In order to increase the number of links to this site, I decided to start a link exchange program. So if you have a music-related blog and you put a link to my blog on your site, just e-mail me at the e-mail address listed on the sidebar, and I will post a link to your blog on the sidebar of this blog. This is a first-come, first-served deal so send in your link as soon as possible to ensure placement at the top of the blogroll.
Hello Hurray/Generation Landslide 45
Vincent Furnier (a.k.a. Alice Cooper) was born in Detroit, Michigan on February 4, 1948. After some childhood illnesses, Furnier and his family moved to Pheonix, Arizona. There, Furnier attended Washington Elementary School and Cortez High School. At the age of 16, he was eager to participate in the local Letterman talent show, and thus formed a band with his fellow cross-country teammates: Glen Buxton (lead guitar), John Tatum (rhythm guitar), Dennis Dunaway (bass guitar), and John Speer (drums). Furnier would furnish lead vocals and play the harmonica. The band was initially dubbed the Earwigs and although they mimed their performance at the talent show, as a result of winning the show and loving the experience of being onstage, they acquired instruments at a local pawn shop and soon renamed themselves the Spiders. For about a year they played in the Phoenix area and even released two singles. The second of these, “Don’t Blow Your Mind”, became a local #1 radio hit. By now, the Spiders had graduated from Cortez High School; also Michael Bruce replaced John Tatum on rhythm guitar. By 1967, the band was making regular road trips to Los Angeles to play shows, and the band once again renamed themselves – they were now known as the Nazz. In addition Neal Smith replaced John Speer on drums. By the end of 1967, the band had relocated to Los Angeles permanently.
In 1968, they learned that Todd Rundgren also had a band called Nazz, and they subsequently changed their name to Alice Cooper, with Furnier changing his name to Alice Cooper. Soon they were approached by Shep Gordon, who became their manager. Gordon secured the band an audition with Frank Zappa, which led to a three album contract with Zappa’s Straight Records. Alice Cooper’s first LP, “Pretties for You” (1969) was ultimately a commercial and critical failure. The band appeared at the Toronto Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival concert in September 1969. While they were performing, a chicken somehow made its way onto the stage. Cooper, assuming that since the chicken had wings, it must be able to fly, picked up the chicken and threw it out over the crowd; instead of flying away, the chicken plummeted into the first few rows, where the audience proceeded to tear the chicken to pieces. A rumor started that Cooper bit the head off the chicken and drank its blood onstage, and the notoriety the band gained from this incident inspired them to capitalize on tabloid sensationalism, in the process creating a new subgenre, shock rock. In spite of the publicity garnered from the incident, the band’s second album, “Easy Action” (1970) was just as unsuccessful as the first. Still, two occurrences would be instrumental in reversing the fortunes of the band. The first was Warner Brothers’ acquisition of Straight Records, which meant that the band was set to receive a higher level of promotion from a bigger label. The second was the decision by the band to relocate to Detroit, Michigan, where their bizarre stage act was much better received. They teamed up with fledgling producer Bob Ezrin to record their next album, which would also be their last under the Straight Records contract. The next single, “I’m Eighteen”, released in November 1970 in advance of the album, reached #21 on the Billboard charts, and the LP, “Love it to Death” (1971), proved to be their breakthrough album, reaching #35 on the U.S. album charts.
The band followed up this initial success with “Killer” (1971), which spawned two hits, “Under My Wheels” and “Be My Lover”. By mid-1972, Alice Cooper’s stage show had become infamous, and they seemed poised for even greater success. In June 1972, they released the appropriately-titled “School’s Out”, which reached #2 on the Billboard album charts. The title track was released as a single and reached the Top Ten in the U.S. and #1 in the U.K. Soon they reached their commercial – and arguably, creative – peak, with the release of “Billion Dollar Babies” in February 1973, which reached #1 in both the U.S. and U.K. The album spawned four chart hits, the second of which was “Hello Hurray” b/w “Generation Landslide”. This is today’s featured single.
“Hello Hooray” is the first song on “Billion Dollar Babies” and is has an anthem-like quality to it. The song opens with a bombastic-sounding riff from Buxton, anchored by the rhythm section. After this intro, Cooper’s lead vocals chime in: “Hello! Hurray!/Let the show begin, I’ve been ready”. The song works on two levels: both as an individual track and as an intro to the album, to get us psyched up to listen to the record. And what better way to get his listener’s psyched up than to indicate that he knows what it is like to be a fan? “Ready as this audience that’s coming here to dream/Loving every second, every moment, every scream.” It may not be Proust, but as a prelude to about 40 minutes of Alice Cooper in their prime, it’s not bad. It represents a worthy addition to the classic Cooper catalog.
But turn over the record, and we get a pleasant surprise. “Generation Landslide” is not only superior to the average B-side, but one could easily make the case for “Landslide” being the stronger side. It is an often-overlooked gem about the problems faced by the billion dollar babies from the title track. It starts off with a melody being played on a acoustic guitar, before Cooper sings “la da da dada” and the electric guitars thunder forth. The song has a simple, driving melody and is pregnant with profound lyrical content and a number of early 1970’s pop culture references: “Sister’s out ’til five doing banker’s son’s hours/But she owns a Maserati that’s a gift from his father/Stopped at full speed at one hundred miles per hour/The Colgate invisible shield finally got ’em”. During the instrumental break in the second half of the song, we get a harmonica solo, which serves as a refreshing novelty. And the guitar interplay between Buxton and Bruce plays no small part in making this song one of the more memorable tracks from the album. The impact of the song was not lost on Cooper himself, who included an updated version of the song (“Generation Landslide ’81”) on his 1981 release “Special Forces”.
The single (catalog #: WB 7673) was issued on Warner Brothers Records in 1973 and peaked at #35 on the Billboard singles chart. There was no picture sleeve for this single in the U.S., although it was issued with a picture sleeve in some countries. This, of course, was the second to last album for the classic Alice Cooper lineup. “Muscle of Love”, released in November 1973, was not as successful as its predecessor, and the band members argued over the future of the band, with Furnier wanting to continue to do elaborate stage shows and concept albums, and the rest of the band wanting to scale back the stage shows in order to concentrate on their music, which in their eyes was what gave them credibility in the first place. This led to the breakup of the original Alice Cooper band in 1974, with Cooper continuing as a solo artist, and Dunaway, Bruce and Smith forming the band Billion Dollar Babies (they issued one album before disbanding). Buxton, on the other hand, kept a low profile, playing only occasional club gigs and living on a farm in Iowa until his death in 1997.
The topic of this posting isn’t really something about which I usually write articles, but this article about the new e-textbook trial by the University of Texas got me thinking about the college textbook business. This is a business that has all the earmarks of a cartel: there are, relatively speaking small number of firms in the industry, and their product relatively homogenous. There is a relatively stable level of demand for their product – there is a steady supply of college students – and production costs are likely the same across the industry. There are several factors working in favor of the textbook publishers charging as much as possible. (1) A small number of textbooks gain widespread acceptance, thus limiting the amount of competition. (2) College professors – not the students, who must ultimately purchase the textbook – decide what is the required textbook for a course; thus since they are insulated from the financial cost of textbook purchasing, they have little incentive to consider the price when choosing a textbook. (3) Students (or their parents, if the parents foot the bill) who wouldn’t think about dropping 80, 90, or 100 dollars or more for a book under ordinary circumstances may well look upon it as the “cost of an education” and bite the bullet on overpriced textbooks. And all of this means substantial revenue for those in the business: the University of Texas’s financial aid website estimates that students should expect to shell out an average of $409 a semester for books.
The effects of this are obvious to anyone with a Internet access and 5 minutes of free time. At Amazon, the cost of the latest edition of Paul Samuelson’s Economics textbook sells for $140.65. The book is 800 pages long, so I suppose if you believe in the labor theory of value, the cost may be warranted; I, however, see little point in paying that much for what the late Murray Rothbard once referred to as a textbook that “differs from its rivals largely in being bigger, more indigestible, and filled with the flip and unsupported wisecracks with which Samuelson is wont to dismiss deviant economic views.” Around the same time I looked up the cost of the Samuelson text, I was also shopping for a copy of the current Baseball Prospectus, which is available for $13.97. Is the comparison unfair because I am comparing apples and oranges? I could purchase Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics by Henry Hazlitt, which has the disadvantage of being written in plain English and doesn’t feature the gaudy 3-D charts and graphs of Samuelson’s econ text, but serves as a good introduction to the dismal science nonetheless.
I am, of course, not alone in making these observations. Even politicians have taken notice, and in 2007, the Washington Post wrote about an effort by Christopher Peace, a Virginia legislator who planned to create a state-sponsored digital database of print-on-demand textbooks. A company called Flatworld Knowledge has been formed by publishing industry veterans, and is apparently an attempt to provide e-textbooks using the open source model. Textbook file-sharing sites also about: the most popular of these was Textbook Torrents. The site is currently down, but its rule page once exhorted users who saved money downloading textbooks to use the money to buy a scanner and use it to scan as many textbooks as possible. Although this site’s blatant copyright infringement practices makes them an easy target for the enforcement arm of the publishing industry, one wonders whether similar sites will do to the textbook publishing business what music file-sharing did to the recording industry over the last decade.
In any case, it seems unlikely that the college textbook cartel is going to manage to put the genie back into the bottle here. What is going on is a revolution in the dissemination of information, and it is not restricted to music, newspapers, or textbooks. The textbook business, and academia in general, has been shielded from these changes, as the middle class continues to send their children to colleges and universities (and foot the exorbitant bills), but the recent economic downturn may very well strike a fatal blow to these institutions. The fact is that a college education is no longer the ticket to a higher income that it once was. Proponents of a college education will note that on average, college graduates earn more over their careers than non-college graduates, but as any first-year statistics student would know, this is merely confusion correlation with causation. Kathy Kristof has written about this in some detail in her Forbes article, The Great College Hoax, so I won’t reiterate her argument here. But her central finding is worth repeating: “A correlation between B.A.s and incomes is not proof of cause and effect. It may reflect nothing more than the fact that the economy rewards smart people and smart people are likely to go to college. To cite the extreme and obvious example: Bill Gates is rich because he knows how to run a business, not because he matriculated at Harvard. Finishing his degree wouldn’t have increased his income.” It is only a matter of time before the middle class realizes this, and it becomes reflected in lower enrollments and colleges and universities closing their doors. Those who do enroll will likely be more budget conscious.
What emerges after the fallout is something on which we can only speculate. Gary North writes about the possibility of Wal-Mart getting into the higher education business and charging $30 for an online PDF textbook instead of $150 for a hardcover book. Education would be vastly cheaper and more efficient than it currently is. So far, Wal-Mart has not expressed any interest in such a venture, but I tend to agree with North the technological revolution of the 1990’s will eventually result in a complete restructuring of higher education. What is clear is that there is still a need for an educated workforce, whether or not they receive their education from a traditional 4-year college or not. Paying $140.65 for Samuelson’s econ text, however, is something that we can all live without.
Cheap Trick’s second album had the same power pop appeal of its predecessor, only with a somewhat more radio-friendly sound, probably thanks in no small part to producer Tom Werman. The album starts off with “Hello There”, not so much a song as an one and a half minute introduction to the album, a kick-ass tune with punk appeal. “Big Eyes” is built around a heavy metal riff that could go toe to toe with the best that Black Sabbath and Deep Purple had to offer. “Downed” is a dreamy, psychedelic number with existential lyrics (“I’m gonna live on a mountain/Way down under in Australia/It’s either that or suicide/Its such a strange strain on you”). This gives way to the original version of “I Want You To Want Me”, a Beatles-esque music hall-inspired track that has a refrain that could rival any British Invasion song: “Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you crying? Oh-oh, didn’t I, didn’t I didn’t I see you crying?” This gives way to the harder-edged “You’re All Talk”. Other highlights include “Oh Caroline”, the albums entry in the “Oh” trilogy (other entries were “Oh, Candy” on the previous LP and “Oh, Claire” on “Heaven Tonight”), “Clock Strikes Ten”, a sort of updated version of “Rock Around the Clock” about going out and having a good time, and “Southern Girls”, a homage to the Beach Boys’ “California Girls”. “In Color” follows the same template as Cheap Trick’s debut self-titled album, and the songs on this album are as good as the songs on the first album, and the band’s comprehensive knowledge of pop, as well as their sense of humor, is omnipresent.
Picture sleeve for All Aboard b/w Cincinnati Fatback (BUY 3)
I recently did a retrospective on Stiff Records on one of my podcasts, and I made a mistake that I shouldn’t have. I played “both sides of the classic Stiff Records single, ‘All Aboard’ b/w ‘Cincinnati Fatback’ by Roogalator.” What I didn’t realize is that while I had the right version of “Cincinnati Fatback”, the version of “All Aboard” that I played was actually a re-recording of the song done for the band’s debut album, “Play It By Ear” (1977). So as a means of making amends for my error, I decided to make today’s featured single “All Aboard” b/w “Cincinnati Fatback”.
Roogalator was formed in 1972 by guitarist Danny Adler, an Ohio native living in the U.K. They played their first gig in November 1972 at a talent night at the Marquee Club in London. Response was lukewarm, and Adler eventually went to Paris to study jazz theory, putting Roogalator on hiatus indefinitely. When he returned to London in 1975, he formed a second Roogalator lineup with Bobby Irwin (drums), Steve Beresford (pianos) and Nick Plytas (keyboards). This lineup recorded a demo that resulted in a booking agency deal, but neither Irwin nor Beresford wanted to take things any further, so Adler and Plytas put together another lineup. They recruited Dave Solomon (drums), a former band mate of both Plytas and Beresford. Irwin, noting that the band was still missing a bass guitarist, gave the Roogalator demo to Paul Riley, a member of the successful pub rock band Chili Willi and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Riley joined the band just before their September 1975 (re-)debut, completing the lineup. Riley’s presence in the lineup helped attract press attention in the early days. Roogalator quickly became a fixture on the London pub rock scene, and the minimalist funk sound of the band gained a following, in spite of the fact that it was at odds with the country, blues, and early rock sound normally heard on the scene – or perhaps because of it. In November 1975, they recorded demos for United Artists Records and met Robin Scott, who would become their manager and producer, and the band continued to play gigs for the remainder of the year. In January 1976, they supported Dr. Feelgood in a show at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. The show was by their own admission a disaster, and it led to the departure, several weeks later, of Dave Solomon. Paul Riley also quit the band. Solomon was replaced by Bobby Irwin, and Jeff Watts was recruited to be the new bassist. In May 1976, Roogalator recorded a John Peel session, and embarked on a European tour. This tour was marred by the band having all their possessions stolen from the van, and both Watts and Irwin left the band. Encouraged by Robin Scott, Adler recruited a new rhythm section of Julian Scott (Robin’s brother) on bass and Justin Hildreth on drums. With this lineup, Roogalator signed a one-off single deal with Stiff Records early in the summer of 1976 and released “All Aboard” b/w “Cincinnati Fatback”.
“All Aboard” starts off with a drum fill, which gives way to a funky-sounding riff, and soon Danny Adler’s lyrics transport us back to the Ohio of his youth: “Well it was evening time when the train came rolling through/And we flagged it down with the flame held in the midnight blue”. This eventually gives way to the chorus: “Hello Cleveland, it’s a beautiful evening/Shine your light on me/Deep In your smoky soul/I know there’s rock and roll”. The verse and chorus are repeated twice before giving way to an instrumental break which includes a piano solo followed by an extended guitar solo (accompanied at one point by a chorus of “hey! hey! hey!”). The conclusion of the song has Adler speaking and imploring us to get the record stores to carry records “with those nice crazy sounds that are filling the town.” The song is quite unlike some of the early punk and new wave records issued by Stiff, but in many ways the iconoclastic Stiff Records was the perfect home for a band like Roogalator; it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if the band had continued their association with the label. This song was, as mentioned earlier, re-recorded for Roogalator’s debut album, but the original version is better in my opinion.
“Cincinnati Fatback” was the flip side of this single, but this was in many ways Roogalator’s signature tune, and has found it’s way onto many Stiff Records compilations. The funky guitar is there, just as it was in “All Aboard”, but this time, it’s accompanied by an equally funky-sounding keyboard, as Adler tells the tale of a riverboat cruising the Ohio River: “Cincinnati fatback/Cincinnati fatback/That ass-kicking, finger-licking, chicken-picking Cincinnati fatback/And talkin’ about poontang/Right down to your ying-yang/Down on the banks of the Ohio”. What follows is several minutes of funk not unlike that of the Meters; moreover, the rhythm of the music mimics a riverboat cruise with its easygoing tempo. Once again, the ending of the song is not necessarily what you would expect: we get a music bridge, with Adler waxing poetically: “Yes I can still see/How it used to be/Watching those big maroon streamliners/Ease off into the sunset”. This gives way to a reprise of the song’s main riff before the song comes to an end, after one last crescendo from the keyboard. “Cincinnati Fatback” is a great song that gives this single a legitimate claim to being a “double A-side,” at least in the sense that both sides of the single are equally good.
This single (catalog #: BUY 3) was issued by Stiff Records in late summer/early fall 1976. Stiff Records was known for having interesting picture sleeves for many of their singles, and this was no exception: the picture sleeve was a parody of the “Meet The Beatles” cover, only with the members of Roogalator instead. This single was also issued in Holland by Dynamite Records, and the picture sleeve there was essentially the same, only without the “Stiff” logo in the upper left hand corner. Roogalator would issue another one-off single, this time on Virgin Records, in 1977: “Love and the Single Girl” b/w “I Feel Good (I Got You)”. Their debut album, “Play It By Ear”, was issued on Robin Scott’s Do It Records, also in 1977. That year, they played the “Front Row Festival” in November and December 1977, but soon afterwards, Nick Plytas left the band. Roogalator continued as a trio for awhile. Justin Hildreth was the next to leave, and was replaced by Nick Monnas. Feeling that Roogalator had run its course, Adler disbanded Roogalator in July 1978.
In spite of the options offered by commercial radio – including terrestrial and satellite options – I often find myself listening to non-commercial Internet radio. One of my personal favorites is Radio Free Dishnuts, a 24-hour Internet radio station that also simulcasts the Skyscanner satellite radio network. Last night I was listening to Electric Cafe when I noticed that Bill Allen, the longtime host of the show, was back in the saddle after taking a six month leave of absence from hosting the show. When I realized this, I logged into the IRC chat room for RFD/Skyscanner. Bill is a self-described fan of analog technology, and supposedly, the only computer involved in the production of the show is the one that does the streaming. The rest is done with analog equipment – cart machines, turntables, and so on. My mentioning of this in the IRC sparked an interesting discussion of analog versus digital technology, with several people in the IRC coming down on the site of analog.
Skepticism of new recording technologies is probably not something that started with the transition from analog to digital. The late Gary Bourgois put together an interesting radio serial called “Floating Flash Frisbone, Radio Ace,” which tells of the amusing and ongoing saga of a radio DJ who cannot hold down a job. In one episode, he finds himself working for a station in Florida called Edison 78, a station that has not changed its format since 1922, and their disdain for anything new extends to their broadcasting facilities. All of the station’s spots are recorded on wax cylinders (“[t]hey tried to get us to use one of those newfangled wire recorders, you know,” muses morning man Victor Windup, “ehh, they’re nothing but trouble; always breaking down.”). But the early technology was so limiting in many respects that the need for improvement was obvious. 10-inch 78 RPM records, for example, were limited to about 3 minutes per side, and were rather fragile. 12-inch records allowed for a slightly longer track length, and some artists took advantage of this, releasing songs that were over four minutes long. The introduction of 33 RPM and 45 RPM records in the late 1940’s brought records with lower surface noise and longer playing time to the masses. 78 RPM records were still issued alongside their 33 and 45 RPM brethren for a number of years, but the 78 was a dying format and was more or less gone by 1960, although some children’s records continued to be issued on 78 until the 1970’s. The introduction of high-fidelity LPs, however, helped extend the hegemony of analog music, which would go largely unchallenged until the introduction of the compact disc in 1982, which brings us to the present debate over analog versus digital.
Indeed there are several factors working in favor of analog technology, at least as far as audiophiles are concerned. One is the lack of aliasing in analog technology – the tendency of different continuous signals to become indistinguishable from each other when sampled, as well as the distortion that results when a signal is sampled and reconstructed as an alias of the original signal. Another is the lack of quantization error – the error that results when analog input voltages are converted to digital (since digital signals are ultimately binary, a voltage that is smaller than the least significant bit will be rounded to either 0 or 1, while in the analog world, the original value would be preserved). Fans of digital technology, of course, will note the high quality of digital sound reproduction, along with the sensitivity of analog media to physical degradation (digital media is not immune to physical degradation, as anyone who has old CDs and DVDs can attest to, but overall they seem to have held up pretty well – I have CDs that are 20 years old that still play).
I straddle the line somewhat on this issue. On the one hand, I realize that the dynamic range of digital media is limited and that analog, under ideal conditions, can be better. [I remember hearing Neil Young’s “After The Gold Rush” on a linear-tracking turntable about 15 years ago and thinking how much better it sounded than a CD.] On the other hand, I don’t share the enthusiasm that some analog aficionados have for clicks and pops, wow and flutter and tape hiss – in other words, the defects of analog media. I was listening to the Stiff Records Box Set recently, and it pained me that the version of “Yankee Wheels” by Jane Aire and the Belvederes contained surface noise (actually, it pained me more to think that the master tape of the song might be lost and that they apparently used a vinyl record as the source).
Still, to some technophiles, I’m probably considered a dinosaur. After all, I still use my fourth-generation iPod even though I have a fifth-generation iPod; I swoon over my still-functioning Sparcstation LX. And the VT-100 manual that I rescued from the garbage at work is something I’ll be hanging onto for awhile. And updating this blog is hard to do on my VIC-20, so I guess I’d better wrap up this article.
Jealous Lover EP
Rainbow was formed in 1975 by Deep Purple guitarist Richie Blackmore. He had become disenchanted with the direction Deep Purple had taken in the David Coverdale era; in the meantime, he was impressed by Ronnie James Dio, the lead singer for Elf, Deep Purple’s support band during recent U.S. tours. Blackmore and Dio had such a rapport that soon after joining forces, they had composed an album’s worth of material. Mickey Lee Soule (keyboards), Craig Gruber (bass) and Gary Driscoll (drums) were added to the lineup. The name of the band was inspired by the Rainbow Bar and Grill in Hollywood, and the new band was dubbed Rainbow.
“Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow” (1975) was the debut album by the band and featured such songs as the minor hit “Man on the Silver Mountain”, “Catch the Rainbow”, and “Black Sheep of the Family” (which Blackmore had wanted to record with Deep Purple). After the album was recorded, Gruber and Driscoll were fired and Mickey Lee Soule quit, leading to the formation of a new lineup with Blackmore and Dio returning, and Tony Carey (keyboards), Jimmy Bain (bass) and Cozy Powell (drums) replacing Soule, Gruber and Driscoll. This would become the first of many lineup changes. The new lineup would record Rainbow’s second album, “Rising” (1976), featuring such highlights as “Tarot Woman” and “Stargazer”. Both Carey and Bain were fired in early 1977. Blackmore recruited David Stone as keyboardist. He initially chose Mark Clarke as new bassist, but he disliked Clake’s playing so much that he fired him and Blackmore himself played bass on all but four of the tracks on Rainbow’s third LP, “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” (1978). Blackmore ultimately settled on Bob Daisley as the new bass player. After this album, Blackmore decided to take the band in a more commercial direction, leading to the departure of Dio. Graham Bonnet, who would later be the lead singer of Alcatrazz, was recruited as the new lead vocalist, and both Stone and Daisley were sacked, to be replaced by Don Airey and Roger Glover (a former band mate of Blackmore’s in Deep Purple) respectively. The next album, “Down To Earth” (1979), yielded the hit singles “Since You’ve Been Gone” (a Russ Ballard composition) and “All Night Long”. In 1980, Rainbow headlined the inaugural “Monsters of Rock” festival at Castle Donington in England. It would be Cozy Powell’s last gig with the band, as he had already given Blackmore his notice, and it would also be Bonnet’s last gig – he would be fired due to a drunken performance. Powell was replaced by Bobby Rondinelli and Bonnet was replaced by Joe Lynn Turner. The first album recorded with this new lineup, “Difficult to Cure” (1981), would yield the single “Can’t Happen Here” b/w “Jealous Lover”. This is today’s featured single.
Ronnie James Dio derided this period in the band’s history as “Foreigner Junior.” “Can’t Happen Here” shows that in spite of the band’s new direction (which certainly was more radio-friendly than the Dio-era albums and represented a move towards arena rock), Rainbow still had something to say. And although the song was released in 1981, the lyrics were in some ways eerily prescient with respect to the world of today: “Contaminated fish and micro chips/Huge supertankers on Arabian trips/Oily propaganda from the leaders’ lips/All about the future”. The song has a distinctive melody and a rollicking piano, and overall was one of their more memorable songs. The guitar tab for this song is not simple, so this is not something for beginners. Nevertheless, this is definitely a more popish, less intricate song than one was apt to find in the Dio era.
But turn over the record and we get a bonus: a non-album track called “Jealous Lover”. This song is a catchy boogie with lyrics that you might expect from a track called “Jealous Lover”. They have a somewhat spartan appeal: “Lost and lonely/Clouds hide the sun/Out on the highway/It’s all hit and run”. This song has become somewhat of a fan favorite and both sides have become staples of FM radio. “Jealous Lover” even made it to #13 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart (which tracks AOR airplay). The song would also become the title track to an EP which included “Can’t Happen Here”, “I Surrender” (another track from “Difficult to Cure”) and “Weiss Heim” (a non-album track previously unreleased). “Jealous Lover” would make it’s first appearance on a full-length album with the release of “Finyl Vinyl” (1986).
Rainbow would carry on for two more albums before Blackmore rejoined Deep Purple and Rainbow was put on hiatus indefinitely. Blackmore quit Deep Purple again in 1993 and formed a new Rainbow lineup which released one album, “Stranger in Us All” (1995), before Blackmore decided he wanted to change musical directions again and formed the Renaissance-influenced Blackmore’s Night. A planned tour with the “Rising”-era lineup was cancelled as a result of the death of Cozy Powell in April 1998 in a car accident. In 2009, four former members of Rainbow – Joe Lynn Turner, Bobby Rondinelli, Tony Carey and Greg Smith – teamed up with Jurgen Blackmore (Richie Blackmore’s son) to form Over The Rainbow. A tour of Eastern Europe and Russia is planned.
Fisher Price record player toy
Ever since I was old enough to walk, I had a record player. I used my first record player so much that the motor burned out and caught fire, which is one of the most vivid memories that I have of my early childhood. The successor to that record player was a birthday gift.
At some point, I inherited a box of old 45s from an older sibling. Although there were some non-rock records in there (“Cast Your Fate to the Wind” comes to mind, as well as a Popeye record called “Never Play with Matches”, and one or two of those 78s marketed for children), this was my introduction to the genre of rock music. The box was laden with (mostly) 1960’s rock and roll: I remember there were some pre-Beatles stuff in there (Chubby Checker, Bobby Sherman, etc.), some British Invasion goodies (The Beatles, The Searchers), and even some late 1960’s bubblegum (The 1910 Fruitgum Company, The Foundations). Every once and awhile I would get some new records as gifts. At the time, even used 45s bought at a thrift shop served to expand my musical horizons.
By the time I was about 12, I actually had enough disposable income to purchase records of my own. The first record I bought with my own money was “Centerfold” by the J. Geils Band, and the first album was “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by the Beatles. Soon I had a small collection of music on vinyl. A trip to a local flea market proved fruitful, when one of the vendors was so eager to unload a collection of 78’s and 45’s that he sold me the whole box for one dollar. A few years later, my uncle, who had owned the house adjacent to the one in which I grew up since the mid-1960’s, sold the house, and I inherited a collection of albums that my cousin had left behind when he went away to graduate school in Boston in the late 1970’s. This collection contained everything from late 1960’s pop and rock (e.g. The Box Tops, Creedence Clearwater Revival) to mid and late 1970’s arena rock (e.g. Ted Nugent). Once again, I augmented my already-expanding collection of music.
During my high school years, I joined the school radio station (we were one of the few high schools in the area to have their own radio station). We had a Class D FM station (10 watts, non-directional). Class D licenses were first issued by the FCC in 1948, and were the FCC’s first attempt to bring more schools and colleges onto the air. Class D stations were strictly non-commercial, and restricted to 88 to 92 MHz (the educational sub-band). But in 1978, in response to a petition by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CFB), the FCC decided to phase out Class D licenses. No new Class D licenses would be issued, and existing Class D stations were encouraged to upgrade their transmitters to 100 watts. Back then, one of the local colleges wanted our frequency for their own station, and we were embroiled in a dispute with them over which would ultimately result in our station going off the air, although this did not happen until after I graduated. In the meantime, the school radio station provided a creative outlet. The broadcast hours of the station were split between our school and the other high school in the district, with our high school limited to being on the air from 3 PM to 6 PM on Wednesdays and Fridays (this soon expanded to 3 PM to 6 PM on Mondays in 1985).
In the meantime, CDs began to supplant vinyl as the format of choice, and I began to build up a substantial collection of CDs, starting with Billy Squier’s “Emotions in Motion”. I enrolled in college and briefly had a show on the campus radio station. By now, my interest in broadcasting had waned, although I was still a music fan. The parsimonious ethic that inspired my previous music purchases continued, and I rarely paid retail for a CD. Years later, even with the advent of Napster and other peer-to-peer file sharing networks, there was still music that I sought that could not be found through conventional channels. As a result, when I found out that there was a monthly record show at the firehouse in a nearby town, I began frequenting them, and was able to acquire a good deal of otherwise unavailable music.
Why have I decided to start this blog? In recent years, the proliferation of outlets for underground radio, such as low-powered FM stations (LPFM), internet radio, and free-to-air satellite, has revitalized my interest in broadcasting. With this in mind, I decided that the time had come to once again share my views on music (and radio as well) with the rest of the world. In the weeks and months ahead, I intend to use this site as a forum for those views, as well as the home base for my new internet radio station, Six Appeal Radio. Stay tuned.