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

cheap-trick-lap-of-luxury-1988-2

LAP OF LUXURY

Released: April 12, 1988
Genre: Rock/Hard Rock/ Pop Rock
Duration: 41:55
Label: Epic
Producer(s): Richie Zito
Certified: Platinum (Canada)

cheap-trick-lap-of-luxury-cd

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OVERVIEW

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – there’s nothing wrong with commercialism, as long as it’s done in a good and tasteful manner. Somehow, I always end up defending these so called “mainstream” records because a lot of people are too blind to understand that pretty much every little tune that came out, especially in the 80s, can be labelled as “commercial” or “mainstream” or “pop”. So the problem here is not why the artists decided to go into such direction, because it’s pretty obvious – they want to attract more audience and make a living. The question is how was this musical product made – is it good, what’s the quality, is it gonna quickly fade away or will it remain timeless? So many albums from the 80s are given this rather generalized characteristic which I really hate and Cheap Trick’s “Lap of Luxury” is one of those awesome albums which to some people is just another record that became huge because it followed the late-80s-pop/metal recipe for success. Yes it did follow the formula but it all turned out so good! The album is definitely not one of those raw and hard rocking and rolling albums but believe me it’s everything BUT bad!

“Lap of Luxury” gathers together a strong selection of rockers in which everyone can find a part of themselves I think. I have to start with the beautiful timeless power ballad “The Flame” which indeed came into their career at a moment Cheap Trick mostly needed it. The song became a #1 hit and it totally deserved it! Emotional vocals by Robin Zander; the lyrics are touching and as a whole you can’t but fall in love with the track – it’s just too captivating and it hits your hard with an underlying slaying power. I personally blame the guitars! The other ballad – “Ghost Town” doesn’t have that special flavor and it’s a bit too simple and blank for my tastes but I don’t hate it. The well-crafted rock hooks “Wrong Side of Love” (my favorite track from the album), “Never Had a lot to Lose” and “Let Go” are the essence of the album (along with the power ballad “The Flame”, of course). All three tracks are energetic, spirited and have such a strong solid sound. The cover of Elvis“Don’t Be Cruel” is such a solid effort! Definitely worthy of checking it out!

What else can I say? 10 good powerful 80s pop rockers; a satisfying album full of good mood and two top5 tracks. I’m not saying it’s their best work (because it definitely isn’t) but I’m standing behind it with all my heart and soul! Listen to the tracks!

 

Tracklist

“Let Go”
“No Mercy”
“The Flame”
“Space”
“Never Had a lot to Lose”
“Don’t be Cruel”
“Wrong Side of Love”
“All We Need is a Dream”
“Ghost Town”
“All Wound Up”

 


 

The Flame

Wrong Side of Love

Don’t Be Cruel

Let Go

No Mercy


 

References:
“Lap of Luxury” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lap_of_Luxury
 
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.
Cheers~
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.

[PLAYLIST] MY TOP 10 DIRE STRAITS Songs

dire-straits-2

playtheguitaronthemtv.gifDire Straits…where do I even begin!? “Walk of Life”, “Money for Nothing”, “Sultans of Swing”, etc. – endless, timeless hits! Dire Straits are definitely one of the best British bands to conquer the world! Their radio-friendly, guitar-driven, polished sound, in combination with cheerful and clever lyrics is what made them so successful on a worldwide level. Of course, having such a talented guitar-player and a musical mastermind as a frontman does help a lot! Mark Knopfler was the main reason for their commercial success in the mid-80s. “Brothers in Arms” (which by the way is one of my most favorite albums of all time) became a true staple of 80s rock-radio music and one of the best-selling albums! In addition to this record, of course, they have a few other quite interesting and worthy of checking out stuff. They called it quits in 1995, but left quite the legacy. This is my personal top 10 Dire Straits playlist! Some people associate the band with “Money for Nothing” only (which is fine) BUT they have so many other beautiful rockers! Take a listen!


Walk of Life

Sultans of Swing

Money for Nothing

Lady Writer

Brothers in Arms

Your Latest Trick

So Far Away

Private Investigations

Down to the Waterline

Industrial Disease


 

 

 

 

 

 

[PLAYLIST] 10 Classic Rock Songs About SCHOOL

RockNrollHigh School - RamonesSince my semester starts tomorrow – 1st of September, I decided that it’s only right to prepare this playlist of 10 classic rock songs about school. I’m not sure how I feel about this new beginning, cause on top of everything it’s my final semester before graduation, but why not kick it off with a huge rock blast? To everyone who will start school or university tomorrow or any time soon (cause of course, it depends on the country), I wish a lovely new beginning and many new open doors and opportunities! Don’t forget to study hard, be responsible and dream big! Also, try to make new friends and explore new adventures! University/school times are the best ones, believe me! Cheers to the new semester and getting all the As!


 

Alice Cooper – School’s Out (1972)

Summer is definitely over and I wish it’s vacation time already! Till then, enjoy the killer riffs and energetic vibe, coming out of this 70s classic by Alice Cooper.


Van Halen – Hot for Teacher (1984)

This one comes from Van Halen’s infamous 1984 album and it tells us a story of a young man’s hots for his female teacher. Not so sure about the appropriateness of the music video, however the song rocks quite hard!


The Ramones – Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979)

This one has to be my favorite, not only because I adore The Ramones, but because it’s so energetic and uplifting. The lyrics are, naturally, representing the punk perspective of school – they just want to have their kicks and chicks and not taught “how to be a fool”. The movie is very cute as well, in case you haven’t watched it, you totally should.


Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall (1979)

A lot of skepticism and negative representation of teachers and school institutions come from Roger Waters in this track. Teachers, leave them kids alone and let them fly! The whole desperate atmosphere is highlighted by the voices of the children themselves, who sing “We Don’t need no Education!”


Motley Crue – Smokin’ in the Boys Room (1985)

The original version of this track comes from Brownsville Station, released in 1973 but I do prefer this one. Getting caught “smokin’ in the boys room” at school would “surely be the death of us all.”


Nirvana – School (1989)

Another one of my personal favorites on this list. Quite the rocker, actually! School may not be the most pleasant place for some people who are always troubled…


The Police – Don’t Stand So Close To Me (1980)

Very suggestive song – another one of those, telling the story of a student having a crush on the teacher. You know, Sting was actually a teacher once…Maybe he’s singing from experience.


The Kinks – The Hard Way (1975)

Their entire “Schoolboys in Disgrace”, 1975 album is basically a plotline on real school experiences of Dave Davies. This song is actually written from the perspective of a teacher who says, “Boys like you were born to waste. You never listen to a word I say… No matter what I do or say, You’re much too dumb to educate…”


Sam Cooke – Wonderful World (1960)

School and romance go hand in hand…Just like Sam Cooke sings, some students may not be so good in history or geometry, but they can be pretty good boyfriends 🙂


Chuck Berry – School Days (1957)

This late 50s classic by Chuck Berry simply tells us about a school day – with all of its expectations, adventures, agonies and horrors. “Ring ring goes the bell, The cook in the lunchroom’s ready to sell, You’re lucky if you can find a seat, You’re fortunate if you have time to eat, Back in the classroom open your books, Gee but the teacher don’t know how mean she looks.”


[+] Bonus Tracks

The Replacements – F**K School (1982)

The Beach Boys – Be True to Your School (1963)

 


 

References:
Gimme An F: 20 Classic Songs About Hating School, retrieved from http://www.vh1.com/news/201135/classic-songs-about-hating-school/
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.
Cheers~
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.

Eric Clapton In 10 Outstanding Live Performances

Eric Clapton Live 2You know how much I love Eric Clapton so this post should come as no surprise to you, guys. I think he is absolutely one of the last of his kind of musicians who still got it – in the record studio, as well as on stage.

The list of concerts, events and shows he did throughout his long career is never-ending but since I had to draw the line somewhere, I decided to pick 10 outstanding live performances of Eric, just for you, guys. It’s quite the task, since he doesn’t really have a weak show and he has always been giving it all on the stage. Just watch the following videos and you will understand what I’m saying.

Enjoy~

 


“I Shot the Sheriff”, 1987


“Layla”, 1992, MTV Unplugged


“Layla” (ft. Phil Collins, Live Aid 1985)


“Cocaine”, 2015


“My Father’s Eyes”, 2007


“Bad Love”, 1990


“Anyway The Wind Blows” (ft. JJ Cale, 2007)


“Tearing Us Apart” (ft. Tina Turner, Phil Collins and Dire Straits)


“Change the World”, 2007


“Tears in Heaven”, 2013


 

+ Bonus Track

Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Sting & Phil Collins- Money for Nothing (Live Montserrat)

The Story of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog”

 I’ve been listening to Led Zeppelin’s fourth album quite a lot these days and even though many people claim that the crown jewel of the record is undoubtedly “Stairway to Heaven”, I say that that’s not necessarily the case. As much as I love the gorgeous ballad, I’ve always been drawn to the other classics from the album, such as “Black Dog”, “Rock and Roll” and “Misty Mountain Hop”. I want to specifically focus on “Black Dog” because I just can’t really express how much I adore this song and how empowering it is to me. On top of that, it’s probably my favorite Led Zeppelin live act due to its musical complexity and even chaotic patterns which became a true testament to the band’s musicianship. Believe me, even by Led Zeppelin standards this is a very hard song to perform and even harder to dance to.

“Black Dog” Live

Led Zeppelin - Black Dog 2– “Black Dog” is the opening track of Led Zeppelin’s fourth album, which is also their best-selling album, released back in 1971.

– The title of the song – “Black Dog” has nothing to do with and doesn’t appear in the lyrics of the track. The story behind the title goes like this: While Led Zeppelin were working on the song in a mansion in England, a nameless black Labrador was wondering around the grounds and the band would befriend and feed it. The song is named after it.

Let me tell you ’bout this poor old dog because he was a retriever in his early days, and the only thing he could ever find in his late days was his old lady who lived two houses away from where we were recording. And he used to go see the old lady quite regularly, but after he’d “boogied” and everything else he couldn’t get back. And we used to carry him back,” Robert Plant once said.
(Apparently, despite his old age, the doggy was quite “adventurous” – quite like the song’s protagonist)

Led Zeppelin’s bassist player – John Paul Jones was credited for writing the main riff of the song.

I wanted to try an electric blues with a rolling bass part. But it couldn’t be too simple. I wanted it to turn back on itself. I showed it to the guys, and we fell into it. We struggled with the turn-around, until Bonham figured out that you just four-time as if there’s no turn-around. That was the secret,” John

– The song begins with Jimmy Page warming up his guitar. He called it waking up the army of guitars”.

– The lyrics of the song are not quite complex or difficult to comprehend (as compared to “Stairway to Heaven” for instance). The way I see it is that Plant is simply singing about a very attractive, “long-legged” woman who is obviously triggering the protagonist’s prurient thoughts. Also, there’s this line – Eyes that shine burning red, dreams of you all through my head” which made a lot of people conclude that the song was talking about a hellhound (or a black dog) and was related with Satan.
(Because of course a relation to Satan had to be made – it was the ‘70s after all…)

LED Zeppelin - Black Dog
– The track reached number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.

– “Black Dog” ’s sophisticated shifting time signature was intended to stop any attempts from other cover bands to duplicate the song. Originally John wanted it to be recorded in 6/8 but since it’s too difficult to reproduce it live, John Bonham would eliminated the 5/4 variation. The guitar riffs are heavily layered and distorted.

– The start-and-stop a cappella verses were inspired by Fleetwood Mac’s 1969 song “Oh Well.”

 

– A Led Zeppelin cover band, named Dread Zeppelin did a version of the song and mixed it up with Elvis “Hound Dog”. The vocalist was an Elvis impersonator. Here’s the result, you be the judge

 

“Black Dog” Clean


“Black Dog” Lyrics

Hey, hey mama, said the way you move, gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove.
Unh nh child, way you shake that thing, gonna make you burn, gonna make you sting.
Hey, hey baby, when you walk that way, watch your heart-ache drip, can’t keep away.

Ah yeah, ah yeah, ah, ah, ah, ah yeah, ah yeah, ah, ah, ah.
I gotta roll, can’t stand still, got a flamin’ heart, can’t get my fill.
Eyes that shine, burnin’ red, dreams of you all through my head.

Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah.

Hey hey baby, oh baby, pretty baby, darlin’ can’t you do me now?
Hey, baby, oh, baby, pretty baby, move me while you do me now.

Didn’t take too long ‘fore I found out what people mean by down and out.
Spent my money, took my car, started tellin’ her friends she gonna be a star.
I don’t know, but I been told, a big legged woman ain’t got no soul.

Oh yeah, oh yeah, ah, ah, ah, oh yeah, oh yeah, ah, ah, yeah.

All I ask for, all I pray, steady loaded woman gonna come my way.
Need a woman, gonna hold my hand will tell me no lies, make me a happy man.
Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah.

La-da ah e ah yes I will. And yes I really, really do baby, baby, baby.
I can really do you, huh? Ooh, wew, you do it baby.
Push it, baby, push it, baby, push it, baby, push it, baby,
Push it, baby, push it, babe babe.
Ooh, ooh, aah ooh. Ooh. I’d really like to do it now. I’d really like to do it now.


 

References and Credits:

“Black Dog” Official Wikipedia Page, retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Dog_(song)
Led Zeppelin Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/ledzeppelin/
“Black Dog” SongFacts, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=334

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.
Cheers~
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.

 

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

beatles s

The 8th studio album of The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released today in 1967! This is one of those records that don’t really need an introduction, accompanied by a bunch of words expressing how great and impressive it is. What do we need to understand and remember, though, is that this record is one of the most essential and unsurpassed albums ever made and its influence, contributions and success will forever remain unmatched. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is simply the holy grail of rock music; an absolute breakthrough masterpiece that features adventurous elements of rock&roll, classical music, psychedelia and art rock, all racing together on superior studio technology. The Beatles were fearless; boundaries were demolished and the ultimate achievement was reached. It’s been almost 50 years since its release but this record still remains the greatest musical statement of all time!

Let’s look through some facts about Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and listen to some music!

beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is #1 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”
  • Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band spent 27 weeks at the top of the album charts in the UK and 15 weeks at #1 on the USA charts as well. It’s also the third best-selling album in the UK with over 5.1 million copies being sold.
  • Sgt. Pepper band is the name of the alter ego group they chose to present themselves as. This alter ego band gave them freedom and flexibility to experiment and explore new musical directions.
  • The Beatles spent over 129 days and 700 hours on the LP which was 30 times more than they did on their debut album “Please Please Me”.
  • George Martin – the producer of the record explained that Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was an attempt to match Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. “Without Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper never would have happened … Pepper was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds,” Martin stated.
  • The album cover art cost more than £3000 which was quite expensive at that time. It was designed by British pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth. The collage includes 57 photos and 9 waxworks of famous people, such as actors, scientists and writers, including Bob Dylan, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Stan Laurel, Oscar Wilde, Lewis Caroll and many more. Lennon wanted to include Jesus and Hitler, however his ideas were rejected.
  • Time magazine described the record as “a historic departure in the progress of music”.
  • The lyrics were printed in full on the back cover of the record. This was done for the first time on a rock LP.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band back cover

  • Paul sings five lead vocals; John sings three; John and Paul share the lead on two; Ringo sings lead on one song and George, Paul and John share the lead on one song as well.
  • ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ was thought to be a reference to LSD. However, John stated that it was from a drawing made by his 4-year old son Julian.
  • All the songs were written and composed by Lennon–McCartney except “Within You Without You”, which was written by George Harrison
  • The total length of the album is 39:52 as it includes 13 songs.
  • Paul wrote and sang lead on the title track “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. Three days after the record came out, the Jimi Hendrix Experience opened a show with their interpretation of the track.
  • Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is a record with songs designed in a way so that they couldn’t be performed live. The Beatles were embracing the studio experience and adopted numerous experimental approaches that simply cannot be adjusted for a live performance.

beatles sgt


References:
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sgt._Pepper’s_Lonely_Hearts_Club_Band
“50 Sgt. Pepper Facts”, retrieved from http://www.udiscovermusic.com/the-beatles-sgt-pepper
I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] ASIA – ASIA

Asia - Asia


ASIA

Asia - AsiaReleased: March 18, 1982
Recorded: June – November 1981, Townhouse Studios, London
Genre: AOR, Progressive Rock, Rock, Pop Rock
Length: 44:22

Label: Geffen
Producer(s): Mike Stone
Singles: “Heat of the Moment”, “Only Time Will Tell”, “Soul Survivor”
Personnel: Steve Howe – guitars, backing vocals, Geoff Downes – keyboards, backing vocals, John Wetton – bass guitar, lead vocals, Carl Palmer – drums, percussion

Certified: 4xPlatinum (RIAA)

TRACKLIST:

“Heat of the Moment”
“Only Time Will Tell”
“Sole Survivor”
“One Step Closer”
“Time Again”
“Wildest Dreams”
“Without You”
“Cutting it Fine”
“Here Comes the Feeling”

aSIA - ASIA - CD

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OVERVIEW:

This monstrous debut record by the supergroup Asia was released back in 1982 and proved that there was indeed a reason why those immensely talented and versatile musicians from YES, ELP, King Crimson and The Buggles got together in the first place. “Asia” spawned one of the most distinctive rock tunes of the 80s – “Heat of the Moment” which became their ultimate signature song. That was not the end of it, though – the record is full of catchy hooks and fine melodies, perfectly designed to fit the demands of the commercial radio stations. If you are looking for some traces of YES or ELP on this album, you won’t find them. “Asia” doesn’t really impress with lengthy instrumentals or heavy lyrics but it does impress with its style and class. We cannot deny the excellent collaboration of Steve Howe‘s guitar Carl Palmer’s drums and Geoff Downes’ keyboards. Plus of course, John Wetton’s vocals which are the essence of the record! They created a much needed spark with this record and it’s quite sad that they couldn’t live up to this album in their following endeavors.

“Heat of the Moment” sets the tone for the record by definitely kicking things off with the biggest bang ever. It’s one of those songs that leave a lasting memory and definitely one of the most memorable and enjoyable classics from the 80s. “Only Time Will Tell” is one of the fines moments of the record as it demonstrates the perfect fusion between pop and rock. The track can’t but affect us with its harmonies and perfect little details, such as Palmer’s powerful drums and layered chorus. “Sole Survivor” is the absolute rocker from the record, combining excellent Hammond organ playing and a basic straight-up rock ‘n’ roll fashion. Some other fine moments from the record include the intriguing and quite fierce guitar intro of “Time Again” which definitely has the “wow” effect on listeners. The essential melancholic track comes in the form of “Without You”, which again demonstrates fine keyboard playing and smoky vocals.

Many people have rather conflicting opinions about this album; however I believe the above mentioned songs are good enough to make it up for the lack of substantiality that could be felt in the rest of the album. Overall, it’s a “modern-classic” record that brought together extraordinary people and spawned hit singles which we still love and listen to even today! Good job~

HEAT OF THE MOMENT

SOLE SURVIVOR

TIME AGAIN


 

Credits:
“ASIA” official Wikipedia webpage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asia_%28Asia_album%29
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.
Cheers~