Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 5/11/17
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.
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)
HSAS – “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” (1984)
Because they only released one album (Through Fire), the supergroup known as HSAS is still unknown to many, even though the band features two rock and roll legends in Sammy Hagar and Neal Schon.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the release of the Procol Harum classic, “A Whiter Shade Of Pale,” it seemed like the perfect time to shine a light on one of my favorite albums of 1984.
Aside from the original, in my opinion, there is no better interpretation of “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” than the HSAS’s. There are few vocalists who can make you feel the emotion of a song like Hagar. That talent is on full display here during both the slower, moodier moments and the soaring, tortured ones as well. Like Hagar, Schon masterfully brings out the emotion of the song with sparse, nuanced chords and soulful, bluesy leads that make his guitar sing.
While “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” is being featured here because of the anniversary of the song’s release, this is a great opportunity to go back and discover an album (of original tunes) that is vastly underrated.
MARC BONILLA – “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” (1993)
Knowing that the 50th anniversary of the release of “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” was on the horizon, I went on a journey to find other interesting interpretations of this classic (besides the one from HSAS featured above). There were a number of cover versions to choose from, but none were nearly as vocally impressive as HSAS. Rather than showcase a version that “paled” by comparison, I decided to share an interpretation of the song that captured the magic in a unique way.
I stumbled upon Marc Bonilla’s guitar instrumental version of the song, and was immediately captivated by it. Interestingly, there is a (loose) connection to HSAS. Bonilla has worked with a number of artists, including guitarist Ronnie Montrose (of Sammy Hagar’s first band, Montrose).
There is a haunting (almost melancholic) quality to “A Whiter Shade Of Pale.” To capture the essence of the song, it is essential to create the same emotional stir that the original did. Bonilla does so in amazing fashion with this bluesy guitar cover.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
PANTERA – “5 Minutes Alone” (1994)
From Dimebag’s screeching guitar riffs to Phil Anselmo’s angry growls, the Pantera sound is unmistakable on “5 Minutes Alone.” The mark that Pantera left on groove metal (and the whole metal genre for that matter) is immeasurable. Pantera has influenced numerous bands in many subgenres of metal over the past three decades. Listen to 1994’s “5 Minutes Alone” and you will know why.
SHADOWS FALL – “Inspiration on Demand” (2004)
Labeled as one of the New Wave of American Metal bands back in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, Shadows Fall enjoyed their heyday during that time period. The melodic (yet powerful) vocals of Brian Fair, the thunderous intricate drumming of Jason Bittner and the guitar work of Jon Donais (coupled with their songwriting ability) propelled the Shadows Fall into the spotlight. The band has since stopped performing, with the members moving to other bands. Donais is now with Anthrax, and Bittner with Flotsam and Jetsam, but the sound and impact of Shadows Fall will remain in the metal history books.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
GRIM REAPER – “See You In Hell” (1983)
British metal band Grim Reaper formed in 1979 and, after beating out over 100 other groups in a Battle of the Bands, gained enough acclaim to release their first album in 1983. This title song from that debut embodies the band’s driving (but melodic) sound, while highlighting front man Steve Grimmett’s soaring vocals.
In recent years, Grimmett has been back on the touring circuit with a revamped version of the band, hitting all the old notes as if no time had passed. The band even released new material last year. Tragedy struck in January, though, as a leg injury interrupted a tour and ended in amputation below the knee. With a prosthetic replacement, the singer is recovering nicely and has begun to walk again.
GRIMMSTINE – “You’ll Never Know” (2008)
In 2008, Steve Grimmett teamed up with guitarist Steve Stine to form Grimmstine. They released only one album, but it’s full of amazing melodic metal, including this heart-wrenching ballad.