Rock Chain # 3: Singers & songwriters

Rob Halford

This is something I used to do in a magazine I used to edit a couple of years ago. I took the idea from a column that used to appear on Scientific American magazine written by a British scientist called James Burke. His column was called “Connections” and consisted in relating history and science facts that were linked by a word until the cycle was finished. I just adapted it to Rock And Roll. Now, I’ll try to resurrect it every first Friday of the month here at the blog.

Judas Priest singer Rob Halford once said that he developed a love affair with the Roget’s Thesaurus  dictionary while writing lyrics to Priest’s record Stained Class which is the album that contains “Beyond The Realms Of Death”, the song that led Priest to court for inciting suicide on a troubled teenager’s mind.

Another artist that suffered with that kind of bullshit was Ozzy Osbourne due to his song “Suicide Solution”. Those two trials are even quoted in the lyrics of Billy Joel’s amazing “We Didn’t Start The Fire”, when he sings about “Heavy Metal suicide.”

Billy Joel, who is a huge Beatles fan and personal friend of Paul McCartney with whom he jammed at the closing of Shea Stadium (it was a Billy Joel concert) and at the opening of Citi Field (it was a McCartney concert).

The Citi Field concert is forever immortalized in the Good Evening New York City DVD released in 2009 in which there’s a very interesting montage when the band is playing “I’m Down” showing The Beatles playing it in the same stadium in 1965 so you can compare the sound quality.

In 1965 The Beatles were already spearheading a revolution that would be called “The British Invasion” that took bands from the UK straight to America. Bands like The Animals, The Kinks, The Who and obviously, The Rolling Stones.

The Rolling Stones who almost single-handedly were responsible for resurrecting the careers of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Wilson Pickett when they started talking about them in Britain. Those guys were called to play for the British youth who then started the British Blues boom.

The British Blues boom gave birth to bands like Fleetwood Mac, Free and a plethora of wonderful guitar players like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.

Jimmy Page, who is currently working on yet another bunch of re-releases of Zeppelin albums and is yet to release another solo album. He only released one in the mid-eighties called Outrider. However, he had another band in the eighties called The Firm with Paul Rogers as a singer.

Paul Rodgers, who once had huge shoes to fill when he fronted Queen.

Do you know who else had huge shoes to fill when fronting a band? Rob Halford, when he stepped in to replace Ozzy in Black Sabbath for three times.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal”.

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