If you remember my discussions last week, while at a record show here in Charlotte, I came across that Billy Idol Picture Disc for “Eyes Without A Face”, but that wasn’t all I found. I also found a couple 7″ Singles from Billy Idol as well. First up was this release of “Hot in the City” with the B-Side “Catch My Fall”. The release was actually done in 1987 to promote the release of the classic Idol album ‘Vital Idol’. This version is the U.S. version of the single and nothing overly special, I like collecting all of Billy’s singles and if you get one with a half way decent picture slip cover, it is worth grabbing…in my opinion.
“Hot in the City” is about Billy’s time in New York and his love for the city. It is a slower dance track with some lovely ladies assisting with background vocals. He uses some synthesizers on top of the fantastic bass and drum rhythm section. It is really a stellar track and his scream of “New York” towards the end is epic. The version on this single is straight off the debut album, ‘Billy Idol’ from 1982. This is not a remix and it is not on the album ‘Vital Idol’ so a little strange. It is the same front cover as the original single back in the day, but the cover has the ‘Vital Idol’ album and not the debut, plus a different B-Side.
After the ‘Defenders of Faith’ Tour, the band took it easy for a little while. They didn’t jump right back in to the studio. There was no tour planned in 1985, but did do one live show that year. Of course that was to play at Live Aid on July 13th, 1985. They played in Philadelphia at around 11am in the morning. Rob said that was a good time to play because it meant he could spend the rest of the day just drinking. Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing, Ian Hill and Dave Holland rocked the world that day and then went back to record an album.
By this time they had already started recording their follow-up album. They started recording in June 1985 down in Nassau, Bahamas at the Compass Pointe Studio. It was a beautiful place to record, but it was also a bad time for Rob Halford whose drinking and drugs were getting out of hand. Rob also got hepatitis during the recording of the album and was sick from that for a little while. Then around Christmas 1985, Rob finally checked in to rehab to get clean and he actually succeeded. He made it look easy which of course we know it never really is. Now with Rob clean, they finally finished the album around February 1986 which they finished up at the Record Plant in Los Angeles.
The original concept of the album was to be a double album called ‘Twin Turbos’. The record company did not agree with that concept and ended up taking the more commercial songs and putting together a single album simply called, ‘Turbo’. The band also changed up their sound to match a little more of what the glam rock scene was doing at the time. The band got a little lighter sound, no where near as heavy, and they introduced guitar synthesizers in to the mix. So for some fans, this was sacrilege. The band was abandoning who they were as a heavy metal band to fit mainstream. Right or Wrong, the band still had success with the album as after its release on April 14, 1986, the album quickly went Gold and eventually went Platinum about a year later. The album reached #17 on the US Charts and only #33 on the UK Charts.
Alright…You Picked It! And this one was really, really close. It was back and forth between Red Hot Chili Peppers and Styx for most of the time and then Bruce made a run at it, but the winner pulled away at the end and was Red Hot Chili Peppers – ‘One Hot Minute’ which is one in my collection. The votes were as follows:
Red Hot Chili Peppers – ‘One Hot Minute’ – 7 votes
Styx – ‘Paradise Theater – 5 votes
Bruce Springsteen – ‘Born to Run – 5 votes
Robert Johnson – ‘King of the Delta Blues Singers – 2 votes
Maroon 5 – ‘Jordi’ – 1 Vote
Thanks to all for participating. The August choices will be up on Saturday!
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS – ‘ONE HOT MINUTE’
I only have three Red Hot Chili Peppers albums in my collection. One’s a greatest hits and the other two I didn’t actually buy as were given to me when a neighbor was giving away his collection. And the thing is, I like the Chili Peppers so I am not sure why I don’t have more in the collection. I think it was a little from burnout on them, but regardless, I am a fan and so I was excited that this album was chosen because it is an unusual album in the band’s catalog. Unusual in that is the first album with lead guitarist John Frusciante and the only album to feature his replacement Dave Navarro from Jane’s Addiction (and Ink Master).
For My Sunday Song #255, we talk through the song “Mother Blues” by Ratt of their interesting 1997 album ‘Collage’. “Collage’ was an album of alternate recordings, B-sides and versions of songs from the band’s early period of Mickey Ratt. “Mother Blues” was written solely by Stephen Pearcy and this was originally an early Ratt demo that Stephen would later released with his band Arcade back in 1993 after Ratt disbanded for a short time.
The song is pretty deep actually. It seems to be about a man who never knew his father and for that, he feels he will never know truly who himself until he understands his dad. Why did he do the things he did, the choices he made and he was incomplete until he knew the story. I think there might be some truth to it in that understanding where one comes from helps you see the path on where you are going.
The song is an acoustic, blues song and it is sensational. It drips with the blues and too bad the band didn’t dive deeper down this road. The sonics and vibe of this song shows a real maturity the band has never really had prior. I am not truly convinced it would’ve really worked on any Ratt album which is probably why it was never released. However, it would’ve bee cool exploring that side more. It is one of my favorites on this album. Stephen’s vocals really fit the blues as he has a voice that sounds like it has been through a lot. Stephen would later release this song once again on his 2007 solo album Rocky Kandy.
We had a slow week last week and this week is a little bit better but neither up to the pace of what we have been seeing and will be seeing in the coming weeks. But there are releases which is always a good thing. I have two I am interested in hearing and maybe even buying. I have highlighted those in Blue. Let me know what you want to hear or what I may have missed that is out today and not on the list. That way everyone can know what all is out today. Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you all have a wonderful and wild weekend!!
The Wallflowers – Exit Wounds – (New West Records): It has been way too long since the last Wallflower album. The last one from Jakob Dylan and company was way back in 2012 so we are talking 9 years ago…crazy. I am excited to have them back on the scene and this will be the first thing I listen to this morning. Can’t wait to see how they’ve changed since the last one and still hoping for that classic Wallflower sound though!!
Almost Famous Original Soundtrack (20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) – (Geffen Records): In what might be one of my all time favorite movies, I am excited it see this massive deluxe edition out for the soundtrack. The digital is out today and the 2CD set I believe. The big deluxe albums won’t be out for a few more weeks and they will be 5 CDs or 6LPs worth of music. There will be all the songs from the movie including all the Stillwater tracks plus the demos of those Stillwater tracks with the songwriters singing (such as Nancy Wilson). This should be sweet!!
I know what you are thinking. Why do we need another Kiss Greatest Hits compilation? Honestly, we really don’t. We have tons already and there is nothing new on here that the real fan doesn’t already have. So Why? Well, easy. Kiss was touring their End of the Road tour and they wanted product out there that the casual fan or new fan that they get from all the press can run out and grab. Simple!
But is this something worth getting? As a casual fan…Maybe, but maybe not as well as there are better compilations out there. As the Hard Core Fan….Well, I did buy it if that tells you anything. I had to buy it because I didn’t have it in my ever growing collection. Plus, it is so pretty. Yes, pretty. I bought the Special Edition double LP with Yellow/Red Splatter vinyl.
The packaging is a gatefold with the Group photo on the front and the track listing on the back such as below…
My favorite era of music is the so called, 80’s Hair Metal scene. Of course, back then it was just rock and didn’t yet have a label, but that was the music for me. I know a lot about that era and the bands so any time I can get my hands on a book about that time, I am all over it. I took a chance on this one called ‘The Spectacular Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Hair Metal by Christopher Hilton. The book had a 4.4 rating so I thought I would give it a shot.
The book goes chronologically through each year of the scene and goes all the way up to 2019/20. When it gets to the 90’s and 2000’s, the chapters start to cover more than one year as it would be too much. I was expecting some great stories and maybe interviews from people of that era and from those involved in the scene, but that is not what I got at all. The author went through and talked mostly about the biggest bands of the era including Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Poison, L.A. Guns, Faster Pussycat and the like and he went through each album and the best songs on the album. At the end of each year he ranked the best album. Honestly, it felt like I was either reading wikipedia or maybe even something I would have written with my limited knowledge of these bands. It was rather pedestrian.
The stories about the bands were the same old stories we’ve heard all the time, there was really nothing new at all. No interviews, no real thought provoking insight, no real meat at all. He always focused on the biggest bands and seldom if ever brought up bands that were lesser known that were completely overlooked. The only good thing is he did follow the music in to the 90’s (and he mentioned Paul Laine of Danger Danger) and how the bands changed their sound and style and then went in to the 2000’s where the 80’s Rock scene saw a major resurgence. He even went as far a talking about the new bands in the 21st Century that have taken up the 80’s glam scene and how a lot of them come from Europe, especially Scandinavia. A good list of bands to check out. Most of them I already knew about, but for newbie’s that part is worth checking out.
When I am out digging through rows and rows of vinyl, I love it when I can find things I don’t have that are little out of the ordinary. For me I love to find 12″ Picture Discs as they are usually beautiful and this one was no exception. While at a record show here in Charlotte, I came across this Billy Idol Picture Disc which was released in the U.S. back in 1984. The packing was strictly a clear plastic covering with a little white sticker in the upper right hand corner. That is exactly what I found except my little white sticker was now a more faded tan to yellowish colored sticker as it has faded a little with time. Even the clear plastic covering was starting to tint a little as well.
Musically, the single has only three songs and they are “Eyes Without a Face”, “Blue Highway” and “(Do Not Stand in the Shadows”. All are album cuts and not special remixes or anything like that. So the only reason to own this is because it is pretty and it is. But if you are looking for only rare mixes or demos, this isn’t for you. This is for the completist in you that has to have everything. Let’s go through the songs a little then.
THIS SIDE: (Picture is up top)
“Eyes Without A Face” is one of my favorite Idol songs. The hand clap, the groove, the slow ballady feel all worked gloriously against a darker feel from the lyrics. The song builds up in tempo and you get a fantastic little riff from Stevens and then some beautiful backing vocals by Billy’s girlfriend, at the time, Perri Lister. She is singing in french “Les yeux sans visage” which means eyes with a face. The phrase was also the title of a movie directed by Georges Franju which was the inspiration for the song.
For 1983, the band decided they weren’t playing any live shows and they took a little break. Roger Taylor released his second solo album called ‘Strange Frontier’ and Brian May released an E.P. titled ‘Star Fleet Project’ and in that project was some little known guitarist by the name of Eddie Van Halen…maybe you’ve heard of him. Freddie even worked on his solo album ‘Mr. Bad Guy’, but his didn’t get released until a couple years later. John did whatever he wanted as I don’t know if he worked on a project. And in August of that year, they started working on their 11th Studio album, ‘The Works’. The band recorded at the Record Plant in L.A. and Musicland studio in Munich. It was a global affair.
The band still held on to the electro-pop stylings of ‘Jazz’, but did bring back some of the rock sound they are known for and thank the Heavens for that. But I don’t think it was enough to save this album. As you will see, the songs are good…but they aren’t great. For me, Queen seemed like a lost ship at sea and no one could read the stars to help them find their way and you would think with an astrophysicist on board, that would help, but nope. The band finished up the album around January 1984 and then released the album on February 24, 1984 to little success. It did go to #2 in the UK, but only #23 in the US which was disappointing for them.
First up is “Radio Ga Ga” which was written by Roger Taylor and he thought it would work great on his solo. The band heard and thought this could be a hit and suddenly it became a Queen song. Roger’s inspiration came from his son and hearing him say “Radio Ca Ca”. He took that and turned it in to a commentary on how TV and Music Videos were changing the way we listened to music and the radio. Radio was becoming less important, but he wanted to wax poetic about its greatness. The song actually makes reference to a couple of major radio events such as Winston Churchill’s “This is their finest hour” speech to the House of Commons in 1940 and to Orson Welles’ radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds” in 1938.
Great show Yesterday if you missed! Mike Ladano and I brought on my brother-in-law and engineer/mixer/musician/songwriter Ryan Williams for storytime. Though his credits range from pop to metal, we tended to focus our discussion on rock and roll. If you’re a fan of Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Slayer, Staind, U2, Phil Collen of Def Leppard, Limp Bizkit, Velvet Revolver, Dave Navarro, or Kelly Clarkson then you’ll want to check this show out.
From starting out in Atlanta, to travelling the world recording epic performances, Ryan Williams has seemingly seen it all and done it all. Recording music on a Tascam 4-track home studio, graduating to two synced 24-tracks machines, to the modern tools of today, Ryan has kept learning. We talked about his beginnings, and working with Brendan O’Brien, all the way to the present day and the imminent release of a Stone Temple Pilots box set for Tiny Music. Ryan even had a little bit of show and tell with some hand-written original Eddie Vedder lyrics. He had stories about working with some guy from a not well known band called U2 and even going to a private party with I am sure people you’ve never heard of or maybe you have. It is all worth checking out.