Tag Archives: 1979 Albums

Van Halen/ VH 2 (1979)


My purchasing of Halen product was interesting to say the least! Of course we all know the tale of my buying VH’s/Woman And Childern First in early 1981 from there it was Fair Warning later in 1981 and than in 1982 I not only bought Diver Down upon its release but I also purchased the 45 single of VH’s cover of Roy Orbisons Pretty Woman.

In  early 1984 we all scooped 1984 powered by Jump and we were all hooked! Notice anything here? Yeppers! I did not have the first two Halen albums,the debut and VH2! Once i got my first summertime job in the summer of 1984 this problem was rectified immediately when I purchased on cassette tape those two musical masterpieces!

Why on earth it took me so long to get em who the hell knows! Better late than never I suppose! Once I did hear them on my walkman man oh man……Game changers!

Michael Anthony,Eddie and Alex Van Halen along with there best friend David Lee Roth  keep the party moving n grooving 1979 style..whatever that entails!

Whose The Atomic Punk?

YOUR NO GOOD- So instead of Blitzing out of the gates with a smash in your brains and  kick your ass opener. VH open there second album with a cover tune no less. Different pace this track is some noodling at the beginning by Mikey and his bass and were off! More of a straight ahead Rock track. Kinda surprising but looking back it was Halen already doing there own thing. Dave lays down the vocal law while Anthonys background vocals carry the chorus. Ed of course is the law on guitar and brother Alex hammers his snare In a chill kinda way!

DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY-Single anyone?  Served with a kick in the ass! The brothers are in sync with guitar and cowbell. This song is a great track! Dave is hustling the night away and Anthony is the key plug with his always on the mark backing vocals! Eddie instead of telling us he’s Boss on guitar which we know already plays a real decent chill but loud solo and man the guitar picking is slick! The first time I heard Dance The Night Away I was on a camping trip somewhere in the USA and it was the summer of 1983 and I recall fiddling around the family campfire with the radio and moving the antenna’s back and forth trying to locate a rock radio station and through the static and the hiss I scored as I heard Def Leppards Photograph so my fingers froze and I left it alone hahaha….and the song that followed was Dance The Night Away..i was hooked yet it still to me to like the summer of 84 to buy VH 2! WTF!

SOMEBODY GET ME A DOCTOR-All aboard Dave’s tour bus as he’s blasting his ghetto blaster at high volume kinda like a demented Dr Nick that would be Dave as a Doc! Party treats galore! Ed is guitar hero on this! He slays the guitar to bits as Alex and Mike keep the bottom end locked and loaded! This is Cali party rock and if you were a first time ever listener to VH and this album was your first! Those first two tracks would kinda fool you as its a tamer VH whereas by track 3 (this one) Roth pulls out the sledgehammer and knocks your brains into next week albeit with a Doctors note!

BOTTOMS UP-Party keeps rolling as Ed and Alex start off chill and than ramp up the pace! Bottoms Up is just that! A real down n dirty hard rock nugget of a track! Love the breakdown after yet another classic Ed solo with just the fellers doing acapella of Bottttttoms Up! C’mon,C’mon,C’mon Babbbbbeeeeeee..Bottoms Up! Halen than load up and rocket the ship towards the finish line with a proper hard ending! Whoosh! Just plain awesome!

OUTTA LOVE AGAIN-Mike and Ed start off with this song showcasing Alex as he’s flexing his drum muscles! Cool rolls all over his drum kit! I like how these old Halen albums are recorded live off the floor or they seem that way! Ed’s  solo is just his guitar(not a zillion rhythm guitars in the background),Anthony’s bass and Alex groovin along and it sounds so live which a lot of bands don’t do in the studio! Almost like a live studio album! Outta Love Again ends abruptly! Boom…Done….Lock the door behind you!

LIGHT UP THE SKY-Side 2 begins with a charge! Guitar and Bass lead the charge and Alex pounds the song and here’s the Ringmaster or CourtJester depending on the day of the week for Dave and he leads his troops into Light Up The Sky! What a cooker and this I will say is one of the all time great Halen tracks! It’s all here loaded in flashy guitar and effects workout,great lead and backing vocals and toss in a mini drum solo! Light It Up and Crank It Up!

SPANISH FLY-Sooooo, on the Van Halen debut Ed  tells the world who the new boss in town is with the  very electric Eruption! VH 2 Ed fools everyone and goes all classical sounding on Spanish Fly for 2 minutes! Spike another ladies drink Dave as Ed is cooking on his six string!

D.O.A-Ed goes all nutty with a real good diddle dabble of the wang bar and we’re off! Dave is in serious mode here! Something about the Sheriff showing up and finding some dirty faced kid in the garbage can! DOA is dark Halen musically and lyrically not a Groupie in site. Anthonys vocals as they should be are cranked up. Why did Ed this year (2015) say Anthonys vocals were no big deal! Sorry Ed take the two empty Heineken cans shoved down your ears out and listen to the bass players vocals! Anthonys backing vocals are a integral part of the VH sound! VH roll on to the end of this song in a clash of Ed’s guitar and Alex’s drums! Great ending……

WOMEN IN LOVE-Ed does that cool tapping deal at the beginning and Women In Love just breezes along at a cool pace! The vocals carry this tune and Ed muscles up a scolding hot solo! Ed proves that you don’t have to burn a solo at a quick clip all the time it’s ok to ease off the guitar gas pedal but it still sounds tough!

BEAUTIFUL GIRLS-Ed rambles off the opening riff and VH 2 ends with Dave in all his glory! Dave’s on top of the world! Why wouldn’t he be? Beautiful Girls rocks in a boozed up barrom a long time after last call was hollered!! No Tbone it was last call that was hollered  not more alcohol! Ha! Super duper catchy chorus Ed flings off a wicked good riff and solo and the song rambles off into the distance and ends with a swoosh!

IN CONCLUSION- VH 2 is a classic as are the 6 Roth fronted albums! Tons of chops litter this album along with Dave’s macho man ringleader like approach! Why oh why it took me so long to get this back in 1984 will always remain a puzzle in my musical mind. Better late than never applies here!

For all its musical glory VH2 never gets talked about well talk about it amongest yourselves please!

When I caught VH back in 2012 they played 5 tracks from this so it’s  good it got some well deserved attention!(Thanks Wolfie!) Even on there 2015 Tour Light Up The Sky was the opener as well as it should be……



Cheap Trick/ Dream Police(1979)

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As many of you now know late 1979 and heading into 1980 Kiss and Cheap Trick were my super duper fav acts! While we all know (except for me at the time)that Kiss’ career was starting to downward spiral Cheap Trick on the other hand were on top of the world so to speak!

Tricks Live At The Budokan blew the doors off many a stereo speaker in many a household back in 1979 so much so that the record company suits had to sit on Dream Police for a year as it was finished but as Budokan was selling zillions of copies Dream Police was not released until the Budokan album slowed down. It must have been a good feeling for those wacky Tricksters to know they had a completely finished album in the can and didn’t have to worry about anything other than playing I Want You To Want Me to screaming chicks while cashing some big paycheques along the way….

Dream Police when it was released i was onboard and this was my first Trick studio album and second owned Trick(Budokan of course being the first!) album.

I loved Cheap Tricks deal i mean you had the two cool rock guys out front! That being Robin Zander(lead vocals and guitar) and Tom Petersson (bass)…

Than you had the two geeks in the dressed up nerd Rick Nielsen(guitar) and chain Smokin drummer who looks like he’s selling real estate Bun E Carlos(drums)…

Say what Ya want but the 2 geeks and the 2 cool dudes could play and write real catchy hard rock pop ditties…

Dream Police is that album….a well written slab of hard rock tunes crafted and performed well and to this day this album is still a solid ball of rock! Love the gatefold sleeve and lyrics included! These guys knew how to package a rock record!

Ello Kiddies…….

DREAM POLICE-well even if your not a ol school Tricker you know this tune and it’s the title and lead off track and the Tricks lay down the law! Big sweeping driving tune mixed with the synth that propels the song along at a nice clip! Rick Neilsen the dorkie looking guitarist could write great songs and up to this point he was doing just that! Of course having a great vocalist in Robin Zander also helps! Zander for me is the reason I have always liked Trick! Dream Police the song here has that middle part with just Nielsen yapping and playing the creepy part of a creeper while Tom drives the bass and well poor Nielsen he gets persecuted by the judge an jury and before he’s hauled off to the clink he wobbles out a classic guitar solo. The song ends with big bombastic symphony like sounds while Bun E plows the song forward on his drums! Watch the clip I posted of the Tricks playing Dream Police live on there 1980 Tour! The sound is raw,loud and it’s real cool it’s filmed in black n white! Crank it! Bonus points for Bun E sporting a double bass kit and smoking ..hahahaha…

WAY OF THE WORLD-It’s  The Way Of The World! This is a great song with real good  verses and a real good chorus! They even have symphonic like strings weaving in and out to enhance the sound! Driving tempo keeps the album moving on all cylinders!

THE HOUSE IS ROCKIN(Domestic Disturbance)-“He Said…She Said” The House is Rockin indeed! The guitar drives this tune along with the drums while the bass jives  up and down the neck!  It’s a good rocking number! Straight ahead late night rock romper with all the trimmings of a hard rockers delight with a great chorus and vocal by Zander!

GONNA RAISE HELL-9 minutes of Tom Peterssons 4 or is 8 or is it 12 string Hamer Bass that he fuzzes the vinyl grooves out at the beginning of the song when he’s locked in tight with Bun E on the drums! I think when i got this album back in 79 I had never heard a studio song so long  before in my life! Of course later on in life thru the help of my old friend John Young I learnt that Zep,Floyd and Skynryd and others did do over 9 minutes tunes but hey folks at the time I was (age 13)subscribing to the Kiss Army where the direct order was tunes no longer than 3.5 minutes and they could only be done long if they were in a live album entailing a drunk guitar solo(Shock Me/Kiss Alive 2) or  a coked induced drum solo(100,000 Years/Kiss Alive or God Of Thunder/Kiss Alive 2) take Yer pick! Gonna Raise Heeeeeeeell sings Robin and he sings it in different tones and man i dig the bass on this song! Tom Weman produced this album and of course he did those Crue albums in the 80s that sound like crap but man on Dream Police,Tommys cooking the sonics nicely….

I’LL BE WITH YOU TONIGHT-this is a great never talked about track than again these guys have a ton of these songs as everyone always focuses on I Want You To Want Me all the time fair enough but dig deeper into then archives of the Cheap and that’s no Trick!

VOICES-a smattering of Voices start well Voices! Slow strummer of a song and this is where Zander pulls off the double duty of not only singing straight ahead rockers but mid tempoish tunes! Voices has a nice blend of acoustic,electric,pedal steel mixed in the back,strings and the song is not wimpy as Bun E floats the boat with his drums!

WRITING ON THE WALL-Trick ramps it up and this is a ass kicker of a track! Wowzers even Trick name drop Canada in the tune along with the Midwest and well of course Tokyo and lookie lookie they even sample there opening of the Budokan album during the middle of the tune! Snappy tune many a time change and toss in some percussion at the end!

I KNOW WHAT I WANT-Bass guy Tom takes the lead vocal on this track and it ramps up in the chorus when Robin joins in and hey we got some handclaps going on in them sonics! This is a good song. Tom has a different kinda vocal while Rick peels off a nice solo…

NEED YOUR LOVE- this tune made its debut on the Budokan album. This song builds off of Buns drums and the guitars along with Toms fuzzed up 12 string Hamer bass and Zander delivers a real great vocal! Need your love……looooooooooooove! The song as I had mentioned builds up to a huge jam out rock n sock em jam out! Ricks out of control at the end while the rest of the guys hold it down …song ramps up..chills out Ramps up….a classic!

IN CONCLUSION-Dream Police just flat out rocks! Too many people got hooked on the opening tune man get past it as there are many a Gems on here! Trick delivers all the goods here and check back on Friday when I spitball in words out another Trick album that is soooooooo good that many don’t know of it’s existence!


UFO/ Strangers In The Night


UFO….! Strangers In The Night in my neck of the woods growing up was and is still a classic live album!

These guys for some reason never really took off I guess they had there chances but for some reason North America never took to them in a big way but here in Tbay we did and we loved UFO especially Muc and myself!

I reviewed UFOs 1982 Mechanix a while back and for your reading pleasure click here…https://superdekes.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/sonic-waves-ufomechanix/

Before Mechanix though my first listening exposure to UFO was Strangers In The Night back around in 1981 and myself and Muc were blown away  how good these guys were and we snapped up copies of Kerrang to read about them in the British press as there was  only  one North American magazine (Hit Parader) that  would ever write about UFO.

I guess Rodney Dangerfield(RIP) said it best! “No Respect!” In this case this fits UFO to a T!

Pete Way(bass)Michael Schenker(Lead Guitar)Andy Parker(Drums)Paul Raymond(Keys,Backing Vocals and Rhythm Guitar) and Phil Mogg(Vocals) are the dudes responsible for this great piece of rock!

NATURAL THING-after some fella intros the band here’s Mikey on guitar with a real cool opening riff and not before to long here’s the rest of the boys  joining in and one of rocks greatest unknown wordsmiths in Phil Mogg! Mogg especially the late 70s early 80s UFO output would write real good stories inside a 4-5 minute track! Natural Thing is no exception it’s about a chic from Memphis and well kiddos listen to the video posted! Crank it and let Uncle Phil tell Ya a great story! One of the best man…..Schenker mows down a great solo and I always liked the use of how UFO used keyboards! Raymond would double up on guitar and when needed would add extra texture on certain songs with keys! Kids this is how it’s done! I’m not gonna rag on Journey here for once!

OUT IN THE STREETS-Raymond lays down a real cool playing on them keys as Natural Thing segues right into Out In Streets! The verses are chill but ramp up,at the end of each line. Love the tempo changes and the crashing of the drums and Schenkers guitar!

ONLY YOU CAN ROCK ME-Mikey plays a real cool opening riff and Raymond joins in with his Hammond B3 and we’re off! This song is just a great straight ahead driving track! ” Only you….can Rawk me RAWK me,come back and doooooo it again!” Sings Phil and Yep the chorus is real good and Schenker pulls back the reigns on his guitaring on certain UFO tracks as he doesn’t have to showboat all the time!

DOCTOR DOCTOR-the biggie hit that Iron  Maiden has used as there opening music for countless tours and you know why? It’s easy Doctor Doctor is typical  Classic UFO. They start the song off chill(key) Mikey joins and chills (guitar)  the rest of the cats join in (Parker and Mr Fastway)Phil hollers(Doctor Doctor) and kaboom kids were off! Raymond and Schenker lock horns on the guitars and its a real simple catchy riff and hook! I really dig the part of “Livin,Lovin!” This is one of UFOs Greatest tunes or well perhaps one of there best known tunes! Check out the live back and white clip of UFO playing Live from 1978! What is interesting is that Schenker had bolted just before the tour and his replacement was Paul Tonka Chapman he later played on many other UFO albums including the great Mechanix album of 1982! I also must mention check out the Ultimte Party Rock Guy bassist Pete Way who if  you look close enough can see that Nikki Sixx about 7 years later(1985) on the Theatre Of Pain Tour  would borrow (ahem )  Ways whole stage schtick from clothes,the bass and onstage staggering! Ha…..just sayin!

MOTHER MARY-another jacked up UFO track and this song is straight forward driving rock! Cool drumming by Andy Parker on this song….

THIS KIDS-same as Mother Mary but as much as love UFO its years later when I read that This Kids and Mother Mary were recorded live in the studio and the audience from Cleveland was added into it…say what UFO? Ha some one Musta been hanging out in the Kiss organization back in 1978 on how to fool young deke about live albums. That’s ok fella’s I understand…..

LOVE TO LOVE-love there babbling about a mic being down…haha they sound confused but there not confused when Love To Love begins!  This is another case of epic UFO being that the keys build up the song Mogg as well writes awesome lyrics and soon to be gone Michael lays down the huge power riffs that made him a force to be reckoned with until he came off the rails. Crank this song friends and see what I’m talking about! Misty Greeeeeeen and Bluuuuuuue!

LIGHTS OUT-UFO comes blasting out of the gates with Lights Out and it’s heavy UFO! Mogg, Way and Crew rock this tune to the rafters I mean the chorus goes..”Lights Out …Lights Out In London” but that Ol sly Phil throws out a “Lights Out In Chicago!” And Queen the roar of the crowd! Raymond knew his palce in UFO wit the keys as they didn’t muzzle out the great guitar work of Schenker. Plus Raymond is a capable rhythm player in his own right so these guys just rock this  track!

ROCK BOTTOM-not the KISS tune Mr Ladano but the UFO live  staple that would come complete with complimentary  Schenker guitar hero solo. Dude has chops and basically proved to all he was here to stay! Hoooooray!

TOO HOT TO HANDLE-great riff once again with a real cool verse driving into the chorus and man it explodes from there! These tunes should have been huge in North America but there are alot of tone deaf people out there……so that explains lot!

I’M A LOSER-UFO kinda puts on the breaks kinda ….song like many other builds slow and takes off come Schenker (solo) time! This is UFOs comfort zone and its a zone I dig! In other words don’t meddle with things you don’t understand! (Not my line but whose is it? Quiz time folks!)

LET IT ROLL-cool tune and yeah man I love that Raymonds keys are locked into Andy Parkers double bass drums in this song! Great friggin end of the night track …

SHOOT SHOOT-is the end of the night tune with complimentary cowbell consumption by Andy and his Ludwig Drums. Shoot Shoot is basically Mogg destroying the tavern with Way drinking the bar dry while Raymond twinkles the ivories (piano) while chaos ensues! How about a quick little end of the live album solo once again by Mikey and viola …GOOD NIGHT!

IN CONCLUSION-Can you say Stomper??! I sure as hell can! This for me is a great piece of work even in the album it says it was recorded in Chicago but most of it was recorded in Cleveland! it’s the songs that count man and they do here! Watch and listen to the three videos posted as perhaps you don’t know about UFO(Tbone Brush up!) as well as a few of us knew there deal but it’s never to late to join the party….

Earlier I mentioned that Schenker bolted during the mixing of the live album. I guess the story was he rolled into the studio heard the mix of his solo in Rock Bottom and told everyone present including fellow blogger  Jompa’s favourite producer(Ron Nevison) quote ” poor,poor Rock Bottom” in his German accent and quit the band than and there…..

It’s only Rock N Roll…..

SONIC WAVES….New England/New England

New England than…..

New England now….

If you have been a reader here at Arena Rock for a bit you may recall that at the turn of the decade (1979 rolling into 1980) my listening habits were Kiss,Cheap Trick,Queen and AC/DC. One band that flew under the radar back than (and should have been included with those 4 other bands mentioned)and still flies under the radar  today is the self titled album from those chaps from New England called well….New England!

The  band consisted of John Fannon(guitar,lead vocalist and songwriter) Jimmy Waldo(keyboards) Hirsh Gardner(drums) and Gary Shea(bass). I must also mention that Hirsh Gardner was born in Toronto so we have a token Canuck in New England! Bam!

I discovered these guys through an add in Circus Magazine and Wowzers Paul Stanley produced it??? (along with Mike Stone)Surely it must be rock right?! Yep it was and well they were managed as well by Kiss’ management (Aucoin) so me being a young lad I took the plunge and I think just like New England’s career itself these guys flew under the radar for whatever reason as myself and I think Muc were the only 2 guys that were onboard with the debut. Lots of people missed out on this Gem of a debut but it’s never too late here at Arena Rock!

My great fantastic parents got me this record as it was on my Christmas Wish  Rock List 1979  and as always Mom and Dad delivered and it’s a well crafted piece of good hard rock from yesteryear! I have no idea were my vinyl copy of it went but I did buy this off of ITunes as they had it  for $6.00! So after a few spins of it this album it deserves some props!

PROPS it’s gonna be……

HELLO,HELLO,HELLO- ok I will tell Ya straight up these guys oozed on Waldo’s keyboards but the one thing is it enhanced their sound not weasel it out to the suits of record labels  like Journey did time and time again! (Show of hands,can anyone tell me a Journey song where the guitar is mixed higher than Jon Cains keys in the Steve Perry era?) Anyhoo Fannon has a good knack for writing the song and Hello Hello Hello is a good opener and shows  me that these guys can play their instruments! I would call this album Big Atmospheric Rock and sets the plate for….

DONT EVER WANNA LOSE YA- what a great opening riff! This song is a great well written piece of Hard Rock! I’m sure Stanley (not that he would admit it) drooled over the opening riff by Fannon! Ha! good on Ya John! This was there single and a good one it was,and watch the video posted and you’ll know what I’m talking about! That opening riff is classic rock !

P.U.N.K- stands for Puny Undernourished Kid! A 4 on the floor rocker that kicks some real good ass! Boom,lotsa guitar,lotsa keys,lotsa bass and Hirsh pounds the Drums!

SHALL I RUN AWAY-big time shall we say ballad! I’m ok with these guys doing it as it was their debut and they were more about the Rockers so fair enough they gotta attract the ladies after show to the bus so go fellas go! Special note must be given to Fannons guitaring at the beginning of this track! Some real chill slide playing almost like if you were on a desert island with a drink in hand soaking up the rays. That kinda chill….

ALONE TONIGHT-boom this is a fast paced rocker and all these years later I can hear some of Boston’s sound in this band and why not they came from the same neck of the woods so now don’t get edgy here when I say the comparison word! Not in the songs though just  the production end of it! Why on earth did not Stanley make Kiss records sound like this? Kiss’ album Unmasked could have perhaps been spared the 3/4’s Kiss Filler Week. On second thought …..Nope!

NOTHING TO FEAR- one of my favourite tracks of the New England boys! This song is a slow builder at the beginning  with just guitar and Waldo’s atmospheric keyboards enhancing the sound in the back! Kids just like how UFO used the keys properly so did New England!  Before you know it boom Hirsh slams down the drums and John hits some real cool power riffs and were offf! Nothing To Fear is a great track great everything about it! Watch the video for it posted above filmed last summer! (2014)It’s a great version and Hirsh nails down the lead vocal once the song ramps up!

SHOOT-Jimmy and John lock horns right off the hope and Gary does some cool Bassing and along this song just cooks like New England doing a mash-up with Deep Purple. This song is a road racer of a track! After John tells us the listener that “he’s gonna shoot Ya….” Whammo into some serious keyboard action and John takes over and wrap everything with Hirsh smashing around his drums at the end of the tune! Whoosh…….no fooling around! Crank the vid posted!

TURN OUT THE LIGHT-Yep another slowish kind of tune but a little heavier of a punch than Shall I Run Away! Good song though plenty of single action here and why it was not released as one who the hell knows!

THE LAST SHOW-hey peeps were getting to the end of the Show! Another good rocker! Yeah throw some Deep Purple in the mix with Boston in the New England mash-up! Great song well-played  and well sung!

ENCORE-the album ends with a song called Encore! Genius if you ask me! The song is big bombastic and a fitting send off of great rock!

IN CONCLUSION- the fact that these guys fell under the rock radar is injustice I mean basically they slipped through the cracks so much I forgot about them and this album should have been reviewed here a lot earlier! But all these years later it was good spinning this record like talking or in this case listening to a long-lost friend!

New England did however have a shot at the big time as they opened for Kiss on there Dynasty tour and New England did release a second record Explorer Suite that featured some great hard rock AOR tracks like Seal It With A Kiss,Livin In The 80s and a song that should have catapulted them to the top which was Hey You On The Run.

Who knows what happened back than as I read a blurb in some magazine that they disbanded in 1982. I do know that Gary Shea and Jimmy Waldo formed Alacatrazz with Graham Bonnet (x Rainbow singer) and a young Yngwie J Malmsteen and carried on for a bit.  It’s good to see these guys playing together again (occasionally) with the same 4 guys!

May 2015 and New England drops a new single titled I Know There’s Something Here (first new music in 33 years!)on iTunes!

Check it out….I know I’m gonna!