Rock Chain #32: Sensational!

alex-harvey

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 here in the blog once a month.

Alex Harvey was the frontman of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band which featured Ted McKenna on drums.

Ted McKenna later on, went to play for a short period with Ian Gillan.

Ian Gillan rates his passage through Black Sabbath as disastrous, although many people (including yours truly) really like the Born Again album. The riff from “Zero the Hero” has an uncanny resemblance to the one on “Paradise City” from Guns and Roses.

Guns and Roses original guitarist was Tracii Guns, who left before the first album and formed L.A. Guns.

L.A. Guns original line-up had Phil Lewis as a vocalist, coming from British Glam Rockers, Girl.

Girl’s guitarist was Phil Collen, who later replaced Pete Willis in Def Leppard.

Def Leppard’s drummer Rick Allen lost his arm in automobile accident in the end of 1984 which lost the band the opportunity of playing Rock in Rio I in January 1985. They were replaced by Whitesnake.

Whitesnake sessions for their first LP had Jon Lord as keyboardist replacing Pete Solley from Procol Harum.

Procol Harum has a rather unique characteristic: their line-up has a member who doesn’t do anything except write lyrics, Keith Reid.

Keith Reid also wrote the lyrics for the hit-single “You’re The Voice” a moderate success in 1991, because of the first Gulf War, for American band, Heart.

Heart’s latest single has some cool backing vocals by James Hetfield from Metallica.

Metallica’s song “The Memory Remains” has a guest appearance by Marianne Faithful.

Marianne Faithful had a success with “As Tears Goes By” originally by the Rolling Stones.

The Rolling Stones first record label was Decca, who almost went down in history as the label who rejected The Beatles.

The Beatles were once called The Silver Beetles with John, Paul, George, Stuart Sutcliffe and Tommy Moore and they played Allentown Hall in Scotland with Johnny Gentle as Johnny Gentle and His Group in 1960.

Do you know who supported them? Alex Harvey and his Big Beat Band.

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Rock Chain # 12: If the voice fits…

Vince-Neil

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.

Just the other day I was thinking about singers that are not technically perfect but fit their bands like a glove and the first one I thought about was Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil.

Vince Neil is probably the less musical of all Crüe members but his two solo albums are better than anything that the other members did solo. The second one had rather well chosen covers and on the first one he had the invaluable help of Steve Stevens.

Steve Stevens was the leader of Atomic Playboys and also of Billy Idol’s band, but he found fame and fortune with the theme from Top Gun.

As everybody knows, Top Gun is starred by Tom Cruise who was brilliant as a Rock star in the movie version of the musical Rock of Ages, impressing even Joe Elliot with his performance of Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me”.

“Pour Some Sugar On Me” was once called the anthem of American strippers and this is credited as one of the reasons for the chart explosion of Hysteria.

Hysteria was produced by the legendary South-African producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange who not only was married to Shania Twain (let’s face it: a great feat in itself) was also the producer behind many other Rock classics, including the last album Bon Scott ever recorded (Highway to Hell) with AC/DC.

AC/DC whose lead guitar player, Angus Young, was quoted just the other day as been faithful to his wife for 30 years despite all temptations of fame. The quote was made by Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider.

Dee Snider has also been saying that he doesn’t feel any motivation in releasing new music, because all the fans want are the classics and when they hear a song they don’t know they go for a “piss break”. Another artist who has a similar position and recently said they put two new songs on their set-list at the most is Lemmy.

Lemmy, who is battling his health issues as best as he can (which means NOT doing everything the doctor told him to do) and just headlined a Metal cruise show called Motorboat playing alongside among others, Zakk Wylde, Megadeth and Anthrax.

Anthrax whose guitar player, Scott Ian, delivered the Metal Guru award to Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine at the annual Classic Rock Magazine awards held in LA for the first time in 2014.

Speaking of the awards, it was a wonderful celebration as it always is and it was hosted by the one and only Red Rocker, Sammy Hagar.

Sammy Hagar who not only found fame and fortune when he joined Van Halen in 1985, but found even more fortune when he sold his tequila company for millions of dollars!

Do you know who also has a liquor company that is called Tatuado and brews vodka, rum, spirits AND tequila? Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal” winner of the NABE Pinnacle Awards 2014 Fall edition.

NewPinnacleAward3D2 (1)

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Top 5: Rock/Metal Cover Albums

Def Leppard

When bands decide to put out cover albums, almost everybody start to throw rocks at them, accusing the musicians of selling-out or lack of creativity. Although that might be the case in some instances, there’s no lack of those albums with great music.

I, personally, love to see bands paying tributes to their heroes or even making some songs that had nothing to do with them, their own.

Of course, sometimes it backfires as is the case with Queensryche’s “Take Cover” that with the exception of the Black Sabbath and The Police covers is absolutely horrible.

Even Death Metal bands had their goal at cover albums. However, just like Slayer’s “Undisputed Attitude”, those are kind of too genre specific. I’m talking about Vader’s “Future Of The Past” and both Napalm Death’s “Leaders not Followers”. Those are all good albums (I have all three) but there are some too unknown bands covered. The only exception in the Death Metal realm is Six Feet Under’s “Graveyard Classics”, but the recording is so bad (one of the worst snare drum sounds EVER) and Chris Barnes’ voice is so unfit to sing anything else other than Death Metal that it’s not worth making the list.

As a final introductory note, it broke my heart to leave Lemmy, Slim Jim and Danny B self-titled 50’s Rock And Roll album, Fish’s “Songs From The Mirror”, David Bowie “Pin-Ups”, Lana Lane “Covers Collection” and especially Rush’s “Feedback” out of the list. It’s worth mentioning that the Rush album only stayed out because there are only 8 songs in it.

Without further delay, let’s see the list.

#5: Ann Wilson – “Hope And Glory”

Okay, right off the bat I’ll admit I was totally biased in choosing this one. I guess that if Ann Wilson releases an album of Salsa, Polka, Rumba or Japanese lullabies I’ll love it. The last song on this album is actually not a cover, but the other eleven are. And there are some amazing choices for Ann unrivaled voice. The greatest of all to me is the definitive version of Credence Clerawater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” (in my opinion a billion times better than the original). There are also killer versions for Pink Floyd’s “Goodbye Blue Sky”, Elton John’s “Where to now, St.Peter?” and The Youngbloods’ “Get Together”. Also worth of note is the very particular version of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”.

#4: Poison – “Poison’d!”

You can say anything you want about Poison’s choice of clothes or hair (especially in the eighties) but you can never underestimate their great musicianship and good taste for melodies. And this album shows you exactly where all of that came from. Opening with the immortal “Little Willy” by The Sweet and following with no less wonderful version for Bowie’s “Suffragette City”, Alice Cooper’s “I Never Cry” and Tom Petty’s “I Need To Know”, this is just as fun as a Poison concert, just not with their songs. In a more personal note, my favorite of all songs in this record is the fantastic version for the Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers”. It’s worth getting poisoned indeed.

#3: Tesla – “Real To Reel”

Probably alongside Ratt, Tesla is musically the most accomplished of all 80’s Hard Rock bands and with an edge: Tesla got a great, great singer; probably the best of all from that breed of bands. And if you had any doubts about that, and never had the opportunity to catch them live, this album is a good chance to see Jeff Keith displaying all his talent. Of course the band is great throughout the record but his performance in Bad Company’s “Shooting Star”, Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You”, James Gang’s “Walk Away”, Derek and The Dominoes’ “Bell Bottom Blues”, Uriah Heep’s “Stealin” and in both Stones’ covers “Honky Tonk Women” and “Street Fighting Man” are nothing short of mesmerizing. You can argue that UFO’s “Rock Bottom” played like the “Strangers In The Night” live version with an endless guitar solo is soporific (and it is) but nothing that clouds this great record.

#2: Metallica – Garage Inc.

If there’s band that is ALWAYS accused of selling-out is Metallica. And when they released this double record (disc 1 was all new covers and disc 2 was every cover they ever recorded), it was no different. However, everyone who had a little bit of brain and decided to check it out was not disappointed. Disc 1 had decent versions of Discharge, Diamond Head, Black Sabbath (a rather odd song, “Sabbra Cadabra”), Nick Cave, a brilliant Mercyful Fate medley and a song by Blue Oyster Cult, “Astronomy”. However the songs that became singles and videos were the great stars: killer versions for Misfits “Die, Die, My Darling”, Bob Seger’s “Turn The Page” and most of all the traditional Irish folk song “Whiskey In The Jar” that was once immortalized by Thin Lizzy. With all due respect to Lynott and the boys, this one to me is now the definitive version. Not even a horrible version of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Tuesday’s Gone” with the always needles and terrible participation of the late Layne Stanley can tarnish the disc. Disc 2 is a real treasure trove for those of us who were not around (or at least not around Metal) in the late eighties. It’s a real pleasure to hear Metallica playing Diamond Head’s “Am I Evil?”, Killing Joke’s “The Wait”, Misfits’ ”Last Caress”,  Budgie’s “Breadfan” (also light-years better than the original), Queen’s “Stone Cold Crazy”, Anti-Nowhere League “So What?” (probably the most politically incorrect lyric EVER written) and Sweet Savage’s “Killing Time”.

#1: Def Leppard – Yeah!

This might seem an odd and even ridiculous choice for a lot of people, but to me this is the greatest cover record ever recorded. The songs are great, the performance is flawless and they all fit my taste perfectly (with the exception of one). Opening with a killer version of T.Rex’s “20th Century Boy”, the record never stops grabbing you by the throat and making you sit down and listen. David Essex’s “Rock On” shows a great interpretation by Joe Elliot as does “Hanging On The Telephone” (originally recorded by The Nerves, but immortalized by Blondie when Debbie Harry was still hot) and ELO’s “10538 Overture”. My personal favorites are the Hard N’ Heavy version of The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset” (you should listen to the original to see what they did here), an amazing spot on version of David Bowie’s “Drive-In Saturday” and fabulous ones for Mott The Hoople’s “The Golden Age Of Rock And Roll” and Badfinger’s “No Matter What” (which they had released originally in a collection). Other versions in the album are also very nice: Roxy Music’s “Street Life” , Free’s “Little Bit Of Love” and Thin Lizzy’s “Don’t Believe A Word”. Not even the always boring Justin Hawkins from The Darkness manages to disrupt the record as his cameo in The Sweet’s “Hell Raiser” is rather cool. And it’s wonderful to hear guitarist Phil Collen singing lead and doing his perfect Rod Stewart impersonation on The Faces’ “Stay With Me”. The only song I don’t like that much is “He’s Gonna Step On You Again” by John Kongos, but I can totally get it why they put it in the record, because it does show a studio trick that Leppard used a lot through their career. This album has yet a very hard to find bonus CD with some other cool songs like Tomn Petty’s “American Girl”, but it’s worth getting to hear bassist Rick Savage singing and playing “Dear Friends”, an extreme underground Queen song.

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Top 5 : Rock/Metal Sophomore albums

Black_Sabbath_-_Paranoid

You know the drill: an unknown band bust into the scene with a brilliant debut and then have to live up to the expectations. That means releasing a second album as good as the first one or even better.

Sometimes not only it doesn’t work as it implodes and finishes the band forever (yes, I’m talking to you Guns N’ Roses). Other times the band is lucky because they had so much material ready to record before the first album that the second ends up benefiting from it.

And, just like I did with the Top 5 debut albums, second albums from people who formed bands but were already established artists are not eligible. Therefore wonderful albums like Dio’s The Last In Line, Ozzy’s Diary Of A Madman or Rainbow’s Rising are out. And The Beatles’ With The Beatles are also out, but I don’t need to explain you why again.

So here we go:

#5: Def Leppard – High N’ Dry

Def Leppard had already shown potential with their debut album, despite the critics (especially British) loathing them for writing a tune called “Hello America!” When put in the hands of producer John “Mut” Lange, they lived up to their potential and released a masterpiece. From the first chords of the AC/DC-esque “Let It Go” to the wonderful double-tracked vocals of “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak”, passing through “Another Hit And Run”, the title track and the closing with “Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)”, High N’ Dry was a sign of things to come.

#4: Mötley Crüe – Shout At The Devil

If Mötley Crüe was already building a reputation as a dangerous band, this álbum left no doubt about it. With a very dark cover of just a pentagram and an eerie intro that proclaimed “Those who have the youth have the power”, the Crüe was about to become the worst nightmare of conservative parents who saw their kids leaning towards the Rock And Roll side things. And it was worse if they were girls. Inside you’ll find a portrait of Nikki Sixx violent, debauched life, now dabbling with Black Magic alongside his then girlfriend Lita Ford. Perennial classics like the title-track, “Looks That Kill”, “Red Hot”, “Too Young To Fall In Love”. a brilliant cover of The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” and the sexually charged “Ten Seconds To Love” provided not only a great record but a blueprint for much more extreme bands like Dimmu Borgir or Cradle Of Filth to build upon.

#3: Queen – Queen II

Hailed by most of the fans as the album where Queen found its sound, Queen II is much more than that. A collection of brilliant songs, starting to showcase the genius of Freddie Mercury and all the potential of Brain May not only as a marvelous guitarist, but also as a talented songwriter. The cover inspired by a shot of Marlene Dietrich in the 1932 movie Shanghai Express became so iconic that the band itself wanted to reproduced it in the beginning of the “Bohemian Rhapsody” video some years later. The complexity of the arrangements and the overlaid vocal harmonies, coupled with lyrics full of Shakespearean and mythology references contributed to put this album as a benchmark in the unmatchable Queen history. You only need to listen to “White Queen (As It Began)”, “Ogre Battle”, “The Fairy Fellers Master Stroke”, “Nevermore”, “The March Of The Black Queen”, “Funny How Love Is” and “Seven Seas Of Rhye” to realize it.

#2: Metallica – Ride The Lightning

I must confess I was in a huge doubt between this record and Queen II for the second spot. I decided to go with Metallica because as genius as Queen II is there are still hints of Zeppelin in the sound. Here, you have a band ready for world domination. Freshly after signing with Elektra, Metallica released what many regard as the best album of their career. Ride The Lightning was the album that showed that only in their second album, Metallica was already head and shoulders ahead of their Thrash Metal contemporaries. It was still brutal, but the songwriting seemed to come from another planet. Of course, the band had to put up with pathetic cries of sell-out from a narrow minded minority only because “Fade To Black” was a half-ballad. However, “Fade To Black”, along with “For Whom The Bell Tolls” and “Creeping Death” became not only Metallica, but Heavy Metal staples. And there was “Fight Fire With Fire”, the title-track with its killer riff, the super-heavy “Trapped Under Ice”, the wonderful mid-tempo “Escape” and even the always boring instrumental song is acceptable. The Call Of Ktulu at least have a Lovecraftian title. I consider myself blessed to be able to witness the band playing the album in full at the Orion Festival in 2012.

#1: Black Sabbath – Paranoid

Nobody can listen to “Paranoid”, “Iron Man” or “War Pigs” anymore. I got that. However, you can’t deny that these songs are Rock staples, timeless classics that are part of popular culture. And they are all in this record. And remember, this is not a best of. It says a lot about the original Sabbath that both their first albums are in my top 5 lists. If the first album was the birth of Heavy Metal, this is the style coming of age and becoming an unstoppable force. The anti-war lyrics, Ozzy’s voice and of course, the most innovative guitar sound ever heard. All that contributed to catapult Sabbath to stardom and immortality. But Paranoid got more than only the staples. How about the satire of “Fairies Wear Boots”, the acid-trip of “Planet Caravan” and the fantasy and heaviness of “Electric Funeral”? No band managed to make a second album so much better than the first one. Because Black Sabbath was wonderful; but this one rewrote the rule book of Heavy Rock. This is an album that invented a kind of music. How many sophomore records can claim that?

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Top 5: Terrible albums by great bands

Hot Space

It is bound to happen. There comes a time in a band’s career where they completely loose the plot and release that terrible piece of music. The circumstances may vary, but the result is always the same: crappy songs.

Of course, as with any of these lists I do it is a matter of personal taste and everybody can come up with its own list. And I’m already admitting that there are knowingly bad albums that won’t be on the list because I didn’t even listen to it, like Dokken’s Shadowlife or any Queensryche record after Empire (with the exception of Operation: Mindcrime II and American Soldier which I don’t think are that bad).

Anyway, I tried to be as unbiased as I could (two out of my three favorite bands are on the list) and before anyone says anything, no, although far from good, Kiss albums The Elder or Carnival Of Souls are not that bad. Van Halen 3 almost made the cut, but “Without You” and “Fire In The Hole” are good songs, so it stayed out.

So here it goes.

#5: Dio – Angry Machines

The late great Ronnie James Dio died, so we will never know what the fuck went through his mind when he recorded this. It all sounds like a sub-par Soundgarden and all the songs are boring. Besides it was already too late to jump on the “championing of bad taste” (Grunge) bandwagon so not even this excuse he had. “Hunter Of The Heart” is a decent song, but not enough to save the album from complete disaster.

#4: Def Leppard – Slang

Not surprisingly, Def Leppard also tried to modernize their sound and failed miserably. Not only they didn’t get any new fans, they lost those they had. Boy, this is bad. That’s nothing worth mentioning in this record, except that the band even changed its logo. All songs are horrible and there’s no use for the band to try and play their live now thinking that maybe getting heavier they would improve. They are still terrible and this album must be forgotten by all Lep fans.

#3: Iron Maiden – Virtual XI

Now this breaks my heart. After all, with the exception of The Beatles we are talking about my all-time favorite band. Poor Steve Harris. If The X Factor was bad enough to alert everyone of how much the band would miss Bruce, this was the final proof that he needed to be called back. Immediately. Not even the cover escaped. The Eddie is deplorable and what the hell is that soccer game? The keyboards on “The Angel and the Gambler” are pitiful (probably written by Steve’s daughter Lauren who was 5 at the time) and “Don’t Look To The Eyes Of A Stranger” sounds like a Country song. However, the icing on the cake (or the nail in the coffin, if you prefer) is “Como Estais Amigos”. The worst Maiden song ever. There’s a rule of thumb here: a band with Iron Maiden’s stature CAN’T record a song with this title. Period. As simple as that. It’s ridiculous. I swear I blush when I listen to it. Needless to say Bruce was called back afterwards and this is still the only Maiden album not making the British Top 10.

#2: Metallica – St. Anger

A lot of assholes cried “sell-out” when Metallica recorded the perfect “Black Album”. I wonder if they preferred they recorded a piece of trash like this. People argue that the album is not that bad, the problem is the drum sound (which really is the worst EVER), but they are wrong. The songs suck big time. The vocal melodies are horrible, James is at his worst and there’s not a hint of a guitar solo through the whole record! And there’s that rule of thumb again: a band with the stature of Metallica CAN’T record a song that says “Tic-tic” in the chorus. Even Lars’ father said: “What a piece of crap you recorded this time!” after listening to the album.

#1: Queen – Hot Space

Queen was indeed going through some internal turmoil in the early eighties, but that’s no excuse to record this. Songs like “Cool Cat”, “Back Chat”, “Dancer”, “Action This Day”, “Put Out The Fire” and “Calling All Girls” are bad enough, but the rest of the record really challenges human comprehension. I bet “Life Is Real (Song For Lennon)” made the former Beatle roll over in his coffin. And there’s the rule of thumb again: a band with the stature of Queen CAN’T record a song called “Las Palabras de Amor”. It’s embarrassing. Some people argue that an album with “Under Pressure” in it can’t be that bad. Well, the way I see it, this song was a partnership with David Bowie, so it was not actually what Queen was about at the time. I save the worst for last: “Body Language”. Probably the worst song EVER written in the history of mankind, it reflected the influence the club scene in New York was having in Freddie Mercury’s life and how badly affected his career. It’s unlistenable. Remember that song “Gangnam Style” sung by that diminutive Korean guy? Not even that is as bad as this. Live, some songs fared a little bit better, but nothing that can erase this horrible album.

Current playlist:

Listening:

Black Stone Cherry – Hits, Rarities and Live

Massive – Full Throttle

The Answer – New Horizon

Reading:

Face The Music: A Life Exposed – Paul Stanley

Michael Jordan: The Life – Roland Lazenby

Watching:

Fever Pitch

When Harry Met Sally

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

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

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Rock Chain # 5: Cover versions and influences

DAN

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.

All of us who are huge Rock fans recently regretted the retirement of singer Dan McCafferty. Dan is often quoted as a huge influence on Axl Rose and was the lead singer for Scottish rockers Nazareth.

Nazareth once recorded a killer version of Joni Mitchell’s “This Flight Tonight”. Joni is an enormous influence on the Wilson sisters from Heart, who even included a version of her song “River” in their The Road Home unplugged album.

The Road Home was all arranged by John Paul Jones, former Led Zeppelin bassist and close friend of both sisters. John Paul Jones, whose real name is John Baldwin, was also part of Them Crooked Vultures with Josh Homme from Queens Of The Stone Age and Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters.

Dave Grohl, who is an enormous Beatles fan, performed a brilliant version of the Fab Four’s “Hey Bulldog” at the ceremony honoring 50 years of the boys from Liverpool first visit to the US.

“Hey Bulldog” had also one of the coolest versions in an album called Butchering The Beatles: A Headbashing Tribute. In this album it was played by Alice Cooper.

Alice Cooper is hilariously depicted as an extremely educated person – which he actually is – in that priceless “We are not worth it” scene in Wayne’s World.

Wayne’s World also shows actress Tia Carrere as a Rock singer doing a great version of the immortal “Ballroom Blitz” from Sweet in the end.

Sweet who also had “Ballroom Blitz” covered by Swiss band Krokus and “Action” and “Blockbuster” covered by British countrymen Def Leppard.

Def Leppard who couldn’t be part of Rock In Rio in ’85 due to drummer Rick Allen’s accident that amputated his arm. Their spot was taken by Whitesnake.

Whitesnake whose singer David Coverdale recorded (unfortunately) only one album with the project Coverdale/Page alongside Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page.

Jimmy Page, as we all know, formed Led Zeppelin from The Yardbirds who have an album called “Little Games” in a recently released collection called Original Album Series: Psychedelia.

This collection also features a band called Tomorrow which is the first band from Yes’ Steve Howe and in their album featured here there’s a song called “My White Bicycle”.

Do you know who also recorded “My White Bicycle”? Scottish rockers Nazareth.

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Top 5: Rock/Metal Producers

Def Leppard

Most of the times even the most talented of bands need a guidance in the studio. I mean, if The Beatles needed guidance, obviously everybody else would need. Maybe Led Zeppelin was an exception but that’s because their guitar player was already a producer.

Anyway, all of this just to highlight the importance of that guy behind the glass yelling, counseling and sometimes forcing artists to do their best. The greatest strength of a producer is to be able to extract the best qualities of the band and fulfill their craziest but brilliant ideas (see George Martin with The Beatles).

And as we just touched on Sir George, I know it is unnecessary to say again, but I’ll say it anyway: since he was The Beatles producer he is not eligible for the list.

So here we go.

# 5 – Bob Rock: Yes, he almost flushed his career down the toilet with the disgusting, horrible, terrible and awful “St.Anger”, but that cannot cloud his other achievements. He was responsible for the brilliant drum sound on Mötley Crüe’s “Dr.Feelgood” which landed him the gig with Metallica on the “Black Album”. And with the “Black Album” he just produced the greatest sounding Metal album of all time. That’s why he deserves the number 5 spot.

#4 – Martin Birch: A lot of people (including band members with whom he worked) complaint about the bass sound in Martin Birch’s productions. And that’s a fact. You just need to listen to the Deep Purple remasters to notice the difference. But that problem was quickly solved when he went on to produce Iron Maiden. Can you imagine anybody tickling with Steve Harris’ bass sound? So, with that out of the way he produced all best Iron Maiden records, which means at least 7 of the 50 best records of all time. Oh, and despite the issues with the bass sound in other productions take a look at the man’s CV: “In Rock”, “Machine Head”, “Burn”, “Stormbringer” (those four as an engineer), “Come Taste The Band” Deep Purple), “Heaven And Hell” and “Mob Rules” (Black Sabbath). Not too bad.

#3 – Kevin Shirley: After a rocky start with Dream Theater’s “Falling Into Infinity” (the fans loathed the production), Kevin became responsible for all Maiden albums after Bruce’s return. If that wasn’t enough, Kevin also produced Journey’s brilliant come back “Arrival” and is now a great partner to maybe who is currently the greatest Blues/Rock guitarist in the world: Joe Bonamassa. Their works together are great and not only on records but also on videos. Kevin still has a brilliant career ahead of him, so he gets the number 3 spot.

#2- Ron Nevison – Well, about this guy I can’t really say anything. Let’s leave that to his CV. As an engineer: “Badco”, “Straight Shooter” and “Run With The Pack” (all from Bad Company), “Physical Graffiti” (Led Zeppelin), “Quadrophenia” (The Who) and “It’s Only Rock And Roll” (Rolling Stones) among others. As a producer: “Heart” and “Bad Animals” (Heart), “Crazy Nights” (Kiss), “Lights Out” and “Obsession” (UFO), “Vital Signs” (Survivor), “Ultimate Sin” (Ozzy Osbourne) and “Out Of This World” (Europe), among others. Do I really need to write anything else?

# 1 – Robert John “Mutt” Lange – I could write about South African “Mutt” Lange just like I did with Ron Nevison, because his resumé speaks for itself: “4” (Foreigner), “Highway To Hell” “Back In Black” and “For Those About To Rock” (AC/DC) and “High N’ Dry”, “Pyromania” and “Hysteria” (Def Leppard). Yes, one would be hard pressed to find a producer with a better CV. However, “Mutt” was also a visionary. He was the guy who noticed Def Leppard’s potential when all the press were slugging them after “On Through The Night” and manage to squeeze out of them a record like “Hysteria” which made them the biggest band in the world in 1987 and is still in the Top 50 biggest selling albums of all time. At the time it was dubbed the Metal version of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. And if that wasn’t enough, “Mutt” bedded Shania Twain (one of the hottest chicks EVER) for many years! That pretty much seals the deal. # 1 to “Mutt”.

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