The Pretenders are an English-American rock band formed in Hereford, England, in March 1978. The original band consisted of initiator and main songwriter Chrissie Hynde James Honeyman-Scott, Pete Farndon and Martin Chambers. Following the drug-related deaths of Honeyman-Scott and Farndon, the band has experienced numerous subsequent personnel changes, with Hynde as the only consistent member, and Chambers returning after an absence of several years.
Title: Learning To Crawl
Label: WEA Records
Learning to Crawl is the Pretenders‘ third album, released in 1984, after a hiatus, during which time James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon died of drug overdoses.
After Farndon’s dismissal from the band and Honeyman-Scott’s death, Chrissie Hynde and Martin Chambers initially recruited Rockpile‘s Billy Bremner and Big Country‘s Tony Butler to fill in a caretaker line-up of the band in 1982. Bremner played guitar and Butler played bass on the band’s September 1982 single “Back on the Chain Gang/My City Was Gone”, both sides of which were later included on Learning to Crawl. As the album sessions got under way, Bremner, Graham Parker‘s bass player Andrew Bodnar, and Paul Carrack (formerly of Squeeze, Ace and Roxy Music) played guitar, bass and piano respectively for the track “Thin Line Between Love and Hate”.
Finally, Robbie McIntosh (guitar) and Malcolm Foster (bass) were recruited to join Hynde and Chambers, and the band was now officially a quartet. It was this line-up that recorded the rest of the tracks featured on Learning to Crawl.
The November 1983 single “2000 Miles/Fast or Slow (The Law’s the Law)” was the newly reconstituted foursome’s first release, followed shortly by the full Learning to Crawl album in January 1984.
The album’s title of “Learning to Crawl” was given in honor of Chrissie Hynde’s then-infant daughter, Natalie Rae Hynde. She was learning to crawl at the time that Chrissie was trying to determine a name for the album.
Hynde noted in the booklet for the expanded edition of “Learning to Crawl” that guitarist Robbie McIntosh came up with the opening guitar riff for “2000 Miles”. She stated that she probably should have credited McIntosh as co-writer of the song for providing the opening to the song.
“2000 Miles” became a popular Christmas song in the UK. Often interpreted as a tale of two lovers apart during the holidays, it is a song written by Hynde for her former bandmate James Honeyman-Scott after he died prior to beginning work on the band’s third album.
“My City Was Gone” is largely an autobiographical song written about the changes that she observed when she went back to her native city of Akron, Ohio. The song would later be adopted as the opening song to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh‘s radio show. Hynde would unsuccessfully attempt to get an injunction against Limbaugh’s use of the song, as she is opposed to his politics.
“Watching the Clothes” was an older song written before the band’s début album. Hynde was inspired to write the song after a close friend had died.
1. Middle Of The Road (4:08)
2. Back On The Chain Gang (3:44)
3. Time The Avenger (4:47)
4. Watching The Clothes (2:48)
5. Show Me (4:00)
1. Thumbelina (3:12)
2. My City Was Gone (5:14)
3. Thin Line Between Love And Hate (3:33)
4. I Hurt You (4:27)
5. 2000 Miles (3:30)
BAP is a German rock group. With eleven albums reaching the number one in the German record charts, BAP is one of the most successful rock acts in their home country.
Title: Vun Drinne Noh Drusse
Label: Musikant Records
Catalog# 1C 066-46639
Nearly all of BAP’s lyrics are written in Kölsch, the dialect of Cologne, or more precisely in a Kölsch-influenced derivation of Eifelplatt, a regional variant of the Ripuarian language spoken in the nearby rural Eifel. Niedecken’s most prominent musical influences, especially early in his career, were Bob Dylan, the Kinks, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, and Wolfgang Ambros.
BAP is the most successful German singing band whose albums since 1981 went to No. 1 within 2 weeks and sold platin without any exceptions despite their strange Cologne slang. Second, “Vun drinne noh drusse” (= Von drinnen nach draussen) from 1982 is still the most sold album in German language and definitely one of the best ever. Pure German rock combined with ironic, sometimes angry, sometimes melancholic texts. Powerful political protest songs such as “Kristallnaach” as well as “Zehnter Juni” are followed by romantic or melancholic ballads such as “Do kanns zaubre”, one of the best lovesongs ever written in German, or the sad “Ah`ner Leitplank” about a deadly car accident. For non-German speakers: Never mind the language barrier (Even Germans have sometimes problems with the slang, so that all texts are generally translated in “School German”), the music on its own is worth it a million times.
1. Kristallnaach (4:56)
2. Wellenreiter (2:20)
3. Zehnter Juni (4:21)
4. Wie ‘Ne Stein (4:26)
5. Do Kanns Zaubere (4:34)
1. Nit Für Kooche (Teil 1) (1:40)
2. Nit Für Kooche (Teil 2) (4:03)
3. Ahn ‘Ner Leitplank (4:14)
4. Wenn Et Bedde Sich Lohne Däät (4:32)
5. Eins Für Carmen Un En Insel (2:53)
6. Koot Vüür Aach (3:29)
The Commodores are an American funk/soul band, which was at its peak in the late 1970s through the mid 1980s. The members of the group met as mostly freshmen at Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in 1968, and signed with Motown in November 1972. The group’s most successful period was in the late 1970s and early 1980s when Lionel Richie was the co-lead singer.
Title: Commodores Live!
Label: Motown Records
Hot on the heels of their 1977 self-titled LP — which included studio versions of the classics “Brick House” and “Easy” — Commodores Live! was issued as a seasonal offering the same year. The band wisely included extended readings of not only its most recent hits, but also a healthy sampling from its previous four studio albums, as well as the track “Too Hot ta Trot,” which had been featured in the motion picture Thank God It’s Friday. The six-man original Commodores were a powerful and self-contained unit that could effortlessly alternate between turning over mean and serious funk jams or a slow, sexy power ballad. Heralded as the Black Beatles, the Commodores were able to fuse a more traditional pop music headlong into the funk stylings of their contemporaries: Parliament, the Ohio Players, and Earth, Wind & Fire. However, instead of being propelled by seemingly endless — and often aimless — jams, William King (trumpet), Thomas McClary (guitar), Ronald LaPread (bass), Walter “Clyde” Orange (drums), Lionel Richie (alto saxophone), and Milan Williams (keyboards) were able to tighten up their arrangements and make them more potent in the process. From right out of the gate, the opening trio of “Won’t You Come Dance With Me,” “Slippery When Wet,” and “Come Inside” pounce and bounce around with undeniably hardcore funk grooves — replete with distorted and screaming electric lead guitar lines, emphatic accents from the horns, and an authoritative rhythm section that James Brown would have been proud of. The mellower side of the band is equally represented by several key Lionel Richie ballads. “Just to Be Close to You” shimmers and is notable for Richie‘s extended vocal interlude. “Easy” — an audible audience favorite — swings with an urgency and passion conspicuously lacking in the more familiar studio version. Milan Williams‘ tasty keyboards are also a highlight as they lightly soar above the rest of the band. Without a doubt it is the ten-plus-minute version of “Brick House” that allows the band to reach a funkified critical mass. Ronald LaPread‘s rubbery basslines adhere themselves around “Clyde” Orange‘s Latin-tinged percussion inflections. The searing Richie and William King sound more akin to a full-fledged horn section than the hard-workin’ duo behind their wall of solid brass. Commodores Live! is overall one of the finest R&B concert albums of the ’70s — of which there are far too few.
1. Won’t You Come Dance With Me (3:36)
2. Slippery When Wet (3:00)
3. Come Inside (3:12)
4. Just To Be Close To You (7:17)
1. Funny Feelings (5:16)
2. Fancy Dancer (4:44)
3. Sweet Love (8:39)
1. Zoom (10:00)
2. Easy (7:23)
1. I Feel Sanctified (2:58)
2. Brick House (11:18)
3. Too Hot Ta Trot (5:38)
10cc are an English rock band founded in Stockport who achieved their greatest commercial success in the 1970s. The band initially consisted of four musicians – Graham Gouldman, Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley, and Lol Creme.
Title: Ten Out Of 10
Label: Mercury Records
Ten Out of 10 is the eighth studio album by 10cc and was released in 1981. It failed to chart in the US or UK. The album marked the first involvement with the band by American singer-songwriter Andrew Gold, who was also invited to join the band, but declined because of other commitments.
Gouldman said the band’s label in the U.S., Warner Bros. Records wanted more of an American flavour to the album. “They were keen for us to work with an American producer or writer. Well, we hadn’t had any big success since ’78, and we wanted to get hot again. When they suggested Andrew Gold, I was over the moon. I’d always adored his work, and I reckoned he would be a kindred spirit … I felt really we needed some new blood, but it didn’t work out. Andrew was doing so much stuff in America that it just wasn’t practical, although he really wanted to do it.”
Gouldman later admitted greater involvement by Gold might have lifted the band’s early 1980s output from its mediocrity. “We should either have tried to change direction, which we didn’t, or got someone else in the band, which we almost did. The albums weren’t really bad, there was always the integrity, and the production values, but in retrospect, I find them rather dour, rather lacklustre. That’s why I thought we should have got someone else in, to kick us up the arse. We didn’t see what was going on around us, maybe we should have got a producer at that point.”
Gold was invited to record with the band by Lenny Waronker, head of A&R at Warners. He explained: “He was of the opinion that, although the album was very strong, it might benefit the US audience to have a few additional cuts tailored more for the American ear. As he knew I was an Anglophile, we might hit it off well. “Soon I was in the UK, co-writing and co-producing three tracks for the album, which was a blast to do and turned out very well. During the course of my three-week stay, Eric, Graham and I fell in love, as it were, and soon they asked me to join the band, which was an extremely exciting offer. For various reasons, which now seem dumb to me, and after great consideration, I demurred in favour of pursuing my own career and returned to America.”
Although the album featured two of the musicians used on 1980’s Look Hear? – drummer Paul Burgess on all but two tracks, guitarist and singer Rick Fenn on two tracks – Ten Out of 10 was clearly a return to the core duo of Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart. A variety of session musicians, including pianist Vic Emerson of Sad Café, were employed for the album, but unlike its predecessor, they were not acknowledged on the album as part of “the group”. Instead they were credited by name after the contributions of Gouldman and Stewart, who were identified only as “Graham” and “Eric”. The only band member photos on the album were those of Gouldman and Stewart.
The album yielded the following singles: “Les Nouveaux Riches”/”I Hate to Eat Alone” (UK release); “Don’t Turn Me Away”/”Tomorrow’s World Today”; “The Power of Love”/”You’re Coming Home Again” (released with “Action Man in a Motown Suit” as the B-side in some countries); “Memories”/”Overdraft in Overdrive” (Holland only); “Run Away”/”Action Man in a Motown Suit”; “We’ve Heard It All Before”/”Overdraft in Overdrive” (UK only). “Memories” was also scheduled for UK release in February 1982 but substituted with “The Power of Love” a month later.
Recording was split between the band’s two studios, Strawberry Studios South at Dorking, Surrey, and Strawberry Studios North at Stockport, Greater Manchester.
Cover design for the album was by Visible Ink Ltd, which also created the cover for ABC‘s The Lexicon of Love (1982).
1. Don’t Ask (4:02)
2. Overdraft In Overdrive (3:24)
3. Don’t Turn Me Away (5:03)
4. Memories (4:31)
5. Notell Hotel (4:56)
1. Les Nouveaux Riches (5:11)
2. Action Man In Motown Suit (4:45)
3. Listen With Your Eyes (3:10)
4. Lying Here With You (3:22)
5. Survivor (5:46)
Artist: The Whispers
Title: Love Is Where You Find It
Label: Solar Records
Catalog# SOL 52344
Love Is Where You Find It is the eleventh studio album by American R&B/Soul group the Whispers. Released on June 7, 1981, by SOLAR Records, this album reached number 1 on the Billboard Soul Albums chart.
Released after This Kind of Lovin’, Love Is Where You Find It finds the group continuing its hitmaking style and boasts the production work of Leon F. Sylvers III and the Solar sound. While the group’s albums were never necessities, like the Temptations or to a lesser extent the Dramatics, the worth of the ballads and dance tracks often made the Whispers worth seeking out. Love Is Where You Find It is no exception. The album’s biggest hits — the polished and kinetic “In the Raw” and “Emergency” — quickly joined the pantheon of Whispers dance classics. The near-brilliant “Turn Me Out” arguably beats them both for sheer sonic value and the witty lyrics. Unlike many of the Whispers‘ albums of the time, the ballads here diminish the set. The radio staple “Say Yes” may be too smooth and cloying even for Whispers devotees. Love Is Where You Find It isn’t an especially strong album, but “Turns Me Out” makes it worth looking for.
1. In the Raw (5:56)
2. Turn Me Out (5:53)
3. Cruisin’ In (3:12)
4. Emergency (4:19)
1. Say Yes (5:14)
2. Love Is Where You Find It (5:23)
3. Only You (4:28)
4. Small Talkin’ (4:04)
The Hollies are an English pop/rock group known for their pioneering and distinctive three-part vocal harmony style. The Hollies became one of the leading British groups of the 1960s and into the mid 1970s. It was formed by Allan Clarke and Graham Nash in 1963 as a Merseybeat type music group in Manchester, although some of the band members came from towns north of there. Graham Nash left the group in 1968 to form the supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Artist: The Hollies
Title: Write On
Label: Polydor Records
At the time of its release in early 1976, Epic Records passed on Write On, but subsequently included a handful of its songs, including “Star,” “Love Is the Thing,” “I Won’t Move Over,” and the title track on 1977’s Clarke, Hicks, Sylvester, Calvert & Elliott. Why they passed on it is anyone’s guess, since it’s as strong as anything the group had been putting on LP up to that time, made up of pleasant and tuneful, if not always memorable or exciting songs, the authorship of all but one credited to Allan Clarke, Terry Sylvester, and Tony Hicks. The opening track, “Star,” might have been a modest hit, with its engaging hooks, quasi-reggae beat, and gorgeous harmonizing on the choruses, if it had been given a chance on AM radio. “Write On” is also beautifully sung and offers a delicious chorus, but just misses the level of tension needed to put it over, even with Tony Hicks‘ larger-than-life guitar solo in the middle. The delightfully ebullient “Sweet Country Calling,” by contrast, is a lost AM radio classic that ought to have kept this band at least near the Top Ten; “Narida” is a dance number with a great beat and a powerful, reverb-drenched lead vocal performance by Allan Clarke; the languid, ethereal “Love Is the Thing” might be the prettiest song the group ever recorded this side of “The Air That I Breathe”; “Crocodile Woman” is an uncharacteristic (for this group) rock’n’blow blowout heavily featuring Hicks‘ guitar; “My Island” was a showcase for their softer, more lyrical, acoustic side; and the closer, “There’s Always Goodbye,” was a good attempt to merge these different facets of the group’s sound within one song, highlighted by some gorgeous dual-layered acoustic guitars. Good as the group is on the best of these songs — and that’s very good — the album also illustrates the basic problem faced by the Hollies, entering an era in which they were defined by their songs rather than a precise image.
1. Star (3.39)
2. Write On (4:48)
3. Sweet Country Calling (3:05)
4. Love Is The Thing (3:34)
5. I Won’t Move Over (3:32)
1. Narida (3:58)
2. Stranger (3:28)
3. Crocodile Woman (3:33)
4. My Island (4:20)
5. There’s Always Goodbye (4:15)
John Cameron Fogerty (born May 28, 1945) is an American musician, singer and songwriter, early in his career best known as the lead singer, lead guitarist and principal songwriter for the band Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) and later as a successful solo recording artist. Fogerty was listed on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists (at number 40) and the list of 100 Greatest Singers (at number 72).
Artist: John Fogerty
Label: Bellaphon Records
Centerfield is the third solo studio album by musician John Fogerty. Released in 1985, it spawned the hit singles “The Old Man Down the Road“, “Rock and Roll Girls” and the title track “Centerfield“. This was Fogerty’s first album in nine years; After Asylum Records rejected his Hoodoo album, he decided to take a long break from the music business because of legal battles with his record company. In the meantime, Fogerty’s recording contract with Asylum Records was reassigned to co-owned Warner Bros. Records so this album was the first released on the Warner Bros. label.
Fogerty played all the instruments on this album himself, thanks to overdubbing. The image on the cover shows an old-fashioned, “beat-up glove”, as referenced in the title song, and text similar to a logo of a baseball team, setting the mood for the track.
The song “Zanz Kant Danz” was altered and re-titled “Vanz Kant Danz” a few months after the release of the album in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid a defamation lawsuit from Saul Zaentz, owner of Fantasy Records. The altered “Vanz Kant Danz” version of this song appears on all post-1985 pressings of the album.
A Zaentz lawsuit (Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty) claimed that “The Old Man Down the Road” shared the same chorus as “Run Through the Jungle” (a song from Fogerty’s days with Creedence Clearwater Revival: years before, Fogerty had relinquished copy and publishing rights of his Creedence songs to Zaentz and Fantasy, in exchange for release from his contractual obligations to same). The defendant Fogerty ultimately prevailed, when he showed that the two songs were whole, separate and distinct compositions. Bringing his guitar to the witness stand, he played excerpts from both songs, demonstrating that many songwriters (himself included) have distinctive styles that can make different compositions sound similar to less discerning ears.
The album is dedicated to “Gossamer Wump“. Fogerty said in an interview, “When I was a young kid, my brothers had a record called ‘The Adventures of Gossamer Wump.’ Gossamer Wump is a little kid who saw a big parade comin’ down the road and thinks ‘Hey, this is what I want, I want to be a musician.’
1. The Old Man Down The Road (3:32)
2. Rock And Roll Girls (3:26)
3. Big Train (From Memphis) (2:58)
4. I Saw It On T.V. (4:19)
5. Mr. Greed (4:05)
1. Searchlight (4:29)
2. Centerfield (3:50)
3. I Can’t Help Myself (3:11)
4. Vanz Kant Danz (5:30)
The Alan Parsons Project were a British progressive rock band, active between 1975 and 1990, consisting of Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson surrounded by a varying number of session musicians and some relatively consistent band members such as guitarist Ian Bairnson, bassist and vocalist David Paton, drummer Stuart Elliott, and vocalist Lenny Zakatek.
Artist: The Alan Parsons Project
Label: Arista Records
Stereotomy is the ninth studio album by The Alan Parsons Project, released in 1985.
Not as commercially successful as its predecessor Vulture Culture, the album is structured differently from earlier Project albums, containing three lengthy tracks – “”Stereotomy” at over seven minutes, “Light of the World” at over six minutes, and the instrumental “Where’s the Walrus?” running over seven and a half minutes (making it the longest instrumental the Project ever made) and two minute-long songs at the end.
The cover artwork features an image of the demon “rainman”. The original vinyl packaging of the album was different from all the reissues: it featured somewhat more elaborate artwork of the paper sleeve supplied with a special colour-filter oversleeve. When inserted, the oversleeve filtered some of the colours of the sleeve artwork, allowing four different variations (2 per side) of it. That was supposed to symbolize visual stereotomy. In the reissues, only one variant remained.
The word “stereotomy” is taken from “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” by Edgar Allan Poe. It refers to the cutting of existing solid shapes into different forms; it is used as a metaphor for the way that famous people (singers, actors. etc.) are often ‘shaped’ by the demands of fame.
Stereotomy earned a Grammy nomination in 1987 for Best Rock Instrumental Performance – Orchestra, Group, or Soloist for the track “Where’s the Walrus?”
1. Stereotomy (7:15)
2. Beaujolais (4:27)
3. Urbania (Instrumental) (4:34)
4. Limelight (4:39)
1. In The Real World (4:17)
2. Where’s The Walrus? (Instrumental) (7:34)
3. Light Of The World (6:22)
4. Chinese Whispers (Instrumental) (1:02)
5. Stereotomy Two (1:18)
Gary Malcolm Wright (born April 26, 1943) is an American singer, songwriter and musician, best known for his role in helping establish the synthesizer as a leading instrument in rock and pop music. Wright’s spent seven years in London as, alternately, a member of the British heavy rock band Spooky Tooth and a solo artist on A&M Records.
Artist: Gary Wright
Title: The Light Of Smiles
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Catalog# WB 56278
Wright started recording his follow-up to The Dream Weaver in summer 1976, before which Chris Charlesworth of Melody Maker reported that it would be “a logical development” of its predecessor and “again based entirely around what he can do with various types of keyboards”. Titled The Light of Smiles (1977), the album included “I Am the Sky”, for which Wright gave a songwriting credit to the late Indian guru and Kriya Yoga teacher, Paramahansa Yogananda. The latter’s poem “The Light of Smiles”, taken from his book Metaphysical Meditations, appeared on the inner sleeve to Wright’s new album. Wright had acknowledged the guru as his inspiration for the title of The Dream Weaver, and he later said of Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi: “It’s a fantastic book and you won’t want to put it down when you start reading it. Even, not from a spiritual point of view, but as a piece of literature, it’s a total classic …”
Produced again by Wright, The Light of Smiles featured Wright, Foster, Peter Relich and others on a range of keyboard instruments, including Moog, Oberheim and ARP synthesizers, and drumming contributions from Art Wood and Keltner.
1. Water Sign (4:32)
2. Time Machine (3:40)
3. I Am The Sky (Paramahansa Yogananda) (0:40)
4. Who I Am (3:15)
5. Silent Fury (4:20)
6. Phantom Writer (3:29)
1. The Light Of Smiles (3:26)
2. I’m Alright (3:35)
3. Empty Inside (3:30)
4. Are You Weepin’ (4:02)
5. Child Of Light (4:56)
The Babys are a British rock group best known for their songs “Isn’t It Time” and “Every Time I Think of You“. The 1976–1978 Babys line-up consisted of keyboardist/guitarist Michael Corby, vocalist/bassist John Waite, drummer Tony Brock and guitarist Wally Stocker.
Artist: The Babys
Title: Broken Heart
Label: Chrysalis Records
After debuting with the Bob Ezrin and Brian Christian produced The Babys LP, John Waite and company turned to Ron Nevison to man the board for the Broken Heart recording sessions in 1977. Nevison’s touch is all over the ten song sophomore effort from The Babys, as evident by the strings that accompany album opener “Wrong or Right” and grandiose closer “A Piece of the Action”. The sound is cleaner, and Waite’s vocals are given more attention on Broken Heart.
Issued by Chrysalis Records, Broken Heart goes heavy on ballads, while featuring the top twenty hit “Isn’t It Time”. Penned by Jack Conrad and Ray Kennedy, “Isn’t It Time” is introduced by Michael Corby’s piano work, and Waite is backed on the melodic track by The Babettes (Lisa Freeman-Roberts, Myrna Matthews and Pat Henderson). “Isn’t It Time” was the first single to chart for the glam-pop-rockin’ Baby’s.
Buried between the A-side accessible duo of “Isn’t It Time” and the mellow five-minute arrangement of “The Golden Mile”, Broken Heart breaks loose with the all-about-swagger “And If You Could See Me Fly”. Written by Waite, “And If You Could See Me Fly” may be the shortest cut from Broken Heart, but it packs muscle with a cool stop/start riff, cowbell fills and a hot guitar solo. Simply stated, the low-slung groove that pushes “And If You Could See Me Fly” triggers repeated spins of the two-minute-plus rocker that lays to waste every other song from Broken Heart.
1. Wrong Or Right (3:26)
2. Give Me Your Love (3:37)
3. Isn’t It Time (4:03)
4. And If You Could See Me Fly (2:50)
5. The Golden Mile (5:01)
1. Broken Heart (3:02)
2. I’m Falling (3:55)
3. Rescue Me (3:50)
4. Silver Dreams (3:00)
5. A Piece Of The Action (4:35)