The Rock & Roll Mother Load!

Sep 23, 2002 (Updated Jun 16, 2003)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Finally, a CD that is worth its weight in gold!

Cons:Y&T, Cinderella and Ratt could have had better tracks.

The Bottom Line: If you ever wore a demin jacket adorned with iron-on patches, teased your hair and dreamed of being in a rock video - this is the CD for you.

After coming across so many 80's rock, pop and metal compilations that simply sucked - I came across one that simply blew me away. You might not be all that impressed with the slightly cheesy cover art for Pure 80’s Rocks but take a gander at the play list and the tracks and you’ll see some of rocks biggest names assembled for a very impressive trip down memory lane.

When I made my big score of 80’s released CD’s [all used and at rock bottom prices] I looked over the list, checked out some of the bands and for $1.99 added it to the growing stack of compact discs I intended on purchasing. It wasn’t until a few days ago that I realized the magnitude of my find – Kiss, The Scorpions, Autograph, Triumph and Night Ranger – just to name a few. Sure, there are some bands that aren’t included [Rush, Iron Maiden] but overall this blows most 80’s compilations to dust.

The Music

Take a minute and look over the artists and tracks that grace this compilation and tell me in all honesty that there aren’t at least three that you absolutely love. And I can almost guarantee that at least have the people who are fans of the 80’s rock scene had their first kiss to one of these songs. And while we are at it, how many formals, proms and socials were themed around one of these songs? As much as I hate to admit it - Every Rose Has Its Thorn was voted as the theme and song of a social [equivalent to a prom without the cool decorations] I was forced to attend. But hey, this is about the music – not my painful teen angst moments :]

There are a few tracks on this release that appear on a ton of anthology type releases and have sort of pigeon-holed some artists to a certain song or genre of music. Aldo Nova’s enigmatic Fantasy can easily be considered a rock anthem and at the time of its release it was regarded as innovative, groundbreaking and cutting edge. Much the same can be said for Triumph and their contribution Fight The Good Fight. People tried to cling to this song and when Triumph tried to break out of the mold they were called sell-outs. Twilight Zone by Golden Earring was one of the most powerful tracks of the 80’s rock era but sadly it was the true death card of the band. Nothing else they did seemed to be able to stand up to this track – and fans never let them forget it.

Rock anthems and tribute to the music run rampant on this CD. Night Ranger could have easily fallen into the Aldo Nova groove if it weren’t for their ability to mix pop and rock together – literally doubling their fan base and offering something for almost everyone. Rock In America is one of their most popular tracks and was a might fine pick for this collection however my own personal favorite will always be Don’t Tell Me You Love Me. Kiss kicked up the heat with Lick It Up but I have to say that there were about ten other choices I would have picked from the bands discography over this one. The rock feel continues with Judas Priest’s Living After Midnight which is a true cornerstone of rock history. Who here didn’t see the video and jump on the coffee table, throw a fist in the air and scream the lyrics? OK, maybe it was just me doing that :]

The hair bands were also well represented on Pure 80’s Rocks with the inclusion of Ratt, Cinderella, Poison, Y&T and L.A. Guns. The songs range from the token love ballad Every Rose Has Its Thorn to the hip shaking Round And Round. Hair metal as it was so gloriously called was a pivotal and essential part of 80’s metal. It would have been nice to have seen some Skid Row on this [regardless of how I feel about the band] but they missed 80’s boat of success by a year or so. The Ballad Of Jayne was a risky venture for L.A. Guns since it topped the pop charts and could have been viewed as a sell out track had the band kicked out a few more “power ballads” like this.

Sandwiched in the middle of all this glory are the often forgotten acts that seem to have faded away from the spotlight. Billy Squire should have had a more powerful track than Don’t Say You Love Me - come on - Stroke was his best song and you know that for a fact. Autograph’s Turn Up The Radio didn’t do anything for me when it was released and after fermenting for 18 years it still fails to get my rocks off in any way, share or form. Get It On from Kingdom Come is the bottom feeder track in my opinion. Much like the Autograph track – it never got a rise out of me.

The heavy hitters of rock are what impressed me the most. When you think of 80’s rock there are a few bands that immediately come to mind – and The Scorpions will always be in the forefront when the subject arises. No One Like You is one of their best tracks and I can still recall the very first time I heard this song as well as the first viewing of the video. I hate to sound like a Hallmark card or a bumper sticker, but this was one of the songs that changed my life and served as a basis for my absolute love of rock.

Equally impressive is the track Stone Cold, while not one of my personal favorites there are more than a few ‘teen related memories’ attached to it. Whitesnake did as much for the creation of sexy rock vixens featured in videos as the CD format did for music sales. Here I go Again is a great song but I would have much rather had the sultry, steamy track Still Of The Night. Foreigner’s Jukebox Hero shows the bands ability to mix storytelling with music and do it in one hell of a grand manner. Not a personal favorite but still impressive, it gives a good – but limited – view of the bands musical potential.

Fantasy - Aldo Nova
Rock In America - Night Ranger
Living After Midnight - Judas Priest
Lick It Up - Kiss
Round And Round - Ratt
Summertime Girls - Y&T
Get It On - Kingdom Come
Nobody's Fool - Cinderella
Every Rose Has Its Thorn - Poison
The Ballad Of Jayne - L.A. Guns
Fight The Good Fight - Triumph
Stone Cold - Rainbow
Twilight Zone - Golden Earring
Here I Go Again - Whitesnake
Turn Up The Radio - Autograph
Don't Say You Love Me - Billy Squier
No One Like You - Scorpions
Juke Box Hero – Foreigner

The Bottom Line

If you are looking for a well-rounded selection of 80’s rock then this might just be a CD worth tracking down. There are a few songs that I have some issues with – but most of that is personal preference and how I feel the bands should be represented from a musical standpoint. I’ve only found one other CD so far that has this much star power behind it and trust me, you’ll be getting a review of that in the near future.

Fans of 80’s rock have more or less been ripped off in the past. Most compilation projects fail to pay homage to the rock and roll stars that defined an era and helped to shape the music we hear today [with the exception of boy bands – you can blame that on greedy record producers].


Run Time: 58:14
Number of Tracks: 18
Release Date: May, 2002
UPC: 731458-49622-9
Released Under: Rhino Records / MTV

As always, thanks for the visit!

^V^ Freak ^V^

2003 Freak369

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