Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 2/2/17
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.
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)
DEF LEPPARD – “Women” (1987)
When Def Leppard’s Hysteria came out 30 years ago, the world was a much different place. The album that launched Def Leppard into the upper echelon of rock acts remains their most successful release to date. One of the first singles released was “Women” – a song that goes back to the creation of the gender. It’s not exactly a song of empowerment, but that was then and this is now.
Fast forward to 2017…an anthem about women takes on a whole new meaning. There have always been political movements, but the common bond was never a gender. Many people in America thought that 2017 would be historic because we would have our first woman president. After a shocking election, 2017 is historic for women, but it is not because the glass ceiling was broken. Rather, it is historic because millions of women have been galvanized by troubling political times. They are poised to be the next populist group to make their voices heard.
Given the circumstances, it seems appropriate that Def Leppard’s “Women” comes from an album entitled Hysteria. This album offers proof positive that good things can come from troubling times, and that the seemingly impossible can be achieved with unwavering determination.
Hysteria is the first Def Leppard album to be released after drummer Rick Allen tragically lost his left arm in a car accident. Rather than finding a new drummer, the band stuck by their bandmate as he learned to play drums with one arm.
The tour to support Hysteria featured Def Leppard playing in the round. This gave the audience a unique perspective that is rarely seen in rock and roll. I still remember seeing this tour. We were seated on the side of the stage that allowed us to see backside of Allen’s drum kit. It was awe-inspiring to watch. It seems impossible, but losing an arm arguably made Allen and even better drummer than he was before.
If a one-armed drummer can become the star of the show, you have to believe that anything is possible. It gives me hope that the women of today will become the driving force for change in the future.
QUEENSRYCHE – “Resistance” (1990)
Opening for Def Leppard on many Hysteria tour dates was Queensryche. Keeping with the theme of the women’s movement, the band was touring in support of their 1986 release, Rage For Order. It wouldn’t be long after that Queensryche would release their epic, politically-charged concept album, Operation: Mindcrime. While Mindcrime is the quintessential Queensryche album for die-hard fans, the band garnered their most commercial success with the follow-up album, Empire.
Although the title track of Empire featured Queensryche’s political views front and center, most of the other songs tackled the more customary rock theme…matters of the heart. However, one other song stayed with the political theme, and seems particularly poignant today – “Resistance.”
The title of this song has become a battle cry for the opposition to the current administration of the United States. A lifetime ago, “Resistance” was merely one of the deeper cuts on an album filled with hits. Today, it represents something much more meaningful.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
SUICIDAL TENDENCIES – “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow” (1988)
In my opinion, the first thrash metal album released by Suicidal Tendencies was 1988’s How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can’t Even Smile Today. The band’s first two albums were rooted in punk and hardcore, but when this album was released, I was blown away by the sheer musicianship and thrash-filled style change. What made this such a breakthrough album? The addition of a rhythm guitarist to the lineup, the intense soloing of Rocky George and the addition of Robert Trujillo (Metallica) on bass. The songs became more lengthy and structured, and the sound quality was highly polished. This is one of the best thrash albums to be released in the 1980s.
JUDAS PRIEST – “Freewheel Burning” (1984)
When this song came out (off of Defenders of the Faith) in 1984, it shook the metal world and knocked us all on our asses. Sure, there were thrash metal bands playing that speed, but none that incorporated the speed of this song with the elements that Judas Priest displayed…Dave Holland’s drumming, Ian Hill’s thunderous bass, the heavy, fast riff wizardry of Glenn Tipton and KK Downing, topped off with the soaring operatic vocals of Rob Halford. This was unheard of before “Freewheel Burning.” This song always takes me back to my middle school years, sitting at the back of the bus with a boom box blasting it. I memorized every drum fill, every screech of the guitar and every lyric while sketching the Judas Priest logo on my notebook.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
BRUCE DICKINSON – “Devil On A Hog” (2005)
When not fronting Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson has put out some amazing solo albums. This rocker comes from his 2005 album, Tyranny of Souls. His vocals are as powerful as ever, against a backdrop of driving guitars and pounding drums. The music is fierce, but always melodic and insanely catchy.
AIRTIME – “Headstream/River Runs Deeps” (2007)
Airtime saw guitarist/vocalist Rik Emmett of Triumph pair with Michael Shotton of Von Groove. They put out only one album together, Liberty Manifesto, but it is filled with everything that made them both stars. This one tiptoes in on acoustic guitar before racing into some heavier melodies, and shows that, twenty years after Triumph, Emmett could still belt out some powerful notes.