My Sunday Song – “Romeo Delight” by Van Halen

For My Sunday Song #144, we are tackling “Romeo Delight” by Van Halen off their 1980 album ‘Women and Children First’.  The song was never released as a single, but is one of the strongest on the album.  The album, however, did well going as high as #6 on the Billboard charts.  The album saw the band getting a little heavier and when it comes to Van Halen, the heavier the better for me.

The song is about going to the bar and looking for a fight and looking for girl to bed that night.  A drinking and party and helluva good time song.  Dave’s confidence comes shining through in his vocal delivery and you are pretty confident he is walking home with a lady.

Eddie’s guitar work is nothing short of amazing.  The sounds he creates are mesmerizing and his solo is nothing short of stellar.  There is even a point in the song where Dave is singing “Feel my Heartbeat”, Eddie is making this heartbeat noise with his guitar.  He is taking is Low E string and tapping it against the pickup to create the effect.  You want a sound and Eddie will deliver.

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My Sunday Song – “Poundcake” by Van Halen

For My Sunday Song #143, we have “Poundcake” off  Van Halen’s 1991 album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (or F.U.C.K. for short).  The song was the first single off the album and went straight to #1 on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart.  The song was also the first song on the album which was one hell of a way to open an album.

The song comes firing at you with a freaking power drill.  That is right.  The song opens with a power drill being played through Eddie’s guitar.  Playing it near or against the strings allows the guitar pickups to actually “pick up” the sound.  It was totally cool as there seems there is nothing Eddie can not do with a guitar.  It was so popular, that Eddie painted up a drill in the Frankenstrat motif to use in the video and tour.

That wasn’t the only cool thing about the song.  The rest of the guitar sounds were great as well.  Eddie beefed things up playing a 12 string throughout for the rhythm guitar as well as his normal guitar for the solo.  And let me tell you that solo was something else too.  Eddie pulls out all the tracks accompanied by the heart pounding drums of his brother Alex.  It is one of those songs I liked more for the music than the actual lyrical content of the song.

Lyrically, the song is about being real.  Most people are fake and pretend to be something they are not.  It is sexier if you are just who you are, no pretentiousness or b.s. of any kind.  If you can find a woman (or a man) that is who they say they are, then get a hold of that and wrap it up nice and tight.  Poundcakes are simple, there isn’t anything to hide.  What you see is what you get so I guess that is why they chose that as its title.

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My Sunday Song – “Once” by Van Halen

For My Sunday Song #142, we are going with a song by underrated Van Halen singer Gary Cherone.  The song is “Once” off the album Van Halen III.  The song wasn’t a single and the album wasn’t a hit, but it had some great songs and Gary Cherone (singer for Extreme) never got the recognition he deserved for this album.  So we will give it here.

“Once” is an epic song at over 7 minutes long.  It opens with the piano and is a much slower tempo song.  There is a mystical and yet eerie feel to the song.  And even a sadness as it seems to be about love loss.  It is filled with so many layers and textures that you hear something different each time you give it a listen.  It has an almost early Genesis feel to it.

The song focuses on the groove with the piano and Gary’s voice which is actually also understated in the song.  but Eddie’s guitar work is also sensational.  He dances in and out of the song and during the long instrumental break of the song, he is trying all sorts of things.  It seems to be a very experimental song for them and I thought it worked as it was so different than everything else Van Halen had done.

Interesting on the song is that bass is played by Eddie and not Michael Anthony.  In fact, on Van Halen III, Michael only played bass on 3 tracks.  His time was numbered with the band by this point for sure.

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My Sunday Song – “Unchained” by Van Halen

For My Sunday Song #141, we are now going to tackle 10 songs from Van Halen.  They could be with David Lee Roth, Sammy Hager or even Gary Cherone on lead vocals.  We will cover all the bases.  First up will be “Unchained” off the band’s fourth album, ‘Fair Warning’.  ‘Fair Warning’ came out in April 1981 and “Unchained” was the second single off the album released in July 1981, but I had also heard no singles were ever officially released so not sure what to believe.  Either way, the song reached #13 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart.

The album suffered from poor sales, but the album was received very well by the critics.  In fact, “Unchained” is often named as one of the best Van Halen songs of all time.  I can’t say I disagree with that.

The song is noted for its use of the MXR M-117 Flanger which for us non-guitar people is a pedal used that can change the sound of the guitar.  For the guitar people, It uses a Drop Db tuning with suspended fourth chords interspersed (thanks Wikipedia).  Eddie made this effect very popular and helped increase the sales of such equipment. (Picture not actual EVH pedal).

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The song also features producer Ted Templeman on vocals.  During a point in the song, Dave is pontificating on and on and Ted jumps in and says “Come On Dave, Give Me a Break” and Dave replies, “Hey, hey, hey, hey, one break coming up!”.  It is an awesome moment in the song.

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My Sunday Song – “Rocket Ride” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #140 and the final of this 10 song run of Kiss songs, we are discussing “Rocket Ride” by Kiss.  The song is one of the five original songs on the classic live album Kiss Alive II.  For the second live album, Kiss stepped it up a notch and added some original songs to give the album that extra boost.  The song reached #39 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the band’s seventh song to make it to the Top 40 charts.

The song was written by Ace Frehley and Sean Delaney.  Sean, if you don’t know, worked with Kiss back in the day and was crucial in Kiss becoming Kiss.  He pushed Bill Aucoin to go see the band and then Bill became the manager.  Sean became their road manager and was critical in the development of the band’s onstage choreography and even co-wrote many famous Kiss songs.  He is a big part of the  band’s Kisstory!!

This is the only song of the five that Ace actually appeared on as Bob Kulick was brought in to play the guitar on all the other songs.  Ace and Peter are the only Kiss members to appear on this track in return.  Peter of course on the drums and Ace played all the guitar and bass parts.

The song opens with some electrifying guitar riffs delivered by the master himself.  It speeds by with a blistering pace and Ace truly nails the vocals.  The song is fun, rocking and delivers everything you want in a Kiss song including a stellar solo.  Peter keeps the beats coming with some nice little fills and the two are great together. The guitar riff at the end along with the explosiveness of Peter’s drumming ends the song perfectly and goes out the same way it came in  with bang.

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My Sunday Song – “God of Thunder” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #139, “God of Thunder” by Kiss is our menacing topic.  The song is off the band’s 1976 classic ‘Destroyer’.  Kiss was flying high at this point and unstoppable.  “God of Thunder” became Gene’s theme song and is the point in the live show that saw Gene spit his blood and perform his bass solo.  It was always awesome.

The song was written by Paul Stanley and he had all intentions of singing it.  Producer, Bob Ezrin thought differently.  He recommended slowing the song down and letting Gene sing the song.  The slow, almost nightmarish beat of the song fit Gene’s personae perfectly.

The song kicks off with a couple children saying…”Okay, ya’ll can start singing”.  Those kids were heard throughout the song screaming and making all kinds of noises during the song.  Those kids were David and Josh Ezrin, the producer’s kids.  There were so many sound effects added to it to give that eerie feeling.  Even Ace’s guitar work was done in a way to add more of a darkness feel to the song.

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My Sunday Song – “She” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #138, I am going to dive in to the song “She” by Kiss off their 1975 album ‘Dressed to Kill’.  “She” is one of only a handful of songs that originated with Wicked Lester which was Gene and Paul’s band prior to Kiss.  The song was written by Gene Simmons and Stephen Coronel from Wicked Lester.

The song was originally titled “She Walks By Moonlight” which is the first line of the song.  It was inspired by a line in the film ‘Hondo’ which was a western from 1953.  The song is basically about sex, go figure.  That is one of their favorite subjects.

The original version of the song had a flute, a tambourine and even some congas in it,   It was really cool with a real nice groove and had these earthy vocals to them.  Very Jethro Tull with that flute.  You can hear it on the Kiss Box Set.

Kiss removed all those instrumentations and really beefed up the guitars.  The groove was still there, but the song was much heavier and Ace takes it up a notch with the guitar.  The solo was even taken from The Doors song “Five to One”.  The song for me has this great flow and style and might be one of my favorite tracks from ‘Dressed to Kill’ as it is not a full on rocker in the “anthem” sense, but something really cool and different.

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My Sunday Song – “Danger” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #137, we are going to ‘Creatures of the Night’ album and the song “Danger” from 1982.  This album didn’t do that well for the band and the tour did even worse.  Kiss was in turmoil at the time and the band seemed doomed to be at their end.  The album eventually did go Gold, but at the time was a failure.  Now, it is actually regarded to some as one of their best albums…and I would be in that group.

“Danger” was written by Paul Stanley and Adam Mitchell as the band had been using outsider writers for some time now.  Paul had lead vocal duties and Eric Carr was on drums.  But those were the only 2 official Kiss members on the song.  It was thought for a long time that Bob Kulick played lead guitar, but it was actually Vinnie Vincent who was not yet a full-fledge member of Kiss.  Ace, technically, still had that role although he didn’t play on the album.  He did get credited with playing and his picture is on the cover.

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And if that wasn’t enough, Gene doesn’t play bass on this one either.  The bass player was Jimmy Haslip from the jazz fusion group The Yellowjackets.  Gene apparently was too distraught over his break-up with Diana Ross to play.

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My Sunday Song – “No, No, No” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #136, We are going to talk about the 80’s classic “No, No, No” off the 1987 album ‘Crazy Nights” and the B-Side of their first single “Crazy, Crazy Nights”.  ‘Crazy Nights’ was a platinum selling album and might be considered as one of the bands weaker albums in some circles as they were chasing the trend at this point rather than creating it.

The song was originally titled “Assume the Position” (get your mind out of the gutter…because I am sure that is where their mind was with that title) and later it was called “Down on All Fours” (hmmm…I think their mind is still in the gutter).  The song was originally written off a riff by Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr put his stamp on it as well.  It was later handed over to Gene Simmons for completion.

The song opens with a blistering, solo by Bruce.  It is fast and ferocious and shows why he is so highly regarded as one of the best Kiss Guitarists!!  The drums are heavy thanks to the late, great Eric Carr and Gene finally has a decent song as over the last few albums, his weren’t always so stellar.  Well, really this is great mostly because of Bruce, but we won’t tell Gene that as we don’t want to hurt his fragile little ego.

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My Sunday Song – “Nowhere to Run” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #135, we are going to discuss the song “Nowhere to Run” off the bands 1982 compilation called ‘Killers’.  After the doomed release of ‘The Elder’, Kiss immediately went into the studio and recorded 4 new songs to go with a greatest hits compilation because they knew that ‘The Elder’ was dead on arrival.  The four new songs were all fantastic.  This was my favorite of the bunch.

Out of the four new songs, this was the only one solely written by Paul Stanley.  For all the others, he had help.  Also interesting is the fact that Paul sang all four of the new songs, no Gene.  Although, he did play bass and Eric was on the drums.  And Ace tour it up on lead guitar, at least that is what I thought as a kid.  It was actually Bob Kulick who had originally auditioned for Kiss back in the day, but was beat out by Ace.  Now, he was lead guitarist (just not officially).

The song had an old Kiss sound and felt like they were going back to their roots, but it was the 80’s and the production was louder and bigger with Michael James Jackson at the board. It is a rocking track and Bob really does kill it on the solo and Eric’s drums are loud and powerful as he brought such a new life to the Kiss sound.  I love the little drum fill at the beginning with a little acoustic intro and it built up from there.  Paul sounded sensational and this was Kiss hitting on all cylinders.  After the disaster of ‘The Elder’, Kiss was back in good favor…at least in my book.

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