TOP 10 Classic Rock Debut Albums

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Debut albums – they can make or break your career. First impressions are always important and that is valid in pretty much every sphere of life, including in the tough and highly competitive music industry sector. During the “golden age of rock”, as I like to call the ‘70s and ‘80s, tons of outstanding bands made their first statement with strong and memorable albums, some of which are still relevant and widely-appreciated on a worldwide level.  Of course, it takes time to properly assemble a band, create a distinctive sound and style, and choose the perfect way to point your efforts and influences at the right direction, resulting in a powerful, slamming rock wave!

Just like any other classic rock fan out there, I also have my top 10 favorite rock debuts. For one reason or another, these ten albums left quite the impression on me and were the reason why I got into those bands in the first place. These “eye-opening” debuts are as a matter of fact among some of my most beloved albums of all time. From punk rock to progressive rock; from AOR treasures, to supergroup debuts, I am presenting you, [My Rock Mixtape]’s Top 10 Classic Rock Debuts!


1. Def Leppard – On Through the Night (1980)

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Hello Def Leppard! It’s absolutely impossible not to fall in love with the rawness, energy and straightforward hard rock spirit that surrounds “On Through the Night”. With that organic rock&roll sound and influences, drawn by bands like The Rolling Stones and Thin Lizzy, it was no surprise that this album became a leading force in the new wave of British heavy metal movement. Def Leppard were a couple of British guys with a big dream – to conquer the States and eventually the world. They did manage to fulfill their dream, despite receiving a lot of criticism from local fans and press, for “selling-out” to the American audience. Nevertheless, the dark, unprocessed and rather fresh approach to hard rock, Def Leppard presented in 1980, was exactly what the music scene needed.“Hello America”, “Rock Brigade”, “Wasted”, “Sorrow is a Woman” – all splendid heavy metal rockers that defined the early ’80s. Def Leppard drifted a little from their initial “hard solid” sound and musical direction; however, it was the right thing to do, believe me.


2. Boston – Boston (1976)

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The tremendous strength with which Boston’s self-titled debut album smashed into the music world in the mid-70s could easily be justified with the 25 million copies sold worldwide. Not only that, but “Boston” was actually the best-selling debut album of all time before Guns N’ Roses released “Appetite for Destruction” in 1987. There should be a reason for such enormous recognition, right? Well, the album is just that good! The record found the perfect balance between pop and rock by crafting a splendid mixture of gorgeous vocal harmonies, gentle, yet rough guitar riffs, spellbinding melodic hooks and dreamy lyrics, all wrapped up under the influence of the classical music, Tom Scholz – the man behind Boston, grew up listening to. “More Than a Feeling”, “Piece of Mind” and “Rock & Roll Band” are some of the classics appearing on the album, which I don’t see disappearing from the radio stations anytime soon.

Why is BOSTON’s Debut Album One Of The Greatest Albums Of All Time


3. ASIA – ASIA (1982)

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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.“Sole Survivor”, “Time Again”, “Only Time Will Tell” – some of the finest moments on “ASIA”, showcasing a marvelous fusion between progressive rock, pop and hard rock.

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


4. Bad Company  – Bad Company (1974)

bad-company-debutBad Company’s glorious 1974 debut achieved much more than critical and commercial success; the self-titled album of the supergroup brought good old-fashioned rock&roll back into the music scene. Filled with catchy straightforward classics, “Bad Company” is the perfect example of album oriented blues rock, showcasing the band’s biggest selling point – their moody but quite soulful signature sound. Loaded with classic rock staples like “Can’t Get Enough”, “Rock Steady” and “Ready for Love”, the record was destined for success.  I have always found an immense attachment to “Ready for Love” (original by Mott the Hoople) – Paul Rodgersvocals absolutely did it for me. If you want to get into Bad Company, this is the record you should start with. Play it as loud as possible if you want to experience the ageless magic of pure hard solid rock&roll.

The Triumphant Debut of BAD COMPANY (1974)


5. Cinderella – Night Songs (1986)

cinderella-night-songs-2I don’t think Cinderella could’ve made a better debut album! Cinderella were everything BUT your ordinary glam rock band. Unfortunately, their image was what often confused people, though their talent goes above and beyond the big hair, tight leather pants and leopard shirts. We also have to consider their secret weapon – Tom Keifer who is one of the most unique voices of rock music and one of my favorite vocalists of all time. “Night Songs” offers an excellent selection of blues-oriented explosive metal riffs of guitarist Jeff LaBar, flavored by the scratchy fierce voice of Tom Keifer, all cloaked under dark, mysterious and quite intriguing character of the record. “Shake Me”, “Nobody’s Fool”, “Night Songs”, “Somebody Save Me” – there’s just no weak song on this debut album; all are among the greatest glam rock tunes ever released!

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] CINDERELLA – Night Songs


6. Van Halen – Van Halen (1978)

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One of the most essential rock acts of all time, Van Halen, debuted in 1978 with an enormous self-titled album that is often regarded as the greatest rock&roll debut albums of all time by fans. Despite being heavily criticized by critics back in the day, it didn’t take that long for the album to become an absolute worldwide sensation and set new standards for rock&roll. Eddie Van Halen’s God-like guitar skills erupted on this album and we are more than thankful for that. Revolutionary rockers like “Runnin’ With the Devil”, “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘bout Love” and the splendid cover of The Kink’s “You Really Got Me” (which with all due respect is better than the original, in my opinion) defined the rock scene in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s like no other tunes. Not to mention the electrifying solo “Eruption” which put all the guitarists to shame. There’s no surprise this brilliant rock debut found its way to my heart and became one of my favorite debuts of all time.


7. King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King (1969)

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I still remember the first time I heard King Crimson’s “Epitaph” it was one of the most sensual experiences of my life. I just knew a special relationship between me and the band is about to develop and wasn’t wrong. The fathers of progressive rock – King Crimson, debuted with “In the Court of the Crimson King” in 1969, which many fans and critics consider as the birthplace of progressive rock. Not only that, but the highly experimental, out-of-this-world sound of the album inspired generations of progressive rock acts. Greg Lake’s soul-touching vocals, accompanied by surreal music, mixing all genres, styles and forms you can imagine, conquered me right from the very beginning. In addition to “Epitaph”, “Moonchild” andThe Court of the Crimson King” are among my favorite progressive rock pieces. This, in my book, is probably the most influential debut albums of all time!


8. Ramones – Ramones (1976)

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Hey ho, let’s go! The fathers of punk rock, The Ramones debuted in 1976 with one of the most uplifting, enjoyable and spirited rock albums of all time. I always had a soft spot for punk rock and this album was the reason why; there’s just something so charming about The Ramones and their carefree, breezy and laid-back style and approach to music. Coming out of the CBGB stage, The Ramones were the main catalysts for the punk rock, underground movement of the late ‘70s in the USA. Moreover, Ramones went on to become the most important punk rock act, inspiring generations of musicians, such as the Sex Pistols and The Clash.
Classics like “Blitzkrieg Bop”, “Judy is a Punk” and “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” are synonymous with punk rock! “Ramones” is also one good example of how an album which couldn’t achieve big commercial success, achieved something that goes way beyond that.


9. Giant – Last of the Runaways (1989)

giant-last-of-the-runawaysGiant’s outstanding debut album, “Last of the Runaways” deserved so much more than it actually got. Unfortunately, the time wasn’t right for it – by 1989, the heydays of album-oriented rock were long gone. Despite its high production value, melodic quality and outstanding vocals and riffs by Dann Huff, “Last of the Runaways” somehow got lost in the transition period from the ‘80s to the ‘90s.“I’m a Believer”“Innocent Days”, “Can’t Get Close Enough” and “No Way Out” are just a few of the dangerously obsessive rock tornadoes that could be heard on this album. “Last of the Runaways” gives us three of the greatest power ballads ever written – “Love Welcome Home”, “It Takes Two” and of course their most commercially successful song, “I’ll See You in My Dreams”. How Dann and the rest of the guys wrote such powerful and emotionally-charged pieces of art is beyond my understanding. This is a gorgeous rock piece and I can’t recommend it enough!

[’80s Rock Album Focus] GIANT – Last Of The Runaways


10. Firehouse – Firehouse (1990)

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FireHouse was an absolute glam rock revolution, in the sense that they brought so much more than glitter and gold to the table. The critical and audience appreciation was on point – those four guys weren’t joking around – armed with great talent, for FireHouse the sky was the limit. Their 1989 debut album, “FireHouse” offers a selection of twelve, well-polished pop/metal jewels, which respectfully clogged he radio stations and mesmerized (and still do) the fans with gorgeous riffs and superb vocals. “All She Wrote” “Shake & Tumble”, Rock on the Radio“ and Don’t Treat Me Bad” are just a few of the catchy rockers that turned this debut album into one of my favorite albums of all time! Don’t even get me started on “Love of a Lifetime”, which in my book is one of the greatest power ballads ever written!

In 1990, FIREHOUSE Released a Debut Album of a Lifetime


+ Honorable Mentions

Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Emerson, Lake & Palmer

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The Beatles – Please Please Me (1963)

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Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin (1969)

Led Zeppelin - Babe I'm gonna Leave You

Rainbow – Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (1975)

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Winger – Winger (1988)

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Foreigner – Foreigner (1977)

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Thunder – Backstreet Symphony

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Bad English – Bad English

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DIO – Holy Diver

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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~

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.

Rock Legends Who Deserve to be Inducted in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame Right Now!!!

I have very strong opinions towards this “institution” called Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and I have always been one of those people who cannot stop criticizing and being mad at their rather shady and unrealistic nomination process. Let’s face it – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an absolute joke and it doesn’t really reflect or represent an objective and fair point of view. Not to mention that they include too many artists from all kinds of genres which confuses people and makes them lose their trust in this “institution”. They lost me as a fan and a supporter a long time ago. However, I cannot ignore their inductions because if I do ignore what’s happening, it will bug me and I won’t be able to find my sleep!!! Bottom line is – if you are a top rock act with a career that lasted for more than 30+ years and you sold millions of records, the chance of you being inducted into this “piss stain” is very SLIM! WHY? No one knows… Money? Politics? Basically, all that crap that ruin everything decent in life… The nomination process sucks and they better hope I never find a way to get down there and give them a little rock ‘n’ roll lesson cause apparently they don’t really know what that is….

Anyhow, these are 10 of the most outstanding and timeless rock legends who guess what… are NOT INDUCTED in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame! Let’s talk a little bit about their accomplishments and careers and try to figure out who in their right mind decided that THEY ARE NOT ELIGIBLE for this “prestigious” recognition! I swear, I’m losing it… Let’s just hope that they will be inducted sometime soon. The influence, success and love for those following artists is SO HUGE that they most definitely DESERVE to be there among the other legends of rock music… Let’s check them out!


 

Def Leppard

Def Leppard have been active since the late 70s and never stopped making awesome music. With their Platinum hit records “Pyromania” and “Hysteria”, they basically ruled the hard rock scene in the 80s and quickly became one of the best-selling bands in the world. They have sold over 100 million records worldwide and released over 50 timeless classic singles we can’t get enough of. I can’t stop asking myself why are they STILL NOT INDUCTED in Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?? Only a few other artists managed to sell over 10 million copies of an original studio album and if this is not a worthy accomplishment I don’t know what is…

def leppard

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden – the absolute pioneers of British Heavy Metal and one of the most influential and successful rock bands ever! They began their journey in the late 70s and so far have released 38 albums which sold more than 90 million copies worldwide!!! Their contributions and achievements are unquestionable and they should be inducted in Rock Hall of Fame RIGHT NOW!

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Judas Priest

Judas Priest – the fathers of metal and one of the most essential bands for the development and success of rock music back in the day. In the 70s, they helped shape thrash and in the 80s they just blew everyone’s minds away with their heavy metal sound and innovations. Up to date, they have sold more than 45 million records worldwide and influenced the majority of rock artists with their unique style, image and music. Induct them NOW, please!

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Journey (2017 Inductees)

Journey! A band that went through a lot of line-up changes but became one of the most commercially successful rock acts of the 80s. They have 18 top 40 singles and a number of unforgettable tunes we love with all our hearts – “Open Arms”, “Don’t Stop Believin’” and many more. Journey sold over 48 million records and became one of America’s most beloved bands! Also, we have to talk about Steve Perry and his immense contributions and vocal abilities which became one of the main reasons why they reached such success back in the day! They deserve to be inducted for sure!

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Ronnie James Dio

This right here is the biggest mistake of Rock Hall of Fame – not inducting the MOST influential and talented rockstar – Ronnie James Dio. I can never forgive them for that. I don’t really need someone to tell me that he was a legend and a pioneer of rock, but he deserves to be acknowledged and respected for what he did. His name should be alongside the other big names – Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, etc. He fronted Dio, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Elf and Heaven & Hell and sold over 47 million albums over the span of his career! It’s time, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – it’s time!!

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Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi were nominated in 2011 but couldn’t make it – I have absolutely no idea why, though! They have the whole package – a long and productive career, amazing and charismatic frontman, timeless classic rock hits, sold over 100 million records worldwide and keep on releasing awesome music! Come on, Rock Hall of Fame – it’s now or never!

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Emerson, Lake & Palmer

ELP – one of the most essential progressive rock supergroup which completely re-defined the music scene. Formed back in the 70s, these phenomenal artists were destined for success. By combining unique elements of classical music, jazz, symphonic rock and excessive use of Hammond organ, they crafted a sound that was never heard of or will ever be heard again! Such influential bands should be inducted in Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – no second opinion about it.

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Electric Light Orchestra (2017 Inductees)

Sometimes it really makes me mad when people just forget about the influence and success of this awesome rock band. Formed back in the 1970s, they have also crafted a unique sound, combining elements of Beatlesque pop, classical arrangements, and futuristic iconography. Not to mention that they have 27 top 40 hits and an outstanding leader in the face of Jeffrey “Jeff” Lynne who also by the way co-founded the supergroup Traveling Wilburys and is the only one of them who is not included…Such a SHAME!

Photo of ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA

Dire Straits

Dire Straits – a band everyone loves listening to! They became hugely successful in the 80s with their distinctive sound, drawing influences from jazz, folk and blues music. Their biggest triumph was undoubtedly the ultimate “Brothers in Arms” which became the first album to cell million copies on CDs. Not to mention the tons of music awards they received throughout their career… Bottom line is, Dire Straits are awesome and they should be inducted!

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Motorhead

Motörhead are undoubtedly the pioneers of speed and thrash metal. Formed back in 1975, the influence of this band goes above and beyond any other heavy metal band. By mixing elements of punk and metal, the mastermind of the band – Lemmy, crafted a sound that still sounds as awesome as ever! The band has sold more than 30 million records worldwide and becoming the number one influence of bands such as Metallica, Motörhead have earned their rightful place in the Rock Hall of Fame… RIP, Lemmy!

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There are plenty more….

[PLAYLIST] This Week in Classic Rock Songs

 

Greetings, everyone and happy new week!

It’s Monday, so it’s time for my weekly mixtape. This week, once again, I collected 10 favorite songs from my music library and came up with this splendid classic rock music playlist. Simply put, it’s a compilation of songs I really enjoy listening to on a daily basis. There’s no particular order or concept behind the “mixtape” I’ve prepared. The only idea behind it is to kick off the new week with some serious rock ‘n’ roll tunes! Also, I think such “mixtapes” are the perfect opportunity to travel back in time, relive the amazing moments or just remind ourselves of some great rock music! Let’s roll! Happy Listening!


 

 

Tina Turner – Steamy Windows (1989)

 

Alice Cooper – This Maniac’s Inlove With You (1989)

 

Helloween – I Want Out (1988)

 

YES – Owner of a Lonely Heart (1983)

 

Poison – Talk Dirty to Me (1986)

 

Rush – Tom Sawyer (1981)

 

Deep Purple – Mistreated (1974)

 

Judas Priest – Better By You, Better Than Me (1978)

 

Dio – Don’t Talk to Strangers (1983)

 

and let’s finish off with a more gentle classic rock song from the late 80s….

The Cure – Lovesong (1989)

 


 

 

 

Album Focus – Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (1975)

Some people say that the era of the CDs is long gone. However believe it or not, there are people like me out there who still purchase and collect CDs. I have this little CD shop near the place I live (I have to take a picture next time) and I just love spending hours and hours there. They have these huge wooden shelves with tons and tons of CDs and even vinyl records. The whole atmosphere just screams my name!
Anyhow, a few days ago I went there to look for some albums and spend some quality “me” time. After hours of literally checking every single album on the shelves and a huge struggle not to buy all the albums I saw, I ended up buying the debut album of one of my most favorite rock bands – Rainbow. The title of the album is “Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow” and it was released on the 4th of August, 1975. Can you believe this? It has been 40 years since this album hit the shelves. It turned out I bought it on its 40th year anniversary – such a pleasant coincidence. Originally I was hoping to come across and buy their “The Very Best of Rainbow” album that came out in 1997, however I couldn’t find it (still not giving up, though). Then, the lady from the CD shop was kind enough to find me the debut album from the storage. The album itself was imported from the USA and of course, it’s a remaster. I just had to buy it – it is such a rare precious and a must for every Rainbow or Ritchie Blackmore or Ronnie James Dio fan. In the following post I would briefly present the album and its songs. This is not a band profile publication, so I would like to focus on the album itself, rather than the members. I decided to dedicate my first publication to this debut album because it is the most recent CD I purchased and because it is the debut of my blog

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Album Title : Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow
Released: 1975 (Vinyl Record) ; 1999 (CD in remastered form)
Genre: Hard Rock, Progressive Rock, Heavy Metal
Record Label: Oyster (UK) ; Polydor (Worldwide)
Members: Ronnie James Dio – lead vocals; Ritchie Blackmore – guitar; Micky Lee Soule – piano, mellotron, clavinet, organ; Craig Gruber – bass; Gary Driscoll – drums
Singles: “Man On The Silver Mountain” ; “Snake Charmer” (October 1975)
Produced by: Ritchie Blackmore, Martin Birch and Ronnie James Dio
Interesting fact: The album was recorded in Germany. It is the first ever project of Ritchie Blackmore after his departure from Deep Purple. Vocalist Ronnie James Dio, consider this album as the best Rainbow album.

Tracklist:
1.Man on the Silver Mountain
2.Self Portrait
3.Black Sheep of the Family
4.Catch the Rainbow
5.Snake Charmer
6.Temple of the King
7.If You Don’t Like Rock n’ Roll
8.Sixteenth Century Greensleeves
9.Still I’m Sad (The Yardbirds cover)

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Firstly, I would like to start with the album cover. It was made by American fine artist David Willardson. Honestly speaking, I am not such a huge fan of cartoon-style album covers. Realistic album covers (photographs) or simplistic designs have always been more striking to me. On the cover we see a castle which also happens to be a guitar and there’s a rainbow behind it. It is very colorful and too Disney-like I would say. It’s only natural since the artist worked for Disney at that time, but still…The trend of putting unique and rather strange, surrealistic art on an album cover was very strong at that time – especially the second part of the 70s. For instance artists such as Roger Dean and Storm Thorgerson were extremely popular with bands like Pink Floyd, YES and Asia. Back to Rainbow’s cover, I do really like it – why? – because it is very distinctive and easy to remember. Also, there’s something very magical and mysterious in the painting itself – I just want to enter into the rock castle and never go out…
Real-life picture of the album cover ~ That’s how it looks; Very distinctive, right?

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Secondly, I would like to talk more about the songs from the album. I am not going to comment on each and every song; rather than that I will focus on the overall picture, as well as on two songs in particular – my favorite songs from the album.
Bottom line is, if you like the combination of hard rock and poetic, fantasy-oriented lyrics – this is the album for you. Most of the songs are a bit gloomy in terms of lyrics, except “If You Don’t Like Rock ‘N’ Roll” which is very upbeat and in my opinion is the perfect 60s rock’n’roll nostalgia song! In terms of vocal and guitar delivery I would say that the album is rather simplistic, not as progressive and innovative as some people would like it to be. However, to me that is exactly why the album is so good! Ritchie’s riffs are not as complicated and aggressive as they used to be back when he was with DP and that is the beauty of it! Ronnie, on the other hand is just perfect – in my book of the greatest male rock vocals of all time, he is definitely in top 10. I don’t think anyone can sing those highs the way he does – just play “Black Sheep Of The Family” or “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves” and you will see what am I talking about!

The two songs I wanted to talk about are “Man On The Silver Mountain” and “Catch The Rainbow”, which in my opinion are the best songs of the album.

One of the most memorable song intros ever (at least to me)! Ronnie said that it’s “a semi-religious song, the man on the silver mountain is a kind of God figure everyone is crying out to.” – rather interesting right? It was co-written by Dio and Blackmore. When Ronnie died in 2010, the words “The man on the silver mountain Ronnie James Dio” were put on his grave. The song is a classic and it defines an era – I don’t have to say more. It’s memorable, catchy and very powerful – the greatest thing is that it delivers that power to the listeners. Ronnie’s vocals are beyond perfect! Personally, my favorite part of the song, as well as lyrics is when Ronnie sings :
“Come down with fire
Lift my spirit higher
Someone’s screaming my name
Come and make me holy again” ….and then we hear the memorable guitar riff! ❤

“Catch The Rainbow” is probably the gloomiest song from the album. However, I don’t think it is that type of song that brings out sad emotions and feelings (at least to me). The song itself was not released as a single, however it remains one of their most famous works. The song is loved that much probably because it is often connected with  “Little Wing” by “The Jimmy Hendrix Experience”. To me personally, its strongest point is the simplistic yet powerful guitar riff and the background choirs that create a very mysterious and a bit psychedelic vibe. Lyrically speaking, the song is very poetic and beautiful. I especially love the chorus:
“We believed we’d catch the rainbow
Ride the wind to the sun
Sail away on ships of wonder”

A real life picture of the CD with the tracklist and the covers of each and every song on the right part of the case. Very well-packaged, indeed!

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Finally, I just want to say that to me, this is one of the most expected and successful debut albums of all time. Ritchie and Ronnie are an amazing team and I wish Ronnie was still with us to continue working together… I am very glad I bought the album and I would recommend it to everyone who enjoy rock music from the 70s. The album possesses an essence…a special and unique atmosphere which is no longer present in today’s music; not to mention quality songwriting and brilliant musicianship… Catch the rainbow!

Me, enjoying the newest addition to my CD collection!

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