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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.

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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.

JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Journey edition

The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place last month, and aired on HBO over the weekend. This year’s class was a very impressive lineup, including Electric Light Orchestra, Joan Baez, Yes, Tupac Shakur, Pearl Jam, and one of the greatest arena rock bands of all-time, Journey. It has been over a year since I last put together an “Ultimate Mixtape,” so I thought the time was right to resurrect this project. I enjoyed going through Journey’s discography, and the related artists. Such a great band, such diverse styles.

Journey

If you are not familiar with the “Ultimate Mixtape” concept, here is a quick run-down of the rules:

  • Every album must be represented by one and only one song. This is an especially difficult rule when looking at 1978’s Infinity album.
  • The selected song does not have to be a single used to promote the album.
  • Live albums are fine if you want to use them, but you are not required to include them if you are satisfied with your “Ultimate Mixtape” without them. Sometimes they are a great tool to sneak in a classic song when the studio version didn’t make the cut. In Journey’s case, Captured just happens to have a new studio track on it, so that was my de facto choice.
  • “Greatest Hits”/ “Best of” albums are eligible only if they contain new songs, or new versions of old songs. With the exception of Time^3, Journey’s compilations do not meet this requirement, so are omitted from the Ultimate Mixtape project.

Everyone’s “Ultimate Mixtape” will be different, and I would love to know how yours differs from mine. Are you ready to rock? Let’s check out “JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Journey edition”…

Bonus Tracks:

What do you think? Did I miss your favorite Journey song or solo project on the bonus disc?

Click here to see all previous editions of JT’s Ultimate Mixtape.

King Kobra’s classic first two releases set for reissue

kobra

During the 1980s the music scene was exploding with an abundance of great rock bands—including multi-platinum sellers such as Mötley Crüe, Quiet Riot, and RATT—but there was always room for talented new contenders. For King Kobra this was an invitation to launch onto a landscape that was primed for killer hard rock, enormous sales, and unlimited airplay.

It comes as no surprise then, that respected re-issue label Rock Candy Records has turned a spotlight on their first two classic albums, Ready To Strike and Thrill Of A Lifetime. Both titles are set to be reissued on February 10th having been fully remastered with enhanced 16-page booklets featuring rare photos, new interviews, and a 4,000 word essay penned by Malcolm Dome.

Formed in California in 1984, by seasoned drummer Carmine Appice (Cactus, Beck Bogart & Appice, Ozzy Osbourne) and featuring vocalist Mark Free (Unruly Child), guitarists John Michael Philips & Mick Sweda (Bulletboys) and bassist Johnny Rod (WASP), the band won instant attention for their unique look—four blondes and one brunette. Produced by Spencer Proffer (Quiet Riot, WASP, Cheap Trick) and signed to Capitol Records, the band’s debut album, originally issued in 1985, won them the attention of fans and critics alike by delivering one of the year’s best records. Tracks such as “Hunger,” “Tough Guys,” “Piece Of The Rock,” and the title track itself are pivotal examples of some of the best mid 80’s hard rock.

Thrill Of A Lifetime, their sophomore album, originally issued in 1986, saw the band shift gear, modernizing their sound and focusing on more accessible songs, perhaps modeled on the chart success of artists like Bon Jovi and Cinderella. The material was spearheaded by the hugely infectious “Iron Eagle (Never Say Die),” a track that was included on the hit movie Iron Eagle. Elsewhere there’s “Feel The Heat,” “Raise Your Hands To Rock,” and “Dream On” for further proof of their hard rocking credentials.

READY TO STRIKE TRACKLISTING:
1. Ready to Strike
2. Hunger
3. Shadow Rider
4. Shake up
5. Attention
6. Breakin’ Out
7. Tough Guys
8. Danching with Desire
9. Second Thoughts
10. Piece of the Rock

THRILL OF A LIFETIME TRACKLISTING:
1. Second Time Around
2. Dream On
3. Feel the Heat
4. Thrill of a Lifetime
5. Only the Strong Will Survive
6. Iron Eagle (Never Say Die)
7. Home Street Home
8. Overnight Sensation
9. Raise Your Hands to Rock
10. Part Animal
11. Home Sweet Home (Street Mix) [bonus track]

For more information, please visit rockcandyrecords.com.

Purchase Ready To Strike and Thrill of a Lifetime by King Kobra.

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