We are at the final month of 2020 and thank the Heavens. I hope 2021 sees an end to Covid, but not an end to my music buying. This month we have another treasure trove of stuff I have obtained over not just the month, but the last 6 months as a couple things I ordered in prior months finally arrived. And being December, there is everything I got for Christmas that is music related.
First up this month are a couple things I bought back in April/May timeframe, right when Covid started. My brother saw these on the Facebook market from a friend of his and knew I would like it so I told him I wanted them and he bought them (I paid him back of course). I told him to hold them and I would be down to Atlanta soon and boy was I wrong. We are now in December and I haven’t been down. I eventually asked him to mail them. I got another Kiss Tour Book and this was from the Alive/Worldwide Tour (1996-97) and the other is The Ultimate Kiss Fanzine Phenomenon 1976-2009 hard back book. They are both awesome and will be reviewed in detail in 2021.
For My Sunday Song #141, we are now going to tackle 10 songs from Van Halen. They could be with David Lee Roth, Sammy Hager or even Gary Cherone on lead vocals. We will cover all the bases. First up will be “Unchained” off the band’s fourth album, ‘Fair Warning’. ‘Fair Warning’ came out in April 1981 and “Unchained” was the second single off the album released in July 1981, but I had also heard no singles were ever officially released so not sure what to believe. Either way, the song reached #13 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart.
The album suffered from poor sales, but the album was received very well by the critics. In fact, “Unchained” is often named as one of the best Van Halen songs of all time. I can’t say I disagree with that.
The song is noted for its use of the MXR M-117 Flanger which for us non-guitar people is a pedal used that can change the sound of the guitar. For the guitar people, It uses a Drop Db tuning with suspended fourth chords interspersed (thanks Wikipedia). Eddie made this effect very popular and helped increase the sales of such equipment. (Picture not actual EVH pedal).
The song also features producer Ted Templeman on vocals. During a point in the song, Dave is pontificating on and on and Ted jumps in and says “Come On Dave, Give Me a Break” and Dave replies, “Hey, hey, hey, hey, one break coming up!”. It is an awesome moment in the song.
For my third installment of The Debut, I have decided to take on the daunting task of discussing on what is regarded as one of the best debut albums in rock history, Van Halen’s debut simply called ‘Van Halen’. Why is it daunting? Because so many people have written about this album that there really is nothing I can add to the discussion other than my opinion which is probably no different than what has already been said.
We will start off with some general information about the album. The album was released on February 10th, 1978. I was only 9 at the time. It was produced by Ted Templeman who was famous for producing The Doobie Brothers, Van Morrison and Montrose (early Sammy Hagar connection). The album reached as high as only #19 on the charts and did sell over 1 million copies in its first year. It has now been certified Diamond Status with sells well over 10 million copies.
The band was originally discovered by Gene Simmons from the band KISS. Gene worked with the band and they did some demos, but nothing materialized as Gene headed back out on tour with his band. The ended up playing a lot of live shows around Hollywood including the Whiskey A Go Go and the Starwood. It was at the Starwood that they came to the attention of Mo Ostin & Ted Templeman with Warner Brothers Records. They later signed with Warner and went on to record their debut album.
This is the first in a new monthly series I am going to do called “My First Time”. It is not as dirty as you think. It is not about my first time doing certain things. The series will be about the FIRST album I bought from an artist that really got me into the band. See, not dirty like you thought.
I was out at the record store a few weeks back and came across the vinyl for Aerosmith’s 1985 album ‘Done With Mirrors’ and remembered that this was the FIRST album I bought for the band, so of course I snatched the vinyl up and it only cost me $6. I had the cassette years ago, but all my cassettes are now long gone.
I obviously knew of Aerosmith because my brothers listened to them when they were growing up and I remember seeing their vinyl albums lying around. I remember hearing “Sweet Emotion”, “Dream On” and even listened to the album “Toys In the Attic”, but I wasn’t a true fan. That didn’t come until the mid-80’s after I bought this album.
I was watching MTV one evening and they played the video for “Let the Music Do The Talking” and I actually fell in love with that song instantly. The next chance I had to make it to the record store, I picked a copy of the album on cassette. Little did I know at the time that the song was actually a remake of the same song Joe Perry did with his solo band The Joe Perry Project.