Bringing Back the ’80s with TOTO’s Classic Seventh Album (1988)

Toto and The Seventh Album

toto seventh oneToto is a household name when it comes to classic rock music and no one can change that. The best time to play their timeless classics? Well, that would be anytime! Is there actually a person out there who has never heard of “Africa” or “Rosanna” or “Hold the Line”? I don’t think so. Late ’70s and early ’80s were unquestionably the heydays of Toto. From their smashing 1978 debut to their fourth release in 1982 which is basically synonymous with ’80s rock music, the band was just at the top of the game.

toto straight
TOTO – Straight for the Heart (Photo retrieved fromhttp://www.45cat.com/record/3807945)

I grew up with Toto IV and that album will always have a very special place in my heart. I think the majority of fans would also pick this album as their favorite and for a reason! As I was getting older and had more chances to experience and understand music and formed a solid music personality, I discovered that when it comes to Toto, their seventh studio album goes right at the top of the list of my personal favorites. I don’t think it’s a popular opinion because neither the original voices of Toto, Bobby Kimball or Steve Lukather (who I adore so much) are the ones taking the lead on this one;. When Toto were re-introduced in my life at a later point, I used to listen to “Straight for the Heart” all the time, every day! This is till today one of the most upbeat and bright songs I have ever heard of. I got the album eventually and here we are – to a point where I can, with certainty, state that this is my favorite Toto album and not only because of that one song I love so much; there are just so many things happening on it! 

 

Before we get to the seventh one, let’s go back further in time. The mid-’80s was a turbulent time for Toto. Boby was fired, his replacement Fergie Frederiksen was also dismissed from the band so as you can imagine time was ticking and the stakes were high. Show had to go on, though. In 1986, Toto released Fahrenheit – the first album with new vocalist Joseph Williams and an album I really love (surprise, surprise). “Fahrenheit” couldn’t make a splash despite all the hopes and hard work put into it.

Two years later, in 1988, The Seventh One was out and the situation was even worse. It’s funny how my favorite Toto album is the lowest-charting album of their career (not that it matters). On a positive note, the album was very well-accepted by overseas audiences, especially in Europe and Asia. My love for vocalist Joseph Williams is satisfied on two* classic albums only. Unfortunately, after The Seventh One, he was also fired because of  troubles with his (gorgeous) voice. It took the band about 4 years to re-assemble but as we all know it, the music industry was very different in the ’90s so even the great Toto couldn’t stand a chance. 

*Just FYI, Joseph Williams did come back to Toto for Toto XIV, released in 2015.


The songs

I want to say it so I’m just going to say it – this album is so much better than their fourth one (in my opinion of course). The rhythmic, groovy, dance/pop sound of the record is unbeatable!

We gotta start with “Pamela” which remained the only top40 hit from the album. I don’t understand why American audiences were so unwelcoming to this single (and the album as a whole) but Asian and European fans embraced it so warmly? For one reason or another this mysterious, brilliantly performed track didn’t get the attention it deserved and is one more reason to back up a statement I’ve been saying for years – chart positions mean nothing!

“Straight for the Heart” is a cheerful, sunny, pop/rock track, capable of conquering absolutely anyone out there! For me that song was a turning point – a new singer was added to my “favorite vocalists of all time” list and the rest is just history. There are many songs that makes you wanna smile, dance and forget about it all, but this song right here does all these things on a whole new level. I just love the melody and lyrics so much!

“Stop Loving You” is a very interesting track because it features my beloved Jon Anderson (vocalist of YES) on backing vocals. Not only that, but the entire song is such a blissful experience for my ears. I was listening to it while writing this and unconsciously I started moving! Seriously! I just love songs that provoke a physical reaction in you. So much live and character, what a tune!

The gorgeous ballad “Anna” (the other lady on the album), the dynamic “Stay Away” and the reggae-inspired ,“These Chains” are some of my other personal favorites on the album. The style, the atmosphere – this has to be Toto’s most energetic and groovy release so far. I am insanely happy that Joseph is back with them and cannot wait to see what the future holds! For now, enjoy these…

“Straight for the Heart”

“Pamela”

“Stop Loving You”

“Anna”


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from: https://www.pinterest.co.kr/pin/519251032017554090/
“Straight for the Heart” artwork, retrieved from http://www.45cat.com/record/3807945
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.

Album Recommendations: Shadow King’s 1991 Self-Titled Debut

I love giving life back to old-school rock gems by reminding people of their greatness. One of my favorite types of publications is “ALBUM RECOMMENDATIONS” because I get the chance to not only share some of my all time favorite less-known releases but I also introduce them to readers from all over the world who don’t know much abut these albums or don’t know about their existence at all. This week, I chose a special but short-lived band, named Shadow King because the members of this band (especially two of them) are very dear to my heart; on the other hand we have a pleasing hard rock record which deserves our attention. Let’s go!

Shadow King

Supergroups are highly intriguing, at least to me. There’s nothing cooler than having a bunch of well-known musicians, members of your favorite bands, teaming up for a project. You witness how pieces of different puzzles become a whole new piece and in most of the cases, the results are so satisfying! This was also the case with Shadow King. We have the founder – Lou Gramm, the voice of Foreigner, guitarist Vivian Campbell (Dio, Whitesnake, Riverdogs and now Def Leppard), bass player Bruce Turgon (Foreigner, Black Sheep, eventually the Lou Gramm Band) and drummer Kevin Valentine (Breathless, of Donnie Iris and the Cruisers and eventually also in the Lou Gramm Band); obviously there was a lot of talent in that band and under different circumstances, I’m sure they would’ve lasted for more than just a single release.

Lou Gramm had previously worked with Vivian Campbell and Bruce Turgon on his solo releases so the frontman knew quite well how to assemble a winning team. However, it seems to me that all members of the band were in some kind of a transitional period in those early ears of the new decade and that’s one of the reasons why I think they went their separate ways after this album. “Shadow King” ended up as an “in-between” project till the guys decided which way to go.

Shadow King were supposed to embark on an extensive tour and move on to new projects, however fate got in the way; Vivian became a member of (the greatest band in the world) Def Leppard; Lou and Bruce rejoined Foreigner in 1992 and they both, along with Kevin Valentine went on to become members of The Lou Gramm band in the early 2000s.

What’s in the past is in the past, though; Short-lived or not, I’m still grateful that they released this one album, full of breathtaking gems and glorious rock tunes.

The Self-Titled Debut

shadow kingI will try to be as straightforward as possible because when you have one of the strongest, most iconic rock vocalists of all time as a frontman, you can’t but expect the best. The most surprising thing, though, is that despite Lou‘s fame and worldwide recognition, many fans don’t really know this album and project even existed! Why, though? – The sound is maybe a bit too similar to Foreigner (well duh, Foreigner was founded by Lou) and people think they are just listening to the classic rock band; the time period was unsuitable – you know, the early ’90s wasn’t the best time to be a hard rock act and release an album that wasn’t “alternative”. Ultimately, I don’t know why people often forget about “Shadow King” but here I am, writing about it with the hopes of reviving it. And no, I’m not going to refer to it as Lou’s third solo album.

Most of the songs are written by the talented songwriting team of Lou Gramm and Bruce Turgon who skillfully crafted a catchy, highly enjoyable melodic rock playlist. Objectively speaking, the album cannot really compete with Foreigner’s earlier works, despite sounding a lot like a Foreigner album. Don’t be surprised – Lou was behind Foreigner’s iconic sound and classic songs. The difference is that now we have Vivian who changes the game for me; I may be a little bit biased but Viv is a top-notch guitarist and he can produce some of the greatest guitar sound out there.

The Songs you Must Hear:

Well, I am definitely recommending the entire album – from start to finish; however, if my words didn’t persuaded you to do so, I’m going to let you enjoy just a few songs from the self-titled release, to get a little idea of what’s going on (and why I’m so right).

The playlist didn’t get enough radio play despite sensational AOR classics like, “I Want You” and “Anytime, Anywhere”. There’s not even a single disappointing song on this record and I’m not just saying it for no reason. 

Have a listen at the beautiful melodic rock gems below and let me know what you think; I sincerely hope you appreciate the tunes and the album as much as I do.

What Would It Take

Once Upon A Time

I Want 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~

ATLANTIC’s 1994 “POWER” – A Rare Hard Rock Gem Released Way Too Late

The strong ‘80s hard rock influence could still be felt during the first couple of years of the ‘90s. I often say that 1992 might be the last good year of hard rock music, before grunge stole the time and affection of every little or big media outlet out there. Surprisingly, however, despite the grunge wave that flooded the early ‘90s, good AOR/hard rock releases kept on appearing here and there. If you were a big name in the ‘80s and had a loyal fanbase, you still had the chance to survive the grunge apocalypse; however, throwing a coming out party after 1992 was an absolute suicidal mission. Nevertheless, a few months back I discovered this rare melodic hard rock gem which totally knocked my socks off! At first I thought it was released sometime in the ‘80s – probably the second half of the decade. Then, I saw the year – 1994 and I was both shocked and angry; shocked, because it sounded from another time and angry because it was too good to be out at a time when no one could appreciate its true value! Nevertheless, I am happy that Atlantic’s “Power” found its way to me and introduced me to the instant-favorites, like “Power Over Me”, “Can’t Hold On” and “When The War is Over”.

atlantic1

atlantic power coverIgnoring the provocative and rather unappealing (at least to me) album cover, “Power” has a lot to offer to any fan out there, looking to quench his melodic rock thirst. The British rockers crafted something not so unusual but highly satisfying and definitely worth your time. Led by vocalist and songwriter Phil Bates, who has a long and quite versatile music career, Atlantic hit the AOR market in 1994 with “Power” which unfortunately (though quite predictably) turned out to be their first and last album. Phil went on to do bigger things, including recording songs for famous TV shows and becoming the lead singer of ELO Part II – a spin-off band, formed by Electric Light Orchestra drummer and co-founder Bev Bevan.

Let’s talk a little bit about the highlights of “Power”. Where do I even begin? “It’s Only Love”, “Power Over Me”, “When The War is Over”, “Every Beat of My Heart”, “Can’t Hold On”, “Bad Blood” (and I may as well just write down the entire tracklist) – all showcasing solid AOR power and nothing but talent. I’m a sucker for a good hard rock hook; to me it’s all about the melody and this album right here was made for people like me. “Nothing to Lose” has to be one of my favorite moments from “Power”. Songs like this one put the “power” in a “power ballad”. If only this tune was released as a single during a more suitable time period, I bet it was going to be an absolute radio-sensation. The most famous track to come out of Atlantic‘s debut record has to be “Can’t Hold On” and we shouldn’t be surprised cause it’s the epitome of AOR – synthesizer hooks, melodic riffs, solid-rock sound and of course, a splendid vocal delivery to complete the entire picture!

Final verdict: Enjoy it as much as you can because they don’t make them like this anymore. “Power” is the PERFECT example of a well-made melodic rock record and it’s such a pity that people don’t really remember or listen to it nowadays. It’s not full of timeless classics but it’s full of great mood and impeccable talent! Take a moment of your time to listen to this unfortunate and underrated rock album from start to finish – it might find your next favorite old-school tune somewhere in there, just like I did.


“Power Over Me”

“When The War is Over”

“Can’t Hold On”

I highly recommend you guys listen to the entire album from start to finish:

Release Date: 1994
Genre: AOR / Pop Rock / Hard Rock
Label: Escape Music
Producer(s): Simon Jewel-Harrison & Paul Hoare

Tracklist:

01. Can’t Hold On
02. Every Beat of my Heart
03. Power Over Me
04. When the War is Over
05. Nothing To Lose
06. It’s Only Love
07. Bad Blood
08. Hands of Fate
09. Dangerous Games
10. Hard To Believe
11. Heart’s on Fire (Bonus Track)

buy-from-amazon


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~

The Story of DEF LEPPARD’s “Rock of Ages”

🔥Time to…. Rise up, gather round and rock this place to the ground!🔥

Def Leppard’s “Pyromania” – do I have to say more? It’s one of those groundbreaking hard rock albums which don’t really need an introduction or a bunch of fancy words, describing how awesome and influential it is. I will just say one thing, though – if I have to choose one album to be buried with, it’s going to be “Pyromania” (together with “Hysteria” most probably). Yes, it’s that special to me!

“Pyromania” defined Def Leppard’s career like no other album. Most importantly, it gave birth to a couple of smashing hit singles, including “Photograph”, “Too Late for Love”, “Foolin” and of course, the absolute fan-favorite, “Rock of Ages”. I could write books about each one of the songs on “Pyromania” because they are that valuable and worthy to me and to the history of hard rock in general. However, this time I would like to focus on “Rock of Ages”, mainly because of its significant presence in popular culture, which is a reason enough to know a little bit more about the background of the tune. Also, there are a couple of really interesting facts, surrounding the making of “Rock of Ages”,which some of you might not know. [My Rock Mixtapes] gives you the story of Def Leppard’s “Rock of Ages”.


  •  “Rock of Ages” was released as the second single from Def Leppard’s multi-platinum 1983 album “Pyromania”, following the highly successful debut album single, “Photograph”. The song became an instant hit, peaking at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and topping the Top Tracks rock chart.
  • “Rock of Ages” was written by Joe Elliott, Steve Clark, and producer Mutt Lange. The music was all set and done, however coming up with the lyrics turned out to be a challenge for the guys. Until of course, that faithful discovery of a bible, left behind in the studio by a bible study group. The book was open to the hymn “Rock of Ages”…the rest is history. Another example of how ideas and inspirations can come from all sides of the world, as long as we pay attention to the signs of the universe!

MV

  • The iconic music video of “Rock of Ages” was directed by David Mallet and shot at the end of 1982. Here’s what Joe Elliott had to say about it:

mtv“It was the ridiculousness of it, which is exactly what the video needed to be. (Director David Mallet) was like, ‘I want you to walk down this drawbridge holding this sword.’ It’s like, ‘Oh, f–k off. Don’t make me do that!’ Of course, like an idiot, I submitted to his blinked eyes, looking at me like some long-lost dog. David Mallet‘s got a great way of manipulating people like that. I was young and dumb and went ‘OK.’ I look at that now, and I think ‘What the hell was I thinking?'”

(MTV Ruled the World – The Early Years of Music Video)

  • The verses contain no guitars, focusing entirely on the strength of the vocals. However, that turned out to be a problem for the MV making. Here’s what Joe Elliott said about it:

“There’s a couple of shots where Phil  was clapping along on the verse – because there’s no guitars – and he’s standing directly behind me, so I look like I have these clapping antlers coming out of my head.”

“Pretty funny when you look back. The robe thing took about 30 seconds to film. You kind of forget about that,” said guitarist Phil Collen.

(MTV Ruled the World – The Early Years of Music Video)

  • An owl appears on the music video right when Joe says “all right”. Director David Mallet thought that it sounds like “owl right” so he decided to include the owl as a joke!

owlleppard

  • One of the most peculiar and heavily-discussed aspects of the song is the opening phrase. The German-sounding “Gunter Glieben Glauchen Globen”, said by producer Mutt Lange doesn’t really mean anything in particular. It’s a rather funny way of simply saying “1…2…3…4…!” For those of you who are familiar with Mutt’s obsession with achieving that perfect recording, it won’t come as a surprise to find out that at one point, he got actually pretty tired of counting “1…2…3…4…!” Instead, he decided to make things more entertaining and used this gibberish. The combination of “Gunter Glieben Glauchen Globen”, followed by the laughs of Joe Elliott and the famous line “All right, I’ve got something to say! It’s better to burn out, than to fade away”, has to be one of the most memorable openings of all time!

  • The instantly-recognizable slogan was re-used in 1989 for The Offspring’s Pretty Fly (For a White Guy).

  • bettertoAnother curious (lyrical) “Rock of Ages” moment is of course that empowering saying “It’s better to burn out, than to fade away” at the beginning. The lines are a reference to Neil Young‘s song “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)”. According to some sources, however, Joe Elliott saw those lines on someone’s T-shirt and took them for the song, without actually knowing who they belong to.
  • The lines “It’s better to burn out, than to fade away” became even more important for the history of rock music when they appeared on Kurt Cobain’s suicide in 1994.

  • Def Leppard’s four-line version was used in the movie Highlander (1986) by the villain, the Kurgan.
  • “Rock of Ages” also appears on the Season 5 finale of the TV show Supernatural .

  • “Rock of Ages” is one of Def Leppard‘s most beloved live staples. It has been an inseparable part of their live shows, ever since its release.

1988 Live (Hysteria Tour)

2013 Live (Viva! Hysteria, The Hard Rock Hotel, Las, Vegas NV)


  • Similarly to Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock & Roll”, “Rock of Ages” is a powerful anthem, written to inspire and spread that fiery rock & roll spirit. Here is what Joe Elliot said about the connection between “Rock of Ages” and “I Love Rock & Roll” in an interview with Kaos 2000 magazine.

“We’d have never written ‘Rock Of Ages’ if we hadn’t have heard ‘I Love Rock And Roll’ by Joan Jett. But we didn’t steal her entire sound. We took that one song and thought, ‘This is very anthemic. We could get away with writing songs of this standard and style.’ And that’s what we did. It doesn’t particularly sound that much like her, the chorus a bit. The actual structure of the song is nothing alike.”
(Quote, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/)

  • A high-praised musical, titled “Rock of Ages” opened on Broadway in 2009. The show featured some of the biggest music hits of the ‘80s; however despite named after Def Leppard’s song, “Rock of Ages” doesn’t appear on it.

  • In 2012, the musical was turned into a movie, in which Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” was performed by Tom Cruise.

  • In 2012, Def Leppard re-recorded the song with the title “Rock of Ages 2012”. It was released in the summer of 2012, along with a newly-recorded version of “Pour Some Sugar On Me”.

rock-of-ages-2012

  • “Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection” was released in 2005 and it featured some of the band’s most definitive classics.

the-definitive-collection

dl-433

 


“Rock of Ages” Lyrics

Gunter glieben glauchen globen

All right
I got something to say
Yeah, it’s better to burn out
Yeah, than fade away
All right
Ow Gonna start a fire
C’mon!
Rise up! gather round
Rock this place to the ground
Burn it up let’s go for broke
Watch the night go up in smoke

Rock on! Rock on!

Drive me crazier, no serenade
No fire brigade, just Pyromania

What do you want? What do you want?
I want rock’n’roll, yes I do
Long live rock’n’roll

Oh let’s go, let’s strike a light
We’re gonna blow like dynamite
I don’t care if it takes all night
Gonna set this town alight

What do you want? What do you want?
I want rock’n’roll, Allright!
Long live rock’n’roll

Rock of ages, rock of ages
Still rollin’, keep a-rollin’
Rock of ages, rock of ages
Still rollin’, rock’n’rollin’

We got the power, got the glory
Just say you need it and if you need it
Say yeah!

Heh heh heh heh
Now listen to me
I’m Burnin’, Burnin’, I got the fever
I know for sure, there ain’t no cure
So feel it, don’t fight it, go with the flow
Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme one more for the road

What do you want? What do you want?
I want rock’n’roll, You betcha
Long live rock’n’roll

[Repeat Chorus]

We’re gonna burn this damn place down
Down to the ground

Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh


References:
“Rock of Ages” lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/defleppard/rockofages.html
“Rock of Ages” on SongFacts: http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1151

“Rock of Ages” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_of_Ages_(Def_Leppard_song)

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

Cheers~

The Story of ALIAS’ “More Than Words Can Say”

Canadian glam rockers Alias debuted in 1990 with a self-titled AOR treasure album which in a blink of an eye turned into an absolute sensation, conquering chart after chart and breaking record after record. No one even saw it coming – out of the blue vocalist Freddy Curci and guitarist Steve DeMarchi (Sheriff), along with Roger Fisher, Steve Fossen, and Mike DeRosier (Heart) formed this impressive, though very short-lived supergroup and …well, the rest is history. “Alias” entered the musical battlefield, armed with top notch radio hit singles, like “Waiting for Love”, “Heroes” and “Haunted Heart”. However, the song that truly stood out and made history was the astonishing power ballad, titled “(I Need You Now) More Than Words Can Say”. Every power ballad discussion, mixtape or playlist should feature this tune. As a matter of fact that’s how I got introduced to Alias – through a power ballad compilation CD I got a couple of years back.

There are a number of reasons why I thought this song deserves to get the spotlight! [My Rock Mixtapes] gives you the story of Alias’ “More Than Words Can Say”.


  • alias-i-need-you-now“(I Need You Now) More Than Words Can Say” was released as the second single from their 1990 eponymous debut album. The title is also known as just “More Than Words Can Say” – the (I Need You Now) part was added merely for convenience and advertising purposes. It does look more colorful, poetic and lyric-like, doesn’t it? You can just sing through the title… Also since the phrase “I Need You Now” is repeated so many times in the chorus, the audience thought that was the actual name of the song. Naturally, to make it less confusing and more accessible, they changed the title.
  • The song bears a striking resemblance to Sheriff‘s number one hit “When I’m With You”. Unfortunately, the band didn’t live long enough to enjoy the gains of their single or to release a worthy follow-up while the momentum was still there. After the break-up, Freddy and Steve assembled a new supergroup and were more than ready to once again taste that sweet success. They didn’t wait that long…
  • “More Than Words Can Say”- the brainchild of vocalist Freddy Curci and guitarist Steve DeMarchi, turned into an instant hit, topping the charts in Alias’ homeland of Canada and peaking at #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It took the track just a couple of weeks to get from the Top100 to the Top3 – that’s quite the speed, wasn’t it? The sudden and unanticipated commercial success of the song, however, disappeared as quick as it came. Many people refer to Alias as “one-hit-wonders”, though I never actually liked that phrase, especially when there’s talent and hard work.
  • Freddy Curci – the lead singer and songwriter of Alias was presented with BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.)’s “Million-airs Award” for “More Than Words Can Say”. To get а sense of what а million airs means, it’s basically equivalent to 50,000 broadcast hours, which is around 5.7 years of on-going airplay. That’s incredible, isn’t it? How many songs do you think reached such milestones? You’d be surprised – only around 1,500 out of the 4.5 million songs by 300,000 BMI represented artists got this recognition! That should tell you something about the big splash this song made in 1990. “More Than Words Can Say” was basically playing everywhere, all the time! For that acknowledgment itself, this song deserves to take its honorable place in the history of popular music as one of the top played songs on the air. Of course, that’s not the only reason why this song is so worthy and valuable. Musically speaking, the tune has a lot to offer – at least to power ballad enthusiasts like me.
  • The lyrics of “More Than Words” are simple, elegant and up to the point. Words are meaningless when we are faced with a great deal of pain over a loved one who left us. Thinking about that person, imagining that he/she is right there with you – you can’t describe that feeling, you just need that person back in your life or you feel like you might lose your mind. It’s a beautiful ballad to send to someone who you wish to get back with.

…and then there’s this gorgeous live performance


“More Than Words Can Say” Lyrics

Here I am at six o’clock in the morning
Still thinking about you
It’s still hard, at six o’clock in the morning
To sleep without you

And I know that it might
Seem too late for love
All I know

I need you now
More than words can say
I need you now
I’ve got to find a way
I need you now
Before I lose my mind
I need you now

Here I am, I’m looking out my window
I’m dreaming about you
Can’t let you go, at six o’clcok in the morning
I feel you beside me

And I know that it might
Seem too late for love
For love Oh, Oh, Oh

I need you now
More than words can say
I need you now
I’ve got to find a way
I need you now
Before I lose my mind
I need you now
More than words can say
I need you now
Oh I got to hear you say
I need you now
Before I lose my mind
I need you now
I need you now


References:
Lyrics, retrieved from www.lyricsfreak.com
“More than Words Can Say” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/More_Than_Words_Can_Say
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.

Cheers~

The Story of JOURNEY’s “Open Arms”

There are great rock ballads and then there’s Journey’s “Open Arms” – a song that goes beyond the realms of any ordinary power ballad with its distinctive poeticism and ability to break down even the toughest hearts out there. Back in the day, when I knew so little about Steve Perry or Journey, it was “Open Arms” that convinced me that there is something special about this band and I should dig deeper. Now, years later, I look back at that moment when I fell in love at first listen and I can’t but be grateful for this gorgeous song that found a way to appear in my life and brought Journey with it.

I thought it’s high time this out-of-this-world power ballad got the spotlight on [My Rock Mixtapes]. I have gathered some interesting facts and personal interpretations which hopefully my readers will find beneficial. Don’t get too emotional (though I know I will).

Journey_Escape

– “Open Arms” was released as the third single from Journey’s highly successful 1981 album “Escape”. Written by Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain, the delicate ballad turned into an instant radio sensation and a fan-favorite. Moreover, not only it skyrocketed the album sales but it became the band’s highest charting single, occupying #2 spot for six weeks! (Surprise! Journey’s most popular tune “Don’t Stop Believin’” didn’t even reach top5 positions in the States).
All in all, what “Open Arms” achieved should come as no surprise because it was in fact a revolutionary song at the time – after its release and commercial success, it became an absolute necessity for any rock act to release a power-ballad.

journey-open-arms– Initially, Jonathan Cain wrote the melody of “Open Arms” for The Babys – a band, led by John Waite. However, to John the tune was simply too sentimental and had absolutely no interest in recording it. Imagine how different the future would’ve looked like for “Open Arms” if it wasn’t Journey who released it at the end. (Huge mistake, John…)

Things didn’t kick off that smoothly in the Journey corner as well, though. The rest of the band members, including lead guitarist Neal Schon, had their doubts about the mellow rocker as it was way too different than anything they had ever recorded before. Basically, Steve Perry was the only one who rooted for the song till the very end. He was committed and knew what was right. Let’s all thank Steve Perry for not giving up on “Open Arms”.

– “Open Arms” is a perfect marriage between melody and lyrics. Steve Perry is such a magical being; how could he come up with words so touching and so affecting, is beyond my comprehension. Simple, yet so moving, those lines are effortlessly playing on the strings of your heart, making you fall apart with each second. There’s a reason why many fans and critics refer to “Open Arms” as one of the greatest ballads of all time – not many ballads can actually provoke an emotional and physical reaction in you.

journey-open-arms– To me, the song is about that “soft” and “sincere” love between two people, who may have “drifted apart” for one reason or another, but the true feelings they have for each other never actually changed. Steve is singing about someone he wants back, ready to welcome her with “open arms” and start their beautiful life once again, forgetting the past. At the end of the day, I think it’s all about what your heart wants; when there’s “nothing to hide” and that sweet love means so much to you, it’s never too late to welcome it back to your life. My favorite lines from “Open Arms” are “…But now that you’ve come back, Turned night into dayI need you to stay”they can perfectly summarize the entire concept of the tune. If you have broken up with someone you love dearly and gotten back together, this is the song you should play on your first date back as a couple.

(Do I even need to comment on Steve Perry and his God-like vocal delivery? I will just let him do the talking…)


“Open Arms” Lyrics

Lying beside you
Here in the dark
Feeling your heartbeat with mine
Softly you whisper
You’re so sincere
How could our love be so blind
We sailed on together
We drifted apart
And here you are
By my side

So now I come to you
With open arms
Nothing to hide
Believe what I say
So here I am
With open arms
Hoping you’ll see
What your love means to me
Open arms

Living without you
Living alone
This empty house seems so cold
Wanting to hold you
Wanting you near
How much I wanted you home

But now that you’ve come back
Turned night into day
I need you to stay

So now I come to you
With open arms
Nothing to hide
Believe what I say
So here I am
With open arms
Hoping you’ll see
What your love means to me
Open arms


References:
“Open Arms” Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/journey/openarms.html
“Open Arms” official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Arms_(Journey_song)
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.

The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

The Story of Queensrÿche’s Silent Lucidity

It’s fascinating how some songs can trigger an emotional response so strong that it can easily shatter down all the walls we keep on building around our hearts. I’ve always said that one important strength of a song comes from its ability to let people feel vulnerable for a few minutes. We live in a world where the constant hardships of life turned many people into emotionally-constrained beings, rarely letting go and allowing sincere feelings, even sadness, to pass by their existence. I didn’t want to get too philosophical but that’s how I see it – a song can be the perfect outlet through which we can experience emotions and feelings we keep on stuffing deep down inside our souls. For me personally, Queensrÿche’s Silent Lucidity is one such song. Every time I listen to the haunting acoustic intro and Geoff Tale’s thrilling vocal performance, I feel this immense doze of sadness and pain that is actually freeing me from my apathetic prison, called daily life. To me, it’s a song that lets me get out of my comfort zone and for that I will always appreciate it. Honestly, before it became such a huge part of my life, I had no idea how commercially successful it was. With this in mind I thought that maybe this gorgeous tune touched the hearts of many people like me who would love to read a few selected pieces of interesting information about it, along with my interpretations!


– The American progressive metal band Queensrÿche has had a long and immensely prolific career. However, to the general audience “Silent Lucidity” remains their most famous and instantly recognizable tune. Written by the band’s lead guitarist Chris DeGarmo, this rock symphony was the second single from their highly successful 1990 record, titled “Empire”.

– The power ballad was accepted with open arms from both fans and critics. Grammy nominations, MTV awards, top chart positions in the USA and the UK – just a few of its notable achievements. There was no way this song could have failed; you don’t get to listen to such euphonious rock creation every day.

– “Silent Lucidity” was placed at number 21 on VH1’s list of “Greatest Power Ballads”! Personally, I think this is a well-deserving spot and definitely in my top 30 as well!

“I love that song. I think it’s a beautiful, beautiful piece. And although I didn’t write it, I had a lot to do with shaping the destiny of that track through my melodic contributions and the way I sang it, and also in the mixing of the song and that kind of thing.
It had a strange beginning. It started out as simply just acoustic guitar and voice. And it wasn’t until we were almost finished with the record, just in the last week of working on the record, that we added all the other instrumentation to it,” said Queensrÿche‘s lead singer Geoff Tate in an interview for Songfacts.

– In terms of instrumentation, “Silent Lucidity” impresses with its humble but shivering acoustic intro that skilfully builds up tension before it finally reaches the point of absolute tranquillity. The instantly recognizable opening riffs, along with the lines “Hush now, don’t you cry, wipe away the teardrop from your eye…” is in my opinion the best part of the song. I have always said that a song needs to have a strong intro and this right here is the perfect example of how it should be done! Brahm‘s “Lullaby”, played be a cello at the end of the song is another pleasant moment of the tune. Soothing rhythm, mesmerizing melody and quiet, but truly powerful symphonic composition – “Silent Lucidity” is the perfect song for your trip to serenity.

– It would be very difficult to come up with just one interpretation of the lyrics of Queensrÿche’s Silent Lucidity. So many things are happening within those words; not to mention that some of the lines carry a subjective meaning to different people. Obviously, one thing we can all agree on is that the song is about lucid dreaming  – a state in which dreamers are fully aware that they are dreaming and are able to exercise some control over their actions in the dream. Such an intriguing concept for a song!

‘Silent Lucidity’ is probably one of the most genuinely out there things we’ve ever done. It’s about what they call ‘lucid dreaming’. Or ‘dream-control’. Basically, just opening up the doors to your subconscious mind, and learning how to master your dreams. Actually be able to steer and control them,” said guitarist Chris DeGarmo for Kerrang! Magazine in 1990.

– If you are lucid dreaming, you are capable of taking the wheel and basically do what you feel like doing – you are free to explore this new world and be yourself. I know that the song is addressing this specific phenomenon, but metaphorically, to me the lyrics represent people’s personal growth as they break down the strong walls, built around their souls – “The walls you built within come tumbling down and a new world will begin.” Furthermore, another interpretation I have for the lyrics is that they are a message to people who must embrace death and cross-over to a new magical dimension – a new world where you can feel safe, free to fly, learn how to control your life and where all of your dreams are alive, waiting for you – “…You’re safe from pain in the dream domain, A soul set free to fly…”

Live at 1991 MTV Awards


“Silent Lucidity” Lyrics

Hush now, don’t you cry
Wipe away the teardrop from your eye
You’re lying safe in bed
It was all a bad dream
Spinning in your head
Your mind tricked you to feel the pain
Of someone close to you leaving the game of life
So here it is, another chance
Wide awake you face the day
Your dream is over… or has it just begun?

There’s a place I like to hide
A doorway that I run through in the night
Relax child, you were there
But only didn’t realize and you were scared
It’s a place where you will learn
To face your fears, retrace the years
And ride the whims of your mind
Commanding in another world
Suddenly you hear and see
This magic new dimension

I- will be watching over you
I- am gonna help you see it through
I- will protect you in the night
I- am smiling next to you, in Silent Lucidity

[spoken during solo]
(Visualize your dream)
(Record it in the present tense)
(Put it into a permanent form)
(If you persist in your efforts)
(You can achieve dream control)
(Dream control)
(How are we feeling today, better??)
(Dream control, dream control)
(Help me)

If you open your mind for me
You won’t rely on open eyes to see
The walls you built within
Come tumbling down, and a new world will begin
Living twice at once you learn
You’re safe from pain in the dream domain
A soul set free to fly
A round trip journey in your head
Master of illusion, can you realize
Your dream’s alive, you can be the guide but…

I- will be watching over you
I- am gonna help to see it through
I- will protect you in the night
I- am smiling next to you….


References:
Lyrics retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/
“Silent Lucidity” by Queensrÿche on SongFacts: http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5856
“Silent Lucidity” Official Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Lucidity
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~

Behind the Lyrics of EAGLES’ “Hotel California”

This informative publication is for all the people who still, after all those years, believe that Eagles’ biggest hit single “Hotel California” (1977) is a song about a hotel…in California. In a recent conversation I had, I was once again reminded that even though the popularity of the track is immensely high – on a worldwide level, the lyrics continue to remain misinterpreted, even from people who claim they are fans. Of course, that is somehow understandable because the true meaning of the song is very well-disguised in clever words and genius metaphors. I grew up with Eagles and even as a kid with quite limited English language skills, I could somehow sense that there’s so much more behind that generic title. I will briefly talk about the lyrics and how to correctly interpret them. For those of you who already know, you can just sit back and listen to the song!

eagles-hc

“On just about every album we made, there was some kind of commentary on the music business, and on American culture in general. The hotel itself could be taken as a metaphor not only for the myth-making of Southern California, but for the myth-making that is the American Dream, because it is a fine line between the American Dream, and the American nightmare,” said Don Henley in a 2013 documentary.

Don Henley has actually given a lot of interpretations of this song, all of them somehow connected and adding to each other, following a similar theme. Let’s trace back some of the things, officially stated about this track.

– “A sociopolitical statement.”

– “It was really about the excesses of American culture and certain girls we knew. But it was also about the uneasy balance between art and commerce.”

– “It’s a song about the dark underbelly of the American Dream, and about excess in America which was something we knew about.”

– “It’s a song about a journey from innocence to experience.”

– “We were all middle-class kids from the Midwest. Hotel California was our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles.”

There have been many “wild interpretations” of the song, especially when it was first released back in 1977. Everyone was simply obsessed with finding out what was the deal with that hotel (some people even thought it was all about drugs).
Basically, what we have to understand is that every little word is a giant metaphor for losing sacred things in life like youth, humility, innocence and goodness and falling for corruption, immorality and selfishness. “Hotel California” is a cynical piece of art, telling us that the integrity of people and consequently the American dream are long gone and all we fight for nowadays is simply…money and fame. LA has always been seen as this beautiful, gorgeous place, full of opportunities, happy people and fulfilled desires. However, that may not be necessarily the case. The track tells us the exact opposite – LA is not a paradise and what happens underneath the lights is highly disturbing and definitely sinful.

~The way I see it…

To me this song was always about the greed and depravity of the music industry and the wicked businessmen who ruthlessly control everyone and everything in the scene. Not that things have changed much since the mid-70s – music is a business and will always been seen that way. Los Angeles was and still is the mecca of the music scene. We have to think about the time period too. By 1977, big companies were already investing millions of dollars and fighting for music domination. Music started to be seen as a serious money-making business when the Beatles conquered the world so it was natural for the corporate side of music to keep on expanding and finding ways to get more and more money. I think Eagles did a brilliant job with the lyrics, exposing how evil, shallow and wrong this whole industry was at that time. For instance the last line – You can check-out any time you like, But you can never leave!– …tells me that the artist are working for a label and they have contractual obligations so they can’t have their freedom.

Furthermore, the chorus – Welcome to the Hotel California, Such a lovely place, Such a lovely face” is obviously a well-written sarcasm. Even Don Henley sings it with a little bit of bitterness, adding to the whole metaphoric experience of the track.“Plenty of room at the Hotel California” – there will always be a place for more and more, but there is a price…

Finally, I would like to finish by saying that it is indeed quite difficult to fully interpret and make sense of this song. To many people it’s about drugs or just simply committing to a world full of money, fame and sin. What I want to emphasize on, though, is that this song is NOT about a random hotel in California and this song has a METAPHORIC meaning, definitely open to interpretation. Any thoughts?

 

Lyric Video

Hotel California Lyrics

🎶 On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
“This could be Heaven or this could be Hell”
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say… Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (Any time of year)
You can find it here

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

So I called up the Captain,
“Please bring me my wine”
He said, “We haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine”
And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say…

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
They livin’ it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
Bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device”
And in the master’s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
“Relax, ” said the night man,
“We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! ” 🎵💕🎶

 


References:
“Hotel California” Songfacts, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1121
“Hotel California”, retrieved from https://jdmitchelldesigns.wordpress.com/tag/hotel-california-was-our-interpretation-of-the-high-life-in-los-angeles/
“Hotel California” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_California
“Hotel California” Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/eagles/hotelcalifornia.html

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

Cheers~

[Playlist] 5 PINK FLOYD Instrumentals That Will Blow You Away

instrumentals-pinkfloyd

In addition to monumental songs, filled with poetic gorgeousness that leaves you breathless, Pink Floyd can definitely brag about their haunting, but equally exciting progressive rock instrumentals. Sometimes, people definitely need to take a little break from the heavy, quite absurd even lyrics, which despite being an essential part of their music, can leave a very dismal and gloomy aftertaste. Not that it’s bad thing – on the contrary, I’d pick complex, well-thought of lyrics that deal with philosophical or other profound topics (such as isolation, greed, time, human nature, the universe) over lyrics about love and sex any day! Usually, I first connect with the words and then I connect with the melody or the different elements that make up the composition. I was never a person who listens to instrumentals – I need lyrics and that’s that. Till, of course, Pink Floyd came into my life and completely changed the way I think about rock instrumentals. The band was never deeply acknowledged for such types of songs, because when you have brilliant lyricists like David Gilmour and Roger Waters, you always expect to hear words that can make you shiver. However, they do deserve to be praised for their instrumentals and I am here to remind you of some of their most groundbreaking wordless creations that can and for sure will blow you away. These five beautiful pieces of art have always been an inseparable part of my playlist – all of them somehow manage to give me comfort, a much needed isolation and a long array of emotions that leave me questioning my entire existence.  Do you have favorite ones?


Obscured By Clouds (1972)

The title track of Pink Floyd’s 1972 soundtrack album “Obscured by Clouds” has always been one of their greatest instrumentals in my book. Highly experimental, adopting new analog synthesizers and recording techniques, the track can easily haunt you for days.

Any Color You Like (1973)

“The Dark Side of the Moon” is one of the wonders of our world and nothing can change that. Among the timeless classics such as “Time” and “Money”, this groundbreaking instrumental, titled “Any Color You Like” somehow manages to stand out on its own ground. A sensational keyboard solo, accompanied by state of the art studio technologies, all mixed up to create the perfect trance experience. A genius instrumental!

Terminal Frost (1987)

With Roger Waters gone, it was up to David Gilmour to keep the spirit of the band and produce groundbreaking music. “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” is a glorious album and probably one of my favorite Pink Floyd records of all time. “Terminal Frost” is the thrilling instrumental, featuring a complex combination of mind-blowing guitars, piano and saxophone. This tune was crafted by an alien, I swear…

Marooned (1992)

“The Division Bell” has to be my favorite Pink Floyd album of all time and nothing or no one can take that away from me. “Marooned” is the most creative, imaginative and rousing instrumental on this list, at least for me that is. It gets me every time…What a genius David is!

It’s What We Do (2014)

Pink Floyd’s farewell album offered a lot of pleasing compositions and this is one of them. It was somehow difficult for me to decide which instrumental to pick, since almost the entire album is instrumental-centered, but I settled on “It’s What We Do” because of the mesmerizing intro! This instrumental brought me back to their glory days, despite being released in 2014.


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~

Song Of The Day : DURAN DURAN – NOTORIOUS

duran-duran-notoriousTime to funk things up ‘80s style!

There is not even a single thing I don’t like about Dura Duran! What is there not to like? – Great musicians, brilliant songwriters, hardworking, charismatic and the list goes on and on! They are definitely one of the most iconic bands of the ‘80s – if not THE band of the ‘80s! Leading the second wave of British Invasion, the fab five quickly found a way to the hearts of fans from all over the world. At the peak of their career, they broke into two separate units – Arcadia and Power Station which unfortunately shook their strength as a unit. “Notorious” was their 1986 comeback album but this time, they were a three-piece band – Simon Le Bon, John Laylor and Nick Rhodes. The title track won them top 10 positions in both the UK and the USA and topped the charts in Italy and Canada, even. There was no way this track wouldn’t make it big – legendary producer Nile Rodgers was part of the team, after all; he even played lead guitar!  

Funky, energetic, fresh, dynamic…this tune has always been in my top 5 favorite Duran Duran songs of all time! I got reminded of their outstanding musicianship today so I immediately played this tune and listened to the whole flawless album! This is my choice for “song of the day” and I really hope I reminded you of this lovely tune that just makes you jump off your chair and start dancing like nobody’s watching! Enjoy and make sure you check out the glorious live performances below the MV!

MV

LIVE (1986)

LIVE (2015)

“Notorious” Lyrics

No-no-Notorious. Notorious. Ah. No-no-Notorious.

I can’t read about it.
Burns the skin from your eyes.
I’ll do fine without it.
Here’s one you don’t compromise.
Lies come hard in disguise.
They need to fight it out.
Not wild about it.
Lay your seedy judgements.
Who says they’re part of our lives? [CHORUS]
You own the money ;
You control the witness.
I’ll leave you lonely.
Don’t monkey with my business.
You pay the prophets to justify your reasons.
I heard your promise,but I don’t believe it.

That’s why I’ve done it again. No-no-Notorious.

Girls will keep the secrets (uh)
So long as boys make a noise.
Fools run rings to break up.
Something they’ll never destroy.
Grand Notorious slam (bam).
And who really gives a damn for a flaky bandit?
Don’t ask me to bleed about it;
I need this blood to survive.

[CHORUS]

That’s why I’ve done it again. No-no-Notorious.

[CHORUS]

[CHORUS]

That’s why I’ve done it again. No. No.
That’s why I’ve done it again. No-no-Notorious.
That’s why I’ve done it again. No-no-Notorious.
No-no-Notorious. Yeah.
That’s why I’ve done it again. No-no-Notorious.
No-no-Notorious. Yeah.
That’s why I’ve done it again. No-no-Notorious.
No-no-Notorious.


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