Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Doors

The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, California by vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore, and guitarist Robby Krieger. They are considered a controversial and influential band, due mostly to Morrison's cryptic lyrics and unpredictable stage persona. After Morrison's death on July 3, 1971, the remaining members continued as a threesome until disbanding in 1973.[1] Despite a career that barely totaled eight years, The Doors still enjoy a huge cult following as well as status in the mainstream music industry as being hugely influential and original. According to the RIAA, they have sold over 32.5 million albums in the US alone.[2] The origins of The Doors lie in a chance meeting between acquaintances and fellow UCLA film school alumni Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek on Venice Beach California in July 1965. Morrison told Manzarek he had been writing songs (Morrison said "I was taking notes at a fantastic rock-n-roll concert going on in my head") and, with Manzarek's encouragement, sang "Moonlight Drive".

Impressed by Morrison's lyrics, Manzarek suggested they form a band. Keyboardist Manzarek was in a band called Rick & the Ravens with his brothers Rick and Jim Manzarek, while drummer John Densmore was playing with The Psychedelic Rangers, and knew Manzarek from meditation classes. In August, Densmore joined the group and, along with members of The Ravens and bass player Pat Sullivan (later credited using her married name Patricia Hansen in the 1997 box CD release), recorded a six-song demo in September 1965. This circulated widely as a bootleg recording and appeared in full on the 1997 Doors box set. That month the group recruited guitarist Robby Krieger, and the final lineup — Morrison, Manzarek, Krieger and Densmore — was complete. The band took their name from the title of a book by Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception (1954). That title was in turn taken from a line in a poem entitled "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" by the 18th-century artist and poet William Blake: "If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is: infinite".[3] The Doors were unusual among rock groups because they did not use a bass guitar when playing live. Instead, Manzarek played the bass lines with his left hand on the newly invented Fender Rhodes Piano Bass, an offshoot of the Fender Rhodes electric piano, playing other keyboards with his right hand. On their studio albums (with the notable exception of their eponymous first record), The Doors did use bass players, such as Douglas Lubahn, Jerry Scheff, Harvey Brooks, Lonnie Mack, Larry Knechtel and Leroy Vinnegar. Many of The Doors' original songs were group compositions, with Morrison or Krieger contributing the lyrics and an initial melody, and the others providing harmonic and rhythmic suggestions, or even entire sections of songs, such as Manzarek's organ introduction to "Light My Fire".

By 1966, the group was playing the London Fog club and soon graduated to the prestigious Whisky a Go Go, where they were the house band, supporting acts including Van Morrison's group Them. On their last night together the two bands joined up for "In the Midnight Hour" and a twenty-minute jam session of Them's "Gloria".[4] On August 10, they were spotted by Elektra Records president Jac Holzman who was present at the recommendation of Love singer Arthur Lee, whose group was on Elektra. After Holzman and producer Paul A. Rothchild saw two sets of the band playing at the Whisky a Go Go, they signed them to the Elektra Records label on August 18—the start of a long and successful partnership with Rothchild and engineer Bruce Botnick. The timing was fortunate, because on August 21 the club fired the band after a profanity-filled performance of "The End". In an incident that foreshadowed the controversy that later followed the group, an acid-tripping Morrison raucously recited his own version of the Greek drama Oedipus Rex, in which Oedipus unknowingly kills his father and has sex with his mother.

Discography :
1. The Best of The Doors
2. Legacy : The Absolute Beat
3. The Doors
4. Strange Days
5. Morisson Hotel
6. Waiting for the sun
7. The complete studio
8. Absolutely Live
9. The Doors: Box Set
10. The Doors Original
11. Essential Ratities
12. L.A Woman
13. Live in Hollywood
14. The Soft Parade

Asia (Progressive Rock)

ASIA were formed in 1981 by: Steve HOWE (YES) John WETTON (KING CRIMSON, URIAH HEEP, UK ETC.) Geoff DOWNES (YES, BUGGLES, and Carl PALMER (ELP). They were of course immediately dubbed a "supergroup" (in the way as CREAM, EMERSON LAKE AND PALMER etc. were). Over the years the line up has gone through constant changes, with DOWNES being the only founding member still present (although even he has not been ever present). Greg LAKE passed though the ranks briefly in 1983 replacing WETTON, but his voice did not suite the material, and he left before recording any studio albums with the band.

WETTON's return in 1984 resurrected previous conflicts with HOWE, who left to be replaced by Mandy METER (KROKUS). ASIA effectively ceased to exist between 1985 and 1987, when DOWNES and WETTON attempted to rekindle the flame. They recorded a few tracks together, but WETTON soon moved on again, and DOWNES started working with John PAYNE on alternative projects. In 1989, WETTON and PALMER got back together forming yet another line up with John YOUNG and Alan DARBY. The line up changes continued into the 1990's, with DOWNES soon rejoining and bringing in the since long serving John PAYNE. By 1991, the band still only released three studio albums. With the release of "Aqua" in 1992, there started a relatively settled period for ASIA in as much as the band became very much a DOWNES/PAYNE project, with other musicians being brought in for recording or touring as required. A reunion of the original line up appears to have almost happened in the late 1990's, but the momentum was lost, and it never materialised.

With such well known names in the original ASIA , expectations were high that the new band would produce high quality prog rock in it's truest form. ASIA however had different ideas, and went for a far more direct and commercial sound. The quality of the musicianship was undoubted, but many fans of the source bands were left disappointed by the self titled debut album. Commercially, the venture was enormously successful, with the band enjoying both singles and album chart success. "Asia" alone has sold over nine million copies world-wide.

The output from the band has been surprisingly consistent considering all the turmoil they have experienced. They have moved through AOR/melodic rock ("Asia", "Alpha") through a more symphonic sound "Astra", towards power metal ("Aria"), verging on prog ("Arena") before arriving at "Aura".

Discography :
1. Asia (1982)
2. Alpha (1983)
3. Astra (1985)
4. Aqua (1992)
5. Arena (1996)
6. Aura (2001)
7. Silent Nation (2004)
8. Phoenix (2008)




K.K. Downing and Ian Hill formed the band in 1971. They asked singer Alan Atkins to join the group. His band had just broken up and he took the name to the new group. Drummer John Ellis rounded out the quartet. He was shortly replaced by Alan Moore. They played a lot of shows around their hometown of Birmingham, England and the whole country and began drawing a good following of fans. This Band named JUDAS PRIEST.

After some management problems in 1973 Atkins and Moore left the group. At the time Ian Hill was dating the sister of Rob Halford, and she suggested him as the new singer. Halford joined the band along with drummer John Hinch, also of his old group Hiroshima. Shortly thereafter they got a record deal and at the record company's recommendation they added a second guitarist, Glenn Tipton.

Debut Album:

Judas Priest released their debut album Rocka Roller in 1974. It didn't do much, either commercially or critically. Their second album, 1976's Sad Wings Of Destiny did a little better, and looking back is considered a metal classic. With each album Priest became more and more successful throughout the late '70s and into the '80s.

Worldwide Success:

The '80s were the decade Priest had the most success. They had a string of hit albums including Screaming For Vengeance, Defenders Of The Faith and Turbo. They even had some radio and MTV success with songs like "Breaking The Law" and "Turbo Lover."


By the end of the '80s Judas Priest was one of the best selling and top grossing live acts in heavy metal. However, there were some tensions within the band and in 1991 Halford left the group. He was replaced by Tim "Ripper" Owens, who had been the singer in a Priest tribute band. The movie "Rock Star" is loosely based on his story.


Judas Priest released a couple of albums with Owens as lead singer, but they didn't do very well. After 12 years away from the band, Rob Halford rejoined Judas Priest in 2003. After a triumphant comeback concert tour and headlining stint on Ozzfest 2004, they released a new album in 2005, Angel Of Retribution. In 2008 Priest released the ambitious double disc concept album Nostradamus, which received mixed reviews, but was named one of the best CDs of the year by this site.

Current Band Members:

Rob Halford - Vocals (Fight, Halford, Surgical Steel, Two)
Glenn Tipton - Guitar (The Flying Hat Band, Glenn Tipton, Merlin, Shave And Dry)
Kenneth Keith Downing - Guitar (Freight)
Ian Hill - Bass
Scott Travis - Drums (Fight, Hawk, Racer X)

Former Band Members:

Al Atkins - Vocals (1971-1972)
Tim "Ripper" Owens - Vocals (1996-2003)
John Ellis - Drums (1971) Chris "Congo" Campbell - Drums (1971-1972)
John Hinch - Drums (1973-1975)
Alan Moore - Drums (1975-1976)
Simon Phillips - Drums (1977)
Les Binks - Drums (1977-1979)
Dave Holland - Drums (1979-1989)

Essential Judas Priest Album:

British Steel
It is Priest at their finest, containing smashes like "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight." It saw the band leaving more experimental music behind and going for the arena rock anthems that Halford sings so well. There's not a bad song on this album.

Discography :
1. Rocka Rolla (1974)
2. Sad Wings of Destiny (1976)
3. Sin After Sin (1977)
4. Stainded Class (1978)
5. Hell Bent of Leather (1978)
6. Unleashed In The East (1979)
7. British Steel (1980)
8. Point of Entry (1981)
9. Screaming for Vengeance (1982)
10. Defenders of The Faith (1984)
11. Turbo (1986)
12. Priest ...LIVE (1987)
13. Ram IT Down (1988)
14. Painkiller (1990)
15. Metal Works (1993)
16. Jugulator (1997)
17. 98 Live Meltdown (1998)
18. Demolition (2001)
19. Angel of Retribution (2005)
20. Nostradamus - Epic (2008)



After recording two solo albums, former Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale formed Whitesnake around 1977. In the glut of hard rock and heavy metal bands of the late '70s, their first albums got somewhat lost in the shuffle, although they were fairly popular in Europe in Japan. During 1982, Coverdale took some time off, so he could take care of his sick daughter. When he re-emerged with a new version of Whitesnake in 1984, the band sounded revitalized and energetic.

Slide It In may have relied on Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple's old tricks, but the band had a knack for writing hooks; the record became their first platinum album. Three years later, Whitesnake released an eponymous album which was even better. Portions of the album were blatantly derivative — "Still of the Night" was a dead ringer for early Zeppelin — but the group could write powerful, heavy rockers like "Here I Go Again" that were driven as much by melody as riffs, as well as hit power ballads like "Is This Love." Whitesnake was an enormous international success, selling over six million copies in the U.S. alone.

Before they recorded their follow-up, 1989's Slip of the Tongue, Coverdale again assembled a completely new version of the band, featuring guitar virtuoso Steve Vai. Although the record went platinum, it was a considerable disappointment after the across-the-boards success of Whitesnake. Coverdale put Whitesnake on hiatus after that album. In 1993, he released a collaboration with former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page that was surprisingly lackluster. The following year, Whitesnake released a greatest hits album and it seemed likely that Coverdale was going to form a new version of the band.

Discography :
1. Good to be Bad (2008)
2. In The shadows of Blues - Live (2006)
3. Starkers in Tokyo (1988)
4. Restless Heart (1998)
5. Slip of the Tongue (1989)
6. 1987 (1987)
7. Slide it in (1984)
8. Saints and Sinners (1982)
9. Come and Get It (1981)
10. Ready an' Willing (1980)
11. Live at Hammersmith (1980)
12. Lovehunter (1979)
13. Trouble (1978)
14. Snakebite (1978)


Marillion (Neo Progressive UK)

MARILLION, taking their name from Tolkien's "The Silmarillion", are the well known band that invented the "New Wave of Progressive Rock". Their sound is similar to GENESIS '72 to '82 or thereabouts, with PINK FLOYD and YES influences. The line-up, by this time, comprised Fish (his real name, Derek Dick, was worse; vocals), Mark Kelly (keyboards), Steve Rothery (guitar), Ian Mosley (drums) and Peter Trewavas (bass).

MARILLION - FISH (1982 - 1988)
The music is directed around the poetic and sometimes fantasy lyrics of the lead singer Fish, who sounds very much like Peter Gabriel. The band got their best successes, both artistically, progressively and commercially. "Script For A Jester's Tear" showed influences from many of the great 70's progressive bands. The second studio album "Fugazi" followed in the next year. The third studio album, "Misplaced Chilhood", was a true concept album and placed MARILLION among the greats. MARILLION's fourth album "Clutching At Straws" was to be "old" MARILLION's farewell to the world. The album, dealing with the problems of drug addiction and alcoholism, was the final album to be made with Fish as front man and lyricist. Fish left the band in 1988 to pursue a solo career.

MARILLION - HOGARTH (1989 - today)
Their new sound seems more geared for radio play, although they still have an air of depression in the music. "Season's End" was issued in 1989 with a new singer, a lot less inspired by Peter Gabriel, Steve HOGARTH. Their album "Brave", considered one of the modern masterpieces of progressive rock, is a concept piece about a young girl that contemplates suicide on a bridge. This daring concept album is a spectacular exercise in multi-layered music.

Personnally, I enjoy both styles, although I prefered the old art rock style of Fish. Still, with Hogarth, MARILLION has progressed to a higher level making it one of the top bands from the mid eighties till now.

Discography :
1. Script of Jester Tear (1983)
2. Fugazy (1984)
3. Misplaced Childhood (1985)
4. Clutching at Straws (1987)
5. Holidays in Eden (1991)
6. Brave (1994)
7. Afraid of Sunlight (1995)
8. This strange engine (1997)
9. (1999)
10. Anoraknophobia(2001)
11. Marbles (2004)
12. Somewhere else (2007)
13. Less is More (2009)