Heart began as one of the few female-fronted hard rocking bands of the 1970s, and they had a lot of success on FM radio with such singles as “Barracuda”, “Magic Man”, and “Crazy on You”. Lead singer Ann Wilson’s powerful wail was similar to that of Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, her idol.
In the early 80s, declining success led Heart to reconsider their sound and they opted for a more commercial, slick sound that emphasized keyboards. This approach led to their #1 self-titled album in 1985 featuring “What About Love”, “These Dreams”, and “Never”. In 1983, however, the transition from rockers to pop stars was still in progress as shown on the album Passionworks, produced by Keith Olsen (Starship, Bad Company, Whitesnake). The album did not fare well, only hitting #39, but it did produce a great AOR track, “How Can I Refuse (lyrics)”, which hit #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart (their final hit on this chart, and only #1) and #44 on the Pop Singles chart.
The second single from Passionworks, “Allies“, was penned by Journey’s Jonathan Cain. “Allies” limped to #83 on the Billboard Hot 100. The failure of the Passionworks album led to Heart being dropped by their record label, Epic. Big mistake by Epic as Heart signed with Capitol, released Heart, sold millions, and topped the charts.
I’ve been listening to a lot of 90s-early 2000s music lately. The band Live isn’t AOR, but I’ve always liked this song. Regarding this video, if the city did flood suddenly, I would think the dolphins would probably be happy, not crying.
Rock stars were awkward in high school too. Check out the photos below of James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett of Metallica, Slash and Axl Rose of Guns N Roses, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, Tommy Lee of Motley Crue, Jon Bon Jovi of Bon Jovi, and Eddie Van Halen of Van Halen. Click the thumbnails to see larger versions of the awkwardness.
Iron Maiden has sold over 100 million albums worldwide in its 30+ year career but oddly never really achieved much chart success in the USA. The band has endured as one of the most successful acts in what was dubbed the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and is legendary in its native England, having even scored a #1 single, “Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter”, as well as several number one albums. The band is still a huge live draw to this day, with its last tour chronicled in the documentary, Flight 666. Â The band has just announced a new album, The Final Frontier, and a tour of North America and Europe that kicks off June 9 in Dallas, Texas.
So why the lack of success in the US? It could be that Iron Maiden was much more accomplished musically and lyrically than US metal bands during their peak period of success in the 1980s, and maybe mainstream US metal fans just preferred songs about getting drunk and getting laid. Iron Maiden’s less commercial songs featured longer running times, aggressive tempos, elaborate arrangements, numerous time changes and lyrics inspired by history. It could be that the band members were not a bunch of “hair-sprayed pretty boys” like Bon Jovi and Poison. Whatever the reasons, Iron Maiden is an amazing band, and it’s a shame more US fans never latched on to them the way other fans around the world did.
Iron Maiden’s first single to chart in the USA was “Wrathchild” from the band’s 1981 Killers (#78, Billboard 200) album. Â The song hit #31 on the Mainstream Rock chart and featured original vocalist Paul Di’anno, shortly before he was fired from the band and replaced by former Samson vocalist Bruce Dickinson. Â Dickinson’s vocal range allowed the band to move beyond its punk beginnings and many epic songs were to follow.
In 1982, the band released The Number of the Beast, which is ranked as one of the best heavy metal albums of all time. Â The album hit #33 on the Billboard 200 but was Â controversial due Continue Reading
The progressive Canadian band Saga managed four rock hits in the 80s, along with some pretty sweet mullets, keytars, and interesting music videos. The band was formed in Ontario in 1971, and featured Michael Sadler on vocals and keyboards, Jim Crichton (guitar, synthesizer), Ian Crichton (guitar), Steve Negus (drums), Jim Gilmour (LEAD synthesizer and vocals). The band’s self-titled debut came out in 1978, but it took them a few years to get their first (and biggest) US hit, “On the Loose”. The song was from the band’s gold-certified fourth album Worlds Apart (1981) which hit #29 on the Billboard 200. “On the Loose” hit #3 on the Mainstream Rock charts, and #26 on the Hot 100:
The second hit from Worlds Apart was “Wind Him Up”, which hit #24 Mainstream Rock and #64 Hot 100:
The band’s follow-up to Worlds Apart was 1983’s Heads or Tails which hit #92 on the Billboard 200. The only single to chart from the album was “The Flyer”, which hit #19 on the Mainstream Rock chart and #79 on the Hot 100:
While still popular in their native Canada, Puerto Rico and Germany, Saga produced just one more US hit. Â From their 1985 Behavior album, the decidedly wimpier “What Do I Know?” hit #24 on the Mainstream Rock chart:
Saga continues to make music and has released 14 more albums since Behavior, the most recent being 2009’s The Human Condition. Original vocalist Michael Sadler left the band in 2007, and was replaced by Rob Moratti. The band’s official website is http://www.sagaontour.ca/.
Like most people I am shocked by the fact that Michael Jackson has died at the age of 50. Although I really wasn’t a big fan, no one can deny the impact he made on pop music. The success of his massive 1982 album “Thriller” changed the course of music forever, becoming the biggest selling album of time (50 million copies), spawning seven top ten singles (including #1s “Beat It” and “Billie Jean”), and breaking the color barrier on MTV. The album crossed genres, from the funk of “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin”, to the R&B balladry of “Human Nature”, to the rock edge of “Beat it”. Jackson’s talent truly transcended race and musical styles and he will never be forgotten.
Michael Jackson had a few songs cross over to the Mainstream Rock chart, and one that surprisingly did not, even though it was designed to do so.
Beat It – #14 Mainstream Rock
The third single from “Thriller”, “Beat It” hit #14 Mainstream Rock, #1 Pop Singles, and #1 Black Singles in 1983. The track was fueled by a Continue Reading