I hope that you enjoyed my conversation last week. It was fun to do, and I will definitely do more. I tried to keep it casual sounding yet informative as I aim to highlight some of the authors I am doing promotions with.
Now onto today’s topic:
When I first picked up a guitar, I wanted to be a rock and roll star. My friend had recently played a new album by this band called Van Halen. I was awestruck. I went out and bought the cassette (Remember those? Some of you won’t, some of you will have fond memories of making or receiving a mixed tape).
I liked every song on that tape except for Ice Cream Man. For some reason, I disliked it so much I put tape over the little gap on the top corner (some of you will know about this, others will be scratching their heads) and proceeded to erase it. Thankfully, it was the last song. I also scraped the title off the cassette.
Why did I go to great lengths to eliminate this one song from my life? It was a departure from what I thought Van Halen and hard rock were supposed to be, I suppose.
Hearing it later in my life, along with songs and covers like Pretty Woman, You Really Got Me, Dancing in the Street (which was much better than the terrible Jagger/Bowie version), and Big Bad Bill/Sweet William (clarinet in a rock band!?) showed just how talented and versatile the band members were—and no one screams quite like Roth, either. I’m not saying he was the best, just that you could always tell it was him. I also remember there was an uproar when 1984 came out and featured keyboards in Jump and many others (keyboards in a rock band!?)
What made me think about this? I found an old iPod (mine) that had all the pre-Hagar albums. (don’t get me started on that fiasco*). So, I listened to them all. They had many hits—and many misses—and you could hear the sound that influenced many of the 80s hard rock bands.
So, I apologize to Mr. Roth, Mr. Halen (both), and Mr. Anthony for my hasty judgement and destruction of your work. I am not a rock star…you all are.
Thank you for sharing your talent, Eddie. R.I.P
*FYI: Joking aside, Van Halen with Hagar was different, not better or worse. It changed the band, not like how AC/DC was able to change their lead singer and not miss a beat.
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Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
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