Friday, October 30, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #22: "Kiss Me Deadly" by Lita Ford

Well folks, it is with a heavy, black heart that I must inform you that Rocktober once again coming to an end.  It seems to happen every year around this time.  The last selection is one of my favorite '80s songs and possibly my favorite female-sung song:  "Kiss Me Deadly" by Lita Ford.  Lita, of course, got her big break as a member of The Runaways in the '70s, and she followed that success with decent success in the '80s, mainly attributed to her 1988 album Lita, which got up to #29 on the Billboard album charts and has been certified platinum by the RIAA.  Her duet with Ozzy Osbourne, "Close My Eyes Forever," rose to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it both her most successful single ever and Ozzy's most successful, as well.  "Kiss Me Deadly" didn't do so bad either, peaking at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100.

It was "Kiss Me Deadly" that made my 11-year-old self fall in love with Lita Ford.  It's catchy and it rocks, which could describe most of the hair band genre.  And that opening line is just phenomenal:  "I went to a party last Saturday night / I didn't get laid / I got in a fight / Uh huh, it ain't no big thing."  And if you think Lita Ford is just some pretty face (who gets in fights instead of having sex), you're selling her very short.  She can also play a pretty wicked guitar.  In an interview I saw with her, she recounted a story about someone asking her who played the solo on "Kiss Me Deadly," as this person assumed it was a man.  Lita, rightfully incensed, explained (presumably in flowery language) that she played the solo (which is pretty damn good, too).

And with that, Rocktober is done until next year.  But stay tuned next week, as we begin Nemovember –- a daily look at my favorite clownfish, starting on Monday with, well, Nemo.

Lita Ford - Kiss Me Deadly by soulsurvivor25

Hair Band Friday - 10/30/15

1.  "Hells Bells" by AC/DC

2.  "Rock Me" by Great White

3.  "Sleazy Come Easy Go" by L.A. Guns

4.  "Tonight" by Def Leppard

5.  "Sentimental Street" by Night Ranger

6.  "Dance" by Ratt

7.  "So Damn Pretty (Should Be Against The Law)" by Warrant

8.  "Lightnin' Strikes Again" by Dokken

9.  "Lover's Lane" by FireHouse

10.  "You're Crazy" (acoustic) by Guns N' Roses

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #21: "Going to Hell" by The Pretty Reckless

Taylor Momsen has had a rather odd path to heavy metal frontwoman.  She got her first big break in the acting world at age 6, portraying Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and then she went on to star as Jenny Humphrey in Gossip Girl.  Momsen decided that she had enough with acting, and figured she'd make some badass music instead.  
Her band, The Pretty Reckless, formed in 2009 and has put out two EPs and two full-length albums.  Their first album, 2010's Light Me Up, was a Top 10 album in the UK and peaked at #65 on the Billboard album charts.  Their follow up, 2014's Going to Hell, was Top 10 in the US (#5), Canada (#5), and the UK (#8).

Going to Hell has had three songs top the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts:  "Heaven Knows," "Messed Up World" (real title "Fucked Up World"), and "Follow Me Down."  This made them the first female-fronted band to top the Mainstream Rock charts twice, much less thrice.  But given that it's Halloween week, I am going with the title track to Going to Hell.  The song starts out with a monster riff, and then Momsen wails.  All in all, a very solid metal song, with a video that is both creepy and sexy at the same time.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ultimate Halloween Party Playlist v. 3.0

Halloween is fast approaching.  Call me a black magician who preys on the souls of the innocent and occasionally sacrifices a goat in the name of Lucifer, but Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year.  

Last year, I more than doubled my Ultimate Halloween Playlist to 85 songs.  Countess Bathory was not satisfied.  "More blood!" she screamed from her claw-footed porcelain tub, or at least that's what I assume she said.  Her Magyar-inflected Latin is hard to decipher sometimes.  Regardless, I must accede to her presumed demands, so I have added 26 more songs to the list this year, compiling the best songs for you to use either at a Halloween party to set the mood right or in the background on Halloween night, when you're dressed like Pennywise, passing out candy and disemboweled rats to the neighborhood kids.

Halloween is the one time of year when it's okay to embrace evil.  At any Halloween party or during trick-or-treating, you want there to be a certain level of creepiness, as well as some campiness, because Halloween is supposed to be a mixture of paganism, macabre, and fun.  As a result, the playlist below includes songs that have dark and evil themes, talk about monsters or the devil or witches or the like, mention the word "Halloween," or are just plain creepy.  My mix has a lot of heavy metal, but that's kind of expected, since metal bands are more likely to embrace darker subject matter than, say, Andy Grammer.  You don't want to go too dark, like, say, Norwegian black metal, because you're going to lose your party-goers, or the neighbors are going to think you're really into church burning.  And if you are into church burning, you're probably not going to want to tip the neighbors off by blaring Gorgoroth out your front door while handing their children fun-size packages of Skittles, even if you are wearing corpsepaint.

For parties, you'll probably want to mix these songs in with your regular party mix.  After all, who doesn't want to hear "Year Zero" after "Shake It Off"?  For trick or treating, you're probably going to want to just go straight spooky, which probably means a heavy dose of Ghost, Pentagram, Misfits, and Black Sabbath.  Just make sure the songs you choose for trick or treating don't have any swears in them.  Parents can be real assholes about that.

With that, here are my recommendations for your Halloween playlist, in alphabetical order by artist, with comments where I felt it was necessary.  Unfortunately, with the demise of Grooveshark and my inability to find another website that allows me to embed playlists for free, I can't give you an embedded playlist this year.

1-4.  "Highway to Hell," "Hells Bells," "Night Prowler," and "If You Want Blood (You've Got It)" by AC/DC
"Highway to Hell" is an obvious choice and a crowd pleaser.  "Hells Bells" has those instantly recognizable bells -- hells bells, if you will.  "Night Prowler" is a slower, creepy song that, several years later, serial killer Richard Ramirez (aka, "the Night Stalker") claimed inspired him, or something like that.  "If You Want Blood" was added solely to appease the Countess.

5.  "Demon Eyes" by The Answer

6.  "Howling for You" by The Black Keys

7-10.  "Black Sabbath," "War Pigs," "The Wizard," and "Heaven and Hell" by Black Sabbath
"Black Sabbath" was inspired by a vision Geezer Butler had one night after reading a book about witchcraft that Ozzy Osbourne gave to him.  He woke up in the middle of the night, and a black figure was standing at the foot of his bed.  The figure disappeared, and when Butler went to get the book, it too was gone.  "War Pigs" is about war, death, and bodies burning.  "The Wizard" is about a wizard.  "Heaven and Hell" is the title track from the first Sabbath album with Ronnie James Dio as the lead singer, and it is awesome.

11.  "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult
But do fear people who would actually vote for Ben Carson or Donald Trump.

12.  "I Want Candy" by Bow Wow Wow

13.  "Howl" by JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound

14.  "Halloween Theme" by John Carpenter
Instantly recognizable as one of the more creepy horror movie themes.

15.  "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash

16.  "The Night Time is the Right Time" by Ray Charles

17.  "Spooky" by The Classics IV

18.  "I Was a Teenage Werewolf" by The Cramps
I wasn't.

19.  "Am I Demon" by Danzig
No, no I'm not.

20.  "Am I Evil?" by Diamond Head
"Yes I am."

21.  "A Nightmare on My Street" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
This is a classic late '80s rap song, playing off of the popularity of Freddy Krueger, who, for many of us growing up in the '80s, was the most terrifying of all the horror movie villains.  I should also note that I did, in fact, perform this with a friend for our elementary school talent show in fifth grade.  I was Freddy.  It was pretty awesome.

22.  "Dream Warriors" by Dokken
Speaking of Freddy, this was the title track to Nightmare on Elm Street 3:  Dream Warriors.

23.  "Season of the Witch" by Donovan

24-25.  "The End" and "People Are Strange" by The Doors
"The End" is one of the creepier Doors songs, which says a lot.

26.  "Hungry Like the Wolf" by Duran Duran

27.  "Murder On the Dancefloor" by Sophie Ellis-Bextor
In case you're spiking your Milky Ways with molly.

28.  "Trick or Treat" by Fastway
'80s metal band Fastway played the soundtrack to the 1986 the metal-themed horror film Trick or Treat.  This is the title song.

29.  "Kiss Me Deadly" by Lita Ford

30.  "Close My Eyes Forever" by Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne

31.  "Evil and a Heathen" by Franz Ferdinand

32-34.  "Monstrance Clock," "Year Zero," and "If You Have Ghosts" by Ghost
"Monstrance Clock" is about conceiving "Lucifer's son," and "Year Zero" is about Satan in general and has a nice gothic feel to it.  "If You Have Ghosts" is a Roky Erickson cover about having ghosts.  To be honest, I would suggest just including all songs from Ghost's three albums and EP -- Opus Eponymous, Infestissumam, If You Have Ghost, and Meloria -- especially if you're looking for trick-or-treating background music.  They are demonic in a polite Swedish way.

35.  "Maneater" by Hall & Oates

36.  "Hallow's Eve" by Hallows Eve

37-38.  "Halloween" and "Mr. Torture" by Helloween
German power metal band Helloween obviously has the right name for a Halloween mix, and their song "Halloween" is included for obvious reasons.  I also chose to go with "Mr. Torture" because I like the song.  So there.

39.  "Friendly Ghost" by Harlem
This one's a little more light-hearted, to offset the vast majority of this list.

40.  "I Put a Spell On You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins
I prefer the original to CCR's cover (which is still very good) because Hawkins adds a level of voodoo campiness that CCR just couldn't have matched.

41.  "Magic Man" by Heart

42.  "I Ain't Superstitious" by Howlin' Wolf

43.  "Devil Inside" by INXS

44-46.  "Killers," "Murders in the Rue Morgue," and "Number of the Beast" by Iron Maiden
It was tough figuring out just one Iron Maiden song to include, so I went with three.  The first two are from 1981's Killers album:  "Killers," which is essentially about someone being stalked and murdered, and "Murders in the Rue Morgue," which is not only my favorite Iron Maiden song, but is also based on short story by Edgar Allen Poe of the same name.  The third, "Number of the Beast," is a metal classic off of the 1982 album of the same name.  Because of this song, my children know that 666 is the number of the beast.

47.  "Thriller" by Michael Jackson
This is a no-brainer and should be played at every Halloween party for eternity.

48.  "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane
This is especially good if your partygoers are all on LSD.

49.  "Devil's Child" by Judas Priest

50.  "Hotter Than Hell" by KISS

51.  "Pretend We're Dead" by L7

52.  "Heeby-Jeebies" by Little Richard

53.  "Look at Your Game, Girl" by Charles Manson
Recorded when Manson was still trying to break into the LA music scene and before he started ordering his minions to murder movie stars and grocery store owners, this song comes across as an innocent folky acoustic song.  Then you realize it's sung by Charles Manson, and it becomes super creepy.

54.  "Evil Love" by Meat Puppets

55-56.  "Fade to Black" and "Creeping Death" by Metallica

57-60.  "Halloween," "Death Comes Ripping," "Mommy, Can I Go Out & Kill Tonight," and "Bloodfeast" by The Misfits

61.  "Shout at the Devil" by Mötley Crüe

62.  "Dead Men Tell No Tales" by Motörhead

63.  "Spiderwebs" by No Doubt

64.  "Running Scared" by Roy Orbison

65.  "Bark at the Moon" by Ozzy Osbourne

66.  "Dracula's Wedding" by Outkast

67.  "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker, Jr.

68.  "Satan's Bed" by Pearl Jam

69.  "Sign of the Wolf (Pentagram)" by Pentagram
Doom metal pioneers Pentagram have a good number of hard-rocking creepy songs, but this one is probably the most relevant to Halloween.

70.  "Zombie Zoo" by Tom Petty

71.  "The Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett & The Crypt Kickers
This is a classic Halloween song that should be played at least once at every Halloween party.

72-73.  "Fallen Angel" and "Flesh and Blood (Sacrifice)" by Poison

74.  "Halloween" by Matt Pond PA

75.  "Going to Hell" by The Pretty Reckless

76.  "Gates of Babylon" by Rainbow
The song is about sleeping with the devil.  And then paying for sleeping with the devil.  Probably because the devil gave you the clap.

77.  "Diablo Rojo" by Rodrigo y Gabriela

78-79.  "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Dead Flowers" by The Rolling Stones

80-82.  "Soul Sacrifice," "Black Magic Woman" and "Evil Ways" by Santana

83.  "Li'l Red Riding Hood" by Sam The Sham & The Pharoahs

84.  "Angel of Death" by Slayer
While I would generally recommend steering clear of Slayer at parties, there is no more appropriate time to let it loose than Halloween.

85.  "Bullet With Butterfly Wing" by Smashing Pumpkins
It just wouldn't seem right to have a Halloween playlist without a Smashing Pumpkins song on it.  I went with this one, not only because it starts by exclaiming -– wrongly, mind you -– that "the world is a vampire," but also because it's an awesome song.

86.  "Serial Killa" by Snoop Doggy Dogg

87.  "Fell On Black Days" by Soundgarden

88.  "Wicked Garden" by Stone Temple Pilots

89.  "To Hell With the Devil" by Stryper
In case you are concerned that your playlist might be a little too devil-heavy, you can balance it out with this '80s Christian hair band classic.

90.  "Santeria" by Sublime

91.  "Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads
"You're crazy!" 
"That's what they said about Son of Sam."

92.  "Devil's Daughter" by Tax the Heat

93.  "Here Comes the Night" by Them

94.  "Killer On the Loose" by Thin Lizzy

95.  "Sinister Minister" by Township

96-97.  "Running With the Devil" and "D.O.A." by Van Halen

98.  "The Black Angel's Death Song" by The Velvet Underground
I have never done acid, but I assume this song is what a bad acid trip would have sounded like in Victorian England.

99.  "Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)" by W.A.S.P.

100.  "Burning the Witches" by Warlock

101.  "Got My Mojo Working" by Muddy Waters

102.  "If My Mind is Evil" by White Lion

103-106.  "Death Letter," "Dead Leaves and The Dirty Ground," "Little Ghost," and "Walking With a Ghost" by The White Stripes

107.  "Boris The Spider" by The Who

108.  "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder

109.  "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon
"I saw a werewolf drinking a piña colada at Trader Vic's / And his hair was perfect."  Great line.

110-111.  "Dragula" and "Living Dead Girl" by Rob Zombie

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #20: "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane

No list of female-fronted rock bands would be complete without Jefferson Airplane.  Along with Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane's Grace Slick paved the way for female rockers.  Released in June 1967 as the second single off the band's second album (Surrealistic Pillow, which is a phenomenal album name, by the way), "White Rabbit" was a Top 10 song, peaking at #8 on the Billboart Hot 100, which is saying something because it has to be one of the creepiest songs in rock history.  It's about Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, and it has that death march feel to it, match by the subdued guitars and Slick's penetrating voice.  The song builds and builds until Slick is shouting "feed your head!," an obvious drug reference, apropos in the Summer of Love.  

It's a great song to quote randomly.  For instance, when someone asks you what to say (in relation to anything), you respond with, "Tell them a hookah-smoking caterpillar has given you the call."  Then cackle uncontrollably for three to four minutes before slowly sauntering up to the person and whispering softly in his or her ear, "remember what the dormouse said."  Flash a smile that starts small and slowly becomes bigger and bigger until it's the creepiest ear-to-ear grin you can muster.  Keep that smile going for a good 30 seconds, staring intently into his or her eyes.  Then go back to whatever you were talking about as if nothing happened.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tuesday Top Ten: 17 Times The Internet Nailed What It's Like Being a Scorpio

As you likely know, last Friday the moon (or is it the sun?) passed into Scorpio, starting the annual one-month reign of the greatest zodiac sign.  Brilliant, independent, sexually insatiable, intense, loyal, and vengeful, we Scorpios are often tough nuts to crack, and we like it that way.  We play things close to the vest and don't tend to divulge too much information about what we're thinking.  Believe you me, no one wants to know what I'm thinking, and for the most part, I'm sure as shit not going to tell you what's on my mind, even when it appears I am.

My lovely wife always gets mad at me because, at concerts, it's not unusual for me to just stand there relatively emotionless for most of the show.  Then, at the end of the show, she will assume I hated the show and can't believe it when I tell her I thought it was "the bees' knees, doll."  Sometimes when I'm drunk I talk like a '20s jazz man, but that's beside the point.  The point is that I don't need to smile, jump around, sing along with every song, or outwardly display any indication of happiness in order to enjoy a concert (or anything else, for that matter).

Scorpios are also known for our tempers.  Over the years, I've gotten much better at controlling mine.  But when a Scorpio explodes, you will feel God's Satan's wrath.  We're not necessarily evil, but Halloween is our holiday, so we understand and appreciate the dark side, and when we want to cut you to the bone, we know exactly where to put the knife –- figuratively, of course.

I like to tell people that, as a Scorpio, I either want to fuck you or kill you.  Again, I mean that figuratively, for the most part.  If I like you, I will make an effort to be your friend, and once you're my friend, barring any unforeseen circumstances, I will consider you my friend forever.  If I don't like you, I will not.  If you have done something to upset me, I will not forget.  If you betray me, you are dead to me.  And you better goddamn well believe that I can hold a grudge long beyond its usefulness.

All of this very useful information is to preface this week's Tuesday Top Ten, which is a Buzzfeed article entitled "17 Times The Internet Nailed What It's Like Being a Scorpio."  (Thanks to RDC for the link.)  It's a pretty solid list of Twitter and Facebook posts/memes that sum up what we Scorpios fell on a daily basis.

So, when you meet a Scorpio, you probably won't get a good read on him or her (even if you think you did), but he or she may turn out to be a friend for life.  Or he or she may kill you.  Either way, Scorpioooooooooo!

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #19: "Pretend We're Dead" by L7

L7 is one of the more influential all-female rock bands from the late '80s and early '90s.  Formed in LA, the band took their name from '50s slang for "square," and proceeded to make some non-square music, spanning the hard rock, grunge, punk, riot grrrl, and alternative rock genres.

In addition to forming the Rock for Choice benefit concert series to help raise money and awareness for women's health issues, the band has etched out a place for itself as, how should I put this, not giving a fuck about your rules.  They have raffled off a one-night stand with drummer Demetra Plakas, dropped trou on live British TV, and were involved in one of the most infamous and disgusting rock and roll moments ever.  During L7's performance at the 1992 Reading Festival in England, the crowd became restless after there were some technical difficulties during the band's set.  Some audience members started throwing mud at the stage.  This did not sit well with lead singer Donita Sparks, so she went perhaps a little too far by yanking the bloody, used tampon from her vagina and throwing it into the crowd.  Rock and fucking roll!

My favorite L7 song is "Pretend We're Dead," off of the band's 1992 album Bricks are Heavy.  It was their most successful song on the charts, reaching #8 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and #21 on the UK charts.  It's also one of my favorite songs from the '90s.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #18: "Burning the Witches" by Warlock

Well, folks, it's here:  Halloween Week.  For the next five days, we will celebrate evil, mischief, the dead, and the undead, until All Saints Day, when everyone is suddenly pure again and the spirits return to the underworld.  Rocktober is no exception.  This week will feature songs with dark, evil, creepy, or macabre themes.  Dance, my little imps.

Our first selection focuses on one of America's favorite pastimes:  "Burning the Witches" by Warlock.  Warlock was not based in or near Salem, Massachusetts in the 1690s, as you might have thought.  Rather, the band is from Düsseldorf, Germany in the 1980s.  Fronted by flaxen-haired metal goddess Doro Pesch, Warlock put out four albums between 1984 and 1987 and had mild success in their native Germany and Europe.  The band performed at many a large festival.  At the legendary 1986 Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington in England, Pesch became the first woman to front a band at Monsters of Rock.  Warlock also supported revered metal acts like Judas Priest, Dio, Megadeth, and W.A.S.P. on tours of the USA and Europe.  The band's final album, 1987's Triumph and Agony, even charted on the Billboard album charts, reaching #80.  After that, the band broke up, and Pesch formed another band out of the ashes, which she called Doro.

"Burning the Witches" is the title track off of Warlock's debut album.  It's a snarling metal song, with a driving riff complemented by Pesch's wailing vocals and a pretty sweet guitar solo at about the three-minute mark.  The video is from a live performance of the song at Camden Palace in London.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #17: "Cheesecake" by Precious Metal

Precious Metal was a Sunset Strip-based, all-female hard rock band from the mid '80s, so, gender aside, if that doesn't qualify them as a hair band, I'm not sure what would.  Between 1985 and 1990, the band put out three albums before breaking up.  Despite being on major labels, none of the albums sold particularly well, and I will be honest, I had never heard of Precious Metal before reading that Rolling Stone article about the Top 50 Glam Metal Albums that I discussed this past Tuesday.  I decided to check them out on Spotify, and they're pretty good.  I would liken them to a combination of '70s glam, '80s glam, power pop, Joan Jett, and The Go-Gos -- which I think is a pretty solid combination.

I decided to go with "Cheesecake," off of the band's 1985 debut album basically because there are very few Precious Metal songs on YouTube.  It's a randy little ditty, with a Bo Diddley feel to it, both with the beat and the kind of half-spoken-half-sung lyrics.  Plus, I love cheesecake.

Hair Band Friday - 10/23/15

1.  "Rock You Like a Hurricane" by The Scorpions

2.  "Something To Believe In" by Poison

3.  "Sweet Sister Mercy" by Lynch Mob

4.  "Tommy's Down Home" (live) by Tesla

5.  "Spreading the Disease" by Queensrÿche

6.  "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC

7.  "Standing In The Shadows" by Britny Fox

8.  "Mean Streak" by Y&T

9.  "Huge" by BulletBoys

10.  "Bed of Roses" by Bon Jovi

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #16: "Barracuda" by Heart

"Barracuda" is the song that prompted me to do Glorious Ladies of Rocktober this year.  My girls love it, and I love it.  Heart was one of the first female-fronted bands that really rocked.  With big sister Ann on vocals and little sister Nancy on guitar, Heart arrived on the scene in the mid '70s with bombast.  Songs like "Barracuda," "Crazy On You," "Magic Man," "Heartless," and "Straight On" showed the world that women could rock just as hard as men.  And then in the mid to late '80s and early '90s, Heart rolled with the times and put out enduring hits like "Alone," "Never," "What About Love," "These Dreams," "Nothin' At All," "All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You," and "Will You Be There in the Morning," exposing the band to a new generation of fans.

All in all, Heart has released 15 studio albums, 7 of which have gone platinum and 11 of which have reached the Top 25 of the Billboard album charts (7 Top 10s and 4 Top 5s).  They have 20 Top 40 hits on the Billboard charts, including 9 Top 10s and 2 #1s ("These Dreams" and "Alone").  They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 -- about 12 years too late, if you ask me, but then again, the Rock Hall tends to fuck things like that up (as evidenced by the fact that Laura Nyro was inducted a year before Heart -- seriously?!)

For me, the quintessential Heart song is "Barracuda."  That opening riff is one of the most recognizable and badass riffs in rock history.  Released in 1977 off of the band's second album, Little Queen, "Barracuda" peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100.  It is a scathing hard rock song that Ann Wilson wrote after a radio promoter in Detroit asked Ann where her lover was, referring to her sister Nancy -- you know, because two attractive sisters who play rock and roll must be incestuous lesbians.  Enraged at this sexist twit, Ann went back to her hotel room and wrote "Barracuda."  The song never gets old for me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #15: "Middle of the Road" by The Pretenders

It would be a crime if I had a Glorious Ladies of Rocktober without a song by The Pretenders.*  Formed in the late '70s and led by singer/main songwriter/rhythm guitarist Chrissie Hynde, The Pretenders managed to endure the deaths of two band members in the early '80s to put out a string of hits over the course of a decade.

The band's first four albums –- 1980's self-titled debut, 1981's Pretenders II, 1984's Learning to Crawl, and 1986's Get Close –- were Top 25 albums on the Billboard charts and all but Learning to Crawl went Top 10 in the UK.  Between 1980 and 1994, the band had five Top 20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and nine Top 20 hits in the UK.  Songs like "Stop Your Sobbing," "Brass in Pocket," "Middle of the Road," "Back on the Chain Gang," "Don't Get Me Wrong," and "Message of Love" have stood the test of time pretty well, and helped the band eventually be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

I am going with "Middle of the Road" because it's my favorite Pretenders song.  Released in November 1983, it reached #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.  The song starts with a great drum intro and ascends into a catchy, new wave rocker.  It's the kind of song that makes you tap your feet or bob your head, whether you want to or not.  I love the lyrics in the third verse at about the three-minute mark, before Hynde's wicked harmonica solo, where she frantically sings "Don't harass me, can't you tell / I'm going home, I'm tired as hell / I'm not the cat I used to be / I got a kid, I'm thirty-three."  Great song from a great band.

*It would not be a crime

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tuesday Top Ten: Top 50 Hair Band Albums

Last week, Rolling Stone released its list of the "50 Greatest Hair Metal Albums of All-Time."  As you might imagine, I was pretty excited to read it, especially to see how it matched up to my list of Top Ten Ultimate Hair Band Albums that I put together about seven years ago.

The Rolling Stone list is a solid one.  I was disappointed to see that I only owned 27 of the 50 albums on the list, which means I have some shopping to do.  Their list was also limited to the mid '80s to the early '90s, while mine stretched back to what I believe to be the start of the "Hair Band Era":  the release of AC/DC's Back in Black in 1980.  Their list also excluded Guns N' Roses "for transcending the form" and W.A.S.P. "for sounding too legitimately heavy."  I would not exclude either of those bands, but to each his own.  There are also some other exclusions from the Rolling Stone list that are not explained, such as no Van Halen, no Dr. Feelgood, and no New Jersey.  At least we can all agree that Hysteria is the best hair band album ever.

With that, let's compare my list with Rolling Stone's list.  First, here is my list, going from 10 down to 1, with the Rolling Stone ranking at the end:

10. Warrant - Cherry Pie (1990) (#19)
9. Whitesnake - Whitesnake (1987) (#12)
8. Skid Row - Skid Row (1989) (#5)
7. Poison - Look What the Cat Dragged In (1986) (#2)
6. Mötley Crüe - Dr. Feelgood (1989) (not on Rolling Stone's list)
5. Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet (1986) (#3)
4. Van Halen - 1984 (1984) (not on Rolling Stone's list)
3. AC/DC - Back in Black (1980) (not on Rolling Stone's list)
2. Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction (1987) (not on Rolling Stone's list)

1. Def Leppard - Hysteria (1987) (#1)

Here is Rolling Stone's full list.  The 27 bolded ones are the albums I own in full (whether on tape, CD, vinyl, or digitally), and the 9 underlined ones are albums for which I own at least one song, but not the whole album.  The remaining 14 albums are ones that I hope to one day own in whole or in part.

50.  Lord Tracy - Deaf Gods Of Babylon (1989)
49.  Mr. Big - Lean Into It (1991)
48.  Precious Metal - Right Here Right Now (1985)
47.  Lita Ford - Lita (1988)
46.  Kik Tracee - No Rules (1991)
45.  Pretty Boy Floyd - Leather Boyz With Electric Toyz (1989)
44.  Kiss - Lick It Up (1983)
43.  Vixen - Vixen (1988)
42.  D-A-D -No Fuel Left for the Pilgrims (1989)
41.  Winger - Winger (1988)
40.  Stryper - To Hell With the Devil (1986)
39.  Vinnie Vincent Invasion - Vinnie Vincent Invasion (1986)
38.  Britny Fox - Britny Fox (1988)
37.  Bang Tango - Psycho Café (1989)
36.  Alice Cooper - Trash (1989)
35.  Badlands - Badlands (1989)
34.  Junkyard - Junkyard (1989)
33.  Saigon Kick - The Lizard (1992)
32.  Great White - ...Twice Shy (1989)
31.  Slaughter - Stick It to Ya (1990)
30.  BulletBoys - Freakshow (1991)
29.  Dangerous Toys - Dangerous Toys (1989)
28.  Black 'N Blue - Black 'N Blue (1984)
27.  L.A. Guns - Cocked and Loaded (1989)
26.  Poison - Open Up and Say… Ahh! (1988)
25.  David Lee Roth - Eat 'Em and Smile (1986)
24.  Enuff Z'Nuff - Enuff Z'Nuff (1989)
23.  Hanoi Rocks - Self Destruction Blues (1982)
22.  White Lion - Pride (1987)
21.  Dokken - Under Lock and Key (1985)
20.  Love/Hate - Black Out in the Red Room (1990)
19.  Warrant - Cherry Pie (1990)
18.  Cinderella - Night Songs (1986)
17.  Def Leppard - Pyromania (1983)
16.  Twisted Sister - Stay Hungry (1984)
15.  Quiet Riot - Metal Health (1983)
14.  Warrant - Dirty, Rotten, Filthy, Stinking Rich (1989)
13.  Extreme - Extreme II: Pornograffiti (1990)
12.  Whitesnake - Whitesnake (1987)
11.  Tesla - The Great Radio Controversy (1989)
10.  Cinderella - Long Cold Winter (1988)
9.  Mötley Crüe - Too Fast for Love (1981)
8.  Kix - Blow My Fuse (1988)
7.  Faster Pussycat - Faster Pussycat (1987)
6.  Ratt - Out of the Cellar (1984)
5.  Skid Row - Skid Row (1989)
4.  Mötley Crüe - Shout at the Devil (1983)
3.  Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet (1986)
2.  Poison - Look What the Cat Dragged in (1986)
1.  Def Leppard - Hysteria (1987)

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #14: "Dig Me Out" by Sleater-Kinney

Before she was making us laugh on Portlandia, Carrie Brownstein was kicking ass on the stage as the guitarist and sometimes singer for influential riot grrrl and indie rock band Sleater-Kinney, along with lead singer/other guitarist Corin Tucker and drummer Janet Weiss.

The riot grrrl genre was a combination of punk, indie rock, and leftist and feminist politics, and Sleater-Kinney formed in the mid '90s at Evergreen State College in Olypmia, Washington, which was kind of the epicenter for the riot grrrl movement, with bands like Bikini Kill, Heavens to Betsy (Tucker's previous band before Sleater-Kinney), and Excuse 17 (Brownstein's prior band), and Bratmobile forming or gaining traction in Olympia in the early '90s.

Between 1995 and 2005, the band released seven albums, before taking a haitus for about a decade.  The band released their 8th album, No Cities to Love, this past January, and it reached #18 on the Billboard album charts, making it the band's highest charting album.  I am going with the title track off of the band's third album, 1997's Dig Me Out.  The album has garnered extensive critical acclaim, landing at #272 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time back in 2003, amongst various other "best of" lists.  The song "Dig Me Out" frantic and catchy, indicative of the band's catalog in general, and it's just a great punk song.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #13: "C'mon Let's Go" by Girlschool

Girlschool, an all-female New Wave of British Heavy Metal band, is credited as being the longest-running all-female rock band, going strong since 1978.  They came along basically right around the same time The Runaways were breaking up.  Girlschool filled the all-female hard rock band void admirably by playing the aggressive combination of hard rock, metal, and punk we have come to expect (and love) from NWOBHM bands. 

The band had some pretty solid success in the UK, headlining medium-sized arenas and festivals.  They also toured with the likes of Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Motörhead, Uriah Heep, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and Rush in the early '80s.  Their first three albums made the Top 30 on the UK albums charts, with their second album (Hit and Run, released in 1981) reaching #5.

I particularly enjoy their "Headgirl" collaboration with Motörhead, 1981's St. Valentine's Day Massacre, a 3-song EP on which the bands played one song together (a cover of Johnny Kidd & The Pirates' "Please Don't Touch"), Girlschool covered a Motörhead song ("Bomber"), and Motörhead covered a Girlschool song ("Emergency").  That EP hit #5 on the UK singles chart.  (Here's a link to a performance of "Please Don't Touch" on German TV.)

The song I'm going with is "C'mon Let's Go," off of the aforementioned Hit and Run album.  It's a great hard rock song, driven by that great drum beat, and it could fit in perfectly on just about any NWOBHM album.  The band shared lead vocal duties (a la The Beatles and Kiss), and this one features guitarist Kelly Johnson on lead vocals.  She also has a nice little guitar solo at about the 2-minute mark.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #12: "I Hate Myself for Loving You" by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

This week's Hair Band Friday Glorious Ladies of Rocktober song comes from one of the rockingest ladies in rock and roll history:  Joan Jett.  While she is not technically a part of the hair band genre, I have always associated the song "I Hate Myself For Loving You" with the hair band genre, probably because it came out in 1988, rocked, and Jett had huge hair in the video.

Co-written by Jett and songwriting wunderkind Desmond Child, "I Hate Myself For Loving You" helped reestablish Jett as the queen of hard rock.  The song cracked the Top 10 of Billboard's Hot 100 (reaching #8) and helped propel the Blackhearts' album, Up Your Alley, into the Top 20 of the Billboard album charts (which their previous two albums had failed to do) and go platinum in the US.  Also, I just learned that former Rolling Stones' guitarist Mick Taylor played the guitar solo in the song, which is pretty cool.

If you are under 30, you probably recognize the song from its bastardized form as the theme song for NBC's Sunday Night Football.  Before Pink, Faith Hill, and Carrie Underwood had their hands on it, I assure you, it rocked.  But don't take my word for it, listen for yourself.

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #11: "Love Bites (So Do I)" by Halestorm

"But GMYH, what about females in contemporary metal?"  I hear you, fair reader, which brings us to today's band, Halestorm.  Fronted by Lzzy Hale, Halestorm has put out three relatively successful metal albums in the last few years.  The band's 2009 self-titled debut album got up to #40 on the Billboard album charts and #4 on the Billboard Hard Rock Album charts, while their next two albums -- 2012's The Strange Case Of . . . and 2015's Into the Wild Life -- climbed up to #15 and #5, respectively, on the Billboard album charts and both hit #1 on the Billboard Hard Rock album charts.

I have the band's first two albums (and should probably just go ahead and get the third), and it's pretty much a whole lot of ball-busting metal.  Hale has a soaring voice, perfectly suited for the genre, and the rest of the band lays down a solid metal groove.  The song I decided to go with is "Love Bites (So Do I)," not only because I'm a Def Leppard fan and the song title appears to reference "Love Bites," but also because the song won the 2013 Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance, beating out Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Anthrax, Marilyn Manson, and Lamb of God.  Not too shabby!  The song reached #2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts, and it's pretty indicative of the band's badass sound that has made them so successful in the metal world.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #10: "Spiderwebs" by No Doubt

No Doubt was one of the biggest bands of the mid '90s, sparking the popularity of third-wave ska in the U.S.  After No Doubt's first two albums failed to gain much traction, 1995's Tragic Kingdom was a bona fide mega hit.  Tragic Kingdom topped the album charts in the U.S. (for nine weeks) and eight other countries, landed at #22 on Billboard's decade-end album chart for the 1990s, and has been certified diamond by the RIAA (which means it has sold at least 10 million copies in the U.S. alone).  "Just a Girl," "Don't Speak," "Spiderwebs," "Excuse Me Mr.," and "Sunday Morning" were alternative radio and MTV staples, introducing the world to Gwen Stefani and that weird jewel implanted in between her eyes.

I decided to go with "Spiderwebs" because it's probably my favorite song off of Tragic Kingdom, and I think it's a good representation of their combination of ska, punk, and alt rock.  "Spiderwebs" went to #5 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, #11 on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 chart, and #29 on the Billboard Adult Top 40.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tuesday Top Ten: Things I Would Have Rather Happened Tonight Than The Cubs Winning Their NLDS Series

If you have any friends in Chicago and have been on Facebook, you undoubtedly know that the Cubs -- Major League Baseball's band of lovable losers who haven't been to a World Series since the Truman administration and haven't won a World Series since the first Roosevelt administration (as in Teddy) -- beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Divisional Series.  Based on the shitshow going on in my city right now and the helicopters hovering in the skies near my house, you would think the Cubs won the World Series.

I don't like it when the Cubs succeed, for many reasons, most notably because my two favorite baseball teams are the White Sox -- who have been crosstown rivals with the Cubs since before the Cubs won their last World Series in 1908 -- and the Astros -- who were intradivision rivals in the NL Central from 1994 to 2012.  So, pardon me if I don't jump on the Cubs bandwagon.  On top of this, tens of thousands of drunk morons -- many of whom are more interested in celebrating a Cubs victory than actually celebrating the Cubs -- converge on Wrigleyville and act like it's Madri Gras.  People, it's just the NLDS.

If I'm coming across as bitter, it's because, well, I'm bitter.  Anytime the Cubs are in the playoffs and the Sox aren't, I'm bitter.  With all apologies to many of my friends who are diehard Cubs fans (and who aren't the fucking poseurs who tend to pollute that giant bar they call Wrigley), I don't want the Cubs win the NLCS, and I sure as hell didn't want to see them win the NLDS.  If they were to ever win a World Series (which I hope doesn't happen in my lifetime), I honestly think this city would burn again.  And I can't imagine how bad things would be if the Cubs made it to the World Series and lost.

So, on that note, here are ten things I would have rather happened tonight than the Cubs winning their NLDS series:

1.  The Cardinals beat the Cubs.

2.  Kathy Bates showed up on my front porch wearing nothing but two band-aids and a cork.

3.  I ate a mushroom, right after getting a paper cut.

4.  The City of Chicago planted a tree in my parkway, but it turned out to be one of those ginkgo trees that drops those pods that smell like shit.

5.  I turned on the radio and it was a Steely Dan block.

6.  Son had explosive diarrhea that managed to seep out both sides of his diaper, soaking the white pants I just put on him, even though it's after Labor Day and that's a total faux pas.

7.  I had to watch a mime perform for like five minutes.

8.  Someone bought me a beer, but it turned out to be an IPA.

9.  Channel 26 replaced Seinfeld reruns at 10 and 10:30 p.m. with Reba.

10.  Turns out my real last name is Santo.

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #9: "Breakaway" by The Detroit Cobras

Yesterday, we highlighted Sweden's garage rock scene in the late '90s and early aughts, and today we highlight the only garage rock scene that outdid Sweden:  Detroit.  In the late '90s and early 2000s, bands like The White Stripes, The Von Bondies, The Dirtbombs, The Detroit Cobras, The Soledad Brothers, and Ko & The Knockouts made Detroit was the undisputed capitol of garage rock.

The Detroit Cobras were (and maybe still are?) a garage band with an oft-changing lineup, other than lead singer Rachel Nagy and guitarist Mary Ramirez.  They released four full-length albums between 1998 and 2007, and almost all of their songs are covers of relatively obscure songs from the '60s.  As a result, their music has a wonderful retro vibe, with a punkish Detroit edge.  I have several of their albums, and definitely recommend checking them out if you think you'd like '60s pop and soul with a garage rock twist.

Although I am also a pretty big fan of their versions of Davis Jones & The Fenders' "Boss Lady" and Otis Redding's "Shout Bama Lama," my favorite Detroit Cobras song is their cover of Jackie DeShannon's "Breakaway," which you may recognize because it was featured several years ago in an NFL commercial.  DeShannon's original has a girl group, Motowny pop feel to it, and The Detroit Cobras' version stays pretty true to the structure and tune, but turn it out into a frantic garage punk anthem.  It's a fantastic song and, like Sahara Hotnights' "Alright Alright (Here's My Fist Where's The Fight?)" from yesterday, "Breakaway" is on my running mix.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #8: "Alright Alright (Here's My Fist Where's the Fight?)" by Sahara Hotnights

How was your weekend?  Good?  Mine too.  Enough small talk.  In the late '90s and early '00s, Sweden had a rather vibrant garage rock scene, with bands like The Hives, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, The Hellacopters, Division of Laura Lee, and today's featured group, the all-female Sahara Hotnights.

The band formed in the early '90s, when all four members were preteens, and eventually released their first EP in 1997 and first full-length album in 1999 (C'mon Let's Pretend).

Released in 2001 on the continent and 2002 in the US and the UK, the band's second album, Jennie Bomb, featured hard-hitting garage, punk, and pop punk rock.  Arguably the band's most famous song, "Alright Alright (Here's My Fist Where's the Fight?)" led the album off with a bang.  Channeling The Runaways, it's two minutes of aggression and energy, and, as a result, has been on my running mix for 10+ years.  Jackass fans may recognize it from the soundtrack to the original Jackass movie, and it has been featured in other films, including 2003's Cheaper By The Dozen, the 2006 British spy film Stormbreaker, and the Olsen Twins' 2004 Oscar-snubbed masterpiece, New York Minute.

The video is short but sweet, following a guy who keeps getting physically injured by women -- despite the fact that he has done nothing wrong -- before ending up at a Sahara Hotnights concert, where he can expend some of his pent-up frustration by dancing and stage diving, even though no one catches him.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #7: "The Warrior" by Scandal

This Hair Band Friday Glorious Ladies of Rocktober offering comes to us from '80s rockers Scandal.  The band, fronted by Patty Smythe (not to be confused with Patti Smith), put out an EP and an album in the early '80s before breaking up.  While I wouldn't necessarily consider them a hair band, some of their songs come close enough, and everyone's favorite hair band cover band, Hairbangers Ball, used to cover "The Warrior," so that's good enough for me.

"The Warrior" is by far the band's most successful song, reaching #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984.  And the video is a nice little nugget of '80s nostalgia.

Hair Band Friday - 10/9/15

1.  "Intruder" by Van Halen

2.  "The Mission" by Queensrÿche

3.  "Merry-Go-Round" by Mötley Crüe

4.  "Hang On St. Christopher" by Bulletboys

5.  "He's a Woman - She's a Man" by The Scorpions

6.  "Sweet Child O' Mine" (live) by Guns N' Roses

7.  "Miss You in a Heartbeat" (electric) by Def Leppard

8.  "Move Over" by Cinderella

9.  "Rock & Roll Over" by Mr. Big

10.  "Blue Murder" by Blue Murder

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #6: "Heartbreaker" by Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar is one of the most successful female rockers of all-time.  Between 1979 and 1984, she put out six albums that broke into the Top 15 of the Billboard album charts (including one that hit #1 –- 1981's Precious Time).  She had 15 Top 40 hits in the U.S. between 1979 and 1986, including four that made the Top 10.  In my opinion, she deserves a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but my guess is that it will be another couple years before she starts to gain any traction.

The song I'm going with is "Heartbreaker," Benatar's first Top 40 single (#23 in 1979).  Even though it's a cover song –- not that you've probably heard the original, which was sung by English singer Jenny Darren –- I think it's the quintessential Benatar song because it both announced her arrival and showed that she was going to be a force to be reckoned with.  I've always loved the riff, and the song itself is both a little naughty and empowering.  On one hand, she's saying "you're the right kind of sinner to release my inner fantasy," but on the other hand, she's saying "don't you mess around with me."  Damn women and their mixed signals.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015


I love Weezer.  I'm indifferent to Kanye West.  When put together, however, the results are surprisingly good.  Some kid at Ohio State (fuck Ohio State, by the way) mashed up Weezer and West, to create ten songs under the name "Yeezer."  (Thanks to Mr. 6000 for turning me onto this.)  You can still listen to the songs on the embedded player in the link above.  I tried to embed the Yeezer album here, but it's been removed from the site that was hosting it due to a DMCA complaint.

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #5: "Out Here All Night" by Damone

Damone was a Boston-based band who put out three albums between 2003 and 2008, before breaking up.  As with many bands, I discovered them thanks to Pandora.  I have the band's second album, 2006's Out Here All Night, which was their most successful, reaching #168 on the Billboard album charts.  Their sound is a nice combination of hard rock, power pop, metal, and glam metal (and last song on the album is a soothing, acoustic cover of Iron Maiden's "Wasted Years").  Lead signer Noelle LeBlanc can wail when necessary, and can also bring it down a notch and sing like a normal human being when she needs to do so.  I would call her White Christmas if I knew her -- certainly if I dreamed about her.

"Out Here All Night" (the song) got to #32 on Billboard's Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart, and it has been featured on multiple video games, including Madden '07, Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam, and Rock Band.  The song is a pretty straightforward hard rock/metal song, and the video is a nice prelude to Halloween, with its homage to slasher flicks.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #4: "The World Comes Tumblin'" by The Distillers

In the early 2000s, The Distillers were a punk band fronted by Brody Dalle (although for most of the band's existence, her last name was Armstrong), who remained the only constant band member throughout the band's three albums.  Dalle -- who was at one time married to Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong, and has been married to Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme since 2007 -- has a raspy, gritty voice that very much fits with her punk rock look and the abrasive, hard-hitting nature of her music. I can't remember exactly where or when I first heard of The Distillers, but it was the description of Dalle's voice that piqued my interest.  Whatever article I read equated her voice to a rusty bucket of nails being dragged through gravel, or something along those lines.

I used to have several Distillers' songs on my iPod, but they aren't there anymore for unknown reasons -- probably because of ghosts.  My favorite of their songs that I had was "The World Comes Tumblin'," which is off of their 2000 self-titled debut album.  Like any good punk song, it has plenty of aggression, but also a catchy, sing-along chorus that offsets the almost discordant verses. When you listen to it, you will understand why it used to be on my workout mix, back when I actually worked out -- before the ghosts.

Tuesday Top Ten: Worst Movies Ever Made

I love a good bad movie.  My friends and I used to rent movies that we thought would be horrible, based on the cover alone.  If you've never seen Around The World in 80 Ways, A Polish Vampire in Burbank, or Orgy of the Dead, then you need to go to your local Blockbuster and check them out immediately.

Last week, friend and loyal GMYH reader DBH sent me a link to an article on Some Entertainment entitled "The 10 worst movies ever made that you'll want to see immediately."  I haven't seen any of them, and had only heard of one, but these movies all look pretty awesomely bad.  The best part is that many of them star famous actors or actresses.  You got John Stamos, George Clooney, Kristy Swanson, Delta Burke, James Spader, Jeffrey Tambor, Nicholas Cage, Judge Reinhold, and Christina Applegate.  And, of course, two films in which Gene Simmons appears.  I'm looking forward to a binge watching all of these once I get my VHS player back up and running.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #3: "Cannonball" by The Breeders

Grunge had its share of female rockers, perhaps more than any other mainstream rock genre.  The Breeders formed in 1990 as a side project for Pixies bassist Kim Deal and Throwing Muses guitarist Tonya Donelly, whose groups toured together.  After putting out an album in 1990 (Pod, produced by Steve Albini), the members of The Breeders returned to their main bands.  The Pixies broke up in 1993, but Donelly went on to form Belly, so Deal (who sang lead vocals in The Breeders) recruited her twin sister Kelley to play guitar for the next album.  Drummer Jim MacPherson joined the fun, along with bassist Josephine Wiggs, who also played on the first album.

The band's second album, Last Splash, was released in August 1993, and went platinum in the U.S. by June 1994.  "Cannonball" is the band's signature song and biggest hit, getting up to #44 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.  And, of course, the video on MTV -– directed by Spike Jonze and Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon -- gave the band a lot of exposure.  I love "Cannonball."  The song has a great groove to it, starting with that bass line that draws in your attention and that catchy little guitar riff.  The start-and-stop verses are relatively subdued before breaking into that distorted and loud chorus.  Just a great rock song, and such a perfectly '90s video, especially given that Kim Deal kind of reminds me of Claire Danes and Wiggs may very well be Susan from Seinfeld.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #2: "Edge of a Broken Heart" by Vixen

It's Hair Band Friday, and as promised, today's Rocktober song will be by a female-fronted hair band.  The hair band genre was dominated by the boys, but there were a handful of ladies who put on the Aquanet and rocked out, as well.  When I think of a female hair band, the one that first comes to my mind is the all-female Vixen.

Named after a female fox -- which raises the question why men refer to attractive females as "foxes," rather than "vixens" -- Vixen was a part of the magnificent glam metal scene in LA in the mid to late '80s, and the band was interviewed in the fantastic Sunset Strip-centric documentary, The Decline of Western Civilization Part II:  The Metal Years, which everyone should watch.  They put out two albums, 1988's eponymous debut and 1990's Rev It Up, before breaking up in 1991 (although they have reunited a couple times and put out albums in 1998 and 2006).

Their self-titled debut album featured two Top 40 hits in the U.S. -- "Edge of a Broken Heart" (#26) and "Cryin'" (#22).  I don't really remember "Cryin'," but I definitely remember "Edge of a Broken Heart."  I thought it was awesome that there was an all-female hair band, and it didn't hurt that they were all hot (or at least they looked hot in Metal Edge, or whatever other metal rag I might have been spending my allowance on back then). The song co-written and produced by the one and only Richard Marx, so it's no wonder it was a hit.  Enjoy.