Sunday, October 30, 2016

Peter Gabriel - I Don't Remember

For this years' slightly abbreviated All Hallows Even celebration, we are going with Peter Gabriel's excellent, creepy, and underrated video for "I Don't Remember."

As many readers will know, Peter Gabriel left Genesis in 1975, and released his first solo album in early 1977.  [As a side note, the first four Peter Gabriel solo albums are all untitled, and are often referred to by the cover art.]  While Gabriel's first two solo albums sold well, it was his third LP, 1980's 'Melt' that broke him as a solo artist.  The album was a sonic breakthrough with a modern, driving sound.  As one example, the album did not use any cymbals at all, which led to the innovation of the gated reverb drum sound.

'Melt' would go on to hit "1 in the U.K. and #22 in the U.S., led by "Games Without Frontiers," which reached #4 in the U.K. and #48 in the U.S.  The album also drew no small amount of critical acclaim; Rolling Stone ranked it as the 45th greatest album of the 1980's.  The LP is remarkably strong from cover to cover with lyrics that are creative and political, and a sound that was unlike anything on radio at the time.

In the All Hallows Even spirit, we opted for "I Don't Remember," which has a genuinely unnerving video.  The song only reached #107 in the U.S. and did not chart in the U.K., and I doubt that the video would have been played by most mainstream outlets back in the day.  However, it fits seamlessly into our theme of the season here.

Also note that previous All Hallows Even videos can be selected by choosing the Label to the right.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Dokken - Just Got Lucky

While Dokken's version of melodic hard rock seemed tailor made for the pop metal era, they never quite landed the big breakout song or album.  To be fair, though, they did have three consecutive platinum (and top 50) LPs in the 1980's, which is more than most groups can say.

The band's roots date back to 1976, when singer/guitarist Don Dokken formed Airborn in Los Angeles.  The name change to Dokken occurred in 1979, when the group discovered that there was a signed band with the Airborn name.  Four years later Dokken had gathered enough of a following to land a recording contract with Elektra.  Unfortunately, their first album (1983's Breaking the Chains) did not do well -- to the point that convincing the label to finance a second album became quite an ordeal (as an aside, this led to the LP's name -- Tooth and Nail).

Though Tooth and Nail didn't become a smash hit, it did establish Dokken as a legitimate rock act, and eventually reached #49 on the album charts.  "Just Got Lucky" did not chart on the singles charts, but hit #27 on the Billboard mainstream rock chart.  It remains our favorite Dokken song, though we don't recall seeing the video back in the day.

The vid is pretty standard stuff, though it does look as though portions of it may have been filmed in a dressing room (mirrors!).  The guitar solo was shot in Hawaii, near an active volcano that apparently made breathing difficult.

As previously mentioned, Dokken would go on to have further successes in the 1980's, before the simmering tensions between Don Dokken and lead guitarist George Lynch caused Dokken to break up in 1989.  However, there have been multiple reunions since then, and the band seems to be doing reunion shows as of this writing.