Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 3/16/17
Each Thursday, Hard Rock Music Time Machine takes a journey back in time to feature a variety of songs that date back as far as the ’70s.
Whenever possible, it will also contain interviews from featured artists discussing the inspiration and meaning behind their songs. On the last Thursday of each month, we will be doing special themes that feature songs based on specific categories or years.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Hard Rock Music Time Machine can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
KANSAS – “Point Of Know Return” (1977)
By 1977, Kansas had entered the mainstream with their hit “Carry On Wayward Son” (off of their 1976 release, Leftoverture). Though their progressive rock roots still shined through, Kansas transitioned to shorter songs that were more radio-friendly. The title track off of their 1977 release straddles the fence between progressive and mainstream rock. Clocking in at around three minutes, “Point Of Know Return” still offers up a nice progressive flavor, highlighted by memorable keyboard and violin parts.
Steve Walsh’s soaring vocals take center stage in this song with cryptic lyrics and a nautical theme. It’s been 40 years since this song was released, yet it still remains unclear what the reasoning was for using “know” instead of “no” in the title. I spent some time exploring fans’ opinions about the spelling (and meaning behind the song), but didn’t come up with anything concrete. However, I did find one well thought out theory that provided interesting food for thought (click here to read).
IAN HUNTER – “Ships” (1979)
When Hard Rock Daddy launched in March of 2013, I would have bet good money that Barry Manilow would never be mentioned on the site, but I guess I was wrong. I’ve always thought of music discovery as a never-ending journey that goes beyond new releases. A perfect example of this is when I heard “Ships” by Ian Hunter on satellite radio.
“Ships” was released in 1979, but I only heard it recently for the first time…well, sort of. As Hunter’s vocals kicked in with a David Bowie-esque delivery, the lyrics seemed familiar (even though I had never heard this version before). It wasn’t until hearing the chorus that I realized that this was the same song that Manilow made famous that same year. For nearly 40 years, I thought that Manilow had written the song, but it turns out that his version was a cover of Hunter’s. I have to imagine that this will be a cool discovery for many fans of Hunter and Mott The Hoople.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
FIGHT – “Into The Pit” (1993)
One of the biggest headlines in metal news back in the early ‘90s was Rob Halford leaving Judas Priest. The shock and endless conversations that I had with my friends and musicians lasted for months. Several months after his departure, I found the band Fight, and their debut release, War of Words. I was immediately hooked with its heavy thrash riffs and drumming and Halford’s screaming vocals. I think that I wore this CD out, and had to buy another one from the hours spent blasting this on my CD player with the windows down. Being the “small” band they were at the time, they ended up playing a small club show where I got to high-five Halford from the front row. If Halford never left Priest, Fight wouldn’t have existed, and I wouldn’t have had that experience. Needless to say, I’m glad that it happened the way that it did.
ROADRUNNER UNITED – “Abigail” (2005)
One of the best collaborations that I’ve ever heard is Roadrunner United, which was a project put together by Roadrunner Records to celebrate their 25th anniversary. The album consists of a few originals and lots of covers of Roadrunner artists performing together. “Abigail” was originally written and performed by King Diamond. For Roadrunner United, the team of Tim “Ripper” Owens (ex- Judas Priest), James Murphy (ex-Death and Testament), Jeff Waters (Annihilator), Paul Gray (ex-Slipknot) and Roy Mayorga (Stone Sour) teamed up to perform the King Diamond classic. It is probably one of the best covers ever recorded to this day. The level of musicianship these guys exhibit is incomparable. I still get chills listening to this.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
ALCATRAZZ – “Too Young To Die, Too Drunk To Live” (1983)
In 1983, Alcatrazz took the metal world by storm with their debut album, No Parole From Rock ‘n’ Roll. The band united two legendary talents: vocalist Graham Bonnet and Swedish guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen. Creative differences between the two and a desire to embark on a solo career meant that Yngwie would leave the band soon after. He was replaced by another guitar legend, Steve Vai, on the following studio album.
RAINBOW – “Drinking With The Devil” (1983)
Rainbow originally united guitar virtuoso Ritchie Blackmore with vocalist extraordinaire Ronnie James Dio, and later with Graham Bonnet. At about the time that Graham was recording “Too Young To Die, Too Drunk To Live” with his new band, Alcatrazz, his replacement was recording this ode to drinking with Rainbow. It comes from vocalist Joe Lynn Turner’s third and final album with the band, Bent Out of Shape.