Wednesday, 18 June 2008

100 Rock Songs (11 to 20)

The next instalment – vaguely chronological …

(11) Nazareth – Freewheeler

From the album “Loud ’n’ Proud”, “Freewheeler” is a bouncy little rock track that gets me bouncing along with it. I love Nazareth, especially Dan McCafferty’s gravely voice. This song is typical of the band in the 1970’s and is highly infectious. Sadly, it is not widely available for you to enjoy but if you get the chance ever, listen to “Loud ‘n’ Proud” and I’m sure you will agree with me.

(12) Rainbow - Stargazer

When Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple he went on to form his own band called Rainbow. The band’s second album, “Rising”, is arguably the greatest rock album of the 1970’s – it is certainly my favourite album. The line up included Ronnie James Dio, one of the greatest rock vocalists ever and Cozy Powell, one of the greatest drummers. “Stargazer” is the band’s magnum opus, clocking in at an amazing eight and a half minutes. Epic.

(13) Rainbow – A Light In The Black

Also from “Rising”, the song “A Light In The Black” is a kind of sequel to “Stargazer”. Also clocking in at eight minutes plus, the song is as good (if not better) than “Stargazer” and features great keyboard/guitar solos accompanied magnificently by the power of Cozy Powell pummelling the drums. Side two of “Rising” features “Stargazer” followed immediately by “A Light In The Black” giving the listener almost seventeen minutes of rock bliss. Titanic!

(14) Blue Öyster Cult – (Don’t Fear) The Reaper

“(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” is simply brilliant. I bought the album “Agents Of Fortune” on the strength of this song, and while the remainder of the album is fairly average, this song stands out like a skyscraper in a field. I particularly like the guitar solo that splits the song, giving it the menace that the title implies. Classic.

(15) Pink Floyd – Sheep

“Animals” is a bizarre addition to the Pink Floyd catalogue but includes my favourite song by the band. “Sheep” has everything element I love about the band. The song is menacing and when I first heard it I thought to myself, how can a song about sheep be menacing? Listen to it – it is. I particularly like the final guitar piece with Dave Gilmour at his very best. Amazing.

(16) AC/DC – Whole Lotta Rosie

AC/DC are incredible, creating exciting rock songs that never cease to amaze. The band has faced major adversity; when their charismatic first vocalist Bon Scott died it seemed like the band wouldn’t survive. Yet it did. “Whole Lotta Rosie” is my favourite song of the Bon Scott years and shows just what a superb band they are. I rate Angus Young as one of the greatest guitarists. Brilliant.

(17) The Scorpions – We’ll Burn The Sky

The Scorpions have been around for years, despite the fact that the majority of people think that they were one hit wonders with the ballad “Wind Of Change” (which incidentally I can’t stand). In the 1970’s I bought “Tokyo Tapes”, a live recording in (you’ve guessed it) Japan. The album captures The Scorpions at their very best and the song “We’ll Burn The Sky” is the peak of that superb album. At over eight minutes it is part ballad and part rock blockbuster. Listen to the song and get your air guitar ready at the end. I promise you, you will love it. Mesmerizing.

(18) UFO – Lights Out

The first rock album I bought was “Strangers In The Night” by UFO, a live album recorded in Chicago. I played it to death, so much in fact that it is barely survived. The album shows UFO at their peak, in my view. “Lights Out” is a typical fist pounding song from the album. You’ll need that air guitar again …

(19) UFO – Rock Bottom

… and don’t put it down. From the same album, the song “Rock Bottom” is the greatest song that UFO have ever penned. The version on “Stranger’s In The Night” is pure perfection. Clocking in at a jaw-breaking eleven and a half minutes it represents the band at their zenith.

(20) Gillan - Roller

“Roller” from Ian Gillan’s “Mr Universe” album is a great little rock number. Sadly, again, it is not widely available but if you get the chance to listen to “Mr Universe”, crank up the volume and enjoy “Roller” in all its glory. Explosive.

21 to 30 to follow ...

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