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Author Topic: 1986 in Music  (Read 2962 times)
KDS
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« Reply #50 on: December 22, 2016, 09:24:59 AM »

Van Halen, yes: didn't "Van Hagar" debut with 5150 in '86? Good album, and a key for them in establishing a new sound.

Weren't some older, harder rocking bands struggling to adjust then, too? I'm thinking KISS Asylum and Twisted Sister Come Out And Play, if I'm not mistaken. I'm sure there are others in addition to the ones KDS mentioned as introducing synths.

I think some of the older bands went a little too far with synths.  For their first five LPs, Queen famously included the credit "No Synthesizers"  By the 1980s, it was a different story, and we got the mostly dreadful Hot Space as a result.  McCartney also went super synth in McCartney II. 

By the mid 1980s, Alex Lifeson from Rush was frustrated by the fact that his guitar playing was being replaced by synths on their mid 80s albums.

Roger Waters's 1987 Radio KAOS album is absolutely buried in synths, and Waters himself has criticized himself for that choice.  In fact, when he resumed his career as a touring act in 1999, the version of "The Powers That Be" he played in concert bore very little resemblance to the KAOS track.   

One band that refused to relent was AC/DC.  That was a band that refused to change their image or music to suit the era. 
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« Reply #51 on: December 22, 2016, 10:15:35 AM »

For me the issue is less the use of synths (or drum machines, or whatever), and more losing their own vision and pandering to trends. That's the killer for musicians. Not to say that it's bad to try out other styles, either, but you can hear the difference between involved, excited exploration/experimentation and flat-out bad ideas. (The same thing actually applies to some of these 80s bands once Nirvana ruined their lives (and my ears).)

So some of these legacy artists' 86 albums, for example...not the synths, just the awkwardness. It's like seeing your 60-something mom dressing like a college kid.
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« Reply #52 on: December 22, 2016, 12:46:56 PM »

For me the issue is less the use of synths (or drum machines, or whatever), and more losing their own vision and pandering to trends. That's the killer for musicians. Not to say that it's bad to try out other styles, either, but you can hear the difference between involved, excited exploration/experimentation and flat-out bad ideas. (The same thing actually applies to some of these 80s bands once Nirvana ruined their lives (and my ears).)

So some of these legacy artists' 86 albums, for example...not the synths, just the awkwardness. It's like seeing your 60-something mom dressing like a college kid.

I agree.  I think Rush (at least at first), Iron Maiden, and Van Halen did a good job incorporating synths in their music without changing their sound. 

Queen on the other hand really overused it and it really changed their sound.  I think they did a better job with them on albums like The Works and A Kind of Magic. 
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« Reply #53 on: December 26, 2016, 11:54:09 PM »

Re: Letterman's show on NBC: there were some great music shows in Dave's early years. I remember the legendary James Brown appearance.  I also remember a couple appearances by Wayne Cochran, who had just become an evangelist, but he agreed to sing a couple of the old songs on the show. Then he insisted on singing a gospel song and just tore the place up. Little Richard, also an evangelist at the time, was on the show in '82 and '84 and had good chats with Dave, going over his career, and did a rockin' version of "Joy Joy Joy". Letterman always showed these legends the respect they deserved. These days, it's standard for the music guest to be crammed into the last 5 minutes of a show. It's nice seeing the old Carson shows on Antenna tv, too - when someone like B.B. King was on, he would get to do a couple songs and talk with Johnny for more than 30 seconds.
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« Reply #54 on: December 27, 2016, 10:20:40 AM »

Queen on the other hand really overused it and it really changed their sound.  I think they did a better job with them on albums like The Works and A Kind of Magic. 

We've talked about this to some extent so I won't rehash the disagreement we have on the merits of Hot Space, but I think Queen actually eased into the synths with The Game, which I think is a great album even if you discount Hot Space. So I find Hot Space--regardless of its own merit, mind you, so you can still hate it!--more a legit exploration of a different sound as opposed to a trend-hopping mistake such as those referenced earlier in the thread by the legacy acts trying in vain to be relevant. Maybe it wasn't a pure success (which I'd grant), but it did have some real passion behind it (though the passion of roughly half of a seemingly splintered band).

I totally agree that by the mid-to-later '80s stuff, they seemed to have found themselves again. Maybe because they'd gone off and done their own things, maybe because by the late '80s they knew their time together was limited.

And to bring it back firmly to 1986, I love A Kind of Magic. The "Highlander" stuff was so over the top, so ridiculous, that it fit them perfectly.
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« Reply #55 on: December 27, 2016, 09:33:05 PM »

Queen on the other hand really overused it and it really changed their sound.  I think they did a better job with them on albums like The Works and A Kind of Magic. 

We've talked about this to some extent so I won't rehash the disagreement we have on the merits of Hot Space, but I think Queen actually eased into the synths with The Game, which I think is a great album even if you discount Hot Space. So I find Hot Space--regardless of its own merit, mind you, so you can still hate it!--more a legit exploration of a different sound as opposed to a trend-hopping mistake such as those referenced earlier in the thread by the legacy acts trying in vain to be relevant. Maybe it wasn't a pure success (which I'd grant), but it did have some real passion behind it (though the passion of roughly half of a seemingly splintered band).

I totally agree that by the mid-to-later '80s stuff, they seemed to have found themselves again. Maybe because they'd gone off and done their own things, maybe because by the late '80s they knew their time together was limited.

And to bring it back firmly to 1986, I love A Kind of Magic. The "Highlander" stuff was so over the top, so ridiculous, that it fit them perfectly.

I do enjoy The Game alot.   

For the switch to dance music, I wish Freddie had limited it to his solo material.  To me, there is stuff on Hot Space that, if not for Freddies vocals, I wouldnt even recognize as Queen. 

But back to the topic, I really enjoy A Kind Of Magic.  One track nobody ever mentions is Gimmie the Prize.  Queen channel a bit of Black Sabbath on that one.
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« Reply #56 on: December 28, 2016, 09:09:24 AM »


For the switch to dance music, I wish Freddie had limited it to his solo material.  To me, there is stuff on Hot Space that, if not for Freddies vocals, I wouldnt even recognize as Queen. 

But back to the topic, I really enjoy A Kind Of Magic.  One track nobody ever mentions is Gimmie the Prize.  Queen channel a bit of Black Sabbath on that one.

The main way I can agree re Hot Space is the knowledge that Brian and Roger weren't into it. Not that I'd expect 100% enthusiasm from everyone on everything--in a band with multiple strong personalities and talents, that's not realistic--but in that case it was obvious. Since he was very soon doing solo stuff anyway, it would have made sense. Even if Deacon was on board for that material in his solo work, that would have been better from a marketing standpoint, probably. The Queen work around that time could have walked the line a bit more. They always put out albums of genre-crossing material, but with Hot Space it was almost uniformly dance-pop oriented, which made it an outlier not for what it contained, but from what it didn't contain.
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« Reply #57 on: December 29, 2016, 05:40:42 AM »


For the switch to dance music, I wish Freddie had limited it to his solo material.  To me, there is stuff on Hot Space that, if not for Freddies vocals, I wouldnt even recognize as Queen. 

But back to the topic, I really enjoy A Kind Of Magic.  One track nobody ever mentions is Gimmie the Prize.  Queen channel a bit of Black Sabbath on that one.

The main way I can agree re Hot Space is the knowledge that Brian and Roger weren't into it. Not that I'd expect 100% enthusiasm from everyone on everything--in a band with multiple strong personalities and talents, that's not realistic--but in that case it was obvious. Since he was very soon doing solo stuff anyway, it would have made sense. Even if Deacon was on board for that material in his solo work, that would have been better from a marketing standpoint, probably. The Queen work around that time could have walked the line a bit more. They always put out albums of genre-crossing material, but with Hot Space it was almost uniformly dance-pop oriented, which made it an outlier not for what it contained, but from what it didn't contain.

The pity about the dance-ness of Hot Space is that there are actually a couple Queen gems on that album that tend to get overlooked - Life is Real and Put Out the Fire.  Had those tracks appeared on, say, The Game, The Works, or A Kind of Magic, I think they'd be more well known. 
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« Reply #58 on: December 29, 2016, 08:15:21 AM »

You've got to admit, though, the synth bass line of "Staying Power" could have been a great riff on a rocker if arranged and produced differently!

This thread was fun. Was it Ovi who started it? Great thread. I'd love to see a 1987 thread pop up in the coming days as that year lands, especially because at the time and in the years immediately following, I considered '87 a great year for music. I wonder how it would seem looking back. (I suspect not so hot...)
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« Reply #59 on: December 29, 2016, 08:19:22 AM »

You've got to admit, though, the synth bass line of "Staying Power" could have been a great riff on a rocker if arranged and produced differently!

This thread was fun. Was it Ovi who started it? Great thread. I'd love to see a 1987 thread pop up in the coming days as that year lands, especially because at the time and in the years immediately following, I considered '87 a great year for music. I wonder how it would seem looking back. (I suspect not so hot...)

I've heard a couple live versions of Staying Power that are pretty good.  Whenever Queen played their more dance based songs live, they always rocked them up a bit.  Same goes for Another One Bites the Dust.  But, Staying Power sounds like a completely different song in concert. 
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« Reply #60 on: December 29, 2016, 08:24:45 AM »

You're exactly right about Queen live. I recall Nuno Bettencourt talking about that during Extreme's heyday. I think he was probably responding to the ballads and funkier aspects of Pornograffiti or something, and he said that one of the things he loved about Queen was that dichotomy of a really diverse and nuanced album band that, when performing live, was high energy and really rocked.

(For a second I thought we accidentally brought it back home to 1986, based on a mistaken memory of their debut being from that year. But I think it was actually '88 or '89. So we're still off!)
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« Reply #61 on: December 29, 2016, 08:36:18 AM »

You're exactly right about Queen live. I recall Nuno Bettencourt talking about that during Extreme's heyday. I think he was probably responding to the ballads and funkier aspects of Pornograffiti or something, and he said that one of the things he loved about Queen was that dichotomy of a really diverse and nuanced album band that, when performing live, was high energy and really rocked.

(For a second I thought we accidentally brought it back home to 1986, based on a mistaken memory of their debut being from that year. But I think it was actually '88 or '89. So we're still off!)

Yeah, I think Extreme's debut was 1988.  I know Nuno has huge respect for Queen.  In fact, when Nuno and Gary do More Than Words in concert, it's very reminiscent of how Freddie and Brian used to do Love of My Life. 

Their fondness for Queen was one of the reasons Extreme was asked to play at the Freddie Tribute Show in 1992, which was held at Wembley Stadium, the site of one of the most revered Queen live shows from their final true tour in...................................1986. 
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« Reply #62 on: December 29, 2016, 08:38:24 AM »

AND HE DOES IT! On-topic success! (I did love that Extreme performance at the Queen benefit. The medley was spectacular.)
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« Reply #63 on: December 29, 2016, 08:45:54 AM »

I think Hot Space's a great album. Always gets me groovin'. I mean, the rhythm on Back Chat? The best song Chic never wrote. Deacon was on a roll at the time.
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« Reply #64 on: December 29, 2016, 08:46:04 AM »

AND HE DOES IT! On-topic success! (I did love that Extreme performance at the Queen benefit. The medley was spectacular.)

Yes.  I got a Blu Ray of the Freddie Tribute Show for Christmas last year.  I forgot how good that concert was (although the Blu Ray still leaves off Robert Plant's rendition of Innuendo).  

While not released in 1986, the DVD of the Queen Wembley Concert from 1986 is essential IMO.  Too bad they never did Princes of the Universe in concert.
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« Reply #65 on: December 29, 2016, 08:52:25 AM »

Yes! re Wembley. I got the VHS when I was in high school, and subsequently the DVD. I must have watched that show 50x. Freddie's charm is in full effect throughout the show, and the band (augmented by Spike Edney) really playing well. Freddie's voice was sadly not what it had been 10 years earlier, but it was still strong and captivating.

I was too young to notice or care that Queen was back on tour in '86, but for those people who hadn't seen them in several years by that point, it must have been amazing, not to mention a thrill that they weren't breaking up, weren't retiring from the road, etc.
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« Reply #66 on: December 29, 2016, 08:52:41 AM »

Also I want to mention that the "no synths" thing on early Queen albums was not their stance against that type of music but a mere disclaimer that the guitars and sound effects were not synthesized.
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« Reply #67 on: December 29, 2016, 08:54:17 AM »

And a friend of mine HATED Queen for being too pompous and serious before I converted him with Cool Cat.
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« Reply #68 on: December 29, 2016, 08:58:11 AM »

And a friend of mine HATED Queen for being too pompous and serious before I converted him with Cool Cat.
Too pompous, I can see, but too serious!?
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« Reply #69 on: December 29, 2016, 09:00:39 AM »

Yes! re Wembley. I got the VHS when I was in high school, and subsequently the DVD. I must have watched that show 50x. Freddie's charm is in full effect throughout the show, and the band (augmented by Spike Edney) really playing well. Freddie's voice was sadly not what it had been 10 years earlier, but it was still strong and captivating.

I was too young to notice or care that Queen was back on tour in '86, but for those people who hadn't seen them in several years by that point, it must have been amazing, not to mention a thrill that they weren't breaking up, weren't retiring from the road, etc.

I had the VHS too, and was thrilled when the full concert was released on DVD.  

My favorite Queen live release is probably their Rainbow concert from 1974, which was finally officially released a couple years ago.  Now, if they'd just release Earls Court from 1977 in a legit DVD, that would be awesome.  

Getting back to 1986, Queen's Live Magic album was released in time for a Christmas release in 1986, but as a live album, it's very poor in that most of the songs are truncated versions.  
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« Reply #70 on: December 29, 2016, 09:01:15 AM »

And a friend of mine HATED Queen for being too pompous and serious before I converted him with Cool Cat.
Too pompous, I can see, but too serious!?

Yeah, that's kind of a common complaint against them these days. I guess judging just from the hits people don't realize how fun and genre-bending their albums actually are.
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« Reply #71 on: December 29, 2016, 09:07:41 AM »

And a friend of mine HATED Queen for being too pompous and serious before I converted him with Cool Cat.
Too pompous, I can see, but too serious!?

Yeah, that's kind of a common complaint against them these days. I guess judging just from the hits people don't realize how fun and genre-bending their albums actually are.

Even the hits, I can't think of them as "serious."  I mean, they had a massive hit about girls with big a$$es.  Other than the harmonies, that could've easily been a KISS song. 
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« Reply #72 on: December 29, 2016, 09:07:49 AM »

My favorite Queen live release is probably their Rainbow concert from 1974, which was finally officially released a couple years ago.

Oh, I've been meaning to get that.
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« Reply #73 on: December 29, 2016, 09:11:27 AM »

My favorite Queen live release is probably their Rainbow concert from 1974, which was finally officially released a couple years ago.

Oh, I've been meaning to get that.

Well worth it. 

Speaking of over the top music that's often called pompous, Yngwie Malmsteen released his excellent Trilogy album in 1986.
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« Reply #74 on: December 29, 2016, 09:11:40 AM »

And a friend of mine HATED Queen for being too pompous and serious before I converted him with Cool Cat.
Too pompous, I can see, but too serious!?

Yeah, that's kind of a common complaint against them these days. I guess judging just from the hits people don't realize how fun and genre-bending their albums actually are.

Wow, I guess I haven't heard that complaint about them. That's hilarious. I would actually share it as a complaint if I thought it were the case: I think pop musicians who take themselves too seriously--not their work, I mean obviously I'd like musicians to take care in their craft--musicians who honestly think it's a serious business to prance in tights or leather and sing about sex or dancing or rock 'n' roll, I just can't tolerate it. (And that was a very badly written sentence.) It's fun, and nobody was able to get across the fun, the silliness, quite like Queen.

Actually that reminds me, a week or two ago we began talking about the early DLR Van Halen v Van Hagar including as related to seriousness. I think guitarfool posed a question about the bands' fates or accomplishments and I meant to get back to it. Stay tuned: if ideas like mine weren't shared then, I'll belatedly post them now.
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