All of my posts recently have been in relation to more modern music particularly indie rock so I thought I’d write about something a bit different. Of course, it’s still within the rock genre as this is where my passion for music lies. Up until very recently, all I listened to was classic rock music. I’m not exaggerating. Apart from the obvious bangers such as Mr Brightside and various other well known songs of todays youth, I was very much enclosed in my own bubble as if I were living in the 70s and 80s myself.
Since the age of 5, I’ve been a diehard classic rock fan leading to my first gig at the age of 7 which was Def Leppard and Whitesnake. Since then I’ve seen bands such as AC/DC, UFO, Black Sabbath, KISS, Bon Jovi etc. ( missing out all of my more modern bands) and at the age of 10 we were asked to present a project to the class on someone or something that inspired us so I chose to do an A2 collage on Angus Young, the lead guitarist of AC/DC. I mean, I don’t mean to brag but wasn’t I cool haha ( my classmates didn’t think so). But I thought I’d share with you some of my absolute favourite songs from the 70s and 80s.
However, I hadn’t quite realised how long it would take me to do this so I have only just scratched the surface on some of my favourite songs ever written so there would have been far more by a wider range of artists.
PINK FLOYD// TIME
Time is a song from such an iconic and game changing album. Famous for both it’s mesmerising artwork and songs itself, ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ soon became one of the most commercially successful rock albums ever written with sales exceeding 40 million copies worldwide whilst remaining on the Billboard Chart for fourteen years! I mean can you even imagine a single album nowadays that would remain in the charts for anywhere near that length of time? I know I can’t.
What makes Pink Floyd so special and what made them so unique was the sheer fact that they basically took inspiration from other bands but used it to create an entire new genre. Here, we are talking about legends. Pink Floyd were absolutley pivotal in the development of both pyschedlic and progressive rock as well as being the first band really to use incorporated film, projected onto a backdrop during live performances (1966).
Time in itself is an absolute masterpiece. The way it’s constructed is just astonishing. From the haunting repition of the clocks at the very beginning to the equally eerie but spectacular chorus consisting of the lyrics “Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain. You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today. And then one day you find ten years have got behind you, no one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.”
The reason why I’m focusing so much on their lyrics is because this is the key thing that fascinates me about Floyd. Pink Floyd are famous for their chilling lyrics accompanied (particularly on this album) by the repeated sound of Clare Torry’s voice. Their lyrics are quite literally poetry and due to their unpredictable key changes with equally unpredictable progressive direction.
LED ZEPPELIN// SINCE I’VE BEEN LOVING YOU
I would say that ‘Since I’ve been loving you’ is renowned by the Led Zeppelin fandom to be one of their greatest songs ever written. I completely agree with this. Quite frankly, my favourite Zeppelin song seems to change everytime I listen to them. It could be the typical ‘Stairway to heaven’, ‘Ten Years Gone’ or even less known ‘Black Country Woman’, it’s just so difficult to pinpoint my favourite.
Led Zeppelin are by far my favourite band to have ever walked the earth. Suprisingly, despite my obsession for classic rock starting at such a young age, I didn’t start properly listening to Zeppelin until I was around 11 years old. However, I vividly remember the first time I did. I plugged my laptop into my newly purchased speakers and blasted ‘Black Dog’. I can’t remember much after that apart from that I was completely and utterly blown away. I became obsessed with every aspect of their music career. I soon owned every album they had ever released whether that be as an old vinyl my dad had kept in the loft or a remastered version from a shop. I couldn’t get enough.
I think it’s pretty fair (and accurate) to say that Led Zeppelin shook the earth. Despite only being around for only 10 years, Led Zeppelin are widely considered one of the most successful, innovative (hmmm haha) and influential bands in history. Along with this, Zeppelin are considered “the heaviest band of all time” and the group’s record sales are estimated to be at 200 to 300 million worldwide aswell as every single one of their nine studio albums being placed in the top 10 of the Billboard charts (6 reaching number one).
As for talking about my reasons for this particular song, there is very little I can say. It’s such a clever and emotional song that really hits home. Robert’s iconic moaning accompanied by Page’s mindblowing skill at literally every single note he plays, aswell as the just as creditable efforts of Bonzo and Jonesy’s talent all results in a truly impeccable song.
Out of all of the songs that I will/ will have mentioned on this post, I remember my first listen of ‘Stargazer’ most prominently. ‘Stargazer’ is quite literally an ear-bursting, absolute powerhouse of a song ( just listen to the introduction and you’ll see exactly what I mean). Rainbow themselves, I believe to be incredibly underrated to a certain extent. However, make no mistake, I can guarantee that diehard heavy classic rock fans will have Rainbow certainly in their top 10 but I think I mean more on a commerical level. The band has sold over 28 million albums worldwide which doesn’t appear to be too much especially contrasted with Zeppelin.
But nevertheless, Rainbow in my opinion, were one of the greatest rock bands ever formed. Late Ronnie James DIo is by far one of my favourite vocalists. His voice was so incredibly powerful and unique. The majority of songs by both ‘Rainbow’ and ‘Dio’ ( a later band formed by Ronnie after the end of Rainbow) speak of myths, witchcraft and there are often references to the dark ages. This is what is so fascinating and so unique about Dio’s influence and what drew me in upon my first listen.
Stargazer is a 8:28 long song that doesn’t hold back in any way. From the very first second, you’re dragged into a rapid and intense drum beat accompanied by the legendary Ritchie Blackmore’s insanely ‘cool’ guitar skills. With the repeated use of the lyrics “AND WHERE DO WE GOOO” whilst also singing about deserts, souls and cosmic imagery, Stargazer is a perfect example which illustrates the supernatural elements present in much of their work.
BLACK SABBATH// SYMPTOM OF THE UNIVERSE
Black Sabbath are by far another of my absolute favourite bands ever. Although, I have to admit when I first listened, I couldn’t bring myself to listen to more than the most well known purely because everytime I listened I felt like my face was physically melting off. This is not an exaggeration. BUT thankfully, after I went along to one of their gigs on their ’13’ tour in 2013 I was blown away and everything made sense. Natural selection didn’t have me just yet.
Black Sabbath are regarded as the pioneers of heavy metal music and have been critical in defining the genre’s of both heavy metal and classic rock. As Tony Iommi said, their soul purpose was “make something heavier than had ever been heard before”. Even 48 years later from when they first formed, I still believe that this is very much the case. I mean, sure we have bands within the heavy metal genre today aswell as ‘screamo’ but in my opinion, heavy doesn’t just mean a load of screaming with incessant guitar solos. OH NO, Sabbath became the heaviest band in my books for quite the opposite reason.
Their haunting and chilling styles which are particulary present in the song ‘Black Sabbath’ are what makes this band heavy. Sabbath had quite the following whilst back in their heyday but we can’t ignore the fact that there were also so SO many people against them and their music. Given the time that their music was being released and the social attitudes present at the time, I’m not surprised that they weren’t allowed to play certain towns and were physically driven off sites by religious believers. Obviously, I take all this with a pinch of salt but I guess the whole idea about Sabbath being satanic is what made them stand out to so many people AND most importantly, this difference is what perhaps made them so successful in the first place.
Symptom of the universe is an absolute masterpiece and again I’m not even sure if it is my favourite but I love the way it progresses. Starting out as a heavy and intense piece but transforming into quite an odd sound that I don’t know quite how to describe but just as emotionally stimulating. Iommi, the God, the Legend ( insert more appropriate titles) certainly did invent every guitar riff ever written haha.
DEEP PURPLE// CHILD IN TIME
‘Deep Purple’ are also renowned to be one of the greatest rock bands to ever exist and what a surprise, I agree! Being referred to as “the unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies” and listed in the 1975 Guiness Book of World Records as “the globe’s loudest band” for a 1972 concert at London’s Rainbow Theatre as well as having sold over 100 million albums worldwide, I think this is some solid evidence in their favour.
‘Child In time’ is one of my favourite songs ever written as their iconic use of the Hammond organ plays ( if you’ll pardon the pun) a huge part. From the very start, Jon Lord has the listener at his fingertips, completely and utterly mesmerised by his pretty simple but very effective motif. When Ian Gillan joins in, I’m gone. The sheer strength of his voice and his vocal range is enough to put the majority of vocalists to shame. The magic of this song lies within the simplicity of it, it is repeitive but not boring, includes vocals that you may expect to wince at, but you don’t. Instead you’re transported back into the 70s and suddenly your hair has grown 7 inches and you’re wearing flares with heeled boots.
This song just gets better and better everytime I listen to it. A truly stunning piece of music.
I would be grateful if you could share your opinion on this as I am writing an EPQ with this topic of choice so the results would be very useful to me. Thankyou!