Heavily influenced by their fellow countrymen in Helloween, Germany’s Blind Guardian are considered a huge player in the power metal/speed metal category.
They formed in 1984 under the name Lucifer’s Heritage, changing their name to Blind Guardian in 1988, hoping to distance themselves from the Satanic black metal movement. Their debut album, Battalion of Fear, a somewhat raw speed metal/thrash metal effort was already knee deep in fantasy fiction imagery, especially the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, that would come to full fruition in their 1998 release, Nightfall in Middle Earth, a concept album based on The Silmarillion. This also saw them stretching out to add folk influences and layered vocals favoured by one of their other influences, Queen. The band has continued to leave their speed metal roots behind, taking on a more orchestral sound favoured by heavier progressive rock bands. The band has gone through a few member changes through the years but original bassist (now vocalist) Hansi Kursch and guitarist Andre Olbrich are still the mainstays of the band.
German metal will rule the stage of the London Music Hall on September 19th as Blind Guardian with opening act and another major player from the 80’s metal scene, Grave Digger, will be rocking the house.
Tickets for this all-ages event are $37.50.
5 Songs About Self Gratification
Some are subtle and some not so much, but masturbation is a more popular music subject than you might think. So let us take things in hand and check out five fine examples and note – most were popular singles.
Pictures of Lily
“Pictures of Lily solved my childhood problems. Pictures of Lily helped me feel alright.” Who hasn’t used a pin up picture for inspiration when having trouble sleeping, like the poor protagonist in this wonderful song (a top five hit single in the UK). The fact it’s dad that supplies the picture turns up the creep factor, but we should all have such an understanding father. This was the first 45 I ever purchased and there’s another personal angle yet to come (no pun intended).
Mary- Anne with the Shaky Hands
“Mary-Anne with the shaky hands, what they’ve done to her man those shaky hands.” The Who seemed to have a bit of a fixation here. The B-side to their hit I Can See for Miles, and featured on one of their best albums, The Who Sell Out the song lauds the benefits of having a girlfriend with a slight tremor.
Reprise Records (1969)
“Man, do the shake, yes and jerk away the blues, now jerk it”
A new dance move? I think not. You don’t have to be an English major to appreciate the imagery in this one. Another popular single and featured on their fantastic album (coincidentally also called Then Play On). Here’s that other personal story I promised. I was getting a tattoo and wanted some Japanese letters in a band around my arm. My tattoo artist suggested I pick a phrase that had some sort of meaning to me and amongst the list of ten I gave him was one of my favourite songs from one of my favourite bands. It turns out that the Japanese letters for Rattlesnake Shake looked visually the best and at the time, I had always been too mesmerized by the stellar guitar work of Peter Green to really pay attention to the song’s lyrics. So yes, an ode to masturbation is permanently etched on my arm. I will not be moving to Japan in the near future.
Portrait Records (1984)
“Hey they say a stitch in time saves nine, they say I better stop or I’ll go blind. She Bop She Bop”.
Since Girls Just Want to Have Fun, perhaps Lauper’s follow up hit suggests one of the ways they are doing so. Again not too much interpretation is needed on this one as she talks about needing a chaperone because she can’t stop messing with her danger zone.
I Touch Myself
Virgin Records (1990)
“I don’t want anybody else, when I think about you I touch myself.” Australia’s Christina Amphlett was not the sort to beat around the bush as she blatantly tells us what she does when she thinks about her loved one. This was the band’s biggest hit, knocking Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby off the top of the charts.
Surf’s Down: The Worst Surf Albums of All Time
What you want in surf music is either reverb-drenched guitar instrumentals like Dick Dale, or heavenly harmonies a la The Beach Boys. These dogs unfortunately fail on both counts.
Surfing with the Sunsets
Palace Records (1963)
This blatant rip off, trying to cash in on the hot surf music craze, may have sounded vaguely familiar to some as it was a 1957 release by Hen Gates and his Gaters, Let’s Go Dancing to Rock n Roll, that they repurposed by just changing all the song titles to more surf-oriented handles, like Surfboard Swing and Big Surf. In fact the deception went even deeper than that as the old Gaters’ release was actually some left over recordings from the 1940’s by Freddie Mitchell. One wonders how many were lured in by the cute bikini-clad cover girl only to find it was music more suited to their parents.
Sing the Beach Boys Songbook
Design Records (1965)
The Beach Boys were known for their great harmonies. You know what else was known for its great harmonies? Barbershop quartets masquerading as a hot new combo called the Surfsiders. You might have to stifle some giggles as they run through Beach Boys’ classics like I Get Around and California Girls. The worst offender is When I Grow Up which inspires visions of straw boater hats and bow ties and not surf and bikinis. If you fell for this one, don’t totally despair as a couple of the tracks feature Lou Reed on vocals when he was doing desperate hack work for the Pickwick label.
Looking Back with Love
Boardwalk Entertainment (1981)
It’s general knowledge that the Beach Boys’ Mike Love is a huge wanker, and this dismal solo effort is further proof. Awkward lyrics backed by synth-laden disco beats. Granted there is an occasional burst of bearable Beach Boy-like harmonies but even Mike Love himself is embarrassed to talk about this one.
Richie Allen & the Pacific Surfers
Imperial Records (1963)
This one had so much potential – from the cool big wave cover to the fact Richie Allen (future producer under his real name Richie Polodor) is backed up by some heavy hitter musicians like Sandy Nelson, Plas Johnson and Steve Douglas. But consistency is not its strong point. Tracks like Undercurrent (loosely based on Link Wray’s Rumble) and Tidal Wave, a Peter Gunn rip are okay. But Sunday Surf (more hoedown than hodad) and most of the other tracks on this stinkeroo border on elevator music, including the chuckle-inspiring title Ridin’ the Woodie.
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