Tag Archives: 1980s

Making Metal Out Of Rock – Hit Cover Songs & Originals

Making Rock Harder…and Better?

Metallica’s James Hetfield on stage with flying V guitar photo credit : unknown c. 1984

I’ve always wondered how rock bands feel when they’ve written what they believe to be a great song and later another band records it and has equal or greater success with the song. I guess it’s one thing if the original band is successful with the tune, makes money and has an appreciative fan base. The alternative of a band making music and toiling in relative obscurity with little to no exposure and then having another band come along and make a big hit out of your song does not sound appealing. The original writers receiving composing royalties may take some of the sting out of the situation.

When a heavy metal band covers a song and makes it their own, sometimes the original rock version languishes in obscurity. Years pass and more people are familiar with the cover version and think the cover version is better than the original. Whether that’s true or not is up to the listener.

7 Examples of Rock Songs Covered and Made Popular by Heavy Metal Bands.

We’ll start off with Peter Green and the extremely original British blues rock band Fleetwood Mac. This was before they became a huge pop hit machine after Green, Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan left the band and Fleetwood Mac added Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham. The song is the enigmatic Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown) from 1970.

In 1979 Judas Priest put their indelible mark on Green Manalishi with dual guitars and Rob Halford’s soaring vocals. Just what is the Green Manalishi? Continue reading

Excepting Eddie Van Halen, The New York Times Continues To Ignore Rock Star Deaths

Bands Lose Key Members & The New York Times Neglects An Obituary

Steve Priest – The Sweet

Pete Way –  UFO

Paul Chapman UFO

Paul Chapman – UFO

The Grim Reaper has had a robust 2020 taking more than his normal share of victims.

Celebrities, especially rock n’ roll musicians who are all approaching the age of inevitable demise have been dying at an alarming pace.  But you would never know it if you rely on the New York Times for the obituaries.

Eddie Van Halen obituary placed below where the paper is folded in half NY Times October 7, 2020.

Mega-music stars are the exception and get some sort of recognition.

Eddie Van Halen was just too big to ignore. While the Times placed Van Halen on October 7th front page, it put him below the fold. Continue reading

Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson’s Memories of Producer Martin Birch

How Martin Birch Helped Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson

Iron Maiden 1982 (l-r) Clive Burr, engineer Nigel Green, Dave Murray, Martin Birch, Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris, Adrian Smith photo via The Walk of Fame

Martin Birch, the music producer who worked with more than a score of rock’s legendary groups died Sunday, August 9, 2020 at age 71. No cause of death was announced. He leaves behind his wife Vera and daughter Haley. Continue reading

5 Of The Greatest UK Hard Rock Songs You (Probably) Never Heard Of

Five Of The Greatest & Least Known UK Hard Rock Songs (Unless You’re a Fan Of The Band)

Slade photo Paul Cox

Slade on stage photo Paul Cox

I’ve seen hundreds of rock bands live. Working in the music industry afforded me a close-up look at greatness. Unfortunately many times the public does not recognize, let alone buy greatness. Continue reading

Why Def Leppard Doesn’t Want The Public To See This Video

The Original Def Leppard, LIVE In 1980 Perform Almost The Entire On Through The Night LP

Def Leppard Was Once A Heavy Metal Band: Then They Started Writing Pop

What Happened?

Their Main Hard Rock Songwriter & Guitarist Was Fired

Can We Forget About The Past?

Here is Pete Willis and the original Def Leppard performing almost in its entirety, one of the ten greatest debut rock albums of all-time.

UPDATE JULY 8. 2020 – No surprise, you will not see the video. For now it has been pulled by original poster – FresnoMediaRestoration. I wonder why??? Hmmmmm.

UPDATE JULY 21 – The video is back! (For now…)

When Def Leppard recorded their first major label album, they were a heavy metal band though they never called themselves that.

l-r Rick Savage, Joe Elliott, Pete Willis, Rick Allen & Steve Clark c 1980

It was 1980 and Def Leppard had just been signed to a deal with Mercury Records. They were signed on the basis of what three years of honing and craft perfection had wrought – On Through The Night. Previously in 1979, the band printed its own EP and sold an astounding 18,000 copies.

Within the music industry, in order for any band to get a record deal, the band must put forth only their best material. And that is what On Through The Night is. Eleven mostly blistering songs played at a frantic pace with songwriting that displays an ear for catchy and memorable songs.

Here’s the most incredible thing about this video performance of that first album — singer Joe Elliott is 21, guitarists Steve Clark & Pete Willis are 20, bass player Rick Savage is 19 and drummer Rick Allen is – are you kidding me? — 16!!!!

Continue reading

Oh Brother! Could They Pitch – The Dean, Perry, Martinez & Niekro Brothers

Winning Brothers, Dizzy & Daffy Dean

Dizzy & Daffy Dean 1935

Hold Chat On Bleachers

Dizzy and Daffy, those two Dean boys. Paul on the left looks a little skeptical as Dizzy shows his brother the way a ball is held for a “hook”. Just before the Giants and Cardinals got going  March 15 at Flamingo Park, Miami Beach, Florida, these two boys held a chat on the bleachers. The Giants defeated the Cardinals 2-0. — 3/17/1935 Associated Press Photo

In the history of Major League Baseball there have been many brothers who have each taken the mound to be pitchers. For both of them to be successful however, is another story. Continue reading

A Misunderstanding In The Record Store

Never Send Mom To The Record Store To Buy A Record – A True Story

There was a time when the only way to buy music was to purchase it on tape or vinyl, usually at a record or department store. The year was 1983 and a friend of mine, Kyle worked in the local record store.

His knowledge and love of rock n’ roll led him to pursue this part-time minimum wage position to help support his college tuition.

Kyle’s job was to stock the store with new product as it came in and help customers with any needs.

So one day as Kyle is sorting vinyl he notices a middle-aged woman looking at the bins that hold the records. She was obviously not finding whatever it was she was searching for in the “R” section.

Kyle approached the woman, smiled and said. “Can I help you find something?”

“Oh, yes,” the woman replied, “my son sent me to buy the new rubber plant record, but I can’t seem to find it.”

Kyle’s eyebrows went up and he repeated the name to her, “rubber plant?”

“Yes, rubber plant,” the woman confirmed distinctly emphasizing-the last r in rubber. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #71 – Clint Is “Dirty Harry” Again

Clint Eastwood Reprises His Role As “Dirty Harry” For The Fourth Time – 1983

Megastar Clint Eastwood is soon to be seen again in his hard-hitting role as Dirty Harry. He will be starring in an explosive new thriller called “Sudden Impact”,  that will mark the 4th film about tough, unconventional detective Harry Callahan. This time, in a change of situation, Dirty Harry finds himself the target of an assassination attempt while working on a particularly nasty murder case. The first film built upon the character was “Dirty Harry”, and came to the screen in 1971. This was followed by “Magnum Force” in 1974, and “The Enforcer” in 1977. Shot mainly on location in San Francisco, the film is described as an action-packed thriller. Clint Eastwood, who also directs this production, holds the distinction in the film industry as being the biggest box-office grosser throughout the world.  He is seen here disrupting a robbery attempt in the new film. photo: Bandphoto 1983

Sudden Impact was the only time Clint Eastwood undertook directorial duties in the Dirty Harry franchise. The movie spawned one of the most memorable quotations Continue reading

“Fast” Eddie Clarke Motörhead’s Greatest Guitarist

Some Highlights Of The Late, Great, “Fast” Eddie Clarke, Guitarist Of Motörhead

The “classic” Motorhead line-up on stage circa 1980 (l-r) Phil Taylor, Eddie Clarke & Lemmy Kilmister photo: Simon Fowler

When “Fast” Eddie Clarke (October 5, 1950 – January 10, 2018), guitarist with Motörhead from 1976-1982 died from pneumonia last week at the age of 67, it closed the book on what many consider Motörhead’s greatest line-up.

In the space of a little over two years, Eddie Clarke, singer-bassist and founder Lemmy Kilmister and drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, all died.

The trio put out albums that are considered the high points of Motörhead’s career: Motörhead (1977), Bomber (1979), Overkill (1979), Ace of Spades (1980), No Sleep ’til Hammersmith (Live 1981) and Iron Fist (1982).

After being forced out or leaving Motörhead in 1982 (stories conflict on the departure), “Fast” Eddie formed Fastway with bassist Pete Way of UFO. Continue reading

AC/DC’s Malcolm Young Is Dead And So Is AC/DC

AC/DC Was Dead Long Before Founder Malcolm Young Died

Malcolm Young’s death does not end AC/DC.

The end unofficially came at the conclusion of the Black Ice tour in Bilbao Spain on June 28, 2010. That was the last show Malcolm Young performed with AC/DC.

In 2014 when Malcolm Young left the band because he was suffering from dementia, that more or less sealed the deal. Any song put out in the future by AC/DC would not be written by Malcolm Young.

Though there is a band called AC/DC and they are still recording and touring, the 2008 Black Ice album was the last that Malcolm Young had a hand in writing. Musically, that is what is important.

Guitar players are replaceable. Great songwriters are not.

As great as a rhythm guitar player he was, writing music is what Malcolm Young did best.

Not just writing amazing songs, but incredible memorable riffs and jaw dropping solos performed by his brother Angus. They are deceptively simple, yet undeniably catchy songs and riffs that changed rock n’ roll and influenced, and will continue to influence generations of musicians.

Proof? Listen to the magical 1977 AC/DC album Let There Be Rock.

As hard as it may be, ignore Bon Scott’s brilliant tongue in cheek lyrics and just listen to the main riff of every song.

How many rock albums have two memorable songs? Let There Be Rock has, “Go Down”, “Dog Eat Dog” ,”Let There Be Rock”, “Bad Boy Boogie”,  “Problem Child”, “Overdose”, “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be”, and “Whole Lotta Rosie”. Eight catchy songs, heard once – remembered forever.

Lead guitarist Angus Young, the only remaining original band member, has continued AC/DC.

I feel sorry for Angus Young. Angus certainly keeps AC/DC going not for the money, but  because honestly what else is there for him to do? An entertainer, a performer has a need to perform.

However without retired bassist Cliff Williams, the unceremoniously dispatched lead singer Brian Johnson and drummer Phil Rudd and the late rhythm guitarist and main songwriter Malcolm Young, this is not AC/DC.

This is like calling Paul McCartney and his recent 2017 touring band The Beatles. It’s not and McCartney knows better.

The touring AC/DC is is basically a juggernaut of explosions, lights,and sound. Even with the great Angus Young heading them up, AC/DC are truthfully now no better than an AC/DC tribute band.

How many post-1982 songs were in AC/DC’s live set list in 2016 with Axl Rose on lead vocals? Continue reading