Posts from the ‘Music’ Category

Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health” From 1983 Gets Its Due Attention In 2013

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Lately I’ve been digitizing some songs from my record collection, pulling sources from albums I’ve had for decades – or ones that I’ve found at thrift stores over the years. It’s pretty hard to pass up a 99-cent copy of Herb Alpert, Sergio Mendes, Sarah Vaughan, or Henry Mancini, when you still have a working record player. I mean, seriously…single MP3 tracks off Amazon or Apple cost that, and only if that vintage track is available at all. I can get the whole album for the same price?

Here’s my dollar, Ms. Cashier.

Plus of course, there is the argument over the “warmth” of listening to analog recordings from vinyl. Frankly my ear isn’t well tuned enough to hear anything shrill in digital remasters. I will say this: there is a familiarity to hearing the “clicks and pops” of a record, something tangible and tactile on a turntable playing a song for me through a vinyl track of glory.

Life isn’t perfect, and therefore the soundtrack to life shouldn’t necessarily demand perfection.

Last night I was putting away canned goods in the pantry when I spied a box of records that hadn’t been touched in a while. Taking a quick look inside exposed a few items I had owned since the 1980s, along with some other items given to me by friends when they gave away their record player in the early 1990s. One of those albums is the one you see here: Metal Health by Quiet Riot.

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Of course there’s nothing quiet about it; Metal Health was standard-issue early-80s rock, courtesy of the blaring-yet-powerful high-pitched vocals of Kevin DuBrow, mixed with the hook-heavy guitar solos of Carlos Cavazo and solid backing by Frankie Banali and Rudy Sarzo. Since its release in 1983, the album has sold over 6 million copies. Quiet Riot was a seasoned crew of performers by this time, having been together for a decade. They played many of the same venues as Van Halen during the 1970s. While not achieving the same notoriety as other L.A. rock bands of the era, they continued to play until 2007, when singer DuBrow was found dead of a cocaine overdose at his home. They reformed in 2010; none of the original early-70s line up remains.

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On my copy of the album the first track is titled “Metal Health,” which according to resources makes it part of the first release. On subsequent releases of the album, the track was retitled as “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)” – which is what most people called it anyway. Much like The Who’s Baba O’Riley being called “Teenage Wasteland” by most of the listening public.

Metal Health is considered widely to be Quiet Riot’s largest hit and, thanks to the 2013 Superbowl, has seen a worthy tribute 30 years later as part of a really funny Hyundai commercial – the two versions of which are posted below:

And if you’re itching to hear the original song in its epic entirety, here’s the track I digitized from my LP version. All Hail Vinyl!

Twisting with Carl Stevens and His Orchestra [1962]

99-cents isn’t a lot anymore.

Despite that, it can still get a few good things.  For example, I picked up this album today at Goodwill because I didn’t have any Twist music in my collection.  Besides, the cover is kinda cute 🙂

What I found was so upbeat that I can’t stop listening to it.

I don’t know much about Carl Stevens, but I can say this album is mid-paced, happy, and makes fun of itself.  Most of it is without words, but when they do sing it’s in goofy voices.  There are twangy guitars, fast versions of old standards, and plenty of percussion.

In short, this 99-cent album is fun!

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Jack Jones – What Now My Love [1966]

Smoother than the fender of a Galaxie 500 and twice as powerful! Jack Jones has one of the cleanest voices in the business!

The Earworm Masters #2 – Gerardo “Rico Suave” [1990]

You may only know two of the words from this song, but they would be the only two you need to know.

I have a hard time finding another video that epitomizes 1990 than Rico Suave.  Most everyone is clean, lean, sexy, well-dressed, and looking like they’re all from Miami Beach. And the mullets, legendary in length, offset an amazing series of perms on the women.

The song features several samples, most notably for me is one from James Brown’s Give It Up or Turn It Loose and Chamo Candela by Daquiri.  In a satiric honor which also is a measure of the song’s popularity, Weird Al Yankovic covered the song in Taco Grande.  The beat and the horns are catchy enough to get stuck in your head for days.

And that is why Rico Suave is today’s Earworm Master!

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On Youtube – http://youtu.be/fpK_Ext2AeI

The Earworm Masters #1 – Michael Murphey’s “Wildfire” [1975]

Is it soft rock, pop, or country? Seems to me the inaugural Earworm Masters song is a little bit of all three. The smooth melodies mixed with a story filled with mystery kept half of America fixated on what the song was about. In fact, the song Wildfire came from a dream Michael Murphey had, one which hinged on a story told by his grandfather.

I can still hear the hum of the tubes in my AM Radio when listening to this.

If you’re my age – forty something or more – you know the chorus, word for word.  Don’t worry…it’s not a bad thing 🙂

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Herb Alpert – Going Places! [1965]

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If you know just one Herb Alpert song, it’s probably Tijuana Taxi.

And if you know two, the other is one you probably don’t know the name for but have heard it on countless occasions: Spanish Flea.  Now if you were to buy just one Herb Alpert album to take in the Latin flavor of his trumpet, Going Places! would be a safe bet.  Not only does it have the two aforementioned songs, but it also has a Go-Go cover of The Ventures’ hit Walk Don’t Run.

Bottom line: this album is a 60s classic that should be revered and plated until it is grey!

14 December 1969 – The Jackson 5 Performs for the First Time on the Ed Sullivan Show

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In many ways they changed the face of popular music, and on this day in 1969 the Jackson 5 also wowed the TV audiences of America when they played the Ed Sullivan Show.

The Jackson 5 started playing in 1964; their debut album “Diana Ross Presents…” was released in December 1069 and coincided with their performance on network television.  They would go on to rule much of pop radio in the 1970s.  The band became famous by focusing on a blend of soul, R&B, tight musicianship, and swift dance moves.  Well-crafted songs written by “The Corporation” at Motown also helped.   My sister absolutely loved the Jackson 5, and hearing any song they did between 1969 and 1975 makes me think of her.

Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon still perform today as The Jacksons.

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