Dirk’s A-Z Rock Music guide

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

Disco Demolition

If you destroy art you destroy the soul of a nation. No matter how you dress it up or market it, the destruction of art is always politically motivated and is one of the ingredients of Fascism.

We have had plenty of examples in the past, the 1933 book burning in the Third Reich, the burning of books and banning of art during the McCarthy era in the USA. It is always politically motivated.

Art should never be subjected to someone’s opinion but rather to someone’s taste. Basically if you don’t like it, ignore it. If you do like it, endorse it. There really is nothing more to it

On July 12, 1979, 48,000 fans packed Chicago’s Comiskey Park for Disco Demolition Night. Some spectators went out of control.

The event ended in a riot. At the climax of the event, a crate filled with disco records was blown up on the field between games of the twi-night doubleheader between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers. Many of those in attendance had come to see the explosion rather than the games and rushed onto the field after the detonation. The playing field was so damaged by the explosion and by the fans that the White Sox were required to forfeit the second game to the Tigers.

In the 1970s, the ubiquitous disco music craze annoyed many, including popular DJ Steve Dahl, who expressed vehement protest. against disco and symbolically exploded records on air for WLUP. Mike Veeck, son of White Sox owner Bill Veeck, who was famous for combining baseball with inventive publicity stunts, hatched the idea with Dahl and WLUP’s station manager to cash in on the increasing hatred of disco with Disco Demolition Night Promotion.

Steve Dahl had lost his job spinning rock records when the radio station he worked for changed to an all-disco format. He quickly found another job at another rock station. But he was still angry.

In the late 1970s, dance-oriented disco was the most popular music genre in the United States, particularly after being featured in hit films such as Saturday Night Fever (1977).

However, disco sparked a major backlash from rock music fans—an opposition prominent enough that the White Sox, seeking to fill seats at Comiskey Park during a lackluster season, engaged Chicago shock jock and anti-disco campaigner Steve Dahl for the promotion at the July 12 doubleheader. Dahl’s sponsoring radio station was 97.9 WLUP, so admission was discounted to 98 cents for attendees who turned in a disco record; between games, Dahl was to destroy the collected vinyl in an explosion.

I am not convinced if the major backlash actually came from rock music fans or just a few Disc Jockeys. Rock acts like Rod Stewart, The Rolling Stones and Kiss al had released Disco inspired songs. “I was made for loving you” by Kiss still is one of their biggest selling singles.

The event on July 12,1979 attracted an estimated 90,000 people to the 52,000-seat stadium, leaving tens of thousands roaming around the stadium and trying to sneak in. Comiskey was packed with what announcer Harry Caray deemed “a lot of funny-looking people,” most of whom were under the influence of alcohol and marijuana.

The first game was to begin at 6 pm CDT, with the second game to follow. Lorelei, a model who did public appearances for WLUP and who was popular in Chicago that summer for her sexually provocative poses in the station’s advertisements, threw out the first pitch.[ As the first game began, Mike Veeck received word that thousands of people were trying to get into the park without tickets and sent his security personnel to the stadium gates to stop them. This left the field unattended, and fans began throwing the uncollected disco LPs and singles from the stands. Tigers designated hitter Rusty Staub remembered that the records would slice through the air, and land sticking out of the ground. He urged teammates to wear batting helmets when playing their positions, “It wasn’t just one, it was many. Oh, God almighty, I’ve never seen anything so dangerous in my life.”

Attendees also threw firecrackers, empty liquor bottles, and lighters onto the field. The game was stopped several times because of the rain of foreign objects.

The first mistake organizers made on Disco Demolition night was grossly underestimating the appeal of the 98-cent discount tickets offered to anyone who brought a disco record to the park to add to the explosive-rigged dumpster. WLUP and the White Sox expected perhaps 5,000 more fans than the average draw of 15,000 or so at Comiskey Park. What they got instead was a raucous sellout crowd of 40,000-plus and an even more raucous overflow crowd of as many as 40,000 more outside on Shields Avenue. The second mistake was failing to actually collect those disco records, which would become dangerous projectiles in the hands of a crowd that was already out of control by the time Dahl detonated his dumpster in center field during warm-ups for the evening’s second game.

Dozens of hand-painted banners with such slogans as “Disco sucks” were hung from the ballpark’s seating decks. White Sox broadcaster Harry Caray saw groups of ‘music fans’ wandering the stands. Others sat intently in their seats, awaiting the explosion. Mike Veeck recalled an odor of marijuana in the grandstand and said of the attendees, “This is the Woodstock they never had.” The odor permeated the press box, which Caray and his broadcast partner, Jimmy Piersall, commented on over the air. The crowds outside the stadium also threw records, or gathered them and burned them in bonfires. Detroit won the first game, 4–1.

The first game ended at 8:16 pm; at 8:40, Dahl, dressed in army fatigues and a helmet, emerged onto the playing surface together with his broadcasting partner Meier and Lorelei. They circled the field in a Jeep, showered (according to Dahl, lovingly) by his troops with firecrackers and beer, then proceeded to center field where the box containing the records awaited, rigged with explosives. Dahl and Meier warmed up the crowd, leading attendees in a chant of “disco sucks”. Lorelei recalled that the view from center field was surreal. On the mound, White Sox pitcher Ken Kravec, scheduled to start the second game, began to warm up. Other White Sox, in the dugout and wearing batting helmets, looked out upon the scene. Fans who felt events were getting out of control and who wished to leave the ballpark had difficulty doing so; in an effort to deny the intruders entry, security had padlocked all but one gate.

Dahl set off the explosives, destroying the records and tearing a large hole in the outfield grass. With most of the security personnel still watching the gates per Mike Veeck’s orders, there was almost no one guarding the playing surface. Soon, the first of 5,000 to 7,000 attendees rushed onto the field, causing Kravec to flee the mound and join his teammates in a barricaded clubhouse. Some climbed the foul poles, while others set records on fire or ripped up the grass. The batting cage was destroyed, and the bases were pulled up and stolen.

The understaffed police were helpless. Veeck and Caray pleaded for calm, and organist Nancy Faust played “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” to help quiet the crowd. Chicago police finally restored order after about 37 minutes.

The pitch was so badly damaged the conditions were judged too dangerous for the scheduled game to begin, and the Detroit Tigers were awarded a win by forfeit.

Some people say that this event actually killed of Disco music altogether. I don’t subscribe to that point of view. Also some people say that this was an attack on the LGBT community, I am also not convinced about that. There were many rock artist who were gay, although they hadn’t come out yet. But I am sure that most people would have known that Elton John, Freddie Mercury and Judas Priest singer Rob Halford were either gay or bi-sexual. And they weren’t the only ones.

I do however think there may have been a racial prejudice motive behind the ‘stunt’

sources

https://www.wbur.org/onlyagame/2019/07/12/disco-demolition-dahl-veeck-chicago-white-sox

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/disco-is-dealt-death-blow-by-fans-of-the-chicago-white-sox

http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/on-this-day/July-August-08/On-this-Day—Disco-Demolition-Night–Ruins-Chicago-White-Sox-Game.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disco_Demolition_Night

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Happy Birthday Ronnie James Dio

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.

Happy Birthday Ringo Starr

Born Richard Starkey, Ringo got the first half of his nickname while playing in bands with Eddie Clayton and Rory Storm. They called him Ringo because he wore multiple rings on both of his hands.

As for the second half of his name, Starr seems to be just a slight shortening of Starkey. However, the first bands he played with in Liverpool made the name part of the attraction. Ringo wasn’t quite as shy about drum solos before he joined an up-and-coming band called the Beatles. When working with his first Liverpool acts, they called his time soloing behind the kit “Starr Time,” thus making the second half of his stage name stick.

Richard Starkey was born on 7 July 1940 at 9 Madryn Street in Dingle, an inner-city area of Liverpool. He is the only child of confectioners Richard Starke and Elsie Gleave (Elsie enjoyed singing and dancing, a hobby that she shared with her husband, an avid fan of swing. Prior to the birth of their son, whom they nicknamed “Ritchie”, the couple had spent much of their free time on the local ballroom circuit, but their regular outings ended soon after his birth. Elsie adopted an overprotective approach to raising her son that bordered on fixation. Subsequently, “Big Ritchie”, as Starkey’s father became known, lost interest in his family, choosing instead to spend long hours drinking and dancing in pubs, sometimes for several consecutive days.

Starr was afflicted by life-threatening illnesses during childhood, with periods of prolonged hospitalisation. He briefly held a position with British Rail before securing an apprenticeship as a machinist at a Liverpool equipment manufacturer. Soon afterwards, he became interested in the UK skiffle craze and developed a fervent admiration for the genre. In 1957, he co-founded his first band, the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group, which earned several prestigious local bookings before the fad succumbed to American rock and roll around early 1958.

When the Beatles formed in 1960, Starr was a member of another Liverpool group, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. After achieving moderate success in the UK and Hamburg, he quit the Hurricanes when he was asked to join the Beatles in August 1962, replacing Pete Best.

The rest is history.

Well of course for the fact of his other globally successful career, which so very few people are unaware of. In the UK from 1984 to 1986 and in the US from 1989 to 1990.Ringo Starr was the narrator of the popular kids TV show “Thomas & Friends”.

But he will of course forever be associated with the Beatles.

sources

https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/how-ringo-starr-got-his-nickname-before-he-joined-the-beatles.html/

https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/merseybeat-appreciation-thread-the-1960s-liverpool-mersey-beat-sound.922624/page-9

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ringo_Starr

Instrumental Tunes

This is going to be a bit of a deviation from my usual heavy historical blogs. It will all about music in this one.

A great tune doesn’t always need to be accompanied by lyrics, sometimes the music itself does all the talking. These are just some of my favourite instrumental tracks.

That’ll be that day-How John Wayne inspired Buddy Holly.

So you are young musician. You have had some success thus far ,but you are still struggling to get that all important first number one hit, that first megahit.

You want to put your stamp on Rock and Roll, You just saw Elvis performing and you know he is the guy to beat when it comes to chart success.

What do you do?

Well you go to the cinema of course because that is what Buddy Holly. Buddy and his friend and band mate Jerry Allison went to the cinema where they saw John Wayne in probably his best movie “The Searchers”.

According to legend, Buddy Holly and Jerry Allison saw the movie “The Searchers” and heard John Wayne use the phrase throughout the film. One night, while Holly and Jerry were working together, Holly said to him that it sure would be great if they could write a hit song. Jerry replied “That’ll be the day.” Immediately inspired, they wrote the rock-and-roll song of the same name.

It was first recorded by Buddy Holly and the Three Tunes in 1956 and was re-recorded in 1957 by Holly and his new band, the Crickets. The 1957 recording achieved widespread success. Holly’s producer, Norman Petty, was credited as a co-writer, although he did not contribute to the composition. It would become Buddy Holly’s first number one hit single.

Meanwhile back in Liverpool, England. an unknown skiffle band called “The Quarrymen” picked up the song and recorded it as a demo track.

That Liverpool band would soon change their name to “The Beatles”.

Linda Ronstadt recorded “That’ll Be the Day” for her 1976 Grammy Award-winning platinum album Hasten Down the Wind, produced by Peter Asher and issued by Asylum Records. Her version reached number 11 on both the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and the Cash Box Top 100 and number 27 on the Billboard Country Singles chart. In Canada, her version peaked at number 2 on the singles chart and was the 35th biggest hit of 1976. It also made the adult contemporary charts in the United States and Canada.

I bought Linda Ronstadt’s single, but I have to be honest I didn’t only but it for the song but also for the cover. Hey what can I say I was a young boy .

Finishing up with the great man himself.

sources

https://www.songfacts.com/facts/buddy-holly/thatll-be-the-day

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Elvis’s last concert.

Anyone who tells me they like rock music but don’t like Elvis, are either lying or don’t like rock or pop music at all. The fact is that without Elvis Rock N Roll would have never been as popular as it is.

He always will have a special place in my heart. However there is no denying that his end was tragic and I still believe totally avoidable. But I will not go into that this time.

As the title suggests, this is about Elvis’s ever last concert which was held on June 26,1977. The venue was the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was his 55th show of the year.

His final show brought in a crowd of 18,000 fans at the Indianapolis’s Market Square Arena and was a must-see gig for Presley fans.

Despite his poor health condition , and at times sickly appearance, his presence alone was still enough of a draw to sell out shows nationwide.

While Elvis was overweight,158 kg, and pale at this point in his life, he still appeared on form and put on a great show.

This was his setlist; “Also Spoke Zarathustra (opening) “”C.C. Rider,” “I Got A Woman/Amen,” “Love Me,” “Fairytale,” “You Gave Me A Mountain,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “It’s Now Or Never,” “Little Sister,” “Teddy Bear,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Release Me,” “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Early Mornin’ Rain,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “I Really Don’t Want To Know,” “Hurt,” “Hound Dog,” and “Can’t Help Falling In Love.”

As he left the stage for the final time, on June 26, 1977, the King of Rock n’ Roll told his fans “We’ll meet you again, God bless, adios” He ended the show with this song.

He truly was the King of Rock N Roll

Sources

https://www.irishcentral.com/culture/on-this-day-elvis-presley-last-concert

https://www.smoothradio.com/artists/elvis-presley/final-performance-video/

https://www.thecoast.net.nz/videos/watch-elvis-presleys-final-song-at-his-last-ever-concert/

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Why I hate Metallica’s “One”

Growing up in the Netherlands there was a tradition on Good Friday. Every year on Good Friday the Dutch radio would play the ‘Top 100 of all time’, basically the greatest songs ever recorded. The majority would be rock songs.

The top 4 would always be ‘Child in Time’ by Deep Purple; ‘Stairway to Heaven’ by Led Zeppelin; ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen, and ‘Hotel California’ by The Eagles.

I would be totally happy with these 4 songs in the top spots, sometimes the sequence of the position would change but I didn’t care about that, because they also happened to be my favourite songs of all time. I would find it difficult enough to place them in a sequence of 1 to 4.

Then Metallica decided to release the album “… And justice for all” on the album was a track called ‘One’ of 7.27 minutes long. How dared they messing up my 4 favourite songs. Immediately after I heard the song for the 1st time, all the others were put in a shadows. Decades of finding the 4 perfect songs for me, destroyed.

Recently I went for a walk, as I would do for every walk I plug in my earplugs into the phone, select the music player, and listen to the music whilst on the walk. This time however, I was nearly home when ‘One’ came up on the player. it forced me to extend my walk by 7+ minutes. 7 minutes of missing out on a lovely cup of coffee.

That, ladies and gentleman. is why I hate ‘One’ by Metallica so much. Because the song is addictive and it is impossible not to love.

Even the video is so compelling to watch. It is intercut with scenes taken from the 1971 anti-war film ‘Johnny Got His Gun’.

In this tragic, dark, anti-war movie , a patriotic young American in WW1 is rendered blind, deaf, limbless, and mute by a horrific artillery shell attack, played by Timothy Bottoms. Trapped in what’s left of his body, he desperately looks for a way to end his life.

Metallica could have taken scenes from any other war movie but no they had to choose ‘Johnny Got His Gun’ ,written and directed by Dalton Trumbo.

Dalton Trumbo, the Oscar-winning screenwriter, arguably the most talented, most famous of the blacklisted film professionals known to history as the Hollywood 10. How did Metallica know that aside from music my other passion is History? How did they know I would be compelled to research that video? In a pre internet and Google era, that was not an easy task.

I am sorry to do this to all of you but I have no choice but to end this piece with that notorious piece pf music I hate so much, and yet I love it more then any other piece of music.

Minutn Fun Bitokhn-Moments of certainty

Music is not just a few notes strung together to create a tune, often accompanied by lyrics. Music is much more then that. It is therapy. It gives hope where there is despair. It gives joy where there is grief. It can transport you back to the days of yore, when time was complicated. It gives you an outlet to voice an opinion in a creative way. It gives meaning to your soul.

Mordechai Gebirtig must have realized the power of music.

Mordechai Gebirtig , was an influential Yiddish poet and songwriter of the interwar period. He was shot by Germans in the Kraków Ghetto, Poland, during the Holocaust.

He had three daughters, for whom he wrote and performed his poems. The words were set to improvised melodies, and most of his songs resemble entries in a diary.

He was self-taught in music, played the shepherd’s pipe, and tapped out tunes on the piano with one finger. He earned his livelihood as a furniture maker. However music and theatre were his hobbies.

During the first years of the war, most Jews were expelled from the city of Kraków. In November 1940, along with his wife and daughters, Gebirtig settled in a nearby village, where – without a real income, adequate shelter, food or health services. Gebirtig gave many of his papers to his friend Hoffmann, who managed to preserve them throughout the war.

On October 2, 1940. Mordecai Gebirtig wrote the song ” Minutn Fun Bitokhn-Moments of certainty” to raise the spirits of the persecuted Jewish community in Krakow. The poet’s reference to “Haman” alludes to the ancient Persian enemy of the Jewish people.

But when daily deportations of Jews to the death camps began in January 1942, his songs became increasingly pessimistic and dark.

Es brent “It’s burning”, also known as undzer shtetl brent “our town is burning”, in Hebrew translation) is a Yiddish poem–song which was written in 1936 by Gebirtig. Although the poem is generally said to have been written in response to the Przytyk Pogrom of 1936, after the Holocaust the song was often used in Holocaust commemoration or in programmes of World War II Ghetto music, both in the original Yiddish and in Hebrew translation.This is probably Gebirtig’s best-known composition.

By 1939, with the changing political situation in Europe, he had changed the final line of the poem from “if the town is dear to you” to “if life is dear to you.”[4] Rising antisemitic censorship in Poland also made it so that Gebirtig was occasionally forbidden to perform the song in public.

During the war, the song was adopted by Jewish Partisans against the Nazi regime, particularly in Krakow. According to some recollections, whistling its melody was used as a code by imprisoned resistance fighters in the Montelupich Prison.

On 4 June 1942, Nazis surrounded the ghetto and began marching Jews to waiting cattle cars. The screams of the soldiers were accompanied by gunshots; all those too slow to keep up, or too ill or weak to stay on their feet, were shot. Among the first Jews to die on the way to the cars was Gebirtig. Although both the poet and his wife were murdered, his daughters managed to survive in hiding.

Sources

http://aha.org.pl/en/projects-en/15-the-mordechai-gebirtig-project

https://holocaustmusic.ort.org/fr/places/ghettos/krakow/gebirtigmordechai/

https://archives.cjh.org//repositories/7/resources/3533

Christopher Lee-Heavy Metal star

We all know Christopher Lee as Count Dracula, or as the Sith lord Count Dooku. Some of you may even know him as the evil wizard Saruman from the Lord of the Rings. Others may know him as the dentist father of Willie Wonka.

Few will know of his real life heroic exploits during World War 2 ,where he was attached to the No. 260 Squadron RAF as an intelligence officer where he was a liaison officer for the Special Operations Executive.

Even fewer will know him as a Rock star, Heavy Metal star even, yet he was.

Lee became a fan of metal in the early Seventies when he first heard Black Sabbath, whose guitarist Tony Iommi reciprocated the respect the actor had for his band and the genre it spawned. In a 2013 promotional video for one of Lee’s own albums, he told Iommi, “You are the father of metal,” to which the guitarist replied, “But you’re the one that started it, really, because we used to go watch Dracula and the horror films you did and that’s what influenced us.”

He worked together with Heavy Metal acts like Rhapsody of Fire and Manowar.

In late 2010 it was announced that Manowar were to rerecord Battle Hymns for a November 26 release. The album, Battle Hymns MMXI, was drummer Donnie Hamzik’s first studio recording with Manowar since the original 1982 Battle Hymns release. Orson Welles having died 25 years before, the narration during “Dark Avenger” was recorded by Sir Christopher Lee.

But prior to the Manowar’s re-release of “Battle Hymns” Christopher Lee had already released his first album.

“Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross” is a symphonic metal concept album . It was released on 15 March 2010. This was Lee’s first full-length album. It tells the story of Charlemagne, the First Holy Roman Emperor. The album’s promotional MySpace page garnered over 20 million hits globally The album features 2 metal bands, and a number of guest vocalists playing the different roles in the story. Music was composed by Marco Sabiu. A music video for “The Bloody Verdict of Verden” was released in June 2012.

Christopher Lee was 90(yes that’s right 90) when the single was released. That must surely make him the oldest Rocker ever.

He had released two albums previously. His first one “Christopher Lee Sings Devils, Rogues & Other Villains” released in 1998 was not Heavy Metal albums.

His second album “Revelation” from 2006 was a cover album and did include some heavy metal tracks. like “The Toreador March”.

In 2012 and 2013 he released two Christmas albums .titled “A Heavy Metal Christmas” (2012), and “A Heavy Metal Christmas Too” (2013).

2013 must have been a busy musical year for Sir Christopher lee, because he also released the follow up to “Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross” that year, titled “Charlemagne: The Omens of Death”

It was his fourth and final album and was released on 27 May 2013,his 91st birthday It is a sequel to his album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross (2010). The music was arranged by Judas Priest’s Richie Faulkner, and features prominent Guatemalan guitar virtuoso and World Guitar Idol Champion Hedras Ramos on guitar, as well as his father, Hedras Ramos Sr, on bass.

This must make Sir Christopher Lee the coolest man on earth. He would have been 99 today. Alas he died on June 7, 2015, aged 93. But the man live a truly full life.

Sir Christopher Lee, Happy Birthday. I salute you.

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