Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 2/8/18
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)
CHEAP TRICK – “Surrender” (1978)
The beauty of music is that it can take you back to a place and time. For most songs, the moment in time is specific. However, in the case of “Surrender” (an all-time favorite), the song takes me back to different moments in time…
The first moment came four years after the song was released, and it had little to do with Cheap Trick themselves. Although I loved “Surrender” already, hearing Mike Damone sing it to the girl on the bleachers in Fast Times At Ridgemont High (while trying to scalp tickets) is a memory lives on to this day. [see video clip here].
Fast forward to around 2006. My teen years long behind me, now a father to a young son. Needless to say, my children were fed healthy doses of “my music” throughout their early years. Sadly, they’ve moved in other directions at this point, but I digress. When my son was around three or four years old, he used to sing the chorus of “Surrender” with the same enthusiasm as Damone did in Fast Times At Ridgemont High. It’s one of those signature moments that remind me of days gone by.
The band that has been with me since my youth is still with me today. “Long Time Coming” was one of the songs featured on Hard Rock Daddy’s Top 100 Hard Rock Songs of 2017.
RAINBOW – “I Surrender” (1981)
I was introduced to Rainbow in the summer of 1981 by a friend, and instantly fell in love with their sound. After seeing the video for “Can’t Happen Here” on MTV, I was hooked. Rainbow quickly became my favorite band. Unfortunately, the band wouldn’t last much longer. On the bright side, I still had a whole back catalog to enjoy.
Although “Can’t Happen Here” holds a special place in my heart to this day, as the years have passed, “I Surrender” has become my favorite song off of 1981’s Difficult To Cure. Joe Lynn Turner’s powerful vocals carry this high-energy, feel-good track. The crisp tightness of the band allows Ritchie Blackmore to sprinkle in his signature bluesy guitar riffs, playing off of JLT’s vocals. Don Airey’s tasteful, nuanced keyboard playing helps to create the uplifting vibe of the song.
One of my biggest regrets is not being allowed to go see Rainbow in 1982 at Madison Square Garden because I was too young. I never got the opportunity to see them before they broke up. I thought that I would get the chance to when Blackmore announced a reunion, but then he ended up being the guitarist in (what is essentially) a Rainbow cover band rather than reuniting with key members like JLT.
I did get to enjoy the next best thing, seeing JLT perform all of the Rainbow hits at a show on Long Island in 2016 [read full review]. His vocals are as brilliant as they were back in the day.
Blackmore would be wise to have an actual Rainbow reunion with JLT and other members who are actually a part of the history of the band. Even if it never happens (which is most likely the case), I know that I can enjoy songs like “I Surrender” and others by catching JLT whenever he comes to town.
KURT ARFT – HRD Music Scout
MR. BIG – “Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy” (1991)
On the opening track of their sophomore release, Lean into It, Mr. Big broke out the big guns, or should I say, cordless Makita drills. Guitarist Paul Gilbert and bassist Billy Sheehan took two cordless Makita drills, attached guitar picks to the ends of them, and in unison, played the solo you hear in “Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy.” I actually saw them use this outside-the-box playing in a live setting.
It’s obvious that Mr. Big has talent up the wazoo. Lead Vocalist Eric Martin’s voice has great range and tonality; Gilbert is one of the best guitar players on the planet; Sheehan is in a league by himself when it comes to bass players; and, Pat Torpey is no slouch in the drummer department (he’s played on some amazing records).
Mr. Big is Sheehan’s brainchild. Coming off of his departure from David Lee Roth’s band, he was ready for a new music venture, and put together some incredible musicians to form the band. Not only are they great players, but great songwriters as well. Their debut album was expectedly a showcase of their talents, but on Lean into It, they really upped their game in the songwriting department.
“Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy was just the tip of the iceberg. The album would garner mass attention and appeal, making them a relevant band in the musical landscape. They were no longer just considered great musicians, but now, great songwriters…the total package. To this day, Mr. Big is still releasing some pretty incredible music.
THE WINERY DOGS – “Fooled Around And Fell In Love” (2013)
It’s always a challenge for bands to take on someone else’s song and to do it justice, let alone pull it off and make it sound good. What The Winery Dogs did with the Elvin Bishop classic “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” is nothing short of amazing. I would put in my top 5 cover song performances of all-time. With their playing abilities, and Richie Kotzen’s incredible voice, The Winery Dogs took the song to an entirely different stratosphere.
Kotzen’s vocal performance on this is mind-numbing. This rendition comes from their live album, Unleashed in Japan. As far as I’m concerned, it is one of the highlights of the release. This was one of those magical moments captured live for the world to see. I have played it over and over again countless times.
This power trio is made up of three uber talented memebers whose individual accomplishments speak for themselves. They have really made an impact in a short amount of time with this band. In addition to Kotzen on vocals and guitar, the band also features bassist extraordinaire Billy Sheehan, and the insanely talented Mike Portnoy on drums.
What you see in the video is real and raw. It opens with Kotzen forgetting how the song starts, which brought smiles to the faces of his band mates who were clearly entertained by the moment. It’s a pleasure to watch how the band plays off of each other and feeds off of the energy of the crowd.
At one point during the song, Kotzen hits a crazy note. A celebration on stage erupted, with Sheehan throwing up his fist as if to say “Hell yeah man, that was frickin’ awesome!” If you really want to see something cool and magical, check this video out. I promise you that it will put a smile on your face and warm your heart. It makes the hairs stand up on my arms and the back of my neck.
SUZANNE BRACKEN – HRD Music Scout
RATT – “You Think You’re Tough” (1983)
Ratt’s first single off of their first self-titled EP, (which came out before Out Of The Cellar), features everything great about early ‘80s glam metal…Steven Pearcy’s snide vocals, great guitar riffs, and Warren Di Martini’s solo. It sounded rawer and somewhat heavier than their subsequent releases. This song is definitely underrated. I had actually never heard it until I started exploring some of their earlier stuff. It’s one of those songs that you’re glad that you found in your time traveling.
The video for the song is quintessential ‘80s…big hair, cameos by Ozzy Osbourne, Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee, the clothes, and even the Tower Records sign in background. This was just a glimpse of what was to come. Ratt’s videos have become iconic, and some of the first that you think of and associate with MTV in the ‘80s.
I love that Steven Pearcy is still out there touring as a solo artist, but even more excited about a recently announced 2018 Ratt tour. Should be fun times!
AEROSMITH – “Nobody’s Fault” (1976)
This song opens slowly and ominously, exploding into a full-on, in-your-face attack.
Without question, Aerosmith never sounded heavier than on 1976’s Rocks. No song in Aerosmith’s 40-plus years has ever sounded heavier than this one does. If you had to give just one example of metal Aerosmith, it would surely be “Nobody’s Fault.”
On “Nobody’s Fault,” the band is truly at the top of their game, firing on all cylinders with powerful vocals, heavy guitars, and Joey Kramer’s drumming, which never sounded better. It just all comes together here.
As we all know, after years of discord and substance abuse, Aerosmith went on to massive success as well as widespread pop appeal in the late ‘80s with Permanent Vacation and Pump. They also went on to record some of the most successful power ballads of that time period (even my Dad loves “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”). But I, for one, will always long for the days when Aerosmith rocked, and will never stop wondering what they would have sounded like if they would have continued in a heavy direction.