15 Favorite Rock Albums that Celebrate a 30th Anniversary This Year

I get excited just by thinking of this year – the marvelous year of 1987!!! So many people on social media asked me which I think was the best year for rock music. I always say 1987 with no hesitation. Why? Check my list and you will certainly find out why!

All those outstanding releases are celebrating a 30th anniversary this year (2017) and I really wanted to list all my favorites together, in one place. Of course, I might have missed some of your favorites and yes, Appetite for Destruction is not in my top15 (surprise surprise!) but it is what it is. From Great White to Treat and Def Leppard, I honestly and straightforwardly am telling why exactly I love these albums with the idea to celebrate them and remember that it might have been 30 years since they were released, but the love and excitement over them hasn’t gone anywhere.

Don’t forget to tell me what do you think and which one is your favorite album released in 1987!?

 


Great White – Once Bitten

great white save your loveOnce you hear the mesmerizing ballad “Save Your Love” or the hard-rocking opener “All Over Now”, you will understand why Great White’s junior album deserves a place in your collection. The album came out in the hot summer of 1987 and quickly made a fuss around the band, eventually reaching a platinum status just a year after its release. The highlight and the most-instantly recognizable song from the album has to be “Rock Me” – I bet you know it. “Once Bitten” is actually my favorite Great White album and this song is a pretty solid reason behind my choice.


TNT – Tell No Tales

tnt-tell-no-tales“Everyone’s a Star”, “10 000 Lovers (In One)”, “As Far as the Eye Can See”…and on and on. TNT’s junior album is one of the best releases of 1987 and no one can take that away from it. As biased as I am (obviously), you can’t actually deny the power of vocalist Tony Harnell or the brilliance of guitar player Ronni Le Tekrø who make the perfect dream team. I got “Tell no Tales” in a record store as a “blind purchase” and this turned out to be the best decision of my life!! There are still so many people out there who haven’t discovered the greatness of this band so I urge them to do it now!


Dokken – Back for the Attack

Dokken back for the attackDokken’s fourth studio release also happens to be their best-selling album of all time and certainly one of the most interesting and captivating hard rock gems of 1987. “Prisoner”, “Night by Night” and of course the legendary “Dream Warrior” – the theme song for the horror film “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” are just a few of the stunning rockers on “Back for the Attack”. Some critics and fans don’t consider this album as Dokken’s finest hour but then again I never actually cared about that. The album is full of jaw-dropping rockers and it deserves its place in my list.


White Lion – Pride

white-lion-prideWhite Lion’s sophomore album is an absolute classic and a musical piece that cannot really be described with words. Though my favorite White Lion album is “Mane Attraction”, “Pride” gets the honorable second place! “Wait” and “When the Children Cry” are the hits that came out of it, though I gotta go with “Hungry” as my favorite song from the album. Mike Tramp and Vito Bratta can craft some serious magic and this is one of their strongest products, for sure.


Strangeways – Native Sons

strangeways-native-sons“Native Sons” remains one of the forgotten and highly underrated representatives of the large AOR scene of the late ‘80s, despite the admirable qualities and superb songwriting it showcases. Thankfully, there are still people like me (and you) who know that picking up an apple from the top of the basket doesn’t mean that it’s the best apple of the bunch. “Native Sons” is a melodic bliss from start to finish. “Dance with Somebody”, “Only a Fool”, “So Far Away”…go check for yourself if you have never listened to these songs. Vocalist Terry Brock is one of the strongest voices of melodic rock and this is his finest hour.


McAuleySchenker Group – Perfect Timing

msg perfect timingA predictable choice, don’t you think? I mean of course I will include the debut album of the Michael Schenker and Robin McAuley, released in the fall of 1987. This project and this album represent one of my favorite collaborations in rock music. Those two were a match made in heaven and once you play songs like “Gimme More” or my personal favorite “Follow the Night” you will get what I’m saying. “Perfect Timing” deserves all the love and attention you have and I’m not “just saying it”. 


Treat – Dreamhunter

treat-dreamhunter-1987I’ve been introducing those amazing guys to fans who have a very little idea how much more there is to the world of AOR. “Dreamhunter” is the third studio album of Swedish rockers TREAT and it’s one of those underrated gems that should’ve been way bigger. It didn’t leave a big impact on the world of music but it left a tremendous impact on me and my little rocknroll heart. “Sole Survivor”, “Take Me on Your Wings” and “You’re The One I Want” are some of the stand outs from “Dreamhunter”, all impressing with great production value and brilliant melodies.There’s absolutely no way this album can’t win over any melodic/AOR fan.


Foreigner – Inside Information

inside information foreignerSometimes when we talk about the great Foreigner, this album gets left out of the conversation and I’m not quite sure why. I mean, yes – when you have enormous era-defining albums like “4” and “Agent Provocateur”, the follow-ups might get forgotten sometimes. In fact, though, (honesty hour) the sixth studio album of Foreigner – “Inside Information” might be my favorite release by Foreigner. “Say You Will”, “Can’t Wait” and the title songs are some of their greatest works, indeed. One more thing – it’s the last album to feature the 80’s core lineup of Gramm, Jones, Wills and Elliott, making it quite relevant.


REO Speedwagon – Life as we Know It

reo life as we know itHuge REO fan right here so no surprises that their 1987 album “Life as we Know It” is in my list of favorites. The twelfth studio album of the beloved band features some outstanding music, including “That Ain’t Love”, “New Way to Love” and “In My Dreams” – all beautifully written and highly pleasing tunes, solidifying REO Speedwagon’s position as melodic rock giants. Things after this release were never quite the same in terms of commercial performance and popularity and that could be traced back to the growing tensions between the members of the band; however we do have this fine piece of music and I’m so glad it saw the light.


Helix – Wild in the Streets

helix wild in the streetsHelix might as well be my favorite Canadian band so I just had to include their highly underrated sixth studio album “Wild in the Streets”. The beginning of their career was pretty strong but by the time this album was released, the fire was already fading out. The release is filled with memorable, close-to-my-heart rockers, including “She’s too Tough”, “Never Gonna Stop the Rock” and the gorgeous cover of Nazareth’s ballad “Dream On”. Never understood why this release wasn’t that big but that never prevented me from falling in love with it. 


Pink Floyd – A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Pink Floyd - A momentary lapse of reason front“A Momentary Lapse of Reason” is often misunderstood and extremely underrated record, despite magnificent songs such as “Learning to Fly”, “Sorrow” and “On The Turning Away”. I often clash with lack of objectivity when it comes to this album but then again, everyone has their own opinion and views. For me, the magic started when David Gilmour took over and released “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” and “The Division Bell” which instantly became my favorite PF albums. I love the classics and Roger Water is indeed a genius but this album right here is the PF release I connected with on a very personal level.


Tommy Shaw – Ambition

tommy shaw ambitionI wish more people would know of this album, because Tommy Shaw truly deserves it. His third solo release, “Ambition” is like a gentle autumn leaf touching your skin. Honestly, it was this beautiful piece of music right here that fully opened my eyes to his musical abilities. Not that I wasn’t appreciating him in Styx but I was always drawn to his melodic rock releases and especially this one. “No Such Thing”, “Dangerous Game” and of course – that magical cover of Survivor’s “Ever Since the World Begin” are offering a memorable experience that can make you a fan of Tommy in an instant.


Fleetwood Mac – Tango in the Night

fleetwood macFleetwood Mac forever blurred the lines between pop and rock in the ’70s with relevant releases like “Rumors”. Their style didn’t change that much in the ’80s as well. “Tango in the Night” is probably my favorite release by the legendary band and “Big Love”, “Seven Wonders” and “Little Lies” might make you agree with me. “Tango in the Night” is their 14th studio album (wow, you read right, don’t worry) and the last studio album from the band’s most successful line-up of Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. This release certainly is more pop than rock but …it’s the late ’80s we are talking about after all! 


Whitesnake – 1987

Whitesnake WhitesnakeDo I actually have to introduce or talk about this album? I don’t think so, but here we go…

Whitesnake’s most essential and internationally recognized record till today remains their seventh self-titled studio album. Released back in 1987, “Whitesnake” turned into a major successful hit, producing timeless rock tunes like “Is This Love”, “Looking for Love” and “Still of the Night”. What made this album such an impressive masterpiece is the unique combination of classic solid rock and melodic rhythms. This all became true due to the great songwriting collaboration between singer David Coverdale and guitarist John Sykes. Melody, energy, passion and outstanding production are just some of the characteristics of the album that contributed to its phenomenal success.


Def Leppard – Hysteria

hysteria coverI saved the best (and my all time favorite album) for last. No need for me to tell you why this album is here and what it means to me because you probably know all about it. The monstrous game-changing and history-defining record turned into one of the highlights of the era, not only because of its production values, 7 hit singles and multi-platinum status, but also because it symbolized the strength of the human spirit and how with a little bit of faith and tons and tons of hard work, you can achieve anything. “Love Bites” is certainly my favorite song from “Hysteria”, though every second of it is like a heaven on Earth.


References:
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My Top 10 Sophomore (Rock) Releases

sophomore fav

I have previously talked about debut albums on my TOP 10 Classic Rock Debut Albums (make sure you check it out). This time, however, we will talk about the sophomore releases because I truly believe that in the majority of the cases, a sophomore album may turn out to be way more important for a band than their debut.

A second album can serve different purposes and can be designed to achieve specific goals. For some bands it’s a second chance to make a better first impression; for others, though, it’s another way to strengthen their position on a certain scene and in a certain genre. In addition, a sophomore album can also be recorded to illustrate a band’s artistic growth and creative strength since the majority of debut releases focus more on the commercial, universally-likable characteristics of the genre. There are, of course, cases in which we observe the so-called “sophomore slump” – a band with a great first release and an unworthy, highly disappointing follow-up. We, however, won’t be talking about those. Today, I will specifically focus on the exceptional ones; the sophomore releases which left such a lasting impression on me for one reason or another. One more thing – interestingly, with each band out there, my personal favorite releases always turn out to be either the debut or the follow-up. I guess you can say that I prefer the early, more passionate and “hungry” stages of a band.

Hope you enjoy reading my list and make sure you comment with your personal favorite sophomore release! Cheers~


Def Leppard – High ‘N’ Dry (1981)

Please don’t tell me you were surprised to see Def Leppard’s phenomenal second release “High ‘N’ Dry” on top of my list…

Def Leppard - High n DryDef Leppard’s “High ‘n’ Dry” has always been somehow ignored or even forgotten due to the ultimate smashing hit records “Pyromania” and “Hysteria” that follow it. Yes, those two albums are the ultimate masterpieces of the ’80s rock scene and definitely two of the greatest and most well-polished rock records of all time.  However, the NWOBHM gem, “High ‘n’ Dry” offers something different and its beauty definitely lies in its raw hard rock energy, rough heavy metal sound and straight-up clean production. “High ‘n’ Dry” was definitely a step up in song-crafting in comparison with their debut album – “On through the Night” – the riffs were more tasteful and Joe Elliott definitely improved his vocal performance. What’s quite impressive about it is that the record was released at the very beginning of the ‘80s – at that time the hard rock/metal/pop recipe hadn’t been fully mastered; however, those guys somehow managed to come up with a very definitive sound. “High ‘n’ Dry” is a simple album with catchy rockers and mild, even innocent lyrics. The instant pop standout and the album’s finest moment has to be “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak”. With this song, Def Leppard set the standard for power ballads. “On Through the Night” and “Another Hit and Run” are heavier tracks with catchy hard riffs and loud climaxes. “High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night)” is the obligatory song about letting loose and having fun. “Switch 625” pleases with its fine melody and vocal intensity. It has to be their greatest instrumental so far. “High ‘n’ Dry” shows a young, maturing band, hungry for success and ready to take over the world. It is definitely one of those “feeling good” old rock ’n’ roll records that you can always enjoy and rock on to!


Dokken – Tooth & Nail (1984)

dokken-tooth-and-nailIt was basically do or die for Dokken after the minimal success of their 1983 NWOBHM debut, “Breaking the Chains”. The label barely agreed to give them a second chance but thank God they did, otherwise this brilliant smoking-hot second release, titled “Tooth and Nail” would’ve never happened. The band’s crave for success and recognition are quite obvious on this record, hence the title.

Despite the ongoing creative clashes between Don Dokken and George Lynch, along with the slow, IMG_20170309_130623_045rather unfulfilling start of the album, “Tooth and Nail” still impressed fans and critics with unique qualities, such as mean guitar solos (courtesy of George Lynch, of course), memorable vocals (thanks to Don Dokken) and a fantastic hard rock (but not too hard) atmosphere. The most important song on “Tooth and Nail” has to be the power ballad “Alone Again” which actually became the reason why Dokken’s name finally reached the surface. The playful “Just got Lucky”, the intense “Into the Fire” and of course that rough and dangerous Judas Priest sounding title song “Tooth and Nail” are some of the others worthy rockers you can find on this album. Overall, “Tooth and Nail” turned out to be а perfect mixture of heavy/speed metal and pop rock (getting more towards the heavy metal). I cannot put Dokken or this album in a category with other “hair metal” bands like Winger or Motley Crue despite popular opinion. If you are looking for something that goes beyond the lighter pop (hair) ‘80s metal, make sure you check out “Tooth and Nail”.


Firehouse – Hold Your Fire (1992)

firehouse-hold-your-fire1992 was a marvelous year for rock music, if the last one to be perfectly honest. Grunge was knocking on the door and fans were letting it at the expense of hard rock. Firehouse was one of those bands that got the boot way too early. Imagine if they released their strong self-titled debut album and their even stronger sophomore album in the early ‘80s…!?

“Hold Your Fire” was an absolute sensation, despite the horrible timing. Where do I even begin? Timeless melodic rock classics like “Reach for the Sky”, “Sleeping With You” and of course, the obligatory power ballad, “When I Look Into Your Eyes” left quite the impression and are still part of any AOR fan’s playlist. My personal favorites include the empowering rock anthem “Rock You Tonight” and the exciting title track (more or less thanks to that thrilling intro). I don’t think Firehouse illustrated that much of an artistic growth with their second release; it was more of a continuation to their debut, polishing and solidifying their position as the hottest new AOR treasures. Mainstream or not, I strongly recommend this album to everyone who is looking for energy, capable of blowing up your entire universe. I would like to say huge thanks to vocalist C.J. Snare who makes this experience so memorable and ear-pleasing every time I listen to the album.


Cinderella – Long Cold Winter (1988)

cinderellaMany people refer to Cinderella’s “Long Cold Winter” as their finest release and they are probably right. I couldn’t let go of my adoration for “Night Songs” but “Long Cold Winter” is a more than a worthy successor in my book. Cinderella made a little shift from a signature glam metal to more blues-oriented rock, reflecting Tom Keifer’s influences and childhood adoration for the blues.

The triple platinum “Long Cold Winter” is an absolute masterpiece of the genre and I’m not just saying it because I’m a die-hard fan of Cinderella. When we talk about this album, all discussions must naturally start with the most breathtaking power ballads of all time, THE power ballad of power ballads, “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)”. Once you come across this song, every perception for a ballad you had so far will be completely shattered to pieces; not to mention your expectations which will fly up to the sky. I would love to go back in time and listen to the song again for the very first time; it’s definitely a once in a lifetime kind of song. “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” is not the only song on “Long Cold Winter” that can take your breath away, though. “The Last Mile”, “Gypsy Road”, “Coming Home” and of course that heart-stirring bluesy title song are all valuable assets to the album. There’s a reason why it reached a platinum status and more or less, that reason is called Tom Keifer. You just gotta respect him for his superb songwriting and singing skills!


Giant – Time to Burn (1992)

giant-time-to-burn-1992giant-time-to-burn-1992Giant’s sophomore album, “Time to Burn” became reality in the early spring of 1992. The follow-up to their successful 1989 debut, “Last of the Runaways” didn’t get the attention it deserved, despite the band’s obvious musical growth. From the fiery opening track “Thunder and Lightning” to one of the most emotional power ballads of all time – “Lost in Paradise”, the whole album showcased Giant as everything but your ordinary AOR band. With his beautiful voice, Dann Huff brought so much color to the spring of 1992. “Thunder and Lighting” and “Stay” are some of the other gems from “Time to Burn” which received some considerable time on the classic rock radio stations. Overall, this album remains highly underrated, despite being one of the best sophomore releases and one of the finest releases of 1992, in my opinion. It took Giant 9 years to come back with “III”, which is also worthy of checking out by the way.


Asia – Alpha (1983)

Asia - Alpha Album CoverThis right here has to be one of the most special sophomore releases in my book of rock. ASIA debuted in 1982 with a monstrous self-titled album which not only celebrated the perfect music partnership of legends Steve Howe, Carl Palmer, Geoff Downes and John Wetton but also became one of the essential AOR albums that ruled the 80s. With radio-friendly classics like “Heat of the Moment”, “Sole Survivor” and “Time Again”, the album was destined for commercial success. One year later, however, ASIA released a worthy sophomore album, titled “Alpha”, which in its own way became a valuable ‘80s classic. The second date with ASIA was definitely less tense and more familiar, more sensitive even. Unfortunately, “Alpha” couldn’t meet the industry’s expectation and despite its platinum status, critics often refer to it as somewhat a failure. Sadly, this album turned into one of the most underrated ‘80s rock records of all time, despite the wonderful playlist it offers. “Alpha” may not be as strong or as important as “Asia” but it still holds a place in our heart and once you hear songs such as “Don’t Cry”, “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” or The Beach Boys sounding “Open Your Eyes”, you will most certainly fall under the magic of the album. There are great and good songs on this record, but the level doesn’t go below that. The album is a festival of romance, under a sky of gorgeous lyrics and touching music. I often referred to “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” as one of the most beautifully written ballads of all time, for instance.

All in all, “Alpha” is not as strong as their debut album but it still carries valuable characteristics that makes it a great ‘80s rock record


Boston – Don’t Look Back (1978)

boston dont look backIt’s a mission impossible to try and top Boston’s 1976 self-titled debut album. That groundbreaking release, featuring the classics “Peace of Mind” and “More Than a Feeling” is the ultimate classic rock staple and the greatest milestone in Boston’s career. Nevertheless, the 1978 follow-up, “Don’t Look Back“ is definitely not an album to ignore. I will skip the comparisons with that enormous first release, though they seem to be inevitable when we talk about Boston. Instead, I will jump right into the music talks to remind people that Boston DO have other great albums other than their debut.

The title track is one of Boston’s highest-charting singles and the album itself is certified 7x platinum – that should tell you something. The gentle “A Man I’ll Never Be” is my personal favorite though sometimes it gets hard to pick just one track once you play the entire album. “The Journey”, “It’s Easy”, “Feelin’ Satisfied” …each song is a peaceful, soul-soothing and highly admirable piece of a great rock puzzle. Mr. Everything, a.k.a Tom Scholz once again crafted something truly magical.


Strangeways – Native Sons (1987)

strangeways-native-sonsIn 1987, the British-American AOR/Melodic rock band Strangeways released arguably their finest work, titled “Native Sons”. The follow-up to their respectable 1984 eponymous debut also proved that the right singer can make all the difference in the world. Original vocalist Tony Liddell was replaced with Terry Brock – a renowned back-up singer for some of the biggest names of the era, including Foreigner and Journey. What followed after he stepped in as the new frontman, could easily be described as pure musical magic. “Native Sons” is a brilliant melodic rock record that guarantees you nothing but delight and feelings of great pleasure.  The album carries all the best genre elements of the era, including colourful keyboards, splendid guitar playing and glittering hooks. Add Terry’s powerful vocals, the edgy hard-rock vibe and the A-level songwriting and you end up with a melodic treasure that could effortlessly stand on its own two feet against the big AOR titles of the late ‘80s.

“Dance With Somebody”, “Only a Fool”, “Empty Streets” and “Never Gonna Lose it” are just a few of the warm and powerful 100% AOR-authentic masterpieces you can find on “Native Sons”.


Foreigner – Double Vision (1978)

doublevision]I will be very brief with this one because when we talk about Foreigner and this album in particular, no words are needed. After their highly influential 1977 debut, arena rockers Foreigner came back with what is often referred to as one of the finest albums of the genre and one of Foreigner’s best, most critically-acclaimed works. We can undoubtedly conclude that they did wrap up the ‘70s with quite the style, setting up the mood for the changes that were about to come in the ‘80s.

“Double Vision” got certified Platinum just a week after its release; imagine the impact and universal acceptance and love it got. It’s all justified though but I mean how can it not be? With astonishing tracks like “Hot Blooded”, “Blue Morning, Blue Day”, “You’re All I Am” and “Spellbinder” no wonder people are still enthusiastically talking about and listening to this album. Not only that, but no self-respecting radio station can afford to avoid some of these classics; they are on a high demand, that’s for sure. One more reason why I consider this album as both an upgrade and a total success, has to be the presence of “Tramontane” which is the only instrumental tune Foreigner have released up to date on a studio album. All in all, this right here is a pure example of how a well-done, going-one-step-further album can became a milestone for a band’s career.


Cream – Disraeli Gears (1967)

creamLast but not least, I just had to include Cream’s finest, most precious work of art, titled “Disraeli Gears”. Not only did this album introduced the holy trio of Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce to the American audiences but it also showcased how a band can achieve success if only they dare to dig deeper and fearlessly experiment with their music. “Disraeli Gears” showcased the band’s shifting interest from blues, to psychedelic rock. Moreover, it was on this album that Eric Clapton perfected his guitar skills and cemented his position as one of the finest guitarists of his time.

Let’s talk songs. “Sunshine of Your Love” – do I have to say more? That’s the song that changed the rules of the game, set new standards and became an inspiration for many upcoming artists. That mesmerizing intro and those lyrics can never disappear from your mind and soul, once you have listened to the song. It’s not only the massive hit “Sunshine of Your Love” that makes the album so intriguing. My personal favorites include “We’re Going Down”, “Strange Brew”, “Take it Back” and “World of Pain”. I only wish Clapton was leading vocalist on more songs.


Honorable mentions:

Bad Company – Straight Shooter (1975)

bc


Led Zeppelin II (1969)

lz2


The Beatles – With the Beatles (1963)

beatles


Van Halen II (1979)

van halen 2


TNT – Knights of the New Thunder (1984)

knights_of_the_new_thunder-by-tnt

Yngwie Malmsteen – “Marching Out” (1985)

yngwie marching out

Europe – Wings of Tomorrow (1984)

europe wings of tomorrow

Ratt – Invasion of Your Privacy (1985)

ratt invasion of your privacy album cover


Tesla – The Great Radio Controversy (1989)

tesla


Dream Theater – Images and Words (1992)

dream theater image


The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. The publication presents a selection of 10 albums, picked based on my personal preferences and ideas, fitting the purpose of this article. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.

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~

MY TOP 15 Rock Albums, Released in 1989

1989 – What an awesome year for rock music! Where do I even begin?

1989 collage2After being a rock music enthusiast for so long, I can with an absolute clear conscious declare 1989 as one of the best years of rock music! It was the end of a strong, rock&roll decade, grunge music was already becoming a formidable force on the scene, so it was basically do or die for many returning or debuting bands. Out of this turbulent, trend-shifting period, however, tons of great releases managed to come out and leave a memorable trace behind them. From one of Eric Clapton’s strongest albums, featuring a Grammy winning song, to powerful, multi-platinum debuts, such as Skid Row’s eponymous album, 1989 was overflowing with excitement and monumental rock music!  

With time, I also came to the conclusion that many of my personal favorite hard rock albums were released around that time as well. Plenty of those records came out in 1989. For the fun of it, I decided to prepare this little list, consisting of 15 albums that to me had (and still have) the best, most appealing and intriguing musical presence during 1989. It’s a personal selection, based on my liking and preferences but I would love to know more about your favorite 1989 albums! Enjoy my list and feel free to comment and share your thoughts and selections! Cheers!


Eric Clapton – Journeyman

Eric_Clapton_JourneymanEric Clapton always comes first when it comes to my personal selections, especially if we talk about his 80s’ releases. “Journeyman” was the absolute peak of Eric Clapton’s career, featuring a Grammy winning song, “Bad Love” and tons of other beautiful blues tunes, such as “Before You Accuse Me” and “Hard Times”. What really impressed me was Clapton’s obvious confidence on “Journeyman”. He overcame his alcohol abuse and all the other ghosts of the past and released one of the most phenomenal blues/rock albums of all time. The album definitely sounds modern, more pop-influenced, rather than strictly focusing on that heavy blues mood, Clapton adores so much. Some of the other highlights and personal favorite songs from “Journeyman” include “Pretending”, Anything for Your Love”, “Old Love” and “Breaking Point”. It’s definitely an album worthy of your time and appreciation!


TNT – Intuition

tntNorwegian rockers TNT completely blew me away with their 1989 release, “Intuition”. It quickly became a personal favorite and an album I simply cannot live without. I often say that it’s extremely underrated – I mean, just listen to the catchy, outstanding rockers, including the title song, “Caught Between the Tigers”, “Forever Shine On” and of course, one of my FAVORITE songs of all time, the power ballad “Tonight I’m Falling”. “Intuition” didn’t really make a huge splash on the charts or sold that well, compared to other similar glam rock releases of the era; however it did manage to conquer my heart with just one listen. Tony Harnell is a brilliant vocalist and I will forever be thankful to him and guitarist Ronni Le Tekrø for crafting such an enjoyable piece of art.  


Giant – Last of the Runaways

giant-last-of-the-runawaysGiant’s “Last of the Runaways” is one of the most underappreciated rock releases of all time which I think is unforgivable! In addition to the famous power ballad, “I’ll See You In My Dreams”, “Last of the Runaways” has so much more to offer. The whole debut album is just simply a beautiful, well-balanced selection of arena rock tunes, perfectly demonstrating the artistic skills and qualities of Giant. “Innocent Days”, “Can’t Get Close Enough” and “No Way Out” are just a few of the dangerously obsessive rock gems that could be heard on this album. “Love Welcome Home” and “It Takes Two” are also some of the highlights! Once again, the timing wasn’t right for those talented guys. Let’s not forget Dann Huff who brought so much character to “Last of the Runaways” with his emotional and unforgettable vocal delivery.


Strangeways – Walk in The Fire

strangeways-walk-in-the-fire-1988The Scottish AOR/Melodic rock band, Strangewaysthird album, titled “Walk in the Fire” was the reason why I got to know them in the first place. I played the first track – “Where are they Now” and I was immediately captivated by the gorgeous melody and the superb killer-vocals of Terry Brock. Their Americanized sound can be characterized as mixture between Journey, Boston and Bad Company, but with a little something extra. In addition to “Where are they now”, some other highlights include the charming power ballad “Love Lies Dying” and the uplifting “Every Time You Cry”.
“Walk in the Fire” didn’t really achieve commercial success, despite its first class AOR qualities. The album, along with the band should’ve been so much bigger back in the day. Nevertheless, they are worth discovering. I can’t recommend this album enough.


Danger Danger – Danger Danger

danger-danger-albumDanger Danger debuted in the summer of 1989 with a self-titled album, strictly following the well-established glam rock formula for success. Fueled with catchy, rhythmic and easy to absorb tunes, the record could easily be described as an “enjoyable Friday night experience”. To be fair, the record does sound a bit too generic and can’t really stand out with an exceptional musicianship, outstanding vocal delivery or profound lyrics. Nevertheless, this melodic hard rock jewel can almost guarantee you a perfect mood which is the reason why is on this list! “Naughty Naughty” and “Bang Bang” were released as singles and turned into Danger Danger’s best-known classics. (Those guys really enjoyed double titles.) Both tracks are fun and highly entertaining, despite their obvious commercial-driven goals. “Saturday Nite”, “Rock America”, “Feels Like Love” and “One Step from Paradise” are just a few of the other satisfying rockers who made this album so appealing to me. Danger Danger got all the pieces of the puzzle with this project; however they were 5-10 years later for the party. This album would’ve got so much attention on AOR radio!


Treat – Organized Crime

Treat - Organized CrimeSwedish rockers Treat grabbed my attention with their third album, “Dreamhunter” (1987), however their 1989 release, titled “Organized Crime” turned me into a die-hard fan. I always felt so sad because despite being so talented, they couldn’t become a household name in the 1980s melodic rock scene. Anyhow, back to “Organized Crime” – their fourth release is home to mind-blowing rockers, such as the unbelievably catchy “Get You On The Run”, “Party All Over”, “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” and the beautiful ballad, “Stay Away”. Attractive melodies, smooth vocals and hard-rocking sound are just some of the reasons why I think that there’s absolutely no way this album can’t win over any melodic/AOR fan.


Bonham – The Disregard of Timekeeping

bonham-disregardAnother debut and another perfect rock album! “The Disregard of Timekeeping”, the first actual attempt of Jason Bonham to hit it big commercially, became a reality in 1989. The project caused quite the stir among the rock fan communities but it was only natural – the son of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer was about to unleash a new force to the competitive hair metal musical market and fans just had to see through it all! “The Disregard of Timekeeping” spawned exceptional songs, including “Guilty”- a song that won me over with its mesmerizing intro, unparalleled vocal delivery by Daniel MacMaster and that soul-demolishing violin solo by bassist John Smithson. “Wait for You”, “Playing to Win” and “Room for Us All” are other worthy and highly memorable moments on Bonham‘s 1989 debut.


Skid Row – Skid Row

skid-row-1989Now we’re talking!!!

Fronted by one of the most charismatic and talented vocalists of all time, Sebastian Bach, Skid Row‘s self-titled debut became one of the best-selling and most influential albums of the year. “Youth Gone Wild”, “18 and Life”, “I Remember You”, “Piece of Me” – do I have to say more? There are plenty of reasons why this album got certified 5x Platinum by the RIAA and you can easily discover them if you listen to it from start to finish. “Skid Row” brought that much-needed sass and danger into the music scene, incorporated among serious melodic riffs. MTV loved them as well, which further more boosted their image as the new hot kids on the block! What else is there to say – it’s an amazing and highly entertaining album and no wonder it’s on my favorite 1989 albums list!


Blue Murder – Blue Murder

blue-murder3John Sykes proved that he is a worthy monster guitarist as a member of household names such as Tygers of Pan Tang and Thin Lizzy. Then, he and David Coverdale crafted what is often considered as one of the most enormous hard rock records of all time. Yes, of course I’m talking about that influential 1987 album that spawned timeless hit singles like “Here I go again”, “Still of the Night” and “Is This Love”, known by every single soul on this universe. After they went their separate ways, John Sykes formed Blue Murder and in 1989, they released their self-titled, debut album, which is yet again a highly underrated album, despite its out-of-this world qualities and songs that are able to conquer every part of your soul! I’m not exaggerating, believe me – if the timing and situation was different, this album would’ve been so huge! Some of the earth-shattering songs on “Blue Murder” include “Riot”, “Black-Hearted Woman” and the title track. Of course, the sweetest moments come in the face of “Valley of the Kings” which is one of those tunes you can play for days and naturally (at least for me) the mesmerizing ballad “Out of Love”.


Mr. Big – Mr. Big

Mr. Big - Mr. BigIn the summer of 1989, Mr. Big became one of the many bands to release a debut album. The eponymous record did manage to leave an impression on the charts and it did sell over 300,000 copies in just a year, so we can conclude that it was somewhat successful. It did, however, deserve way more than that. I still remember the first time I heard the opening track, “Addicted to That Rush” – it was like a powerful shot of adrenaline and it made me feel so good! The entire album is one energizing piece of music that was made to give you that much needed kick! “Wind me Up”, “Had Enough” and “Blame it On My Youth” are just a few of my favorite tracks that could be heard on “Mr. Big”. Paul Gilbert and Eric Martin are an exceptional team and I have nothing but respect and adoration for this album!


Tesla – The Great Radio Controversy

teslaTesla!!! Where do I even begin? I love this band and this album so much!!

In 1989, Tesla released their sophomore album, titled “The Great Radio Controversy” – an album I first got to know through the groundbreaking ballad, “Love Song” which is so unique and different from all the other power ballads released at that same time. That’s not all of it though. The entire album is one splendid mixture of blues, hard rock, pop rock and metal. On top of it all, the distinctive vocals of Jeff Keith made sure that I will forever remember and hold this album dear. In addition to that well-known ballad, “The Great Radio Controversy” is home to one of the most empowering tunes – “Hang Tough”. “Lady Luck”, “Paradise”, “Lazy Days, Crazy Nights”, “Be a Man” and basically each and every other song on this album are highly spirited and so easy to fall in love with. “The Great Radio Controversy” was certified double platinum for a reason!


Great White – …Twice Shy

great-white-twice-shyThe unquestionable commercial highlight of Great White’s career has to be “…Twice Shy”. I’m not saying it’s their best album but it most certainly is an amazing release, worthy of acknowledgment. Great White’s cover of Ian Hunter‘s “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” and of course “The Angel Song” are the most popular tunes that came out of the album, conquering charts and leaving a timeless trace. Moreover, “House of Broken Love” is yet another highlight, dedicated to the love struggles vocalist Jack Russell and guitarist Mark Kendall were going through at that time. “Baby’s On Fire” and “Heart Hunter” are a couple of my other favorites on the record! “…Twice Shy” got certified double platinum and is still considered as one of the staples of ‘80s glam rock!


XYZ – XYZ

xyzProduced by none-other than Don Dokken himself, XYZ’s self-titled debut turned into another one of the underrated highlights of 1989. All in all, “XYZ” is an album that could have easily blown out any other hard rock album of that era, even the multi-platinum ones. Fantastic stand-out tracks such as “Inside Out”, “What Keeps Me Loving You”, “Take What You Can” and “Come On N’ Love Me” deserve nothing but to be enjoyed and played as loud as possible. Frontman Terry Ilous is contributing significantly to the overall satisfying experience that is this debut release. Tons of talent and full of character – I can’t recommend this release enough!


Kingdom Come – In Your Face

kingdome comeI am a huge Kingdom Come fan so no surprises here. Their sophomore album, titled “In Your Face” is a worthy follow-up to their well-deserving debut album and the second of the trilogy of good releases by Kingdom Come, at least in my opinion. “In Your Face” impressed me with uplifting songs like “Who Do You Love”, “The Wind” and laid-back tunes such as “Just Like a Wild Rose”. All in all, “In Your Face” is an enjoyable album and despite the obvious influences, drawn by Led Zeppelin, I do enjoy listening to this record from time to time. I agree that it’s a bit inconsistent and it does have its flaws but if you like AOR, you’re gonna love this, just like I do!


Whitesnake – Slip of the Tongue

Whitesnake - Slip of the TongueLast but not least, I just had to include Whitesnake’s eight studio album, “Slip of the Tongue”. Many people, including David Coverdale himself think of this album as one of Whitesnake’s weakest releases; however that’s definitely not what I think. As a matter of fact, it’s my favorite Whitesnake album and a couple of songs are the reason why. “The Deeper the Love”, “Judgement Day” and “Now You are Gone” have been an inseparable part of my daily playlist for so many years. Let’s also not forget about that impressive re-recording of “Fool for Your Loving”. Sound shift or not, Whitesnake did wonders with this glorious hard rock album and I will forever defend its greatness.


 

The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. The publication presents a selection of 15 albums, picked based on my personal preferences and ideas, fitting the purpose of this article. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.

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~

[POLL] VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE ’80S (Power) BALLAD(S)

power-ballads-collage

It’s time to crown the GREATEST (power) ballad of the ’80s!

The glory days of rock ballads may be long gone, but all those breathtaking mellow tunes are still relevant and still loved by people from all over the world. As a (power) ballad enthusiast and a huge fan of the ’80s rock music scene, I decided to prepare this little poll for my readers to see which one of these tearjerkers will turn out to be the most beloved one!?

Please feel free to participate in my poll or add a favorite (power) ballad in case it’s not on the list! The results will be announced one month from now in a separate publication!

Happy Voting!

 

 

[’80s Rock Album Focus] STRANGEWAYS – Native Sons (1987)

strangeways-native-sons

NATIVE SONS

Released: 1987
Genre: AOR / Pop Rock / Hard Rock
Duration: 44:52
Label: Hangdog Records / Majestic Rock Records (2006)
Producer(s): John Punter

native-sons-back-and-front

buy-from-amazon


OVERVIEW

In 1987, the British-American AOR/Melodic rock band Strangeways released arguably their finest work, titled “Native Sons”. The follow-up to their respectable 1984 eponymous debut also proved that the right singer can make all the difference in the world. Original vocalist Tony Liddell was replaced with Terry Brock – a renowned back-up singer for some of the biggest names of the era, including Foreigner and Journey. What followed after he stepped in as the new frontman, could easily be described as pure musical magic. “Native Sons” is a brilliant melodic rock record that guarantees you nothing but delight and feelings of great pleasure.  The album carries all the best genre elements of the era, including colourful keyboards, splendid guitar playing and glittering hooks. Add Terry’s powerful vocals, the edgy hard-rock vibe and the A-level songwriting and you end up with a melodic treasure that could effortlessly stand on its own two feet against the big AOR titles of the late ‘80s.

If AOR/melodic rock runs through your blood, this might be the right album for you. Kicking things off with the playful but classy tune “Dance With Somebody”, “Native Sons” properly sets the mood for the remarkable things that are about to come. The mellow rocker “Only a Fool” is another track that stands out with its gorgeous melody and touching lyrics. Terry Brock’s spirited vocal delivery could easily turn this song into your next favorite ballad. “Empty Streets” is unquestionably the hidden pearl of “Native Sons” and one of the finest AOR gems I have ever heard in my life. The high-powered guitars, heated up by Terry’s fiery vocals give me thrills every time I play it. “Where Do We Go From Here”, “Stand Up and Shout” and “Never Gonna Lose it” are just a couple of the other warm and powerful 100% AOR-authentic masterpieces you can find on “Native Sons”.

“Native Sons” remains one of the forgotten and highly underrated representatives of the large AOR scene of the late ‘80s, despite the admirable qualities and superb songwriting it showcases. Thankfully, there are still people like me (and you) who know that picking up an apple from the top of the basket doesn’t mean that it’s the best apple of the bunch. “Native Sons” is a melodic bliss from start to finish – play any song from the tracklist and you get a melodic rock classic and a couple of minutes in rock paradise. I can’t recommend this album enough. Strangeways’ junior album “Walk In The Fire” (1989) is what you should get next, after “Native Sons”!
Cheers to great music!

 

Tracklist:

“Dance With Somebody” – 4:26
“Only a Fool” – 4:42
“So Far Away” – 4:57
“Where Do We Go From Here” – 3:58
“Goodnight L.A.” – 5:02
“Empty Streets” – 4:20
“Stand Up and Shout” – 3:28
“Shake the Seven” – 4:33
“Never Going to Lose It” – 4:47
“Face to Face” – 4:39


Dance With Somebody

Only a Fool

Where Do We Go From Here

Empty Streets

Stand Up and Shout

…or listen to the entire album here:


 

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: STRANGEWAYS – Dance With Somebody

strangeways-native-sons

Listen to “Dance With Somebody” Here:

The Scottish AOR force – Strangeways, reached their commercial peak with “Native Sons” in 1987. With the arrival of new vocalist, Terry Brock, the band made a statement on the AOR scene but unfortunately that statement didn’t last for that long. Despite producing a top-quality radio-ready album, full of great rockers, “Native Sons” still remains one of the long-lost AOR treasures. Thankfully, there are still people like me who haven’t forgotten about the album and the band.

The opening track from “Native Sons”, “Dance with Somebody” is an instant attention grabber; it’s also my favorite tune from the album. Catchy, uplifting, empowering and immensely stylish – “Dance With Somebody” is the perfect example of what a melodic rock tune should sound like. I truly wish it received more recognition than it got!

It’s a simple song, carrying a simple message – if you want to experience something different and are ready to be taken by the heat, don’t be scared and live for the moment; there’s no need to feel lonely and be afraid, grab her hand and dance to the rhythm of your heartbeat. Who knows, maybe you will forget about everything you are going through and can even fall in love again?


 

“Dance with Somebody” Lyrics

I want to go where it feels right
The look in her eyes when I see her tonight
Will she know what’s on my mind
Love, is it love that I’m looking for
Or just an emotion, it’s so hard to say
Could it be that I’m wasting my time
So lonely, here I go again
You know I’m only looking for a friend

Chorus:
Dance to the rhythm of your heartbeat
Feel the heat as she’s holding you tight
Dance to the rhythm of the back beat
Will you dance with somebody tonight

Does she know what I’m going through
I need her love to save me tonight
Why can’t I say what I feel
She looks away as I’m trying to be the only one she can see
Just can’t seem to make it real

So lonely, here I go again
You know I’m only looking for a friend
Dance to the rhythm of your heartbeat
Feel the heat as she’s holding you tight
Dance to the rhythm of the back beat
Will you dance with somebody tonight

Dance to the rhythm of your heartbeat
Feel the heat as she’s holding you tight
Dance to the rhythm of the back beat
Will you dance with somebody tonight


 

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