Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 8/25/16
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.
Today’s theme is…The Year-1986.
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)
TRIUMPH – “Somebody’s Out There” (1986)
On September 11, 1986, one of my favorite albums of all-time was released, Triumph’s The Sport Of Kings. Like much of this vastly underrated band’s work, this album was filled with feel-good songs, “Somebody’s Out There” in particular.
At the time of the album’s release, I was celebrating a new kind of freedom that I had never experienced before. It was a time of innocence and hope for a limitless future. This song was the perfect soundtrack for the moment. Little did I know that 15 years to the day later, my life would be forever changed and innocence would be lost forever, but I digress.
Triumph had been one of my favorite bands throughout my childhood. While the band was huge in Canada, I was in limited company growing up in the suburbs of America, where the only Canadian power trio that anyone talked about was Rush. Although I was also a huge Rush fan, there was something cool about being a Triumph fan in America.
The tour for The Sport Of Kings was the only time that I got to see Triumph in a live setting, but it was a concert that stands out near the top amongst hundreds of others. The arena had a capacity of around 7,000. My friends and I arrived just before Yngwie Malmsteen took the stage as the opener, so we settled in at the other side of the arena (for general admission seating).
Just as Triumph took the stage, we started to weave our way towards the front. Although we expected to meet with resistance, we somehow managed to politely work our way to within 30 feet of the stage. I still remember Rik Emmett’s facial expressions to this day. A decade later, I would have an up-close-and-personal meeting with Gil Moore (a story for another day). When I think back to 1986, “Somebody’s Out There” is one of the first songs that comes to mind. Good times!
BOSTON – “Amanda” (1986)
For the most part, much of the music that defined my youth blends together into one nostalgic memory. However, there are a handful of songs and albums that represent a crystal clear moment in time as if it happened yesterday. Boston’s Third Stage is one of those albums. Perhaps it was the release of the first new music by the band after a lengthy eight-year period of darkness, or perhaps it was the vibe of the album which, though melodic, is tinged with melancholy.
It was the perfect album for the perfect moment in time. It was a time of change for me personally, and though it was mostly uplifting, there was also a hint of melancholy in dealing with some major changes. Any number of songs could have been chosen to feature, but “Amanda” is the one that captured that period in time more than any other.
I still remember sitting on a long bus ride as “Amanda” blared through the headphones of my Walkman as I anticipated a long-awaited reunion. Gazing out the window in the dark of night with the street lights whizzing by in a blur, it felt like I was living inside a video for the song. So much has happened over the past 30 years since that moment, but hearing it again makes me feel like I am re-living the moment. The power of song…
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
METAL CHURCH – “Watch The Children Pray” (1986)
Thrash metal was HUGE in 1986, due in large part to a backlash to the tons of hair metal bands popping out of the woodworks. One of the most underrated thrash bands was San Francisco, California’s Metal Church. The Dark was the band’s second album. It cemented their status in the thrash metal genre. Having toured with Metallica and Anthrax, Metal Church was one of the best bands in the genre to have released an album in 1986. The band has re-formed over the years and still tours to this day.
SLAYER – “Raining Blood” (1986)
1986 was a watershed moment for Slayer with the release of the legendary album Reign in Blood. “Raining Blood” is the band’s trademark song. From the thunderous thumping of the toms by Dave Lombardo, the opening riff of Kerry King and the late Jeff Hanneman to the screams of Tom Araya, this song is classic Slayer at their best.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
CINDERELLA – “Nobody’s Fool” (1986)
The video opened with two women in polka dot mini-skirts getting into their polka dot convertible. The hair and the fashions (for the models and the band) were so ‘80s, just like the great headbanging music. But it’s vocalist Tom Keifer who steals the show on this power ballad from Cinderella’s debut album, Night Songs. Kiss’s Gene Simmons had discovered the band, but couldn’t get them signed. Jon Bon Jovi later succeeded. Keifer most recently put out an exceptional solo album, 2013’s The Way Life Goes.
IRON MAIDEN – “Wasted Years” (1986)
This was the first of several hits from Iron Maiden’s sixth album, Somewhere In Time. Bruce Dickinson’s voice soars as always, and he is ably backed up on vocals by guitarist Adrian Smith, who wrote the song.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
FATES WARNING – “Guardian” (1986)
In 1986, prog metal was building a foundation far from the mainstream. Fates Warning, founded a few years before in Hartford, Connecticut, was a pioneer in the genre as they established their own success. Their third album, Awaken the Guardian, debuted in the top 200 where it stayed for four weeks. “Gurardian” was lauded as the highlight of the album. Fantastic guitar work (Jim Matheos/Frank Aresti) opens this epic heavy metal anthem about the sorrow and sacrifice of a protector. The changes-of-pace are excellent. The track is sung brilliantly by John Arch in what would be his final album with the band. The rhythm line of Steve Zimmerman on drums and Joe DiBiase on bass is outstanding. Give a listen to the entire album.
TESLA – “Changes” (1986)
Still going strong after 30 years, Tesla debuted in 1986 with one of the best overall albums of all-time, Mechanical Resonance. “Changes” is a deep cut (and my personal favorite). I love how the introspective opening builds up to an explosive entrance of the legendary hard rocking sound that they established so long ago. Jeff Keith, Frank Hannon & company are simply at their best from all aspects of music, lyrics and performance right up to the awesome finish.