Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 7/7/16
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, the ’80s (the glory days of hard rock), hidden gems of the ’90s and hard rock/metal songs of the new millennium (as recent as a few years ago).
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)
LITA FORD – “Only Women Bleed” (1990)
Lita Ford’s “Only Women Bleed” is probably thought by many to be the original version, but it is actually a cover of song written by a man named Alice…Cooper that is. Because it was thought by many to be a song about menstruation, Cooper’s version received limited radio play. Protests by feminist groups caused Atlantic Records to release the single as “Only Women” back in 1975. If these feminist groups had actually listened to the lyrics, they would have realized that it’s actually a sad story of domestic abuse, not menstruation. One of the best female rock vocalists of all-time, Ford makes you feel like she wrote the lyrics from personal experience with her passionate delivery. It’s hard to say whether her interpretation has gotten more radio exposure because she is a female, or because it makes you feel the lyrics in a more meaningful way. Probably a combination of both, I suppose.
VIXEN – “Rev It Up” (1990)
Released the same year as Lita Ford’s “Only Women Bleed,” Vixen is another great example of kickass female rockers. The title track to the band’s sophomore release, “Rev It Up” is a high-energy, melodic rock anthem. Although the band was formed in high school (1973) by guitarist Jan Kuehnemund (who passed away in 2013), and released their first album in the late ‘80s, their catalog only includes four studio albums. Through the years, Vixen has gone through a number of lineup changes, breakups and reunions. Just before they were about to announce a reunion of the classic lineup in 2012, Keuhnemund was diagnosed with cancer, which delayed the announcement indefinitely. When she passed away in October of 2013, the rest of the classic lineup decided to carry on as Vixen to honor their founder.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
EXODUS – “The Toxic Waltz” (1989)
One of the best Exodus songs (that has always made me move) is “The Toxic Waltz” off of Fabulous Disaster. If there ever was a song that made me reminisce about the old days of being in the pit, this song is it. It’s heavy and thrashy, but at the same time, lighthearted and funny. Gary Holt’s guitar playing is blazingly fast and accurate, which is no surprise given that he now pulls double duty playing in Slayer as well. Watch the video, crank it up and move!
NUCLEAR ASSAULT – “Critical Mass” (1989)
1989 was a great year for thrash metal. Nuclear Assault was one of the bands that had a huge impact on the thrash scene back in the late-‘80s. Case in point, “Critical Mass,” off their third album, Handle With Care. Formed by Dan Lilker (who played bass for Anthrax) and John Connelly (on vocals and guitars), Nuclear Assault was chock full of intelligent lyrics, memorable riffs and head-banging tempos. This song and (more importantly) this album features thrash metal at its finest, and is a classic that stands the test of time.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
RAINBOW – “Can’t Let You Go” (1983)
Opening with church organs and then quickly shifting to more traditional hard rock instruments, this ballad highlights the yearnful vocals of Joe Lynn Turner against the signature riffing of Ritchie Blackmore. The band’s 1983 album, Difficult To Cure, was panned by some critics as too commercial, but all the best elements of Rainbow are there, from the musicianship to the melodies to the intense songwriting. Despite various lineup changes over the years, this was a worthy band in every incarnation.
BLACK SABBATH – “Born To Lose” (1987)
When most fans think of Black Sabbath vocalists, they think of Ozzy or Ronnie James Dio, but sandwiched between the two runs each singer made with the band, are three late-‘80s albums with the amazing Tony Martin. This hard rocker comes from his 1987 debut with the band, The Eternal Idol.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
OZZY OSBOURNE – “Hero” (1988)
“Hero” was a hidden track off of the original release of 1988’s No Rest For the Wicked, which featured Zakk Wylde in his debut (following the departure of Jake E. Lee). The guitar sound darkened quite a bit from Lee to Wylde, and we get to hear plenty of it in an excellent, lengthy solo on this track. Ozzy’s voice was well produced and still strong. The great band behind him featured bassist Bob Daisley and Randy Castillo on the drums.
HAMMERFALL – “Never Ever” (2005)
“Never Ever” is a great power ballad from Sweden’s Hammerfall, from their 2005 album, Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken. A departure from their aggressive fantasy and glory-themed tracks, this is a profoundly sad song. The mood is set with regretful lyrics sung with tremendous emotion by Joacim Cans, crying guitar work from Stefan Elmgren and Oscar Dronjak with a dramatic, heavy rhythm (Magnus Rosén on bass and Anders Johansson on drums).