Lights Out

UFO

UFO

UFO are one of the most influential bands the UK has ever produced. They really had it all, great songs, great front man, charismatic bass guitarist, top class drummer and the awesome phenomenal guitar fire power of Michael Schenker. What they didn’t have was the kind of management that they needed. If they had a manager of the calibre of Peter Grant or Ron Smallwood, someone who could have held them together and looked after them they could have been a lot bigger and they really should have been a lot bigger. If you love UFO I would recommend reading High Stakes and Dangerous Men: The UFO Story by Neil Daniels, its a great book and it details the problems they had with the booze and having a German in a British band. the whole difference in work effort, the very British ‘lets go to the pub and we’ll do this track later’ attitude vs. the Teutonic perfection that Schenker required to get every solo right, they were like oil and water and ultimately the centre couldn’t hold. By any measurement UFO wrote some of the classic rock anthems of all time and Strangers in The Night is widely regarded as one of the greatest live albums of all time. My mate Roger and I used to spend hours listening to Obsession and I was so glad when it finally got remastered recently and they fixed that awful hi-hat in ‘Only You Can Rock Me’. Listening to Schenker in UFO is something that everyone should do, he made more albums than I realised and as much as they missed him he was never as good as he was in UFO. I wish people could just get the fuck along, music would be so much better for it.

All the old stuff is pretty poor quality but sonically this track isn’t bad. The band is tight and Phil Mogg just shows off that typical front man swagger which the big names in the 70’s perfected. This is the kind of look that every lead singer wanted but not all of them could pull it off like Plant or Morrison or Dave Lee Roth, I reckon Phil does fine. For such a hard drinking hell raising band there is no sign of it here, it’s just super tight balls to the wall rock and roll. It all comes together for me at 2:02 when Schenker does that first solo, he is just so slick and would blow away almost anyone playing around this time. The second solo at at around 4:07 shows those amazing melody lines he manages to weave into his playing better than anyone. UFO you were an incredible band.

James Daubeney

The Number of the Beast

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Iron Maiden

Discovering Iron Maiden is covered in detail in The Story of Rock and Roll.  When I first heard them Paul Di’Anno was on vocals and, as you should know, it was only when Bruce Dickenson left Samson to join Maiden and they released The Number of the Beast in 1982 that things really took off for the band.  The Di’Anno years are very special to me as I love finding bands before they become famous. I think Killers was one of the best albums I ever heard but most people only really got into Maiden after Bruce joined.  In terms of video we’ll stick with Bruce for this round though.

Iron Maiden are one of the most successful Metal bands of all time.  They probably rank second only to Metallica in terms of commercial success.  This actually gives me faith in the world where for once hard work, grit, determination and talent win out From spear heading the New Wave of British Heavy Metal to now touring the world on their own 747 they are unique amongst metal bands.  I had the privilege of seeing them again in 2016 and they are quite simply the best live band going.

James Daubeney

Crazy Train

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Ozzy Osbourne

”Back at school for another term and there was serious shit going down.  Ozzy had been thrown out of Sabbath and had started his own band.  Sabbath were going to carry on but they were going to use Dio on vocals.  What the fuck?  We couldn’t imagine how it was going to sound.  No way Ozzy would be able to do it without Sabbath and vice versa.” The Story of Rock and Roll – James Daubeney

Ozzy as a solo artist was a revelation. By his own admission he really didn’t expect anyone to give a fuck about him after he left Sabbath.  There is a very touching story on one of his video’s where he is playing his first gig without Sabbath and hears that people are queued up down the street.  Ozzy always managed to hire the best guitarists, Randy Rhoads was such a talent that it was almost impossible for Jake E. Lee to take his place, credit to Jake, he pulled it off.  Then after Jake we had the pleasure of the Zakk Wylde years.   I have nothing but respect for Ozzy and what he has achieved, he has made some of the best rock and roll in the last 40 years. 

James Daubeney

Heaven and Hell

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Black Sabbath

Ronnie James Dio (RIP) in Black Sabbath was amazing.  No-one could really imagine how it would sound and in many ways the line-up was written off before they started.  That all changed once the album came out and it is safe to say that Heaven and Hell is one of the all time classic rock albums.

Dio just has a magic about him, he epitomised the whole Heavy Metal life style, I really regret never seeing him live.  He had an amazing way of making an album his own without changing what the band sounded like, he just kind of made it Dio without killing it the way Steinman does to anything he produces. 

James Daubeney

Bringing on the Heartbreak

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Def Leppard

There are better videos than this one, its about as ’80s cheesy as you can get but as I explain in The Story of Rock and Roll, there were other good uses for this song.  The fact of the matter is that the only two bands that came out of The New Wave of British Heavy Metal and had worldwide success were Iron Maiden and Def Leppard.  The Leps caught on like wildfire in the USA.  The albums that followed High and Dry in 1981 were all multi-platinum sellers.

In The Story of Rock and Roll I tell the tale of how we managed to get through watching Madonna’s Justify My Love by playing this track to her video with the sound off, I’m not gonna fuck up my website with a Madonna video but you can try it yourself.  Def Leppard really blew up with their Pyromania album and then followed it with an even bigger smash called Hysteria.  I heard ‘High ‘n’ Dry’ and ‘On Through the Night’ first and they were a lot heavier and not so highly polished.  Listening to those albums today it is quite easy to see how Def Leppard were going to become superstars.   

James Daubeney

Back in Black

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ACDC

We thought ACDC were finished after Bon Scott died, no-one anticipated just how massive the band would become with Brian Johnson on vocals.  Back in Black is one of the top selling albums of all time.  36 years later is sounds as fresh as the day it came out.

ACD are unique, many have tried to copy them and many such as Krokus and Airbourne actual do sound like them but there is only one ACDC.  They are special, Angus and Malcolm just have something that no-one else does.  I saw them at Subiaco Stadium in Perth in 2010 and I am so glad I made that trip.  This is a band that you can truly hear 8km away.  The albums with Bon Scott will always be my favourites but there is no such thing as a kak ACDC album. 

James Daubeney

The ’59 Sound

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The Gaslight Anthem

The Gaslight Anthem are an incredible band, I explain how I found them in The Story of Rock and Roll but if you haven’t checked them out they are one of the best bands I have heard in the last 20 years.  Sadly they seem to be on a hiatus at the moment or maybe even broken up but there are 5 incredible albums to fall back on.  This is way out in terms of chronology but it fits with where it is discussed in The Story of Rock and Roll

The Gaslight Anthem should be huge and I guess it is just a tragedy of the times.  If they had come out 20 years ago I think they would have been massive.  Take a listen to ‘Here’s Looking at You Kid’ and just soak in all that emotion.  Brian Fallon has a golden voice and he has that Springsteen like ability with his words that just seem to hit home, these are not tales of parties and chicks, these are deeply moving lyrics about life and Middle America.  Brian’s side-line band The Horrible Crows is also out of this world. 

James Daubeney