David Hasselhoff – ‘Open Your Eyes’ – Album Review

When I head David Hasselhoff (or The Hoff) was putting out a new album of cover songs, I told myself that I have to listen to this for the train wreck that it is going to be.  I mean The Hoff has never been popular in the States for his vocal talent and yet, I was intrigued.

David has put together an eclectic list of covers and the most interesting part is the line-up of musicians he was able to get to assist with these covers.  Let’s look at the cover songs and those individuals who helped out.

Track List:

  1. Open Your Eyes (Feat. James Williamson of The Stooges) – Lords of the New Church Cover
  2. Head On (Feat. Elliot Easton of The Cars) – The Jesus & Mary Chain Cover
  3. I Melt With You (Feat. Steve Stevens) – Modern English Cover
  4. Lips Like Sugar (Feat. A Flock of Seagulls) – Echo & The Bunnymen Cover
  5. Heroes (Feat. Composer Tyler Bates) – David Bowie Cover
  6. Here I Go Again (Feat. Tracii Guns) – Whitesnake Cover
  7. Jump in My Car (Feat. Todd Rundgren) – Ted Murley Gang Cover
  8. Rhinestone Cowboy (Feat. Charlie Daniels) – Glen Campbell Cover
  9. If You Could Read My Mind (Feat. Ava Cherry) – Gordon Lightfoot Cover
  10. Sugar Sugar (Feat. Steve Cropper) – The Archies Cover
  11. Mit 66 Jahren (Feat. Patrick Moraz of Yes and the Moody Blues) – Udo Jurgens Cover
  12. Sweet Caroline (Feat. Ministry’s Al Jourgensen) – Neil Diamond Cover
  13. That’s Life – Frank Sinatra Cover

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Billy Idol – The Albums Ranked Worst to First (The Billy Idol Series)

For the past 8 to 9 months, I have been reviewing the entire Billy Idol catalog from Generation X back in 1978 through his solo years and even a Generation X single released in 2019 on Record Store Day.  It has been such a fun journey and I hate it has come to an end.  To wrap it up, we are going to rank all the studio albums from his very worst (and it is bad) to his very best (which is sensational).

 

THE WORST – HAPPY HOLIDAYS (2006):

 

 

I am not sure what Billy was thinking, but this should have never been released and probably never recorded.  Hell, it is so bad that even Steve Stevens wasn’t involved with recording it.  That should tell you something right there!!  It is a rehash of classic Christmas songs that we are better off listening to the originals as these do not spark any Christmas cheer.

The original songs Billy wrote throw every cliche in the book out as lyrics and they are sappy, crappy songs.  The best thing about “Happy Holidays” is that it is only 2 minutes.  The only good thing about “Christmas Love” is that it does eventually end. My Christmas gift to you is to avoid this at any cost.

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Billy Idol – ‘Revitalized’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

We are to the final studio album released in our Billy Idol Series which means we are really close to the end of the series which makes me a little sad as I have enjoyed doing this series.  The next album up for review is a  remix album of Billy’s hits called ‘Revitalized’ which was released in September 2018 and is 31 years after the release of his first remix album called ‘Vital Idol’.

Billy’s songs are brought into the 21st century with remixes coming from some of the best EDM artist of 2018 including Paul Oakenfold, Moby, The Crystal Method, CRAY and many more.  The original album has 11 tracks where the digital version gives you an additional 4 tracks for 15 songs total.

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I guess I will preface this by saying the album is full of hits songs and the remixes are all worth a listen, but nothing beats the original songs and actually nothing is better than Vital Idol.  These songs are good and give us a look at them in a new, modern light.  For fans it is fun and a must have for the collection; however, nothing groundbreaking here like Vital Idol was.

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Billy Idol – “BFI Live” – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

On November 25th, 2016, Black Friday or another Record Store Day, Billy Idol released a special edition 3 LP vinyl Live Album!!  The release were highlights from his 2014-2015 Kings & Queens of the Underground Tour.  I say it is highlights because the songs are from various different shows from around the world and not one full show.  I am sure he went and grabbed the best versions of each song.

The album was limited to only 2000 copies, each hand-numbered and exclusively on vinyl as the only physical release. The album is available digitally as well (which also comes with the Vinyl version.  It is a beautiful set and the sound is amazing.  Here’s the only problem.  I was unable to snag a copy during its initial release.  I am keeping a watchful eye on eBay and Discogs to find a reasonably priced one for sell and then I will grab it.  So, this review is really just a review of the digital release.

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BFI?  What does that stand for?  I think it is Billy “Fucking” Idol.  I also think BFI is the name of his label as well.  Whatever it stands for, BFI Live is fantastic.  The sound quality of each recording is crisp, clear and loud!  Was it cleaned up in the studio…probably, but who cares.  It is still live for the most part and that is all that matters.  It captures the essence fo a Billy performance and that is all you really want anyway.  Okay, I guess it is missing a little of the roughness that happens during live shows so that might be the only negative.

The release has 16 tracks from 10 different cities including Houston, Vienna, Munich, Atlanta and even Council Bluffs (wherever that is).  The setlist is greatest hits set live basically.  It is everything you would want to hear and expect to hear at a Billy show.

He does 3 songs off the latest album and they are “Postcards from the Past”, “Can’t Break Me Down” and “Save Me Now”.  Two of the first three songs are off the new album which is smart as people tend to go to the bathroom or get a beer (or both) when a song comes on they don’t really know.  When the show opens up, the crowd is so energized, that isn’t going to happen.

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It is a high energy show and Billy and Steve Steven show no signs of slowing down.  The songs are kept pretty much to their original format with the exception of a few lyric changes such as “LA Woman” (the Doors cover) being changed to “Portland Woman” and Billy asking “Nashville to Dance” on “Dancing With Myself”.  Billy and the crowd seem to be having a wonderful time.

Steve Stevens sounds really great with his guitar work especially on Flesh for Fantasy and the one song I didn’t know when looking at the track listing. It was “Dementia” which turned out to be a wonderful Steve Stevens guitar solo.  I didn’t know guitar solos actually had names other than “Guitar Solo”. Seriously though, the song is actually off Steve’s solo album “Flamenco a Go-Go” from 2000.  Kinda nice Billy let him highlight one of his own songs.

The songs cover most of Billy’s career with even a song from his Generation X days, “Ready Steady Go” which Billy seems to love to still play and Steve adds a whole new magic to it with his playing.  You also get the story behind the song “Sweet Sixteen” which Billy tells with such enthusiasm.  Before that story, a woman screams “I Love You!!!” and immediately Billy responds back “I Love Me Too!  That makes two of us”…it was a very funny moment I am glad they left in.

And let’s talk about how he ends this album.  The album ends with 3 of his most iconic songs and I could imagine the crowd going nuts and loving everything about it.  He ends with “Rebel Yell”, “White Wedding” and “Mony, Mony”…what an amazing way to go out.

All-in-all, this is a hell of a live set and since Billy has only released one other live album (VH1 Storytellers), I will take what I can get.  I loved this set and I am eager to go out and find the physical copy after listening to this.  With 16 songs and 1 hour and 40 minutes of music…it is simply wonderful.  I will give this a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars and only deducting because it is too clean…I mean I don’t think Billy misses too many notes and I don’t think that is possible (I have never seen him live so can’t say for sure).  If you are out and about and come across it (somehow), grab it.  You won’t be disappointed.

If you want to check out the other reviews I have done so far for the Billy Idol Series, click 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 – Vital Idol
  10. Billy Idol – Charmed Life
  11. Billy Idol – Cyberpunk
  12. Billy Idol – “Speed” (song from the Speed Soundtrack)
  13. Generation X – K.M.D. Sweet Revenge
  14. Billy Idol – VH1 Storytellers (Live)
  15. Billy Idol – Devil’s Playground
  16. Billy Idol – Happy Holidays
  17. Billy Idol – The Very Best of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself
  18. Billy Idol – Kings & Queens of the Underground
  19. Billy Idol – BFI Live (#RSD 2019)
  20. Billy Idol – Revitalized
  21. Generation X – Your Generation (7″ Record Store Day Release)
  22. Billy Idol – The Albums Ranked From Worst to First

Up next will be Billy Idol’s ‘Revitalized’.

Billy Idol – ‘Devil’s Playground’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

On March 22, 2005, Billy Idol returns to music with his first album of new material in over 12 years.  Way too long in my book.  While on tour prior to the album, Billy was approached by Sanctuary Records to record an album.  The trick was that they wanted it in the old Billy style and sound.

As a result, Billy, Steve Stevens and producer Keith Forsey re-teamed to record the album. Yep, the gang was back together and I couldn’t be more happy.  Along for the ride was Stephen McGrath on bass, Derek Sherinian on keyboards and Brian Tichy on drums.  Not a bad line-up.

Of course, Steve and Billy had some songs together.  However, it was only 3 songs for Steve.  Billy did most of his writing with drummer Brian Tichy who had 8 writing credits on the album.  Of course, Billy had to have a cover song and the album checks that bucket as well.  All was now in place.

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Billy Idol – ‘VH1 Storytellers’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

For the last half of the 90’s, Billy didn’t release anything.  After the failure of the ‘Cyberpunk’ album (which was awesome) and the issues with the label, Billy sort of vanished from the music scene.  He did have the single for the movie “Speed”, he made a memorable cameo in the movie ‘The Wedding Singer’, but outside of that, there wasn’t much else.

In 2001, that started to change.  VH1 aired a ‘Behind the Music’ on Billy and a greatest hits compilation was released that had a cover of Simple Mind’s song “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” which had moderate success.  Heck, the greatest hits album sold over 1 million copies in the U.S. alone.  VH1 also decided to film a VH1 Storytellers with Billy and along for ride was Steve Stevens which was a reunion that was long overdue.

I am not going to critique the VH1 Storytellers show, but the CD that was released.  The CD came out on February 22, 2002 and is only the songs that were played and not any of the stories.  For that, you need the DVD.

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Billy Idol – “Speed” (from the Speed Soundtrack) – Single Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After the lack of success of ‘Cyberpunk’, Billy Idol was pretty quiet for many years with one minor exception.  He reunited with Steve Stevens for a song on the 1994 Soundtrack to the movie Speed starring Keanu Reeves.  Billy was having some disagreements with his label and having many issues with drugs (still), he needed something to get back in the fans good graces.

Billy and Steve were contacted by the soundtracks music director, Ralph Sall, to come up with the movie’s title song and Billy thought this would be a good opportunity.  The song was inspired by the movie and the rest of the soundtrack included songs that were either inspired by the movie or were just songs about Speed such as the Kiss song “Mr. Speed”.

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Track Listing for the Soundtrack

I am not reviewing the whole soundtrack as this is a Billy Idol series so we will focus only on Billy’s song.  And what a song it is.  It didn’t do well upon its release as this was 1994 and Billy’s style of Rock was no longer in fashion.  The movie did way better than the song for sure.

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Billy Idol – ‘Whiplash Smile’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After the tour for Rebel Yell, Billy Idol continued to live like he was on tour.  The drug use was getting worse, his relationship with Perri Lister was over and even his manager, Bill Aucoin was absent due to his own drug issues.  Billy’s world was slowly spiraling out of control.  And so was his ego.

When work was started on his next album ‘Whiplash Smile’, Billy’s ego started to get in the way.  He wanted control.  He wanted to write all the songs.  He wanted to add more synthesizers, more sounds, more stuff that wasn’t Steve Stevens.  And it is noticeable in the music.

What is also noticeable, is that with everyone leaving his life, the loneliness found its way into the music.  And an album that found about as much success as its predecessor, it wasn’t not quite the Billy Idol album people wanted or critics even liked.  It was an album that would lead to the end of a relationship between musicians that really needed each other.

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Billy Idol – ‘Rebel Yell’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After the success of his self-titled debut album, Billy Idol, teamed back up with producer Keith Forsey and guitarist Steve Stevens.  And in late 1983, we were treated to his second album, ‘Rebel Yell’.  The collaboration with Steve Stevens grew immensely with this album.  On the first, Steve only had his hand in writing two songs.  On ‘Rebel Yell’, he contributed to all but one song that was only written by Idol.  The bond had grown so much, that Steve even made the back cover of the album.

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The duo of Billy and Steve was complete and you couldn’t have one without the other, at least for a long while anyway.  If you notice on the back cover, the songs are broken out into Sides 3 and Sides 4.  This was because the debut was 1 and 2, so these naturally would be 3 and 4, he would do this at least one more time for the next studio album.  I liked the concept.

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Billy Idol – ‘Billy Idol’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

Billy Idol was loving his time in New York and it showed in his writing as the album seemed to be inspired by what he was doing in the city.  After the mild success of his 1981 E.P., Don’t Stop, he and the band went to work on the debut album simply titled ‘Billy Idol’.  It is his album and he is the main focal point so why not call it ‘Billy Idol’.

Released in 1982, Billy was discovering who he was as an artist and what it was like to now be the main focal point.  His meeting of Steve Stevens seemed to be a match made in Heaven…well rock & roll heaven anyway.  Steven even contributed a couple writing credits on this release.  The two together would become one of the great teams in music.  You have McCartney & Lennon, Elton John & Bernie Taupin and now you have Idol & Stevens…okay, that is stretching it too far, but you know what I mean.

When the album was originally released in 1982, the album cover looked like this…

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I don’t have this cover, yet, but I will find it one day and get a hold of it.  I don’t like this one as much as the alternate cover I have.  It is a little too feminine compared to the toughness of the one I have with the black leather jacket (not that there is anything wrong with that).  The new cover fits the attitude and the snarl so much better.

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