Day 2 of albums that have had an impact on me is Quiet Riot’s Metal Health.
I had been getting more into rock music by 1983. However, it was difficult to find since it wasn’t really played on the radio. You would find out about new hard rock songs from word of mouth. But, this all changed with the release of Metal Health. “Cum On Feel the Noize” changed the musical landscape as hard rock was brought into the mainstream. The song got a lot of radio airplay. This was also the early days of MTV, so the song was featured heavily there as well. And just as “Cum On Feel the Noize” was beginning to get overplayed, the title track was released, and rocked my world! I just had to get this album! I got it for Christmas in 1983, and there was not a bad song on there. “Slick Black Cadillac” was (and still is) my favorite song on that album. And 13 year old me loved that there was a song called “Love’s a Bitch” on there. Oooooo! A bad word in the title! What a rebel!
I still love Quiet Riot, and actually saw them in concert last year. Frankie Banali, the drummer, is the lone remaining member of the lineup from this album. But, they were still great and still rock.
Here is the album on Spotify:
If you’d like to get this album on Amazon, you can click on the album cover below:
This weekend, I listened to the latest episode of the totally awesome podcast Talk Talk with Martha Quinn. If you don’t subscribe and listen to that podcast, I highly recommend that you do. This most recent episode featured a heated discussion about who should appear on the ’80s music version of Mount Rushmore, which Martha named Mount Radmore. These are the songs that we would consider the founding fathers of the ’80s sound. There are so many great artists that are definitely deserving of monuments. But, if you had to choose only 4 who actually influenced the sound of the ’80s, who would you choose?
As you can imagine, things got heated on the podcast in the iHeart80s Radio 103.7 studios. Martha’s husband, Jordan, and iHeart80s Radio 103.7 DJ, Little Ricci, even got pulled into the debate.
I would highly recommend listening to this episode, then come back, and let me know who you would pick for your Mount Radmore.
I know that this will spark some debate, but I will give you my picks anyway.
Released in 1979, this song was a major influence for what was to come in ’80s Pop, New Wave, and just that fun, quirky, 80s attitude. Not to mention that it also kicked off MTV, which pretty much defined our 80s generation.
Here is another song that was released in 1979, and influenced an entire genre of music, and a lifestyle. Thanks to The Sugarhill Gang, we got some Newcleus, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, and me with my boombox, parachute pants, cardboard, and some kick-ass break dancing moves. Without Rapper’s Delight, we may not have had Run-DMC (which would also mean no Aerosmith comeback), and other awesome Rap acts of the ’80s.
I’m cheating here, but I give these two songs a tie. Both of these versions were released in 1983. Rock music had been around for a long time. But, these two songs brought hard rock to the mainstream. This would lead to big hair, big parties, and big attitudes that made the 80s so much fun.
Shannon may have been a one-hit wonder, but this one hit would define a brand new genre of music with Freestyle. This style of music would carry on through the early ’90s. It smoothly transitioned 70s disco to 80s dance-pop. This would lead to Exposé, The Cover Girls, Stevie B, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, and Sweet Sensation. An 80s high school dance would not be complete without us dancing (even badly) to a song by any of these Freestyle artists, thanks to Shannon.
OK, I know I got this all wrong. There were thousands of artists in the 80s, and we can only pick a handful. Who would you pick for your Mount Radmore? I’d love to hear from you!
I was considering a Kenny G song for this, but I suppose that would be cheating.
Before there were liner notes and lyrics in cassettes, the only way you could memorize the words was if you listened to the song over and over. When “Metal Health” came out, a friend and I wrote the lyrics out. We would play it for a few words, then stop it to write down the words. If we couldn’t understand what they were saying, we would keep rewinding and play it over again. It’s way easier to get song lyrics now.
10. Karma Chameleon – Culture Club
9. Hello – Lionel Richie
8. Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell
7. Sunglasses At Night – Corey Hart
6. Dancing in the Sheets – Shalamar
5. The Heart of Rock ‘N’ Roll – Huey Lewis & the News
4. State of Shock – The Jacksons
3. Yah Mo B There – James Ingram and Michael McDonald
2. Talking In Your Sleep – Romantics
1. I Just Called to Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder
Here is my top 5 (or worst 5) of Horrible songs from that year:
5. Hello – Lionel Richie
Before there was Ghost, there was the “Hello” video. I like Lionel Richie, but I never liked this song. I didn’t care for the video neither, and it didn’t help that MTV rammed it down our throats.
If you want to hear a better Lionel Richie ballad, listen to “Truly”. Even “Stuck On You”, which was also on the charts in 1984, is better than “Hello”. But “Hello ” ended up being a #1 hit on three Billboard music charts: the pop chart (for two weeks), the R&B chart (for three weeks), and the adult contemporary chart (for six weeks). Sure, there are songs a lot worse than this one, but, this was a bit overrated.
4. Karma Chameleon – Culture Club
3. Let’s Hear It for the Boy – Deniece Williams
I hated this song when it came out, and I still can’t listen to it! In my opinion, this is the worst song on the Footloose soundtrack. “Dancing in the Sheets” by Shalamar is on the Stuck In the 80s list, and is no prize in my book either. But I would still listen to that than that annoying “Let’s Hear It for the Boy”. It didn’t help that this Deniece Williams song was on an endless loop on the radio and on MTV.
2. If This Is It – Huey Lewis and The News
Stick with the up-tempo songs, Huey! I loved every song on the Sports album – except for this one. It’s slow, boring, and there’s no feeling in it.
1. I Just Called to Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder
I love Stevie Wonder, but I don’t like this overplayed song. It was featured on the soundtrack from The Woman in Red, and was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. The only other songs of his that may have been more overplayed was “Superstition”. I skip both of those songs when they come on.
: While “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” can be grating, Lauper shows off her beautiful voice here. When I say beautiful voice, I’m referring to her singing voice, of course. When you hear her speak, you would never imagine that she would have an incredible singing voice.
: The Stones get criticized for their ’80s and beyond music. But, this song and “Start Me Up” was basically my introduction to the group. I still like “Undercover” a lot. They still had some edge back then.
: Steve Perry was one of my favorite singers (behind Freddie Mercury), and the former Journey frontman proved that he could be successful as a solo act. It sucks that he hasn’t done anything in a long time. “Oh Sherrie” was his debut song when he went solo, and it was his biggest hit.
: These rock legends slightly changed their style with the Eliminator album that “Legs” came off of, and it helped give their popularity a huge surge. Their trilogy of videos, which included this one, didn’t hurt.
5. Twist of Fate – Olivia Newton-John
: This is probably my favorite ONJ song. It’s a great up-tempo song. It came off of the Two of a Kind soundtrack. The movie, which she starred in, along with John Travolta, was a clunker. But, the soundtrack is great, and this song stands out.
4. I’m So Excited – Pointer Sisters
: The songs was right in the middle of the Pointer’s great ’80s run. You can’t help but move to this song. It was also great in the movie Vacation.
3. Jump – Van Halen
: When this song came out, it was my favorite song of all time! The reason why this isn’t higher on the list is because it was also probably the most overplayed song of the year. I didn’t help matters any by playing it over and over again on tape, and by sitting in front of MTV all day just to watch it every time it came on. It was so funny seeing Eddie smiling through the entire video. I wonder, what made him do that? He wouldn’t have smoked anything to get him that way, would he have?
2. Hard Habit to Break – Chicago
: I still love this Chicago ballad! This was in the middle of their comeback during the David Foster years. I got sick of “You’re the Inspiration”, but I never got sick of this song. Unfortunately, the band became known more for their ballads. Their rock songs are just as good. But, “Hard Habit to Break” is one of my all time favorite Chicago songs.
1. Cum On Feel the Noize – Quiet Riot
: My introduction to heavy metal in the ’80s. Wow, you just didn’t hear anything else like this on the radio at the time! Quiet Riot pretty much opened up mainstream radio for Heavy Metal acts. Would heavy metal and hair bands have been as popular as they were if it wasn’t for Quiet Riot and “Cum On Feel the Noize”? Maybe not. This pretty much set my musical taste for the ’80s and early ’90s.