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 →
Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead died in 2015, but supplied our headline quote a few years before his passing.
The man who spoke with Lemmy was Dave Ling. As a U.K. rock journalist, Ling has spent countless hours interviewing the greats of the heavy metal world. I strongly recommend his website.
Within Ling’s site there are hundreds of quotations from hard rock artists.
Here are 20 quotations that are funny, scathing and somewhat insightful.
“Lemmy came to me once and said ‘Alice, I have quit drinking,’ and he had a drink in his hand! I replied ‘That must be Coca-Cola?’, and he said ‘No, there’s a little whiskey in there’. His idea of not drinking was not drinking a bottle of whiskey each night. Maybe just five or six drinks.” Alice Cooper in 2019
Rush’s Geddy Lee satisfying the fans masochistic urges
Do I have any theories on why our audience keeps coming back? Maybe it’s some kind of intense communal masochistic urge?” Rush’s Geddy Lee.
“I’m sick to death of people saying we’ve made 11 albums that sound exactly the same. In fact, we’ve made 12 albums that sound exactly the same.” AC/DC’s Angus Young.
“People keep asking why we don’t play ‘Sinner’ anymore. I tell them it’s because we’ve repented.” KK Downing, Judas Priest.
“Sharon told me about a place where they teach you to drink properly. It was the Betty Ford Centre. I thought, ‘That’s it! I’ve been doing it wrong!’. So I walk in, expecting a demonstration of how to drink a Martini, and I say, ‘Hi Betty Ford, where’s the bar?’ This receptionist is like, ‘What?!'” Ozzy Osbourne.
“Mae West whispered to me, ‘Why don’t you come on back to my trailer?’ I said: ‘Because you’re 86 years old and I’m not even sure if you’re a woman or not’. But if I hadn’t have been married I would’ve gone. Definitely. Just for the experience.” Alice Cooper.“
“Adding rap to rock music is a bit like taking the most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen to a plastic surgeon, then asking him to give her a penis.” Manowar’s Karl Logan.Continue reading →
Five Of The Greatest & Least Known UK Hard Rock Songs (Unless You’re a Fan Of The Band)
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 →
Badfinger (l-r) Pete Ham, Mike Gibbins, Tom Evans, Joey Molland
There are literally hundreds of songs that qualify for this category: hit songs, that are not the original version. Among these are some songs you probably never knew were cover versions. We’re focusing on classic rock songs so let’s cut right to the chase.
First we’ll present the more famous cover version, followed by the original.
Hanging on the Telephone
Blondie’s 1979 breakthrough album, Parallel Lines, opens with a telephone ringing which is the intro to the frantic opening track Hanging on the Telephone. The album contains one catchy song after another. In a June 2008 interview with Sound on Sound magazine, producer Mike Chapman says he told the band, “Think of being onstage. Imagine you’re playing this to an audience, because we’re trying to record something that you’re going to have to listen to for the rest of your lives. So if this is not a high-energy performance, you’re going to say, ‘How come we now do it better live than on the record?’ In the case of ‘Hanging On The Telephone‘, that’s probably the best track on the album in terms of energy, although ‘One Way Or Another‘ has a similar edge.”
The Nerves, were a power trio comprised of Jack Lee, Paul Collins and Peter Case. They released only one four song EP in 1976 which included Hanging on the Telephone. In 1973 composer Jack Lee came up with the title for the song after reading The Illustrated Beatles. The book contained a cartoon of a woman with a phone wrapping around her neck. The illustration was above the lyrics of All I’ve Got To Do. Lee thought Hanging on the telephone and kept repeating it to himself.
The next day the lyrics just came to him in a flash. He began playing G and E flat chords and banged out the song. Lee says, “the quality of hanging of the telephone is a lot was sacrificed in time and in tension into that song and I think it really gave me such confidence in my skill. Because before anybody gave me any validation on the song I know I was on to something
and also the reaction I was getting from people that had other agendas other than to give me unsolicited compliments that I knew that I was on to something.”
The Nerves never broke big, but Hanging on the Telephone results in a continuing music publishing income stream for Jack Lee.
Harry Nilsson had a string of top 10 hits in the late 60s through the mid 70s including Everybody’s Talkin’; I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City, Coconut; Jump in the Fire and many others. But Nilsson’s career defining song was a 1971 release, Without You.
Without You was written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger and released in 1970 on the album No Dice. Badfinger is much better known for No Matter What, Baby Blue, Come and Get It (written by Paul McCartney) and Day After Day. Their catalog of great songs runs deep.
But due to mismanagement, most music fans are familiar with songs the band released during its abbreviated period of popularity. Stan Polley, manager of Badfinger, should have his picture in the dictionary next to the word evil. Ham hanged himself in the garage of his Surrey home in 1975 implicating Polley for his despondency. In his suicide note Ham wrote, “P.S. Stan Polley is a soulless bastard. I will take him with me.” Eight years later in 1983 Tom Evans, was arguing with bandmate Joey Molland about the royalties for “Without You.” Evans put down the phone, went to the garden and hanged himself. Many of Evans friends believe he had never gotten over Ham’s suicide. A sad story attached to a sad song.
Neil Peart Had Brain Cancer For Over Three Years…And Told Almost No One
Neil Peart of Rush – A Farewell To Kings tour book 1978
The surprising news that Rush’s extraordinary drummer and lyricist Neil Peart has died at age 67, comes as a shock to the world. While music lovers will try to absorb the stunning news, only Peart’s family, band mates and a few close friends knew this day was imminently closer than anyone realized.
Peart passed away quietly in Santa Monica, CA on Tuesday, January 7 of brain cancer. For over three years Peart was fighting the disease. His close circle of friends knew his predicament. Everyone else had no idea.
Peart’s survivors include his wife Carrie and daughter Olivia. Peart escaped a media frenzy of reporting on his illness, as doubtless there would be, had anyone known about his cancer. That’s the kind of man Neil Peart was. Ferocious on drums. Private, quiet and introspective in life. Peart did not want consolation from the world by sharing that he was ill. His reticence to speak publicly, well established.
Rush 1978 (l-r) Neil Peart Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson
On tour in the early 1990s I met both Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee backstage shortly after a show at Madison Square Garden. We talked for a minute. Continue reading →
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
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!!!!