Archive for February, 2008

So you want to step out of the clichéd world of pop, rap, remix, hip– hop etc and you want to join the ‘elite league of extraordinary people who listen to ROCK MUSIC’? Well, here are 22 albums in listening order (not chronological) complied as a step by step progress to attain a beginner’s certificate for entry to rock music. Once you finish this list, you will be open to hearing more ‘exquisite’ stuff. 

 Bryan Adams - Reckless

1. Bryan Adams – Reckless

A wonderful album to start off, each and every track is a classic.Adams had six songs topping US/UK charts includingSummer of 69’, Run To you, Heaven, One Night Love Affair, It’s Only Love, Somebody(Other album recommendations: Cuts Like A Knife, Waking Up The Neighbors) 

Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet 

2. Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet

This is the album that made Bon Jovi a super band. Classic tracks include Let it Rock, You Give Love a Bad Name, Livin’ on a Prayer, Wanted Dead or Alive and Never Say Goodbye(You don’t need to hear anything more from these guys, since you’re now going to step into real rock!!!) 

Eagles - Greatest Hits 

3. Eagles – Greatest Hits (Compilation)

Right, you have heard of them, and you’ve heard Hotel California some hundred times and some Scooty ad you’ve heard was also some Eagles track? Yeah that was Take it Easy. That and several other classics (mostly ballads) from this album are cool. After they split, vocalist/drummer Don Henley and guitarists Glen Frey, Don Felder and Joe Walsh had pretty successful solo careers, but nothing could beat their success together, hence they reformed and released Hell Freezes Over which proved a super hit yet again.(For albums, Hotel California, One of These Nights, On the Border & Desperado can be worth a try) 

Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms 

4. Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms

How can a rock list be complete with out mentioning Dire Straits? A band loved by all, be it a pop listener, a jazz enthusiast or a hard rock fan. Dire Straits is the brainchild of lead singer / guitarist Mark Knopfler whose easy flowing songs with almost essay– recital type singing backed with amazing guitar interludes form a completely new form of music. Brothers in Arms had the chart toppers Walk of Life, Money for Nothing, So Far Away and Why Worry. (All their albums are classics: Dire Straits (debut album) with the evergreen Sultans of Swing, Communiqué, Making Movies, Love over Gold and On Every Street)

Police - Synchronocity 

5. Police – Synchronicity

The Police became the stepping stone to singer/bassist Sting’s amazing music career which has only seen growth, and as we read this, will keep growing.Synchronicity is a fine bridge between their earlier reggae– rock albums and chart topping pop songs. Every Breath You Take, King of Pain and Wrapped Around Your Finger are the highlights from this album(Recommended albums: Reggatta de Blanc, Zenyatta Mondatta and Sting’s solo albums like Dream of the Blue Turtles and Nothing like the Sun)

U2 - The Joshua Tree 

6. U2 – Joshua Tree

U2, along with REM is amongst the earliest traces of alternative music to emerge from the post– punk era of the 80s. Joshua Tree is the band’s highest career point and contains classics like With or Without You, Where the Streets Have No Name and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.(Recommended albums: October, Boy, War, Unforgettable Fire, Rattle & Hum and Achtung Baby) 

Beatles - Abbey Road 

7. The Beatles – Abbey Road

If you’re wondering what Beatles is doing here in this list, chances are that you haven’t heard this album at all. It is one of the first psychedelic concept albums ever made and has clear indications of LSD influence in the band’s writing and compositions. Here comes the Sun, Come Together, Something, You Never Give Me Your Money etc are the classics from this album.(If you liked this, you can try other albums of Beatles post 1967 like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Let It Be and The White Album) 

Doors - The Best Of 

8. Doors – The Best Of The Doors (Compilation)

Well if you haven’t yet heard the classic Roadhouse Blues, go and get it NOW!! This album is also for the dudes and dudettes who have only heard that one song.The Doors were Jim Morrison with his deep voice and refined poetic lyrics accompanied by guitarist Robbie Krieger, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, and drummer John Densmore. This double album contains most of their basic hits including Light My Fire, Break on Through, Crystal Ship, Love Me 2 Times and many more…(Recommended albums include Soft Parade, Morrison Hotel, An American Prayer, Waiting for the Sun, The Doors, And Strange Days). 

Pink Floyd - The Dark Side Of The Moon 

9. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon

This is the best album to start off with, if you haven’t ever heard the band (other than the pop hit ‘Another Brick in the Wall’). The ideal way to listen to this album is in the evening, with lights out and high volume (not blasting) Please do not skip tracks; Dark Side of the Moon along with many other Floyd albums are concept & theme based, so the tracks flow from one to another. This album, engineered by Alan Parsons, has also set new standards in recording & sound engineering.(Once you finish this you can try the other albums like The Wall, Meddle, Saucerful Of Secrets, Umma Gumma etc.) 

Jethro Tull - Aqualung 

10. Jethro Tull – Aqualung

Very few people must have heard of this band, but Jethro Tull has toured India twice and is fronted by the charismatic Ian Anderson who sings and plays the flute and guitar apart from several other instruments. Though my favorite album is Songs from the Wood, Aqualung has proved to be the best selling album for Tull, and contains the classic songs Locomotive Breath and Aqualung.(Other albums include Thick as a Brick, a concept album containing just one song that goes on for 40 odd minutes, Songs from the Wood, Stormwatch, Benefit, etc) 

Santana - Abraxas 

11. Santana – Abraxas

With singles like Smooth, Maria Maria and Corazon Espinado, Santana as a solo artist is a well known figure in today’s pop scene. But earlier, Santana as a band proved to be the primary source for combining Afro– Cuban rhythms with hard rock. Led by lead guitarist Carlos Santana, the band first appeared live at the Woodstock and since then there’s been no looking back, Abraxas includes the classics Black Magic Woman and Oye Como Va.(Recommendations include Santana 1, Caravanserai, Santana 3 and Shango) 

Guns n’ Roses - Appetite For Destruction 

12. Guns n’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction

Though initially referred to, as a poor man’s Aerosmith, G n’ R deserve credit for their fantastic debut album Appetite for Destruction, which was a superb way to revive classic raw energy rock amidst the Pop era of the late eighties. With 4 evergreen singles like Welcome to the Jungle, Paradise City, Mr. Brownstone and Sweet Child O’ Mine, this is a welcome album in my list.(Other albums include the well appreciated Use Your Illusion 1 & 2)

Aerosmith - Pump 

13. Aerosmith – Pump

Aerosmith, the band that clearly inspired Guns n’ Roses and the likes, were very popular in the 70s for their new raunchy swaggering style of music which was trendsetting. Pump released in 1989 showed the same power and aggression as their 70s albums like Toys in the Attic & Rocks. An instant hit in US, this album contains Love in an Elevator, Janie’s got a Gun, The Other Side and the trademark power ballad What It Takes.(Album recommendations: Rocks, Toys in the Attic, Permanent Vacation, Get a Grip) 

Deep Purple - Deepest Purple 

14. Deep Purple – Deepest Purple (Compilation)

Deep Purple, along with Black Sabbath can be credit to be among the first bands to introduce a sound that’s now called HARD ROCK. Progressive rock, with patent guitar sounds, riffs that will become eternal, lyrics about fast cars and knights and warriors and demons and space, wow you must listen to this album.The band has gone through several line-up changes, but this album features songs from two of their best lineups – Mark 2 with Ian Gillan on Vocals and Mark 3 with David Coverdale on vocals. Each track is a gem, listen to all!!! (Great albums include Black Night, Machine Head and the latest Bananas) 

 Led Zeppelin - IV

15. Led Zeppelin – IV

Then God said “Let There Be Heavy Metal!!!” and lo and behold Led Zeppelin was formed in 1968. Out of the remains of the highly acclaimed Yardbirds (which featured Eric Clapton in their earlier lineup), and resurrected by lead guitarist Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin would become the first band to combine the forces of blues with distortion guitar; a genre that would soon be defined as ‘Heavy Metal’. Radically titled with 4 Symbols, this album contains the legendary immortal eternal classics like Stairway to Heaven, Black Dog, Rock n’ Roll and the amazing Misty Mountain Hop.(Each and every album they have recorded are classics in their own, so you can listen to them all – Led Zeppelin 1, 2, 3, 4, House of the Holy, Physical Graffiti, Presence, In Through the Outdoor and Coda) 

Iron Maiden - Somewhere In Time 

16. Iron Maiden – Somewhere In Time

Iron Maiden gave the term Heavy Metal its true meaning right from the word go. With twin leads by Dave Murray and Adrian Smith and piercing strong operatic vocals of Bruce Dickinson, the galloping bass and compositions of Steve Harris and the gripping drums of Nicko McBrain, Iron Maiden is any budding heavy metal band’s dream line-up Somewhere in Time is a great album to start off with, including great tracks like Caught Somewhere in Time, Wasted Years and Heaven Can Wait. (All their albums are outright classics including Number of the Beast, Powerslave, Piece of Mind and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son)  

Van Halen - MCMLXXXIV 

17. Van Halen – MCMLXXXIV (1984)

Yes, the awesome lead guitar played in Michael Jackson’s classic song Beat It was by this super– guitarist called Eddie Van Halen. With his band, Eddie Van Halen redefined how to play the electric guitar with his self– taught techniques of tapping, hammer– ons, pull– offs and incredible sound effects. 1984 is perhaps the band’s best recorded album ever and it was their last fling with fellow vocalist David Lee Roth. If you’ve seen the flick Back to the Future, Michael J, Fox uses this album beginning to frighten his father (in the past) with UFO sounds. That apart, songs like Jump, Panama, I’ll Wait and Hot for Teacher are fresh and demand repeated listening.(Must-hear albums include : Van Halen 1, Women and Children First, 5150 and For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge) 

Ozzy Osbourne - The Ozzman Cometh 

18. Ozzy Osbourne – The Ozzman Cometh (Compilation)

This is an ideal compilation to introduce you to the Prince of Darkness Mr. Ozzy Osbourne. It features a few tracks of his earlier band Black Sabbath as well. Paranoid, War Pigs, Crazy Train, Mr. Crawley, Bark At The Moon, Mama I’m Coming Home, No More Tears, the list is endless.(Recommended albums: Blizzard of Oz, Diary of a Madman, Bark at the Moon, Tribute to Randy Rhoads) 

Judas Priest - Painkiller 

19. Judas Priest – Pain Killer

If you want to experience sheer power of dual lead guitars, double bass drums, screeching vocals, and shredding bass lines, Pain Killer is ‘The Album’. Suddenly out of nowhere, arrived a new revitalized Judas Priest, with new sound, new style and surprisingly the same old lineup. Songs like the title track Pain Killer, Night Crawler, Touch of Evil and Metal Meltdown, are the highlights of the album.(Other albums I like are: Ram it Down, Hell Bent for Leather, Stained Class, Sad Wings of Destiny, British Steel, Point of Entry and Screaming for Vengeance) 

Metallica - Metallica 

20. Metallica – Metallica

This was a ground breaking album with great sound engineering & new low sounds never heard before. A must have album to complete this list, this album includes classics like Enter Sandman, Sad But True, The Unforgiven, Nothing Else Matters and Wherever I May Roam.(Other albums worth a hearing are Kill ‘Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and …And Justice for All) 

Nirvana - Nevermind 

21. Nirvana – Nevermind

When we speak of Alternative Rock, Nirvana has a huge, huge fan following and after Kurt Cobain’s shocking suicide the band’s music became more popular. Just listen to the album, maybe you’ll like it. Though the roots of alternative music date back to REM and the likes, the credit of making it a popular mainstream form of music goes to Nirvana. 

Pearl Jam - Ten 

22. Pearl Jam – Ten

Pearl Jam became one of America’s most popular bands in the nineties with this album. Ten is easily one of the best alternative albums ever recorded and can be credited amongst the primary albums that made the Grunge & Alternative genre more popular. Ironically however the success of Nirvana’s Nevermind actually increased the records sales for this album and eventually Ten outsold Nevermind! 

That’s it for now to kick start your collection.You can continue hereon on your own research on this beautiful subject. Some acts recommended are Rolling Stones, The Who, Cream, Uriah Heep, Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer, T-Rex, Supertramp, Frank Zappa, Steely Dan, Velvet Underground, Black Sabbath, Grateful Dead, Credence Clearwater Revival, Jimi Hendrix, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Queen, Rush, Steely Dan, Traffic, Whitesnake, Rainbow, AC/DC, Grateful Dead, and a thousand more. The list is endless… Long Live Rock n’ Roll!!! 


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Iron Maiden’s Somewhere Back In Time Tour, February 1, 2008 – MMRDA, Mumbai – India


We greeted Lauren Harris and her band, and then of course our very own Parikrama were cheered too. But then we all knew whey we were there, so though we made ourselves available much ahead in time, we were waiting for “Somewhere Back In Time”; frankly, our minds were in an “excuse us please” mode till around 7:45pm.That was precisely when Bruce and his Army – Iron Maiden declared war on stage with the opening riff of Aces High. Mr. Dickinson of course was not visible on stage through the entire intro music, and then like a flash of lightning and a jump that was higher than any basketball player alive, he sprang out with the line “There goes the siren…..!!!!!!” 

Alright, now first things first,

The Set: 

  1. Aces High
  2. 2 Minutes To Midnight
  3. Revelations
  4. The Trooper
  5. Wasted Years
  6. The Number Of The Beast
  7. Run To The Hills
  8. The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (Can you believe they played this FULL ???)
  9. Powerslave
  10. Heaven Can Wait
  11. Can I Play With Madness?
  12. Fear Of The Dark
  13. Iron Maiden
  14. Moonchild
  15. Clairvoyant
  16. Hallowed Be Thy Name

 So what’s missing there????Nothing practically… It was like a Best of Iron Maiden CD being blasted live, except the enduring Somewhere In Time, the symphonic Seventh Son and the soaring personal favourite Flight Of Icarus. We actually waited for a while after Hallowed, thinking they’ll come back for an encore with Caught Somewhere In Time, but that didn’t happen, wonder why… 

Show Highlights: 

With an intro like Aces High, the band had already set a bar so high that one could only imagine if it would ever get better than that… but that’s Iron Maiden for you, the show only kept getting better and better from there. The energy levels were so high and so well maintained throughout, that one could only imagine what keeps them going at 50+. Of course I got a chance to hang out with the band at a post show dinner where I realized that these blokes don’t drink nor smoke. Perhaps there lies the key… Now apart from the great teamwork which made all songs sound like CD perfect (it almost seemed like they were purposely improvising & deviating from the original song just to tell us that there was no minus-ones!!!), each member had his own agenda on stage. 

Let’s start with the left-flanked Janick Gers; everyone plays the guitar – but this gentleman can also play ‘with’ the guitar. I have never seen anyone play ‘with’ the guitar as much as Janick did yesterday. Of course we’ve seen Hendrix, and yeah Pete Townsend and the rogues throw the guitar around, and we all know how Steve Vai can make love to the guitar on stage, but man this was something else!!!  He was swaying it wildly, throwing it up in the air, grounding it and yeah I forgot to mention… all this was while he was also playing it!!!! 

Nicko McBrain’s agenda was very clear, he was the human metronome that day and didn’t budge one split beat! His drums kept him covered throughout and all we could see was his angled profile on the screens from an upward-facing camera under the drums. He also had a cute little ‘Eddie’ atop his bass drum. The tight-as-a-cd sound credit goes totally to him. 

Adrian Smith as usual stood out during his solos and was using a Gibson SG for a couple of songs apart from the regular Fender Stratocasters. He changed a lot of his regular leads and improvised a lot within his space and yet had his trademark bluesy playing written all over.

Dave Murray – now what can you say about this man! (Before I go ahead with this, I must tell you he is the best cool / warm person combo you will ever meet. Cool headed and warm hearted! I spent almost an hour at the post show party, just chatting with him; this was when he handed me his personal pick!) Murray with his Fenders set the stage on fire with his blazing solos that cut through the sounds like a sharp knife running over water.

Bruce Dickinson’s vocal prowess, stage antics, athleticism, and timing were just the same as one could see in the earliest of their live shows from the 80s. His swaying hand gestures and crowd screamers were also as fresh as ever. One could not help but notice the kick he got from repeatedly stating “Scream For Me Mumbai!”  

Steve Harris and his crystal clear galloping bass lines were the highlight of the evening, It was a high for any bass player to actually hear the bass so clear in the PA system!!! He was running his usual 100-meter sprints on stage and it was amazing to hear the bass lines of 2 Minutes & Rime.  

Post Show Dinner:

Now this was the moment I was waiting for, I was among the privileged few who were invited for a brief post-show unwind session organized by EMI (thanks TS for that!!!). With the usual Western Express traffic making the 15-minute distance from Bandra to Juhu into a one hour crawl, I was dying in that stupid auto… then finally I reached only to find that the auto dude didn’t have change at all and neither did I, (trust me Murphy is alive and kicking) but then that day belonged to me, so nothing could stop me, thanks to dear ol’ James I cleared the auto fare and rushed in. The venue was the cozy Family Lounge at Marriot and thankfully I was amongst the few who had come in, the band was yet to arrive. First up were Steve & Janick, followed shortly by Murray, a little later Nicko turned up & we had to wait for a really long time for Smith and last was Dickinson. What a sight!!! To see these wild warriors on stage become chilled out gentlemen, easy going lovely people signing each and every autograph, posing for each and every picture and chatting with anyone who walked up to them!!! Here I must mention a very special thanks to Dave Murray & Janick Gers for talking to my dearest pal Sarosh on my phone. Sarosh, who can be considered one of the greatest Iron Maiden fans in India, had to miss this show because of a prior commitment as a guitarist for Shaan’s live gig in Vizag!!!

I’ll also post the pics but for now this should work fine as a cool post for Maiden Fans!!!! 


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