Rock Chain #32: Sensational!


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.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

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Hall Of Idols #16: James Hetfield

James Hetfield

Sixteenth installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.

Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it.

Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.

As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.

Who is the greatest Heavy Metal band of all time? Of course, the jury will be forever out on this one and at the end of the day it is a matter of personal opinion. I personally, think its Iron Maiden. However, looking strictly by the numbers, I don’t think there’s any discussion that Metallica takes home the trophy. Actually, even in Britain they agree with that. And to me, this fact was only possible due to one man.

James Alan Hetfield was born August 03, 1963, in Downey, California (USA). He formed Metallica with Lars Ulrich in late 1981 and went on to conquer the world.

James is a great singer (who actually invented a way of singing) and a great, great guitar player. And he manages to do that while fronting the band and commanding the audience with gigantic charisma. No easy feat, but he does it cool as the other side of the pillow.

As a young kid, I was always in doubt who I liked the most: James Hetfield or Bruce Dickinson. And I must admit, Bruce always won and after some mid-nineties mishaps I kinda forgot James for a while.

However, when I had the opportunity to watch Metallica live after 12 years, everything I felt positive about the band came back. And it was all due to James presence and talent. I’m sorry Lars, but Metallica IS James Hetfield.

He created the most famous riffs, wrote the best lyrics (“The Four Horsemen”, “Creeping Death”, “Master Of Puppets”, “The Thing That Should Not Be”, “Disposable Heroes”, “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”, “…And Justice For All”, “One”…) and delivers with unabated passion every night.

And this passion was never so evident when I had the honor of witnessing the Orion festival in 2012. As usual he stole the show, but this time the fire in his eyes and the perfection in every note were palpable. Talking with some other fans back at the hotel after only the first night, one thing was clear: “James is insanely good”.

When I first listed the idols that would be part of the Hall, I didn’t include James. There were so many people I thought that with only 65 to choose from there were no place for him. All it took it was my eighth Metallica concert in the beginning of the year to change my mind.

Just like in Sanitarium, here at the Hall of Idols no one leaves and no one will. Welcome, James Hetfield.

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

You can contact me at:

Add me on Facebook:!/carlo.antico

Follow me on twittter: @CarloAntico