George Orwell reference aside, there’s something that occurred to me tonight. 1984 was a big year for hard rock/metal. Earlier in the year, I pointed out that Van Halen’s 1984 album turned 30 (on January 9th). I also saw that another band I follow online (Quiet Riot) pointed out they have an album that will turn 30 this year (Condition Critical). Then I got to thinking – there were several others in 1984. Then I looked it up. Bloody hell – this was a HUGE year for hard rock/metal. I decided to put together a piece on 1984 in Metal. Check it out:
An administrative note: If any of the videos on this page aren’t working, please email me and let me know.
First off, I need to date myself here. I graduated high school in June of 1983, so 1984 was huge for me as I was 19 then. Prime target for this kind of music. Of that there’s no doubt. What I want to do with this piece is run down all the metal albums I bought in 1984, and saw a few words about them. Not a lot, just a little, as I do tend to be wordy if you haven’t noticed (ha). I’ll then list other notable albums that I didn’t buy – and I expect to take grief for that in the comments. haha. A couple of other bands I have liked over the years were formed in 1984 (although didn’t have albums). Those guys are: King Kobra, Living Colour, Primus, Seputura, Soundgarden, & Warrant (yeah, I liked Cherry Pie when it was new, sue me). So here goes with the list in release order of albums I bought in 1984.
One last reminder, this is just what I BOUGHT – please don’t comment or email me telling me that I’m nuts because I didn’t list something you liked that that came out in 1984 – this is just my list of what I can remember buying 30 years ago. If there is something you liked from 1984 a lot, please – leave a comment about it.
Defenders of the Faith is an album that holds a good place in my heart. Not only is it a great Priest album, but a friend of mine in High School and I used to do an awful lot of air guitaring to this album, and specifically “Freewheel Burning” (hi Rob). That personal angle aside, this was to me the best Priest album. A lot of people point to its predecessor (Screaming for Vengeance), but I liked this. It’s hard, has Halford at the height of his vocal power, had some controversial lyrics and whatnot, yeah – it was to me the pinnacle of Judas Priest’s recorded output.
In fact, looking at the track listing, I don’t think there is a weak track here. Solid from front to back.
2014 Update: Judas Priest is still together, although with Richie Faulkner instead of KK Downing, and Scott Travis instead of Dave Holland. They released a new studio album called “Redeemer of Souls” on July 15th and are currently on tour.
Van Halen’s 1984 was the album that started this. It is widely regarded as one of – if not the best Van Halen album of any era. It spawned some epic songs that remain just as strong 30 years later as when they were new. Not to mention the video for “Hot for Teacher” is one of the all time best metal videos period, I think.
I remember when Jump was released late in 1983 as a single, much was made about “which album would be the first to come out in 1984 with that name”. If you weren’t around then, a lot was made in 1983 about George Orwell’s 1984 book. I don’t remember Van Halen explicitly stating this, but I suspect the album title is a nod to that book.
But seriously, if you don’t own this and you’re reading this site, what’s wrong with you? Click the buy it link.
2014 Update: Van Halen is back together, and in a page from the “let’s treat one of our founding band members poorly” disease that bands seem to have lately, they dumped Michael Anthony before putting out a new studio album in 2009. That was their first of any kind in 14 years, and the first with Roth in 28 years. They’ve been touring on an off since then, and they’re supposed to go into the studio again for a new album in 2014. As it’s now November, I don’t think that’s actually happening, but I suspect we’ll get another Van Halen album before TOO long.
Jan 9, 1984 brought us one of the best albums of that decade. 30yrs today, Van Halen's 1984 still kicks ass. pic.twitter.com/xXInfASwnd— Black Sabbath Online (@sabbathfans) January 9, 2014
Slide it in was what some Whitesnake purists would call the last gasp of the “real” Whitesnake. Whitesnake fandom seems split between those who like the first 6 albums (of which this is the sixth), and everything that came after, not so much. I personally didn’t get into Whitesnake until this album, the start of all the changes. In fact, this album has two versions – the second newer one generally being regarded as better, as it has a crisper mix.
Anyways, this album has a few guys I know – both were in Black Sabbath (Cozy Powell & Neil Murray), and David Coverdale, who was rumoured to be at one point in the early 80’s. This album also has John Sykes on it, who I really loved in Blue Murder. Slow & Easy, Slide it In, Love Ain’t No Stranger, a lot of good stuff on here. It was their next album that really broke them huge in the US, but this album should not be overlooked.
This is probably the closest to being “non metal” of anything on the list perhaps, as it still has a lot of blues/metal in it. Still, worthy of being on this list.
2014 Update: Whitesnake had a tumultuous history insofar as lineup changes go between 1984 and now. In fact, I think every project between then and now had a different lineup. Their most recent studio album (2011’s Forevermore) was quite QUITE good. Doug Aldrich (ex Dio) left Whitesnake earlier in the year, and was replaced by Joel Hoekstra (former Night Ranger). They’re working on a new studio album now.
NOTE: I asked Neil Murray about the release dates here. He said he and Sykes recorded their bits for the US/remix version in Jan 1984, and the UK version was released later in Jan 1984. He also thinks the US version was released on Apr 16, 1984, but is not positive of that.
The first Bon Jovi album at the time it was new took a lot of shit for being part of the hair metal movement , which was mostly despised – or at least it was with the crew I hung out with. Yeah, metal of this era was dominated by hair styles – there’s no denying that. However, I didn’t judge bands solely by their hair.
To that, the first Bon Jovi song, “Runaway” knocked it out of the park for me. I have always loved that song. I know at the time it took some grief because of the keyboards supposedly making it a “light” song, but it was out at the same time as Van Halen’s Jump, and people let that one go?!?
It probably isn’t the strongest album on this page front to back – as there’s some filler here. But Runaway is *SO* strong, I think it carries the entire album for me. The video too had a weird angle, it was borderline sexy/creepy. Now that I’m older and have my own daughter, it’s more of a “real” topic, I suppose. Still, what that girl did in that video with her hair at 3:13 in the video still gets me 30 years later. :)
Interesting fact (and I love a good fact), the band that actually recorded Runaway is NOT the primary Bon Jovi band, and the one that recorded the rest of this album. That song has an interesting history, you can read about it here on Wikipedia.
2014 Update: Bon Jovi has been plugging away with albums and tours all this time, although not without breaks here and there. Their most recent album was last year, 2013’s “What About Now”, which I thought was quite good. I wouldn’t call it a favorite, but it was definitely enjoyable, and one I listened to several times. They re-released the album “New Jersey” for their 30th anniversary (as I’ve read where they’re not terribly proud of this first album). Additionally in November, it was announced that long time guitarist Richie Sambora had formally left the band.
The first full album by another LA “hair metal” band, Ratt was about as huge as it gets back in 1984. This was largely helped by the music video for the first song, “Round & Round”. The video featured an appearance by Milton Berle (whose nephew was the band’s manager at the time). One thing I see now about this video that I didn’t really see back then is the “American Metal” band. These guys don’t bloody well stop moving! I mean if you watch the guys in the video, they are constantly in motion, which makes them look kind of dippy at times. The woman who played the girl in this video later played “Diana” in the song music video “Dirty Diana” by Michael Jackson. She eventually died in Dec 2009 of colon cancer.
Of a more musical note… While Round & Round was a huge song, as was “Back for More”, I preferred “Lack of Communication” & “Wanted Man” as stronger songs. This album hasn’t held up as well for me personally over the years – I can’t tell you the last time I listened to it all the way through. Ratt has become one of those bands that I listen to the hits from, not whole albums from.
2014 Update: Ratt actually has kept going all this time, and has a somewhat fractured history, due to legal disputes over the ownership of the band’s name. This resulted for a time as having two versions of Ratt at the same time. Wikipedia has a good summary of all the changes – if you ever liked the band, it’s worth a read. Late last year, they said they were going into the studio for a new album “early in 2014”. However, in late April 2014, Stephen Pearcy announced he had quit Ratt (again), so who knows what’s really going on here?
“Here I Am… Rock you like a Hurricane”… One of the catchier songs for me of this year comes from the Scorpions. This is another band that has a longer history than is generally known about in the United States. But this was their biggest point in the United States, that’s for sure.
The album had some real BIG songs. Besides Rock You Like a Hurricane, the album also has “Big City Nights” “Still Loving You”, & “I’m Leaving You”. In fact, I think I like the chorus of “I’m Leaving You” better than Hurricane.
This was probably helped by MTV at the time because Rock You like a Hurricane got MASSIVE airplay at the time.
2014 Update: The Scorpions had announced a breakup and retirement of recent vintage, but that seems to have been abandoned. There were a few rogue concerts here and there in 2014, and in August, they announced a new record due for 2015. There was some talk there that a new album was coming out with recorded but unreleased songs from past albums (so it’s a new album, but not a “new” new album, eh?). In October, Klaus Meine said that the new album would come out in Feb or Mar of 2015, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the band (didn’t realize they’d been around THAT long) and that it would contain both true “new” material, and some of the old/new material that was talked about.
In 1984, Rush released the followup to their Signals album. Grace Under Pressure came out, and it was even bigger than Signals at the time. This was an excellent album, and filled with several tracks that were top notch. It’s not the hardest “rock” album, that was never really Rush’s thing, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this. It was huge, I bought it, and I loved it. Most people know this album for the track “Distant Early Warning”, but my favorite was one called “The Body Electric”. Red Sector A & Afterimage were also good tracks.
I know some people from the early Rush days checked out around this time, because the band got a bit too “keyboard friendly”, but I dispute that. Rush has always been an awesome band – just for different reasons over the years.
2014 Update: Rush’s most recent studio album was 2012’s “Clockwork Angels“. They toured behind that, did the DVD release , you know, the usual run. Album was quite good too, but that should be no surprise. They were also inducted into the RRHOF in 2013. I believe they’re on downtime after the album/tour cycle. Rush released a box set in November 2014 titled “R40” to commemorate the 40th anniversary of their first album.
Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry
Twisted Sister’s Stay Hungry. The album that broke them MASSIVE. The video for “We’re Not Gonna Take It” was one of the most played videos on MTV back then, and I’m sure it had an enormous amount to do with their success. They had been around for over a decade by this point. But most people had never heard of them. They did with this album.
This album was packed with hits. Outside of the big video/radio friendly ones like “We’re Not Gonna Take it” & “I Wanna Rock”, other standouts are “Stay Hungry”, “SMF”, “Burn in Hell”…
This album was just HUGE. If you didn’t live through this, then you can’t appreciate it. BIG BIG album in 1984.
2014 Update: Twisted Sister has not had a proper studio album of new songs since 1987’s “Love is for Suckers“. Since that time, they’ve had seven live albums, another half a dozen or so compilations, have re-released all of their studio albums. They even re-recorded Stay Hungry in 2004 as “Still Hungry“. They did have an album of Christmas music in 2006 called “A Twisted Christmas” (which is pretty decent). But they don’t exist as a proper recording band anymore. They’re still out there playing gigs here and there, but no real new material from them, nor are there any plans, IMO. Their last “new” studio track was one called “30” and it came out in 2010. That’s it.
Gimme an R – R – O – O – C – C – K – K – What’ya got? ROCK – And what you gonna do? ROCK YOU!
Helix was a band that never got a massive following in the States. I knew about them from a High School buddy named Rob who turned me on to their tunes. The album starts off very anthemic with the line I quoted above. This isn’t the hardest album on the list, but there’s some very catchy tunes. Given the era it came out, it’s very much of its time. As I listen to some tracks from this again in 2014, they’re just as catchy now.
“Gimme Gimme Good Lovin” also got a lot of radio play at the time. Also liked the riff in “Animal House”. If you never checked these guys out before, they have a ton of stuff on Spotify, or if you just want to take my word for it, click the buy button.
2014 Update: Helix has continued to perform and release music all this time, but you’d be hard pressed to find many people in the States that know that. The original and current lead singer Brian Vollmer released a track on his Facebook page earlier this year from their 2014 album, “Bastard of the Blues“. The album was released while I was working on this article earlier in the year – it had a release party on May 3rd (general release is May 27). You can get it at their site.
The Last in Line is an album that nobody reading this article will likely need to be told anything about. Second studio album by the Dio band, following the monster debut of “Holy Diver” the year before. The Last in Line is a very solid followup, but for me personally doesn’t come anywhere near the perfection that Holy Diver was.
The single worst Dio song of all time is on this album, I think (“Mystery”). Horrid track. Also, a lot of people love Egypt, but I don’t care for that either. It’s not as awful as Mystery, but I just don’t care for it. The rest of the album is pretty solid, though.
I’ll stop blabbering on about this one, as I said, if you’re reading this on a Black Sabbath site, you know this album. If for some freak reason you don’t know this album, you really should check it out. Good stuff on here (We Rock, The Last in Line, I Speed at Night, Evil Eyes, etc…)
2014 Update: Unfortunately, with the death of Ronnie in 2010, there isn’t much in the way of new material. There was a posthumous track Dio was on that turned on “The Beast of Dio Vol 2“, but any true proper new Dio material won’t happen unless Wendy follows through with the discussion that the Dio band might attempt to construct Magica II from Ronnie’s notes and scratch work he had in place. There was an awesome covers CD that benefited Ronnie’s cancer charity this past spring, called “This is Your Life“. If you didn’t check that out, you should. There is also supposed to be a re-release of the old “Hear N Aid” charity album in 2015 as well.
This is the first release by the Christian metal band Stryper. Known mostly for their hits in the 80’s for being “that band that looked like bumble bees”, they had a great message I thought. This particular release is actually an EP. When originally released in 1984, I picked it up knowing they were Christian metal, and they were my first taste of that. Wasn’t sure what to expect. I wasn’t a practicing Christian then (I am now), but I did believe to some degree. This isn’t their best release, honestly. They got a lot better after this one. But I included it because I bought it, and still have it lying around here somewhere. :)
It was later re-released in 1986 with two additional songs on it. The true 1984 version is a little hard to come by these days.
2014 Update: Stryper broke up in the early 1990’s for awhile, and got back together again in 1999 and have been going since, releasing several studio albums since then. Their most recent album was entitled “No More Hell to Pay“, and came out in November 2013. If you never checked out Stryper, I’d go there. It’s a great mix of their 80’s sound, and the more modern version of the band. There was also a live album out in 2014 called “Live at the Whisky“.
I’ve been including clips from the albums I’m writing about, but for Stryper, I’m going somewhere different. In 2011, Stryper released a covers album of metal tracks that influenced them when they were young. The album was called “The Covering”, and on it was a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Heaven & Hell”. That’s the video clip I’m using here. :)
I can’t lie about this one. I’d like to say I have this great history of following Sammy Hagar, as this was his eighth solo album, and the last one he released before joining Van Halen. However, this album – and in particular the song and video “I Can’t Drive 55” are the main reasons I knew any Sammy solo. At this time I didn’t know about Montrose at all, didn’t know even his biggest solo hits (Three Lock Box, There’s Only One Way to Rock). Nope, it was seeing the “Drive 55” video on MTV that did it for me. From there I found the rest of his career. This was my onramp to Sammy Hagar for sure.
Once the “55” video blew me away, I picked up the rest of the album. For me, the “55” track was by far and away the best thing on it. It’s not like the rest of the album was bad, but looking back on it, not a ton of tracks stick out to me. I checked it out on Spotify while writing this, and my old memory remains – “55” is the best thing on this album.
2014 Update: Sammy has been in and out of Van Halen a couple of times since 1984. When he hasn’t been doing Van Halen, he’s put out a few more solo albums (including a side band called the Waboritas). Some years ago he and David Lee Roth did a tour together which I thought was somewhat comical. More recently he’s put out a couple of albums in the band Chickenfoot (with Michael Anthony & Joe Satriani). He has a new(ish) album out in October 2014, called “Lite Roast“. It’s an acoustic album where he re-recorded a bunch of songs he’d been on over the years.
Here we go – one of the best albums on this entire page, and there’s a lot of really good stuff here. I got into Metallica through this album, and specifically “Fade to Black”. Back when this came out I got into it via that song being played on the radio a lot. That was my onroad to Metallica. The radio. These days that seems shocking.
Strangely enough, I bought this album on the strength of Fade to Black, but didn’t listen to much of it beyond that. Not sure why – it was 30 years ago, though. It wasn’t until Master of Puppets came out that I really bought into Metallica, I digested that album, and then went back and digested “Lightning”, and wondered what the hell I waited so long for. ha. :)
It’s an extremely solid album front to back, and if you are visitor of this site, and don’t have this album, then click the buy it link, dammit!
2014 Update: Metallica most recently released a studio album in 2008, “Death Magnetic“, which was one of their best in a very long time. They followed it up with an EP in 2011 called “Beyond Magnetic“, which was some extra tracks from the DM sessions that weren’t used initially. They also released a bizarre album with Lou Reed in 2011 called “Lulu“. However, a proper new Metallica album is currently under production, but is not scheduled for release until some time in 2015.
Video Note: Metallica didn’t make music videos back at this point, so I’m including a live version of For Whom the Bell Tolls which features Cliff Burton. :)
This album came out following in the wake of the seriously MASSIVE “Metal Health” album by Quiet Riot. While Condition Critical is technically Quiet Riot’s fourth album, most people at the time in 1984 only knew it as the second album (as the first two have never to this day been released in the US).
This album suffered a bit coming out just a year after Metal Health, and while it’s the fourth has the sophomore slump problem. It’s not like it’s a bad album (there are a handful of decent tracks here), but a lot of this is filler, and it doesn’t compare to Metal Health.
They opted to cover an old Slade song again (figuring it would capture what happened on the album before it – I would guess). This time it was “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”. The video for that mimicked a bit the famed Apple computer commercial which was then relatively new and was extremely popular. I’ve included that below.
2014 Update: Quiet Riot has had a turbulent history. After splitting up in 1989, they got back together again a few years later, did a bunch of albums that mostly nobody has heard of, and then produced I think their second best album of all time, 2006’s “Rehab“. It’s an AWESOME album. However, not long after that, Kevin DuBrow died of a drug overdose. That put the band on ice for awhile, and after a time, Frankie Banali brought it back with mostly the band that was on the Rehab album, but with a new singer in late 2010 (Mark Huff). However, Huff didn’t last long, and the band has changed singers twice since then, first trying with Scott Vokoun, and finally settling in late 2013 on Jizzy Pearl, who was also in latter incarnations of Ratt. Quiet Riot finally released a new studio album in the summer of 2014, entitled “Quiet Riot 10“. It has some live tracks with Kevin on there, and 8 studio tracks with Jizzy on there. The album was surprisingly true to QR’s musical roots.
W.A.S.P. – W.A.S.P.
This is one of those albums that for me over time didn’t hold up. My brother has always been huge into WASP, but for me, this one was more about buying the album that went with “I Wanna Be Somebody”, which was a big hit at the time. It’s not like this is a bad album now, but when I want to listen to WASP these days, I pick the more modern albums (or something like Crimson Idol, which is brilliant). This was the height of WASP’s “shock value” era, and as such, I don’t get much of anything from that as I’m 48 in 2014.
Still, there’s a bunch of decent tracks here. LOVE Machine, I Wanna Be Somebody, On Your Knees.. They weren’t subtle in their message at all, really. :)
2014 Update: WASP has gone on pretty continously since this first album, releasing a total of 14 studio albums, the most recent being 2009’s “Babylon“, which spawned the most excellent song “Babylon’s Burning“. They keep touring on and off, but mostly not in the United States at all. They have a new studio album coming out in 2015 called “Golgotha”.
Krokus – The Blitz
Krokus is another one of those bands that most people in the US don’t know, or if they do, they know them only from this period in time. Sadly, I’m in that group somewhat. I knew of Krokus, and at the time I remember thinking they were a “poor man’s AC/DC” – their vocal style reminded me a lot of the late Bon Scott.
I know fans who have liked Krokus for a long time at this point (The Blitz was their 8th studio album overall) didn’t like the “commercial” feel this album had. This was my first taste of Krokus, so I rather liked it. I don’t own it anymore, I lost my old cassette tape of it somewhere over the years, and never replaced it. Listened to it on Spotify for this article, and it still does something for me. It’s a bit “light” mind you – the best song was a cover track (Midnight Maniac).
I kept up with Krokus for a bit after this, but lost track of them, and can’t tell you the last time I really listened to them in ages.
2014 Update: While there was a short rest there for a bit, Krokus has been going on and off with various lineups more or less since they were founded in 1975. Their most recent studio album was 2013’s “Dirty Dynamite” (which is their 17th overall).
Waysted – Waysted EP
This was a release I was really looking forward to because the first Waysted album from the year before (Vices) was bloody brilliant, was a lost gem from 1983, I thought. Then this came out, and it was a 6 track EP (was later re-released with another 6 live tracks), and nothing on it clicked with me. Was a major disappointment. So much so, I got rid of it before the band broke up a couple of years later, and I don’t own it anymore.
Listened to it on Spotify for this “review”, and I agreed with my 30 year old assessment, nothing on here is really that striking.
2014 Update: There were two more releases after this one in the 80’s before Waysted split up for quite some time (they were inactive from 1987 to 2003). Their most recent album was one called “Totally Waysted“, and it came out in 2008. The album before that (2007’s “The Harsh Reality“) was the last one I bought, and it was quite good. Last I saw, Pete Way was dealing with cancer treatments late in 2013, and that there was some work being done on a new album for 2014, but as we know with Tony Iommi, cancer can delay albums. Also unclear if that album is UFO, Pete Way, or Waysted, to be honest.
Video Note: There were no videos for this album, so I’m including one from the album before this (“Vices“), which is a much better album, anyway.
Iron Maiden – Powerslave
This was a release I was really into more than most on this list. This was the third in a trilogy of fucking spectacular Iron Maiden albums. I speak of “The Number of the Beast”, “Piece of Mind”, & “Powerslave”. While Iron Maiden always does good stuff, I think these three are the high point in the band’s history.
This album spawned the tour that produced one of the best live metal albums, “Live After Death”, which came out the following year-ish.
The album also has the 13.5 minute masterpiece “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. But this is one of these albums where I look at the track list and go “Yeah, yeah, yeah…” at each one of them, hard to find anything bad to say about this album at all. VERY VERY strong stuff.
2014 Update: As time marches on, Iron Maiden has continued to record and tour, although with longer breaks inbetween projects. Their last proper studio album was 2010’s “The Final Frontier“, which was followed by a tour, a live album, and then another tour. I vaguely remember reading that they weren’t going to be doing the album/tour album/tour thing anymore. Whether that means that Frontier was their last or their next is their last, I can’t recall. Can’t find any hard facts about what is happening now with them.
This was an album I was into when it was new, but it hasn’t held up well for me. I don’t hate it, but when I think of “Great metal of 1984”, this doesn’t come to mind first. I even forgot I bought it until I went down a list of what was released in 1984.
Having said that, when it was new, I was really into several tracks off this album – “Tooth & Nail”, “Just Got Lucky”, and “Into the Fire”, the latter of which was probably the biggest single hit from this album. These tracks hold up well these days, but to be honest, several of the tracks on this album aren’t ones I can recall from title what they sound like.
I did want to include this as I did buy it back in the day.
2014 Update: Other than a 4 year split from 1989-1993, Dokken has been together in some form or another until now. However, George Lynch was the real reason to me that Dokken was popular. He’s been in and out of the band a few times over the years, and since 2008ish, it’s been “Don and some other guys” in Dokken, so make of that what you will. Their most recent studio album was 2012’s “Broken Bones“, an album that until I wrote this article I didn’t even know existed. The last note I found about Dokken was that Sean McNabb (ex Quiet Riot) had left Dokken and was replaced by Mark Boals (ex Ted Nugent, Yngwie Malmsteen) in Nov 2014.
I tend to be in the minority in this opinion, but the “no makeup” era of Kiss was my favorite. I didn’t get into them until Creatures of the Night came out, so taking off the makeup wasn’t AS big a deal to me as it was to some. The album before this I thought was a killer album, so I eagerly awaited the followup.
Animalize wasn’t as hot as Lick It Up was, but I still enjoyed it. The leadoff single, “Heaven’s on Fire” was a pretty straightforward Kiss track and was by far the most popular track of the album. It is interesting as it is the only studio album by guitarist Mark St. John who was brought in to replace Vinnie Vincent (who I’ll mention again later).
Overall, it’s a solid but relatively unspectacular album, and I’d say all but the most die hard Kiss fans can name anything from this album other than “Heaven’s on Fire” – if they can even do that.
2014 Update: Kiss put out astudio album in 2012 called “Monster“, and toured behind it. Kiss toured in 2014 with Def Leppard, and were inducted into the RRHOF, causing a stir over who would appear and/or play live. They also in a very Simmons/Stanley move bought an Arena Football League team and renamed it to the “Los Angeles Kiss”.
When Black Sabbath was doing the Born Again album and tour, I was seriously into it. I had known Deep Purple at that point of course, but they were dead after their final Tommy Bolin lineup fell apart (Rod Evans ’80 aside). So when Ian Gillan joined Black Sabbath, I was all for it, and I loved – I MEAN LOVED the Born Again album. So it was with much annoyance that I faced the fact that Ian quit to rejoin a reformed Mk II Deep Purple. I wanted to hate this album. I really wanted to.
But I couldn’t. Perfect Strangers is a fucking masterpiece. I tell people that over the 19 studio albums Deep Purple has ever released, they have three total masterpieces. Machine Head, Perfect Strangers, & Purpendicular. Perfect Strangers is strong from front to back. Despite being put together very quickly, it was very strong, and remains one of my favorite albums by anyone of all time. I didn’t see them live back then (in fact I never saw Purple live until 1994 in Steve Morse’s third ever gig with the band). Wish I did.
I’m going to go into individual tracks, as there’s nothing weak here. There is a song on here that is a trivia question answer. Name the two other songs use the phrase “We all went out to Montreuax” other than Smoke on the Water. :)
2014 Update: Deep Purple last put out a studio album in 2013 called “Now What?!“. It was the first studio album in eight years at that point. The time off did them well. It was an EXCELLENT album spawning a really cool video called “Vincent Price“. In fact, if Purpendicular didn’t exist, I’d go so far as to say “Now What?!” would be the best Morse era Purple album. Oddly enough they earlier this year said that they were getting back together for another studio album in 2015, which would be their 20th overall. Given the age of the members (Ian-69, Roger-68, Paicey-66, Steve-60, Don-66), I have to wonder if that might be their last. We’ll see.
The early AC/DC albums have an interesting history. Their first true album was one called “T.N.T.” and was only released in Australia. Their second proper album was one called High Voltage, which is what most of the world knows as the first AC/DC album. However, the “Rest of the world” version of High Voltage is a mix of tracks from the TNT album and the Aussie High Voltage. That world version of High Voltage left off some songs, and the remainder of those songs were finally released in 1984 as “’74 Jailbreak”.
Oddly enough, the album AC/DC recorded after High Voltage, was Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, and that album was never released outside of Australia until 1981, AFTER Back in Black. As a new AC/DC fan then, it confused the heck out of me why they were ping-ponging with singers. Their first true world album that was released everywhere at the same time was their fourth overall, 1977’s “Let There be Rock”. Anyway, I picked up 74 Jailbreak at the time, as the cost to import the true original Australian albums was pretty cost prohibitive at the time for this teen. :)
2014 Update: AC/DC has a new album coming out in December 2014 called “Rock or Bust“. It is their first studio album since 2008’s “Black Ice“. Rock or Bust is a weird animal, because founding member Malcolm Young was announced earlier in the year as having a health problem that forced him out of the band. Later in 2014 it was announced this was dementia, and he would not return, being permanently retired. Not only that, long time drummer Phil Rudd was caught up in a murder charge, and is also likely out of the band. Rock or Bust is the first studio AC/DC album (their 16th overall) without him on it – he was replaced by his own nephew, Stevie (who is 57 himself).
Triumph was a popular Candian band who I liked a lot at the time, but I can’t say I listen to much anymore. They definitely skew lighter than some of the stuff on this list, but that’s not to say they weren’t good.
The Thunder Seven album had some great tracks on it. “Spellbound” was a brilliant song, as was “Follow Your Heart”. I always wished this got more attention than it did. Truth is, I liked their next album after this a bit more (The Sport of Kings in ’86). But Thunder Seven was a mainstay into 1985 as it came out late in the year.
If you haven’t heard any Triumph, I’d seek out a Greatest Hits album over a full studio album, but I’m including this as it was purchased in 1984, and that was the point of this article.
2014 Update: The singer (Rik Emmett) from Triumph left the band in 1988, and the remaining two guys got someone else in 1993 to make one more album, and then broke up. The remaining two guys purchased their back catalog in 1998, and have continued to release live and compilations ever since then. Rik Emmett returned in 2008 for a reunion show, but their last proper studio album is still the one from 1993 with a different singer (“Edge of Excess“).
I’m not sure what the release date for this is. It might be the first week of July, but I could not find any hard data on this, so it’s down here at the bottom.
This is the second studio album from Fastway, an outfit led by Fast Eddie Clarke, formerly of Motorhead. When the band was first founded, it also featured Pete Way of UFO, hence the name – Fastway. However, before the first album was recorded, Pete Way bailed out, but the name remained. Their first album was a masterpiece. The second one, this one – was not quite as great, but still a really awesome album itself.
All Fired Up continued the same kind of blues rock feel as the first album. This band burned hard very early on, and IMO, burned out. This is a great solid album, with not a lot of individual standout tracks (well, maybe the title track), but I have a hard time stopping it once I do listen. To that, there isn’t a lot of individual song exposition here. I also couldn’t find the music video for “All Fired Up” either, so I’ve included just an audio track below.
2014 Update: The original version of Fastway split up after the tour for this album. Album three (“Waiting for the Roar“) had a new rhythm section, and after a soundtrack album for album four (“Trick or Treat“), the band imploded. Dave King, a great voice left, and took most of the band with him, leaving Eddie Clark to start over again in 1988. That version of the band released an album (“On Target“) and an EP (“Bad Bad Girls“) and then the band was done. However, the band went into a LONG period of inactivity just playing the odd show here and there with yet another singer. After 21 years, this version of the band put out another album in 2011, called “Eat Dog Eat“, which I checked out on Spotify, but was mostly “meh” about. Officially Fastway has never broken up since their inception in 1983, but really stopped being a proper “band” all the way back in the 80’s.
Video Note: There was a music video for the track “All Fired Up”, but I can’t find it. There was this link, but it says it is not available in my country. Try it, it might work for you, otherwise the video below is just the song.
This is Spinal Tap
I’m not sure what the release date for this is. The movie was released in March of 1984, but I can’t recall exactly when the soundtrack was released. I bought this mostly because the movie is so darned funny. If you’re a Sabbath fan, you’ve heard the stories about how the Born Again stage set story influenced a scene in the movie.
I’m not gonna spend a lot of time on this, as I’d be talking about the movie, and not the album, but given how darned funny the movie was, I had to buy the soundtrack, given how funny the music in it was.
If you never checked out the movie, you really should. A pretty darned funny one. The thing is, while this is a comedy album, the guys behind it could actually play, so the songs are decent, if not the most adventuresome you’d ever heard.
Heck, Ozzy and the band talked about this in the “Making of” documentary for 13 – Ozzy talks about the scene where they get lost trying to find the stage, saying “Yeah, I’ve fucking done that!”
2014 Update: Spinal Tap had their movie 30 years ago, and also put out an album and tour in the early 90’s (“Break Like the Wind“). They will do the odd appearance here and there over the years. I read about that once some time ago where the guys who do Spinal Tap say due to a weird contractual clause in the ownership of the Spinal Tap name/franchise, they can make an appearance every couple of years as the group to retain ownership. If they ever stop doing it, the rights to Spinal Tap would go to someone else. Which is pretty much why they show up every once in awhile and do something. The last time I heard of them doing something was a TV series called “Family Tree” that they made an appearance in 2013 for. That show was canceled in January 2014.
Since this is a Black Sabbath site, I should probably mention them, too. They had no studio album in 1984, but the tour for the Born Again album from the previous year led into 1984, with the final show being March 4, 1984. After that, they brought Bill Ward back again, and tried with a couple of vocalists. First was Ron Keel (mentioned again below), and then later Dave Donato. The album they demoed material for with with Donato was going to be produced by Spencer Proffer, who was known for then MEGA HUGE albums by Quiet Riot. While we’ve never officially heard anything from that era, one track from the Donato sessions turned up some years later. It is called “No Way Out“, and pretty much is the song “The Shining” (from the 87 Eternal Idol album) with different words. The link is a shitty bootleg quality track, but it DOES have Iommi, Butler, & Ward on it. Check it out if you never heard it. From the Donato sessions came this picture which had been seen a lot, but the band totally imploded shortly after this.
That’s what I can remember buying in 1984. There were some other notable albums that came out that year I wanted to say a couple of words about. I don’t recall buying this stuff, but I do remember listening. Given this was before the era of Napster and whatnot, you couldn’t just go download anything you wanted back then. How I remember hearing them in the day, I can’t recall (MTV, perhaps?)
- Anthrax – Fistful of Metal: This was Anthrax’s first album, coming out in January 1984. It was the only one with Neil Turbin on vocals (and Dan Lilker on bass). Looking back at the track listing, the only song that did a lot for me was “Deathrider“. I know a lot of Anthrax fans love this album, but it didn’t do a ton for me. 2014 Update: Anthrax is still together, and while I far prefer John Bush on vocals for them, their last album from (2013’s “Worship Music“) with Joey Belladonna was outstanding. They’re working on a new album for 2015 at this time.
- Armored Saint – March of the Saint: This was Armored Saint’s first album, and featured John Bush (later of Anthrax) on vocals. Back then I didn’t pay much attention to them, but I do recall the song “Can U Deliver“, which I likely saw played on Headbanger’s Ball on MTV back in the day. 2014 Update: After John Bush left Anthrax (the second time), he got back together with Armored Saint and they released an album in 2010 called “La Raza“. They were last said to be working on a studio album in 2013, but I can’t find where it has been released as of now.
- Keel – Lay Down the Law: Ron Keel is a guy I knew from his VERY brief tenure as vocalist of Black Sabbath earlier in 1984 after Ian Gillan left. This was Keel’s first album, and while I know them better for their second and third albums (The Right to Rock – 85 & The Final Frontier – 86), I liked several tracks from this album, including “Thunder & Lightning”. 2014 Update: Keel broke up in 1989, and while they released a “rare tracks” album in 1998, their only proper studio album since the 80’s was the 2010 album “Streets of Rock & Roll“. Ron Keel also does country music too (example), going under the name “Ronnie Lee Keel”, and has been associated with a country/metal band called “IronHorse” for awhile.
- Kick Axe – Vices: This was a band that didn’t last terribly long after the 80’s, having broken up in 1988 after having some success in the mid 80’s. I do remember liking the track “Heavy Metal Shuffle” a lot from this album. They reuinted with a different singer in 2003, and released an album called “IV” in 2004 – which remains their most recent studio album. That singer left in 2008, and they’re still out there doing gigs with another singer mostly around Canada.
- Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force: This too was a first album from Malmsteen, who was in the band Steeler & Alcatrazz (with Graham Bonnet before this). This album was one I know I didn’t buy, but the tracks “Far Beyond the Sun” & “Black Star” are quite good. 2014 Update: Malmsteen’s last studio album was in 2012, called “Spellbound“. In the latter half of 2014, Malmsteen headlined a tour called the “Guitar Gods Tour”, which also featured Gary Hoey & Bumblefoot.
- Pantera – Projects in the Jungle: This was Pantera’s second studio album, and came when they were still in their glam era, and also before the arrival of Phil Anselmo. I know I wasn’t into this at the time, because I didn’t discover Pantera until after Anselmo arrived. However, I wanted to get Pantera in here, as their change from the glam metal to what they’re more known for is such a difference, I always get a kick out of that. 2014 Update: There really isn’t one, after the murder of Dimebag, Pantera died, likely never to be resurrected.
- Weird Al Yankovic – In 3D. Yeah, OK, it’s not metal at all. However, this album contained Al’s signature parody, “Eat It” (of Michael Jackson’s Beat It). I’ve always been a huge Weird Al fan, and he has continued to tour and record all this time. His 2014 album (“Mandatory Fun“) was actually his first #1 album in all this time.
A few bands of note were formed in 1984 (but didn’t release anything that year). They are: Candlemass, Celtic Frost, Frehley’s Comet, The Geezer Butler Band, Gwar, Helloween, KMFDM (I liked ’em), Living Colour (underrated), Primus, Soundgarden, Warrant, Wolfsbane, and many more. There actually was a UK punk band called “Anthrax” that disbanded in 1984. :)
There is other stuff for sure, but I’m not listing everything I ever heard in 1984. I wanted to touch on some of the stuff I bought, a few other things, and then move on, as this is quite long already.
There is one other thing I wanted to mention. The Vinnie Vincent Invasion. That band was formed in 1984, following Vincent’s departure/firing/whatever from Kiss following the Lick it Up album in 1983. Vinnie was a raging egomanic, and his story is quite long and tortured. However, the song “Boyz Are Gonna Rock” is something I wanted to point out. A lot was made about “hair metal” in the 80’s, and I think the video produced for this song is quite possibly the single worst metal video of all of them from back then. The song isn’t too bad, but the video is everything wrong with metal videos wrapped up in about four an a half minutes. I’ve included the video below. Watch it all the way through and you’ll see what I mean. The song itself is weird, as the guy singing on the album is Robert Fleischmann, the brief singer for Journey inbetween the original singer Greg Rolie & the more well known Steve Perry. But in the video is Mark Slaughter (who is known more for Slaughter). In fact, the Slaughter band came out of Vinnie Vincent’s band after he imploded personally and was fired from his contract by his label. Anyway, there’s a lot good on this page. This video, not so much, but I wanted to include it anyway.
Let me know what you think of the stuff on this page (and anything I forgot about in the comments).