747 Strangers in the Night

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Saxon

Saxon are a British institution.  Along with iron Maiden they spearheaded the New Wave of British Heavy metal.  They never rose to the heights that Maiden have but then no-one has, so if you factor out Maiden then Saxon are probably the most successful NWOBHM band ever.  They were limited musically in a way that Maiden weren’t but if you take it for what it is i.e. Saxon being Saxon in the same way as ACDC are ACDC and Motorhead are Motorhead then you aren’t looking for ground breaking new adventurous ideas.  Saxon wrote anthems and to this day it doesn’t get much better than hearing 20 000 metal maniacs all shouting ”Denim and leather brought us all together” or ”We got Wheeeeeels, wheels of steel”  Long live biker anthems.

Probably as close to a hit as Saxon would ever get, what they didn’t get in commercial success they more than made up for in rabid followers.  There are very few denim jackets still around from the early 80s that don’t have a Saxon patch on them.  I always use this track to explain guitar effect pedals to people.  The contrast between the soaring lead riff, the chorus pedal and the crushing overdrive are so well contrasted on this track.  Long live Saxon

James Daubeney

Don’t It Make Ya Feel

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HeadPins

The Headpins formed in Canada and released two multiplatinum selling albums.  The impression that Darby Mills made on 16 year old school boys cannot be over stated.  We thought she was the best thing ever, Debbie Harry was hot but she sang pop songs, Darby was a proper rock singer, she had more firepower than Tony Stark in a Jericho missile demo.  Brian ‘Too Loud’ McLeod was great and made it for me.  If Darby was just hot and could sing she wouldn’t have been in my record collection but with McLeod in the band is was a proper heavy metal band.

I have to say that watching this video again 35 years later it bought on a wave of deeply hidden subliminal psychological scars….. good scars.  I forgot how hot this chick was!  She knocks the crap out of Pat Benetar and its possible that my entire high school year spent their youth searching for Narby Mills without even knowing it.  Anyway, watch the video, she is awesome \m/

James Daubeney

Faithfully

Steve Perry and Neal Schon of Journey perform on stage in New York in 1980. (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)

Journey

Journey were huge in the US, they epitomised stadium rock.  They hit a golden era between 1978 and 1983 when they released, in quick succession, Infinity, Evolution, Departure, Escape and Frontiers.  With the eye catching futuristic scarab beetle artwork on all their albums and a continuous string of hits they were pretty much hated by the critics and loved by everyone else.

One of the best video’s ever made by a rock band.  Very much like Bon Jovi’s wanted Dead or Alive which comes up later this video just showed another side to the whole ‘life on the road’ dynamic.  Basically it’s not all just sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, it’s more like planes, busses, missing your family and waiting to play.  

James Daubeney

Don´t Tell Me You Love Me

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Night Ranger

Night ranger had a huge hit with Sister Christian.  I wasn’t smitten though, it was a bit light for me at the time other than by the guitar solo.  Robin Gallagher played me albums before Midnight Madness and then I was completely blown away.  The twin guitar attack of Jeff Watson and Brad Gillis was one of the best around.  If you want to hear brilliant two hand tapping just listen to Night Ranger, masters of the art !

Night Ranger still to this day release good stuff.  Their 2011 release Somewhere in California was superb.  This track ‘Don’t Tell Me You Love Me’ showcases what they were like live in around 1985.  they had adopted the hair metal look but they were way more than that.  Night ranger are one of the best bands to come out of the ’80’s no fucking question about it. 

James Daubeney

Take Hold of the Flame

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Queensryche

Queensryche came out of Washington in the early 80’s and the release of their album The Warning heralded their arrival as a band to watch.  There was a lot going on  that album and I listened to it a lot but I just couldn’t quite connect in the way I really wanted to.  It was like I didn’t love it, except for ‘Take Hold of the Flame’ which was far away the best track.  They stumbled badly with Rage For Order and started dressing like pansies, the album was horrible.  Luckily for the world Geoff Tate went out one rainy night for smokes and saw a church on his way back.  Something made him go inside and once he sat down in those oppressive wooden pews he had an epiphany and the entire Operation Mindcrime album concept just popped into his brain.  It is not often I am grateful for the church 🙂

I posted this because they are such a good band live, the musicianship is first class and initially there was such good chemistry in the band.  Once they started to have internal problems it fell apart.  To my mind once Chris de Garmo left it was never the same.  I’ll celebrate Queensryche for 3 of the best albums ever made by any band and leave it at that. 

James Daubeney

Yankee Rose

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Dave lee Roth

Dave Lee Roth is a legend.  When I was growing up he was the first front man that I saw who was just larger than life.  Dave was the coolest, he dressed the best, he moved the best and he always had a killer chirp for the journalists.  The was a lot of criticism of his vocals and even the band didn’t rate him as a great singer.  I think he is just fucking fine.  Dave proved that even if he can’t sing as well as Sammy no-one cares, we just wanna hear Van fuckin’ Halen.  It was a sad day when they split up but then he went on to release Eat ’em and Smile so we got two great bands for the price of one.

This video is a masterpiece, you just have to get through the typical Dave intro bullshit or what I think the yanks call shtick and then you get to see the worlds best front man with the one guy that wouldn’t just disappear in Eddie’s shadow.  Steve Vai was well recognised by musicians before his time with Dave but after this album he got major international traction. 

James Daubeney

Wanted Dead or Alive

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Bon Jovi

I don’t give Bon Jovi more than a passing mention in The Story of Rock and Roll and it’s not because I didn’t like them, it’s really because they just got so fucking huge that they lost relevance to me.  Once you have dewy eyed twenty year old chicks getting excited about ‘Heavy Metal’ because of Bon Jovi it was time to build a big fucking moat between me and Slippery When Wet.  First time I heard Bon Jovi was when they did ‘Runaway’ and then I got big into their 2nd album 7800 deg Fahrenheit, the track Tokyo Road was proper rock ‘n’roll in 1985.

This was a classic Bon Jovi video, very much like the Journey video I included earlier it showed the other side of being on the road.  There are scenes in this video where you can see how, in unguarded moments, these guys are just burning out.  It also showcases my love affair with black and white, if they ran this video in colour it just wouldn’t have that same effect at all. 

James Daubeney

Dream Warriors

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Dokken

Dokken were a completely dysfunctional band, they could not get on at all.  They made some great music but I could always feel that lack of cohesion and the fact that they hated each other just held them back.  For me there was only really one reason to like Dokken and that was George Lynch’s guitaring.  I always wish George had been in another band but who knows maybe George is actually the problem.

Getting this song onto the soundtrack of Nightmare on Elm Street 3 gave Dokken a huge boost.  They really had a great opportunity to move up to the next level and they fucked it up so this a good example of how difficult it is to be successful if you don’t work with people you like or respect.  This is a fun clip, typical of MTV at the time but I just like watching George come through the wall with Mr Scary. 

James Daubeney

Sweet Child O’ Mine

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Guns n'Roses

Guns ‘n’ Roses are well covered in The Story of Rock and Roll.  They were a phenomenon at a time when the word needed some heroes.  While grunge slayed hair metal it was Guns ‘n’ Roses and Pantera who kept the metal alive.  Appetite was a force of nature that couldn’t be contained, the planets aligned and that perfect chemistry between the classic line up could not be prevented from recording one of the probably 10 best albums of all time.  Despite themselves and their own efforts to sabotage their career with booze and drugs they were just too good and they burnt like a fucking supernova for 5 incredible years.

”Purely thanks to rock ‘n’ roll instinct I was walking past the lounge at the folks’ place and I heard this most astounding guitar riff.  A sort of arpeggiated D major chord thing.  I looked at the TV and saw a guitarist, all hair and top hat, in a leather jacket, Gibson Les Paul slung low playing this amazing riff.  The whole video was in black and white, and the other guitarist, jet black hair, smoke dangling, black mirror shades, looked like he was straight out of the Stones.  Next thing it’s Axl, bandana, sunglasses on top of his head, dancing like a girl, effeminate hand gestures, swaying like he is at the scout hall disco dancing to Hall and Oates.  Fuck!  Not this oke.  Then he starts singing.  I had my ‘Saul who became Paul getting blinded on the road to Damascus’ moment.  I saw the light.  I had not realised just how great this band actually were”.  The Story of Rock and Roll – James Daubeney

James Daubeney

Don’t Know What You Got (Until It’s Gone)

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Cinderella

Cinderella were great at the time, they had some cool stuff but they didn’t really have the charisma of some of the other bands.  The one thing Cinderella did have was the voice of Tom Keifer.  He just has a certain tone when he starts to belt it out that gives me goose bumps.  He put out a great solo album The way Life Goes in 2013, check it out it is pretty good.

This is a typical power ballad that all these bands around at the time were so good at.  It is a big part of why the chicks went crazy.  Long Cold Winter was a very good album and got a lot of air time at my place.  This video is a bit drippy and it’s the kind of MTV fodder that made Aerosmith huge again.  If it wasn’t for this kind of stuff we would not have had Metallica smashing down the door to go in the opposite direction so let us be grateful. 

James Daubeney

Love Song

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Tesla

Tesla were part of the hair metal scene just by virtue of being around at the time.  The Stranglers had the same problem with being considered punk and getting lumped in with the negative side of the movement.   To me Tesla were far better than most of the other bands around in the 80’s.  I have no doubt that if they had formed in 1970 they would have been as great and as successful as they were in the 80’s.  They were top class musicians and they wrote fantastic songs.  Their album Five Man Acoustic Jam predated the whole MTV Unplugged format and is one of the finest acoustic albums ever made.

What a great fucking video.  I never saw this at the time, I never watched much TV in fact I didn’t even own one.  I played The Great Radio Controversy so many times the CD player knew it off by heart.  I didn’t even have to put the disc in anymore, it was burnt into the circuits.  watching this reminds me of those golden years when Metal ruled the world.  I would urge anyone who doesn’t know Tesla to dig in, they were a cut above the other hair metal bands and that is one of the reasons why they are still around today.  Fucking LOVE Tesla. 

James Daubeney

I Remember You

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Skid Row

Skid Row were probably my favourite hair metal band.  They were a lot heavier than the other guys and the combination of the twin guitars of Scotty Moore and Dave ‘the Snake’ Sabo gave us some of the coolest, most emotional guitar solo’s ever.  And then there was Sebastian Bach, what can I say, a bit like Axl when it came to the spoilt petulant primadonna stakes but what a fucking voice.  He is without a doubt one of the best post Halford, Dio, Dickinson vocalists of all time.

I would play Skid Row to my mates whenever it got really late and a lot of beers had been consumed we always got stuck on this song because of the guitar solo’s that start at 02:40 on the clip, that and listening to Seb belt it out.  Skid Row, God Size, it doesn’t get much better than this \m/ 

James Daubeney

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

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Warrant

Warrant were the prototypical 80’s hair metal band.  They had it all – the look, all bright colours and make-up, the big hair and pretty faces and they certainly had the songs.  Through a combination of relentless touring and MTV saturation bombing they rose to great heights in the late 80’s and this culminated in the release of their wonderful second album Cherry Pie.  Unfortunately it was pretty much all downhill from there.  With the advent of grunge all the hair metal bands were dead in the water within 12 months and then tragically lead singer Jani Lane died of acute alcohol poisoning in 2011.

‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ is a fantastic track, the intro swamp blues guitaring was played by Jani’s brother and it set the song up for a huge barrage of heavy guitaring when the song kicks in properly at 1:04 in the video.  This needs to be turned up loud. 

James Daubeney