Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 1/4/18
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)
BLACK ‘N BLUE – “Hold On To 18” (1984)
What better way to welcome in 2018 than with the most popular song that Black ‘n Blue ever released! “Hold On To 18” is an infectious, hair metal anthem about clinging to youth. Though their youth is a distant memory at this point, Black ‘n Blue was formed in 1981 by high school friends Jamie St. James and Tommy Thayer in Portland, OR.
Black ‘n Blue was originally called “Movie Star,” but changed their name to be more descriptive of their “in-your-face sound” and their denim and leather look. 1984’s “Hold On To 18” gave the band mass exposure (particularly on MTV), but the band’s first big break actually came a few years earlier when they were featured on a compilation album called Metal Massacre. The album also featured Metallica and Ratt.
Perhaps the greatest success associated with Black ‘n Blue is the band’s association with KISS. After Gene Simmons discovered the band from their self-titled debut, he became the producer for the next two albums. When the band eventually broke up, Thayer went on to become the tour manager for KISS. In 2002, he replaced Ace Frehley as the lead guitarist in KISS. The rest, as the saying goes…is “KISStory.”
ALICE COOPER – “I’m Eighteen” (1970)
For many who grew up on Alice Cooper’s music, being eighteen seems firmly entrenched as part of our youth. Time has a way of changing perspective. In the moment, being 18 years old can be looked at as a sort of purgatory between youth and adulthood. That’s the angle that Cooper took with the lyrics of the song that was his first breakthrough hit.
Aside from the lyrical content, “I’m Eighteen” captures the angst that Cooper felt with his signature, raspy delivery. The song would go on to become influential to bands in the hard rock, metal and punk genres. In fact, Joey Ramone wrote his first song based on the chord structure of “I’m Eighteen.”
The number 18 is a clear connection between this Alice Cooper classic and the Black ‘n Blue song (above). There is another connection that is somewhat surprising. Both have ties to KISS. The KISS connection to Black ‘n Blue is outlined above. The connection to “I’m Eighteen” comes in the form of a plagiarism suit that that was settled out of court over KISS’ 1998 song, “Dreamin’.”
KEVIN GRAYSON – HRD Music Scout
KILLER DWARFS – “Stand Tall” (1986)
One thing is for sure in life, never judge a book by its cover. Just because a band has an out-of-the-ordinary name, and likes to cut up and act crazy, doesn’t mean that they can’t make some seriously awesome “killer” music. Killer Dwarfs (stylized KiLLeR DWaRfS) is a Canadian heavy metal band that formed in Oshawa, Ontario in 1981. They are said to have an offbeat sense of humor, and love to have fun. All the members have taken on the surname “Dwarf”…Russ Graham (Dwarf) on vocals, Darrell Millar (Dwarf) on drums, Mike Hall (Dwarf) on guitar, and Ron Mayer (Dwarf) on bass. This is the classic lineup that produced the seriously great albums Stand Tall (1986), Big Deal (1988), and Dirty Weapons (1990). The band’s success in the late ’80s can be directly linked to opening for Iron Maiden. Maiden loved touring with Killer Dwarfs because of the pranks that the bands would play on each other on the road.
KINGDOM COME – “Get It On” (1988)
“Get it On” is a classic ‘80s hair metal song that still has that (something special) sound to it to this very day. Kingdom Come – from Hamburg, Germany – was formed in 1987 after the breakup of Stone Fury (who had the hit song “Break Down the Walls”). I have heard a lot of people say that the two bands sound very similar. They do, because they have the same frontman in Lenny Wolf. Wolf’s voice is (understandably) compared to Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant. Many called Kingdom Come a Led Zeppelin rip off, but I look at it differently. If you love Zeppelin, Kingdom Come gives you more good music to listen to. The band has released 13 albums together (with many lineup changes over the years). “Get it On” is off of the band’s 1988 self-titled album. In my opinion, it’s their best. Wolf stated in recent years that the band is done for good.