Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 1/18/18
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)
PAT BENATAR – “Hell Is For Children” (1980)
My original intention was to feature this last week in celebration of Pat Benatar’s 65th birthday. As is often the case, life (or in this case death) derails best laid plans. Last week, instead of celebrating the birth of one of my favorite artists of all-time, I shifted gears and focused on the music of “Fast” Eddie Clarke after learning of his passing.
Through the years, there have been countless female artists that I admire, but the one that started it all for me was Benatar in her 20s. Since I’ve already featured the song that introduced me to her (“Heartbreaker”) in this forum, I decided to choose another favorite from her early days.
I had the good fortune to meet Benatar and Neil Giraldo (her husband and partner in music) back in the 90s. They more than lived up to expectations. It’s not surprising that these good people wrote such a powerful song about child abuse. Though Benatar delivers the song as if she was tapping into a personal life experience, “Hell Is For Children” was actually inspired a series of articles about child abuse that appeared in the New York Times.
Benatar and Giraldo did much more than write a song about their feelings about child abuse. They took action, and continue to do charitable work to this day.
My admiration for Benatar began in 1980 when I was in grade school. It has only grown since then. If you ask me, her powerful style helped to blaze a trail for the many of women in rock today. Though it’s sad to say, the poignant message that was emotionally delivered in 1980 on “Hell Is For Children” still holds true today.
P!NK – “Me And Bobby McGee” (2003)
Although Janis Joplin didn’t write “Me And Bobby McGee,” she did such a perfect rendition of it that it seems almost sacrilegious for someone else to try and do the song justice. P!nk may be known mostly for her work as a pop artist, but make no mistake, she can absolutely rock with the best of them. I hope that she does an entire rock album one day.
Just like Joplin’s version, P!nk’s interpretation of this Kris Kristofferson classic is carried by emotive vocals over a simple acoustic guitar. This was recorded live on a show called AOL Sessions. The vocals sound so flawless that you may wonder if they were enhanced by technology. Any notion of that is quickly dispelled when you hear P!nk’s devilish laugh at times during the song.
JORDIS UNGA – “The Man Who Sold The World” (2005)
I can’t say that I’ve been blown away by too many vocal performances on reality competition shows. I’ve been impressed at times with people like Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry, but from a rock perspective, the pickings have been incredibly slim. She has never gotten the name recognition of the aforementioned artists, but Jordis Unga’s performances on 2005’s Rockstar INXS were simply mind-blowing.
Although she instantly became one of my favorite female vocalists, I did not want to see her win the competition and become the lead singer of INXS. With all due respect to INXS, her voice is too majestic and unique to be limited by the band’s catalog of songs.
“The Man Who Sold The World” was originally written and performed by David Bowie, although a generation of fans probably think that it was actually a Nirvana original. Nirvana made the song their own, and it is still memorable to this day, but my favorite interpretation of the song to this day Unga’s.
Everything that she did on the show was amazing, but there was something hauntingly beautiful about her version of “The Man Who Sold The World” that moved me deeply. Do yourself a favor and check out all of her performances. You will NOT be disappointed!
KEVIN GRAYSON – HRD Music Scout
KILL DEVIL HILL – “Strange” (2012)
I absolutely can’t believe that Kill Devil Hill has flown under the radar of most hard rock fans. These guys make amazing music and just flat out rock. Kill Devil Hill is a hard rock and heavy metal supergroup started in 2011 by drummer Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell and Dio), bassist Rex Brown (Pantera, Down), guitarist Mark Zavon (40 Cycle Hum), and lead vocalist Dewy Bragg (Pissing Razors).
The band is named after the town of Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina, a place that is renowned from the pirating days. To date, the band has made two incredible albums together, both of which have a very similar sound. If you have been looking for an album to listen to that rocks from the first song to the last, then both Kill Devil Hill albums are for you.
“Strange” is off of their self-titled debut. After the making of the second album – Revolution Rise – Appice decided to leave the band because of scheduling issues surrounding his other projects. The band hired former Type O Negative drummer Johnny Kelly to replace him.
The recording of their third album has been put on hold for the moment because of side projects by members of the band. Brown has started his own solo project, and Bragg is fronting two new bands (Day of Errors and Smoke Hollow). Hopefully, the third album will be finished sooner rather than later.
VINNIE VINCENT INVASION – “Boyz Are Gonna Rock” (1986)
Some say that Kiss’ best years came when Vinnie Vincent was named as the replacement for Ace Frehley. I disagree! While I think that Vincent did a great job, in my eyes, there is nothing better than the original lineup.
After Kiss and Vincent parted ways, he launched a solo project called Vinnie Vincent Invasion in 1984. He recruited some big names to round out the band, including bassist Dana Strum, drummer Bobby Rock, and former Journey frontman Robert Fleischman on vocals.
It’s amazing what gems a little research can uncover. I had no idea that, although Fleischman was the singer on the band’s self-title debut, he was never a member of the touring band. He left over a contract dispute.
At the time of his exit, Invasion was recording a video for the song “Boyz Are Gonna Rock.” They quickly replaced Fleischman with Mark Slaughter, who ended up lip syncing the words to the song in the video.
Slaughter would carry the vocal duties for the second and last album, All Systems Go. After Invasion dissolved, Vincent would go into hiding and not show his face again. He is said to be making his first public appearance in 21 years at the Atlanta Kiss Expo this month.
KURT ARFT – HRD Music Scout
KISS – “Unholy” (1992)
I have been a Kiss fan since 1978 when I went over to my friend’s house and listened to his brother’s vinyl records. Kiss was larger than life to me, real life comic book heroes I thought. I have bought every album that they have released since I was old enough to go to the record store, including Revenge.
I remember going to the record store, grabbing the cassette tape, and plopping down my $9.99 on the counter on the day that it came out – May 19, 1992. I ended up having to buy three copies of that album in the same year because I wore the hell out of it.
“Unholy” is one of the most ominous, heavy, badass sounding opening tracks on any album. It was written by Gene Simmons and Vinnie Vincent, who co-wrote two other tracks on the album. This track set the tone for the entire Revenge album. I dubbed Simmons as Demon 2.0 because he reinvented the Demon on this album.
“Unholy” was the first song that Simmons sang lead on since “I Love it Loud” in 1982. It was also the first album with new drummer Eric Singer. He replaced Eric Carr (RIP), who had passed on in the latter part of 1991.
As always, the band’s look was cohesive with black leather and studs. Some of the best playing on the record was by guitarist Bruce Kulick, and of course, Paul Stanley (Starchild 2.0).
Dare I say this was Kiss’ best non-makeup album? It was for me. I really wish that they would’ve stayed on this path and kept this lineup together longer.
Another great thing about this album is the production of Bob Ezrin, bringing the old team back together again. What really sealed the deal for me was the video for this song on Headbanger’s Ball. It kept in step with the dark and ominous tone of the song.
Revenge went on to be certified gold in July of 1992. If I made a Top 100 albums list, this one would definitely be on it. Another great chapter in KISStory!
MOTLEY CRUE – “Primal Scream” (1991)
Coming off of the band’s best (and most successful) album, Dr. Feelgood, Motley Crue put together a greatest hits compilation called Decade of Decadence 81-91. “Primal Scream” was one of three new tracks featured on the album. They hit it out of the park with this one!
Both Nikki Sixx and Mick Mars proclaim that this may be the best Motley Crue song ever written by them. “Primal Scream” sealed the deal for Motley Crue, putting them at the top of the heap as one of the greatest rock ‘n roll bands of all time. To this day, Motley Crue holds a special place in my heart. They made me want to pick up a bass and become a rock star.
“Primal Scream” was released on October 10, 1991, and was put into heavy rotation on radio and MTV. There was also an uncensored version of the video that featured a scene with a full frontal nude women, but it was edited out for MTV.
Vince Neil sounded and looked amazing, and Motley Crue were at the top of their game at this point. Enjoying the fruits of their labor (and having newfound sobriety), Motley Crue was a machine at this point in their career.
“Primal Scream” is so much fun to watch in concert. On The End tour, motion-activated streams of fire erupted from the movement of Nikki’s bass, while Tommy Lee’s bass drum thumped on your chest, and Mars’ guitar ripped right through you.
“Primal Scream” is a bare bones, meat and potatoes type of song. Nothing fancy, just pure rock ‘n roll. Sixx has said that the song was born from a book written in 1970 called The Primal Scream. Primal Therapy: A Cure For Neurosis (in addition to his own childhood).
This song is still a fan favorite to this day, as it conjures up memories of a good time and a good time for music. Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll. Or in my case…sex, booze, tattoos and rock ‘n roll.s that only attained minimal success in their heyday. This is mainly because they came out at a time where they were lumped in with all of the other bands of an era that was coming to an end. Still, their music lives on to this day.