Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 10/5/17
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)
Sometimes it’s about the music. Sometimes it’s about the personal connection to the music. This week, both of my choices are of the personal variety.
STYX – “Babe” (1979)
Music has a way of leaving an indelible mark upon us. It has the power to take us on a journey back in time to the good old days, to simpler times if you will.
Styx has been one of my favorite bands since I first heard them 40 years ago. They have, for all intents and purposes, helped to provide a significant portion of the soundtrack of my life. Their music and lyrics have connections that run deep for my wife and me. You’d think that “Babe” would be one of those songs. This beautiful love song does apply to our relationship in many ways, but by the time that we met, the song already had special meaning to me.
“Babe” was one of the nicknames that my dad had for my mom. Although he didn’t like much (if any) music made past 1964, my mom did like some of “my” music. This song was among her favorites for reasons that you might expect.
Ironically, one of the legendary disagreements with my mom (it became a running family joke) was about Styx’s Cornerstone (the album that features “Babe”). Not the album itself, but rather the t-shirt featuring the album cover on it. Clearly, there is nothing objectionable about the album cover, but back then, my mom equated black shirts with band logos as something that “dirtbags” wore.
I could have understood her objecting to the other shirt that I brought home that day, because it featured the cover of The Cars Candy-O album. That one is much more risqué, especially for a pre-teen.
My mom’s side of the family was visiting on the day that I bought both shirts at the local flea market. When I got back, she was furious with me. The only thing that broke the tension was my other family members making a joke about it. That joke lasted for years. It would probably be alive today under different circumstances.
Four years ago, I had plans to spend the day with my mom and family for her 70th birthday. A tragic turn of events took that away from all of us, leaving us “celebrating” in the hospital room where she never woke up.
Today, I dedicate the song that has always reminded me of my mom as she celebrates her birthday in heaven with my dad by her side.
VICTOR DE ANDRES – “Mandy” (2014)
While Styx was always considered to be “my” music, Barry Manilow was definitely my mom’s (along with my sister). As much as I respect Manilow’s musical accomplishments, his music isn’t exactly a fit for Hard Rock Daddy. Wanting to honor my mom’s birthday, I set out to find a cool cover of one of his songs. This was no easy task, but I did end up discovering this impressive, moving, instrumental version of one of his biggest hits, “Mandy.”
There is very little that I can tell you about this guitar virtuoso because all of the information is in Spanish. The translation of his bio gave me a much-needed laugh on a difficult day. Rather than try and decipher the Google translated version of his bio, I decided that it’s best to let the music do the talking.
If you know the song “Mandy,” you can hear the words in your head as De Andres makes the guitar sing. If you’re a fan of Slash, you will love this piece (even if you don’t know the original). I would suggest checking it out to see the comparison.
It’s hard to say how my mom would have felt about this interpretation, but without her inspiration, I never would have discovered this great guitarist.
Thanks Mom. Happy birthday in heaven! Always in my heart…
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
STRAPPING YOUNG LAD – “Relentless” (2003)
Every once in a while, a metal fan listens to something so heavy, that it is unimaginable to fathom anything heavier. Strapping Young Lad’s “Relentless” definitely falls into that category. Led by Devin Townsend (and featuring my favorite drummer of all-time, Gene Hoglan), the band explodes into a thrash-filled heavy growling feast of a song from the opening note to the last. Combining elements of death, thrash, progressive, and industrial makes Strapping Young Lad one of the most unique sounding bands in the genre. The band no longer exists, but Townsend is still going strong with numerous other projects.
MESHUGGAH – “Bleed” (2008)
To continue with my heavy mood, another song that comes to mind is Meshuggah’s “Bleed” (from their 2008 album, obZen). These progressive, technical, death metal pioneers open the song with such an impressive and heavy riff, I dare the listener not to move when they hear it. The band has influenced countless other bands in the technical metal genre with their weird use of polyrhythms, odd time signatures and syncopated riffs, that it’s sometimes hard to follow along. Yet, you can’t help but marvel at the band’s ability to play something so intricate. Strapping Young Lad has even inspired a whole another genre of metal and called it “djent.” Tomas Haake is another one of my favorite drummers of all-time, so it is no surprise Meshuggah is a band on the list of this drummer’s favorites.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
BABYLON A.D. – “Shot O’ Love” (1989)
Glam metal band Babylon A.D. formed in 1987 in the San Francisco Bay area and released their self-titled debut the following year. This favorite comes from that hit album. Still boasting all of its original members, the band will be celebrating its 30th anniversary next month with a new album, Revelation Highway, (due out November 10th).
MEAT LOAF – “Blind As A Bat” (2006)
Marvin Lee Aday, better known as Meat Loaf, recorded his first album in 1971 for Motown Records, but it was his 1977 hit album, Bat Out of Hell, that made him world famous. He parlayed that original album into a trilogy, concluding with Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose, (nearly 30 years later). This epic ballad comes from the final installment of the trilogy.