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?
The 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?”
The Red Rocker himself, Sammy Hagar, is up next for this edition of Tuesday’s Memes. And why shouldn’t he be. The man is a legend…a rocker, a tequila genius and a man that doesn’t age and knows how to live life to the fullest. I am supposed to see him this Summer in concert, but don’t know if that will happen. Whitesnake already had to pull out, but I might still go as it will be Sammy, Night Ranger and hopefully some other great band. I just hope we are able to get out by the time that rolls around in July. Until then, enjoy these memes on Mr. Sammy…
I can’t drive 55!!!:
Continue reading “Tuesday’s Memes – Sammy Hagar”
We are finally to The End of the Road. No, not the End of the Road Tour, but the end of our journey of Gene Simmons – The Vault! We are on Part 15 of our 15 Part series. We have spent numerous hours listening, reading, researching and writing up these posts and I have to say, it is the most fun I have had on this site maybe ever. I wanted to deliver a very detailed breakdown of The Vault so maybe you would see whether or not it is worth buying. For me, it was a no brainer, even though it took me two years to do it. The price was finally right.
Let’s mention a little on the production of this album. The production and mix were stellar. They all had the same volume level and even the worst quality recording still sounded great. They put a lot of time and effort in that and they hit it out of the park.
And I don’t want to forget to mention the people on this album. I won’t go through all of them as you should read each review, but you get Ace Frehley, Bruce Kulick, Eric Carr, Eric Singer, Tommy Thayer, Bob Kulick and even Paul Stanley. And then there is Bob Dylan, Eddie Van Halen and Alex Van Halen, but that is only a small portion…you get members of Black & Blue, of Silent Rage and even someone from Steel Panther. You get some songwriters, producers that helped write some songs and even Katey Sagal from Married With Children does some background vocals. It is so cool to see all the different people involved. That was one of my favorite parts.
Continue reading “Gene Simmons – ‘The Vault’ – Album Review (Part 15 of 15 – The Final Verdict)”
It is time for the second collection of Van Halen memes from around the world. With David Lee Roth now opening for Kiss on the End of the Road Tour and then Billie Eilish not knowing who Van Halen is, I felt the world needed more memes celebrating and poking fun at the band. So, let’s “Jump” “Right Now” in to it. Enjoy…
Continue reading “Tuesday’s Memes – Van Halen #2”
For My Sunday Song #150, we are ending the Van Halen set of 10 songs with “Mean Street” off the album “Fair Warning”. The song reached #13 on the Mainstream Rock station and help propel the album to #5 on the Billboard charts. It is the opening track and the song were the title of the album comes.
The song comes blazing out of the gate with the vintage Eddie style riffs that scream…I am the best guitarist and don’t you forget it!! The opening was inspired by the slap funk bass style and I would say there is nothing the man can’t do with a guitar. Then the song gets dirty and a little nasty. Musically and Lyrically, it is a dark song for the band. I also love the fade out at the end with those wicked guitar parts Ed is playing while it is fading out.
The song seems to be about life on the streets. The pain and agony of living on the street and the fighting to stay alive. The streets will basically chew you up and spit you out. Funny thing, the band aren’t from the streets so they really have no idea about “mean streets” now do they. Don’t get me wrong, that takes away nothing from the song. It is badass and delivered very convincingly.
Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Mean Street” by Van Halen”
For My Sunday Song #149, we are not going real deep for this one. We are going to one of their big hits and a personal favorite called “Panama” off the album ‘1984’. The song reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. For me, the song brings back memories of my Senior Trip in High School when we went to Panama City, Florida…the song was blasting in the car on the way down!!
The song has two theories behind its meaning. The first is it is about a car and the second theory is it is about a stripper. The lyrics work either way as it is a wonderful double entendre. The song does mention all the typical car parts and hell there is even a part during the bridge where you hear an engine revving. That car engine is actually Eddie’s 1972 Lamborghini Miura S with a mic up to its tailpipe.
The album 1984 brought the keyboard sound into the bands music, but this song would have none of that. It had Eddie blasting through some brutal riffs and Alex was pounding away at the drums and the brothers gave us the Van Halen of old. Dave is his classic self and is belting out the lyrics and even giving us a little of that spoken verse style he does so famously towards the end.
Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Panama” by Van Halen”
For My Sunday Song #148, we go with “Pleasure Dome” off the album “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge”. This is the second one off this album I have done and for good reason, it was the first Sammy led album I actually liked but that is for another time and place. The song was never a single, but a B-Side to the song “Poundcake” and I am not sure which one I like more.
The song is actually based on Rush’s song “Xanadu” from what I can gather and that is not a bad song for inspiration. And…a “Pleasure Dome” could be referring to the poem “Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor Coolidge. Of course, Kubla Khan’s empire was known as Xanadu so the connection is complete (maybe, I am just piecing together bits and pieces from what I found on the song).
The song is a strong showcase of Alex’s stellar drumming and after doing “Everybody Wants Some” with a strong drum sound, why not continue with another that showcases Alex. Alex has a very distinct sound he creates with his drumming and there is so much on here that fills the song. It is one of the main things I take away from it.
Lyrically, it reminds me a little of “Everybody Wants Some” as well with how Sammy talks out a lot of the lyrics like Dave was doing. The lyrics seem to be about Sammy taking some drug tripping journey in his mind or in the universe or wherever. He is getting lost and further away from home with no escape. I don’t know what it really means, but it is fantastic trip.
Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Pleasure Dome” by Van Halen”
For My Sunday Song #147, Van Halen’s song “Everybody Wants Some” will get the royal treatment this week. The song is off the album “Women and Children First” and the second one I have done from that album (because it is that good). The song was never a a single, but a B-Side to the song “And the Cradle Will Rock”.
The opening of the song is the tribal drum beat by Alex with Dave making some little noises in the background and Eddie comes in with that sinister riff. The music sounds menacing and when they kick it in to full gear, it is a slammin’ rock song. Eddie’s guitar playing on the solo has him two-handing the fretboard on his guitar and really breaking new ground as usual. The driving force though is Alex with that drum beat throughout. Really killer.
Lyrically, there isn’t much there. It is a pure sex song and Dave’s talking vocal performance is the star here. His vocals sound almost like he is ad-libbing the whole thing. Just making it up as he goes along, but it works so well. The first line on the second verse is “I Seen a Lotta People Lookin’ for a Moonbeam”, but seriously, can you understand one word of what he says…except for maybe moonbeam? No, as I don’t think he knew what the hell he was saying. The song ends with Dave going “Look, I’ll pay you for it, What the fuck”, but the “fuck” is not really audible with the way they phase it out the sound.
Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Everybody Wants Some” by Van Halen”
For My Sunday Song #146, we are going with the Sammy Hagar fronted tune “The Seventh Seal” off the band’s 1995 album ‘Balance’ which happens to be their tenth studio album. The song was the first track on the album and the first single which only went to #36 on the Mainstream Rock Chart songs. The song was strong enough that it was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance.
“The Seventh Seal” song opens with some chanting monks from The Monks of Gyuto Tantric University and then turns into a straight-up rock song. It is full of religious themes and has an almost mystical feel to it. Eddie’s guitar sound is in full force and Alex’s drum sound is unmistakeable. It is Van Halen coming out of the gate swinging. I won’t say its his best solo, but it is still a great lead off track for the album.
The song was inspired by Eddie’s new found sobriety. Through the help of his therapist, he was encouraged to look at where he was and who he was now that he was sober. Maybe he was finding religion as there are a lot of religious overtones in the song. Maybe he was still struggling with sobriety and the song is a cry for help in getting through the battle’s he was facing. The fact that he could feel again probably was hard to deal with and I am sure a tremendous challenge.
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For My Sunday Song #145, we are tackling “Atomic Punk” which is off Van Halen’s debut album. The space age song is a very deep cut and was never released as a single, but was the B-Side to “You Really Got Me”. It is one of those gems that only the true fans listen to probably more than some of the band’s big hits (maybe that is just me) I believe it helped drive the sales to way above 10 million copies.
The song is a sci-fi song about a dystopian society and Dave is the leader of this rag-tag crew. The opening of the song has these space age sounds coming from Eddie’s guitar almost like a space ship sound. Eddie captures the sound by rubbing his palm over the strings with the guitar going through one of his pedals. It is captivating.
Lyrically, there isn’t a whole lot here. Not in context or theme, but in length. This is more of a showcase for more of what Eddie can do. Not to take anything from Dave as he delivers the lyrics earnestly and convincingly as it does set the tone for the dark feel of the song. But it is Eddie’s guitar playing that is again in full force with all the tricks he throws at you. You hear something a little different and new each time you listen.
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