Out at one of my local haunts, Mad Jacks, I found a handful of 7″ singles and the first one up is from Joan Jett & the Blackhearts for their song “I Hate Myself For Loving You”. The song was released in June 1988 and is off her album “Up Your Alley”. The song was written by Joan Jett along with the great Desmond Child who also produced it as well. The song was a Top 10 hit for Joan Jett going all the way to #8 on the charts and help propel the album platinum status.
My version is the standard U.S. Edition with the B-Side being a live version of “Love is Pain”. The original song is off her album “I Love Rock & Roll”. Joan Jett wrote and produced this song. My copy isn’t special or rare, but I am trying to collect any decent 80’s rock picture sleeves so I had to have it.
In my quest to find good homes for 7″ Singles with picture sleeve covers, I came across another Bon Jovi single. This time around it is for the song “You Give Love a Bad Name” off their mega-selling album “Slipper When Wet”. It was the first single off the album and was the band’s first #1 single and wouldn’t be their last. The song was written by Desmond Child, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora and is about a woman who has done her lover wrong. So wrong that she gives love a bad name.
An interesting note about the song is Desmond had written this song for Bonnie Tyler, but it was called “If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)” which had completely different lyrics. The song did poorly so he brought it to his writing session with Jon and Richie and pitched it. They completely re-wrote the lyrics and turned it in to the big hit it is today.
The single I have is the standard U.S Release which was released on July 23, 1986. The B-Side is also off ‘Slippery When Wet’ and is the song “Raise Your Hands”. The picture sleeve I have is in great shape and the vinyl is clean and sounds great. For being 36 years old, I would say it is in pretty great shape.
Back in 1991, Aerosmith actually signed a new recording contract with their old label Columbia Records. The problem was they hadn’t completed their obligation to Geffen. They had a 6 album deal with Geffen and only 5 albums had been released. There appears to have been a deal that they would release a live album under Geffen, but first they were going to record their first album for Columbia Records un der their deal.
The recordings started in Miami at Criteria Studios with Glen Ballard as producer. He also co-wrote several songs on the album. Desmond Child and Taylor Rhodes both came back to the fold to also co-write songs for the album. Right before rehearsals started, the first signs of trouble reared its ugly head. Joey Kramer was suffering from depression and wasn’t able to play at that time so Steve Ferrone was brought in to hit the skins. As a result, rumors were flying around that the band was in trouble. If that wasn’t enough, when they delivered their album, Columbia was not real happy with what they received. They decided to replace Glen Ballard and brought in Kevin Shirley in to produce and re-work the album.
In September 1996, the band went back to the studio, this time in New York City at the Boneyard. John Kalodner was also brought in to help supervise and the band and due to the delay, Joey Kramer was able to play on the album. They recorded all the songs they had previously done with Ballard so Joey could play on them. Kalodner helped the band reduce their over 20 tracks recorded for the album down to the 13 that were actually released on the album. This also gave them a ton of tracks to use as bonus tracks for the Japanese edition and any other international release. The album saw the light of day finally on March 18, 1997. They released 5 singles, the album went to #1, they won a Grammy and the album sold over 2 million copies. Not as good as their last album, but still pretty damn good.
The artwork for the album caused a lot of controversy in the Hindu community. The original cover had been inspired by a painting in a book by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, featured Lord Krishna (with a cat’s head and female breasts) dancing on the head of the snake demon, Kāliyā. The band had no idea it was offensive and quickly removed it and used a new picture of a cat tied to a circus knife-thrower’s wheel. The booklet for the album was some really cool artwork in and of itself. There are 12 pieces of art and each picture has a picture of the previous page’s artwork building on itself meaning that 12th picture includes all 12 pictures and the first picture includes the 12th so it just keeps going round and round and round. It is pretty cool…maybe the coolest thing about the album (oops did that give the review away a little).
Musically, the album isn’t much different than the prior three albums as you can hear those elements for sure on numerous songs. However, at times it is heavier and way more experimental with some of it working and some of it not. It all starts with a a guitar note and then the wailing of a cat and then they jump in to the title track “Nine Lives” co-written with the great Marti Frederiksen. I believe that cat scream was used on “Rock And a Hard Place (Chesire Cat)” off ‘Rock and a Hard Place’. The song is a ball of energy with Joey pounding on the drums and Tom slamming a bass groove. The guitar work of Brad and Joe is exceptional as every and it is classic Steven on vocals. However, not my favorite opening track of theirs albeit still a good song.
Then we get the cheesy and tongue-in-cheek “Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)” co-written with Glen Ballard who produced the first recording session for the album. It has a little bluesy tinge to it and some well-used horns, but it is nothing new or original and sounds like it could’ve been on any of the previous three albums which is why it made a perfect single and became a hit because the radio world likes the same old song and dance.
“Hole in My Soul” is a ballad co-written with their old pal Desmond Child and he can still help create a great ballad even though in 1997 no one was really doing ballads and having hits except Aerosmith. Steven Tyler’s speaking verses and sung choruses were brilliant and what I loved most about the song. It just worked. The funny thing this could’ve been on any of their albums and this time it doesn’t bother me at all because I feel it is such a strong song.
Then the band goes all experimental with “Taste of India” which is another Ballard co-write. This is one example of experimenting and it working better than expected. With “India” in the title you would expect the song to have that Indian feel and it does with some excellent playing of the sarangi by Ramesh Mishra. It also feels very 60’s with a hole psychedelic vibe to it which I love. Joe and Brad whip out their Stratocasters for this one and really shine adding some great textures. Kramer’s drum sound is immense and Hamilton’s bass groove lays the foundation. Tyler’s vocals blend well with the sarangi and it is all just a little magical. It sounds like nothing else they’ve done and amen to that fact.
Then we get “Full Circle” which has a country-vibe to it and leaves you thinking WTF! It is slowed down a little tempo wise and sounds like something you sing in a bar or on New Year’s Eve as it has this “Auld Lang Syne” feel to it which isn’t necessarily a good thing. It is co-written by Taylor Rhodes which is his only co-write on the album.
“Somethings Gotta Give” picks the energy back up. Another Marti Frederiksen co-write and you begin to see why people want him on their albums. This one is a balls-to-wall rocker. It’s blues influences are immense as it has some massive harmonica solo pieces from Tyler that are some of the best he has ever done. It is smokin’ hot!!
Desmond’s back with another ballad called “Ain’t That a Bitch”. It has a very dramatic opening with some movie-style horns and then explodes in to a blues-filled groove that sees Tyler screaming in that classic style. I don’t think it is as good as the previous ballad because it really is borderline a ballad, but either way still not a bad track.
The next track, “The Farm”, has co-writes by Steve Dudas and Mark Hudson along with Perry & Tyler as usual. This is another experimental track that opens with Steven doing his best Dorothy and Wizard of Oz impression (which sucks) then he screams in classic style and the song kicks in. It is rocker and has so many cool elements and then some that leave me cold. Cut out the movie-type dialogue and it improves the song a ton but drowns a little under the weight of those stupid pieces. It’s use of horns helps make it a little more dramatic and impactful but not sure it is enough.
“Crash” comes out of you like a bat out of hell. It has punk’s breakneck speed and careless attitude. Tyler is up for the challenge and goes toe-to-toe with Kramer pounding drums and Perry’s speedy ass guitar playing. It will appease the rockers in the audience. Co-written by Mark Hudson and Dominic Miller.
Now we are getting to where the album gets a little tiresome. “Kiss Your Past Good-bye” which is another Hudson co-write. The chorus comes out of no-where and is very hooky or memorable. The verses are dull and seems like filler…enough said.
The big exception to the tiresome part is the classic song “Pink” co-written by their pal Richard Supa. It is a blues-filled masterpiece with Tyler strutting through the lyrics. It has a little something for everyone and will appeal to a lot of people. I like the groove and the pacing as it shows a confidence of a band that has been doing this for awhile.
“Attitude Adjustment” is our last Marti co-write. By this time we are pretty tired as there are way too many songs. I am a little bored with it as it is missing a little something extra to put it over the top. More filler for me. Next…
Talk about bloated, “Fallen Angels” is over 8 minutes long. Whew. Co-written with Supa, the song has a dramatic opening with a whole lot of sounds going on and Tyler making some strange noises. It is a slower tempo and I guess you could say a ballad, but for me it is too long and a little boring in that there is nothing I haven’t heard before. It is uninspiring and I am too tired to care anymore at this point.
Nine Lives – Keeper
Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees) – Keeper(1/2 Point)
Hole in My Soul – Keeper
Taste of India – Keeper
Full Circle – Delete
Something’s Gotta Give – Keeper
Ain’t That A Bitch – Keeper
The Farm – Keeper(1/2 Point)
Crash – Keeper
Kiss Your Past Good-bye – Delete
Pink – Keeper
Attitude Adjustment – Delete
Fallen Angels – Delete
The Track Score is 8 out of 13 or 61%. Way too many songs. This album is so over-bloated and just because your CD can hold 62 minutes doesn’t mean it should and this is a prime example. The whole production process was a mess with 2 different producers and 2 totally separate recording processes was not what they needed. It is unfocused at times and all over the place at others. While it does have some great moments, I won’t deny that, I am still lukewarm on the whole thing. The first half is way stronger than the second and a couple songs on here I would call some of their best, but in the end it isn’t their best work. My Overall Score is a 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars as it still is a good album even if it has too many songs and some of those way too long. Cut this down to 9-10 songs and this is a totally different conversation.
After the massive success of their previous album, ‘Pump’, the band took a little break in 1992. They started recording the next album in January & February, but stopped for some rest and didn’t return until September of that year to finish up the album. The music environment had significantly changed since 1989’s ‘Pump’ so I believe everyone was curious as to what they would do. And it turns out, they would keep doing what they do best and didn’t change a thing. When most bands faded away around this time, Aerosmith ended up flourishing even more. How did they do it?
First thing was they brought back Bruce Fairbairn as their producer as he has been creating gold with everything they had done…or should I say Platinum since the last album went 7 x’s Platinum. Second, they brought in some friends to help out such as Don Henley and Lenny Kravitz. Third, the record company wanted them to continue using outside writers to help so back was Desmond Child, Jim Vallance, Jack Blades, Tommy Shaw, Richard Supa, Mark Hudson and Taylor Rhodes. Damn, that is a lot of help!!
The line-up was still unchanged with Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer. The Boston Boys we ready to take on the world again. The album was released on April 23, 1993 and became the band’s first album to debut at #1 on the Charts. They released 7 singles on the album and selling over 7 million copies again in the U.S. It was the band’s third straight album of over 5 million in sales. If that wasn’t enough, the album won two Grammy’s for Best Rock Vocal Performance for a Duo or Group in both 1993 and 1994. The band was on fire still and the fans were eating it up.
While at a Record Show here in Charlotte, I came across some really great singles and here is the first of 3 I found at the show that were in phenomenal shape. The first is from the band Ratt and it is the first single off their 1990 album ‘Detonator’ called “Lovin’ You’s A Dirty Job”. The song never made the Top 40 but did go to #18 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock chart. The song was written by Stephen Pearcy, Juan Croucier, Warren DeMartini and Desmond Child who also produced the song and the album.
My version of the single is actually the UK version with “What’s It Gonna Be” as the B-Side. It was also the B-Side of the US version as well. Both songs appear to be the album version and not the Radio edits, but honestly, “Lovin’ You’s A Dirty Job” is such a short song already at 3:14 that no edit is really needed.
The next single from the Permanent Vacation album we will discuss is the third single from the album, “Angel”. Again, we have another Promotional copy of the single which means “Angel” is the only song on each side. The song was written by Steven Tyler and Desmond Child and is one of the band’s biggest hits up to that time going all the way to #3 on the Billboard Charts.
Tyler feels this song was a big sell-out for the band he hated for Record Executive, John Kalodner, for forcing outside writers in to the band. Tyler felt the ballad made him look like he lost all his street cred. However, I am sure his bank account would disagree. And if you look at the next couple Aerosmith albums, there a few more ballads in the mix. It helped revitalize their career so it wasn’t all bad.
We have a little break here from the album reviews in the Aerosmith Collection Series. As it turns out, I have 4 singles from ‘Permanent Vacation’ and we are going to go through those over the next few weeks. First up is the second single from the album “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” and this one is a two for the price of one treat as I have both a 7″ Single and a 12″ Maxi-Single of the song. Since I don’t want to completely bore you to tears with two separate posts on the same song, I decided to them both together in one giant treat.
7″ Promo Single:
First up we will tackle the 7″ Single. My version is the the Promo Copy of the song so the A-Side and B-Side are the same song. Since this is 1987, both versions are the stereo version and not one of them being a Mono like in the earlier years. The song was released as a single on September 22, 1987 and did really well for the band. It brought them back to the mainstream after years of filling up the discount rack. The song went to #12 on the Billboard Top 40 and was a regular on MTV.
The song started out as a song called “Cruisin’ for a Lady”, but thanks to help from co-write Desmond Child, we got “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)”. The song is about a man that goes in to a strip club and falls for one of the dancers. They go back stage and she whips out her gun and is actually a man. The song inspiration actually came from the band seeing this blonde beauty at the far end of a bar and it turning out to be Vince Neil from Motley Crue.
On my Summer vacation back in June, I found over 20 singles with the picture sleeve. I’ve been through a bunch of them so far and now we are tackling the Bon Jovi singles that I found. There were 5 Singles found and we kicked it off with the following:
Now it is time for another ‘New Jersey’ single with “Born to be My Baby”. This was the second single off the album and did pretty dang great going all the way to #3 on the Billboard Top 100 and it was one of 5 Top 10 Singles off this album…crazy!!! It was another track written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and of course, Desmond Child. There is no denying his impact with the band.
As you can see from above that the B-Side is “Love For Sale” also from the same album. However, that is WRONG!!! Ok, not really, that is truly the B-Side, but my copy is not normal. It is actually a promo that was sent out using the regular single cover. So, my copy has “Born to Be My Baby” on both sides. It even says on the single label, “Promotional Copy – Not For Sale” which I think is cool. Like some older promos that I have which has one side Stereo and one side Mono, this one is all Stereo and the same song on each side, no differences.
On my Summer vacation back in June, I found over 20 singles with the picture sleeve. I’ve been through a bunch of them so far and now we are tackling the Bon Jovi singles that I found. There were 5 Singles found and we kicked it off with one of Bon Jovi’s most popular and famous songs, “Wanted Dead or Alive” off the band’s 1986 album ‘Slippery When Wet’. That was the only one of ‘Slippery When Wet’ as the rest are off their stellar album, ‘New Jersey’. Next up is the first single off the album which was ‘Bad Medicine’. The song was released on September 3, 1988 and went all the way to #1 and was the band’s third #1 single and I don’t think it was their last.
The version I have on 45 is the standard U.S. release with the B-Side as “99 in the Shade”. The only really good thing about it is that the song “Bad Medicine” is actually the single edit which cuts off more than a minute off the album version which sits around 5:16 vs 3:52 for the single.
For My Sunday Song #259, we are going to talk about “Shame, Shame, Shame” from Ratt’s 1990 album ‘Detonator’. The song was written by Stephen Pearcy, Warren DeMartini and Desmond Child who also produced the album. The song was a Japan Only single and therefore never charted in the US since it wasn’t released here. The album didn’t do that well either only going Gold in the U.S. and hitting #23 on the charts. This surprises me as this to me is one of their best albums, if not THE BEST album they had done.
Lyrically, the song is about catching your girlfriend cheating and telling them they should have known better as now it is over. It is a big F.U. to the girlfriend that they screwed up and now they need to pack their bags and get the hell out. Since the girlfriend instigated the affair, he has no remorse or doubt that she needs to go. Really no other interpretation for this one. It is pretty straight-forward and simple.
The songs opens with a little Warren DeMartini penned instrumental piece called “Intro to Shame” with its slow detuned guitar solo which then slams into the blistering opening track “Shame Shame Shame”. The song comes at you full force and the guitar work is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!! There is even a guest appearance by the super talented Michael Schenker. What more could you want in an opening track. It is hard, heavy, catchy and starts off the album better than probably any of their other albums. Stephen’s vocals are spot on with that gritty, smoked too many cigarettes, drank too much whiskey edge it screams a bluesy vibe matched with Warren’s bluesy guitar tone. It is legendary!!