1980 – The Greatest Year in Music?

If you are new to the site, I started this series with the year 1987 and then noticed that 1991 and 1983 were also a couple of the greatest years in music.  I got to thinking, was there a pattern that every 4 years we have another great year in music.  Well theory didn’t last long as I don’t think the next two years I researched were “great” years in music.  Those years were 1979 and 1995. If you want to explore all the years I have examined so far, click on the link below…

1971 – The Greatest Year in Music?

1979 – The Greatest Year in Music?

1983 – The Greatest Year in Music?

1987 – The Greatest Year in Music?

1991 – The Greatest Year in Music?

1995 – The Greatest Year in Music?

Now that my theory is busted, I am now on the hunt for the “Greatest” year in music. I reviewed 1971 first and it was pretty fantastic and I am now on 1980.  I know, I know.  I am not going in any kind of order.  I am going with what I am in the mood to explore and this time 1980 has me jazzed as so many great albums are now 40 years old!!

Will 1980 be another great year or will it be the greatest year.  Let us explore and see and then decide at the end.  But first we have to ask 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?

NEWS:

400px-Original_Sony_Walkman_TPS-L2The Sony Walkman: I wrote about the advent of the Sony Walkman in the 1979 post as that was when it went on sale in Japan.  In the U.S., it went on sale on June 25, 1980 almost a year later.  The way you listen to music was changed forever!! (at least until the CD and then the MP3 and now streaming).  Who didn’t have one of these if you were a kid in the 80’s.  I definitely did.  It helped spur my love for music as it now was more portable and more personal.  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 the cord on the mower and pull my headphones off). I had a boombox, but that wasn’t the same as the Walkman.  There was nothing better (until my iPod). Continue reading “1980 – The Greatest Year in Music?”

Generation X – ‘Generation X’ Deluxe Edition – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

There is nothing like waiting over 40 years to release a deluxe edition of your debut album.  That is exactly what is happened with Generation X whose 1978 self-titled debut album finally received a deluxe edition in 2019.  And was it worth the wait?  That is what we are here to discover.

For those that don’t know and haven’t read the entire Billy Idol series.  Generation X is Billy’s band prior to him going solo in the 80’s.  The band wasn’t just Billy’s, but it also included Tony James, Bob “Derwood” Andrews and Mark Laff.  Generation X was a punk band out of the UK that tended to lean a little towards the Pop/Punk side of things rather than full on punk and they caught a lot of slack for that.  But who cares as here we are 40+ years later celebrating this release.

The Deluxe Edition is a 3 LP set consisting of a remaster of the debut album, an LP of Non-Album singles and B-Sides and a third LP of outtakes and remixes.  The reason to buy if for the 2 extra LPs…at least it was for me as I already had the original LP on vinyl.

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Generation X:

The first LP is a remastered version of the debut album.  The sound is sensational, crips and clear.  However, I prefer the original in all it’s former glory as that was the way it was intended to be heard.  I won’t go through a song-by-song breakdown as I have already done that before on the very first post of the Billy Idol Series.  You can read that here – Generation X – ‘Generation X’.

What you get for the set is a complete replica of that original disk…

And then a nice update on the inner sleeve and LP itself.  It is all very nice quality and high-end material. Very sturdy…

A-Sides and B-Sides:

The second LP is the cool one for me.  This has the a couple of Non-Album singles and all the B-Sides from the album.  I believe you could have gotten all these singles before (or most of them anyway), but I didn’t have them on vinyl so it was a no-brainer for me.  Since I actually have the U.S. version of the debut, I already had a few of these songs, but not all.

“Your Generation” was available on the U.S. version of the debut, but not the UK.  It was released prior to an album and I think displayed fully what the band was about.  It was uptempo, full of wild abandonment, aggression and a total blast.  Their punk roots were on full display and it summed them up nicely.

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The B-Side of the song was “Day by Day” which is on the album.  The album version was a little repetitive at times for me, but still packed full of attitude.  The one thing going for this song is Derwood’s guitar work which seems to be something I focus on more and more with this band.  A bright star that never fully shined.  This mix didn’t leave me feeling like it was too repetitive.  It was a richer and fuller sound.  I really like this version.

“Wild Youth” is another non-album track for the UK release.  It was also released prior to the album. It too made the U.S. version and should have been on both versions as it is awesome.  It is a shining example of punk attitude and youth rising up to be heard.

“Wild Dub” is the B-Side and was also on the U.S. release.  It is a complete remix of “Wild Youth” in the same vein you would get from Billy later with his Vital Idol releases.  It is full on dub and honestly, kind of annoying. I prefer the original song above.

“No No No” is the B-Side to “Ready Steady Go”.  Not on either releases of the album.  Derwood’s guitar riffs kick off the song.  It is 2 minutes full of speed and youth angst.  The cool thing is it ends with a little Elvis shout out and I am sure Billy had the snear going.

Next up is “Trying for Kicks” which was an outtake from 1977.  It actually ended up as a B-Side on the “Friday’s Angel” single from the “Valley of the Dolls’ album. Since I didn’t have this song, this was what I was after.  It is really early Generation X.  For an outtake, it is pretty awesome.  It is in the same vein as all their early stuff so nothing new to add other than it is a great addition to the collection.

The final track on this LP is “This Heat” which is another 1977 outtake and B-Side on “Friday’s Angel”.  A little slower tempo song and Billy sounds so young.  I see why it wasn’t an album track as it does have the same vibe or energy as those other tracks, but still a good song.  A very decent B-Side.

Outtakes and Rough Mixes:

The final LP consists mostly of remixes by both Phil Wainman who produced some songs, but not the album and Alan Winstanley who was the engineer on the album.  I am not a huge fan of remixes especially since most of these don’t stray too far from the originals. You get a some different arrangements, some added bits and difference in song lengths, but overall nothing better than the originals…in my opinion anyway.

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For me, this disk was great for 3 tracks.  The first is “Gimme Some Truth” which was an outtake and released on the U.S. version of the album. A punk cover of the John Lennon song.  It was a strange choice to be the song to kick off that album.  It captures the band’s essence so it works for Generation X.  A good choice of a cover.  They make it their own.

Another song is “Rock on Dub” which is an outtake and not on any album.  It is a rocking song that seems to be unbridled and out of control.  The dub style is obvious as it is in the title.  Another example of a great song, but not quite right for the album.  This is my favorite on this disk as I didn’t have this one either and plus it’s a lot of fun.

The last song on here I wanted was the Single version of “Promises Promises”.  The original is over 5 minutes.  This was streamlined down to 3:42, over 1 1/2 minutes chopped off.  Here’s what I said on the original version…“Promises, Promises” is more of a 70’s glam rock song than punk. At over 5 minutes it is not your typical length.  The song was inspired by Mott the Hoople both musically and lyrically.  I liked Derwood’s guitar work on this one as well.  It is a nice change of pace from the rest of the album.  The album had some really great moments on it and this was one of them.  I still stand by that.  This version just packs all the greatness into a smaller more manageable package.  I like this shorter version a little more.

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Overall, if you don’t have the original album on vinyl, then skip getting that and go after this box set.  It isn’t over-priced and all the little extras will add to the experience.  It captures the essence of the band and you will get a good education in to the roots of Billy Idol.  And that was the joy for me.  Like I said earlier, I could do without the remixes.  If the 2nd LP would have added the 3 songs from the 3rd LP and made the set two disks, I would give it a higher score.  For now, it is a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars.  The original album got a 3.5 score, but having this overall great package, it gets a higher score.

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Now, if you want to check out the full reviews and the entire Billy Idol Series, click on any and all of the links below…

  1. Generation X – ‘Generation X’
  2. Generation X – ‘Valley of the Dolls’
  3. Gen X – ‘Kiss Me Deadly’
  4. Generation X – ‘The BBC Transcription Disc Series No. 126 1978’
  5. Billy Idol – Don’t Stop E.P.
  6. Billy Idol – Billy Idol
  7. Billy Idol – Rebel Yell
  8. Billy Idol – Whiplash Smile
  9. Billy Idol – To Be A Lover – Single Review
  10. Billy Idol – Vital Idol
  11. Billy Idol – Charmed Life
  12. Billy Idol – Cyberpunk
  13. Billy Idol – “Speed” (song from the Speed Soundtrack)
  14. Generation X – K.M.D. Sweet Revenge
  15. Billy Idol – VH1 Storytellers (Live)
  16. Billy Idol – Devil’s Playground
  17. Billy Idol – Happy Holidays
  18. Billy Idol – The Very Best of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself
  19. Billy Idol – Kings & Queens of the Underground
  20. Billy Idol – BFI Live (#RSD 2019)
  21. Billy Idol – Revitalized
  22. Generation X – Your Generation (7″ Record Store Day Release)
  23. Generation X – Generation X Deluxe Edition
  24. Billy Idol – The Albums Ranked From Worst to First

The Original vs. The Cover – “Come Together”

For this version of The Original vs. The Cover, we are going to discuss a Beatle’s Song, “Come Together”.  I have always been nervous about talking about the Beatles because it is holy ground and plus what hasn’t already been said about them.  However, I love this song and there are some great versions out there and I thought it was about time I did something on them. So we are going to compare the two versions of “Come Together”, the Beatles and Aerosmith.  Two heavy weights in the music world.

“Come Together” came about because Timothy Leary wanted Lennon to write a campaign song for him off this phrase, but Lennon was unsuccessful and a good thing to as Leary’s campaign run for California governor came to an abrupt end when he was arrested for pot possession (hell, he would be celebrated today).  He might have been unsuccessful with the campaign song, but he did succeed with this version of the song.

An interesting story behind the song, Lennon was sued by Big Seven Music Group which was the publisher of Chuck Berry’s song “You Can’t Catch Me”.  They argued that the song was too similar to the Berry song and I am guessing the lawsuit had some merit as the band settled out of court.  Now there are no writing credits other than Lennon & McCartney on this song still today so it must have been all about the money up front.  Too bad they didn’t fight for a writing credit.

THE BEATLES

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Continue reading “The Original vs. The Cover – “Come Together””

Friday New Releases – January 18th

Last week did not have a bunch of releases and this week isn’t that much better, but there are at least more than last week.  And there are a few I am actually interested in giving a spin.  Those will be highlighted in Blue.  There are a lot of Metal releases for those that like it a little bit harder than the rest. Hopefully there is something that will interest everyone.  Let me know what you like or what I might have missed.  Thanks and have a great weekend.

  • 51MBbKnI7-L._SS500  Switchfoot – Native Tongue – (Fantasy Records):  The Christian/Alternative band is back with their 11th Studio album. I came across the band back in 2003 with their 4th album ‘The Beautiful Letdown” and have been a fan since.  They can be pop, rock and sometimes even a beachy California Surf feel, but they are always consistent and the songs have a great message or story. I love Jon Foreman’s voice and I usually find very little wrong with their music.  Give them a try.

  • 91DhO9wlMHL._SX679_  Papa Roach – Who Do You Trust? – (Eleven Seven Records):  After less than 2 years since their last release, ‘Crooked Teeth’, Papa Roach are storming back on the scene.  I like it when bands don’t wait the obligatory 2-3 years for new music.  The last one was great so hoping for more of the same.

Continue reading “Friday New Releases – January 18th”

Friday New Releases – October 5th

Welcome to October.  Halloween decorations will start going up and Fall should be arriving soon…well I am in the South so I guess we don’t get Fall weather until Christmas.  The new releases are still coming fast & furious (great title for a movie franchise…I wonder if it has been done).  There are two releases from 2 of my favorite singer songwriters and there are just so many to choose you should be able to find something.  My choices are in Blue.  Let me know what interests your or I am missing anything so people will know.

  • 91OE1mUg7jL._SX522_  Matt Nathanson – Sings His Sad Heart – (Acrobat Records):  Matt Nathanson, what can I say.  He is one of my favorite Singer-Songwriters out there today.  I have seen him live 3 times (all is an opener…I need to see him as a headliner).  This album will be there when I get home on vinyl along with his Def Leppard Cover E.P. on vinyl as well.  This will consume most of my listening this weekend.  His lyrics are insightful at times, quirky, funny and sometimes damn near brilliant.  I can’t say enough good things.  Damn…I hope I haven’t built him up too much to disappoint…nah..can’t happen.

  • 81Hjd0GYwOL._AC_UL115_  Steve Perry – Traces – (Fantasy): The legendary Journey singer is back with his first album in over 20 years and I could not be more excited.  I can’t say I am a huge fan of what I have heard so far, but that doesn’t matter.  Any new music by this man is welcomed and will be listened to for time to come.

Continue reading “Friday New Releases – October 5th”

1971 – The Greatest Year in Music?

If you are new to the site, I started this series with the year 1987 and then noticed that 1991 and 1983 were also a couple of the greatest years in music.  I got to thinking, was there a pattern that every 4 years we have another great year in music.  Well theory didn’t last long as I don’t think the next two years I researched were “great” years in music.  Those years were 1979 and 1995. If you want to explore all the years I have examined so far, click on the link below…

1979 – The Greatest Year in Music?

1983 – The Greatest Year in Music?

1987 – The Greatest Year in Music?

1991 – The Greatest Year in Music?

1995 – The Greatest Year in Music?

Now that my theory is busted, I am just going to start looking for the “Greatest” year in music.  I am going to start with 1971.  Will 1971 be another great year or will it be the greatest year.  Let us explore and see and then decide at the end.  But first we have to ask 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?

NEWS:

What were some of the biggest news events that happened in 1971?  I couldn’t find any one big thing that happened.  Nothing new was invented such as the walkman or the CD.  There were a couple things of note.

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June 27th & July 4th – Music promoter, Billy Graham, closed two of the most famous music venues, The Fillmore East in New York City closed on June 27th and closed with The Allman Brothers (the band recorded their famous live album their 3 months earlier) and on July 4th the Fillmore West in San Francisco closed with Santana, Credence Clearwater Revival and the Grateful Dead (not a bad night).

Continue reading “1971 – The Greatest Year in Music?”

My Sunday Song – “Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks

For My Sunday Song #105, I am bringing to you “Edge of Seventeen” by the wonderful and talented Stevie Nicks.  The song was released as a single in 1982 and appeared on her 1981 album ‘Bella Donna’.  The song reached all the way to #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 just missing going Top Ten.

This is one of my favorite songs by Stevie and it is from a time where she could do no wrong whether it was her solo work or her work with Fleetwood Mac.  She was everywhere.  She didn’t have this beautiful, angelic vocals of the pop stars of that era. She was graced with a little gritty voice that is even better and is pure rock & roll.  And if I had to pick my favorite female vocalists, she would be at or near the top.

The song is about death.  It was written due to the death of two individuals.  First one was John Lennon (heard in the lyric…”With their words of a poet / And a voice from a choir”) and the other death was her uncle.  Her uncle was diagnosed with cancer and within weeks died and all those emotions she was feeling came out in the song.

What I also love about the song is the line “Just like the white winged dove” and then the chorus of “Whoo, Whoo, Whoo” which sounds like the bird is singing.  The dove is symbolic of the spirit leaving the body and she flies away she sings.  It is really a beautiful visual.

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Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks”

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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Continue reading “Turntables & Vinyl #13 – The New York Adventure”

My Sunday Song – “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles

For My Sunday Song #58 I am going to tackle my favorite Beatles song, “Here Comes the Sun”.  Notice I said my favorite and I did not say the best.  I don’t want anyone getting a hair up there tail because I said the best.  My intention is to not start an argument as I know there are many people passionate about their Beatles.

The song was recorded in 1969 and released on their album ‘Abbey Road’ the same year. The song only features three of the Beatles, George, Ringo & Paul as John was recovering from a car crash.

Lyrically, it is a very simple song but musically there is a lot going on.  Paul did the bass, of course and Ringo on drums while George did everything else, and I mean everything else.  He is credited with both the acoustic and electric guitars, the harmonium, and introducing the band to a Moog synthesizer (which might have looked like something below).
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Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles”

My Sunday Song – “Empty Garden (Hey, Hey Johnny)” by Elton John

For My Sunday Song #56, I have gone with one of the greatest John Lennon tribute songs ever written or performed…”Empty Garden (Hey, Hey Johnny)” By Elton John.  The song was released in 1982 which was about 18 months after Lennon’s death.  It is off the album ‘Jump Up!’ and was not one of his best albums, but this was the best song on it.  It was a minor hit and only reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100.

However, for me it resonated as such a beautifully written song.  Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics (as he did for all of Elton’s songs) and Elton did the music.  The lyrics tell such a touching story and the metaphor of an empty garden fort he absence of Lennon is brilliant.  Put that along with the beautiful piano and Elton’s vocals and you have a song that can touch you on so many levels.  Knowing that Elton John was such good friends with Lennon (including being Sean Lennon’s godfather), you could feel Elton’s true feelings of how much he missed his friend and that even adds more to the song.

In researching the song (wikipedia mostly had the better information), I found that the “Garden” was also a reference to John Lennon’s last performance which was at Madison Square Garden in 1974 with Elton John.  The line “Can’t You Come Out to Play” is a reference to the Beatles’ song “Dear Prudence” which is cool. I love finding those things out as I never made that connection so now it adds to the song for me.

Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Empty Garden (Hey, Hey Johnny)” by Elton John”