The ’59 2018 #162: 180611
Van Halen – 1984 (1984)
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. Currently we’re at year 26 – 1984
MCMLXXXIV (to give it it’s proper title) was the sixth studio album from Van Halen, released on January 9, 1984. It was the last Van Halen album until A Different Kind of Truth (2012) to feature lead singer David Lee Roth, who left in 1985 following creative differences, and the final full-length album with all four original members.
Rolling Stone ranked the album number 81 on its list of the 100 Greatest Albums of the 1980s. It reached No.15 on the UK album charts and No. 2w in the US where it stayed for five weeks, behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller (on which Eddie Van Halen had coincidentally made a guest performance).
The album also produced four singles, including “Jump”, the top-20 hits “Panama” and “I’ll Wait”; and the MTV favorite “Hot for Teacher”. The album was certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1999.
The ’59 2018 #147: 180527
Led Zeppelin – Coda (1982)
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. Currently we’re at year 24 – 1982.
Two years after the Led Zeppelin split came this memorial to the band, and to John Bonham in particular. Coda comprised out-takes recorded between 1968 and 1976 and was, as Jimmy Page admitted, ‘a contractural album’.
One track serves as Bonham’s epitaph, his showpiece ‘Bonzo’s Montreux’ recorded in 1976. “It’s like a drum orchestra” Page said, “…quite brilliant”.
There’s also a stinging hard rocker in ‘Wearing and Tearing’, the playful ‘Darlene’ and best of all, the thumping folk-influenced ‘Poor Tom’. The rest isn’t bad, but it’s not great.
By its very nature Coda is the weakest album in the Led Zep catalogue. Under the circumstances though, it was the best Jimmy Page could do.
The ’59 2018 #134: 180514
AC/DC – Back in Black (1980)
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. Currently we’re at year 22 – 1980.
Today you’re getting a bumper dose of Jemtunes – 5 days in one go (Sunday 13 through Thursday 17 May)
Back in Black was the seventh studio album from AC/DC. Produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange, the album was released on 25 July 1980 via Albert Productions and Atlantic Records.
By the late 1970s, AC/DC began achieving significant popularity outside their native Australia, with high-energy live performances and a series of successful albums. They had previously paired with producer Lange in 1978, recording their international breakthrough hit album Highway to Hell. Back in Black was the band’s first album featuring vocalist Brian Johnson, who replaced Bon Scott after the latter had died back in February of that same year, shortly before the band actually started recording the album. Instead of disbanding, the group decided to continue on with Johnson.
The ’59 2018 #122: 180502
Van Halen (1978)
The self-titled debut from Van Halen was released on February 10, 1978.
It features many of Van Halen’s signature songs, including “Runnin’ with the Devil,” the guitar solo “Eruption,” The Kinks cover “You Really Got Me,” “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love,” “Jamie’s Cryin’,” “Feel Your Love Tonight,” and the cover version of John Brim’s “Ice Cream Man.”
I had the very great privilege of seeing the original line-up in Portsmouth, UK later that year during which Eddie Van Halen managed to extend the 1:42 guitar solo of ‘Eruption’ into a 30 minute marathon. It knocked our socks off!
The ’59 2018 #114: 180424
Led Zeppelin – The song remains the same (1976)
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. Currently we’re at year 18 – 1976.
The recording of The song remains the same and the film of the same name took place during three nights of concerts at New York’s Madison Square Garden, during the band’s 1973 North American tour. All songs were recorded by Eddie Kramer using the Wally Heider Mobile Studio truck, and later mixed at Electric Lady Studios in New York and Trident Studios in London.
The album was released on 22 October 1976, by Swan Song Records. The sleeve design depicted a dilapidated movie house located on Old Street film studios in London, which was used by the group for rehearsals prior to their 1973 tour.
Until both the album and the film were remastered and re-released in 2007, there were significant differences between the two in terms of the songs included on each.
- The film included “Black Dog”, but not “Celebration Day”.
- The soundtrack album included “Celebration Day”, but not “Black Dog”.
- The film also included “Since I’ve Been Loving You”, the introduction to “Heartbreaker”, the instrumental “Bron-Yr-Aur” (which appeared on Physical Graffiti) and a hurdy-gurdy piece called “Autumn Lake”, none of which were featured on the album.
In addition some of the recordings featured on the album were of different performances from those in the film. Other tracks which were recorded at Madison Square Garden, but omitted from both the film and the soundtrack album, included “Over The Hills and Far Away”, “The Ocean” and “Misty Mountain Hop”
The ’59 2018 #103: 180413
Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975)
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. Today we’ve reached year 17 – 1975.
Physical Graffiti, Led Zeppelin’s sixth studio album, was released as a double album on 24 February 1975 by their newly founded imprint label Swan Song Records.
The album opens with my favourite Led Zeppelin track ‘Custard Pie’ – a homage to several trad blues songs; “Drop Down Mama” by Sleepy John Estes, “Shake ‘Em On Down” by Bukka White, and to a lesser extent “I Want Some of Your Pie” by Blind Boy Fuller.
The band wrote and recorded eight new songs for Physical Graffiti at Headley Grange, which stretched the total time of the record beyond the typical length of a single LP, so the band decided to make Physical Graffiti a double album by including unreleased tracks from earlier recording sessions: one outtake from Led Zeppelin III, three from Led Zeppelin IV, and three from Houses of the Holy, including the unused title track from the latter album.
It got to the coveted No.1 spot on both the UK and US album charts.
The ’59 2018 #098: 180408
Queen – Sheer Heart Attack (1974)
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. Currently we’re at year 16 – 1974
This was the third studio album from Queen, released on 8 November 1974 by EMI Records in the United Kingdom and by Elektra Records in the United States. Digressing from the progressive themes featured on their first two albums, this album featured more conventional rock tracks and marked a step towards the “classic” Queen sound. It was produced by the band and Roy Thomas Baker and launched Queen to mainstream popularity in the UK and throughout the world.
The album’s first single “Killer Queen” reached No.2 in the UK charts and provided them with their first top 20 hit in the U.S., peaking at No.12 on the Billboard singles chart.