I got hold of Quiet Riot in early 1983 and it was the start of some golden years of metal. Their cover of ‘Cum On Feel the Noize’ went straight to the top of the charts and the anthemic album opener ‘Metal Health’ with it’s cry of ”Bang Your Head” must have been played out of the windows of a couple of million cars in 1983. It was a party band of note.
I got into this band while I was in Hornet, it was one of those songs that we were all trying to subliminally replicate. Songs like this were suddenly all over the US charts and guitar solo’s were king.
Tom Petty had been around for a long time, His breakthrough album Damn the Torpedoes was released in 1979 and he was a great favourite at high school. Tom Petty was one of the artists who really made some great video’s and the MTV explosion really benefitted him greatly.
Skynyrd were really a 70’s band and the matrics at school were listening to them when I first went to Potch. It was only after I finished school that I could actually afford to get some of these albums. Len and I used to sit in his pub and have a whole lot of toots mixing in all the brand new 80’s stuff like Quiet Riot, Q5, Night Ranger and Autograph with timeless bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Journey and ZZ Top.
ZZ Top are probably the least likely band to suddenly become international superstars after being around since 1969 and not really getting anywhere. While most bands were pretty much broken up or in the twilight of their careers the ”Little Ol’ Band from Texas” suddenly blew up like a supernova and sold 10 million copies of their album Eliminator.
John Cougar never wanted to be called John Cougar he wanted to be called by his real name John Mellencamp. The record company didn’t want to hear fuck all about John Mellencamp so he was marketed as John Cougar. It didn’t take long to hit the big time and as soon as his American Fool album went to No1 on the Billboard 200 he could pretty much call himself what he liked.
W.A.S.P. were designed to shock, their whole image was such that it was going to cause controversy. The buzz saw blades and the blood and songs Like ‘Animal (F__k Like a Beast)’ were certainly going to get a reaction from organisations from the PMRC. I am not a big fan of the video’s but the music was fantastic. The debut album W.A.S.P. was one of the heaviest albums I had heard at the time.
I heard the video for ‘fall of Rome’ when I walked past the TV when Pop Shop which became Fast Forward was on . I’d stopped watching because they were playing so much crap but when I heard the opening chords of this track it was a ”ain’t there one damn song that can make me break down and cry” moments. If you really want to feel the brilliance take a listen to his track ‘Ain’t it Always the Way’ and soak up the 2 or 3 minute guitar solo on the track, a perfect example of a ”Big Chill”
Jimmy Barnes was another discovery thanks to the record reviews in Scope magazine. Scope was the closet thing you could get to porn in apartheid South Africa, there were many people who were part of ‘the struggle’ in different ways and as school boys we ‘struggled’ to find pictures of chicks who didn’t have stars painted onto their nipples and we ‘struggled’ to get hear UK Punk Rock. The Nat’s had the country in a death grip of Dutch Deformed suppression and Scope was one of the things that made life a bit more pleasant. They had some really good album reviews and the second I read the review for Freight Train Heart by Jimmy Barnes I knew I had to get this album
Cold Chisel was Jimmy Barnes first band and I only got into them quite a few years later. They were massive in Aussie and basically nowhere else which is why Jimmy needed a solo career later.
I discuss the first time I heard Metallica in some detail in The Story of Rock and Roll. The fact of the matter is that Metallica was exactly what I needed to find in the early to mid 80’s when Bon Jovi were riding high with Slippery When Wet and the biggest smash of the year was Europe’s The Final Countdown. In the mid 80’s everybody was a metal head for a brief period and to those of us who grew up on this shit it was a bit annoying. It really needed a shake-up and no-one shook it up better than Metallica, Exodus, Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer.