Monday, December 29, 2008

Rock Concerts - Then and Now

Through-out the 1980's there were incredible line-ups of Hard Rock and Heavymetal bands playing in medium towns and large cities all over the USA. From sports arenas like Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri with a seating capacity of about 9,000 to RFK Stadium in Philadelphia which attracted 100,000 concert fans. Many of the arenas and stadiums from the 1980's don't exist today. I remember seeing the Rolling Stones in 1981 at RFK Stadium. It was more than just a concert, it was a party and an incredible experience that would be difficult to describe in a brief blog entry. Van Halen on tour with Iron Maiden or the Rolling Stones on tour with Journey, Bon Jovi headlining in Europe in 1987 with the Scorpions; this made the concert experience exciting from beginning to end. Concerts were more live with less technology and more imperfection.

The concert experience today is like going to a major Broadway show in New York. You save up your money to attend this one big event. It is very organized, choreographed to perfection, incredible stage, sound and light effects with the latest technology. A spectacle and experience of being overwhelmed like being in an IMAX theater. The band line-ups in many cases are sub-par compared to the headliner as you wait with anticipation. The security is tight, you proceed to your assigned seating as the event unfolds. The economics for this multi-million dollar performance costs you an evening of several hundred dollars sometimes just for the tickets alone. This type of event is great in its own right.

For those who really enjoy rock music, having the ability to see several rock concerts during the year; going with your friends and being mesmerized by a Neil Peart drum solo of "WorkingMan" or a Jimmy Page guitar solo; Angus Young of AC/DC playing his guitar artfully non-stop with the legendary losing of 5 pounds of weight for each performance; and the unexpected fan participating by being pulled on stage with complete improvisation - this is the experience you remember forever with the music you wanted to listen to without all the studio and technology mixed in. You see real talent by the band and appreciate the music even more. Today's cookie cutter, boiler plate, blue-printed stage production does not produce the same type of experience as a band getting up there and playing their guts out to the audience.

Disclaimer: I know my description of today's concert is not true of all bands or all concert events however there is certainly a lot more of it today especially for the big name bands and artists.

Below is an example of Iron Maiden Tickets in 1987-1988 for about $15; and the concert for Metallica in 2009 for $200-$800 a ticket. This is not just about economics; it is about the whole experience of attending a Rock Concert back in the 1980's compared to today (then and now). I welcome feedback on your concert experiences.

Metallica w/ The Sword
Sat, Jan 31 - 2009 7:00 PM
Prudential Center - Newark, NJ
Machine Head
Tickets $200 - $800 each

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Def Leppard - Hysteria Tops Music Sales

Def Leppard's album "Hysteria" sold 16 million copies worldwide, six top 20 singles and was the number 3 album on the Billboard 200 in 1988. Def Leppard's 1987-1988 Hysteria World Tour included line-ups with Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions and MOTÖRHEAD. See Hysteria World Tour information below. Def Leppard was at their best and at the height of their career in the 1980's. With all the success, also came tragedy. You can read Def Leppard's complete biography below. Watch the Def Leppard video of the infamous Rock Tune sung by millions, "Pour Some Sugar on Me".

I recall Rich, the bass player of RedRum and Mystix, telling us that he met Joe Elliott on vacation. It was the winter of 1988 when Rich showed us a picture of him and Joe Elliott. Def Leppard was one of many hard rock bands at the time that reached out beyond its normal fan base and entertained us all. Ken Leibow

Track Listings

1. Women
2. Rocket
3. Animal
4. Love Bites
5. Pour Some Sugar on Me
6. Armageddon It
7. Gods of War
8. Don't Shoot Shotgun
9. Run Riot
10. Hysteria
11. Excitable
12. Love and Affection

Def Leppard Hysteria World Tour - 1987 - 1988

Band Line-up - Joe Elliott, Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Steve Clark, Phil Collen.

Shows Listed - 243. Live Recordings - 93.
First Show - Cork Ireland 5th August 1986.

Last Show - Tacoma WA USA 27th October 1988.
See details of the Hysteria World Tour, Click Here

Def Leppard - Pour Some Sugar On Me (Live 1988)


In the beginning a chart-breaking debut album, tours with more established heavy-metal bands, and pinup good looks made Def Leppard one of the leaders of the '80s British heavy-metal renaissance. The members, barely out of their teens when their first album debuted, soon became one of the most consistently successful pop-metal groups of the decade and beyond, becoming, as one Goldmine article put it, "The Heavy Metal Band You Can Bring Home to Mother."

Pete Willis and Rick Savage started the group in Sheffield in 1977. Joe Elliott had coined the name Deaf Leopard before joining them; Willis and Savage changed the spelling. As a quartet with a since-forgotten drummer, Def Leppard built a local pub following, and in 1978, after being joined by Steve Clark and hiring a temporary drummer, the group produced its first record, an EP called Getcha Rocks Off, released on its own Bludgeon Riffola label. The record got airplay on the BBC and sold 24,000 copies.

The members’ self-made success and precociousness (Elliott, the group’s eldest member, was 19, and Rick Allen, who became their permanent drummer after playing with several professional Sheffield bands, was 15) brought them the attention of the British rock press. AC/DC manager Peter Mensch added them to his roster and got them a contract with Mercury. Their first album was a hit in the U.K. and reached #51 in the U.S. The group toured Britain with Sammy Hagar and AC/DC, played the 1980 Reading Festival, and first toured the U.S. opening for Ted Nugent, Pat Travers, Judas Priest, and AC/DC. A second U.S. tour, with Blackfoot, Ozzy Osbourne, and Rainbow, coupled with heavy coverage in the U.S. metal press, created a growing American audience.

The group’s second album, High ’n’ Dry was the first of a string of platinum and multiplatinum LPs, hitting #38 in 1981 and selling over 2 million copies. (It was remixed and rereleased in 1984 with two more tracks, a remixed “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” and “Me and My Wine.”) By early 1982 the group had reentered the studio to record Pyromania, which would eventually sell a phenomenal 10 million copies. Midway through the recording, founding guitarist Pete Willis was fired for alcoholism and replaced by Phil Collen, formerly of Girl. At the same time co-lead guitarist Steve Clark was beginning a slide into the extreme alcohol addiction that would eventually kill him.

Shortly after Pyromania’s release, the band embarked on its first world tour. MTV, undeniably a factor in the band’s U.S. success, began airing “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak,” and within the next few years virtually all the band’s videos (beginning with Pyromania’s “Rock of Ages,” “Photograph,” and “Foolin’”) would go into heavy rotation. When producer Mutt Lange, with whom the group had recorded since its major-label debut, was unavailable to work on their next album, Def Leppard turned to Jim Steinman, most famous for his work with Meat Loaf. When Steinman proved incompatible, High ’n’ Dry engineer Nigel Green stepped in. Just one month later, drummer Rick Allen lost his left arm in a New Year’s Eve car accident after he attempted to pass another driver at high speed. Surgeons reattached the limb, but after infection set in, it was amputated. Def Leppard’s future was in doubt, but by the spring of 1985 Allen was learning to play drums again with the help of a specially adapted Simmons kit. (For a while he performed with special electronic equipment, using prerecorded tapes of his drumming for some parts, then returned to a regular acoustic kit with customized foot pads in 1995.) The band continued recording, but when Lange heard the tapes, he suggested the band scrap them and start again. In August 1986 Allen performed for the first time since his accident on the European Monsters of Rock Tour.

In early 1987 the band finally completed work on the long-awaited Hysteria, which spun off six Top 20 singles: “Animal” (#19, 1987; and their first Top 40 hit in the U.K.), “Hysteria” (#10, 1988), “Pour Some Sugar on Me” (#2, 1988), “Love Bites” (#1, 1988), “Armageddon It” (#3, 1988), and “Rocket” (#12, 1989). Though longtime fans and some critics found it disappointingly poppish, on the verge of bubblegum, that change in direction no doubt contributed to it selling over 16 million copies worldwide and topping the U.S. LPs chart for six weeks.

Tragedy struck the group again when on January 8, 1991, guitarist Steve Clark died of a fatal mixture of drugs and alcohol. Beginning in 1982, he had undergone treatment for his alcoholism several times. His addiction was so disabling that Phil Collen had done most of the leads on Hysteria, and later the group forced Clark to take a lengthy sabbatical. Once in 1989, after being found comatose in a gutter, he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, but he seemed beyond help. The group continued recording and even made the video for “Let’s Get Rocked” as a foursome.

Clark’s replacement, Vivian Campbell, who had previously played with Ronnie James Dio and Whitesnake, joined in 1992, weeks after the release of Adrenalize. Another #1 LP, Adrenalize spawned a flurry of hit singles: “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad” (#12, 1992), "Let’s Get Rocked” (#15, 1992), “Make Love Like a Man” (#36, 1992), and “Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion)” (#34, 1992). Retro Active (#9, 1993), a platinum collection of B sides, rarities, and covers, yielded the hit singles “Two Steps Behind” (#32, 1994) (also on the Last Action Hero soundtrack) and “Miss You in a Heartbeat” (#39, 1994). The album also included one Mick Ronson song, “Only After Dark.” As the band wanted to explore new directions on its next studio album, it decided to release a greatest-hits collection before embarking on the next stage of its career; Vault (#15, 1995) went on to sell close to 2 million copies. Unfortunately its successor, Slang, which added industrial and even touches of soul to the musical mix, did not fare as well and peaked at #14. The band retreated to its classic ’80s pop-metal style on Euphoria (#11, 1999).

from The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Simon & Schuster, 2001)

Monday, December 22, 2008


I was a subscriber of RollingStone Magazine back in the 1980's. Back then as well as today RollingStone Magazine had the best articles on bands and artists. There are many other good publications on music; however your music library is not complete without RollingStone Magazine. If you want to read what's new in the music world today, then check out RollingStone by clicking here.

The following is a list of the top 100 greatest guitarists as posted by RollingStone Magazine. Like all lists you may not agree with all the members on the list or the order; however I believe that RollingStone got most of it right.

Click Name to see Bio:

1. Jimi Hendrix
2. Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers Band
B.B. King
Eric Clapton
Robert Johnson
Chuck Berry
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Ry Cooder Click to answer
Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin
Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones
Kirk Hammett of Metallica
12 Kurt Cobain of Nirvana
Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead
Jeff Beck
Carlos Santana
Johnny Ramone of the Ramones
Jack White of the White Stripes
John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers
Richard Thompson
James Burton
George Harrison
Mike Bloomfield
Warren Haynes
The Edge of U2
Freddy King
Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave
Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits
Stephen Stills
Ron Asheton of the Stooges
Buddy Guy
Dick Dale
32 John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service
& 34 Lee Ranaldo, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth
John Fahey
Steve Cropper of Booker T. and the MG's
Bo Diddley
Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac
Brian May of Queen
John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival
41 Clarence White of the Byrds
Robert Fripp of King Crimson
Eddie Hazel of Funkadelic
Scotty Moore
Frank Zappa
Les Paul
47 T-Bone Walker
Joe Perry of Aerosmith
John McLaughlin
Pete Townsend
Paul Kossoff of Free
52 Lou Reed
Mickey Baker
Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane
Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple
56 Tom Verlaine of Television
57 Roy Buchanan
Dickey Betts
59 & 60
Jonny Greenwood, Ed O'Brien of Radiohead
61 Ike Turner
Zoot Horn Rollo of the Magic Band
Danny Gatton
Mick Ronson
65 Hubert Sumlin
Vernon Reid of Living Colour
67 Link Wray
Jerry Miller of Moby Grape
Steve Howe of Yes
Eddie Van Halen
Lightnin' Hopkins
Joni Mitchell
Trey Anastasio of Phish
Johnny Winter
Adam Jones of Tool
Ali Farka Toure
Henry Vestine of Canned Heat
Robbie Robertson of the Band
Cliff Gallup of the Blue Caps (1997)
80 Robert Quine of the Voidoids
81 Derek Trucks
82 David Gilmour of Pink Floyd
Neil Young
Eddie Cochran
Randy Rhoads
Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath
Joan Jett
Dave Davies of the Kinks
D. Boon of the Minutemen
Glen Buxton of Alice Cooper
Robby Krieger of the Doors
92 & 93
Fred "Sonic" Smith, Wayne Kramer of the MC5
Bert Jansch
Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine
Angus Young of AC/DC
Robert Randolph
Leigh Stephens of Blue Cheer
99 Greg Ginn of Black Flag
Kim Thayil of Soundgarden

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Die Hard - Holiday Action

It's almost Christmas, and 20 years ago an action movie set at Christmas time was released in the summer 1988. I remember it was a quiet Sunday afternoon at the end of July. I was hanging out with Deniz. I told Deniz that there was a new action movie out starring Bruce Willis, the funny guy from the TV show "Moonlighting". He agreed to see the movie.

We headed to the movie theater at the mall not far from Miami Springs. The movie Die Hard did not get a lot of press when it was first released. We had no high expectations going into the movie. I remember being so encapsulated with all the incredible action as I watched the movie. When we left the theater, we were almost speechless and just said "WOW" that was great!! We were both completely taken off guard.

Die Hard became one of the top grossing films in 1988 and launched Bruce Willis as an action hero on film. The soundtrack for the movie was full of holiday songs such as, "Winter Wonderland", "Jingle Bells", and "Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!". I have attached two videos below. The first one is a new music video by GuysNite - "Die Hard Music Video - New 4th Verse". This is a really cool song set to the first Die Hard movie with references to the other Die Hard movies. Also below is a high quality video of the original Die Hard movie trailer from 1988.

Die Hard - Music Video

Die Hard - Movie Trailer 1988

- A funny movie is a click away

Friday, December 5, 2008

1988 Grammy Awards

Record of the Year“Don't Worry Be Happy,” Bobby McFerrin
Album of the YearFaith, George Michael (Columbia/CBS)
Song of the Year“Don't Worry Be Happy,” Bobby McFerrin, songwriter
Best New ArtistTracy Chapman
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male“Don't Worry Be Happy,” Bobby McFerrin
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female“Fast Car,” Tracy Chapman
Best Pop Vocal Performance By a Duo or Group With VocalBrasil, Manhattan Transfer
Best Pop Instrumental Performance (Orchestra, Group or Soloist)Close-up, David Sanborn

Robert Palmer
Archive Photos
Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male
“Simply Irresistible,” Robert Palmer
Best Rock Vocal Performance, FemaleTina Live in Europe, Tina Turner
Best Rock Instrumental Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocal“Desire,” U2
Best Rock Instrumental Performance (Orchestra, Group or Soloist)Blues for Salvador, Carlos Santana
Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance, Vocal or InstrumentalCrest of a Knave, Jethro Tull
Best Rhythm and Blues Song“Giving You the Best That I Got,” Anita Baker, Skip Scarborough and Randy Holland, songwriters
Best Rhythm and Blues Vocal Performance, MaleIntroducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D'Arby, Terence Trent D'Arby
Best Rhythm and Blues Vocal Performance, Female“Giving You the Best That I Got,” Anita Baker
Best Rhythm and Blues Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocal“Love Overboard,” Gladys Knight and the Pips
Best Rhythm and Blues Instrumental Performance (Orchestra, Group or Soloist)“Light Years,” Chick Corea
Best Rap Performance“Parents Just Don't Understand,” D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
Best Jazz Vocal Performance, MaleBrothers, Bobby McFerrin
Best Jazz Vocal Performance, FemaleLook What I Got!, Betty Carter
Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo or Group“Spread Love,” Take 6
Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist on a Jazz RecordingDon't Try This at Home, Michael Brecker
Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, GroupBlues for Coltrane, A Tribute to John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Sanders, David Murray, Cecil McBee and Roy Haynes
Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Big BandBud and Bird, Gil Evans and the Monday Night Orchestra
Best Jazz Fusion PerformancePolitics, Yellowjackets
Best Country Song“Hold Me,” K.T. Oslin, songwriter
Best Country Vocal Performance, MaleOld 8 × 10, Randy Travis
Best Country Vocal Performance, Female“Hold Me,” K.T. Oslin
Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocal“Give a Little Love,” Judds
Best Country Vocal Collaboration“Crying,” Roy Orbison and k.d. lang
Best Country Instrumental Performance (Orchestra, Group or Soloists)“Sugarfoot Rag,” Asleep at the Wheel
Best Bluegrass Recording (Vocal or Instrumental)Southern Flavor, Bill Monroe (MCA)
Best Gospel Performance, MaleChristmas, Larnelle Harris
Best Gospel Performance, FemaleLead Me On, Amy Grant
Best Gospel Performance By a Duo or Group, Choir or ChorusThe Winans Live at Carnegie Hall, Winans
Best Soul Gospel Performance, Male“Abundant Life,” BeBe Winans
Best Soul Gospel Performance, FemaleOne Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, Aretha Franklin
Best Soul Gospel Performance By a Duo or Group, Choir or ChorusTake Six, Take 6
Best Latin Pop PerformanceRoberto Carlos, Roberto Carlos
Best Tropical Latin PerformanceAntecedente, Rubén Blades
Best Mexican/American PerformanceCanciones de Mi Padre, Linda Ronstadt
Best Traditional Blues RecordingHidden Charms, Willie Dixon (Bug/Capitol)
Best Contemporary Blues Recording“Don't Be Afraid of the Dark,” Robert Cray Band (Mercury)
Best Traditional Folk RecordingFolkways: A Vision Shared—A Tribute to Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly, various artists (Columbia/CBS)
Best Contemporary Folk RecordingTracy Chapman, Tracy Chapman (Elektra)
Best Reggae RecordingConscious Party, Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers (Virgin)
Best New Age PerformanceFolksongs for a Nuclear Village, Shadowfax
Best Polka RecordingBorn to Polka, Jimmy Sturr and His Orchestra (Starr)
Best Arrangement on an Instrumental“Memos From Paradise,” Roger Kellaway, arranger
Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s)“No One Is Alone,” Jonathan Tunick, arranger
Best Instrumental Composition“The Theme From L.A. Law,” Mike Post, composer
Best Musical Cast Show AlbumInto the Woods, Stephen Sondheim, composer and lyricist (RCA)
Best Album of Original Instrumental Background Score Written for a Motion Picture or TelevisionThe Last Emperor, Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Byrne and Cong Su, composers (Virgin)
Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television“Two Hearts” (From the motion picture Buster), Phil Collins and Lamont Dozier, songwriters (Atlantic)
Best Contemporary CompositionNixon in China, John Adams, composer
Best Classical AlbumVerdi, Requiem and Operatic Choruses, Robert Shaw conducting Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (Telarc)
Best Orchestral RecordingRorem, String Symphony; Sunday Morning, Eagles; Robert Shaw conducting Atlanta Symphony Orchestra: String Symphony, Louis Lane conducting Atlanta Symphony Orchestra: Sunday Morning and Eagles (New World)
Best Chamber Music Performance (Instrumental or Vocal)Bartók, Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion; Brahms, Variation on a Theme by Joseph Haydn for Two Pianos, Murray Perahia and Sir Georg Solti, pianos; David Corkhill and Evelyn Glennie, percussion
Best Classical Performance, Instrumental Soloist(s) (With Orchestra)Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 23 in A, Vladimir Horowitz, piano; Giulini conducting LaScala Opera Orchestra
Best Classical Performance, Instrumental Soloist(s) (Without Orchestra)Albéniz, Iberia; Navarra; Suite Espagnola, Alicia de Larrocha
Best Opera RecordingWagner, Lohengrin, Sir Georg Solti conducting Vienna State Opera Choir and Vienna Philharmonic; solos: Domingo, Norman, Randova, Nimsgern, Sotin and Fischer-Dieskau (London)
Best Choral Performance (Other Than Opera)Verdi, Requiem and Operatic Choruses, Robert Shaw conducting Atlanta Symphony Chorus and Orchestra
Best Classical Vocal Soloist PerformanceLuciano Pavarotti in Concert, Luciano Pavarotti
Best Comedy RecordingGood Morning Vietnam, Robin Williams (A&M)
Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Recording“Speech by Rev. Jesse Jackson (July 27),” Rev. Jesse Jackson (Arista)
Best Recording for ChildrenPecos Bill, Robin Williams, narrator; Ry Cooder, music (Windham Hill)
Best Album PackageTired of Runnin', Bill Johnson, art director (Columbia/CBS)
Best Album NotesCrossroads, Anthony DeCurtis, annotator (Polydor)
Best Historical AlbumCrossroads, Eric Clapton (Polydor)
Best Performance Music Video“Where the Streets Have No Name,” U2
Best Concept Music Video“Fat,” “Weird Al” Yankovic
Producer of the Year (Non-Classical)Neil Dorfsman
Classical Producer of the YearRobert Woods