Archive for 1980's rock albums

ZZ TOP “Eliminator” – Metal Odyssey’s Classic Rock Journey Back To 1983

Posted in classic rock, classic rock albums, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, metal odyssey, Music, rock and roll, rock music, rock music news, southern hard rock, southern rock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2011 by Metal Odyssey

ZZ TOP – It’s a humdinger of a thought, reflecting back to those blissful days of keg parties so long ago, in an open field, while Eliminator from ZZ TOP was blasting from someone’s boom box or car stereo. It was very common to hear Eliminator being cranked up along with Screaming For Vengeance from Judas Priest (released in 1982), Iron Maiden’s The Number Of The Beast and Piece Of Mind (released in 1982 and 1983 respectively) and Quiet Riot’s Metal Health. You have to remember, these were profoundly popular Metal albums of the day and ZZ TOP came knockin’ on the door to party… when all the world was abuzz about Heavy Metal. The really cool thing is, I and the majority of fellow Metalheads I knew then… let ZZ TOP in.

Metal Health was released on March 11, 1983 and Eliminator was released on March 23, 1983. Everyone knows the Metal historical importance of Metal Health being the first #1 Heavy Metal album on the Billboard Chart. (If you did not know, well, now you do. Plus QR rules too). Eliminator cracked that same Billboard Chart peaking at #9. As I reflect on it now, both the Metal Health and Eliminator albums should be hailed more frequently for their combined pop culture impact, it was like a one-two punch to the Hard Rockin’ forehead that felt so damn good back then. It certainly was a great moment in Rock Music history, when MTV really played music videos and while Heavy Metal along with Hard Rock was heard everywhere.

The coexistence of Eliminator alongside such Metal album classics back in 1983 proved that Heavy Metal, Hard Rock and Rock can and does have a common connection. A “weeding out” process was happening amongst us fans and bands back in those early 80’s… resulting in the eventual endless list of sub-genres that we all debate about in 2011. Eliminator seemed to break down any barriers of Rock ‘N’ Roll segregation back in 1983, the Country and Southern Rock fans just might like a band that a Metalhead digs!

I’ve never been one to embrace just Metal as my only music listening experience and ZZ TOP is one major reason why. (Metal is #1 in my Metal heart though). I remember my buddies and I rushing to Strawberries Records & Tapes to buy earlier albums from ZZ TOP after Eliminator was released. This album gave the ZZ TOP back catalog even more notoriety, (even though it was already revered) and helped spotlight the righteousness of Blues Rock and Southern Rock/Southern Hard Rock.

While I write about Eliminator, I’m tapping into my memories of yesteryear, regardless of how dazed they might be. I do remember vividly the social impact that Eliminator had on my group of buddies and the media impact goes without saying. The music videos that spawned from this album were beyond entertaining… they were Rock ‘N’ Roll coolness with an exclamation point. TV Dinners is not just a (gasp) fun song, the music video for this song is flat-out hilarious. The slow driven, thump and stump of TV Dinners “really can’t be beat”, in my Metal opinion.

Not to disrespectfully push the “hits” of Eliminator aside, still, there are other songs on this album that cut loose with their dirt kickin’ and down home Rockin’ vibes. I Got The Six, Dirty Dog, If I Could Only Flag Her Down, I Need You TonightThug and Bad Girl are just as potent as the world popular Legs, Sharp Dressed Man, Gimme All Your Lovin, Got Me Under Pressure and of course… TV Dinners.

Was Eliminator commercial for it’s time? Of course it was and for grand reason. Eliminator will forever have a commercial appeal due to it’s memorable lyrics and good-times feel. It’s that big Texas boogie beat that will always make ZZ TOP and their catalog of albums timeless. Blues and grooves. Add into the sound and style of ZZ TOP these three words as well: Hard, Heavy, Classic. What other Rock power-trio, if you will, manifested more bluesy slick and muscular grooves into their songs such as ZZ TOP? Eliminator only magnified this.

There was no rushing to the “Prog-Rock” door to impress the fans when it came to the Rock ‘N’ Roll of Eliminator, that’s never been what ZZ TOP was/is known for. Straightforward with their brand of bluesy Southern Rock and Hard Rock is what made ZZ TOP famous for in the first place. As time has gone by, Eliminator just “eliminated” any doubts about this band and album having a huge impact among a cross section of Rock genres. It always feels dandy when I can reflect on an album that has made my Rock lovin’ life so enjoyable. My Eliminator vinyl and CD can never grow moss or collect dust mites… there’s just too many BIG beats and FUN moments that it bulges with, just like a Classic Rock album from ZZ TOP should do.

ZZ TOP:

BILLY GIBBONS – guitar & vocals

DUSTY HILL – bass & vocals

FRANK BEARD – drums

* Eliminator was released on March 23, 1983, on Warner Bros. Records.

* Eliminator was produced by Bill Ham.

LONG LIVE ZZ TOP.

LONG LIVE CLASSIC ROCK.

The word “dandy” was used in the last paragraph.

Stone.

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CLASSIC ROCK 101: ORION THE HUNTER “SO YOU RAN” – 1984 MUSIC VIDEO

Posted in classic rock, classic rock albums, classic rock bands, classic rock music, classic rock songs, hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, metal odyssey, Music, rock 'n' roll, rock and roll, rock music, rock music history, rock music videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

ORION THE HUNTER – Let’s go back to those good ol’ ’80’s… again. When Rock, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal seemed to mesh together for me, just like chocolate-caramel-fudge swirl ice cream. It was a decade when FM Radio really was the one-stop listening destination for great music. MTV proved to be the same for music videos. I can recall vividly hearing So You Ran on the FM dial… and I was hooked. Sure, it wasn’t a Heavy Metal song I was hearing, nonetheless, it was Rockin’ along with a melodic sound that made me feel alright… and still does.

This Orion The Hunter album is yet another great piece of vinyl that I let go many Metal moons ago. It was released back in 1984 on Columbia Records. Now, from what I have seen, the CD sells “new” from $50 to $125 (U.S.).  It appears Orion The Hunter is… out of print.

Orion The Hunter was: former Boston guitarist Barry Goudreau, Boston vocalist Brad Delp on backing vocals, future Boston vocalist Fran Cosmo, Bruce Smith on bass and Michael DeRosier on drums.

Convict me of being sentimental sometimes… yet this song just brings back some good memories of being a young dude, with no bills and high taxes to pay.

Track listing for Orion The Hunter:

All Those Years

So You Ran

Dreamin’

Dark And Stormy

Stand Up

Fast Talk

Too Much In Love

Joanne

I Call It Love

REST IN PEACE, BRAD DELP – 1951 – 2007

Stone.

JOURNEY “DEPARTURE” ALBUM FROM 1980 – A CLASSIC ROCK FLASHBACK

Posted in 1970's classic rock music, 1970's rock bands, 1980's classic rock bands, 1980's hard rock albums, 1980's rock music, 1980's classic rock albums, 1980's classic rock music, 1980's hard rock bands, album covers, classic rock, classic rock albums, classic rock music, hard rock albums, hard rock bands, metal odyssey, Music, rock & roll, rock and roll, rock music, rock music history with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

JOURNEY –  released their sixth studio album, Departure, on March 23, 1980, on Columbia Records. This was my very first Journey album that I ever bought, sometime around 1980. Between this Journey album and QueenThe Game, I was becoming quite a Rock Music fanatic at the age of fourteen. Departure falls into the first dozen or so albums that I ever owned. As with Queen’s The Game album, this Journey album is an exquisite blend of Rock and Hard Rock songs. The FM radio favorite back in the day was Any Way You Want It, this song was the motivation for my buying this album to begin with. A genuine Hard Rock song, Any Way You Want It flowed through my veins like psyche-out serum. Aw, heck, it still does to this very day.

Walks Like A Lady is the mellow Rock song that FM radio caught onto as well, it’s chorus coupled with the simplicity and innocence in it’s lyrics, gives this song it’s appeal, almost spotlighting it amongst the other songs on Departure. Where Were You is one of my favorite Journey songs… ever. If a song can Rock me at age fourteen, then Rock me the same way three decades later… then it ‘s an impact song that did it’s deed in imbedding itself into my Rock and Roll psyche. Where Were You, as with Any Way You Want It, just brings back memories of my discovering what Rock and Hard Rock Music was really all about. Back in 1980, I found myself gravitating towards much more up-tempo and harder edged songs. Departure became another tile, on the Hard Rock ground floor that I was setting foot upon.

I’m Cryin’ for all intents and purposes, is Steve Perry at his very finest, unleashing his never to be duplicated vocals, with a spill-over of believable emotion. Line Of Fire has the saturated sound of Classic Rock boogie, pulsating with every imaginable vibration of 1970’s Hard Rock as well. Neal Schon’s guitar actually sounds like a backup singer on Line Of Fire, his signature tone is that expressive… to my ears. When I listen to Good Morning Girl in 2010, I can safely point to this song as the direction as to where Journey would go musically, on future albums. Steve Perry’s vocals being the focal point in a soft ballad, is a key part of the puzzle to Journey’s mainstream success and popularity explosion of the 1980’s. Good Morning Girl was the hint of more incredible things to come, from this legendary band and lead vocalist… only I did not have a clue of Journey’s future back in 1980.

Whenever I can reach into my music collection and pull out an album that resonates the roots of Rock and Hard Rock of my young adult life, it surely is an impeccable album for me indeed. Rock and Roll is more than an aging slab of vinyl or a hardened plastic disc referred to as a CD. Rock and Roll encompasses dozens upon dozens of genres, while these same genres are represented by bands that are iconic as well as lesser known. What comes out of all this are the emotions, vibrations and memories that the music instills in one. Journey – Departure is an album I look upon as an integral reason as to why I decided to take a Hard Rock trek in my early teens. Journey, as with many other Hard Rock bands of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, aided in my transition to Heavy Metal… and I never considered for one second of abandoning Journey or any other influential band from my youth… Metal be thy name.

Journey, as they appeared on Departure:

Steve Perry – lead vocals

Neal Schon – guitar & backing vocals

Ross Valory – bass & backing vocals

Gregg Rolie – keyboards, harmonica & backing vocals

Steve Smith – drums & percussion

* Gregg Rolie is the lead vocalist on Someday Soon.

* Neal Schon is the lead vocalist on People And Places.

* Check out the Official Journey website: JOURNEY

Track Listing for Departure:

Any Way You Want It

Walks Like A Lady

Someday Soon

People And Places

Precious Time

Where Were You

I’m Cryin’

Line Of Fire

Departure

Good Morning Girl

Stay Awhile

Homemade Love

* Bonus Tracks From 2006 Reissue:

Natural Thing

Little Girl

Stone.

STYX “PARADISE THEATRE” – 1981 ROCK ALBUM IS A FOREVER FAVORITE OF MINE

Posted in 1970's classic rock bands, 1970's hard rock bands, 1970's rock bands, 1980's classic rock bands, 1980's classic rock guitarists, 1980's classic rock vocalists, 1980's rock albums, 1980's rock music, 1980's classic rock, 1980's classic rock albums, 1980's classic rock music, 1980's classic rock songs, 1980's hard rock bands, 1980's rock bands, Album Review, classic hard rock bands, classic hard rock music, classic rock, classic rock albums, classic rock bands, classic rock music, classic rock music 1981, classic rock songs, classic rock vocalists, cool album covers, feel good stories, guitar legends, hard rock music, metal odyssey, Music, old school hard rock, rock & roll, rock album review, rock and roll, rock guitarists, rock keyboard musicians, rock music, rock music lyrics, rock vocalists, shopping for rock music, vintage rock albums, vintage rock and roll songs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

Styx, a Rock/Hard Rock band that didn’t just grow on me in my early teens… instead, I fell over backwards upon my very first listen to their song Come Sail Away from The Grand Illusion album, (released in 1977). Jumping across the Pieces Of Eight (1978) and Cornerstone (1979) albums from Styx, (which both are unreal great albums for me as well), there is Paradise Theatre, (A&M Records), from 1981. Call it music imbedding at age fifteen, this Styx album just reminds me of so many good things about my life as an early teen. Memories, especially the good ones, are priceless. When music, Rock Music, can rekindle cool and fun times through memories… man, I’m not going to stop listening to such respective albums or songs – ever. Paradise Theatre doesn’t remind me of winning the lottery, getting an expensive car, falling in love, achieving straight A’s on my report card, (yeah right), nor does it send me back to a Hawaiian vacation. Nope. What Paradise Theatre does remind me of, is easier times, hanging out, the Christmas Holiday, snow days off from school and having no clue of who or what I wanted to be in life. Honestly, this Paradise Theatre album really reminds me of those things, the smaller things in life that matter too.

I’m certain I can sit here and compile a master list of Rock, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal albums, that meet the same memory criteria as this Styx Paradise Theatre album bestows for me. Recently, I finally purchased Paradise Theatre on CD, for the first time in my life! It was priced at $7, brand new. There were several, if not dozens of moments where I had this CD in my hands to buy… only putting it back down, because I get so damned conscientious about spending too much money on non essential items for myself. (I have to learn to relax, $7 is chump change compared to what is spent on Wall Street bailouts).

I cannot pinpoint the reason as to why Paradise Theatre reminds me of the previously mentioned. All I know is, come Christmas, these songs from this album just “pop” into my head. Watch out if it snows, it seems like I can actually envision the album cover in my mind as well, all the while I watch a snowfall. I do remember listening to the songs from Paradise Theatre during the Winter of 1981, it seems like yesterday. Funny, how I purchased this CD during the Winter of 2009, all of the variables were in place… some snow was on the ground, Christmas is approaching and I threw danger to the wind by spending an extra $7 on myself. (I guess you can call me a real thrill seeker, on the spending part of it all).

Every song on Paradise Theatre is a winner, that includes the songs that never made it to FM radio too. Quality, substance and an acute attention to lyrics are what makes these songs on Paradise Theatre so unbelievable for me. This album Rocks. There, I got that out of my system, that phrase needed to be stated and has become rather nerdy and extremely cliche too. Back in 1981, I never would understand what the term Classic Rock meant. In 1981, the only music that was really classic was Classical Music. Styx, through their albums of the 1970’s and 1980’s have given true meaning and understanding to the term/genre… Classic Rock.

I have always been a huge fan of Tommy Shaw, following his solo career along with his stints in Damn Yankees and Shaw/Blades. Dennis DeYoung on vocals gives this Styx band and album their trademark Rock essence, a sound that is so much stand alone. Dennis DeYoung’s voice is a trademark musical instrument of Styx. Of course, the aforementioned are all my opinions and interpretations, which I am steadfast about.

Dennis DeYoung sings it so right, on the song The Best Of Times, with these lines:

Our memories of yesterday

Will last a lifetime

We’ll take the best, forget the rest

And someday we’ll find

These are the best of times

Track Listing For Paradise Theatre:

Side One:

A.D. 1928

Rockin’ The Paradise

Too Much Time On My Hands

Nothing Ever Goes As Planned

The Best Of Times

Side Two:

Lonely People

She Cares

Snowblind

Half-Penny; Two Penny

A.D. 1958

State Street Sadie

Styx, as they appeared on Paradise Theatre:

Dennis DeYoung – keyboards & vocals

Tommy Shaw – guitars & vocals

Chuck Panozzo – bass guitar

John Panozzo – drums & percussion

James Young – guitars & vocals


THE FIRM – what made this Rock Band’s debut album so appealing?

Posted in 1980's hard rock albums, 1980's popular rock bands, 1980's rock albums, 1980's rock music, 1980's hard rock, Album Review, Bad Company, cannibal corpse, classic rock, cool album covers, cover songs, Hard Rock, hard rock album review, hard rock drummers, hard rock guitarists, hard rock songs, hard rock vocalists, Music, Rock, rock & roll, rock and roll, rock music, rock vocalists, vintage hard rock albums, vintage rock albums, Vocals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

main-150Back in 1985, The Firm released their self titled, debut album “The Firm”. I remember being very curious about this band… would the album be heavy? Would this album be a dud? Why is Paul Rodgers not with Bad Company? Is Jimmy Page going to scorch on “The Firm” album? So many questions were going on in my mind back then, about The Firm’s first LP. Well, in my Metal opinion, this album was/still is, one of the more commercially accepted, radio friendly, Rock albums that I will still listen to… even in the middle of my Thrash Metal and Death Metal moods. During one of my frequent thrift store visits this past Winter, I came across this actual album, in close to perfect condition too. The album jacket shows no wear at all, plus the vinyl itself plays without a hitch. Upon finding this album, I instantly grabbed it, there was no second thought about it. (At 50 cents, there was no risk involved, only reward). What makes The Firm and their debut album so appealing? 

After all of these years, the reasons for my liking The Firm have never changed. First of course, is the lead singer Paul Rodgers. Bad Company will forever be a Hard Rock icon for me, especially the Paul Rodgers fronted version of this legendary band. Secondly, how can any Hard Rock and/or Heavy Metal enthusiast not want to get into a band that the revered Jimmy Page plays lead guitar for? Thirdly, “The Firm” as a whole, is not a heavy album and not a dud either. This album falls in between… it is a Rock album that has catchy, memorable tunes. When I really think about it, I do not believe that The Firm ever sounded like any Rock Band before them – save for Bad Company, due to the vocals of Paul Rodgers. However, musically, was there ever a song that sounded like “Radioactive”? Maybe there was, I just am not aware of it. That song drives me crazy, for it is so non-heavy, so corny, so different, yet I really like it, to this very day. I guess The Firm was that Rock Band that dared to be different, in 1985. “Satisfaction Guaranteed” is another song that chugs along, it never seems to get kick started, (and I swear you can almost feel this song wanting to get up and scream), yet again – I really like it.

“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” is once again, a song that makes me feel like I have sold out my Metal soul to Pop Music. I actually sing aloud the lyrics, (when I am alone). Just to justify my singing these lyrics… I will sing them in my own, unique, Death Metal voice. Quite honestly, this song would be huge if a Death Metal band covered it. This is rather nit picking, regardless, if you take a look at the front album cover of “The Firm”, why on Metal Earth is the “i” in the word “FiRM” in lower case? This has not troubled me to any point of needing medication, I only look at it and wonder why? I do realize it was a logo design call, yet I always get the urge to want to fix the lower case “i” and make it an upper case “I”

Hey, all kidding aside, I feel The Firm was a darn decent Rock Band, the coolness of Paul Rodgers vocals and the enhanced and unparalleled guitar play of Jimmy Page make this debut album happen for me. I have no problem in recommending the debut album from The Firm, to anyone who is interested. Also note, in my Metal opinion, Tony Franklin on bass and Chris Slade on drums are no slouches either. Anyone who goes on to be the drummer for AC/DC, well, is legend. As I see it, I will turn to this album now and again and enjoy it. Plus, if Hammerfall can do a cover of “My Sharona” by The Knack, heck, then Cannibal Corpse could most certainly do a cover of “Money Can’t Buy” by The Firm.

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