1979 – The Greatest Year In Music?

We are now on the fourth year in this series.  I have already covered the following years:

1983 – The Greatest Year in Music?

1987 – The Greatest Year in Music?

1991 – The Greatest Year in Music?

My theory is simple…Every 4 years you have one of the greatest years in music.  I agree with the three I have already done.  Will I agree with it for the next year 1979?  We will have to first examine the evidence.  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:

walkmanOn July 1, 1979, The Sony Walkman goes on Sale in Japan and the way you listen to music is changed forever!! (at least until the CD and then the MP3).  Who didn’t have one of these if you were a kid in 1979 or the 80’s.  I definitely did.  It helped spur my love for music as it now was more portable  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 to cord and pull my headphones off). I had a boombox, but that wasn’t the same as the Walkman.  Nothing better (until my iPod).

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Turntables & Vinyl #12 – The CD Edition Update

If you remember back a few months for Turntables & Vinyl #8 – The CD Edition, I talked about all these CDs I received from someone in the neighborhood that was giving them away.  They were in really bad shape and there were 100’s I had to throw out due to broken or badly scratched CDs.

I managed to keep the CD covers in hopes of doing something artsy with them.  It turns out, I am not very artsy, so I decided to put them on a canvas and make them into a picture for my office wall.  Now, I decided, but I didn’t actually do the work.  My wife is the one that put this together as she is the creative one.

Below is a picture of the canvas with some of my favorite album covers from the lot I had to throw away.  I am very pleased with how it turned out and I have to thank my beautiful and talented wife for putting this together.  I couldn’t have done it without her.  The only thing I did was cut out the covers and decide the order to place them in even though she helped with that arrangement a little as well.  Okay, so she really did all of it.  She’s the best!


Now, I didn’t have any Kiss or Def Leppard albums to include which bothered me, so I printed out their logos and had them incorporated into the picture by only showing partial album covers for AC/DC Back in Black and the Beach Boys Greatest Hits album.  See which ones you recognize.  I think most of them are very classic albums and I was even able to use the Emerson, Lake and Palmer cover to Brain Salad Surgery which is one of my favorite album covers.

There you have it!

Until next time…have a great day.

‘Runnin’ with the Devil’ by Noel Monk and Joe Layden – Book Review

Runnin’ with the Devil: A Backstage Pass to the Wild Times, Loud Rock, and the Down and Dirty Truth Behind the Making of Van Halen by Joe Layden and Noel E. Monk…now that is a mouthful for a book title.  The book takes you on the journey of the David Lee Roth era of Van Halen and for some the true era of Van Halen.  The story is from the point of view of their Tour Manager and later Manager Noel E. Monk.

Before we get in to it, if you want to read a much better review of the book, go see my friend Deke at his blog as it was his review that made me get this when Amazon offered on the Kindle for only $2 (or was it $3)…either way it was cheap and worth that price.

The book picks up with Noel coming in as their tour manager for the tour supporting their incredible debut album ‘Van Halen’.  We don’t get any insight into the making of that album or really any album for that matter as Noel didn’t go to the studios while they were recording (or rarely ever did). We also don’t get any information on their forming or even their time with Gene Simmons which would have been nice, but again, this is not a band member telling the story and I had to get over that fact.

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T-Shirts, T-Shirts, T-Shirts #2 – A Family Affair

Welcome back to T-Shirts, T-Shirts, T-Shirts.  I didn’t expect to do another post so soon, but the Rock T-Shirt collection has taken a little twist.  It has become a family affair.  Not only have I been buying, but now my kids have to have band T-Shirts as well.

My oldest daughter is the worst.  Almost as bad as I am.  She has some concert T’s and now she has quite a few band shirts as well.  Here are her concert shirts for Ed Sheeran, James Bay and Tori Kelly…



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Tuesday’s Memes – Van Halen

I keep seeing news clips about possible Van Halen reunion stories from either Sammy and then Dave and then Sammy and I actually don’t care anymore.  If it happens, it happens.  Until then, shut the f##k up about it and let’s just celebrate the good and bad about Van Halen with these memes.  Enjoy!

Everyone argues about Roth or Hagar…We are going to settle this once and for all…


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The Debut: Van Halen – ‘Van Halen’

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.


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Turntables & Vinyl #6 – “Re-Spin” Led Zeppelin & Van Halen

Ever since I started the whole resurgence in my vinyl collection which started from nothing just 10 months ago, I have been trying to put together “The List” of all the albums that are a must have for my collection.  The list is long and it is going to be expensive to put together.

For me, albums from the 70’s must be in vinyl as that was the medium of choice at the time.  That means that I need to have Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, early AC/DC, Queen and of course KISS, just to name a few.  I am off to a good start with KISS thanks to the box of records I mentioned back in the first Turntables & Vinyl post.


The 80’s is the decade I grew up in and fell in love with music so there has to be a ton of vinyl from those years as well.  Def Leppard, Van Halen, more AC/DC, Motley Crue, Whitesnake, Ratt and any other rock band from that era.  The collection is growing, but the list doesn’t seem to get smaller.

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#TBT – Favorite Albums from 2012

We are up to 2012 for my Throwback Thursday list.  I feel 2012 was a relatively weak year for new music.  This year, it was mostly rock that got me going.  Only one country artist made the list (sort of country and she made the honorable mention at that).  Not much else excited me, but the ones that did I really enjoyed.  Here are my Top albums for 2012 (in no particular order).

Lit - The View From the BottomLit – The View From The Bottom:  So glad these guys came back and did another album.  It had been way too long since their last album.  Their return was well worth the wait.  A great collection of songs and was probably my  2nd favorite album of the year.  I loved “Miss You Gone”, “The Wall” and “Same Shit, Different Drink” just to name a few.  Just good, fun, rock & roll.

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Turntables & Vinyl – Part 2

I thought I would do a follow-up to the Turntables & Vinyl post from a couple weeks ago since the turntable we bought was crap. We returned the first turntable we bought since it could not maintain the appropriate speed.  I did some research and found that the audio-technica AT-LP60 was getting really good reviews for a reasonably priced turntable (only $99).  I still didn’t want to spend too much as I still wasn’t sure how much I would listen to it.

I have to say it plays so much better than the original one we bought on a whim at the trendy clothes store that sales vinyl (I don’t want to advertise for them since their clothes are so overpriced).  This turntable will automatically place the needle on the album for you which is good as my daughter was really nervous about doing it on the other turntable. I don’t think she wanted to scratch her new James Bay album (a picture disc at that).

Now that the we have a very good working turntable, we had to find some local record stores that sell vinyl.  We have found 4 places so far in Charlotte and I am proud to say, we have been to all 4.  We actually visited 3 of them on Saturday since they were all in close proximity to each other.   The other one we went to last weekend.

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Turntables & Vinyl

Turntables & Vinyl.  Did you ever think they would come back in style?  I guess I must have thought so because I found a box  in a closet that was full of vinyl albums from the 70’s & 80’s.  However, I don’t own a turntable anymore.  What do I do?

Well, I went out and bought a turntable. My oldest daughter has been wanting a turntable as that is the new fad for kids her age, I guess.  That got me to thinking maybe I should get a turntable.  I didn’t want to spend too much as I didn’t know how much it would get used by her or by me.

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We were at the mall and I found this turntable at some trendy clothes store for young people (I was the oldest person in the store).  Don’t know if it is any good and honestly, don’t care.  It will be a fun experience I can share with my daughter and maybe teach her what real music sounds like.

We started shopping for albums afterwards and the first thing I noticed was…THE PRICE!!! HOLY CRAP!!  When did albums become so expensive.  $25, $35 and up to $50 for a freakin’ album.  Well, I guess my daughter won’t be getting one anytime soon.  She will have to listen to mine until I can take a 2nd mortgage out on the house to buy a new album. Luckily, the store had a limited selection so there was nothing either of us had to have right then.

We get back home and I run upstairs to grab the box of records.  We take it into my office along with the turntable.  I get the turntable plugged into the wall and into my stereo system and found the setup to be extremely easy.  Thank goodness as I wanted to put on some music.

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Next, I grabbed the box and opened it like I was a kid on Christmas.  I couldn’t wait to go through and see what all I had.  I knew what a lot of the albums were in the box, but not everything. What I did know for sure is that the first album to be played on the turntable was going to be Van Halen’s self titled debut from 1978.  I remembered that album was in the box along with several Kiss albums.

The Van Halen album sounded amazing!! And now as I am typing this post up, I am listening to Kiss Alive! and I have it cranked! (No one is home right now) Not a bad way to spend my afternoon.  Here is a list of albums that were in my box that I will definitely be putting on heavy rotation.

  • Van Halen – Van Halen
  • Kiss – Alive!
  • Kiss – The Originals (Special Edition with the first 3 albums)
  • Boston – Boston
  • Boston – Don’t Look Back
  • Eagles – Hotel California
  • Eagles – Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975
  • The Beatles – The Beatles / 1967-1970
  • Mother’s Finest – Mother’s Finest Live
  • ZZ Top – Tres Hombres
  • Billy Joel – Glass Houses
  • Black Sabbath – Mob Rules
  • Kiss – Unmasked
  • Kiss – Hotter than Hell
  • Billy Idol – Billy Idol
  • Loverboy – Lovin’ Every Minute of It
  • Pat Benatar – Crimes of Passion
  • Styx – Caught in the Act Live
  • Def Leppard – On Through the Night
  • Grease – Soundtrack
  • Star Wars – Soundtrack

The biggest surprise included in the box was the first vinyl album I ever bought.  If you have read the “About” section of my blog, you know what that album was.  My mom ordered it for me off the TV from a commercial during the TBS reruns of “The Monkees” back in the 70’s.  It was simply called “The Monkees”.  I almost teared up (actually I teared up from all the dust in the box as it flared up my allergies).

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A lot of these albums I am sure were my brothers’ albums and I somehow ended up with them. I hope they aren’t too disappointed that they are not getting them back.  That is not true, they can have them back.  They just need to come to North Carolina from Georgia and pry them from my cold, dead hands.

Also discovered in the box were some of my wife’s childhood albums.  There were some old Disney albums (and I mean old) and then some from a few of her favorite teen idols.  There was Andy Gibb, Leif Garrett and her personal love, Shaun Cassidy.  When she looked at the album, I hadn’t seen that look in her eyes since WE first met.  I think I should be jealous.  I have a feeling she will be listening to those while I “Da Doo Ron Ron” off to work.

The next day, my daughter and I found a great little record store in Charlotte and we went and picked up a couple albums.  They had those expensive albums like what I mentioned above, but they also had used albums that were a lot cheaper.  Since I had the first two Boston albums on vinyl, I went ahead and picked up Boston’s Third Stage ($10) and my daughter picked up James Bay’s latest album for only $20 (which I still think is too much).

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I need to make a list of what albums I want because I walked around that store for almost an hour and couldn’t decide on anything but the Boston album.  Too many to choose!!!  My daughter, who takes hours to pick out a shirt had her album picked in 5 minutes.

When we got home and put the James Bay album on, the cheap record player we bought the day before wasn’t working properly.  It can’t seem to keep the appropriate speed and the song tends to slow down.  All the excitement from the first day fizzled out fast. I knew I should have just waited and bought a decent player right out of the gate. Sometimes I am too cheap.   So, I guess I do care if the record player is any good.

Well, I am researching a decent player now and can’t wait to get one.  Any recommendations?  I am anxious to listen to the whole set of albums from the box.