Detroit Rock Lobster
Ozzy meets Earth, Wind, and Fire
Bee Gees vs AC/DC
David "Alligator Jackson" Williams wrote for a music website he had with Jeff Westlake and the Pig called The Music Hotwire. Here are some of his articles and some other he has written on rock music, Alligator Jackson celebrates the great music of the past. He is also trying to keep it alive and share the great music with fans who were too young when it came around the first time. These are blogs by Alligator Jackson.
Detroit Rock Lobster
Ozzy meets Earth, Wind, and Fire
Bee Gees vs AC/DC
These veteran rockers returned in 2018 with some new music. Still rocking after all of these years.
Bob Seger from a CD released November 2017. A song in honor of Glen Frey of The Eagles.
Kiss's Ace Frehley released a new CD in 2018
Steve Perry returns after over twenty years.
Charlie Daniels in his 70s with Mudcat
Never Fade by Alice In Chains
Roll Me Under by Stone Temple Pilots
Sevendust with Unforgiven
Rod Stewart with The Look In Her Eyes
Ted Nugent does an acoustic version of his classic
Ann Wilson of Heart pays tribute to artist who have passed. This is Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street.
In addition to these there are greatest hits packages out for Elton John, Tom Petty, and Kid Rock.
It was 1980...my first concert. Molly Hatchet was truly larger than life standing just yards from me on the stage of The Huntington Civic Center. They were an intimidating force. A huge, mean whiskey drinking gang with a double guitar attack. Molly Hatchet stormed out of the South and took FM radio with their in your face brand of southern rock.
Their first took albums on Epic Records with monstrous vocallist Danny Joe Brown we're laden with classics like Flirting With Disaster, Gator Country, and Bounty Hunter. They were as large as their music. They could rock your ass then kick it afterwards. They were the personification of their music....loud, hard, in your face, and mean.
Jimmy Farrar replaced Brown from 1980-82. He was large and imposing like Brown. He gave Hatchet another classic in Beating The Odds. With Farrar, Hatchet did not loose any swagger with Brown's departure.
Jimmy Farrar passed away. Another of the great original era members of Molly Hatchet gone....leaving just Steve Roland.
Dave Hlubek - guitar, backing vocals (1971–1987, 2005–2017; died 2017)
Steve Holland - guitar (1971–1984)
Duane Roland - guitar (1976–1990; died 2006)
Bruce Crump - drums (1976–1982, 1984–1990; died 2015)
Banner Thomas - bass (1975–1981, 1993-1994; died 2017)
Danny Joe Brown - lead vocals (1976–1980, 1982–1995; died 2005)
Jimmy Farrar - lead vocals (1980–1982; died 2018)
Riff West - bass (1981–1990; died 2014
Molly Hatchet still plays but there are not any members left from the first album. Farrar did not join until the third album but he is considered original era. He left in 82 and Brown return.
Molly Hatchet left its' impact on southern rock. They were fearless rockers who flirted with disaster.
We all know Gene Simmons is a master of marketing but some of these items are plain outrageous.
5. Kiss Underwear
4. Kiss Toilet Paper
3. Kiss toilet paper holder
2. Kiss Kasket
1. KISS' KONDOMS
Jeff Westlake grew up in the late 70's jamming in his bedroom on guitar to albums of his rock heros Kiss, Black Sabbath, AC/DC.
Now decades later after establishing himself as a world-wide known guitarist...he has paid homage to his influences. In some cases, he paid tribute to the bands he jammed to the usual way...cover songs. With his band Hydrogyn, he covered AC/DC with "Back in Black.". He also covered Michael Schenker's "Assault Attack" in Hydrogyn, both with a female singer. He covered Black Sabbath classics "Hot Line" and "Disturbing The Priest" while handling the vocals himself.
Westlake honored his idol Ronnie James Dio by having Dio's ex-guitarist Craig Goldy join Hydrogyn temporarily and he recorded with ex-Dio guitarist Tracy G. He even wrote a biography on Tracy G called "The Dio Years and Beyond The Skull." Megadeath ex-guitarist Jeff Young also recorded briefly with Hydrogyn.
Westlake did not just cover a Kiss song...he covered a whole album. He entered the studios with some fellow musicians and recorded and released the entire "Hotter Than Hell" album achieving his goal of improving the recording quality of the album.
The Fairland High graduate then topped himself by joining another of his heros The Godz and recording and producing a CD and remastering some tracks. The Godz we're Kiss' label mates on Casablanca in the 70's. Jeff's sister met the band in Columbus when she attended Ohio State and gave Jeff an eight track tape of their debut album.
Now, Jeff is following up his debut solo album "Songs In The Key of Blue", a tribute of sorts to 70's style blues rock with a concept album.
Ahhhh...the concept album...the forgotten child of the 70's. Kiss had "The Elder.". Rush had "2112". The Who had "Tommy". Westlake will be releasing "Dead World."
"Dead World" being released on October 26, combined several eras of rock and uses ever rock instrument imaginable including organs and a saxaphone to create the perfect feel.
Jeff Westlake describes "Dead World", "It’s the world that exist on the other side of the veil of our reality. People who have not yet found a light there fighting moving onto the next phase."
The opus opens with the Alice Cooper- like "Devil's Juice." Westlake says,"Yeah, the Devil's juice is about everything that wants to take you down. The things that are addicting or something that just get you and you can’t let go of it to all these things are bad for you in the long run. Whether it be drugs, hookers, alcohol....you name it."
Westlake admits,"Not a typical album especially from me. We tried to tie all of the rock eras together."
With Dead World, Jeff Westlake has come full circle...paying tribute to his rock roots while still creating exciting and modern music. Jeff Westlake becomes alive in a Dead World.
Is the live album dead? Well, the format may not be a mummy yet but it is a srt of a dinosaur.
The live album had it's day. In it's prime, the live album was a monster that stomped through the record industry.
Cheap Trick, Peter Frampton, and even Kiss hopped on the back of the format. and broke through to the top the charts. The bands had built a solid collection of songs but it was the magic, energy, and emotion of their live albums that escalated their careers to a whole different level.
In fact soon everyone had a live record. Gradually a live album became thought of as a quick cash-in. The live album became a way to make easy money without entering the studio.
The live album format spawned the popular unplugged or acoustic format. Fans enjoyed this because they were getting different versions of their favourite songs.
The success of the unplugged format inspired record industry insiders to think of more ways to milk easy money out of the format. Then, some idiot created the live album with a symphony concept that Metallicca, Kiss, and The Scorpions were duped into recording. I'm assuming that idiot has been banned from the recording industry.
Although not nearly a dominant force, the live concept lives on. Some bootlegs are legendary. Some bands offer or offered live shows for sale on their sites. Metallicca and Kiss did this. Some thought the next big thing would be to be able to buy a copy of the show soon after the concert ended. This idea hasn't caught on yet.
Alligator Jackson is listing what he thinks is the top 20 live albums of all-time. While this is a subjective list that will depend on the writer's favourite genres or bands, live albums that had an historical impact were included.
20. It's Alive- The Ramones
19. Unplugged In New York- Nirvana
18. The Allman Brothers Band Live At Fillmore East
17. Neil Young - Live Rust
16. Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band Live
15. The Song Remains The Same- Led Zeppelin
14- Tribute - Ozzy Osbourne
13. Live Evil- Black Sabbath
12. Live At Folsom Prison- Johnny Cash
11. live and Dangerous- Thin Lizzy
10. Strangers In The Night - UFO
9. All The World's A Stage - Rush
8. One For The Road - Lynyrd Skynyrd
7. Live After Death - Iron Maiden
6. If You Want Blood You Got It- AC/DC
5. Maiden Japan - Deep Purple
4. Frampton Comes Alive - Peter Frampton
3. Live At Budokan- Cheap Trick
2. Live Bullet- Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band
1 - Kiss Alive - Kiss
New Wave Music was the name given to a creative tide of music that rose out of the late 70's. It was deeply inspired by the punk movement and was really given to anything that was new and out of the box. Some of new wave music had reggae influences as well. It started out being the cutting edge of alternative rock and quickly became pop music. “One of the first misconceptions to fall by the wayside will be the notion that new wave/punk rock is raw, offensive, noncommercial music,” wrote Greg Shaw in a 1978 issue of Billboard. “In fact, it’s now widely recognized that the new wave represents a full spectrum of musical styles with the common factor being a fresh, honest approach and a sense of cultural involvement between artists and audience.”
Although early new wave owed a lot to punk, New Wave became the realm of synth-driven pop. New wave music helped developed indie rock and was the roots of college radio. New wave bands had the reputation of being creative and ahead of their time. They were perceived to giving rock and blues based rock music a breath of fresh air. Several bands that surfed in on the new wave tide became established music powerhouses like The Police, Blondie, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, The Talking Heads, and The Cars. Even early Tom Petty was considered new wave.
The theory generating new wave music was that anyone can start a band. New wave artists were influenced by the lighter side of 1960s pop music and 1950s fashion and were able to reach mainstream more than the harder punk rockers. Bands, like the Knack, were heavily influenced by The Beatles. The Knack's debut album and single were monster successes. They called their debut Get The Knack and tries to duplicate the hype of the early Beatles except they infused their music with sexually inspired lyrics to get a modern, alternative edge.
"Get The Knack" was obviously patterned after "Meet The Beatles."
New wave was catchy and fun and the artists bizarre appearances helped jump start MTV. Their zany appeal created interesting videos.
In fact, it was new wave band The Buggles that were features in MTV's first video.
I was drawn to the quirkiness and novelty appeal of Devo. I started noticing in the early 80s that synth driven new wave like Human League's "Don't You Want Me" was replacing disco as the music girls wanted to dance to in clubs.
A website created a list of 100 songs, that while is not official, does show some of the new wave classics.
1. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) - Eurythmics (1983)
2. Don't You (Forget About Me) - Simple Minds (1985)
3. Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Tears For Fears (1985)
4. Relax - Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1983)
5. One Way Or Another - Blondie (1978)
6. Burning Down the House - Talking Heads (1983)
7. Tainted Love - Soft Cell (1981)
8. Down Under - Men At Work (1982)
9. I Ran (So Far Away) - A Flock of Seagulls (1982)
10. Don't You Want Me - Human League (1981)
11. You Might Think - The Cars (1984)
12. I Melt With You - Modern English (1983)
13. Take On Me - a-ha (1985)
14. Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran (1982)
15. Once in a Lifetime - Talking Heads (1980)
16. Whip It! - Devo (1980)
17. Blue Monday - New Order (1983)
18. Peace, Love And Understanding?, (What's So Funny 'Bout) - Elvis Costello (1979)
19. Don't Stand So Close To Me - The Police (1980)
20. Shout - Tears For Fears (1985)
21. People Are People - Depeche Mode (1981)
22. True - Spandau Ballet (1983)
23. Brass In Pocket - The Pretenders (1980)
24. Something About You - Level 42 (1986)
25. Hold Me Now - Thompson Twins (1984)
26. Turning Japanese - The Vapors (1981)
27. She Blinded Me With Science - Thomas Dolby (1984)
28. Psycho Killer - Talking Heads (1977)
29. Is She Really Going Out with Him? - Joe Jackson (1979)
30. Poison Arrow - ABC (1982)
31. Rock Lobster - B-52s (1979)
32. Need You Tonight - INXS (1987)
33. Come On Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners (1982)
34. Heart Of Glass - Blondie (1978)
35. Everyday I Write The Book - Elvis Costello (1983)
36. Cars - Gary Numan (1980)
37. Tempted - Squeeze (1981)
38. Who Can It Be Now? - Men At Work (1982)
39. It's My Life - Talk Talk (1982)
40. West End Girls - Pet Shop Boys (1985)
41. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me - Culture Club (1982)
42. Pump It Up - Elvis Costello (1978)
43. Doctor! Doctor! - Thompson Twins (1984)
44. Promises, Promises - Naked Eyes (1983)
45. Spirits In The Material World - The Police (1981)
46. Goody Two Shoes - Adam Ant (1982)
47. More Than This - Roxy Music (1982)
48. Pulling Mussels (From the Shell) - Squeeze (1980)
49. Love My Way - Psychedelic Furs (1982)
50. Wouldn't It Be Good - Nik Kershaw (1984)
51. Two Tribes - Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1984)
52. Senses Working Overtime - XTC (1982)
53. Obsession - Animotion (1984)
54. Save It for Later - The English Beat (1982)
55. Alive and Kicking - Simple Minds (1985)
56. Saved By Zero - The Fixx (1983)
57. Here Comes the Rain Again - Eurythmics (1984)
58. Tenderness - General Public (1984)
59. Voices Carry - Til Tuesday (1985)
60. Mexican Radio - Wall of Voodoo (1982)
61. Beds Are Burning - Midnight Oil (1988)
62. Send Me An Angel - Real Life (1983)
63. Always Something There to Remind Me - Naked Eyes (1982)
64. Steppin' Out - Joe Jackson (1982)
65. Why Me? - Planet P Project (1983)
66. No One Is To Blame - Howard Jones (1986)
67. Shake It Up - The Cars (1982)
68. The Metro - Berlin (1982)
69. You Spin Me 'Round (Like a Record) - Dead Or Alive (1985)
70. The Safety Dance - Men Without Hats (1983)
71. One Thing Leads to Another - The Fixx (1983)
72. She's a Beauty - The Tubes (1983)
73. Rock Me Amadeus - Falco (1986)
74. In a Big Country - Big Country (1983)
75. Life In a Northern Town - The Dream Academy (1985)
76. Major Tom (Coming Home) - Peter Schilling (1983)
77. Just What I Needed - The Cars (1978)
78. Time (Clock of the Heart) - Culture Club (1983)
79. The Sun Always Shines On TV - A-Ha (1985)
80. Come Back and Stay - Paul Young (1983)
81. Der Kommissar - Falco (1986)
82. Video Killed the Radio Star - The Buggles (1979)
83. Girls on Film - Duran Duran (1981)
84. Only the Lonely - The Motels (1982)
85. Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) - A Flock of Seagulls (1982)
86. Avalon - Roxy Music (1982)
87. I Want Candy - Bow Wow Wow (1982)
88. Too Shy - Kajagoogoo (1983)
89. Fade to Grey - Visage
90. Dance Hall Days - Wang Chung (1984)
91. A Little Respect - Erasure (1988)
92. Our House - Madness (1983)
93. Reap the Wild Wind - Ultravox (1982)
94. Destination Unknown - Missing Persons (1982)
95. I Don't Like Mondays - Boomtown Rats (1979)
96. Messages - OMD (1980)
97. Love Plus One - Haircut 100 (1982)
98. I Got You - Split Enz (1980)
99. So In Love - OMD (1985)
100. Lawnchairs - Our Daughters Wedding (1980)
It was 1979. Chevy Chevettes were still cruising our streets blasting music from 8 track players. Cassettes and record albums dominated record store shelves with 45 rpm records still selling millions. There weren’t any VCR’s or DVDs to watch music videos on and MTV wasn’t even around quite yet. The United States was still reeling from the disco effects of Saturday Night Fever. But, out of England came a roar. From British pubs came the hard heavy sounds that eventually invaded United States record stores. This sound was/ is commonly referred to as The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal or NWOBHM.
I was in high school when I was first exposed to it. I remember being introduced to Eddie. I seen Eddie sitting on the shelves at Opus One in Ceredo Kenova, West Virginia. Eddie was unknown then but still very ominous looking. All metalheads know Eddie now. For now, Eddie graces a lot of bedroom walls and t-shirts. Then, he was making his first appearance on the debut self-entitled Iron Maiden album. Something inside of me told me I needed to buy this album. I didn’t have myspace or internet radio to go home and research them. The look in Eddie’s eyes told me this was special. Later, I used the same instinct to buy Saxon’s “Wheels of Steel” and Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades.”
In the late 70's, bands like Led Zepelin, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath that had dominated the metal scene were slightly declining in production and popularity. The new bands that were playing in British pubs were toning down the blues influence that those bands had and turned up the volume. They incorporated elements of punk and sped up the music. The lyrics often delt with mysticism and fanatsy.
The Soundhouse in Britain became the first heavy metal disco. DJ Neal Kay began playing songs by Thin Lizzy, Rush, AC/DC, and others. New bands began playing live at the Soundhouse. Iron Maiden was one of those bands. Their first British release was called The Soundhouse Tapes. A British music magazine called Sounds began charting Heavy Metal and the popularity of the music became widespread. The magazine Kerrang! was later formed and kept progress of the NWOBHM as well as other hard rock and metal.
Thirty years later, the New Wave of Heavy Metal is still flowing out of England. The same bands that led the charge in the late seventies are still alive and well now.
One of the bands that upped the irons and spread the metal around was Iron Maiden. The band and their mascot - Eddie - have become world-wide metal legends. On New Year's Eve in 1978, the band recorded a demo consisting of "Iron Maiden", "Prowler", "Strange World" and "Invasion". The demo was given to DJ Neal Kay who began to play it at Soundhouse. Five thousand copies were made and sold very quickly. The EP is a very rare collector's item these days.
The band signed a long term deal with EMI. They released two albums with original vocalist Paul Di'Anno. Di'Anno's hard drinking and excessive partying led to his departure. The band brought in Bruce Dickinson as the lead singer. Dickinson was known as Bruce Bruce in the NWOBHM band Samson. Samson had recorded a few albums and had success with the album "Shock Tactics" which featured the classic single "Riding With The Angels."
Iron Maiden recorded their classic release "The Number Of The Beast" and their popularity started to explode. They have sold around 75 million records. They are recognized as one of the top bands in the world. They play and sell out shows around the globe. Their artwork and merchandise has made them a reconizable icon.
In 2009, the band released "Iron Maiden: Flight 666 - The Movie" into theatres worldwide. The documentry explored The Maiden tour which was something that had never been attempted before. Traveling the globe on a plane flown by their lead singer, the band flew in a specially customised Boeing 757 airliner with their crew and 12 tons of music and stage equipment on board, playing 23 sold out stadium and arena shows in 13 countries in just 45 days, travelling 70,000km and performing to almost half a million fans. The band also released "Flight 666" as a 2 cd live audio release and as a 2 dvd set.
It is debateable if Judas Priest should be classified as a NWOBHM band. They had already been playing for years and released several albums by the time the wave struck. But, there isn't any doubt that their seixth release "British Steel" helped drive the success of NWOBHM. The album, released in 1980, contained the monster anthems "Living After Midnight" and "Breaking The Law." The record landed at number 4 in the UK and made it to number 34 in the United States.
Anthrax guitar player Scott Ian said in an interview in the documentary Heavy Metal: Louder than Life: that British Steel was probably the album that really defined heavy metal, because it, according to him, did away with the "last shards of blues" that had otherwise been characteristic of the genre. He said, "Even the title... how does it get more metal than that?"
Judas Priest released "Screaming For Vegeance" in 1982. This album made them world stars and elevated lead singer Rob Halford to Rock God status. It reached number 11 in the UK and 17 in the US. The album featured a more mainstream sound and the single "You've Got Another Thing Coming" helped fuel the pop metal craze of the eighties.
Judas Priest recorded several more albums with Rob Halford and a few without him. Tim "Ripper" Owens recorded with Judas Priest in Halford's absence. The story of Owens fronting Judas Priest inspired the 2001 movie "Rock Star" starring Mark Wahlberg in a role based on Owen's entrance into Priest.
Rob Halford has since returned to Judas Priest and released two critically acclaimed Judas Priest titles in the new millineum and a live cd "A Touch Of Evil Live" in 2009.
Def Leppard was mentioned in the same breath as Iron Maiden in the early days of NWOBHM. They toured with AC/DC, Judas Priest, and the Scorpions. The average age of the band in 1979 was 16. They released 2 albums claimed by NWOBHM (On Through The Night and High and Dry) but record companies were continously stearing them toward a more commercial sound. They found that pop metal sound which rose them to great heights. The albumsPyromania and Hysteria sold over 10 million copies a piece.
Def Leppard have become international superstars. The dramactic tale of their rise and several tragedies that have struck the band were detailed in a VH1 movie. They were not only part of the NWOBHM but also part of the hair metal pop/metal success of the 80's. They released the cd "Songs From The Sparkle Lounge" in 2008. The cd contained a duet with country superstar Tim McGraw. They performed on CMT's show "Crossroads" with new country sensation Taylor Swift and the dvd is an exclusive Wal-Mart release. In 2009, they conducted a summer tour with Poison and Cheap Trick. Def Leppard may have abandoned their NWOBHM roots but they played a vital role in the genre's success and have become international superstars in the process.
Motorhead came in on the punk side of the NWOBHM. Heavily inspired by the Damned, Motorhead played/ plays in your face rock at a frenetic punk pace and cranks it up to high volume. The band's no holds barred attitude has made it legends with anthems like "Ace Of Spades", "Overkill", and "Bomber." Lemmy Kilmster the bass player and vocalist has been the common thread in the band. The band started with Lemmy, Philthy Phil Taylor, and Fast Eddie Clarke. The music centered around Lemmy's whiskey soaked growl, a very identifiable voice. The music was/ is straight at you and over the top. The band quickly built a cult following and the consistency of the bands quality of album releases (no matter who came into the band to play with Lemmy) has been amazing for an over thirty year period. Once dubbed the loudest band in the world Motorhead inspired thrash rockers like Metallica. Motorhead's popularity is still increasing. Lemmy, himself, has reached legendery status. He released an autobiography entitled "White Line Fever". He has also claimed to have bedded over 2000 women. He has appeared on numerous tribute albums performing songs by Queen, Ted Nugent, AC/DC, Metalicca, and others. The original members Lemmy, Philthy Phil, and Fast Eddie have passed but Motorhead lives on.
Saxon were the most underrated of the bands of the NWOBHM. They found success in England but never found chart success in the United States. Saxon has put out solid release after solid release since 1980, when they released their second effort "Wheels Of Steel". That album was recognized as an instant classic. The album was released in the United States and started a cult following over here but did not chart. In 1981, they released another classic album called "Strong Arm Of The Law." These two albums are regarded as two of the best NWOBHM albums that have been released. In 1982, they released "Denim and Leather", which may have been their most successful release in America. The single "Denim and Leather" received slight notice in the US and the video saw action on MTV. They released the followup "Power and The Glory" in 1983. These albums are regarded as the strongest and most well-known in the Saxon catalogue.
Saxon has never quit releasing albums. They have a strong fanbase that supports Saxon. The band has done despite not ever enjoying airplay in the US. Although they have had several lineup changes, Biff Byford has been the lead singer since the beginning. It has been his distinctive vocals that have kept the band relevant for around thirty years.
A movie called "Saxon: Heavy Metal Thunder: The Movie" is being released November of 2009. It is a documentry celebrating the 30th anniversary of Saxon. The film will look at the ups and downs of one of the first NWOBHM bands. The band released "Into The Labyrinth" in 2009. It is their 18th studio release.
There were several other bands that helped NWOBHM make an impact on the music scene. The Tygers of Pan Tang were one of those bands and they are still releasing cds and playing shows in the UK. Diamond Head were cited as major influences of Metallicca. Girlschool toured heavily with Motorhead. There were many bands coming out of Britain in the eighties that held the heavy metal banner high.
The bands that were mentioned in the article are still going today. They are still playing loud and proud all over the world and recording studio cds. There have been may fads in music. The British Invasion of the 60's, disco, the punk movement of the 70's, and the New Wave Movement of the late 70's, but NWOBHM has proven the test of time and has proven that it was not a fad. NWOBHM bands have been recording influential albums and playing sellout shows for thirty years. The roar is still very evident. Crank it up!!!