I have already talked about the Journey album Escape, so here is Frontiers, which was the next album released by Journey after Escape in 1983. Frontiers was Journey’s second biggest selling album.
I am not a big fan of American Idol. I am one of those people who watch the auditions just to see how bad people can be. However, if you watch American Idol, you know Randy Jackson, and may be surprised to learn that he played bass on two tracks for this album.
Frontiers was a big hit for Journey, and spawned 4 Top 40 songs.
Separate Ways at #8
Faithfully at #12
After the Fall at #23
Send Her My Love at #23
These 4 songs helped the album reach #2 on the Billboard chart, and to sell more than 6 million albums.
One of the reasons I like Frontiers, is that there is a lot more keyboard playing on it. Well, I also like it less for that same reason. I am a keyboardist, so I enjoy it when rock bands use more, but at the same time, bands that start using more keyboards than guitars soon stop being rock bands. The reason for more keyboards is that Jonathan Cain helped write a lot more music, and had a lot more influence than on previous albums.
Journey – Frontiers Track Listing
Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) MP3
Send Her My Love
After The Fall
Edge of the Blade
I included Separate Ways MP3 even though it’s probably way overplayed on the radio. It’s a good rock song, even with the keyboards, and it’s still a good example of Journey.
I have always been a moderate fan of Rush. I say moderate, because regular Rush fans (usually drummers) tend to be extremely passionate about them.
Rush is one of those bands that dabbled in progressive music, but never fully became progressive, especially in their later years. This album, though, is considered to be an essential masterpiece of progressive music by ProgArchives.com.
Moving Pictures was one of Rush’s biggest successes, because (in my opinion) they started to drift from prog to more commercial and radio friendly music. In spite of this, Moving Pictures is still a great album. The album went quadruple platinum in January of 1995. It also went to #3 on the Billboard Pop Album charts.
Rush – Moving Pictures Track Listing
The Camera Eye
I know it may be cliche, but here is Tom Sawyer for your listening pleasure (you need Flash for this):
If you want to own Moving Pictures by Rush on vinyl, check out Musicstack. You can also find it at Amazon.
In 1986, Graceland by Paul Simon was one of the biggest albums released. It hit #3 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the UK charts. It also got a Grammy for Album of the year, and one for Graceland as song of the year.
After not having much success, Paul Simon came out with Graceland, which he had recorded in South Africa using Black South African musicians (during apartheid). Because of this, there is a lot of local influence in the record, especially since Ladysmith Black Mambazo was a featured group on a few of the songs.
Also on the album were Linda Ronstadt, The Everly Brothers, Los Lobos (who later sued Simon for taking credit for the song “All Around the World or The Myth of Fingerprints” which they claim they wrote) and Ghanaian drummer Okyerema Asante.
I think this album is so good because it’s not just one style, Simon took artists of different styles and blended them together that you have to love. It might sound strange when you look at some of the other music I’ve talked about on here, but I do like Simon and Garfunkel, and I love this album.
One of my favorite songs is “You Can Call Me Al”, the music is great, but the video with Chevy Chase is even better.
Graceland Track Listing
The Boy in the Bubble
I Know What I Know
Diamonds of the Soles of Her Shoes
You Can Call Me Al
Under African Skies
Crazy Love Vol. II
That Was Your Mother
All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints
Bonus on the CD reissue
Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes (Alternate Version)
All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints (Early Version)
Here is a staple of classic rock radio. Billy Squier’s ‘The Stroke’ has been played and played so much, it is almost one of those songs you start to tune out. However, this doesn’t change the fact that it is a good song, and a great album.
The Stroke went to #3 on the Mainstream Rock charts, and helped the ablum reach #5 on the Billboard album charts and stay on the charts for 111 weeks.
Don’t Say No also went triple platinum, because in addition to The Stroke, there were also great songs like In the Dark, My Kinda Lover, and Lonely is the Night.
If you have Flash installed, you can listen to the MP3 of Lonely is the night.
This was Squier’s (you think it would be spelled Squire, but it isn’t) second album, and one of his most popular. The biggest reason for it’s success is the song The Stroke. It really isn’t what you think it is about. It’s about the recording industry, where record execs want another “stroke”, or hit song. They don’t really care about artists, just hit songs and money. The song is, however, an innuendo. You are supposed to see the parallel between what you think it’s about, and record companies.
You can buy this album on vinyl at Musicstack. You can also buy the CD or download it at Amazon.
I am a big fan of progressive rock, and no prog-rock collection is complete without Yes. I have already reviewed Relayer by Yes.
Yessongs is a 3 disc (vinyl record discs) collection of live concert recordings. It was recorded during the Close To The Edge tour, and was released in 1973.
Yessongs features extended solos by most of the band, except for Jon Anderson and the (at the time) new drummer, Alan White. Because it is 3 discs, it has a lot more album art as you open it up. Of course, this art is done by Roger Dean, the legendary Yes album artist.
On the charts, Yessongs hit #7 in the UK, and #12 in the US. It also went Platinum in April of 1998.
Yessongs Track Listing
Opening (excerpt from ‘Firebird Suite’)
Heart of the Sunrise
And You and I
Mood for a Day
Excerpts from ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’
I’ve Seen All Good People
Long Distance Runaround/The Fish (Schindleria Præmaturus)
Close to the Edge
Yours Is No Disgrace
Yes was one of those bands, along with Genesis, that were responsible for bringing prog rock to the masses. Without them, our music would be bland today (of course, I think most of the pop music today is bland). If you are into Yes, but don’t have Yessongs, you need to buy it at MusicStack. They play these songs a bit differently live than they do in a studio, and it is a great album.
With the passing of Michael Jackson, an musical legend and era has ended. You didn’t have to really like Michael Jackson or his music, but you had to respect what he accomplished in his musical career.
My brothers and I all remember where we were when we first saw the Thriller video. It was in the basement at a friend of our parents house. They had cable and MTV (which my parents didn’t get until a few years ago).
Led Zeppelin is one of those bands that I just don’t listen to very often. I haven’t played this record in probably over 2 or 3 years. Don’t get me wrong, I like Zeppelin, but they are a band that has a few songs that get massively overplayed by classic rock radio stations.
Led Zeppelin’s first, self-titled album (also known as 1) is a great album. It has songs on it that have lasted over these last 40 years. “Good Times Bad Times”, “Communication Breakdown” and of course “Dazed and Confused”. You can buy Led Zeppelin – 1 at Musicstack.
But Zeppelin is more than just the 10 songs or so that you hear on the radio. They were a rock band on the verge of metal (for the time) and were heavily influenced by blues. They also had the musical abilities to pull off just about any style they wanted. Jimmy Page actually learned how to play the 10 string steel guitar just for a song on this album, “Your Time is Gonna Come”. That is amazing.
It originally received some bad reviews when it was released in 1969, however, it’s obvious that no one listened to the reviews. The album went to #6 in the UK and #10 in the US. It has also gone 8X multi-platinum in the US. Rolling Stone named it #29 on it’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Led Zeppelin’s [album] cover, which was chosen by Page, features a black-and-white image of the burning Hindenburg airship. The image refers to the origin of the band’s name itself: when Page, Jeff Beck and The Who’s Keith Moon and John Entwistle were discussing the idea of forming a group, Moon joked, “It would probably go over like a lead balloon”, and Entwistle allegedly replied, “…a Lead Zeppelin!”
If only all great ideas were that easy.
The track listing is as follows;
Good Times Bad Times
Babe I’m Gonna Leave You
You Shook Me (MP3 available with Flash)
Dazed and Confused
Your Time is Gonna Come
Black Mountain Side
I Can’t Quit You Baby
How Many More Times
“You Shook Me’ and “I Can’t Quit You Baby” are perfect examples of the blues influence on Led Zeppelin. Both were written by Willie Dixon. “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” was written by Anne Bredon.
I love Blind Guardian. They are one of my favorite bands. I was so excited when I picked this album up on vinyl. A Night at the Opera by Blind Guardian is a two disc set, and is a nod to Queen’s A Night at the Opera in style as well as name. There are a lot of layered and overdubbed vocals like Queen.
I am a big fan of power metal and progressive metal. And Blind Guardian fits right in there in those categories. This album was actually named the Best Metal Album of 2002 by Metal-Rules.com. Some people might call this intelligent metal, as it is not just guys playing three chords over and over. There are arrangements, styles, choirs and more to make this more than just a metal garage band. Plus, their lyrics are almost all based on much more than death or hate or anything like that.
Blind Guardian – A Night at the Opera Track Listing:
Precious Jerusalem – About the final days of Jesus
Battlefield – Based on the Song of Hildebrandt
Under the Ice – About Cassandra in the Iliad
Sadly Sings Destiny – About the Messiah in the Old Testament and the Crucifixion
The Maiden and the Minstrel Knight – From Tristan und Isolde, a Wagner opera
Wait for an Answer – a Story by Hansi Kürsch, the lead singer
The Soulforged – From a Dragonlance fantasy novel
Age of False Innocence – About Galileo Galilei
Punishment Divine – About Nietzsche’s insanity
And Then There Was Silence – Based on Homer’s Iliad
You can see that the subject matter is so much more than your average metal band sings about. Hansi Kürsch sings with so much passion too, that it makes everything just sound awesome.