Kenny Loggins – Footloose (19884)


🤘 Let’s Rock 🤘

38 Special – Rockin’ Into the Night (1980)

Journey – “Don’t Stop Believin’” (1981)

Kansas – Fight Fire With Fire (1983)

TOTO – “Straight For The Heart” (1988)

Queen – “I Want to Break Free” (1984)

+

ABBA – Happy New Year (1980)


 

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~

10 Forgotten but Deserving AOR Classics

Bands like Journey, Foreigner, Boston, ASIA, Survivor and many of similar nature were among the big names of the contemporary ‘80s rock music scene. Their radio-friendly, synthesizer-driven, rich in pop/rock hooks sound, guaranteed them a solid presence on the airwaves. By the late ‘70s things had already changed for the radio stations as their Album Oriented type of programming was drifting away from its original progressive roots. Program directors and music experts were carefully choosing a couple of songs from a particular rock album (not necessarily the released singles), possessing that “universal” and “commercial” appeal and consequently what we know as Album Oriented Rock format turned into a predominant new direction on the radio stations.

The above mentioned bands received a lot of airplay on AOR stations, mainly because of their well-established catchy hard rock formula for songwriting and music production. I personally don’t think people will ever forget ultimate classics like Foreigner’s “4” or Journey’s “Escape” which even nowadays can be heard all the time on rock radios from all over the world. However, the following albums and ultimately, bands, can’t really brag about that. For one reason or another, they couldn’t establish a solid name in the industry, despite their enormous talent and beautiful rock music. Most of them got lost in translation due to the rising popularity of grunge in the late ‘80s and the beginning of the ‘90s. Others were “one hit wonders” which people don’t think of that often, nowadays. Nevertheless, I really enjoy listening to the following albums and all of them, despite being somewhat forgotten and lost in time, will always be a part of my playlist. I hope I remind you of some or introduce you to an album or an artist you are not so familiar with! Cheers and let’s listen!

 To find out more about what exactly AOR is, read my full publication here:

What is AOR?


Strangeways – Walk In The Fire (1988)

strangeways-walk-in-the-fire-1988

The Scottish AOR/Melodic rock band, Strangeways debuted in 1984 with an impressive self-titled album, followed by an outstanding sophomore effort – “Native Sons”. Their third album, however, titled “Walk in the Fire” was the reason why I got to know them in the first place. I played the first track – “Where are they Now” and I was immediately captivated by the gorgeous melody and the superb killer-vocals of Terry Brock. Their Americanized sound can be characterized as mixture between Journey, Boston and Bad Company, but with a little something extra. Strageways’ third album which I am presenting to you right now showcases their musical growth and tons of variety, suitable for any rock fan out there (like me) who expects their rock albums to be served with a large dose of great melodies and blasting rock rhythms. In addition to “Where are they now”, some other highlights include the charming power ballad “Love Lies Dying” and the uplifting “Every Time You Cry”.
“Walk in the Fire” didn’t really achieve commercial success, despite its first class AOR qualities. The album, along with the band should’ve been so much bigger back in the day. Nevertheless, they are worth discovering. I can’t recommend this album enough.


Giant – Time to Burn (1992)

giant-time-to-burn-1992giant-time-to-burn-1992

Giant were another one of those immensely talented bands for which the timing just wasn’t right. During the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, all the records companies and music media outlets were shifting their attention and re-adjusting their air time in favor of the newly emerging grunge craze. Giant simply couldn’t compete. Their debut album, “Last of the Runaways” (1989), was somewhat successful, probably due to the ultimate hit ballad, “I’ll See You In My Dreams” and the guitar-driven “I’m a Believer”. However, their sophomore effort – “Time to Burn” didn’t enjoy the same amount of attention and recognition, despite being (in my opinion) better than the debut one in many ways.

“Time to Burn” was released in 1992, which I consider as the last good year of rock music. The album consists of 12 AOR jewels, each better than the one before. It’s a killer collection of rockers, showcasing talent, passion and distinctive style. Giant were not an ordinary AOR band and this album can prove it. From the fiery opening track “Thunder and Lightning” to one of the most emotional power ballads of all time – “Lost in Paradise”, the whole album is one pure melodic heaven. Dann Huff is one of the most expressive vocalists of all time and I can listen to him sing songs like “I’ll be There (When it’s Over)”. Nothing more to say, except get a copy and dive into this AOR treasure!


Fair Warning – Fair Warning (1992)

fair-warning-1992

The German hard rock band Fair Warning debuted in 1992 (that magical year once again) with a beautiful self-titled AOR album. Despite achieving a moderate commercial success in Japan and some European countries, Fair Warning and the album itself didn’t really make a huge splash in the States, unfortunately.

I listened to the album a couple of months ago for the first time and it was love at first listen. So many intriguing things are happening on this album, I can’t believe people didn’t really pay much attention to it. Every song on “Fair Warning” is a glorious melodic rock anthem. My favorite one has to be the power ballad “Long Gone” which completely re-defined the concept of ballads for me. “Longing for Love”, “One Step Closer”, “Hang On” – all breathtaking AOR classics. If you are a fan of the genre, this is the right album for you. Listen from start to finish and there’s no way you’d be disappointed. Such passion, fuelling “Fair Warning” can rarely be observed.


Mark Free – Long Way from Home (1993)

mark-free-long-way-from-home-1993

Mark Free fronted a couple of glam/hard rock bands such as King Cobra and Single but in 1993, he took off on a journey of his own with an AOR solo debut, titled “Long Way from Home”. The album is the ultimate catch for any melodic rock fan out there. It’s filled with gorgeous vocal performances, impressive hooks and superb keyboard details. “Long Way from Home” offers a great selection of rockers, among which striking tunes like “Someday You’ll Come Running to Me”, “Stranger Among Us”, “State of Love” and “The Last Time” are standing out with breathtaking melodies and lyrics.

Overall, “Long Way from Home” is a bit softer and sweeter but definitely his best work as a performer and as a songwriter, that is in my opinion of course. By 1993, melodic rock was already dead and Mark Free couldn’t revive it with this AOR effort. However, the album is a true masterpiece and nothing can change that. It’s almost impossible to get your hands on a copy but if you do, don’t hesitate to get it!  


Autograph – Sign In Please (1984)

autograph-sign-in-please-1984

We all remember Autograph’s signature hit single, the irresistible “Turn up the Radio” which is in my opinion one of the most representative ‘80s rockers. However, there are a couple of other equally enjoyable melodic classics on “Sign in Please” which I believe are worthy of our attention. Night Teen & Non-Stop”, “Deep End”, “Thrill of Love”, “Girlfriends Boyfriend” – all fantastic melodic treasures. The lead singer Steve Plunkett is absolutely killing it on this record! If you are into AOR/melodic rock, you need to have some Autograph in your collection and in particular “Sign in Please” – there’s a lot of passion going on in that album and I can’t recommend it enough.

It’s such a pity that these hardworking LA guys couldn’t enjoy the success they deserved, despite working hard and possessing enormous talent.  I have always been somewhat drawn to Autograph due to their energetic appeal, passionate musicianship and that special “rawness”, which many ‘80s bands couldn’t keep.


Fortune – Fortune (1985)

fortune-fortune-1985

Another essential album to listen if you are into ‘80s AOR music. It took me a while to discover Fortune and their 1985 self-titled debut album, but at the end they found their way to my music library. “Fortune” is filled with melodic hooks and catchy lyrics, strictly following the ‘80s AOR formula. “Thrill of It All”, “Lonely Hunter” and the gorgeous ballad “Stacy” are just some of the well-polished and highly appealing rockers from the album.

“Fortune” is very Journey-reminiscent album but that’s not surprising at all. What’s surprising is that radio stations didn’t do much justice for this glorious melodic paradise. This ended up being their only release, unfortunately.


Giuffria – Giuffria (1984)

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American rock band Giuffria (named after the keyboardist Gregg Giuffria) debuted in 1984 with a self-titled album, peaking at #26 on the Billboard charts. The album remained their most successful release but that’s not something to be surprised at – the great Andy Johns, who worked with Free, Quiet Riot, Rod Stewart, Van Halen, Cinderella and many more co-produced “Giuffria”.
The highlight and the most commercially successful single from album is “Call to the Heart”. “Do Me Right”, “Dance” and “Lonely in Love” are some of the other appealing rockers on “Guifrria”. What I love about this album is that it’s very keyboard-driven and I am enjoying that forcefulness track after track. There are no surprises on the record because it once again follows the AOR formula that is designed to appeal to the mainstream audience. However, it’s still a charismatic, perfectly crafted melodic wonderland.

“Giuffria” is one of the most underrated AOR albums of the ‘80s and it makes me so mad because the radio stations should’ve made them kings! Nevertheless, the album will forever remain a must-have by fans who are crazy about everything that is AOR!


Signal – Loud & Clear (1989)

Mark Free once again makes a statement on my AOR list, but this time as the vocalist of Signal. Their 1989 debut album “Loud & Clear” should’ve gotten so much more than it actually did. Every time I think about this album I get so mad, I just want to go back in time and do everything I can to give it all it deserved! For one reason or another (I once again blame it on grunge, though), “Loud & Clear” couldn’t make a name for itself but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked! The album is filled with impressive AOR hooks, powerful riffs and outstanding vocal performances, guaranteeing a great mood. Where do I begin – “Arms of a Stranger”, “My Mistake”, “This Love This Time” – only a few of the deserving classics from “Loud & Clear”. You can find tons of quality rock music on this album.

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Treat – Dreamhunter (1987)

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There’s just something special about Swedish rock bands and Treat are one of the bands that tells us why. Unfortunately, despite being so talented, they couldn’t become a household name in the 1980s melodic rock scene. There was another Swedish rock band that took all the glory but I won’t be talking about them right now.

Their third studio album, titled “Dreamhunter” is another example of how a perfect AOR album should sound like. However, there was also something quite different about Treat and this release in particular, I believe. It’s a bit heavier and definitely more intense but still capturing that AOR spirit with its smooth melodies and attractive vocals. “Sole Survivor”, “Take Me on Your Wings” and You’re The One I Want” are some of the stand outs from “Dreamhunter”, all impressing with great production value and brilliant melodies.There’s absolutely no way this album can’t win over any melodic/AOR fan.
“Dreamhunter” is very difficult to find but in case you come across it, don’t hesitate to buy it!


Harem Scarem – Harem Scarem (1991)

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I almost forgot about the Canadian rockers Harem Scarem and their 1991 self-titled debut album, which according to many fans is one of the best AOR debuts of all time, despite its moderate success and little to no attention from the US music scene. Harem Scarem never actually broke into the mainstream audience, despite releasing some pretty decent AOR classics, including this album, of course.

“Harem Scarem” has no weak or filler song – each one is a potential radio hit. “Hard to Love”, “With a Little Love” and the gentle ballad “Honestly” are some of my favorite ones from the album. There’s just so much more than beautiful melodies and catchy rhythms. The album has depth and I believe it could easily be felt after just one listen. Don’t even get me started on how great Harry Hess sounds on this record. Overall, the pace is a bit faster and there’s more intensity, a bit metal-like even, but still, Harem Scarem are absolutely killing it with this AOR jewel.

 

 


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~

A Dose of Power Ballads from CINDERELLA

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Among the endless river of glam rock bands, flooding the music scene in the late ‘80s, one band managed to stand out with their enormous talent and exceptional songwriting skills. That’s right, I’m talking about Cinderella, led by the exceptional Tom Keifer. I fell in love with their music and with his instantly recognizable, out-of-this-world, husky voice the moment I heard “Don’t Know What You Go (Till It’s Gone)”. That was a very pivotal moment for me because that’s how I was introduced to one of my favorite bands, Cinderella. Not only that but that song became a very important part of my life and one of the reasons why I fell in love with ‘80s power ballads in general. As a matter of fact, when I talk about power ballads and their dominance during that period, a couple of songs instantly come to my mind, including Cinderella’s “Nobody’s Fool” and “Don’t Know What You Go (Till It’s Gone)”. Why? Well, because those two are the absolute staples of ‘80s power ballads and the ultimate examples of how it’s okay to follow a trend, as long as you have a talent and do things with elegance and style. Those two tunes defined the relatively short-lived (unfortunately) career of Cinderella and honestly if you are going to be remembered by a couple of songs, they better be that good. In our case they are THAT GOOD! On top of it all, those two power ballads are their best-selling songs of all time! That should say something, right?

Cinderella’s catalog, include four studio albums – “Night Songs” (1986), “Long Cold Winter” (1988), “Heartbreak Station” (1990) and “Still Climbing” (1994). Those records spawned some pretty awesome rockers, including “Shake Me”, “Night Songs”, “Somebody Save Me”, “Shelter Me” and many more. Moreover, they housed a couple of groundbreaking tender rock ballads, which I would like to talk about now. The two previously mentioned blockbuster ballads are not the only slow-paced rockers Cinderella can brag with. There are a couple of more gentle tunes, which I believe are worthy of appreciation. If you are a rock ballad freak like me, you would probably enjoy the following playlist quite a lot. Let’s go!


Nobody’s Fool

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“Nobody’s Fool” was released as the second single from their debut album “Night Songs” (1986) and quickly conquered the charts in the States. In addition, it became their second best-selling single, coming after “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)”. Written by Tom Keifer himself, the song talks about a protagonist, being used, mistreated and lied to in a relationship. Tom sings about being sick and tired of being someone’s fool. He finally got the strength to cut things off and keep his self-respect.

I personally think the lyrics are the most appealing part of the song because the topic of being abused, taken for granted or toyed around with by someone else is something we have all experienced in our lives. Of course, Tom’s scratchy voice makes things much deeper. I especially love the part where he sings I scream my heart out, just to make a dime, and with that dime i bought your love, But now i’ve changed my mind…” – this is such a powerful moment.

“That song, that’s something I think everyone can relate to. In life there is the falling in love, and then there’s the falling out of love. There are songs for both experiences, and ‘Nobody’s Fool’ is certainly the song for the falling out of love experience. And I would say that was not written for any one particular person. I’d been through that several times prior to writing that song. A lot of times, the emotions of songs are cumulative. That’s not one particular experience, but the culmination of many, “ Tom Keifer explained.


Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)

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“Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” was once again written by singer-songwriter and co-founder of Cinderella, Tom Keifer. The track was released as a single from their second album “Long Cold Winter” (1988). Up to date, it’s their highest charting single and most successful track! It was also pretty popular on MTV as it received heavy rotation in the late 80s.
“Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” can easily become a soundtrack to the end of a love story – a painful reminder of how we have to cherish and appreciate what we have because one day, it might be long gone. I am absolutely in love with the lyrics, though I must say they make me feel so sad and lonely. Tom just knows how to craft something so beautiful and lasting. Don’t even get me started on his vocal delivery – absolutely mind-blowing.

Read the Story of Cinderella’s “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)”


Long Cold Winter

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“Long Cold Winter” may not fit perfectly into the description of a “power ballad”, however the tender blues tune is still one of Cinderella’s greatest ballads of all time, at least to me. The title track from their 1988 album is once again reminding us that they are not your ordinary glam rock band. Tom Keifer draws his influences from the blues and he is mixing it with the typical elements of ‘80s glam rock with such ease and excellence. His soulful voice was made for such kind of songs.


Coming Home

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A country-style grandiose ballad which is another highlight from “Long Cold Winter”. The guitar work is simply superb. I don’t even have to talk about Tom – he makes the whole experience so atmospheric. That album is splendid, there’s just no weak no song or performance! It’s a must for everyone!

 


Heartbreak Station

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In 1990, Cinderella came back with another incredible record, titled “Heartbreak Station”, which Tom Keifer himself often point as his favorite Cinderella album. Once again fans weren’t disappointed with the new material. The title song, a power ballad yet again, is moving a bit further from the successful formula they used for the previous tender rockers. “Heartbreak Station” can’t exactly fall under the category of glam rock, I believe. The song, as well as the entire album as a matter of fact, is more blues, hard rock-influenced which I believe was the natural way to go. Tom Keifer wanted to fully embrace the spirit of The Rolling Stones and he did it quite eloquently.

 “Heartbreak Station” is one of my most beloved songs of all time. The lyrics are too sentimental and Tom’s vocal delivery is playing with my emotions with such an ease. He is simply singing about being heartbroken, after his love left him. A simple concept, but delivered in a stunning way.


Winds of Change

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The delicate “Winds of Change” is the last song on “Heartbreak Station” and one of their underrated songs. I recently re-discovered it and quickly turned into one of my soothing safe places. The gentle acoustic guitars and Tom’s shape-shifting voice are just sending me to another realm. It’s a very beautiful song and in case you missed it, now is your chance to take a listen.


Hard to Find the Words

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Many people overlooked Cinderella’s last album – “Still Climbing” (1994) merely because the timing wasn’t right for this kind of release. The audience was obsessed with grunge and alternative rock bands, which were dominating all musical mediums, including the biggest one – MTV. Tom had to deal with vocal issues, the company also didn’t do much justice with the promotion of the record and adding the grunge boom, we can conclude that “Still Climbing” had a very little chance to make a difference on the music scene. It’s quite sad, actually – the album is so beautiful and soul-soothing.

The two ballads from “Still Climbing”“Hard to Find the Words” and “Through the Rain” are the highlights of the album, in my opinion of course. Especially the latter, I believe holds one of the keys to my heart. I wish more people would appreciate it the way I do.

Through the Rain

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A gorgeous race between gentle piano sounds, mellow guitars and Tom’s alien-like voice! This song is sending me to heaven.


References:
“Nobody’s Fool” on SongFacts: http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=2022
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~