Five 1980s Rock Videos Where The Band Is Not The Star
Whitesnake definitely owes a large portion of their late 1980s popularity to Tawny Kitaen, the actress model who suddenly passed away on May 7, 2021 at the age of 59. Tawny Kitaen was the real star in the videos for Here I Go Again; Still of The Night and Is This Love. Kitaen later married lead singer David Coverdale. The constant playing of these videos on MTV no doubt greatly contributed to helping the band eventually sell 15 million copies (8 million plus in the United States) of the 1987 eponymously titled Whitesnake album. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the previous seven Whitesnake albums sold a total of less than two million units combined before Tawny Kitaen’s addition to Whitesnake’s arsenal of sales tactics.
Not that Tawny Kitaen started a trend, but bands have always known that a good song can be made into a VERY popular song by featuring sexy women in their videos.
Here are five cases where the band is not the primary focus of the video, but a very attractive woman is.
Ric Ocasek -Something To Grab For (1982)
Ric Ocasek of The Cars released seven solo albums over his career which had modest sales. His first solo LP 1982’s Beatitude was the most successful, hitting number 28 on the Billboard charts. Starring in Something To Grab For is future 1983 Playboy Playmate of the Year, Marianne Gravatte (b. 1959). Gravatte, a stunningly beautiful woman, was also featured in Ratt’s Lay It Down.
Maybe this article should be titled “bands that sound like Robert Plant” as it is Plant’s unique vocals that are being channeled.
Plant himself has never been a big fan of others trying to sound like Led Zeppelin. Plant called Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page’s 1993 pairing with Whitesnake / Deep Purple lead singer David Coverdale – David Cover Version.
If you heard any of the following songs without knowing who it was, you might think it’s Led Zeppelin.
Unsurprisingly the lead singers of these bands can do pretty good cover versions of Zeppelin. We’ll have two samples from each band – one original composition and one Zeppelin cover if they have ever covered the mighty Zep.
To me, Jack Russell of Great White naturally sounds more like Robert Plant than any other professional singer.
This song Save Your Love is from the 1987 album Once Bitten.
This 2011 live version of Led Zeppelin’s Ramble On is spot on vocally even if the rest of the band doesn’t capture the Zeppelin magic. Russell’s intonations on certain lyrics like “I’m much o-bli-ged, such a plea-sant stay,” sound exactly like Plant. A great cover.
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 →
The Late, Great Eddie Van Halen Demonstrates What A Guitar Can Do In The Hands Of A Genius 1979
David Lee Roth, Michael Anthony and Eddie Van Halen on stage July 1979
To express the magnitude of the importance of the passing of Eddie Van Halen (January 26, 1955 – October 6, 2020) in words is impossible.
It’s better to let Van Halen’s music speak for itself.
From Fresnomediarestoration is this live clip from March 25, 1979. Eddie Van Halen and the band are juggernauts in their desire to wow the audience.
Anyone who was fortunate enough to attend this tour got to see what made Van Halen so special. And for those who only know David Lee Roth as a frontman who doesn’t stick to the proper lyrics, changes phrasing and sings haphazardly, then this will be a pleasant surprise.
The first four songs performed in this video are:
Light Up The Sky.
Somebody Get Me A Doctor.
Running With The Devil.
Dance The Night Away.
Bands Lose Key Members & The New York Times Neglects An Obituary
Steve Priest – The Sweet
Pete Way – 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 →
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 →