Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 8/3/17
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)
JOURNEY – “Feeling That Way / Anytime” (1978)
It’s hard to think back to Journey before Steve Perry. With one of the best voices in the history of rock, Perry’s arrival helped to launch Journey into the mainstream. Prior to Perry joining the band, lead vocals were handled by keyboardist Gregg Rolie. There is no doubt that Journey’s success is due (in large part) to Perry’s stellar vocals, but there was a magical moment when the two shared vocals duet style on “Feeling That Way.”
One of the best feel-good songs ever written, “Feeling That Way” seems like a passing of the torch from Rolie to Perry. Not that Perry ever needed any help showcasing his incredible vocals, but the contrast between him and Rolie playing off of each other offers a unique perspective. Rolie’s soulful vocals are emblematic of classic ‘70s AOR, whereas Perry’s soaring vocals are representative of the revolution that would take place in the ‘80s. Adding to the magic of the song is the beauty of the arena rock vocal harmonies.
When most people think of Journey’s pinnacle, they naturally gravitate towards the band’s most successful release, Escape. While Escape remains one of my favorite albums of all-time, there is something special about “Feeling That Way” that few songs have ever captured. As a bonus, the song is almost always segued into “Anytime” whenever it gets played on radio.
Unlike most segues that rely upon an instrumental transition, “Anytime” comes in with powerful, a cappella vocal harmonies. Rolie handles the majority of the vocals, but Perry makes his presence felt (even in a limited capacity). It goes without saying that Neal Schon’s outstanding guitar work adds to the greatness of these two songs in a meaningful way.
DONNIE IRIS – “Ah Leah” (1980)
If not for MTV, there’s a pretty good chance that I would never have heard of Donnie Iris. Up until the time that I decided to feature “Ah Leah,” I thought that he was something of a one-hit wonder. Well, actually two hits if you consider his other MTV video for “Love Is Like A Rock.” It turns out that Iris has had a fairly lengthy career. His resume includes being a member of the band Wild Cherry (known for their mega-hit, “Play That Funky Music”).
“Ah Leah” is one of those songs that just puts you in a good mood when you hear it. With a distinct late-‘70s/early ‘80s vibe, this song takes you back to a time when the world seemed like a happier place. Following the formula of AOR music of the time period, “Ah Leah” features punchy guitars and sweet vocal harmonies enhanced by the keyboard sound that was prevalent at the time.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
TIMES OF GRACE – “Willing” (2011)
One of my favorite albums of all time was 2011’s Hymn of A Broken Man by Times of Grace. The band consisted of Adam D, Joel Stroetzel and Jesse Leach of Killswitch Engage, and Dan Gluszak and Matt Bachand of Shadows Fall. The music pushes the boundaries of metal with touches of metalcore and post-rock. The songs are soulful, full of emotion, and heartfelt, while still keeping the metal feel. The vocals are haunting at various points of the song, and the technicality of the music complements the lyrical content nicely. There isn’t one song on the album I feel is weak, but “Willing” is one of my favorites. Let’s hope the guys decide to write another album soon.
BRUCE DICKINSON – “The Tower” (1998)
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of Iron Maiden. Their contribution to the metal scene, timeless classic tunes, technical trademark sound, and production values appeal to metalheads all over the world. In reality, Bruce Dickinson’s solo projects were (by far) so much better than anything Maiden has done in the past decade. Case in point, 1998’s The Chemical Wedding. I was obsessed with this album when it first came out and listened to this entire album over and over again. Songs like “The Tower” grooved so hard that only an amazing vocalist like Dickinson can pull it off. The guitar riffs are powerful and memorable; the subject matter is so sophisticated and intelligent that it made reading the works of William Blake something cool. Round that out with the guitar virtuoso that is Adrian Smith, and you have a Dickinson album that is one of the best metal albums ever written.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
MAGNUM – “The Spirit” (1982)
Magnum is a British rock band formed in the ‘70s by guitarist Tony Clarkin and vocalist Bob Catley. They began as the house band at the famous Rum Runner nightclub in Birmingham (the same one Duran Duran would later call home). They achieved commercial success in 1982 with their third album, Chase The Dragon. All these years later, this song from that album remains in their live setlists.
MAGNUM – “Just Like An Arrow” (1985)
Two albums later the band put out another hit album, On A Storyteller’s Night. There are several great songs from that one, including the amazing title cut. This catchy number, though, was the first Magnum song I ever heard, and remains a nostalgic favorite.