[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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

giuffria-giuffria-1984

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.

signal-loud-clear-1989


Treat – Dreamhunter (1987)

treat-dreamhunter-1987

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)

harem-scarem-debut

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

cinderella-collage

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

cinderella-night-songs-2

“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

cinderella-heartbreak-station

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~

A Mixtape for Your Perfect Rock&Roll Christmas

collage-christmas

It’s that wonderful time of the year again!

Beautifully decorated trees are brightening up every home, people are giving each other presents, delicious food is warming up the mood and everyone is just enjoying the holidays with their families and loved ones. Presents or no presents – it doesn’t really matter, right? What truly matters (at least to me) is…the music! You can’t have the perfect Christmas, without the proper music can you?. In my case, we are talking about some serious Christmas rock&roll which is an absolute necessity for my holiday celebrations. I mean there are some classic Christmas pop tunes which are, of course, always pleasant to listen to – “Santa Baby”, “Jingle Bell Rock”, “Here Comes Santa Claus”, etc. (and ultimately the ubiquitous “Last Christmas” and “All I Want for Christmas is You” which are a must), however, as a proud rock soul, I need my dose of rock&roll spirit, even on Christmas.

I have prepared a little mixtape, consisting of 10 songs, perfectly suitable for your rock&roll Christmas. Each one of those tunes is capturing the essence of the holidays and can absolutely brighten up your festivities. Most importantly, they are all performed by great rock musicians who invested a lot of time and effort to be with us, even on Christmas.The playlist truly is one melting pot – from classic rockers like The Beatles, to glam rock bands, like Danger Danger, I tried to introduce some variety and maybe some new perception on how Christmas should sound like.

Here we go, I do hope you enjoy it!

🎁Merry Christmas🎁


christmas-balladsThe first four tracks I chose for this year’s Christmas rock&roll mixtape: Tom Keifer – Blue Christmas, Danger Danger – Naughty Naughty Christmas, Dokken – Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Firehouse – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, are all featuring in a compilation album, titled “Monster Ballads Xmas”. The 2007 CD brought together notable rockstars, mostly glam rock representatives, such as Dokken, Danger Danger, Firehouse, Kip Winger, Nelson and others. This hard rock extravaganza is filled up with newly recorded Christmas songs, bringing the ultimate holiday experience to its listeners. I could’ve simply put each and every song from that album on the playlist, but I chose those four because I see them as the most attractive moments from the collection. Tom Keifer’s voice has to be appreciated all the time, including on Christmas. “Blue Christmas” or should I say, “Blues Christmas” is an absolute masterpiece. Danger Danger are spicing up the mood with a sexy tune, reminiscent of their hit “Naughty Naughty”. Dokken’s interpretation of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” is stunning and Firehouse are definitely bringing the fire with “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”.

💕🎄Tom Keifer – Blue Christmas💕🎄

💕🎅Danger Danger – Naughty Naughty Christmas💕🎅

💕🎄Dokken – Santa Claus is Coming to Town💕🎄

💕🎅Firehouse – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree💕🎅


Cheap Trick’s “Come on Christmas” is basically an altered Christmas version of their 1978 song “Come on, Come on”. It’s funny, catchy and so appealing. It hits you really hard so if you don’t want to mess around with some melodic Christmas rockers, this is the song for you.

💕🎄Cheap Trick – Come on Christmas💕🎄


We all adore Bryan Adams, so his most famous Christmas song –“Christmas Time” had to be on this year’s playlist as well. Despite being released in 1985, the tune is still enjoying a lot of attention and is one of the staples of holiday radio programs all over the world. I can understand why, Bryan is bringing so much to the table. You can just play it on a loop for your entire season and you’ll still love it every time!

💕🎅Bryan Adams – Christmas Time💕🎅


In 2000, Lynyrd Skynyrd released a Christmas-themed album titled “Christmas Time Again”. The title song has been a favorite holiday song of mine for so many years. The bluesy rhythms and Johnny’s soothing vocals can turn any Grinch into a Christmas elf. Take any song from that album and your festive mood would be guaranteed.

💕🎄Lynyrd Skynyrd – Christmas Time Again💕🎄


There can’t be a Christmas without Queen’s “Thank God it’s Christmas”, right? Released back in 1984, the holiday tune enjoyed significant success on the charts. However, no music video was filmed for this song, which means it couldn’t be promoted on the music channels. It’s a less known song (at least among the general population), however I definitely can’t imagine my holiday without Freddie singing “The moon and stars seem awful cold and bright, Let’s hope the snow will make this Christmas right…”

💕🎅Queen – Thank God it’s Christmas💕🎅


The Beatles loved their fans, that’s for sure. Every Christmas, members of their official fan-club would receive a record with Christmas carols, original compositions and a “thank you” for being a devoted fan. That sounds incredible!
Those records haven’t been released officially, but one song –Christmas Time (Is Here Again)” (1967) made it to The Beatles Anthology project in 1995. The Fab Four bringing the festivities to your home with their lovely harmonies – there’s nothing better than that!

💕🎄The Beatles – Christmas Time is Here Again💕🎄


The Kinks contributed to the rock&roll Christmas spirit in 1977 with their single “Father Christmas”. You can always count on The Kinks to turn things upside down, even on the purest holiday, Christmas. The song is about a gang of poor kids, demanding money, instead of toys from a department store Father Christmas. They are ready to throw in a few punches as well, as long as they get what they want. I love the concept and the song is immensely catchy! It’s a must for every Christmas.

💕🎅The Kinks – Father Christmas💕🎅


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] EUROPE In 10 Outstanding Rockers

europe-band-collageAs a proud European, it’s only natural for me to be a huge fan of Europe; as a matter of fact they are among my most beloved hard rock acts of all time. I feel pretty excited to be writing this because the connection I share with those guys is too strong and I do have to say a thing or two about their fantastic career, spawning some of my favorite songs of all time.

Originally named Force, the Swedish band of vocalist Joey Tempest, guitarist John Norum, bass guitarist Peter Olsson, and drummer Tony Reno is a solid example of how dreams do come true as long as you are not afraid to try and give it your all. From innocent beginnings to becoming an international sensation in the mid-1980s, Europe definitely proved that you don’t have to be British or American to know how to produce quality rock n’ roll and  conquer the world with it. After a moderately successful self-titled debut album (1983) and a strong evolution with “Wings of Tomorrow (1984), Europe caught the attention of the right people who knew exactly what to make out of those outstanding musicians. In May 1986, the world welcomed “The Final Countdown” – a record and a title track known by each and every person on this planet, I believe. Kevin Elson, a mastermind producer, who worked with Journey stepped in and shaped what is known as one of the most era-defining records of all time. Europe kept on delivering impressive rock in the following “Out of This World” (1988) and “Prisoners in Paradise” (1991). Unfortunately, just like many other hard rock bands on the market, Europe also stumbled and fell over the sudden grunge outburst in the early 1990s. Despite releasing a phenomenal record in that magical 1991, they received little appreciation, making it one of the most underrated albums in my book. After a little break, they got their act together and released some decent albums, including the most recent one “War of Kings” (2015). What comes next for Europe? A worldwide tour, celebrating the 30th Anniversary of that groundbreaking record that redefined the 80s! They surely still got it!

In honor of “The Final Countdown” and because I am a huge fan of Europe, I prepared this little playlist of 10 songs, which I believe best represent the band and their exciting sound. The playlist is suitable for people who are meeting the band for the first time, as well as to those who want to experience good music all over again! I am not discriminating against their newer releases (they are very good, actually) but for me personally, the first five albums are the greatest pieces of work they have done so far and whatever I do, I always go back to those classic rock jewels.

Cheers to Europe!


All or Nothing

The opening track of “Prisoners in Paradise” (1991) has to be my most beloved Europe tune of all time. Captivating guitar intro that progresses in catchy hard rock rhythms, accompanied by Joey’s mesmerizing vocals – this song is everything. If you are the type of person who likes solid hard rock, characterized by hooky melodies to sing over to, this is the tune for you. The lyrics are not as impressive as the melodies, but still pleasing and easy to sing:  All or nothing at all, There’s nothing I won’t do, And the one thing I want, All of is you…”


I’ll Cry for You

“I’ll Cry for You” became the reason why I fell inlove with “Prisoners in Paradise”. The instant attention-grabbing keyboard intro is transforming into a guitar-paradise and bittersweet lyrics that really get under your skin “…I wanna give you my heart, Give you my soul; I wanna lay in your arms, Never let go…”


Girl from Lebanon

Very unique and intriguing concept right here. “Girl from Lebanon” yet again came out from “Prisoners in Paradise” and in my opinion is one of their greatest works. Those thunder riffs are unforgettable, John Norum is simply killing it on this one…


Wings of Tomorrow

The title track of their sophomore album, “Wings of Tomorrow” (1984), clearly showcased a progress towards the right direction. Raw, straightforward, hitting you hard with no preparation whatsoever, this is definitely my favorite tune from the album. Of course, it’s a bit far from that polished sound we get to experience on the junior record, but equally interesting and worthy of appreciation.


“Out of This World” (1988) spawned four internationally successful singles, among which “Superstitious” and “More Than Meets the Eye” stood out the most to me and to the majority of Europe fans, actually. Following the well-established “The Final Countdown” formula for success, Europe defended the title of the kings of European melodic rock with that album. Both songs impress with catchy riffs and simple, yet charming lyrics.

Superstitious

More Than Meets the Eye


Seven Doors Hotel

“Seven Doors Hotel” was Europe’s first single, released from their debut album back in 1983. This song signalled the arrival of a great songwriting force. That’s right, I am talking about Joey Tempest who at such young age, with no experience whatsoever demonstrated such talent. “Seven Doors Hotel” was actually one of the first songs he had ever written. It became an enormously successful hit single in Japan. Interestingly, Europe are actually one of the few Western bands that became a strong force on the Japanese market back in the day. Even nowadays, Japanese fans love them to death!


coverI will wrap up my playlist with three hit singles from “The Final Countdown” (1986) – the spirited party-anthem, “Rock the Night”; the gentle power ballad, “Carrie”; and of course the monstrous hard rocker, “The Final Countdown”. Each of these tunes have its own uniqueness and became an absolute staple of ‘80s rock scene. You don’t have a party without “Rock the Night”, you don’t create a power-ballad playlist without “Carrie” and you don’t associate with people who don’t like “The Final Countdown” – simple as that!

Rock the Night

Carrie

The Final Countdown


+Bonus Track

Little Bit of Lovin’

There is just something very special about “Prisoners in Paradise” and I want you guys to really feel it. I may have included a lot of tunes from that album, but I stand by what I said – it’s their most deserving work.


 

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] My Top 10 ALAN PARSONS PROJECT Songs

alan-parsons

Thank God Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson – two of the most notable geniuses of progressive rock, decided to join creative forces in 1975 and create The Alan Parsons Project, a band whose presence entirely redefined progressive rock and the music scene of the time. Accompanied by talented session musicians and various vocalists, The Alan Parsons Project quickly established a name as the ultimate pioneers of concept album releases.

Alan Parsons, or as I like to call him Mr Everything, already had a long list of achievements, including engineering Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” and helping with The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” and “Let it Be”. For such an outstanding songwriter, audio-engineer, producer, signer and most importantly – a man with a unique perspective and approach to music, the sky was the limit. He saw a respectful partner in crime in the early 1970s in the face of the equally talented lyricists, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Eric Woolfson and… the rest was history.  

The Alan Parsons Project debuted with in 1976 with a concept album titled “Tales of Mystery and Imagination”. The band’s identity was yet to be solidified, though. In the years to come, the duo crafted groundbreaking albums like “I Robot” (1977), “The Turn of a Friendly Card” (1980), “Eye in the Sky” (1982), “Ammonia Avenue” (1984) which cemented the duo as one of the highest and most important British progressive rock towers in the mid-1970s and 1980s.

In their 40-year career, Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson managed to craft some serious magic. Ten studio albums, each with its own thought-provoking concept, spawned numerous timeless hit singles, still relevant and appreciated by (progressive) rock fans all over the world. Heavily-orchestrated, enigmatic, a bit melancholic even, decorated with powerful lyrics – their music has always been my biggest soothing agent. It is impossible to cherry-pick ten songs from their extensive catalogue and label them as “my absolute favorites”, however I did my best to at least craft a reasonable playlist for the fans who wish to experience the music of The Alan Parsons Project. I do hope you enjoy it!


Eye in the Sky (1982)

The mesmerizing “Eye in the Sky” is among Alan Parsons Project’s biggest commercial successes. Coming from their 1982 album with the same name, the track brought them top chart positions in countries all over the world. Eric Woolfson provided lead vocals for “Eye in the Sky”, which perfectly aligned with the soothing, quiet, yet funky and thrilling rhythms of the song. The lyrics are what captivate the listener the most, in my opinion. Just listen…


Games People Play (1980)

“Games People Play” – another immensely satisfying tune, this time coming from Alan Parsons Project’s 1980 album “The Turn of a Friendly Card”Lenny Zakatek brought so much life into the tune with his memorable vocals. The concept of the song is pretty straightforward, directly related to the overall theme of the record. The lyrics are once again the strongest point, at least to me.


Time (1980)

“Time” comes from “The Turn of a Friendly Card”(1980) and is in my opinion one of the saddest songs ever to be made. Eric Woolfson’s quiet and gentle vocal delivery is everything but comforting. – It just makes me so emotional. Interestingly, this is one of the few songs in which we can hear Alan Parsons himself singing on the background.


Sirius (1982)

“Sirius” and “Eye in the Sky” are meant to be listened one after the other; however I separated them because the 2-minute instrumental has its own charm and sometimes I just play it on a loop, without moving on to the next tune. “Sirius” segues into “Eye in the Sky” and both were usually played as a package on radio stations. The instrumental, however, made a name for itself by becoming an opening number for many sport events.


Ammonia Avenue (1984)

The title track of Alan Parsons Project’s 1984 “Ammonia Avenue” album became one of the reasons why I got into the band in the first place. It seems like songs, performed by Eric Woolfson somehow always get to my heart. A little bit dramatic, but highly enjoyable, this soothing tune has often been there to help me when I am feeling down. I highly recommend it to everyone, it’s just so calming…


Children of the Moon (1982)

“Eye in the Sky” is indeed a very special album to me, as you can see. Another tune from that fabulous progressive rock extravaganza found its place in my top 10. “Children of the Moon” with David Paton on vocals is a rhythmic treasure with a sweet reggae aftertaste and gorgeous lyrics. Have a listen~


Some Other Time (1977)

Alan Parsons Project’s 1977 “I Robot” was their coming out party. Filled with outstanding progressive rock jewels, the record signalled the arrival of a strong prog rock force. The epic “Some other Time”, performed by Peter Straker and Jaki Whitren, stood out to me with its triumphant horn sections and memorable lyrics.


In the Real World (1985)

This tune represents a stronger, more rock-oriented side of Alan Parsons Project which is equally intriguing and worthy of appreciation. “In The Real World” comes from their ninth album, titled “Stereotomy” (1985). The highlight of that record has to be the instrumental “Where’s The Walrus?” which even got them a Grammy Award. However, the uplifting rocker “In The Real World”, performed by Graham Dye, appealed the most to me.


Pipeline (1984)

“Pipeline” is one of the alluring instrumentals on “Ammonia Avenue” (1984) and generally, one of my favorite instrumentals of all time. Alan Parsons Project just know how to craft a time-enduring pieces of art that are equally intriguing with or without lyrics.


Separate Lives (1985)

Alan Parsons Project’s 1985 “Vulture Culture” was probably the last commercial and critical success of the duo. The ‘80s arrived and with them new musical trends, directions and possibilities. There was just little room left for progressive rock. Nevertheless, I find this record to be exceptional, especially “Separate Lives”, once again performed by Eric Woolfson.


+ I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You (1977)

A bonus tune – “I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You” from Alan Parsons Project’s highly successful “I Robot” (1977).  Vocalist Lenny Zakatek brought so much to the table, it was no wonder that later on he would sing so many of the band’s songs. You can’t but be compelled by this funky, disco-sounding tune!


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] 10 Classic Rock Songs With A Girls’ Name In The Title

names

Crafting playlists is my favorite thing to do – I am sure you already know that if you follow my blog or follow me on Twitter. I try to collect classic rock songs that share similarities in terms of themes, lyrics, titles, instrumentation and many other characteristics.

The idea of coming up with a playlist, featuring classic rock songs with a girl’s name in the title came to me the other day as I was listening to the playlist I have on my phone (it’s on shuffle, of course). First it played Toto’s “Rosanna” and then it jumped to Boston’s “Amanda” – such an interesting coincidence. Then it hit me – there are so many beautiful rock tunes who share that exact same peculiarity! Most of all, it was one of the biggest trends of the ‘70s and the ‘80s. Nowadays we don’t really observe such fashion; however as you will see in the following mixtape, every major rock act had at least one or two songs that were titled after a girl’s name. From AC/DC to Ramones; from Derek and the Dominos to Boston – all major artists loved to sing about that special girl with the gorgeous name. One more thing, pay attention to the names – all vocally strong, ending in –a or –e, aimed at creating a lasting memorable impact.

There are plenty more to add, however I had to draw the line somewhere! Feel free to add your choices on the comment section or on Twitter! Cheers!


Boston – Amanda (1986)

Derek & The Dominos – Layla (1970)

Toto – Rosanna (1982)

Europe – Carrie (1986)

Steve Perry – Oh! Sherrie (1984)

The Police – Roxanne (1978)

Rod Stewart – Maggie May (1971)

Ike & Tina Turner – Proud Mary (1970)

The Rolling Stones – Angie (1973)

The Kinks – Lola (1970)

+ Bonus Tracks

AC/DC – Whole Lotta Rosie (1977)

 Ramones – Sheena Is a Punk Rocker (1977)


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~