January 30th, 2020 – Persons of Interest

I remember hearing this tune for the first time and thinking, wow, this sound is quite unlike anything I had heard from the “metal” genre in the 80’s. The musicianship and power these guys deliver is overwhelming at times. I can only imagine what audiences thought when they took the stage as openers for Guns & Roses and The Rolling Stones in 1989. I know what I would have thought, uh oh, wouldn’t want to follow them.

This band has been classified at a fusion between hard rock, metal, funk and alternative. One thing is for sure, this song comes out and punches you in the face and then runs you over with a freight train with no regrets.

Living Colour – “Cult of Personality”

Off their debut album “Vivid” released in 1988, “Cult of Personality” ended up at number 13 on the U.S. Billboard charts and ultimately ended up being Living Colour‘s most famous song.

But don’t be so quick to feel sorry for the guys yet, the song killed at the MTV music awards taking home Best Group and Best New Artist as well as taking the Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1990.

Not only that, but VH1 ranked the song at number 69 on their 100 greatest rock songs, Guitar World ranked founder and guitarist Vernon Reid‘s solo at 87 in their 100 greatest guitar solos and it made it into the book “1001 Songs you must hear before you die”.

The kicker is Reid says the song came about by accident and was written during a single rehearsal. Isn’t that always the way?

Living Colour consists of members Corey Glover lead vocals, Will Calhoun on drums, Doug Wimbish on bass and the uber-talented Vernon Reid on guitar and vocals. Reid also gets points for living on the island of my birth – New York‘s Staten Island.

Lew Hastings

Look in my eyes, what do you see?
The cult of personality
I know your anger, I know your dreams
I’ve been everything you want to be
I’m the cult of personality
Like Mussolini and Kennedy
I’m the cult of personality
The cult of personality
The cult of personality

Neon lights, a Nobel Prize
Then a mirror speaks, the reflection lies
You don’t have to follow me
Only you can set me free
I sell the things you need to be
I’m the smiling face on your T.V.
I’m the cult of personality
I exploit you still you love me

I tell you one and one makes three
I’m the cult of personality
Like Joseph Stalin and Gandhi
I’m the cult of personality
The cult of personality
The cult of personality

Neon lights a Nobel Prize
A leader speaks, that leader dies
You don’t have to follow me
Only you can set you free

You gave me fortune
You gave me fame
You gave me power in your own god’s name
I’m every person you need to be
Oh, I’m the cult of personality
I’m the cult of, I’m the cult of, I’m the cult of, I’m the cult of
I’m the cult of, I’m the cult of, I’m the cult of, I’m the cult of personality

Writer/s: WILLIAM CALHOUN, COREY GLOVER, VERNON ALPHONSUS REID, MUZZ SKILLINGS
Publisher: Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

January 29th, 2020 – Preaching to the Choir

Deep in this bands career, 14 albums deep in fact, this band flipped the switch from progressive to pop rock. To be fair most bands did when the 80’s hit and while this album was released in 1992, we were still flirting with the MTV era and decidedly gratuitous pop.

But I confess I like this tune. Its fast paced and the message was spot on for the time.

Genesis – “Jesus He Knows Me”

Jesus He Knows Me” was the fourth single released from Genesis‘ 1991 album “We Can’t Dance” so it was not destined to be a hit. It didn’t make the Top 20 in Billboard but came close.

I mentioned that this was still the era of MTV and it was also the era of made-for-TV evangelists. This song takes aim at the hypocrisy and dubious dealings of the leaders in the industry. Jim Bakker, Robert Tilton, et al were all going down for some impropriety or another and Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks do a great job depicting these predators who sought weekly to separate people from their hard earned money only to live in the lap of luxury themselves.

Be sure and take a look at the video if you have never seen it. The guys seemed happy that they had the opportunity to finally compete with the hair bands of the time who invariably had the bikini clad girls by the pool in just about every video – and they got to play preachers to do it. Mercy.

Lew Hastings

You see the face on the TV screen
Coming at you every Sunday
See that face on the billboard
That man is me

On the cover of the magazine
There’s no question why I’m smiling
You buy a piece of paradise
You buy a piece of me

I’ll get you everything you wanted
I’ll get you everything you need
Don’t need to believe in hereafter
Just believe in me

‘Cause Jesus he knows me
And he knows I’m right
I’ve been talking to Jesus all my life
Oh yes he knows me
And he knows I’m right
And he’s been telling me
Everything is alright

I believe in the family
With my ever loving wife beside me
But she don’t know about my girlfriend
Or the man I met last night

Do you believe in god
‘Cause that’s what I’m selling
And if you want to get to heaven
I’ll see you right

You won’t even have to leave your house
Or get outta your chair
You don’t even have to touch that dial
‘Cause I’m everywhere

And Jesus he knows me
And he knows I’m right
I’ve been talking to Jesus all my life
Oh yes he knows me
And he knows I’m right
Well he’s been telling me
Everything’s gonna be alright

Won’t find me practicing what I’m preaching
Won’t find me making no sacrifice
But I can get you a pocketful of miracles
If you promise to be good, try to be nice
God will take good care of you
Just do as I say, don’t do as I do

I’m counting my blessings,
I’ve found true happiness
‘Cause I’m getting richer, day by day
You can find me in the phone book,
Just call my toll free number
You can do it anyway you want
Just do it right away

There’ll be no doubt in your mind
You’ll believe everything I’m saying
If you want to get closer to him
Get on your knees and start paying

Cause Jesus he knows me
And he knows I’m right
I’ve been talking to Jesus all my life
Oh yes he knows me
And he knows I’m right
Well he’s been telling me
Everything’s gonna be alright, alright

‘Cause Jesus he knows me
And he knows I’m right
Oh yes he knows me and he knows I’m right
I’ve been talking to Jesus all my life
And he’s been telling me everything is alright, alright

Jesus he knows me, Jesus he knows, know
Jesus he knows me, Jesus he knows, know
Jesus he knows me, Jesus he knows, know

Writer/s: MICHAEL RUTHERFORD, PHIL COLLINS, TONY BANKS
Publisher: CONCORD MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC

January 25th, 2020 – Are you Def or Something?

I’ll never forget listening to this album at a very high volume as I was driving a box truck full of overstock housewares down the Garden State Parkway toward Atlantic City. It was the 80’s and well…that’s another story.

Hard to believe that Def Leppard actually got their start in 1977 and didn’t get on the greater music -listening public’s radar until this release in 1983. My buddy Lou B had their first album, and their second and I just didn’t get it not matter how hard he tried to convince me that they were good. This band def paid their dues.

Def Leppard – “Photograph”

Starting out as the band Atomic Mass in 1977 a very young Joe Elliott proposed the name Deaf Leopard and the band was never the same. Producer “Mutt” Lange who was responsible for so many successful bands and acts in the early 80’s and beyond, took Def Leppard the rest of the way – from hard rock to crossover Billboard hit makers.

“Photograph” is from Def Leppard‘s 1983 release “Pyromania” and peaked at 12 on the U.S. Billboard charts. Mutt Lange actually came up with the lyric “All I’ve got is a photograph” and the rest of the song was completed with songwriting contributions from Elliott, Willis, Clark and Savage. The monster hit video received very heavy rotation on MTV and, fun fact, included a flying split off the drum riser that preceded the move that David Lee Roth of Van Halen eventually made famous.

Lew Hastings

I'm out of luck, out of love
Got a photograph, picture of
Passion killer, you're too much
You're the only one I want to touch
I see your face every time I dream
On every page, every magazine
So wild and free so far from me
You're all I want, my fantasy

Oh, look what you've done to this rock 'n' roll clown
Oh oh, look what you've done

Photograph I don't want your
Photograph I don't need your
Photograph all I've got is a photograph
But it's not enough

I'd be your lover, if you were there
Put your hurt on me, if you dare
Such a woman, you got style
You make every man feel like a child, oh
You got some kinda hold on me
You're all wrapped up in mystery
So wild so free and far from me
You're all I want, my fantasy

Oh, look what you've done to this rock 'n' roll clown
Oh oh, look what you've done

I gotta have you
Photograph I don't want your
Photograph I don't need your
Photograph all I've got is a photograph
You've gone straight to my head

Oh, look what you've done to this rock 'n' roll clown
Oh oh, look what you've done
I gotta have you

Photograph I don't want your
Photograph I don't need your
Photograph all I've got is a photograph
I want to touch you

Oh
Photograph
Photograph your photograph
Photograph
Photograph I need only your
Photograph I'm out of love
Photograph I'm out of love
Photograph you're the only one
Photograph I want to touch

Written by: Peter Andrew Willis, Robert John Lange, Joseph Thomas Elliott, Richard Savage, Stephen Maynard Clark, Richard John Cyril Allen

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.