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

Dio - Holy Diver


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.

A Mixtape for Your Perfect Rock&Roll Christmas

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It’s that wonderful time of the year again!

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

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

Here we go, I do hope you enjoy it!

🎁Merry Christmas🎁


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

💕🎄Tom Keifer – Blue Christmas💕🎄

💕🎅Danger Danger – Naughty Naughty Christmas💕🎅

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

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


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

💕🎄Cheap Trick – Come on Christmas💕🎄


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

💕🎅Bryan Adams – Christmas Time💕🎅


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

💕🎄Lynyrd Skynyrd – Christmas Time Again💕🎄


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

💕🎅Queen – Thank God it’s Christmas💕🎅


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

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


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

💕🎅The Kinks – Father Christmas💕🎅


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

Why is “RUBBER SOUL” My Favorite BEATLES Album

Everyone loves The Beatles!
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison – do I have to say more? The history of rock&roll can simply be divided into two periods – before and after the Beatles! No other artist or band could or ever will be able to match their universal appeal and limitless talent, not to mention the social and cultural impact they left. Despite a recording career that lasted for about only 8 years, the worldwide craze and popularity turned them into the greatest success story in music history. Let’s also not forget that the British Invasion started with the Beatles – they opened the door for the rest of the British bands who conquered North America and well, the rest is history…

“If greatness is measured in commercial success and popularity, the Beatles were the greatest popular musicians of the twentieth century.”

It wasn’t just one or two albums that cemented their position as the perfect rock&roll band. From their early sound, which was basically a sophisticated meeting between Chuck Berry, Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and Little Richard, to their later, more experimental, psychedelic and way ahead of its time music, The Beatles kept on challenging themselves and overcoming all odds. Each and every one of their albums played a particular role and left a deep, irremovable mark in music history. However, many fans and critics consider “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” to be the absolute creative peak of their career and I actually can’t agree more. Many fans often refer to it as their favorite Beatles album. Other popular choices are “Revolver” or “Abbey Road” – both groundbreaking albums. Personally, however, as much as I adore every musical effort of the Beatles, I’ve always had a soft spot for “Rubber Soul”. I bet there are more people out there who feel the same way. I wanted to talk a little bit more about this transitional album because sometimes it gets lost in translation when in fact I believe it’s their most interesting and story-filled album. Let me tell you why…

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Let’s go back to 1964 when Bob Dylan went down to New York to meet the Beatles. That fateful meeting marked a very crucial point in the careers of everyone involved in it. Imagine the amount of talent and artistic capacity that was about to explode in that room where those two influential rock acts met! Bob Dylan and the Beatles connected right away as ideas and influences started flying around the room. Bob was still strictly an acoustic musician, but it all changed after that meeting. He plugged it in and became a rock&roll player just like that overnight. The Beatles, on the other hand, were influenced artistically and lyrically. Up until that point, their approach to music was simplistic, straightforward and quite innocent. After meeting Bob Dylan, the “poet with a guitar”, however, they no longer came back to the cute love songs – their lyrics became more philosophical and sophisticated and that’s exactly what they needed. That event has always been quite intriguing to me – I do believe that a great conversation can absolutely change your life. This is exactly what happened with Bob and the guys – they pushed each other out of their comfort zones and things were never the same again.
(Bob Dylan also introduced them to marijuana, but that’s a whole new story…)

After releasing a brilliant soundtrack album – “Help”, containing the most covered song in history – “Yesterday”, the Beatles quickly mobilized and “Rubber Soul” was released just in time for Christmas.

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Why do I love “Rubber Soul” so much?

The album cover: The photograph is so engaging – all of the guys are looking to their right, except Lennon, who’s directly looking at you. It makes me feel a bit uncomfortable but quite curious at the same time. One more thing – they didn’t put their name on the cover! Why would they? Everyone knew how the Beatles looked like. It had nothing to do with confidence or arrogance – it’s all clever marketing.

The title: African American soul musicians would often call Mick Jagger (or other white musicians), singing blues and soul music a “plastic soul”. They used that as a reference for the title. It’s just so hilarious…

The music: “Rubber Soul” was the album in which they grew up musically and lyrically. As I already mentioned, this was a transitional album – they turned their back on the simple cheery love songs and focused on delivering a complete and original piece of art. The impact Bob Dylan had on their lives shows off on this album. The change was in the air – they were clearly stimulated by his poetry. The lyrics on “Rubber Soul” are abstract, mysterious, quite ambiguous, and even a bit weird. That is exactly why I love this album so much. The Beatles took that extra step and became even better musicians and songwriters than they were. It’s so impressive to see how their artistry reached new peaks. At the same time, however, “Rubber Soul” still had a little bit of that past naiveté here and there. I guess that’s why it appealed so much to me – it is not that heavy or pretentious as the ones to come; and not as cheesy and sweet as their early stuff. Many people say that “Rubber Soul” was the pot and “Revolver” was the acid and they are absolutely right.

The songs: So many interesting things are going on in this record! Where do I even begin? “Norwegian Wood” – probably my favorite Beatles song. Highly experimental and innovative – no other rock band included an Eastern-Asian instrument in a composition before. The sitar makes the whole experience so special and atmospheric. The lyrics and Lennon’s vocals make it even more special… “I once had a girl…or should I say, she once had me…” ;
“Drive My Car” – uplifting and highly entertaining tune with memorable lyrics and compelling beats. “I told that girl I can start right away, And she said, Listen baby I got something to say. I got no car and it’s breaking my heart, But I’ve found a driver and that’s a start”.
I have a soft spot for Lennon, so “In My Life” and “Girl” are the other moments of the record that won me over. “What Goes On” is such a sweet surprise – Ringo kills it on lead vocals; it’s probably my favorite Ringo song of all time. Recently, I had the chance to listen to him perform this song live and I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it felt! “Think for Yourself” and “If I Needed Someone” with Harrison on lead vocals are superb. One more reason I really appreciate this record is because George was starting to wake up and little by little he got out of his shell and proved that Lennon and McCartney were not the only creative geniuses in the band when it comes to songwriting.

 

I have always been drawn to the magic of “Rubber Soul”. This mid-career record of the Beatles offers so many interesting concepts and ideas. I’ve always enjoyed observing and analyzing the evolving process of a band – when you understand that they are growing up and adopting new styles, new sounds, and new approaches. With “Rubber Soul”, thought the transition was quite obvious, it wasn’t that hard to swallow – Beatles didn’t sacrifice their mass appeal, despite sophisticated instrumentation, quality melodies and deep lyrics. I just love how they started searching for a new meaning in music and came up with this highly appealing record… Always (and forever) a pleasure to listen to it!


 

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

10 Classic Rock Records That Should Be Owned By Everyone

albums-you-must-own-collage

Innovation, brilliant musicianship and timeless impact are the three criteria based on which I chose the following list of 10 albums I believe should be owned by absolutely every person who values and understands music. There are indeed SO MANY groundbreaking albums that re-defined history but then again, we have those 10 which I think went far beyond re-defining – they simply turned things upside down. The echoes of their strong collision with the music world were so loud we could still hear them every day. Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Eagles and Fleetwood Mac are among the artist the works of which I would like to draw your attention to. I am positively certain that my readers know and are already in possession of those record but in case you don’t own a copy, grab your things and rush to the nearest record store!

(P.S. I made this list based on my personal expertise and opinion. I realize that some of you may not agree, but I still think those 10 albums deserve to be on everyone’s record shelf)


The Beatles – Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

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I just had to kick things off with this groundbreaking masterpiece, because let’s face it – no other record can actually beatSgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” when it comes to influence, cutting-edge music and artistry. Beatles retired as a live band and focused entirely on writing new music and experimenting with latest techniques in the studio. In June 1967, the results were in. Beatles didn’t have to worry about playing this album live, so they could go in any direction they want – they had the absolute freedom to arrange and produce things the way they wanted them to be. On Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, each of the Beatles adopted a new imaginary persona, which made things so much more interesting. The album also marked the beginning of album-oriented rock. “Sgt. Pepper” is a concept album you just have to listen from start to finish in order to truly understand its beauty; the record is simply one 40-minute song, an entity, an exceptional musical monster. Not only that, but it was the psychedelic, highly experimental, ambiguous, quite surreal nature of the record that gave rise to art and progressive rock, as well. Let us not forget that “Sgt. Pepper” has one of the most original artworks which re-evaluated the importance of album covers for future releases. “A Day in the Life”, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, “When I’m Sixty Four”, “Penny Lane” – songs that live forever.


Led Zeppelin – IV (1971)

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With masterpieces like “Stairway to Heaven”, “Black Dog” and “Rock and Roll”, Led Zeppelin’s fourth album was destined for success. Surprisingly this album never actually topped the US charts, despite being in top 5 best-selling albums in the States of all time and being owned by pretty much every person who lived during the 70s. The organic and folky but quite atmospheric song “Stairway to Heaven” became the most requested song on a FM radio ever, breaking that 3 minute song barrier. It didn’t matter what the critics said about Zeppelin or this album – what mattered is that they made history.


David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)

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The absolute peak of David Bowie’s career has to be the adventurous concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”. For this album, the white duke adopted the persona of a Martian who comes to Earth liberate human kind. The album, along with David Bowie himself became synonymous with art rock, praising individualism, mysticism, theatrical performances and fashion. David was so ahead of his time – he simply offered a glimpse to another world, where you can be whoever you want to be.


Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)

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“The Dark Side of the Moon” shook the grounds of progressive rock the moment it was released to the public. It was this album that forever shattered the notion that progressive rock couldn’t be enjoyed by everyone – Pink Floyd simply brought this style to the mainstream audience. “The Dark Side of the Moon” is not just your ordinary influential rock album of the 70s – it’s an absolute cultural landmark and a celebration of cutting edge techniques, keyboards, synthesizers, sounds effects and coherent musicianship. With its highly intellectual, avant-garde lyrics, the album explores themes such as time, money and the dark-sides of human nature. “The Dark Side of the Moon” spent 471 consecutive weeks on the Billboard album chart – an achievement no other album could ever surpass. Kudos to the brainchild of David Gilmour and Roger Waters!


Eagles – Hotel California (1976)

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Eagles are probably one of the most beloved American bands of all time – Americans wouldn’t trade them even for the Beatles. In 1976, they just blew off the roof with the concept album “Hotel California” which eventually became one of the best-selling albums of all time and one of the most critically acclaimed records of all time. “New Kid in Town”, “Life in the Fast Lane”, “Hotel California” – all brilliant rockers with an everlasting impact! The title tracks contains one of the most memorable guitar solos; lyrics-wise, it deals with topics still relevant nowadays – self-destruction, corruption, drugs and the greed in the music industry.


The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966)

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Whether you like Beach Boys or not, you gotta respect them for their legacy and especially for “Pet Sounds” – one of the most influential albums of all time, loved by critics and fans from all over the world. Brian Wilson’s goal was to create “the greatest rock album ever made” – a powerful rock tornado with absolutely no weak points or filler songs. I am not sure we can refer to “Pet Sounds” as the greatest rock album but it’s definitely in the top 10. Brian Wilson adopted so many interesting, cutting-edge techniques and approaches for this album – from unusual instruments to sounds of dogs barking and bicycle bells; from complex symphonic arrangements to sophisticated vocal harmonies. No wonder “Pet Sounds” changed history – it offered the ultimate musical experience. Not to mention that, just like “Sgt. Pepper”, “Pet Sounds” was equally responsible for the development of art and progressive rock.


Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977)

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Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” is essential for so many reasons. If, for a moment, we put aside the fact that it’s one of the BEST SELLING albums of all time and won a Grammy award for album of the year, “Rumours” was the album that forever blurred the lines between pop and rock. On top of that, “Rumours” was recorded when all members of the band were divorcing or breaking up with each other. There was no way a good album would come out of it. However, against all odds, their brutal frankness somehow stroke a chord with the audience and the album achieved something they never even hoped for – immortality. Candid, open-minded, emotional – I guess it’s true that the greatest masterpieces come out of pain, sorrow and heartbreak. Every song on this album, though it’s about sadness and break-up, is worth listening to.


Derek & The Dominos – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)

LAYLA

I don’t even know where to begin with when it comes to this album. Often considered as Eric Clapton’s greatest career achievement, the double album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs”, can’t stop captivating the audience with its emotional intensity and groundbreaking guitar work. Eric Clapton was simply giving it his all on this record. The inspiration 7-minute epic ballad title-song, “Layla”, has to be one of the highlights of the 70s and the ultimate staple of what a love song should sound like. The album is so much more than that though – “Bell Bottom Blues”, “I Am Yours”, “Anyday” – any song of the record offers comforting blues, solid rock&roll, raw guitars and a great mood.


Black Sabbath – Paranoid (1970)

black-sabbath-paranoid

After careful consideration, I decided to wrap things up with Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”. When it comes to the origins of heavy metal, things might be a little bit blurred. The foundations of the genre were laid in time, with the contribution of so many bands, styles, approaches, etc. However, to me personally one of the first records that presented a clear-cut vision of what heavy metal should sound like was “Paranoid”. There’s no surprise that many critics refer to this album as “the birthplace of heavy metal”. The simplistic approach to music, heavy guitar hooks, gloomy lyrics, exploring dark subjects and of course – the loud and quite sharp vocal delivery of Ozzy, defined the sound and image of heavy metal.

How many of these records you guys own?


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~

20 Classic Rock Songs for the Perfect Summer

Summer’s here! It’s time to think about those long road-trips and visits to the beach. Make sure that for every summer adventure, experience or party, you have these 20 classic rock songs in your playlist to ensure your perfect mood. Among these songs, I have included absolute classic rockers that can instantly change your mood and give you that amazing summer vibe.

Playlist:

Van Halen – Summer Nights
Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69
The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun
Guns N’ Roses – Paradise City
Alice Cooper – School’s Out
Chicago – Saturday in the Park
The Beach Boys – Surfin’ U.S.A
The Who – Summertime Blues
AC/DC – This House is on Fire
Steve Perry – Summer of Luv

Don Henley – The Boys of Summer
Blondie – In The Sun
Led Zeppelin – Dancing Days
Def Leppard – Ride into the Sun
Ramones – Rockaway Beach
Kiss – Rock N’ Roll All Nite
Billy Idol – Hot in the City
Eric Clapton – I’ve Got a Rock N’ Roll Heart
Sammy Hagar – Mas Tequila
Survivor – High on You


Van Halen – Summer Nights

Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69

The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun

Guns N’ Roses – Paradise City

Alice Cooper – School’s Out

Chicago – Saturday in the Park

The Beach Boys – Surfin’ U.S.A

The Who – Summertime Blues

AC/DC – This House is on Fire

Steve Perry – Summer of Luv


Don Henley – The Boys of Summer

Blondie – In The Sun

Led Zeppelin – Dancing Days

Def Leppard – Ride into the Sun

Ramones – Rockaway Beach

Kiss – Rock N’ Roll All Nite

Billy Idol – Hot in the City

Eric Clapton – I’ve Got a Rock N’ Roll Heart

Sammy Hagar – Mas Tequila

Survivor – High on You


 

[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~

How These 10 Classic Rock Bands Came Up With Their Names?

Greetings, everyone! Happy weekend – I hope you guys are doing well and having a wonderful “no-work-for-two-days” time!

For this Saturday’s publication I really wanted to prepare something informative and interesting for my readers. Then, I came up with an idea which hopefully will clear things up for some of you or reaffirm the knowledge of others. Nevertheless, it always feels quite amusing to go back to the beginning of the story of our favorite rock bands and understand how they came up with their music, lyrics, style and unique approach that was able to differentiate them among the numerous other artists in the industry. One of those special and extremely essential aspects of any rock band is of course… their name! Needless to say, in any given situation, whether it’s a company, a product, a person, a street, a city, a rock band…we define, refer, recognize and remember through names.

Some bands have indeed rather peculiar and extraordinary names which clearly identify their music, genre, characteristics and expression. With the following publication, I am going to reveal the origin of their names and try to explain why they chose to call themselves like that. I am sure that many devoted rock fans are quite familiar with the stories behind the names; however there might be people out there who are not so sure and would like to know.

We love and listen to the music of bands such as The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Guns N’ Roses, The Ramones and we can’t stop repeating their names. Now, it’s time to find out how they came with them… I chose ten classic, old-school rock bands which I believe have some of the most interesting and memorable names in the history of rock music. Forgive me for the rather peculiar mixture, however those bands do have a lot in common…and it starts with having very cool names!


 

 

The Beatles

THEBEATLES 203Let’s start with the fab five! The story begun in 1957, when young John Lennon assembled his skiffle group, first calling it the Black Jacks and eventually changing it into the Quarry Men. Throughout the years, they had a few name changes, such as Johnny and the Moondogs, the Beatals, the Silver Beetles, the Silver Beats, and the Silver Beatles, before they finally settled on the Beatles.  
John Lennon actually wrote a humorous story about how the name came from. It appeared in an article in a Liverpool magazine. He said, It came in a vision–a man appeared in a flaming pie and said unto them “From this day on you are Beatles with an A.” “Thank you, Mister Man,” they said, thanking him. (Paul McCartney even put an album called “Flaming Pie.”)

As far as the serious version is concerned, it’s quite simple – The Crickets (Jerry Allison, Buddy Holly, and Joe B. Mauldin) were cited as a major inspiration for the name. Furthermore, the misspelling of “beetles” is a play on words, basically describing the unique “beat” of the band. In an interview, Lennon stated, “Well, I remembered the other day when somebody mentioned the Crickets at a press conference. I’d forgotten all about that. I was looking for a name like the Crickets that meant two things, and from Crickets I got to Beatles. I changed the B-e-a because it didn’t mean two things on its own — B, double-e-t-l-e-s didn’t mean two things. So, I changed the ‘a,’ added the ‘e’ to the ‘a’, and it meant two things, then….. It was beat and beetles, and when you said it people thought of crawly things, and when you read it, it was beat music.”


 

The Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones - nameNow I can’t talk about the Beatles and not talk about The Rolling Stones now can I? The story of how they decided to call themselves like that is pretty short and simple as well. The band was heavily influences by Chess Records artists, such as Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Howlin’ Wolf and many other blues musicians. In June 1962, the band’s line up consisted of Jagger, Jones, Richards, Stewart, Taylor, and drummer Tony Chapman. According to Keith Richards, Brian Jones saw a Muddy Waters LP lying on the floor, while he was talking to Jazz News on the phone. When they asked him what his band was called, he thought of Muddy Waters’ track “Rollin’ Stone”…the rest is history.


 

The Doors

The Doors 2Why did choose to call themselves the Doors? It’s very philosophical and poetical but what else did we expect from the most intense and progressive rock bands of the 60s? Jim Morrison came up with the name which was derived from a passage in William Blake’s “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”“When the doors of perception are cleansed, things will appear to man as they truly are… infinite.” The same passage also inspired the title of Aldous Huxley’s 1954 essay on his first psychedelic experience – “The Doors of Perception” which Jim Morrison had read.


 

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd - DrawingThe details behind the origin of their band name vary, however the story goes like this: At first, the band was playing under multiple names, including “Tea Set”. However, imagine their surprise when they turned up at a gig and found up that another band on the lineup was also called “Tea Set”. Syd Barret, under pressure, had to quickly come up with a new name. The alternative he settled on was The Pink Floyd Sound, after two blues musicians – Pink Anderson and Floyd Council – two of his favorite artists. Barret took the names from his record collection – perhaps he saw the sleeves side by side and had a sudden inspiration – we don’t know for sure. There’s no evidence that those two bluesmen have ever worked or recorder together, despite the fact that some people wishfully believe that Anderson and Council actually made a recording together.
The Sound part was dropped quite quickly, but The was kept for a while, until 1970. David Gilmour is also known to have referred to the group as The Pink Floyd as late as 1984.


 

QUEEN

QUEENQueen were originally called “Smile” – quite nice and lovely, right? Singer Freddie Mercury was the one who came up with the new name and this is what he said about it, Years ago I thought up the name ‘Queen’ … It’s just a name, but it’s very regal obviously, and it sounds splendid … It’s a strong name, very universal and immediate. It had a lot of visual potential and was open to all sorts of interpretations. I was certainly aware of gay connotations, but that was just one face of it.” Many people associate the band name with Freddie’s sexual orientation; however that’s not the case – Queen is a very powerful word and it did open quite a few doors for the band!


 

KISS

KISS - nameWhen you heard the name “KISS” for the first time you thought about lovely kisses and smooches, right? Well, you may be so close and yet so far… There have been a few speculations about the name of the band. According to a rumor, going around in the 1980s, their name as an acronym for (K)ids (I)n (S)atan’s (S)ervice. Well, KISS did piss a lot of people off with their image and music, so naturally you have no idea how many of them thought of KISS as a “devil band”. Some people even believed that their records included Satanic messages when played backwards.
The not so evil version of the story goes like this: Peter Criss, the original drummer of the band was in a car with Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Ace Frehley in New York. The members knew that Peter used to be in a band named LIPS. They were brainstorming some ideas about a band name when Paul suddenly said, “How about KISS?”… the rest is history. Ace Frehley was the one who designed the KISS logo in 1973, which is still used today.


 

YES

YES band 2It’s time for YES to make their official debut on my blog! I have to say, the band can’t really brag about their name since honestly it’s not so clever or that original. However, that’s the magic of it! The details behind the origin story of the name once again vary. What we know so far is that the band members were having a hard time coming up with a good name but their first gig was coming so they had to think of something quite fast. For their debut gig, they chose the name YES, suggested by Banks as being “short, positive, direct, and memorable”. It was supposed to be a temporary solution but obviously, the name stuck.

Jon Anderson told Yesspeak that while they were brainstorming for band names, Jon Anderson thought of Life, Chris Squire thought of World, and Peter Banks, kept saying yes. They asked him, whether he means “The Yes?” but he said “No, Yes”…

There’s also the “Yellow Submarine” theory, according to which they got the name from the long scene during “It’s Only a Northern Song” where the word “Yes” multiples on the screen in big bold block letters with exclamation points.


 

The Ramones

Ramones - nameSay hello to The Ramones – the Punk Rock Gods I love so much! I’m sure that at one point we were all asking ourselves what does “Ramones” stand for and how did they chose this particular family name? Well, according to sources, they chose the name as a tribute to Paul McCartney who used the alias “Paul Ramone” when he would book or check into hotels, incognito. All band members adopted pseudonyms ending with the surname “Ramone”, even though that was not their given name and were not related in any way – original members named themselves Joey Ramone, Johnny Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone and Tommy Ramone; other members include Marky Ramone, Richie Ramone, Elvis Ramone and C. J. Ramone.


 

Guns N’ Roses

guns n roses - nameI decided to include Guns N’ Roses because to my surprise, a lot of people are not so familiar with the origin story of the band name, which by the way is so short and simple.

When I heard the name for the first time, I thought it was a clever symbolic representation of their music: “guns” – something deadly and dangerous, and “roses” – something gentle and romantic. However, the reason why they chose the name is because of the members’ previous bands. Axl Rose and and rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin of Hollywood Rose, joined forces with lead guitarist Tracii Guns, bassist Ole Beich, and drummer Rob Gardner of L.A. Guns. They simply combined the names of both previous group and settled upon Guns N’ Roses.


 

Judas Priest

Judas Priest - 80sComing from Birmingham, England, Judas Priest is probably the heavy metal band that matters the most, judging by the nickname they got – The Metal Gods.
The expression “Judas Priest” was once used to cloak the words “Jesus Christ” when these were intended as a curse – something like “Gee” or “Gosh!” However, that’s not the case with Judas Priest. The inspiration for the band name was the song The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest, carved into vinyl by Bob Dylan in 1967. Bruno Stapenhill was the one who came up with the name. The band was also regularly rehearsing at his house in Stone Cross.


 

Credits:
“Where did the Beatles come up with the band’s name?”, retrieved from https://www.quora.com/Where-did-the-Beatles-come-up-with-the-bands-name
The Doors Biography, retrieved from https://rockhall.com/inductees/the-doors/bio/
What is the meaning of Pink Floyd that inspired the band’s name?, retrieved from https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-meaning-of-Pink-Floyd-that-inspired-the-bands-name
Stories Behind Band Names, retrieved from http://www.noiseaddicts.com/2011/02/band-names-poison-queen-kiss-bon-jovi-motley-crue/
YES – band name origin, retrieved from http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=8362
Guns N’ Roses – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guns_N’_Roses
Judas Priest Band name meaning, retrieved from http://bandnaming.blogspot.kr/2013/04/judas-priest-band-name-meaning.html
Why did they choose the name Ramones?, retrieved from http://dyingscene.com/news/why-did-they-choose-the-name-ramones/
List of band name etymologies, retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_band_name_etymologies
P.S . I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the credits and rights go to the owners and/or publishers.