Led Zeppelin IV (The ’59) #079

The ’59 2018 #079: 180320

Led Zeppelin IV (1971)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. We’re currently at year 13 – 1971.

IV was the first album I ever bought. Still remember popping down to the new Woolworths in the village square and parting with my hard saved money box pennies on Saturday 14 November 1971, a few days after its release date. And now, 47 years on, I still have that original vinyl pressing (along with a number of reissues on CD). And it’s still precious and it’s still fresh and I still enjoy playing every track. Here’s ‘When the levee breaks’, a cover of a traditional blues  number originally recorded by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie on 18 June 1929. Coincidentally, this was exactly 30 years before I was born. Always held onto that little fact.


Black Sabbath – Paranoid (The ’59) #072

The ’59 2018 #072: 180313

Black Sabbath – Paranoid (1970)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. We’re currently at year 12 – 1970.

Paranoid was the second studio album from Black Sabbath. Released in September 1970, it was the band’s only LP to top the UK Albums Chart until the release of 13 in 2013.

Paranoid contains several of the band’s signature songs, including “Iron Man”, “War Pigs” and the title track, which was the band’s only Top 20 hit, reaching number 4 in the UK charts. It is often cited as an influential album in the development of heavy metal music.

Jimi Hendrix – Are you experienced (The ’59) #058

The ’59 2018 #058: 180227

Jimi Hendrix – Are you experienced (1967)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. We’re currently at year 9 – 1967.

Are You Experienced was the debut from the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Released in 1967, the LP was an immediate critical and commercial success, and it is widely regarded as one of the greatest debuts in the history of rock music. The album features Jimi Hendrix’s innovative approach to songwriting and guitar playing which soon established a new direction in psychedelic and hard rock music.

By mid-1966, Hendrix was struggling to earn a living playing the R&B circuit as a backing guitarist. After being referred to Chas Chandler, who was leaving the Animals and interested in managing and producing artists, Hendrix was signed to a management and production contract with Chandler and ex-Animals manager Michael Jeffery. Chandler brought Hendrix to London and began recruiting members for a band designed to showcase the guitarist’s talents, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. In late October, after having been rejected by Decca Records, the Experience signed with Track, a new label formed by the Who’s managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp.

Are You Experienced and its preceding singles were recorded over a five-month period from late October 1966 through early April 1967. The album was completed in sixteen recording sessions at three London locations, including De Lane Lea Studios, CBS, and Olympic. Released in the UK on May 12, 1967, Are You Experienced spent 33 weeks on the charts, peaking at number two. The album was issued in the US on August 23 by Reprise Records, where it reached number five on the Billboard 200, remaining on the chart for 106 weeks, 27 of those in the Top 40. The album also spent 70 weeks on the US Billboard R&B chart, where it peaked at No.10. The US version contained some of Hendrix’s best known songs, including the Experience’s first three singles, which, though omitted from the British edition of the LP, were top ten hits in the UK: “Purple Haze”, “Hey Joe”, and “The Wind Cries Mary”.

Van Halen (Epic 2017 #342)

The Epic 2017 Project #342: 171208

Van Halen (1978)

In 1976, Van Halen started recording demos for their first studio album. Although they’d recorded a demo in 1976 with Gene Simmons, no labels discovered these until the following year. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen was not convinced of the quality of the material because they could not make the recordings with their own equipment. Simmons had to leave to tour with Kiss after recording the demos, but said he would make an effort to get Van Halen a record deal after his tour.

After recording the demos, Van Halen were offered several concerts. At a sold-out show in their hometown, Pasadena, the group’s future manager, Marshall Berle, discovered the band. He and musical entrepreneur Kim Fowley paired them with punk rock band Venus and the Razorblades for a gig at the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles. Well received here, the band gained the attention of Mo Ostin and Ted Templeman of Warner Bros. Ostin and Templeman were impressed with the band’s performance at the Starwood, and Van Halen went to sign a contract with Warner Bros.

The recordings of their debut album began in October 1977 and lasted only three weeks. Together with producer Ted Templeman, the album was mostly recorded live. Although “Runnin’ with the Devil”, “Jamie’s Cryin'”, “Feel Your Love Tonight” and “Ice Cream Man” contain guitar overdubs.

The subsequent tour to promote album sales began with the band opening for Journey, along with Montrose, in the United States. They later opened for Black Sabbath in Europe and in the U.S.


The Scorpions – Blackout (Epic #288)

The Epic 2017 Project #288: 171015

The Scorpions – Blackout (1982)

Blackout was the eighth studio album by German rock band Scorpions, released in 1982 on EMI Records Germany and Mercury Records.

After losing his voice during the writing of the album, lead singer Klaus Meine had to undergo surgery on his vocal cords and it was uncertain whether he would be able to record it. Demos of the material were recorded with singer Don Dokken as lead singer; however none of those recordings are featured on the album.

In Kerrang! issue 12, Rudolf Schenker said that he could not choose between his guitar solos on “China White”, so the US and European releases differed in this small detail.

A self-portrait of artist Gottfried Helnwein is featured on the cover of the album. Rudolf Schenker portrays this character in the “No One Like You” music video.

The RIAA certified Blackout Gold on 24 June 1982 and Platinum on 8 March 1984.

“China White” was used as entrance music for the professional wrestling tag team The Skyscrapers in World Championship Wrestling.

But here’s the albums title track…