1986 was a real wild year in music and that comes down to one band basically that had all the makings of rock drama unfold right before our eyes!
That band is Van Halen and talk about a crazed bunch of events that started when David Lee Roth got fired (Dave says) or Dave quit as (VH says). Who knows for sure what went down but that year when Dave and Halen released there own albums in 86 I bought Rolling Stone religiously as they had every single mud sling between Dave and Eddie as Rolling Stone lapped up that cash cow as that magazine came out every two weeks so they were pretty up to date with stuff, unlike all the other mags I bought that came out monthly.
It was great reading I tell ya. The dislike towards each other was crazy and at times hilarious and in doing so drummed up a ton of publicity for both Roth and Halen. Still, though a lot of pretty cool albums came out that year that once again I emptied my bank account on.
Without further ado.
Kim Mitchell took his foot off the hard rock gas pedal and went a little north on Shakin Like A Human Being. Sure there was still some cool rock stuff like Get Lucky Girls and Boys and That’s The Hold but Kimmy and his sidekick Peter Fredette had some biggie tracks on MuchMusic( Patio Lanterns and Easy To Tame being two songs which shot this album beyond platinum in Canada). I will add that I picked this up on cassette tape that summer of 86 as it was in heavy rotation on my Walkman while I rode my bike to and from my summer job. Plus add the fact that Kim showed up to Tbay that summer as well and sold out our dump Gardens and put on a stellar show in front of myself, Tbone and John Young!
Those Patio Lanterns…
Another Canadian act that put out a really decent rock record was Honeymoon Suite who delivered a huge sounding album titled The Big Prize(Thanks to Bruce Fairbairn and Bob Rock) and also had the songs to back it up. Bad Attitude, Feel It Again, Wounded were wicked rock tracks. Another band that showed up to Tbay that year and sold out our dump Gardens and they were even using crazy lasers.
How about another act that rolled into Tbay and that was Gonzo himself the one and only Ted Nugent who was plugging his current release Little Miss Dangerous at the time. LMD was at best a dicey listen as the drums were all programmed. There were a couple of cool tracks like Take Me Away and the wicked Painkiller that just ripped as Ted’s guitar was jacked up on this album. Speaking of Jacked-up guitar. Ted that night live in Thunder Bay started off with a 5-minute guitar solo and that’s all I heard was GUITAR! IT WAS L-O-U-D! Ted had a killer band backing him that tour. It was safe to say Ted blew not only my ears out by Tbone’s and Jack Loafs as well!
AC/DC for many (but not me) had skidded out of the spotlight somewhat but a Greatest Hits set and some new tracks added so guys like me would buy helped resurrect AC/DC back up the charts in 86. Who Made Who was a soundtrack album to the Stephen King movie titled Maximum Overdrive which was goofy. What was not goofy was the song Who Made Who which has the Dacca boys firing on all cylinders. The rest of the albums had a few instrumentals and some other classics as well as Sink The Pink! (ha) Cool to see Ride On here so Bon Scott is featured as well as he should be,
Metallica came out of the gate fast and went faster with Master of Puppets which is still to this day is one fine album when you want a shot of an adrenalin rush. Opener Battery sets the pace. One of my biggest rock blunders was saying “Na” about going to see Ozzy and opener Metallica in 86 a good 3-4 months before Cliff Burton was killed. Looking back that was a dumbass move on my part. My line of thinking was I’ll catch em both on the next go-round.
Live and Learn.
Turbo came from the Judas Priest camp and was a pretty decent album. A little light and silly in some spots (Parental Guidance) but Locked In Private Property, Turbo and the brilliant never talked about Reckless are top-notch tracks. Turbo had Priest borrowing ZZ Tops‘ synth and driving it headfirst into a Marshall Stack. Turbo kinda freaked out some of the diehards but considering how much I love Point of Entry I’m ok being a Turbo Lover(of this album).
One band that slid backward due to record company pressure was Triumph. After a great run of about 4 studio and one live album, Gil, Mike, and Rik succumbed to the Record Company and put out more of a commercial rock album Sport of Kings. I didn’t get why they caved. They were headlining arenas and kinda tossed that away with this album. One song in particular(Just One Night) just freaked me out as here was this explosive three-piece act drowning there sorrows recording a ballad that had the last name Cain attached to the writing credit. Gah!
Amid a ton of lawsuits with record companies and who knows who else Boston came out with Third Stage. Tom Scholz as he always did basically plays all the instruments, wrote all the tunes and produced the album. Third Stage at the time confused me as in the heyday of Heavy Metal in the ’80s here is Boston leading off with a ballad titled Amanda! Between Triumph and Boston, I was fully concerned that the rock balls had fallen off both acts. In Boston’s case, they had the late great Brad Delp singing so Third Stage gets a pass! (watch for a Vinyl Rewrite coming soon)
What was probably the biggest dud in my purchases of 86 was Quiet Riot when they released QR 3. 3 good songs were on this one and even that’s open for debate. Kevin Dubrow lost the plot and was soon giving his walking papers and left QR. Crazy to think that in a matter of 3 years QR went from multi-platinum albums and arena shows to the used bins and bars. I think that these guys hated the number 3 when you really think about it.
Ok, I take that big dud comment about QR. Another dud that hosed both myself and Tbone out of cash was Krokus when they released Change of Address. After a string of 3 decent albums that I had bought in regards to Krokus(One Vice At A Time, Headhunter, The Blitz) the question had to be asked. What happened? I dunno. I can’t even comment about this album except they did a cover of Copper’s Schools Out. Krokus had melted into one big sloppy piece of Swiss Cheese.
Rage For Order came from those funny dressed up dudes known as Queensryche. I bought Rage For Order on cassette tape. It was a tough listen as no two Ryche albums sounded the same. This kind of funny stuff confused me as a listener back then but now I get it. They kept changing so I have to hand it to them and as you all know I really dig The Warning album from these guys now and that only took me 37 years to realize it!!
So I guess you can tell by now that some albums didn’t really set my rock world on fire but one that did was of course Iron Maiden with Somewhere In Time. Love the Derek Riggs front and back cover along with the packaging as Maiden always delivered for there fans. No cheaping out whatsoever and how about the tunes as Adrian Smith steals the show with the brilliant Wasted Years, Sea of Madness and Stranger In a Strange Land. Not to be outdone, Steve Harris returns with the all-time classic Caught Somewhere in Time which is easily in my all-time TOP 5 Maiden tracks! Hell, even Alexander The Great has finally won me over and that only took what, 34 years? Bruce Dickinson sings like only he can and considering he was told at the time that his songs that he contributed for this record were not what Harris wanted. Bruce to his credit still shows up delivers his stellar vocals and I would have never known otherwise back somewhere in time!
On any given day Somewhere In Time may just be my favorite Maiden album.
Check back in a couple of days for the Roth/Halen albums reviews. You probably were thinking that I was going to yammer on about those two records in this post but I gotta hype up my shit! Lol