Time for some more mid 80s action…
Bon Jovi after making some serious noise on their debut album released in 1985 the followup titled 7800 Fahrenheit. I bought it on cassette tape and to be honest something was missing. Oh yeah, the songs. Granted they had a couple of cool ones in Tokyo Road and In And Out of Love. Maybe it was the production sounding sterile as the tape lacked punch or maybe it was the fact that David Bryan sporting a tighter than a poodles perm back in 85 played the role of the tough guy in Only The Lonely video which destroyed any street cred Bon Jovi had built up the year before.
More fashion came from Dokken in the form of Under Lock And Key. Considering the cover looks ridiculous with there clothes and hairdos and what’s the deal with that prop that looks like a cardboard cut out of the Dokken logo between Don and George! See there’s proof of them hating on each other in 85. As goofy as the cover is the songs are brilliant. Unchain The Night, In My Dreams, It’s Not Love and the stellar The Hunter proved that Dokken could deliver the goods musically as the Lead and Backing vocals and the musicianship especially with Lynch on guitar proved that if you liked great hard rock it was Ok to be Rockin with Dokken all night long.
Jonno, Malcolm, and Angus kicked out the jams on Fly On The Wall. Lot’s of people go Blah Blah Blah the song’s aren’t there or it not as good as Back In Black(duh!) Blah Blah Blah but give it a spin as Johnson wails and tries to be heard over the riffs of Angus and Malcolm. I dig what AC/DC did in this period of the mid-80s as they did not give a Fuck. The title track is a kicker as is Shake Your Foundations. But some real as I call em Gems are found elsewhere like Stand Up, First Blood and the brilliant Playing With Girls where you can hear the feedback of the guitars in the studio as this tune smashes you between the eyes!
Just remember fellas…
Playing with girls gonna get
Playing with guns gonna get
Playing with fire gonna heat
Playing with me you’re gonna
Get the lot
W.A.S.P came out with there followup and that was The Last Command which was well. I dunno. I bought it as Wild Child and Blind In Texas were cool tracks for the time. But something was weird with this band. They kinda lost me. Maybe it was because Blackie ditched the Rack LOL. Maybe it was because it sounded like a real weak Quiet Riot album as Spencer Proffer produced it. Who knows man. I just lost interest which was a shame as I thought WASP was going to try and do the KISS 70’s makeup thing which WASP did but the problem was the songs by WASP were just not hitting me below the belt. Speaking of below the belt maybe Blackie should have hired Gene Simmons to write some lyrics you know the kind about putting a log in one’s fireplace!
After UDO and Crew knocked my socks off with 84s Balls To The Wall release. Accept comes storming back with Metal Heart. Metal Heart is a great record. Love that color scheme on the cover and even better are some of the tunes on this slab of German Metal. The title track crushes. Dig those big gang like backing vocals and man could these cats play. Accept hammered out cool songs like Too High To Get It Right and the slick yet effective Midnight Mover. But something funny happened with Accept as when they put there next album Russian Roulette they lost me. I borrowed a friend’s tape and gave it back and that was that. Not to fear I did return back to accepting Accept in 1989! (more on that one down the road)
Accept’s buddies from the homeland Ze Scorpions released the wickedly fantastic double gatefold sleeve World Wide Live which is a great spin. Matthias Jabs sizzles a bunch of well-executed bolts of brilliance on his guitar while singer Klaus tells all about Another Piece of Meat. Such a great double live album that is kinda forgotten and that’s because of Mighty Maidens Live After Death came out the same year. Scorps though shine on this album.
Another live album that came out that year was Triumphs Double Live Stages release which no one ever talks about which is a shame. Rik Emmett/Gil Moore and Mike Levine cranked up some rock and put out a bunch of greatest hits which were recorded live and when Triumph opens Stages with the classic When The Lights Go Down you will stand up and take notice as Rik steals the show with his guitar work on this album as he’s a freak on the 6 string. Also, love the track Rock N Roll Machine as Gil sings for his supper and Rik goes off on the guitar! Triumph tacked on a couple of studio tracks that were ok but the real meat and potatoes of this album is the live portion.
Coney Hatch put their noses to the grind and came out with the brilliant under the radar Gem of an album titled Friction. The album tanked as the record company did squat for them and Coney never recovered. A shame really as Friction at certain times may be my favorite Coney album. This Ain’t Love and the stellar She’s Gone are two wicked tracks that you need to here asap!
Gene/Bruce/Eric and one of the goofiest dressed dudes ever to be photographed on a back cover Mr. Stanley unleashed what took me about 35 years to realize that Asylum was better than the 4 tracks I had originally thought off. I reviewed this a month or so ago so I don’t want to say much more than Uh All Night!
Rush continued there Platinum-selling ways with the release of Power Windows which sure has keys on it but when Rush powers down to that trio format like Alex Lifeson on his wicked solo on The Big Money all bets are off as Alex along with Geddy and Neil tell us all that they rule the world of Power Trios! On a side note, I miss these guys!
Ratt N Roll in 85 was alive well and Ratt continues crafting cool horny tunes of rock and releases the stellar Invasion of Your Privacy which has Stephen Pearcy on one tune telling us You’re In Love followed by the next track where Steve-o tells use to Never Use Love. This album sounds awesome still in 2020 as I spun it a few weeks back and it still sounds superb! No sophomore slump here folks as this is one fine slab o Rock!
Ok, what happens when you mix a smooth as silk Rock Crooner with two Duranies and cool as Funk Drummer! You get The Powerstation a supergroup that was SUPER. This album blew me away as the two Duran’s John and Andy Taylor could zip n zag on their instruments. John especially slapping that Bass and locking in with Tony Thompson on the drums. Add Andy’s very rock-like guitar not overplaying and Robert Palmer delivering his cool swagger of a voice the Powerstation was a supergroup that I could handle. Such a bummer Palmer exited after the debut worked its way up the charts.
We want to multiply, are you gonna do it
I know you’re qualified, are you gonna do it
Nikki Sixx dug in his bag of trixx and came out with an album that has split the fanbase over the years. Think of Theatre of Pain as Crue’s Elder album. Unlike Kiss, though Motley sold a few million copies of the Theatre of Pain album where The Elder hit the skids quicker than a turd hitting toilet bowl water. Looking back to 85 when this album dropped, Crue was huge.
On the cover of all the magazines, we bought the kool-aid coming from the jug of Nikki Sixx. Funny as how much I got into this record upon release it kinda fell off the radar more quickly which was surprising considering it was a Crue album. The first single Smokin in the Boys Room was ok, not great and I think what saved Theatre of Pain from hitting the used bins was Home Sweet Home. Big Piano intro followed by tune ramping up during the guitar solo followed by Big Piano as the song ends. I will add the video for Home Sweet Home was cool with all that live footage which basically was a commercial for the tour which we all lapped up. To this day Home Sweet Home is a defining momentum swing for an album about to tank in 85. Just like KISS in 76 when Destroyer was sliding down the charts outcomes Beth and guess what? Yup, Beth gave Destroyer a new lease on life.
In the bigger picture though even though Nikki was following trends at the time I give him credit as he did put out some cool tracks like Louder Than Hell, City Boy Blues, Use it or Lose It and what I would consider a Top 5 written Sixx song in Keep Your Eye On The Money which is a well-executed Crue track. Not as bad as an album as I thought. So much so I picked it up used on vinyl and enjoyed it except for the cover tune. ( my opinion of that has not changed in 35 years).
Thanks for reading along. Coming soon 1986!