The Original vs. The Cover vs. The Cover – “Rock On”

For this month’s edition of “The Original vs. The Cover”, we are going to take on a third version as we tackle the David Essex song “Rock On”.  We will battle it out between David Essex’s original version vs. covers by both Michael Damian and Def Leppard.

The song was written for a movie that David was starring in called “That’ll Be the Day” which also had Ringo Starr and Kieth Moon.  The song, however, was not used in the movie.  David wrote the song based on his character from the movie and it has a pure old rock & roll rebellious attitude.  The song is actually a tip-of-the-hat to the old time rockers as it mentions “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Summertime Blues” as well as it gives a shout-out to an old Hollywood rebel James Dean.

Since we have three versions, we might as well jump right into it.

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David’s version hit #3 on the UK singles chart in 1973 and didn’t do that great in the US, but doesn’t mean we Americans don’t love it.  The song is very unique in that there are no instruments that play any chords which means there is No Guitar and No Piano on the song at all.  It is all bass, percussion and horns.  It is really stripped down.

You can tell a major influence of the song is Jamaican raggae and the whole dub style.  The song is driven by the bass line which was done by Herbie Flowers.  According to Wikipedia…”(Herbie’s) double-tracked bass guitar was treated with a prominent “slapback” delay effect, creating a complex polyrhythmic backbeat.”

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My Sunday Song – “Love Bites” by Def Leppard

For My Sunday Song #99, we will tackle the Def Leppard power ballad, “Love Bites”.  The song is off the Diamond selling album, ‘Hysteria’ and was Def Leppard’s biggest hit, if you can believe it.  It is the only Def Leppard song to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Considering this was the fifth single off the album and with the success of “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, I was completely surprised by that fact (PSSOM did go to #2).

The song was originally brought to the band by the legendary producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange.  The song was a country song at the time and of course the band put their spin on it and turned it in to of the great rock power ballads of the time.  The title for the song actually came from another song that Leppard was working on and that song later became “I Wanna Be Your Hero” which was the B-Side for “Animal” in the US.

What I like about the song is that the guy is so in love with this person that he is actually going a little nuts.  Hell, just touching her drives him crazy.  But he isn’t sure she feels the same way.  He keeps questioning her.  Maybe it is really his own insecurities that are causing him to doubt the relationship.  Or maybe she doesn’t love him and he really senses something missing.

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Def Leppard – Concert Review (Charlotte, NC June 9th, 2018)

Def Leppard is back on tour and this time they are out with Journey on a co-headlining trek around North America.  The last time the two bands toured together was 12 years ago and I missed that tour (I am sure it had to do with having an almost 3 year old and maybe another on the way).  Whatever the reason, I missed it and I wasn’t going to do that again.

When tickets went on sale, I joined the Def Leppard Rock Brigade so I could get early access to tickets.  And damn, tickets were expensive.  This show wasn’t going to be just 2 tickets, I had to buy 3 this time as my wife and my oldest daughter (the one that was almost 3 is now almost 15 – my 11 year old opted out), were joining me on this one.  My wife was going for Journey, but my daughter was going for Leppard (and now has the shirt to prove it).  Me…I was actually going for both.  I have seen Leppard numerous times, but I have never seen Journey…crazy, I know.  Here is what you get for joining the Rock Brigade…a T-shirt & a Pin…

Back to tickets, Lower Level seat were kinda ridiculous.  They were at least $150 or so a piece and then even higher the closer to the stage.  I settled for 3 Front Row Tickets!!  That is right 3 Front Row Tickets!!!  Of course, front row in section 226 on the upper deck because I do have to eat and these were only $99 a piece (only…like $99 is cheap).  Hey, I had an unobstructed view of the show and I could sit if I wanted and not miss a thing.  No real complaints (except I will pay more next time…and there will be a next time).

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Matt Nathanson – ‘Pyromattia’ E.P. – Album Review

We interrupt the normal Tuesday’s Memes scheduled to talk about something amazing…Matt Nathanson surprised his fans with an announcement of a new album and released it the very next day.  The album was only a 6 song E.P., but who cares.  Any new music from Matt is super fantastic.  The only problem is that it wasn’t actually new music.  It was an E.P. full of cover songs.

Now, they aren’t just any cover songs.  They are from my all time favorite band, Def Leppard.  If you don’t know, Matt Nathanson is a metal head.  I realized that a few years ago when I saw Matt being interviewed on the VH1 show “That Metal Show” with Eddie Trunk.  Matt gushed on and on about his rock and metal influences and it made me appreciate him more than I already did.

Matt is also one of my all time favorite artist and he can do no wrong in my book. So, let’s throw Matt together with Def Leppard songs and you have what could possibly be the greatest combination in music history.  I am not kidding!!

When I saw the track listing, I was a little disappointed with a few choices as they seemed obvious and then stunned at some others as I couldn’t imagine what he would do with it.  The songs are as follows:

  1. Pour Some Sugar on Me
  2. Bringin’ on the Heartbreak
  3. Comin’ Under Fire
  4. Hysteria
  5. Stragefright
  6. Promises

With cover albums you either need to nail it perfectly or completely re-imagine the song.  Matt completely re-imagined the songs.  He plays them acoustically and even adds some string orchestration to them.  He takes these songs and makes them his own and does an absolutely impressive covers album.

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Def Leppard – The Collection, Volume One – Album Review

Def Leppard is on a mission to release Four Box Sets each collection a specific period in the band.  On June 1st, they started with Volume One…of course.  They aren’t Chickenfoot and aren’t going to skip around with title numbers.  Volume One covers the early years of the band capturing the first 4 albums of release.  The set also includes 2 bonus albums, a book and a 7″ Single.  Now, I have the first four albums on vinyl and CD so that was not what I was after.  I wanted the bonus material.  Don’t get me wrong, it is nice having new remastered, 180 gram vinyl for all of the albums.  I am not complaining.  But this set is for serious fans because it isn’t cheap!!

The article is not really a full review as it would take pages and pages of writing to fully review each album in the set.  It is really a picture chronicle of the set because really there is no reason you shouldn’t own it if you are a fan.  You can get it in CD or Vinyl. I chose vinyl.  What you get is another fantastic package from the band and if this is an indication of what is to come for Volumes Two – Four, I better start saving now.

Why don’t we start with a picture of everything you get…

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Friday New Releases – June 1st

Welcome to the First Friday of June and better yet, the first day of June.  We are now getting into the Summer months and it is going to be Hot with new releases and temperatures.  There only a couple I am interested in the one will require a lot of dough.  My choices are highlighted in Blue.  What interests you?  Leave me a comment.

  • 614aKIFCXNL._AC_US436_QL65_.jpg  Def Leppard – The Collection: Volume One – (Mercury):  Okay, Def Leppard is re-releasing Four Collections of all their albums plus some bonus material.  I will just quote from Amazon exactly…

This initial volume of the band’s complete recorded output comes in a limited-edition 180-gram heavyweight vinyl box set, featuring Def Leppard’s first four studio albums — along with some choice bonus live and studio material — all spread across 8LPs. The Volume One collection contains all of Def Leppard’s iconic 1980s recordings – On Through The Night, High ‘N’ Dry, Pyromania and Hysteria – with reproductions of the original packaging. Furthermore, this collection includes a replica 7-inch single of the band’s original independent EP, the self-titled The Def Leppard E.P. The Volume One collection also houses bonus material including Live At The LA Forum 1983, originally released as a bonus disc in the deluxe CD version of Pyromania, making this the first-ever vinyl offering of the complete show. This 2LP version comes with a new sleeve and inner bags. The box set also includes Rarities Volume 1 which has been specially compiled by Joe Elliott, containing rare B-sides and recordings from Def Leppard’s early years, all in a newly commissioned sleeve. Each album in the Volume One box set was mastered by longtime band producer/soundmaster Ronan McHugh and frontman/vocalist Joe Elliott at Joe’s Garage in Dublin, Ireland, and cut by Greg Moore. Housed in rigid boxes, the Volume One collection also contains a hardback book with rare photos by longstanding band confidant Ross Halfin and liner notes by Classic Rock’s Paul Elliott. Def Leppard bandmembers Joe Elliott, bassist Rick Savage, drummer Rick Allen, and guitarist Phil Collen have all also contributed their personal introductions to the collection.

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Def Leppard – Live at Abbey Road Studios E.P. (2018 #RSD) – Album Review

For the third time in as many years, Def Leppard took part on Record Store Day.  In 2016, the did a picture disc of the self-titled album and last year they re-released their original EP release on vinyl, The Def Leppard EP.  For 2018, we are given another EP, but this time it is 3 songs recorded live at Abbey Road Studios on May 8, 2008.

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What does the Def Leppard press release say about this release, well I will tell you…

The retro cover art is similar to the Def Leppard EP and features the large logo from the 1980 ‘On Through The Night’ album and ‘Hello America’ single. Also included is the street sign from the studios in North West London and the same red stamp title seen on ‘The Lost Session’ iTunes EP from January.

The band recorded a session at the legendary London studios on 8th May 2008 when promoting the ‘Songs From The Sparkle Lounge’ album. Using the same room The Beatles used to record most of their biggest albums in the 1960s.

This was filmed for the UK TV show ‘Live From Abbey Road’ which was broadcast on More4 TV on 1st August 2008 and featured three songs – ‘Rocket’, ‘Rock On’ and ‘C’mon C’mon’

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Turntables & Vinyl #14 – #RSD 2018

Record Store Day is upon us.  It is April 21st, 2018 and I can’t believe I stood in line to get vinyl in 40ºF temperature.  It could be worse, it could be freezing & raining.  Thankfully, it was absolutely beautiful and sunny…just cold.

My daughter and I were tackling it again this year.  This time my daughter had something in mind she wanted.  I called the Record Store on Friday and asked if they had the album she wanted and he said he didn’t see it.  So, we made a plan to divide and conquer.  I asked my daughter to call a friend to see if they were stupid enough to stand outside with her at Lunchbox Records while I stood in line at Repo Records 5 minutes down the road.

We arrived at 7am (which means we left the house at 6:15am since it is a 45 minute drive to the record stores – we live in the boonies).  We decided on 7am since last year we arrived at 8am and the store lines were awful (except at Repo).  I get my daughter and her friend over to Lunchbox right at 7am and the line is not that long.  They jump out and get in line and I head over to the other store.

Repo Records line was shorter than Lunchbox and so I jumped in line.  Now the 2 hour wait since the stores didn’t open until 9am.  After chatting with everyone around me and everyone discussing what they were there for and what bands they liked and concerts they had seen, the doors opened.  The time flew by.  That was an enjoyable 2 hours…wait…it hadn’t been 2 hours.  The store opened a little early at 8:40am.  There is a God!! (yes, there truly is but that is another discussion).

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Turntables & Vinyl #13 – The New York Adventure

The family and I took a wonderful Spring Break vacation to the bustling city of New York.  What an amazing city.  There are so many things to see and so little time to see it all, but we crammed in as much as we could.  I was even able to take a few hours and visit some record stores while we were down in Greenwich Village. Lucky Me!!

Before we get to that, let’s talk a little about the trip.  We arrived on Sunday afternoon and had a little time to run down to Time Square to check things out.  The kids were stunned by the huge, bright, flashing billboards and all the people…all the interesting and very strange people.

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We saw where the film the Late Show with Steven Colbert, where the Broadway Show Rocktopia was playing which was starring Pat Monahan from Train while we were there (didn’t see it though), we of course saw Time Square and even went and snapped a picture at Radio City Music Hall.

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1979 – The Greatest Year In Music?

We are now on the fourth year in this series.  I have already covered the following years:

1983 – The Greatest Year in Music?

1987 – The Greatest Year in Music?

1991 – The Greatest Year in Music?

My theory is simple…Every 4 years you have one of the greatest years in music.  I agree with the three I have already done.  Will I agree with it for the next year 1979?  We will have to first examine the evidence.  What were the top albums of the year?, What were the debut albums from some of the great rock bands? and What was going on in the world of music that year?

The Sony Walkman:

walkmanOn July 1, 1979, The Sony Walkman goes on Sale in Japan and the way you listen to music is changed forever!! (at least until the CD and then the MP3).  Who didn’t have one of these if you were a kid in 1979 or the 80’s.  I definitely did.  It helped spur my love for music as it now was more portable  It was better than just the radio, I could listen to what I wanted to wherever and whenever I wanted.  I used mine while I mowed the lawn (and every now and again I would snag to cord and pull my headphones off). I had a boombox, but that wasn’t the same as the Walkman.  Nothing better (until my iPod).

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