Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 12/29/16
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.
The final theme of the year is, unfortunately, very fitting – RIP 2016…A Tribute To Artists Lost This Year.
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)
EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER – “Lucky Man” (1970)
And so it goes. We end 2016 the same way that it began, and for that matter, carried throughout the year. Another rock legend gone too soon. This time, we say goodbye to ELP singer/bassist/producer Greg Lake, who passed away recently at the age of 69. To fully acknowledge Lake’s brilliance, “Lucky Man” was chosen as the ELP song to feature to honor him. Not only is it one of the most popular songs from this virtuoso progressive trio, it goes all the way back in time to the band’s debut album (although the song was written many years before the band’s formation).
Lake started playing guitar at the age of 12. Using the first chords that he learned, he wrote an acoustic version of “Lucky Man” that same year. Using improvised arrangements by the band, this signature song has more than stood the test of time.
Some of the most well-known/popular songs have been late additions to an album, “Lucky Man” included. The rest of the band didn’t like the childhood version of the song, and it was only worked on with Carl Palmer when another track was needed for ELP’s debut album. The lyrics of the song tell a story of a man who had everything, went to war, and then died…pretty deep for a 12-year old.
Having lost Keith Emerson earlier this year, Palmer is the lone living member of this legendary band. After learning of the passing of Lake, Palmer stated…
“It is with great sadness that I must now say goodbye to my friend and fellow band-mate, Greg Lake. Greg’s soaring voice and skill as a musician will be remembered by all who knew his music and recordings he made with ELP and King Crimson. I have fond memories of those great years we had in the 1970s and many memorable shows we performed together. Having lost Keith this year as well, has made this particularly hard for all of us.”
KING CRIMSON – “The Court Of The Crimson King” (1969)
A year before forming ELP, Greg Lake was a part of the original incarnation of King Crimson, one of the most influential bands in progressive rock history. The band’s debut album, In The Court Of The Crimson King, incorporated elements of jazz, classical and symphonic music, a departure from the blues-based influence of most other rock bands at the time. Although Lake didn’t compose this song, his haunting, charismatic vocals made it incredibly powerful and moving. The mood of the song was always tinged with sadness. That feeling is greatly magnified when you listen to it today knowing that Lake is no longer with us.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
THE BUSINESS – “Blind Justice” (1983)
Thrash metal, speed metal and a lot of metal genres would have sounded very different if it weren’t for the influences of punk rock and hardcore. One of the pioneers of Oi! (a subgenre of the punk movement) was a band formed in 1979 in London. The Business was fronted by Micky Fitz. Their songs were loud, political and chaotic. Throughout the years, the band continued to record and tour until the death of Fitz on December 1, 2016. The punk, hardcore, and Oi! movement has lost an innovator and a pioneer in the genre.
MEGADETH – “Hangar 18” (1990)
Another great musician we lost in 2016 was Megadeth’s Nick Menza. As a member of the band from 1990 to 1997, Menza recorded four albums with Megadeth, and was one of the best drummers in the band’s history. His unique playing style helped to shape and complement Dave Mustaine’s songwriting. He hit hard, was technical when he needed to be, and in a way, formed the image of a thrash metal drummer. I have played along with Menza’s drum tracks for 26 years; he was a big influence in my own drumming. The world will miss one of the best metal drummers in history.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
Y&T – “Mean Streak” (1985)
Leonard Haze was the original drummer for Y&T, from 1972-86, and again from 2002-2006. He also contributed vocals (both lead and backing) on some songs, and co-wrote some of the band’s biggest hits. He suffered in his later years from COPD. Still, he managed to stay active on the live music scene with his band Hazel Experience. Haze took the stage with his old bandmates in Y&T in both 2015 and 2016 when their tour passed through San Francisco. Hazel Experience had actually been scheduled to open for Y&T when he died.
This talented man co-wrote and performed on “Black Tiger,” “Hurricane,” “Forever,” “Rescue Me,” “Dirty Girl,” and perhaps the band’s biggest hit, this one – the title track from their fifth studio album.
BLUE OYSTER CULT – “Flaming Telepaths” (1974)
Rock producer Sandy Pearlman helped to found the band Blue Oyster Cult, and contributed heavily to many of their albums with both production and lyrics. He also worked with The Clash and many other bands, garnering 17 platinum and gold records. He was a poet, and on this song, as well as several others from Blue Oyster Cult’s third studio album, Secret Treaties, verses come to life from his 1967 collection of poems, “The Soft Doctrine of the Immaginos.”