Earlier today, the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame announced their 2016 Class of inductees. I love the Rock Hall… pretty much everything about it, but the choices for 2016 are confounding. Some great bands included, like Deep Purple and Chicago, but some hard to fathom decisions as well. It’s always a matter of opinion, but let’s be honest, my opinion is right… right?
It was 25 years ago today…
I just realized that it was 25 years ago that The Simpsons first graced our television screens, then got to wondering what was the music we were listening to back in Bart’s nascent years. As it turns out, it was a damn good year.
(You can click on the title of each selection to sample it on iTunes)
Here’s our RARA’s Farm Top Dozen in reverse order:
12. Whitesnake – Whitesnake – Usually a band eponymously names their first album. For some reason, David Coverdale decided to do it on Whitesnake’s seventh. Who am I to argue? This one was the best of the bunch, and the band’s biggest commercial success. Coverdale’s signature vocals soared on “Here I Go Again,” “Still of the Night” and “Is This Love.” Tawny Kitaen writhing on the hood of the car in the “Here I Go Again” video was a nice bonus.
11. A Momentary Lapse of Reason – Pink Floyd – This was really more of a David Gilmour solo album, and the absence of Roger Waters was definitely noticeable. Waters basically said the album sucked, and it was not great by Floyd standards, but “Learning To Fly” and “On the Turning Away” are great tracks. Still some excellent Gilmour guitar throughout no matter what Roger says…
10. Document – R.E.M. – These guys were on top of their game at this point in the 80’s, where everything they produced sounded great as Stipe and crew constantly evolved. “It’s the End of the World…” and “The One I Love” got all of the airplay. “Welcome to the Occupation” and “Finest Worksong” were better.
9. Permanent Vacation – Aerosmith – RUN DMC breathed some air into their deflated sails, but this release from the boys from Boston is what truly welcomed them back into the rock spotlight. Some HUGE hits on this one: “Angel,” “Dude Looks Like a Lady” and “Rag Doll.”
8. One Way Home – The Hooters – Yup, I was frequenting the Philly rock bars in 1987, but that had nothing to do with this selection; it’s just a damn good album. Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian wrote well together and paired their vocals fantastically. And our favorite drummer, David Uosikkinen was at the top of his game. “Satellite,” “Johnny B” and “Fighting on the Same Side” were brilliant.
7. Floodland – Sisters of Mercy – Speaking of Philly, does anyone remember The Club Revival? These guys were mainstays at the after hours haunts of the 80’s equivalent of emo (folks like me). This is dark, driving dance rock, featuring “Dominion/Mother Russia,” “Lucretia My Reflection” and the amazing “This Corrosion.” Hey now, hey now now…
6. Diesel and Dust – Midnight Oil – Spinning records in a former life at a mythical place named the Jersey Shore, an Aussie walked in during INXS and told me I need to hear Midnight Oil. He was right and they were the real deal. With “Beds Are Burning,” “The Dead Heart” and “Dreamworld” they caught the attention of lots of ears on this continent.
These Top Five are in a separate class from the first seven on the list.
5. Hysteria – Def Leppard – With Hysteria, the guys from England made a roaring return to the rock music scene after taking a n unexpected hiatus following Rick Allen’s accident that cost him his left arm. They didn’t miss a beeat with this hit album which featured “Animal,” “Rocket,” “Love Bites” and the anthemic “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”
4. Appetite for Destruction – Guns N’ Roses -The first was this masterpiece debut from Axl and Slash. I’m sure some of you have this closer to the top, but the album was basically half a dozen great songs and half a dozen mediocre. Always loved “My Michelle,” but this one is all about “Paradise City,” “Sweet Child o’ Mine” and “Welcome to the Jungle.”
3. Strangeways, Here We Come – The Smiths – Morrissey is a genius, and on this one, may be just a tad less uber-depressing than The Smiths’ other offerings. “Unhappy Birthday,” “Girlfriend in a Coma” and “A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours” only scratch the surface of this deep album. So, step off that ledge and dig into some joyful “Death of a Disco Dancer.”
2. Kick – INXS – Atlantic Records reportedly hated the album and begged the band to can it and start over. Lesson #857 on why we need less record company intervention and more independence for rock musicians. These Aussies had a bunch of good albums, but this was their best and most diverse offering. “Devil Inside,” New Sensation” and Need You Tonight” were huge hits. “Mystify” was the best of the bunch, though, on an album where every song is great.
1. The Joshua Tree – U2 – This one is in The 25 Albums of All-Time, and in my opinion somewhere near the top of the list. “Red Hill Mining Town,” Trip Through Your Wires” and One Tree Hill” are absolutely amazing, and there’s not a soft cut on the album which is woven together perfectly. You amy also have heard of “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “With or Without You.” Pure Genius!
Let me know what you think by adding a comment below, and click the linked album titles to sample this great stuff on iTunes.
I’ve got a few tidbits from some of the greatest 90’s Alternative bands in this post, and a few of the bands are still featuring great new music…
The more I hear it, the more I love “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie.” Flea said in a recent interview on Sirius XM that he came up with the bass line and couldn’t stop playing it. He went into the studio and the band loved it, too, resulting in the creation of this addictive song. The bass is fantastic, and the song gets better with each listen. “Monarchy of Roses” will be released as the second single from the album I’m With You next month.
Speaking of “Maggie” songs; are there any crappy ones? This one is great, Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm” is a masterpiece, Rockin’ Rod’s “Maggie May” is a classic and The Door’s “Maggie McGill” doesn’t exactly suck either. So, for any new bands out there, it appears a secret to success is to throw “Maggie” in your song title.
Jane’s Addiction is also about to release a new album, but to much less fanfare. The new single, “Irresistible Force,” is a different and more progressive sound from these lads from L.A. Perry Farrell’s vocals are better than ever, and I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of The Great Escape Artist.
For you Morrissey fans, the ex-front man of The Smiths will be touring the United States ever so briefly later this fall. Check out the dates here: Morrissey Tour. Fellow 80’s/90’s Alt Rock/Dance/Synth legends New Order will also be hitting the stage again soon. New Order will only be playing a few charity events across the pond, and will do so without bassist Peter Hook who still does not get along with his old mates.
Finally – A-ha, the one of the greatest palindromic bands form Norway ever, played a reunion show in Dublin last night. 10 Bonus RARA’s points if you can name two of their songs.