Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 3/15/18
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)
DEEP PURPLE – “Burn” (1974)
Like many, when I think of Deep Purple, my thoughts immediately gravitate towards the classic work of the Mark II lineup (Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, and Ian Paice). However, in recent years, my appreciation for the Mark III lineup (featuring David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes) has grown by leaps and bounds. This is particularly true of the title track of the band’s eighth studio album, Burn.
Back when Burn was released, Coverdale was still a relative unknown entity. It’s hard to think of him now in those terms because of his longevity and status among the elite hard rock vocalists of all-time. The incredible work that he’s done with Whitesnake over the years (including a recent remake of “Burn”) speaks for itself.
For many years, classic rock radio has beaten to death so many of the Deep Purple songs with the Mark II lineup that you start to forget that this band has had numerous incarnations. I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but songs like “Burn” have been vastly underrated in America.
“Burn” has everything that you want in an epic, classic, bluesy, hard rock song…a high octane pace, powerfully memorable riffs and solos, the majestic tones of the Hammond organ, and of course, the soaring, soulful vocals of Coverdale. Every member of the band shines individually in their own way on “Burn,” yet it’s the cohesive chemistry of the band that makes this a song for the ages.
DAVID COVERDALE – “Blindman” (1977)
With most of my formative years as a rock music fan coming in the late ‘70s and ‘80s, it feels like Whitesnake has always been a part of my life. To be honest, I had always just assumed that David Coverdale started the band right after leaving Deep Purple.
I never gave the name of the band much thought. If not for hearing “Blindman” for the first time recently, I probably still wouldn’t know the origin of the name. It just so happens that White Snake (two words) was the name of Coverdale’s 1977 debut solo release (although the song title on the album is spelled the same way as the band). Before settling on the Whitesnake moniker, the band was originally billed as “David Coverdale’s Whitesnake.”
By and large, a generation of fans were introduced to Coverdale in the mid-‘80s when Whitesnake had back-to-back smash albums. The hits on those albums were mostly either anthemic rockers or power ballads. Coverdale did both as well as any singer in rock, but there is another side to him that you hear on “Blindman” that is equally impressive.
Justifiably, Coverdale has always been mentioned alongside Robert Plant. The two bear some similarities in both appearance and vocal style. However, an unexpected comparison to another legendary vocalist came to mind when listening to “Blindman” several times over…Chris Cornell. Of course, Cornell was just shy of his 13th birthday when Coverdale’s debut solo album came out, so it’s safe to say that he was not influential in this case.
If you’re a fan of Coverdale and Cornell, but aren’t familiar with this solo effort, you’re likely to find “Blindman” to be a brilliant hidden gem. It’s a soul-penetrating, bluesy masterpiece that blends the sounds of both of these legends into one memorable track.
SUZANNE BRACKEN – HRD Music Scout
HEART – “Little Queen” (1977)
As a girl growing up in the 1970s, Heart’s music resonated heavily with me (and a whole generation of female fans for that matter). Whenever I listen to them, I think of both hope and infinite possibilities. With their guitar driven songs, powerful lyrics, and Ann Wilson’s impeccable vocals, Heart kicked down the doors for countless other women in rock. Watching the talented and gorgeous Nancy Wilson on guitar has always served as inspiration. I’m not exaggerating when I say that watching her back in the day was the coolest thing ever to me!
Heart’s second album, Little Queen, is what firmly solidified their place as a band with staying power, and not just a one hit wonder after “Magic Man.” For starters, the album cover – featuring the Wilson sisters in all of their Renaissance glory – is simply stunning, iconic, and the most memorable of their lengthy career. I love all of the songs on the album but, for some reason, I always tend to go for the heavier tracks.
Although “Barracuda” is the single that got all of the attention, the title track is one that grabbed me with that great opening riff. To me, “Little Queen” is the true killer cut of this album. It has it all…Ann’s strong vocals, great guitar work, and those rollicking drums.
I first saw Heart on a triple bill that included the Eagles (headlining) – along with the Little River Band – at Giants Stadium on an extremely hot Father’s Day in June of 1980. I felt so guilty leaving my dad on his special day, but being a music lover (as well the coolest dad ever), he waved goodbye to my girlfriends and me as he stood in our driveway waxing his Cadillac.
The fact that a bunch of 16-year old girls were allowed to go unchaperoned to a massive venue over an hour away, with thousands of people, in the days of no cell phones is now unimaginable. I personally would not have allowed it, but it was pretty commonplace back in the day. It was a memorable show for many reasons, and I am so grateful to have seen Heart just as they were beginning to peak.
I saw Heart again in June of 2013, some 33 years later at Jones Beach on Long Island. Once again, I went with music friends who are as passionate as I am. This time around, I was fortunate enough to see them with Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience. To see the Wilson sisters play their classic hits on a picture perfect summer night is as good as it gets in my book. It will go down in my memory as one of my absolute favorite shows…the music, best friends, and summer. What more could you ask for?
Surprisingly, I didn’t pay much more for the tickets than I did in 1980. Although our seats were near the very top of the amphitheater, the tickets (with fees) were only about $35 each. I am here to tell you (as I tell everyone else), that you need not spend hundreds of dollars to experience magic.
SLASH (f. IAN ASTBURY) – “Ghost” (2010)
Slash is a true rock legend. While I love him with Guns N’ Roses, his self-titled first album demonstrates just how strong he is on his own (as well as how adept he is at picking vocalists with which to record). I have played this album on constant rotation since it was released in 2010. I love and appreciate it more with each listen. To say that his choice of vocalists is superb is an understatement: Chris Cornell, Myles Kennedy, Ozzy Osbourne, Andrew Stockdale, and more. They’re all among my favorites, so this album is always a joy to listen to.
Although it received mixed reviews at the time of its release, I was thrilled to hear Slash perform with several other iconic artists on his debut solo effort. While I love each song on the album for different reasons, one of my favorites is “Ghost” featuring the mighty Ian Astbury (The Cult).
I have always felt that The Cult was one of the best bands to come out of the ‘80s. They are completely underappreciated in U.S., often times (unfairly) lumped in with the alternative bands of that era…Depeche Mode, The Cure, etc. Although they started out as a punk band, they picked up a much heavier sound in the late ‘80s with classic songs like “Love Removal Machine” and “Sweet Soul Sister” (to name a few).
Astbury’s voice is unmistakable, and for my money, one of the best in hard rock. Slash’s guitar work complements Astbury’s vocal style in a way that makes it sound like a spot-on Cult song. I would love to hear them record together again in the future, but I have a strong feeling that this may be a one-time venture.
At the end of the day, I love Slash so much with Myles Kennedy (with whom he has continued to record and tour with), that I would be thrilled if he continued performing with him forever.
Although I mentioned earlier that concert experiences don’t have to be expensive, I did pony up a small fortune to see Slash with GNR at Madison Square Garden near the end of their Not In This Lifetime tour in October of 2017. Over the last few years, I have often opined that I prefer the Slash/Myles combination over his work with Guns N’ Roses.
However, I’ll admit that I had to eat my words because the GNR show was incredible. It brought me back in time to when they ruled the world 30 years ago. Because they sounded better than ever, I ultimately regretted not trying to get tickets to the earlier shows.