In general I do a lot of history blogs which are often hard hitting, but every once in a while I like to do something more lighthearted.
Aside from history, music is one of my great passions and especially Rock music. This blog is a compilation of an A-Z Rock music guide. I say a guide because it will contain not the most commonly known Rock bands. but bands I really like. So sit back and relax Dirk’s A-Z Rock Music guide.
All About Eve-What kind of Fool
BONFIRE – You Make Me Feel
Cinderella-Somebody Save me
Dokken-Unchain the Night
Eels – Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues (Road Trip)
FM – Just Like You
Golden Earring – Clear Nite, Moonlight
Heart – Never
Icehouse – Crazy
J. Geils Band – Freeze Frame
Krokus – Eat The Rich
Linkin Park-In the end
Magnum – Just Like An Arrow
Nazareth – Hair of the Dog
OZZY OSBOURNE – “Mama, I’m Coming Home”
Papa Roach-Last Resort
Queensryche – The Mission
Radiohead – Street Spirit (Fade Out)
Saxon – Ride Like the Wind
Tesla – Modern Day Cowboy
Uriah Heep “Stealin’
Vandenberg – Your Love Is In Vain
Witness-Do it till we drop
XTC – Senses Working Overtime
Y&T Summertime Girls
ZZ Top – Jesus Just Left Chicago—–Rest in Peace Dusty Hill
If Elvis is the King of Rock and Roll, and if Michael Jackson is the King of Pop, then surely Ronnie James Dio must be the King of Heavy Metal. Not only was he the front man in bands like Rainbow, Black Sabbath,Dio and Heaven & Hell, he is also the one who popularized the sign of the horns in heavy metal.
He claimed his Italian grandmother used it to ward off the evil eye (which is known in Italy as malocchio). Dio began using the sign soon after joining the metal band Black Sabbath in 1979. The previous singer in the band, Ozzy Osbourne, was rather well known for using the “peace” sign at concerts, in an attempt to connect with the fans, Ronnie James Dio wanted to similarly use a hand gesture. However, not wanting to copy Osbourne, he chose to use the sign his grandmother always made. The horns became famous in metal concerts very soon after Black Sabbath’s first tour with Dio. The sign would later be appropriated by heavy metal fans.
Ronald James “Dio” Padavona was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Italian-American parents from Cortland, New York. His family moved to Portsmouth from Cortland as part of his father’s service in the U.S. Army during World War II, and they resided there for only a short time before returning to Cortland. Ronnie James listened to a great deal of opera while growing up, and was influenced vocally by American tenor Mario Lanza. His first formal musical training began at age 5, learning to play the trumpet. He participated in his high school’s band program.
It was also during high school that he formed his first rock-n-roll band, The Vegas Kings, which would later be named Ronnie and the Rumblers and then Ronnie and the Red Caps.
Dio’s musical career began in 1957, when several Cortland, New York musicians formed the band, The Vegas Kings. The group’s lineup consisted of Dio on bass guitar, Billy DeWolfe on lead vocals, Nick Pantas on guitar, Tom Rogers on drums, and Jack Musci on saxophone. The band changed its name to Ronnie and the Rumblers. In 1958, the band again changed their name to Ronnie and the Redcaps. Musci left the band in 1960, and a new guitarist, Dick Botoff, joined the lineup. The Redcaps released two singles: The first single was “Conquest”/”Lover” with the A-side being an instrumental reminiscent of The Ventures and the B-side featuring DeWolfe on lead vocals. The second single was “An Angel Is Missing”/”What’d I Say” featuring Dio on lead vocals for both tracks.
Explanations vary for how Padavona adopted the stage name “Dio”. One story is that Dio was a reference to mafia member Johnny Dio.
Another has it that Padavona’s grandmother said he had a gift from God and should be called “Dio” (“God” in Italian), although this was debunked by Padavona’s widow, Wendy, in a February 2017 interview. Padavona first used the name on a recording in 1960, when he added it to the band’s second release on Seneca. Soon after that the band modified their name to “Ronnie Dio and the Prophets”. The Prophets lineup lasted for several years, touring throughout the New York region and playing college fraternity parties.
In the history of metal, there are good singers and then there are legends – vocalists who are identifiable with the first note of song. Dio’s operatic vibrato was unmistakable and extremely versatile. His was a voice that could sooth like a soul crooner one minute and roar like vengeful tyrant the next. Even when he was embellishing tunes with melodic interjections like ‘alright,’ ‘yeah’ or ‘ooooohh-oooohhhh,’ he loomed high above most vocalists of his era – even though he stood at just about five-feet-four-inches tall.
In 1974, Dio sang on the Roger Glover conducted and produced concept album The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast. Along with other guest-singers, the album featured Deep Purple alumni Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale. Dio provided vocals for the songs “Homeward”, “Sitting in a Dream”, and the single Love Is All
But of course we all will remember him for his Heavy Metal work and especially that from the band named after him’Dio’. I think it is safe to say that there is no such thing as a bad Dio song.
Unfortunately he died on May 16,2010 from stomach cancer.
There is nothing I can write that would do any justice to the legend that is Jim Steinman. Without him there would be no Meat Loaf, Bonnie Tyler and probably no Celine Dion either.
His songs were not just songs, they were epic mini operas. Something many people don’t know that aside from being a composer, he also worked as a producer and lyricist. In 1998 he produced the song “No Matter What” performed by Boyzone. It was taken from an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical ” Whistle down the wind” for which Jim Steinman wrote the lyrics for. Given the fact he has composed so many of my favourite songs I am willing to forgive his collaboration with aforementioned Boyzone.
The news broke today that Jim Steinman died on Monday the 19th of April. Rest in Peace Jim.
All that is left for me to do is to highlight some of his epic work.
It is 1986 you get ready for your weekly dose of Heavy Metal on Sky’s Monsters of Rock. presented by Mick Wall.
You hear the opening theme ” Ice 9″ by Joe Satriani from his Epic album “Surfing with the Alien”
You sit back relax and get ready for an onslaught of Rock and Metal. Mick juts finished playing “Gonna get close to you” Queensryche’s cover version of a Dalbello song, one of those rare occasions where the cover is better then the original.
Then Mick announces a band from the Netherlands, called Vortex, the Dutch are not known for the abundance of Rock bands, So I have high hopes. ‘Vortex, who are they?’ I never heard of them, but they are on Monsters of Rock an international Rock show. They must be good.
Mick tell me the track is called “Open the gate” it is a bit of a cliché title, but hey I am willing to give it the benefit of doubt.
Four minutes of pure brutality follows, a brutal assault on my delicate ears. Would there perhaps by naked women in the clip, to soften the blow? No, just a few men and some dude singing into a bone, a character mash up between Mad Max and the Last of the Mohicans.
No redeeming features whatsoever.
Fast forward to 2021. I listen to the song again. It is just bad, in fact it is so bad it is good, I love it despite the lack of quality it did bring me back to that Sunday night in 1986.
Vital Signs is a 1984 album released by one of my all time favourite bands Survivor. I was a bit reluctant to buy the album because Survivor had changed singers, from Dave Bickler to Jimi Jamison. However it turned out to be one of their best albums.
On it there was a track called “It’s the singer not the song” and I actually forgot how good that album and that particular track were.
I also think it is a true statement that a good singer makes the song. I was never a great Bob Dylan fan but I like a lot of his songs , sung by other singers.
This blog is a tribute to some of the finest Rock singers, well at least in my opinion. So sit back, relax and enjoy.
Robert William Gary Moore was born in Belfast on 4 April 1952,the son of Winnie, a housewife, and Robert Moore, a promoter who ran the Queen’s Hall ballroom in Holywood.He grew up near Belfast’s Stormont Estate with four siblings.
He credited his father for getting him started in music. When Moore was six years old, his father invited him onstage to sing “Sugartime” with a showband at an event he had organised, which first sparked his interest in music. His father bought him his first guitar, a second-hand Framus acoustic, when Moore was 10 years old. Though left-handed, he learned to play the instrument right-handed. Not long after, he formed his first band, The Beat Boys, who mainly performed Beatles songs. He later joined Platform Three and The Method, amongst others.[Around this time, he befriended guitarist Rory Gallagher, who often performed at the same venues as him. He left Belfast for Dublin in 1968 just as The Troubles were starting in Northern Ireland. A year later, his parents separated.
After moving to Dublin, Moore joined Irish blues rock band Skid Row. At the time, the group were fronted by vocalist Phil Lynott. He and Moore soon became friends, and they shared a bedsit in Ballsbridge.
After leaving Skid Row, Phil Lynott formed the hard rock group Thin Lizzy. After the departure of guitarist Eric Bell, Moore was recruited to help finish the band’s ongoing tour in early 1974. During his time with the group, Moore recorded three songs with them, including “Still in Love with You”
After Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore had a successful solo career. He is one of my all time guitar heroes. Unfortunately I never got to see him live, he died on 6 February 2011. I did get to see his brother Cliff Moore perform live in our local pub. In 1994.
Bohemian Rhapsody is probably the most unlikely title for a Rock song and yet it became a classic , if not THE classic Rock song for many generations.
This musical masterpiece lasted 5 minutes and 55 seconds, another reason why it should not have become a hit. Because prior to that, 3 minutes was the magic number for Rock hits.
It is not just a s song but in fact a mini opera consisting out of 6 pieces.
Intro (0:00–0:49) it starts of with an .acappella introduction, just to set the story line. “Is this the real life, is this just fantasy?” When I first heard it I didn’t know. I was mesmerized.
Ballad (0:49–2:37) The piano begins in B♭ major along with the entrance of John Deacon’s bass guitar.
Guitar solo (2:37–3:05) as we get toward the end of the ballad part we already hear the unset of Brian May’s guitar piece, soon to explode into a solo
Opera (3:05–4:07) a succession of a various rhythmic and harmonic changes .
Rock (4:07–4:54) The operatic section leads into a rock interlude with a guitar riff written by Mercury. It really is a piece of Heavy Metal
Outro (4:54–5:55) as the intro the outtro slows down the Opera to bring it to a smoot conclusion.
The song has inspired some spoof versions none as funny as “Bad News” (You might recognize them as the Young Ones)
What is amazing about the song it was written by one man,Farrokh Bulsara aka Freddie Mercury who would have been 73 today. Happy Birthday Freddie
All that is left for me to do is to end the blog with probably the best Rock song ever written.
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I could not call myself a music fan and more specifically a Rock music fan without paying tribute to one of the all time greatest Rock musicians, Tom Petty.
I have to confess I was quite late getting to know the music of Tom Petty,it was really by chance.Back in the 80s I was a great fan of a music show called “Monsters of Rock” on Sky Channel presented by Mick Wall.
It predominantly showed hard rock/heavy metal videos, but occasionally they would put on other rock acts. So one time they showed the clip of “Don’t come around here no more” by a certain Mr Tom Petty, and I was hooked.
Written by Tom Petty and David A. Stewart of Eurythmics,who has a cameo appearance in the video.
Although I hadn’t really actively listened to any Tom Petty songs prior to that, I did recognize his voice immediately. And I think that is what made him so unique, people may not always have known his name, his distinctive voice was just so recognizable.
Not only was he a great singer he was also a great songwriter and guitarist, so many songs with so many great guitar riffs.
In 1976, Petty, with himself as lead singer and guitarist, formed “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers” with Mike Campbell (lead guitarist), Ron Blair (bass), Stan Lynch (drums), and Benmont Tench (keyboards). The Heartbreakers began their recording career with a self-titled album, released through the Shelter label.
He did also release 3 solo albums and did get Hollywood Walk of Fame star as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Such was the greatness of the man that he wasn’t intimidated by being a member a super band with Rock N Roll royalty like George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne.The Travelling Wilburys.
Alas with Tom Petty’s passing away this week there are only 2 of the Traveling Wilburys left, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne. I am sure Tom has already being playing some sessions with George Harrison and the Big O , up in that place which is more and more becoming a Rock N Roll heaven.
Dear sir I salute you and hope you will your place in that great wide open , you may have been a rebel without a clue but when it comes to music there is no one else like you.
Music plays an important role in my life, it always have and it always will. It is not only listening to music, playing it also often played a therapeutic role, especially during my teenage years.
My weapon of choice,Guitar. Below a picture of my very 1st guitar. Many more were to follow.
It was my neighbor and friend who got me first interested in playing guitar. He had started playing it and it sounded cool, so I thought give it a go.After a while we both got the hang of it and we would often duel, sitting on our windowsills.Me on the 1st floor of our apartment block and he on the 2nd floor.Credit goes to all other neighbors,no one ever complained.
However there were two guitarists that really ignited the spark of my inner guitarists, They were from the other scales of the jazz/blues/rock spectrum.
First Jim Croce, the combination of his lyrics and the acoustic(easy sounding but not that easy to copy) way of playing guitar touched my soul. I only discovered his music years after he died. This is my favourite Jim Croce track.
The second guitarist is in my opinion the best guitarist that ever roamed the planet. The second you hear him you know it’s him. I am referring to Stevie Ray Vaughan. 27 August 1990, a piece of me died too.Tin Pan Alley is 9 minutes and 9 seconds of musical heaven.
I was lucky when I grew up music channels still played music,which opened up a whole array of music from bands I wouldn’t have heard of before. Fondly I remember a show called “Monsters of Rock” it was either on Sky(which basically started of as a music channel) . The opening theme of the show introduced me to another great Guitarist, the legendary Joe Satriani, I never heard anyone play guitar like that it was mesmerizing.
Me and my best friend would watch Monster of Rock religiously and we would rate the bands who were on it and would even write reports on the best performances and the best( I know it’s sad) Below a clip of the show(And no neither me or my friend wrote in)
This concludes ‘ The music that shaped my life-part 2’ in part 3 I will be talking about a song that confirmed to me that the changes I made to my life were the right ones.I know I said this concludes part 2, but I couldn’t leave out one particular SRV song, that I played a lot on the day he died 27-Aug-1990, it is from his last album.