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25 Years Ago Today: Weezer’s self-titled debut hits stores

Weezer Blue AlbumThe alternative rock scene was in full swing when Rivers Cuomo’s Weezer arrived in 1994. Produced by Ric Ocasek, the “Blue Album” is one of the strongest debut albums ever. The record features alternative rock staples “Undone – The Sweater Song,” “Say It Ain’t So,” and “Buddy Holly.”

The latter’s video, directed by Spike Jonze, was a personal favorite as it referenced Happy Days, one of the greatest TV shows ever made. “Buddy Holly” was honored at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards as Best Alternative Video, Breakthrough Video, Best Direction, and Best Editing. It was also nominated for Video of the Year, but was robbed by TLC’s “Waterfalls.”

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35 Years Ago Today: Twisted Sister releases Stay Hungry

Twisted Sister Stay HungryDee Snider and company were made for MTV, and thanks in large part to the music video channel Stay Hungry became a tremendous success. The multi-platinum album reached #15 on the Billboard 200 charts, featuring the band’s two greatest hits “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock.”

“We’re Not Gonna Take It” entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #80 on July 28, 1984, and peaked at #21 the week of September 22, 1984. The video featured numerous shout-outs to the 1978 John Landis comedy Animal House and starred Mark Metcalf, who played Doug Neidermeyer in the film. Metcalf also starred in the band’s video for “I Wanna Rock,” which included a cameo by Stephen Furst (Kent Dorfman/Flounder).

Twisted Sister re-recorded the entire album in 2004 and released the new production under the title Still Hungry. For my money, the original is better.

Fun Cards: 1978 Topps Ric Ocasek of The Cars (2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees)

Ric Ocasek the Cars 1978 Topps Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Growing up in the heyday of MTV videos, I always considered Ric Ocasek as the leader and most important member of The Cars. “You Might Think” was one of my favorite videos, with his goofy mug floating all over the place. I had no idea what an important part all the others played until much later. Still today, though, I can’t help but think of Ocasek more than any other member when I think of the band.

Purchase The Cars, The Elektra Years, 1978-1987.

Fun Cards: 1978 Topps The Cars “Rookie Rockers” (2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees)

The Cars 1978 Topps Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The Cars’ self-titled debut album dropped in 1978 and charted the hits “Just What I Need,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” and “Good Times Roll.” Also appearing on the album are “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” “Bye Bye Love,” and “Moving In Stereo.” For a debut album especially, it’s pretty fantastic.

The Cars were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Saturday night, an honor that was many years overdue. The surviving members reunited to perform at the ceremony and were joined by Weezer‘s Scott Shriner on bass. The group closed their set with “Just What I Needed,” originally sung by the late Benjamin Orr.

Purchase The Cars, Complete Greatest Hits.

Fun Cards: 1978 Topps Dire Straits “Rookie Rockers” (2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees)

Dire Straits 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees virtual custom trading card 1978 Topps

Inducting yourself into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is kind of like wearing a band’s t-shirt to their concert, right? But that’s what happened Saturday night as bassist John Illsley congratulated himself and his Dire Straits band mates, three of whom didn’t even bother showing up, on their induction into the Cleveland institution. Mark Knopfler, David Knopfler, and Pick Williams all decided to skip the ceremony.

Joining Illsely on stage were keyboardists Alan Clark and Guy Fletcher, who also received the honor from the Rock Hall. Other former Dire Straits members Hal Lindes, Terry Williams, and Jack Sonni were shunned by the committee.

Purchase Dire Straits, Sultans of Swing, The Very Best of Dire Straits.

Goodbye, Dolores O’Riordan

(September 6, 1971 – January 15, 2018)

Lead singer Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries passed away at the age of 46. She was in London for a recording session. The cause of death has not been made public.

Christmas gift ideas for your rock n’ roller

There really are a ton of great bands out there that you have probably never heard of. Rival Sons, Scorpion Child, Black Country Communion, Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown, Revolution Saints, just to name a handful. But there is one band that has absolutely overshadowed all others, and they only have eight songs recorded so far: Greta Van Fleet. The group of three brothers and a drummer released a 4-song EP earlier this year, and have added four more songs on their latest release, From The Fires,, which dropped in November. Apparently they are getting some radio airtime, and that’s great, because this is the most rock n’ roll band since Led Zeppelin.

Greta Van Fleet

I’m not even making a list with this post. It begins and ends with one band: Greta Van Fleet. Buy it for every headbanger on your Christmas list.

Need some new rock in your life?

LA Guns The Missing Peace

The Missing Peace, the brand new LA Guns album just dropped today, featuring the first new music from Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns in fifteen years. Johnny Martin, Shane Fitzgibbon, and Michael Grant join Phil and Tracii on this trip back to the Sunset Strip. It’s not just nostalgia, though—these songs are actually good! If you love the “hair metal” scene, this record will put you back where you belong. Hands-down, the best reunion album from a group of that era. There are some objectionable lyrics, as there is with much from the rock world, but there are some great clean songs as well. The musicianship is top-notch. I like Stacey Blades, but Tracii Guns is LA Guns. The Missing Peace shows how much we have missed in the past 15 years while Phil and Tracii were at odds. I am so glad they have buried the hatchet and have given us this new music. Phil and Tracii are good individually, but together they make great music.

Michael Grant adds quite a bit to the mix as well. Grant’s former band, Endeverafter, toured with Poison and Cinderella, and released one of the best hair metal-esque albums ten years ago, but went largely unnoticed due to poor promotion and a general distaste for the genre at the time. I highly recommend adding Kiss or Kill to your collection (after The Missing Peace, of course).

The Missing Peace is available on CD or vinyl, or can be downloaded in MP3 format.

Tracklist:
1. All the Same to Me
2. Speed
3. Drop of Bleach
4. Sticky Fingers
5. Christine
6. Baby Gotta Fever
7. Kill It or Die
8. Knife to a Gunfight
9. The Flood’s the Fault of the Rain
10. The Devil Made Me Do It
11. The Missing Peace
12. Gave It All Away

Goodbye, Jimmy Beaumont

(October 21, 1940 – October 8, 2017)

Jimmy Beaumont was lead vocalist for Pittsburgh doo-wop group The Skyliners, whose biggest his was 1959’s “Since I Don’t Have You.” The song has been covered by numerous acts such as The Four Seasons, Guns N’ Roses, Brian Setzer, and Art Garfunkel. Other songs by The Skyliners include “It Happened Today,” “This I Swear,” and “Pennies From Heaven.” Beaumont is the fourth of the original lineup of The Skyliners to pass.

Goodbye, Chester Bennington

(March 20, 1976 – July 20, 2017)

Linkin Park frontman and former Stone Temple Pilots singer Chester Bennington’s body was discovered this morning at his home in California. He died of apparent suicide by hanging. Linkin Park was set to embark on a tour beginning next week, and had just released a video for their new single, “Talking To Myself,” this morning.

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