My Sunday Song – “Blindman” by Whitesnake

For My Sunday Song #203, we are going with a song of ‘Ready an’ Willing’ with the track “Blindman”. This is a deep cut and not a single and one of the songs that is the reason I love the early Whitesnake sound so much.  Okay, actually this song is not originally a Whitesnake song, but a David Coverdale song as it was released on his solo album back in 1977 called…well…’White Snake’.  So, I can use for this set of Whitesnake songs, I am covering the cover version he did with his band. I don’t think that is cheating.

The song is a pure blues rock track.  Think Free or Bad Company as it has that same killer vibe.  It starts off as slow burner and builds slow until it becomes a full on scorcher.  Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody both hammer it home on the guitar and Bernie’s solo helps make the song such a classic song.  You can’t forget the ryhthm section of Ian Paice on drums and Neil Murray on bass either.  They keep the pace and groove going perfectly.  And listen closely to the beautiful keyboard playing of Jon Lord.  They all standout in their little moments.  However, the highlight is that sultry David Coverdale vocal style.  His vocal talent lies perfectly fit for the blues rock sound.  With this more of a slow song, David exudes all the heart he needs to give the song the powerful, emotive feel it needs.

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My Sunday Song – “Forevermore” by Whitesnake

For My Sunday Song #202, we are going to talk about a more recent Whitesnake called “Forevermore” off the 2011 album of the same name.  It is the final song on the album and I don’t know if David has ever ended an album with a song as strong as this one…maybe “Sailing Ships” and this even has that epic feel.  This might be the best song he has written in 20 years if not ever!

“Forevermore” is such a beautiful song both lyrically and musically.  Lyrically, it could be about a woman that his been with him for years and he is thinking about all the good times and the bad that they had.  She makes him feel safe and he will be with her forever and ever.  Or…it could be about music.  Music has been his love his whole life.  He is looking back at all those years and those years are his career.  The place where he feels at home is with his music, his songs.  They are his heartbeat and they give him so much love and joy.  However you interpret the song, there is no denying an unwavering love and passion for whoever or whatever David is writing about.

Musically, the song starts off as a beautiful acoustic track filled with keyboards that give the song an airy, calming feeling.  The song then slowly starts to build in to a full on explosion of sound with a slow and stunning guitar solo orchestrated by Doug Aldrich.  The rhythm section of the band adds a unique sound that gives a slight middle eastern vibe to it.  The song screams epic.  It feels larger than life.  It breathes a confidence that this is something special.  And David, oh David, he gives the performance of all performances.  You can tell this song means something to him and as his delivery has purpose and meaning and conveys an emotional attachment like no other.  Job well done sir!!

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My Sunday Song – “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City” by Whitesnake

For My Sunday Song #201, we are kicking off the next set of 10 songs with this batch from Whitesnake to celebrate as I am coming to the end of my David Coverdale Review Series which started back last August.  To kick it off we are going all the way back to the first release of the band on the album ‘Snakebite’ with the song “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City”.

One of the first songs Whitesnake did was actually a cover song.  It was a cover of Bobby Bland’s “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” written by Michael Price and Dan Wise.  The song is now a signature Whitesnake classic as they are still known to pull this one out and play it live all thanks to the live version from ‘Live…in the Heart of the City’, but this is about the studio version recorded a few years earlier.  Before Whitesnake became this hair metal giant, they were more a rock & soul band that loved the blues.  This was a shining example of that passion.

This love song is down and dirty, a blues infused rock song slowed down into a beautiful ballad full of soul.  Between Micky Moody’s hook that is filled with sorrow and along with a little funk filled groove from Bernie Marsden’s guitar and Neil Murray’s bass you are treated to what made early Whitesnake so magical.   Oh, and the solo…wow!  It fit the song so well and pulled out even more emotion if that was even possible.  Now, let’s not forget David Coverdale’s vocals as the tone he is able to pull out as he sings is so well suited for some soulful blues. There is just enough character and maturity to grasp the emotional feel of the song and give you everything the song needs.

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My Sunday Song – “Livin’ On A Prayer” – Bon Jovi

For My  Sunday Song #200 and the final in the Bon Jovi set of 10 songs, we are discussing the classic song, “Livin’ On A Prayer”.  The song is off the band’s mulit-platinum selling album ‘Slippery When Wet’.  The song was the second single off the album and the second to go all the way to #1. The song and the album put Bon Jovi in to super star status and nothing would be the same afterwards.

The song was written by Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi with a lot of help from songwriter Desmond Child who was brought in by the record label to help the boys finish the album and work on some songs.  The song is loosely based on Desmond and his girl-friend as she worked in a Diner, but he was a taxi driver and not working at the docks.  It was that Blue Collar feel to the song that made it resonate with so many people.  It was a time when Bon Jovi actually wrote songs that told a story that connected with people and not try to write just to make a hit.

However, after recording it, Jon didn’t really like the song and wanted to leave it off the album.  Richie thought it was great and convinced Jon to re-work the song.  It was much improved by changing the bass line and recording with Hugh McDonald and not Alec John Such.  Funny thing, Hugh would become a band member less than 10 years later (unofficially of course).  Richie also added a talk box to the guitar to give it that extra boost in the same way Peter Frampton used it and made it famous.  The song was turned in to a complete masterpiece.

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My Sunday Song – “Wanted Dead or Alive”

For My Sunday Song # 199, we are going to discuss one of Bon Jovi’s most popular and famous songs, “Wanted Dead or Alive” off the band’s 1986 album ‘Slippery When Wet’.  The song was the third single from this album and the third to crack the Billboard Hot 100 reaching #7.  The band was on a roll and growing to become one of the world’s biggest rock bands thanks in large part to his song.

The song’s title was inspired by old western movies and Jon thought the lifestyle of a band was similar to that of the outlaws in those movies.  Instead of horses, the band takes the tour bus (which is sort of a large steel horse) from town to town and raping and pillaging in each town…okay not really, but they were getting all the chicks and making tons of money performing, just not stealing it.

That whole cowboy vibe is felt in the music using acoustic guitars as well as electric.  There was a western sound with a hard rock edge and when they do play this as full acoustic, it is drenched in that sitting around the campfire feel telling stories of the road (or old west).  Richie Sambora’s guitar playing on this song spectacular and his background vocals mixed with Jon’s vocals takes this song to the next level.  And Richie’s solo is one of the most memorable he has done and how well it fits in with vibe of the song is magical.  Musically, according to Jon Bon Jovi, the song is inspired by Bob Seger’s song “Turn the Page” and if you listen to the song you hear that the slow driving tempo and groove and seriousness of the song and you can see why it was so inspiring.

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My Sunday Song – “Just Older” by Bon Jovi

For My Sunday Song #198, we are going with another deep cut and with a non-single song called “Just Older” off the band’s 2000 album called ‘Crush’.  The album was kind of a comeback album for the band and the song “It’s My Life” brought the band back in to superstar status and whole new generation of folks got to know the band again and for the first time.  However, it was songs like “Just Older” that made remember what a great write Jon was (with the help of Billy Falcon).

The song is pretty inspirational when you listen to those lyrics. It seems to be about two friends seeing each other again and reminiscing about old times, but the big difference is they have accepted the fact they are older and they have no regrets.  The chorus really sums it up…

I like the bed I’m sleeping in
It’s just like me, it’s broken in
It’s not old – just older
Like a favorite pair of torn blue jeans
This skin I’m in it’s alright with me
It’s not old – just older

Being comfortable in your own skin is what it is really all about.  When you are comfortable with who you are, you can appreciate everything around you.  You can look back with no regrets and see all the positives.  There is another line that hits home to and is also a throwback to another Bon Jovi hit…

I’ve kept my faith

Little lines like that make exploring their lyrics so much fun and what makes songs stick with you and stand out more than others.  The little things to grab on to that feel like they are talking about you.

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My Sunday Song – “Wild is the Wind” by Bon Jovi

For My Sunday Song #197, we are going to go with a song off Bon Jovi’s New Jersey album called “Wild is the Wind”.  The song was from 1988 and it was never released as a single, but it stuck with me and was one of my favorites on the album.  Like a lot of their albums, the deep cuts can sometimes be better than the actual singles and this was one of those for me.  Next to “Blood on Blood” from the New Jersey album, this is one I go to more than others.

This song seems to be an admission of guilt for Jon as he seems to be feeling bad for not being there for his wife.  It is something deeply imbedded in him that drives him to be on the road all the time.  He feels she would probably do better finding someone else that can give her what she needs because he feels he is failing at that task.  And as much as he lived that rock star lifestyle, I would say he failed quite a bit at giving her what she needed.  In the end, we know how the story ends in real life as he and his wife are still together after all these years.

What I loved about the song is something that was a common theme on the New Jersey songs, it was this cowboy spirit drenched in the music style.  It wasn’t a country twang or anything like that, it was mostly in how the acoustic guitar is used in the songs.  There is this restless feeling in the songs.  Musically, it is a cross between a ballad and just a plain old rock song. It has its slow moments, but rocks out in the end with some damn fine guitar work by Mr. Richie Sambora, the backbone of the band.  Tico Torres has some nice drum fills and great moments as well so I don’t want to leave him out.  Jon sings with all his heart and his emotions on his sleeve like he always did back then (now the new stuff feels like is his just going through the motions, but that is another story for another day).

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My Sunday Song – “Bed of Roses” by Bon Jovi

For My Sunday Song # 196, “Bed of Roses” off the 1992 album ‘Keep the Faith’ by Bon Jovi is our song of discussion.  The song was released as a single in January 1993 and quickly became another hit for Jon and the gang as it reached #5 on the Billboard Top 40 chart.  In a time where grunge was taking over the world, Bon Jovi still managed to throw out hits while others fell by the wayside.

There is one thing Bon Jovi does well and that is a ballad.  Jon Bon Jovi wrote this one and man does he have a way with words in this one.  What a story he weaves.  While sitting in a hotel room, he made the hotel bring up a piano to his room and he sat, still hungover and wrote this beauty.  He even talks about the struggles in writing it in the first couple lines…

Sitting here wasted and wounded at this old piano,
Trying hard to capture the moment this morning I don’t know
‘Cause a bottle of vodka’s still lodged in my head,
And some blonde gave me nightmares.
I think that she’s still in my bed.

The song is a sad love song to his wife.  Jon lived the rock & roll lifestyle and he was not that faithful to his wife, but by this time in his career,  he knew that she was the one he loved.  This song was a letter to her that he is sorry for what he has done and that she is really the one for him.  He wishes he could be with her lying in a bed of roses while he sits lonely in that hotel room on a bed of nails. It is quite lovely.  And some of the lines he wrote in this were beautiful painted pictures…

With an ironclad fist I wake up and French-kiss the morning

and I loved the line…

While my mistress—she calls me
To stand in her spotlight again.

That mistress is the record company and the music business that keeps wanting him to pop out hit after hit and he is longing to be home with her.  It is such great story telling.

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My Sunday Song – “Something to Believe In” by Bon Jovi

For My Sunday Song #195, we are diving in to the fantastic song “Something to Believe” off the band’s 1995 underrated album ‘These Days’.  This song was never a single and probably one of the best deep cuts they have on any record.  It really spoke to me and to this day, it means a lot.

The song has been considered anti-religious with lines like “I lost all faith in my God, in his religion too”, but the song is really about fighting back and finding that one thing to hold on to and reach for and to believe in.  I know for me, I have struggled a lot in this world.  There were times I had lost my faith and I still struggle with my belief in religion.  Not with God or Jesus, but organized religion. I see the damage it has caused through the centuries, the charlatans out there wanting your money and our the first ones to sin.  The holier-than-thou Church goers that think cast the first stone and our cheating on their spouses.  The churches that hide the child molesting priest.  I could go on and on and talk about the hypocrisy of it all.   But I won’t.  You get where I am coming from.

So how do you find that one thing to believe in?  I don’t know, but dig deep and it just happens.  I believe in my wife and kids.  My brothers and sisters and those that have always been there. I believe in Jesus and God…BUT…in my own way.  As Jon states, “in a world that gives you nothing, we need something to believe in”.  And with what has going on in the world these last couple months, I think this song holds even more meaning.  Hang in there!  We will get through it and come out the other side even better as we always do.

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My Sunday Song – “Bounce” by Bon Jovi

For My Sunday Song #194, I am picking the 2002 song “Bounce” from the album of the same name.  The song was actually released as the fourth single on June 15, 2003 and only reached #39 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Track chart.  The song was written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Billy Falcon.

The song is the typical feel good, inspirational track that Bon Jovi started writing after their big return to the scene with their smash hit “It’s My Life” off their 2000 album.  They would repeat that formula over and over ad nauseum.  So, the song isn’t actually one of their best and really nothing special…so why did I pick it.  Actually, it is for the memory it creates.  It isn’t because it was dedicated to the New England Patriot’s head coach Bill Belichick, which it was.  It is filled with lots of sports analogies so I guess it makes sense.

The memory is from when my girls were really young like 5 and 2 years old. They loved this song with all its energy and the whole “bounce chorus”.  It would come on in the car and we would all sing along especially with that catchy chorus.  They would sing as loud as they could on the Bounce lyrics in the chorus.  It was so much fun. They might not remember those moments, but I will never forget.

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