A teenage summertime love affair with a foreign exchange student was the inspiration for this song by Wishbone Ash. Though overlooked in the US, Wishbone Ash reached #3 on the UK charts with the album Argus, which features “Blowin’ Free”. Wishbone Ash’s twin lead guitar sound would inspire many band that followed.

Wishbone Ash – “Blowin’ Free” (Martin Turner, Andy Powell, Ted Turner, Steve Upton) Copyright 1972 Colgems Music Corp./Blackclaw Music Inc – ASCAP

— This show is just one of many great Rock Podcasts on the Pantheon Podcasts network. Gotta catch ’em all!  


Hey, it’s Brad Page. I’m back in the studio, powering up the mics and cranking up the headphones because it’s time for another episode of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast, here on the Pantheon Podcast Network. Each episode of the show, we take a song and look at it from every angle, trying to get a handle on what makes a song work. No musical knowledge is required here– you don’t have to be technical, all you got to do is listen.

This time around we are listening to a track from a band that was big in Europe and the UK, but just never really caught on here in America. This is Wishbone Ash with “Blowing Free”.

Wishbone Ash came together in 1969 with Andy Powell and Ted Turner on guitars, Martin Turner on bass and Steve Upton on drums. Though Ted and Martin share a last name, they’re not actually related.

The thing that distinguished Wishbone Ash right out of the gate were those twin guitars of Andy and Ted. Though there had been other bands with two lead guitar players– the Allman Brothers come to mind– Wishbone Ash was one of the first to make harmony guitar parts such an essential element. That was the Wishbone Ash sound.

They released their first album in December 1970. Less than a year later, they released their second record, and in May 1972 they released their third album called “Argus”. It’s the album that most people consider to be their best.

“Argus” was well received, both critically and commercially. It was their biggest selling album, reaching number three on the UK charts. The “Argus” album flirts with progressive rock and hard rock, but it was the upbeat track “Blowing Free”, the closest thing to a pop song on the album, that got them on the radio and exposed to a wider audience, at least in the UK.

The song almost didn’t make it onto the album. The band thought it was too poppy compared to the rest of the record, but Martin Turner insisted that they keep it on the album.

The song is credited to Martin Turner, Ted Turner, Andy Powell and Steve Upton. Martin Turner wrote the lyrics and he plays the bass. Ted Turner and Andy Powell are on guitars and Steve Upton is on the drums. The album was produced by Derek Lawrence and engineered by Martin Birch, both known for their work with Deep Purple.

The song kicks off with a great guitar intro by Ted, and it didn’t have the same impact here in the states, but in the UK, learning that guitar intro was like a rite of passage for British guitar players, like “Stairway To Heaven” or “Sweet Child of Mine”, it’s just one of those intros that seems like every beginning guitar player had to learm. That introduction was actually inspired by an old song by the Steve Miller band called, “Children of the Future”.

They took that and turned it into something of their own.

Before the band fully kicks in, they’re going to change up the guitar riff.

Let’s listen to those guitars again.

You can hear how they’ve panned the guitars to the left and the right to add some differentiation and some dimension to the sound. Martin Turner’s bass part is also great here, too. Let’s listen to some of that.

When Martin Turner was a teenager growing up in a seaside town in southwest England, he had a summertime romance one year with a Swedish exchange student. Her hair was golden brown like a cornfield. When he was looking for lyrics for this song, he reminisced about that relationship and that story of teenage love and loss; that became the song.

Following that verse is a guitar solo played by Andy Powell, most likely played on his Gibson Flying V guitar. He was mostly known for playing Flying V’s. This is a great guitar solo.

Next up is the second verse. Martin’s Swedish girlfriend didn’t speak much English and he didn’t speak any Swedish, but I guess they found some way to communicate. Apparently when he asked her if he could kiss her, she said, “you can try”. That phrase appears a couple of times in this song.

Now the song shifts gears into a quieter, more melancholy section. Every good memory has a tinge of sadness for those lost moments you’ll never relive again.

I really like what Martin Turner’s bass and Steve Upton’s drums are doing behind this section. It’s simple but really effective. This leads us into another guitar solo. This one played beautifully by Ted Turner. Just incredibly tasteful. I think that’s just great. To me, he captures that wistful feeling of recalling old memories.

But that melancholy doesn’t last long. They kick right back into the verse riff, and Andy Powell takes over with another solo.

Let’s listen to some of that guitar.

And they return to the first verse.

More guitar work by Andy Powell. Now some of their trademark guitar harmonies start to appear in the background.

And here we have a slide guitar solo played by Ted Turner. Ted had started to listen to Ry Cooder, one of the great slide players of all time, and it inspired him to play a little slide guitar here. This is the first time Ted had ever tried playing slide.

Guitars start to build up from the background.

“Blowing Free” by Wishbone Ash

In the UK publication “Sounds” magazine, which was a big deal at the time, the readers voted “Argus” the best album of 1972, beating out albums like David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust”, Deep Purple’s “Machine Head” and the Rolling Stones “Exile on Main Street”. That’s some serious competition– that just shows you how big Wishbone Ash was in the UK.

But here in the US, “Argus” didn’t get any higher than 169 on the charts. America just wasn’t that interested in Wishbone Ash, but guitar players– guitar players were paying attention. Bands like Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden would adapt that twin guitar harmony style, and, though largely forgotten by the average listener, Wishbone Ash left their mark on generations of guitar players.

A couple of years ago I was reading an issue of “Classic Rock” magazine and they had an article on this song, which inspired me to dig out that album and eventually inspired this episode. It had probably been 20 years since I last listened to this record, and you know, it’s always great to go back to an old album you haven’t heard in ages and hear it again with fresh ears.  And it reminded me of my past loves, and loves lost.

Thanks for listening to this show. I really appreciate it. New episodes of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast come out on the 1st and the 15th of every month, so I’ll be back soon with another new edition. You’ve been warned.

You can keep in touch with the show on our Facebook page or on our website, lovethatsongpodcast.com, where you’ll also find all of our previous episodes. And, of course, we’re available on Amazon, Apple, Google, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, pretty much anywhere you can find podcasts, you’ll find this show.

And we are part of the Pantheon network of podcasts, home to many more music related shows, so check those out too.

Thanks again for listening to this edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast on Wishbone Ash and “Blowing Free”.


Wishbone Ash

Argus Album

Pantheon Podcast Network

Deep Purple

Steve Miller Band

Ry Cooder

Classic Rock Magazine

Thin Lizzy

Iron Maiden

Gibson Flying V Guitar

Welcome to our 2nd Sort-Of-Annual Halloween episode! This time we’re exploring the gory details of “D.O.A.” by Bloodrock, one of the most gruesome songs to ever make the charts. In predictable fashion, a song almost designed to get banned from radio & freak out your parents in the ’70’s, the song became a Top 40 hit.

“D.O.A.” (Rutledge-Hill-Grundy-Taylor-Pickens-Cobb) Copyright 1970 Ledgefield Music BMI

— Don’t be spooked by all the other great shows on the Pantheon podcast network — check them out! And don’t forget to follow our show so you never miss an episode.


I’m Brad Page and this is the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast on the Pantheon Podcast Network.

It’s time for our special Halloween edition of the podcast where we explore the terrifying tunes, creepy compositions and sinister singles in celebration of all Hallows Eve.

This time we’re traveling back to 1971 for Bloodrock and their chilling performance of “D.O.A.”

Songs about horrible accidents and death were not unheard of on the pop charts; singles like “Leader of the Pack” and “Deadman’s Curve” date back to the early 60s and those were big hits.

But unlike those songs, there is no romanticism or sentimentality in “DOA”. Bloodrock tries to one up the gloom and horror aspects of bands like Black Sabbath with this gruesome tale of a terrible plane crash.

The band that would become Bloodrock came from Fort Worth, Texas. They performed under a few different names. They were led by Jim Rutledge, who was their drummer and their lead vocalist. In 1969, Terry Knight became their manager. Knight is mostly famous– or infamous is more like it– for managing Grand Funk Railroad. Knight was the one that changed their name to Bloodrock and signed them to Capitol Records. They released their first album, simply called “Bloodrock” in 1970.

Terry Knight convinced Jim Rutledge to quit playing drums and become their lead singer out-front. So by the time the band recorded their second album, 1970, Bloodrock was a six-piece band, including Lee Pickens and Nick Taylor, both on guitars, Stevie Hill on keyboards, Ed Grundy on bass, their new drummer,
Rick Cobb, and Jim Rutledge on Lee vocals.

The new album was called “Bloodrock 2” and “DOA” was the featured track on the album. The album version clocks in at 8 1/2 minutes; it was later edited down to 4minutes and 32 seconds, losing almost half of its original length, and issued as a single in 1971.

Though the song was banned by many radio stations, it still managed to reach #36 on the charts. All six band members share writing credit on the song, but the lyrics were inspired by a real-life experience from lead guitarist Lee Pickens. When he was about 17 years old, he actually witnessed a plane crash.
They took that and turned it into a fictional account with the song telling the story of the immediate aftermath of a plane crash. The song is sung from the first person perspective of one of the victims.

Now, I am almost always preferential to the album version of songs as those usually represent the original intent, the way the song was meant to be heard, and I usually prefer the album versions anyway. But I gotta say, at eight minutes and 30 seconds, that’s pretty excessive for this song. So on this episode, we’re just gonna go with the single version.

So here’s how that version begins with Stevie Hill’s organ part.


Sounds ominous, right? That’s because he’s playing a tritone, which for hundreds of years was called “Diabolus in Musica”– the “Devil’s Interval”.

This very distinct sound is created when you play a flatted fifth note. It doesn’t matter what key you’re in, just take the fifth note of that scale and play it flat; in other words, a half-step lower, or if you’re a guitar player, that would be one fret lower. And that note, in relationship to the root note of the scale, creates a very unsettling mood, almost disturbing… so disturbing, in fact, that for centuries the use of the flatted fifth
was frowned upon by the church.

In more enlightened times, it was used in classical music and in jazz in various ways, but it’s really earned its Devil’s Interval reputation in Heavy Metal. One of the earliest and still the best uses of the Devil’s Interval was in “Black Sabbath” by Black Sabbath. Check it out:


So what you have here is the root note in this case, a G, followed by an octave, another G, then a D flat, your demonic flatted fifth.


That’s so great. It’s really just two notes, but in relationship to each other, those two notes create such a feeling.


Okay, back to Blood Rock and “DOA”. Let’s hear how they’re doing it.So first, let’s focus on the bass notes. We’re in the key of C, so the first note is a C.


And that is followed by a G flat. There’s your flatted fifth. Let’s hear those two notes in sequence.


From there, it goes to a D, and then right after that, to an A flat. And that A flat in relationship to the D is, you guessed it, a flatted fifth. So in essence, we’re getting double the devil’s interval here.


Now over the top of that, he’s playing a two note pattern that, when you think about it, emulates the sound of an ambulance or police siren. Let’s hear all that together again.


Here’s the first verse.


Here’s the first verse.


The imagery doesn’t get any more pleasant from here. You have to say that one thing that bugs me is that there’s no rhyme in that verse. There’s like four verses in this song, and two of them rhyme, two of them don’t. I’m just kind of picky about that kind of thing.

Anyway, at the break there, we hear an actual siren overdubbed along with that subliminal two note organ part. Let’s pick it back up into the second verse.


Now, did you notice that transition? As we said before, the original version of this song is over eight minutes long, and they edited it way down to get it into this four and a half minute single version. And you can clearly hear and edit there right before the vocal comes in.


That’s a pretty sloppy edit. Let’s play through the second verse.


And that brings us to the chorus.


There are those police sirens again. One of the excuses that radio stations gave for banning the song was that they said drivers listening to the song in their cars could be confused or disoriented by the sirens. But that sounds pretty lame to me. I think they just didn’t like the lyrics.

Here’s the third verse.


Notice how the little hi-hat accent first appears in the left and then on the right.


Let’s bring up the vocals here.


There’s a pretty nice bass part under the chorus. Let’s bring that up a bit.


And the reappearance of those sirens usher us into the final verse. There continue to be some pretty clunky edits leading into each of these verses. On this one you can hear that the beginning of the crash symbol hit is clipped off.


So pretty effective use of the harmony vocals on the chorus. Let’s bring up the vocals one more time.


And here at the end we get some classic tape manipulation to bring it all down.


Bloodrock – “D.O.A.”

Call it shock rock, exploitation, call it cheesy, but back in the day the song was pretty extreme. I’ve read that Goldmine magazine actually called it the worst song ever to be released on vinyl. Though I don’t know if that’s actually true or not, but it was certainly controversial. But it managed to crack the Top 40 and the
“Bloodrock 2” album has sold over half a million copies.

Then, as today… controversy sells.

Thanks for joining us for this Halloween edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. I’ll be back in about two weeks with another new episode. Until then, keep in touch with us on Facebook. Leave comments or reviews on podchaser.com and catch up with all of our previous episodes on our website. lovethatsongpodcast.com or wherever you listen to podcasts. And do me a favor: tell a friend about our show. That is the best thing you can do to support this podcast.

We are part of the Pantheon family of podcasts, along with plenty of other great music related shows. Thanks for listening to this episode on “D.O.A” by Bloodrock.

Trick or treat…


Black Sabbath were at a standstill when it came time to make their 5th album. The ideas just weren’t coming to guitarist Tony Iommi, and without his massive guitar riffs… well, there just wasn’t any Black Sabbath. Weeks were wasted in the studio until he stumbled onto the riff that became “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath“, and then they were off to the races. That song became the opening cut from the album that would bear its name; and the song that would bring that album to a close is “Spiral Architect“, one of the most epic songs the band ever produced. On this episode, we explore the making of this album along with an examination of one of their most ambitious tracks, “Spiral Architect”.

“Spiral Architect” (Words & Music by Black Sabbath) Copyright 1974 Westminster Music Ltd.


Well, welcome back to the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast on the Pantheon Podcast network. My name is Brad Page, and each episode of this show, I pick one of my favorite songs and we’ll explore it together, listening to all the elements and components that make it a great song. You don’t have to know anything about music theory or be a musician to enjoy the show– no technical stuff here. We’re just listening to the performances, arrangements and production that go into creating a great song.

On this edition of the podcast, we’re listening to the Masters of Metal, the band that created the template for literally thousands of bands that would follow; one of the most influential bands in rock history, and a song that, by any measure, is one of their creative peaks on record. We’re of course talking about Black Sabbath, and a song called “Spiral Architect”.

Guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward and singer John Michael “Ozzy” Osborne came together in Birmingham, England in 1968, first as the Polka Tulk Blues Band that also included another guitarist and a saxophone player. But they soon slimmed down to a four piece and changed their name to Earth.

But after discovering there was another band named Earth, they changed their name to Black Sabbath. As the story goes, inspired by the Boris Karloff movie of the same name, they released their first album in February 1970– on Friday the 13th. of course– though it didn’t come out in the US until June 1. It’s considered by many to be the first heavy metal album, though no one really called it that at the time. But this was something new, something different, something distinct from psychedelia or blues rock. There had been heavy bands before, but Black Sabbath were tapping into something new.


The album sold pretty well. This wasn’t the kind of band that was going to have hit singles, at least it didn’t seem like it at the time. But these were the days when albums mattered. FM radio was at its peak creatively and you weren’t dependent on three-minute pop singles. There were other ways to find your audience.

Less than a year later, they released their second album, “Paranoid”. What can you say about this album? It’s in the pantheon of classic albums. It refined and defined the sound of heavy metal. It reached number one on the UK charts and number twelve on the US charts.


They followed that with “Masters of Reality”, their third album released in July 1971. Think about that. Three albums of all new material, released within a year and a half of each other… all three of them, classic albums. Incredible. And this is not unique to Black Sabbath. This was the pace of the music industry at this time. Artists were under pressure to deliver one, two, sometimes three albums in a year. And it’s unbelievable to see how many artists delivered. They were able to produce album after album of great material in such a short amount of time.

So, of course, Black Sabbath were at it again, releasing their fourth album, “Vol. Four”, in September 1972. They had gone to Los Angeles to record this one, renting a mansion in Bel Air, where the party never stopped. In fact, it followed them right into the Record Plant recording studio. The drugs were beginning to affect the work, but they were able to pull it together for another solid album.


The exhausting cycle of record, then tour, then record, then tour some more, wore on them. And by 1973, they had to cancel a US tour for their own health and sanity. But, guitarist and de facto band leader Tony Iommi was itching to make another record.

Tony was ambitious. He was watching Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Yes, the Rolling Stones and The Who put out one monstrous album after another. And he wanted a piece of that action, too. He was concerned that Black Sabbath was stagnating and he was putting a lot of pressure on himself.

So they headed back to LA, back to the same studio and that same mansion, figuring it worked for them last time. Except this time, it didn’t.

Maybe it was the pressure, maybe it was the drugs. Maybe it was the surroundings or the distractions, probably combination of all of that. But Tony developed some kind of writer’s block. The ideas just weren’t coming. They spent days, weeks working on new material, but nothing came of it. Eventually, Tony gave up and the band returned to England with nothing to show for it.

Back in England, they set up shop in an 18th century Gothic castle that had been outfitted with a recording studio. Of course, the place was rumored to be haunted; sounds like a perfect place for Black Sabbath.

So they got back to work, but for days, it wasn’t any more productive than their sessions in LA. Until Tony came up with the riff that would become the title song of the next record, “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”. That was the key that unlocked his writer’s block. And then they were back in business.

They ended up with a really strong album. The record opens with the title cut, an instant Black Sabbath classic. And the album ends with “Spiral Architect”, one of their most ambitious tracks. “Spiral Architect” is credited to all four members of the band: Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward and Ozzy Osborne. As usual with most Sabbath songs, Geezer wrote the lyrics.

The album was produced by Black Sabbath and engineered by Mike Butcher. The song begins with Tony Iommi’s acoustic guitar. He’s playing a series of arpeggiated patterns that use a lot of open strings on his guitar, which allows certain notes to ring out clear for long stretches.


Then the electric guitar takes over and the whole mood changes where the acoustic guitar has kind of an intimate, melancholy feel to it. The electric guitar riff sounds big and majestic. Sounds to me like there’s an electric guitar on the right and an acoustic a little lower in the mix on the left. Then when the band comes in, there’s another electric guitar added on the left. I’m not sure if the acoustic guitar is still in there or not. See what you think. Here we get a new riff. This one has almost a jazzy prog-rock element to it. I don’t know if they intended it or not, but I think that riff has a spiral feel to it. And then there’s a simple but pretty effective drum fill by Bill Ward that leads us into the first verse. Now let’s hear that all together and onwards into the first verse.


Interesting chord progression behind the verse. Probably not what most people would expect when they think of Black Sabbath. Let’s hear just the instrumental track.

And this is a great vocal from Ozzy. He’s in really good form here. One thing you will always hear on Ozzy vocals is double-tracking. From what I’ve read, he will record one line at a time, and then sing that line again, trying to match it as closely as he can. And he’ll do that, one line at a time, through the whole song. Of course, you can never do it 100% the same, but that is what makes double-tracking special, as opposed to using a short echo or chorus effect ,or digitally copying the part. Those small little differences are what can make double-tracking sound magical.


Next, we land at the first chorus. Musically, this part is great, too. There’s a string section here that really adds some drama. And I like the way Geezer Butler’s bass primarily hangs around one note while the rest of the music swirls around him. Let’s hear just the instrumental tracks first.


It leads back to the main riff at the end of the chorus there. Let’s hear it with Ozzy’s vocals added back in.

Bill Ward is augmenting his drums there with timpani, those big kettle drums that booming sound really adds to the orchestral feel. It just makes that part sound so epic. Let’s back it up a bit and listen for those timpani drums.

Let’s listen to Bill Ward’s drum fill there. And here’s the second verse.

Then comes the second chorus, and the lyrics here are a little different this time around.

You know, Black Sabbath has this reputation for being dark and foreboding, and of course they’ve earned that. But not every song is like that. This song is really life-affirming. Geezer Butler wrote these lyrics sitting on his front yard watching the sun come up… life was good, and I think that’s what this song is about. At least that’s what I take from it. In a world that can often be harsh, you got to learn to appreciate the good.

“Of all the things I value most in life,
I see my memories and feel their warmth
 and know that they are good.”

Let’s hear that full chorus.


That leads us into an extended instrumental section. But there’s no wailing guitar solo in this song. Instead, you’re taken further on this epic journey largely by the strings.

In the credits for this song, besides guitar, Tony Iommi is credited for playing bagpipes. But in his autobiography, “Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath”, he says he never actually played bagpipes on this song. He wanted to. In fact, he bought a set of bagpipes, brought them into the studio and started blowing into them, but nothing came out. He spent hours on it, and eventually decided that these bagpipes must be defective. So he sent them back to the store. They checked them out and said, “there’s nothing wrong with these”. So he took them back into the studio and attached a vacuum cleaner to them, figuring that that would blow some air into them. But the only sound he got on tape was the noise from the vacuum cleaner. After wasting a few more hours on that, he gave up. I love that story.

Instead, they just went with the strings, which were arranged by Will Malones up in the mix.

And now the final verse. The strings are especially great here, too.


Let’s hear the vocals on this final chorus.


Now this end is very intriguing. It builds to this huge climax. Then there’s the sound of an audience applauding that was overdubbed by their engineer, Mike Butcher. He probably pulled that from some sound effects library or something.

Okay, fine. I can see how that’s a nice way to end the song, and the album, with a round of applause. But then the band comes back in, mostly the bass and drums, and just kind of jams for a minute for a short fade-out. Is that anticlimactic or is that representative of the never- ending song, the continuing journey, the endless spiral? You decide.


Black Sabbath – “Spiral Architect”

The album “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” sold well. It became a fan favorite, and actually earned them some good reviews for once. More importantly, though, it’s a favorite among the band members themselves.

In his book, Tony said “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” was the pinnacle. Ozzy called it their “final album”, which of course, it wasn’t– they would make more albums after that– but what he meant was that after “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”, they lost their way a bit. It was never the same. There would be good songs after that, but this was the beginning of the end.  Ozzy quit the band in 1977, but came back, and then was fired for good in 1979. Bill Ward left in 1980.

Of course, there would be reunions down the road, and pretty miraculously, all four original members are still alive today at the time of this recording. That’s saying something.

Thanks for joining me once again on the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. We’re not going anywhere– we’ll be back in about two weeks with another new episode. In the meantime, you can find all of our previous shows on our website, lovethatsongpodcast.com, or find us on your favorite podcast app.

And if you’re still looking for even more music related podcasts, be sure to check out the other shows right here on the Pantheon Podcast Network.

If you want to support the show, the absolute best thing you can do is to tell a friend about it. Share the show with your music love and friends, because that helps to spread the word.

I can’t wait to get back here and do the next episode, so I will see you soon. Thanks for listening to this edition on “Spiral Architect” by Black Sabbath.

Gary Moore was never a household name, but among guitar players, he was a legend.  He reinvented himself multiple times over his 40-year career: first as a hard-rocker with Thin Lizzy, then a jazzy prog-rocker with Colosseum in the 70’s; pioneering a modern heavy-metal sound in the 80’s, and playing the blues in the ‘90’s.  On this episode, we delve into a track from his 1987 Celtic-flavored hard rock album, “Wild Frontier”.

“Over The Hills and Far Away” (Gary Moore) Copyright 1986 EMI 10 Music Ltd. All rights in the US and Canada controlled and administered by EMI Virgin Songs, Inc

— This show is just one of many great Rock Podcasts on the Pantheon Podcasts network. Get ’em while they’re red hot!  And don’t forget to follow our show, so you never miss an episode!

Welcome, Citizens of the World, to the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast on the Pantheon Podcast Network.

One thing that’s shared by almost every culture, in every part of the world throughout history, is that music plays an important part in celebration, in worship, in recreation, in making even the hardest jobs more bearable. Music, it’s part of life, and if you’re from a culture that doesn’t celebrate music… well, I feel sorry for you. On this podcast, we celebrate that greatest form of music: the kind that ROCKS.

Every edition of this podcast, I pick one of my favorite songs and we explore it together on our never-ending quest to discover what goes into making a great song.

Last episode, we spent some quality time with one of my favorite bands, Thin Lizzy. One name that kept popping up on that show was Gary Moore. I wanted to spend a little bit more time with Gary Moore, one of the greatest guitarists of his generation.

He had a long and always evolving history; his career lasted over four decades, most of it underappreciated, I think. On this episode, we’re going to take a look at a song from right about in the middle of his career; this is a song called “Over The Hills and Far Away”.


A few years back, I did a show on 5 of my all-time favorite guitar solos– that was episode number 25 of this podcast, if you want to go back and check it out. One of those solos was by Gary Moore. He had all the flash and technique, but unlike many hot-shot players, especially those shredders from the 80’s, Gary had a fantastic sense of melody. He could play blindingly fast, but he could also move you emotionally with a melodic performance.

Robert William Gary Moore was born April 4th, 1952 in Belfast, Ireland. His father gave him his first guitar when he was 10 years old. Interestingly, Gary was a lefty, but he learned to play the guitar right-handed. In 1968, he joined Skid Row– no, not the metal band with Sebastian Bach; this Skid Row was a bluesy rock band from Ireland, with Phil Lynott (later of Thin Lizzy) on vocals, although Lynott left the band after recording only one single. But this is where Lynott and Moore first worked together.

A few years later, when Eric Bell left Thin Lizzy, Gary joined them, but it only lasted a few months. He did end up recording three tracks with them, though, in 1973. Gary recorded his first solo album, and he continued making solo records all through the 70s, and some of them are really good.

At the same time, he joined the prog rock group Coliseum II, and he would rejoin Thin Lizzy two more times– once as a fill-in guitarist for a tour in 1977, and then as a full-fledged member in 1979. Thin Lizzy’s “Black Rose” album is the only album of theirs where Gary plays on every track, but to many Lizzy fans, they consider that their best album. But it didn’t last long… Gary quit Thin Lizzy for the last time just a few months later.

Gary’s solo albums continued to get better. “Run for Cover”, released in 1985, is a great record– it’s probably my favorite Gary Moore album. Then in 1987, he released the album “Wild Frontier”. Phil Lynott had died the year before, and the album is dedicated to him. Maybe in tribute to Phil, maybe because Gary was just feeling connected to his Irish roots, but some of the tracks on this album have a real Celtic feel to them. It’s an interesting blend of hard rock and traditional elements.

Case in point is this song; but before we get into “Over The Hills and Far Away”, let’s talk about the lyrics.

This song tells the story of a man jailed for a crime he didn’t commit, but he can’t reveal his alibi… because on the night of the crime, he was sleeping with the wife of his best friend. Rather than reveal that secret, he keeps quiet and ends up serving a 10-year sentence for robbery. Now, this is a classic type of folktale, in fact, it’s very reminiscent, maybe even inspired by an old Lefty Frizzell song from 1959 called “Long Black Veil” that song tells a similar story of a man who’s hanged for murder because he wouldn’t admit that he was with his best friend’s wife at the time of the crime. “Long Black Veil” has been covered many times: Johnny Cash recorded it on his classic album “Live at Folsom Prison”. Here’s a bit of his version:


My favorite version of “Long Black Veil” is by The Band; it’s on their legendary album “Music From Big Pink”:


Here on “Over The Hills and Far Away”, Gary Moore puts his own spin on the story.

“Over The Hills and Far Away” was written by Gary Moore and produced by Peter Collins, who produced albums for Billy Squire, Bon Jovi, Queensryche, Alice Cooper and Rush. Gary plays all the guitars and does all the vocals. Neil Carter handles keyboards and Bob Daisley is on bass. For the drums… well, there’s actually nobody credited with playing drums on the album, and that’s because nobody did play drums on the album. All the drum sounds are programmed; it’s a drum machine. No actual recorded drums on the record at all. It’s a bit unusual for a hard rock record. There are no credits on the album for drum programming either, but it was probably done by Roland Carriage. When Gary went on tour for the album, he brought along Eric Singer on drums.

The song begins with some tribal drumming, and remember, these are all electronic drums:


You can hear some of those traditional sounds building under the vocal


Then as soon as that vocal line finishes, the song explodes with a Celtic melody.


Though there aren’t any specific instruments credited on this track, I believe there are some traditional acoustic instruments in there, along with the keyboards and the guitar. Let’s hear them all together:


And that leads us right into the second verse, where Gary’s heavy guitar chords come in:


Gary throws in a little bit of classic 80s whammy bar there. Let’s go back and pick up right before that part:


Some keyboards are added here.


So here’s the first chorus; harmony vocals are added on the first and third lines– that’s a typical technique we hear all the time– and the drums are playing an interesting pattern:


And the guitar sound has gotten really big. It’s a pretty simple part actually, the guitar is just playing one chord every two beats, but I’m guessing there are multiple guitar tracks layered on top of each other here to really thicken up the part.


I like that little bass part there.

Now, on the second verse, there’s a new keyboard part. Let’s hear that, and listen for the little guitar part that’s added on one phrase, duplicating the keyboard:


There’s some really nice guitar work under this part of the verse. I love the way it plays against the keyboard part. Notice the background vocals, too:


We’re coming to the bridge, and there’s a definite change in mood. It’s almost wistful… you can picture the prisoner looking out of his cell window, longing for freedom…


Those Celtic instruments return, and we’re about to hit a break where those instruments are right in your face in the mix. It’s really powerful.


This brings us to the guitar solo.


And here’s a classic a capella chorus; you just gotta do it on a song like this.


There’s some flanging on the percussion here.

And there’s a key change there; it jumps up a whole step from E to F sharp. Key changes are a classic way to inject some new energy into a song.


Let’s check out some of Gary’s vocals here at the end.


Gary Cuts loose on guitar a little bit more at the end here for the long fade


“Over The Hills and Far Away” – Gary Moore

After this album, he’d record one more record and then walk away from the sound of hard rock and heavy metal. He shifted to playing the blues. In fact, his first all-blues album in 1990 was the best-selling record he ever had, and with a few exceptions, he would focus on the blues for the rest of his career.

In February 2011, Gary died in his sleep from a heart attack; he was only 58. But he left behind over 20 Studio albums, plus all the work he did with other bands and artists. It’s quite the legacy.

I hope you enjoyed this episode of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. There’s another one coming right up! Let us know about your favorite Gary Moore and Thin Lizzy songs. Share with us on Facebook or on places like Podchaser; you can rate us, write a review, and share the show with your friends. And don’t forget to follow the show, so that you never miss an episode.

We’re part of the Pantheon Media Network of podcasts, and there’s a ton of other great shows waiting for you on Pantheon– check them out!

Always remember to support the music and the artists that you love by buying their music. And thanks for listening to this episode on Gary Moore and “Over The Hills and Far Away”.

If you’re looking for a prime example of a hard-working, dues-paying, doggedly dedicated rock band, you won’t find better one than Nazareth. Launching in 1968 and continuing through today, Nazareth rode the wave of success up and down over 50 years, peaking with their classic album Hair Of The Dog in 1975. The last time they hit the charts was with the song “Holiday” in 1980. On this episode, we tap into this classic track. And, with the help of author Robert Lawson, we take a quick tour of the history of Nazareth.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of any of Robert’s books, you’ll find them here:

Nazareth – “Holiday” (McCafferty, Cleminson, Charlton, Agnew, Sweet) Copyright 1980 Nazsongs Ltd


Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present the latest edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. This is the Pantheon Podcast Network, and I’m your host, Brad Page. This is the show where I pick one of my favorite songs and we explore it together to get a better understanding of what makes it a great song.

Now, before we get into this episode, I want to make note of one thing. The first episode of this show aired back in April 2018. Well, here we are in April 2023. So that makes this the fifth anniversary of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. So I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you to all of you listening. Some of you have been here since the very beginning. Some of you are new listeners, but you all make this show possible. And we couldn’t have gotten this far without you. So thanks for being a part of the show.

On this episode, we’re visiting with a band that made their mark in the helped define the sound of hard rock, and they continued to produce solid records well into the 2000s. This is Nazareth with a song called “Holiday”.

Now, usually at this point in the show, I give you a short history of the band and work our way up to the song. But author and friend of the show, Robert Lawson, has written a number of books, including “Razama-Snaz! the Listener’s Guide to Nazareth”. So I thought rather than give you the information secondhand, I’d invite Robert onto the show so you can hear it from the expert. So let’s bring Robert into the conversation.

BRAD: So, Robert Lawson, thanks for joining me here on the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast to talk a little bit about Nazareth. You’re the guy that wrote the book– you’re the expert. So, tell us a little bit about the history of the band, how Nazareth came to be in the first place.

ROBERT: Well, you’ve got the original four guys from Dunfermline, Scotland, which is a small city in Scotland. And, they’re like a 70’s phenomena, really. So, the first album came out in ‘71 and maybe took them an album or two to get their sound together. By the mid 70’s, they’re just huge. I think it was in ‘77 or ‘78, they did a coast-to-coast Canadian headlining arena tour, which is a big deal back then. So they’re right on that level of Aerosmith and a lot of those kind of arena bands, right? And those are still great, great albums that when people talk about Nazareth, they tend to go back to records like “Hair of the Dog” and “Expect No Mercy”. Those are the classics. But really, during the 70’s, they were really on top of the game. You’ve got, like, five, six, maybe seven albums in a row that are all great, all really strong. I’m in Canada, where they were really big up here– so much so, there’s people up here who think Nazareth were Canadian. And some of those albums were recorded in Canada, so they were a big part of a lot of our lifestyles and lot of radio play in Canada in the ‘70’s.

BRAD: You think that’s maybe the Scottish connection?

ROBERT: That’s part of it for sure. There’s definitely a lot of Scottish history in Canada, a lot of Scottish people live here. I have a Scottish background.  But part of it also is, and I don’t think I got to touch on this in the book actually, but there’s something up here called CanCon. And what that means, for anyone who doesn’t know, is there’s a percentage of Canadian content that must be played on the radio. So, of course that doesn’t mean we don’t play music from the UK and the States and everywhere else, but there’s a certain percentage that has to be Canadian. And that can just be written by Canadian, produced by Canadian. The band doesn’t necessarily have to be Canadian. It could be recorded in Canada. There’s like four different aspects and I think you have to tick off two of them to be considered “Canadian content”. So, Nazareth covered the Joni Mitchell song “This Flight Tonight”, and that was considered Canadian content in a way. So a lot of radio stations would play it, not only because it’s a great song, but it would check off the box for Canadian content for them.


ROBERT: They recorded bunch of albums up here and they were just touring here a lot. So Canada really took to them. The guys seemed to really like Canada, they still tour here a lot, . the current lineup.  Canada just always kind of had a relationship with Nazareth and that’s probably how I got into them as a kid in the 70’s.

BRAD: So let’s talk a bit about the 4 guys individually that made up the original lineup of Nazareth.  All from relatively the same area of Scotland, right? In fact, didn’t a couple of them grow up together?

ROBERT: The original four are all from Dunfermline, yes.

BRAD: And so, let’s talk a little bit about the guys. You have, of course, Dan McCafferty on lead vocals– I think one of the most distinctive vocalists in rock history, right?

ROBERT: Absolutely.

BRAD: He kind of was doing Brian Johnson before there was Brian Johnson, if you ask me.

ROBERT: Yeah, absolutely. I used to say for years, when I was younger, that if you listen to, like  “Hair of the Dog”, that that actually sounds like Brian Johnson, way before Brian Johnson was known internationally, for sure.

BRAD: So then you have Manny Charlton on guitar…

ROBERT: I think one of the great underrated guitar players, frankly.

BRAD: Yeah.

BRAD: from that era.

ROBERT: His stuff’s really neat, because when you really start digging into the albums, and really listening, a lot of the songs are a lot more complex from a guitar standpoint than I kind of thought of when I was younger, because he’ll have a couple of rhythm guitars, electric rhythm guitars; he’ll be playing a lead; then he might have a couple of acoustics in the background. And on some of them, he even adds, like, mandolin, and the mandolin and the lead guitar are playing in sync. It’s really just a lot more interesting than I thought. When you’re a kid, you just go “Loud guitars, yeah!”

BRAD: Right.

ROBERT: And then you realize, wow, Manny’s doing like five or six different things on different stringed instruments on some of these songs. It’s great stuff.

BRAD: Yeah. And then the rhythm section.

ROBERT: Pete Agnew on bass, and he does a lot of the backing and harmony vocals, including on the song that we’re going to talk about. So he’s a real big part. And he’s the one,  him and Dan, who met when they were, like, five years old in kindergarten or something like that. They go way, way back.

BRAD: Right.

ROBERT: And then, of course, Darryl Sweet on drums.

BRAD: So tell me if I’m incorrect here, but I believe they formed, or at least the first early versions of the lineup, came together in around 1961 as The Shadettes.

ROBERT: Shadettes, that’s right, yeah. I don’t think all four were in The Shadettes, but, yeah, that sort of evolves into Nazareth by the mid to late 60’s.

BRAD: Manny joins later, I think, in the late 60s, and they kind of cut their teeth doing cover songs, which many bands do. But their ability to take a cover song and make it their own is pretty unique and is a big part of their catalog.


BRAD: They landed on the name “Nazareth” from the classic song by The Band. “The Weight”, right?

ROBERT: That’s.– I’ll be a little controversial here: That’s the story that has always been told for years and years. And when I was researching my book, I found another story that was a lot darker, behind how they got that name. And I posted it on Facebook, just saying, “Hey, has anyone ever heard this?” And a whole bunch of people jumped on me saying, “What are you talking about?” and “It’s from The Band” and “Robbie Robertson wrote the song”, and all this, they always say that it’s that story.  Well, you know, if you do a lot of music research, you know that just because a band always says a story, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true, it just means they might come to believe it.

BRAD: Right; you tell the story enough times and it becomes the truth.

ROBERT: Yeah. So, for all intents and purposes, yes… The name came from the song by The Band.


BRAD: And their first album, self-titled album, comes out in ‘71.

ROBERT: That’s right.

BRAD: And that record, that was kind of different from what we think of when we think of Nazareth today. I mean, the sound of that record is a little bit different, isn’t it?

ROBERT: Yeah. They’re still kind of finding their way, which for a lot of bands that’s not that uncommon these days, I guess.  For a long time now, you have to have three hits immediately or else you lose your record deal. Back then, bands were signed to development deals where you could actually put out a few singles, and even a couple of albums, while you’re still figuring out who you are. And Nazareth are definitely an example of that. The first album, it’s got some heavy parts, but there’s a little bit of some acoustic stuff and they’re kind of all over the place a bit.

BRAD: Roy Thomas Baker worked on that first record, right?


BRAD: That must be fairly early in his career. He went on to be a legendary producer. I think he was an engineer or something on that record.

ROBERT: Yeah, that’s right.

BRAD: And then they put out a second record called “Exercises” in ‘72 and then “Razamanaz” in ‘73. And that’s kind of the first record that sounds like the Nazareth we all came to know and love.

ROBERT: Yeah, absolutely. And I like those first two records a lot, but some fans think that the career really takes off with “Razamanaz” in ‘73.

BRAD: Yeah, I love that. I love that record.

ROBERT: Oh, sure.

BRAD: And that’s followed up by a couple more records: “Loud and Proud” in ‘73, “Rampant” in ‘74 and then the big one, “Hair of the Dog”, their 6th album, in 1975. And that’s the one that really breaks them worldwide.


ROBERT: Yeah, so this is the first one that Manny Charlton produces after, Roger Glover from Deep Purple had done the last few records. And you’re right, ‘75’s “Hair of the Dog”, they really knock it out of the park. Not that the records before that weren’t great– they are, I’m pretty partial to “Loud and Proud” and “Rampant”, but “Hair of the Dog” definitely kicks it up to another level.

BRAD: Yeah, it’s the one that seemed to just catch public attention. That’s followed in ‘76 by “Close Enough for Rock and Roll” and then “Playing The Game”, ‘76, “Expect No Mercy” in ’77…One of the great album covers of all time, I think, right?

ROBERT: Yeah. That’s a ‘70’s album cover right there, right?

BRAD: Yeah. That’s the side of a van.

ROBERT: I was just going to say that, Brad. I think there was a van that had that on it, driving around when I was like ten or eleven years old or something.


BRAD: And then, in ‘79, they release a record called “No Mean City”. And that’s kind of a, I don’t know, a shift? But it’s a change in the band, right. Because they have a new member who joins.  That’s their 10th album, and they bring in another second guitarist. Let’s talk about that character.

ROBERT: Right. And “character” is right. So they get Zal Clemenson, who, for people who maybe aren’t familiar, he was a guitar player in a really great Scottish band called the Sensational Alex Harvey Band. Real unique group of characters. And Zal, in that band, he was known for performing in complete white makeup and he had these bright green and yellow shiny outfits and platform heels, and he was kind of like an offshoot Kiss guy. But instead of all black and silver, it would be green, and real visual character.

So he dropped all that stuff when he joined Nazareth. But a great, great player. And I think that the addition of Zal to Nazareth is just really important. And I always talk about the fact that there’s some live stuff, which is actually the “Malice” tour, so maybe we should get to that… But if you ever hear any of the live stuff when Zal was in the band, it’s absolute killer. Manny welcomed having a second guitarist; there’s no competition between them at all. Manny, since he’s songwriting and he’s concentrating on producing, he, wanted a little help with the guitar playing, which is very generous. And Zal gets to play a lot. I like the “No Mean City” album a lot. I think it’s a little darker. I mean, the song “May The Sunshine” is one of the ones I was kind of referring to before, that it’s got this mandolin part that’s just really bright, and it’s just a great record.


ROBERT: A very kind of iconic album cover with a character that they still use on their merch to this day.

BRAD: And what do you think it was specifically that Zal brought to the band? Besides just being a great player? I mean, do you think there’s a certain element or two that he brought?

ROBERT: I think it was just kind of like a shot in the arm that they needed. Like you said, they had done ten albums or something with a lot of touring as well. When you look at these records, it’s like they’re putting out a record every single year from ‘71 to ‘77 and touring a lot in between. Like I said, they were doing arena tours in Canada. I know they played Cobo Hall, I believe, in ‘78. They were opening a lot of shows with Deep Purple, so a lot of touring, a lot of recording. Then you get TV appearances and radio shows and all kinds of stuff. So I think they just kind of needed a bit of an extra hand. And Zal is someone who was sort of in their orbit already, because there was a Dan McCafferty solo album that Manny produced and Zal plays on that. Sensational Alex Harvey band and Nazareth also shared managers, so they knew of Zal. And because I think Zal is kind of such a zany character, probably just fun to have a fun guy like that in the band, and give them a shot in the arm with his extra energy. Because he is a guy who would run around on stage a lot. He plays really fast, he doesn’t play the same thing twice a lot. So he’s kind of unpredictable. He’s a bit of an unpredictable character like that. I think it was probably just a mix of fun and the extra energy that Zal would bring from being such a character.

BRAD: Yeah. So “No Mean City”, the first record with Zal, comes out in ‘79 and then that’s followed by an album called “Malice in Wonderland” in 1980. And the song we’re going to delve into on the show today is from that album.  That’s their 11th album. It’s pretty amazing when you think about eleven albums, and they would go on to cut a lot more after that. But they were like veterans at this point. I mean, eleven albums, that’s a whole catalog right there.

ROBERT: That’s right. And even when the first album came out in ‘71, they weren’t teenagers either. Some of the guys were already married with kids and stuff. So yeah, at this point they’re real veterans of the business, and life on the road, and life in recording studios and all that kind of stuff. They’re well-seasoned at this point.

BRAD: And the “Malice” album is interesting on a number of fronts.  And I think the impression, I guess, is it’s somewhat controversial among fans, but it’s the first album that’s produced by a real outsider, an American, somebody that fans of the show will know– Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, from Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, actually produced this record.  And it was not recorded in either Canada or Scotland, right?

ROBERT: Compass Point Studios in Barbados. So that’s where everyone goes, you got the beach right outside the studio.

BRAD: You’ve got a very different environment, and you’ve got a very different producer. And I think fan reaction is fairly mixed to this record, right?

ROBERT: Yeah. And I think that’s justified because Skunk Baxter, for all of his credits in the past, he does kind of tame the sound. Manny had done five albums, and those albums, like I said, are like the Roger Glover produced albums. The Manny Charlton produced albums are all great. They’re all a lot of fun, great songs, great production, great vocals, guitar, everything. And then Baxter comes in and he kind of mellows them out a bit. And I kind of consider it the band’s first misstep. Not that it’s a mistake, but I would have liked to have seen Manny Charlton produce this album or even maybe bring Roger Glover back, because I think having a guy as exciting as Zal Clementson on board, and then you kind of neuter him, is counterproductive.

BRAD: It’s definitely a different sound than any ofthe records before. In fact, I think it’s the biggest shift in sound since maybe the first two albums.

ROBERT: Yes, absolutely.

BRAD: But it does contain one, I think, all-time classic Nazareth song, the song “Holiday”, which opens the record. And that’s the one we’re going to dive into today. So, before I get into the track, Robert, tell me your thoughts about the song.

ROBERT: Oh, I love it. It’s probably one of the ones that I really caught onto when I was really young. It’s very, catchy, very upbeat for a band that was doing heavy stuff like “Expect No Mercy” and “Hair the Dog”. It’s kind of poppy, melody wise, anyway. And then you’ve got this great lyric, and Dan’s vocals are terrific, although it’s almost redundant to say that because he’s known as being such a great vocalist. But there’s a line that kind of gets repeated a couple of times, and I’m sure you’re going to talk about this, where at the end of a couple of the choruses he says, “Mama, mama, please, no more husbands”. And I think the second or the third time he says it, he really digs in with a growl and says, “I don’t know who my daddy is”. And that line kills me to this day. It’s such a good line. And the way he delivers it is great.

BRAD: Absolutely. So, let’s get into the track. “Holiday” opens the “Malice in Wonderland” album– Side One, Track One.  It was performed by Dan McCafferty on lead vocal, Manny Charlton and Zal Clementson on guitars, Pete Agnew on bass and backing vocals, and Daryl Sweet on drums. And as we mentioned before, it was produced by Jeff “Skunk” Baxter. All five band members share writing credit on this song; McCafferty, Clementson, Charlton, Agnew and Sweet.

The song begins with a classic bluesy guitar boogie riff. There’s also an organ in the background, I’m guessing that was played by Skunk Baxter. When the band comes in, they add some vintage Chuck Berry style guitar licks.


BRAD: This is a fairly restrained vocal from McCafferty. He’s not belting it out or doing a lot of emoting yet.


BRAD: Nice work on the backing vocals here. Let’s listen to that.


BRAD: That brings us into the chorus, which has a completely different feel than the verses. And this is where the lyrics get really interesting, too. I’ve always pictured this song as being about a spoiled rich kid drinking and partying with his friends. But he’s got some real issues, especially with his mother, as we’ll hear in the choruses. “Mama, mama, please, no more jaguars, I don’t want to be a pop star” …sounds like she’s trying to buy his love, or maybe just keep him out of her way by buying him fancy cars. Let’s hear the first chorus.


BRAD: That may be my favorite line in the song: “Mama, mama, please no more facelifts, I just don’t know which one you is.”


BRAD: Then this chorus ends with “Mama, please no more husbands”. And then it goes right into the next verse.


BRAD: “Wasting my time, hiding out in my rented dream”. Let’s hear more of the vocals on this verse.


BRAD: Darryl Sweet plays a nice tom-tom driven beat during this part, so let’s listen to a little of that. There’s also a nice little lyric here. “Ask the chauffeur who he knows; numbers, he’s got lots of those”. I especially like that pause that McCafferty puts in there.


BRAD: There’s some nice guitar work behind the vocals there. I like to think of these kinds of parts as guitar orchestration. It’s the kind of things that you could do with strings or horns, but doing them with electric guitars instead. So let’s listen to that.


BRAD: There are multiple layered guitar parts during the chorus spread across the stereo field. Let’s hear some of the chorus without the vocals.


BRAD: Also a nice little drum fill that takes us out of that chorus.


BRAD: That takes us into a tasty little guitar solo by Zal Clemenson.


BRAD: “Holiday” by Nazareth. Let’s bring Robert Lawson back in to wrap things up for this episode.

So after the release of Malice in Wonderland again in 1980 and this incredible track, where does Nazareth kind of go from there, Robert?

ROBERT: Well, they did tour the album and there’s a great live recording from the Hammersmith on the “Malice” tour that I always have to give a shout out to. You can listen to the whole thing on YouTube. Some of the tracks were used as B-sides and it’s a great, great live album. I always wish that they would have released it as an official live album, because you really hear the Manny Charlton/Zal Clementson guitar work. It’s a great, great live recording.

But, after that, Zal, leaves the band, so that kind of hurts them in some ways. There’s a couple of lineup changes, they put out a couple of more albums. There’s a live album called “Snaz”, mostly recorded in Vancouver, Canada, which is a really great live album. When I was growing up, it was right up there with Cheap Trick’s “Budokan” and Kiss “Alive” and all the rest of them. Then they put out a few more albums. I think Manny produces a few more, but as you get into the ‘80’s, like a lot of hard rock bands, they have a little bit of a hard time figuring out how they fit in the hair metal and the glam kind of rock scene. And at that point, they just kind of become a club band, and that’s where they’ve been ever since. They’ve still put out some great records. There’s a bunch of later-era albums, when Dan was still in the group, that I think are really strong, but nobody heard them outside of the hardcore fans and that’s really a shame, because they are good albums and they didn’t get as much airplay. And ever since, they either became kind of an opening band for other groups or, like I say, playing much smaller venues.

BRAD: And we’ve lost most of the original members at this point.


BRAD: Darryl Sweet, the drummer, was he the first to pass away?

ROBERT: Yes, that’s right.

BRAD: And then, really fairly close together, we lost both, Dan McCafferty and Manny Charlton, within the last year or so.

ROBERT: Yeah, I think both actually in 2022. Manny was like maybe in the spring or earlier in the year, and that was pretty sudden. We weren’t really expecting that. Dan had not been in the greatest health for a few years, which is what prompted him to leave the band.

BRAD: Right.

ROBERT: He just couldn’t tour anymore. He couldn’t really perform more than a couple of songs at a time. So he had to step… you know, he was still out there, and even put out a solo album, but his condition eventually got worse. So his passing wasn’t as shocking, but still pretty sad. I mean, I spent some time with Dan in Dunfermline, Scotland, and just a really great guy and I really enjoyed talking with him about his career and about the book and about everything. So, losing him was pretty painful for me.

BRAD: Yeah… Pete Agnew, the bass player, he’s still alive and kicking and still working today, I think, right?

ROBERT: Yeah. He’s the main guy in Nazareth now. The guitarists that they have and the drummer have both been there for like over 25 or 30 years. So they’re not really the new guys anymore.

BRAD: Right!

ROBERT: And they have Carl Sentance on vocals, who has sung with Don Airey a lot, and he sang with Geezer Butler, and he’s been around. He’s kind of a road dog. He knows what touring is all about, and they’ve done two albums with him now. And they’re not bad albums by any means, but it’s hard not to miss Dan.

BRAD: Sure.

ROBERT: Dan and Pete still lived in Dunfermline their whole lives; Pete still lives there. So even though he’s gone from having gold and platinum albums and touring all over the world, he still lives in the same small city. I think it’s a population of like 60,000 people or something.

And Dan, up until his passing recently, also still lived in Dunfermline. So I think that kept him pretty grounded.

BRAD: Yeah. Well, Robert, thanks for coming on and talking about Nazareth. The name of your book is Razama-Snaz.

ROBERT: That’s right.

BRAD: It is kind of an album-by-album history of the entire career of Nazareth. If you’re a fan or if you just kind of want to explore Nazareth, It’s a great place to begin.

Robert’s also the author of “Still Competition”, which is kind of the same album-by-album look at the legendary Cheap Trick, another band that’s a big favorite here on the podcast. So both of those I recommend. What are you working on next, Robert? What’s coming out?

ROBERT: Well, my third book that came out, I guess a year and a half ago, is about a Canadian group called The Guess Who. And that’s “Wheatfield Empire”. The Guess Who were like Canada’s Beatles up here. Huge group for us. And I’ve been working now for about two years on a book about one of my heroes, Little Steven Van Zandt.

BRAD: Nice.

ROBERT: So he’s got solo stuff, and then of course, you got Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band stuff, and you got Sopranos stuff, and he’s got a radio show, so he’s kind of all over the place. So that’s what I’ve been working on during kind of pandemic and lockdowns and stuff like that. So, I keep plugging away at that, and letting people know about the previous books.

BRAD: Great, well, looking forward to that and thanks again for coming on and talking about Nazareth and this great track. Thanks, Robert.

ROBERT: Anytime, Brad, thank you.

BRAD: And thanks for joining Robert and I for this episode. If you’re interested in Robert’s books on Cheap Trick, the Guess Who or Nazareth, you can find them at the FriesenPress website, that’s FriesenPress.com/store. And then search for Robert Lawson, and you’ll find those books. I really do recommend them.

I will be back in two weeks with another new episode. Until then, you can get caught up on all of our previous episodes on our website, lovethatsongpodcast.com. You can also find us on all of the podcast apps and services– Amazon, Google, Apple, Spotify, iHeartRadio… This podcast is available on all of them.

On behalf of the Pantheon Network, I thank you again for being here for the past five years of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast and I hope you stick around for more.  If you’d like the show to keep going, the best thing you can do is to tell people about the show and share it with your friends.

Thanks for the last five years, and thanks for listening to this episode on “Holiday” by Nazareth.

We celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest live albums of all time, Deep Purple’s Made In Japan. This is a truly live album– no doctored-up, overdubbed fixes here, just a killer band at the top of their game, tearing through a live set with little thought to the recording process. They thought this album would only be released to a limited audience in Japan… turned out to be a huge hit and the ultimate Deep Purple album. This episode, we explore the power of Deep Purple in all their glory with the definitive version of “Highway Star”.

“Highway Star” (Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord, Paice) Copyright 1972 HEC Music, EMI Music Publishing

If you enjoyed this episode, check out these 2 other episodes featuring Deep Purple:

And remember to follow this show, so you never miss an episode.


Hey, it’s Brad Page, back once again with another edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast on the Pantheon Podcast network. Each episode of this show, I pick one of my favorite songs and we dive into it together, looking for all of those magical moments that make it a great song.

You probably all know by now that Deep Purple is one of my favorite bands. Today we’re talking about the album that made me a Deep Purple fan. In April 1973– 50 years ago this month– Deep Purple released their “Made in Japan” live album, and it became a true classic. So let’s celebrate the 50th anniversary of this great record with a look at one of the standout tracks on the album: “Highway Star”.

We’ve talked about Deep Purple on this show a few times before, and we’ll talk about them again, I’m sure. So I’m not going to go into deep detail on their whole history right here, but here’s a quick overview, just to catch us up to where this album entered the picture in the Deep Purple universe:

Deep Purple was founded around 1968, with the core members being Richie Blackmore on guitar, John Lord on organ and Ian Pace on drums. After recording their first three albums, they fired their original singer and bass player and brought in two new members: In Gillan on vocals and Roger Glover on bass. This became known as the “Mark II” lineup of the band.

 By 1972, this Mark II lineup had recorded four albums together, including the “Machine Head” album. That’s their record that includes “Smoke on the Water”, as well as the original version of “Highway Star”.

“Machine Head” came out in March 1972, and the band hit the road to promote it. And by August of ‘72, they headed to Japan to play three shows.

Now, in my opinion, at this point, 1972, Deep Purple were one of the greatest live bands in history. The band was simply on fire, and they were unbeatable on stage. They had retooled their live set to feature more songs from that recently released “Machine Head” album, which were all songs that just came to life when performed live.

The Warner Brothers office in Japan decided that they wanted to record those three Japanese concerts for a live album that would only be released in Japan. The band kind of reluctantly agreed, but they insisted that their favorite recording engineer and producer, Martin Birch, would come to Japan with them to handle the recording.

The band performed the three shows, and though they knew the gigs were being recorded, they didn’t really think much about it. They were just concentrating on putting on a few really good shows for their Japanese fans. Honestly, they didn’t consider the album to be that important either. They figured it was only going to be released in Japan and not that many people would end up hearing it. In fact, most of the band didn’t even show up to hear the final mix.

But somebody at Warner Bros. must have been smart enough to know what they had, because they ended up releasing the album in the U. K. as well, in December of 1972… and it was a hit. So a few months later, “Made in Japan” was released in the US in April 1973. It reached number six on the Billboard chart, and to this day, it’s almost universally considered one of the greatest live albums of all time. Unlike a lot of live albums, there are no overdubs and no fixes done to this record. It is a true live album, representing the band exactly as they were on stage.

Of the three shows that were recorded, most of the album was taken from the August 16 show in Osaka, Japan. “Highway Star” is one of the tracks taken from that show.

“Highway Star” was the song that they chose to open the show, and it’s the first song on the album. It features Ian Pace on drums, Roger Glover on bass, John Lord on keyboards, Richie Blackmore on guitar, and Ian Gillan on vocals. All five band members share writing credit on the song.

The track begins with the band pretty casually taking the stage and getting their instruments warmed up. John Lord leads us into the song with the organ. Ian Pace begins a build up on his snare drum; Ian Gillan introduces the song. Roger Glover is in on bass, and Richie Blackmore’s guitar is revving the engine. This song is about to take off.


Ian Gillan was never happy with his vocals on this album. Apparently, he was just getting over a bout with Bronchitis and he just wasn’t satisfied with his performance. But I always thought he sounds amazing on this album. Let’s see if we can bring up the vocal tracks a little bit in the mix and listen.


I’ve always loved the interplay between Ritchie’s guitar and John Lord’s keyboards. The way they create this massive sound that’s just greater than the sum of their parts. Let’s hear their parts here. Simple but effective. Richie’s guitar is panned to the left, john is on the right.


Love Richie’s guitar at the end there, he’s just wrenching the whammy bar on his Fender Stratocaster.


Let’s bring up the vocals again.


That is a vintage Ian Gillen vocal right there. And there’s a great drum fill by Ian Pace that leads us out of that chorus.

And that leads us into an organ solo by the great John Lord. There’s a fantastic little instrumental riff here that leads us into the next verse.


And let’s focus a little bit on what the bass and the drums are doing.


Now it’s time for Richie Blackmore’s guitar solo. And remember, this is recorded live; there’s no overdubs, no punch ins, no fixes. Not every note here is perfect. If you want to hear perfection, go listen to the studio version of this song, which is iconic. But here, you get a performance that is a go-for-broke, knock the audience right out of their seat performance. Richie is on fire here.


Once again, Richie is just yanking the hell out of his Annie bar.


Here’s the last verse.


Listen to Richie, his guitar on the left, and to Roger Glover’s bass, too.

Deep Purple – “Highway Star” from “Made In Japan”, released in the US. 50 years ago this month.

I think for every music fan, there are specific albums you remember hearing for the first time, like watershed moments. This was the album that showed me the power of a live performance, how intense music can be when performed by five musicians at the top of their game.

John Lord passed away in July 2012. One of the most important keyboard players in the history of rock and pop music. I don’t think he often gets the credit that he’s due.

Richie Blackmore, one of the most important guitar players of all time, pretty much walked away from rock and roll around 1997 and formed Blackmore’s Night with vocalist Candace Knight, playing sort of a contemporary version of medieval in Renaissance music.

But Ian Gillan, Ian Pace and Roger Glover still play in a version of Deep Purple today.

Thanks for joining me for this tribute to one of my all-time favorite albums. If you enjoyed this show, there’s plenty more like it. You can find all of our previous shows on our website, lovethatsongpodcast.com, or just search for the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast on Amazon, Google, Apple Podcasts. Spotify… anywhere that you can find podcasts.

This show is part of the Pantheon Network of podcasts, home to many other great music related shows, so be sure to check them out.

If you’d like to comment or leave a review of this show, Podchaser is the best place to do it.  And of course, you can keep in touch with us on our Facebook page. If you’d like to support the show, the best way to do it is to just tell people about it and share it with your friends.

I’ll be back in about two weeks with another new episode. Until then, go get a copy of “Made in Japan” and crank up “Highway Star” by Deep Purple.

Cheap Trick is one of the great American bands. The new book, This Band Has No Past: How Cheap Trick Became Cheap Trick by Brian Kramp details their history from the very beginning up to their breakthrough album, Cheap Trick At Budokan. It’s an incredible story of hard work & dedication. On this edition of the podcast, Brian joins me to discuss 5 songs that reveal how unique and special Cheap Trick was in their early years. If you only know this band from their hits, this episode is a good introduction to what makes Cheap Trick Cheap Trick.

Besides being an author, Brian Kramp is the host of the “Rock And/Or Roll” podcast, one of my all-time favorite podcasts– an absolute must-listen for every music junkie. Check it out.


‘Elo, Kiddies! Welcome to the “I’m in Love With That Song” podcast on the Pantheon Podcast Network. I’m your host, Brad Page Age, and I’ve got something really special lined up for you this time.

Brian Cramp is the host of the “Rock And/Or Roll” Podcast, one of my all-time favorite podcasts. And after a long hiatus, “Rock And/Or Roll” is back with brand new episodes. So I’m very excited about that. But in even bigger news, Brian has a new book out. It’s called “This Band Has No Past – How Cheap Trick Became Cheap Trick”. In this book, he tells the story of one of America’s greatest bands, from their very beginnings right up to their breakthrough album, “Cheap Trick at Budokan”.

The book is exhaustively researched and covers every detail. It was a very entertaining read, so I couldn’t be happier to have Brian join me on this episode to take a look at the early years of Cheap Trick.  For the uninitiated. That’s guitarist and primary songwriter Rick Nielsen, vocalist extraordinaire Robin Zander, the master of the 12-string bass Tom Petersson, and the incredible drummer, Bun E. Carlos.

Brian’s picked five songs as examples of why Cheap Trick is such a great band. And these songs are a great place to start if you’re just getting into Cheap Trick. So, we’re going to talk about these songs, talk about the band, and of course, talk about Brian’s new book. So here’s our conversation about how Cheap Trick became Cheap Trick.


BRAD: Well, Brian Cramp, welcome to the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. I’m a huge fan of the “Rock And/Or Roll” podcast, so I’m really happy to have you on the show. And I’m excited to introduce people to the new book, “This Band Has No Past – How Cheap Trick Became Cheap Trick”. The book will be available September 6, right

BRIAN: As of now, that’s the plan, yeah.

BRAD: September 6, 2022. But people can preorder it now, which I highly encourage people to do right now– go do it right now.

So, to get started, I know the book is, like, over 300 pages, and covers the earliest history of the band in great detail. So I know this is tough to ask, but if you could just give us a broad summary of where Cheap Trick came from and how the band came to be.

BRIAN: Yeah, that’s what the book really gets into. What I found interesting in telling the story is the collision that happened of the baby boom generation, and the British Invasion and the Beatles, and the British Invasion. And that’s exactly where Cheap Trick comes from.

All of them were teenagers, they loved the British Invasion and they all joined bands. So in the mid to late 60’s, all four members of Cheap Trick had their own band. They were all in different bands, but all in the Rockford area.

But the thing is, everybody was in a band. I have a statistic in the book that by 1967, I think it’s two thirds of males under the age of 23 were in a band. I mean, it’s an insane number, but that’s because at that time, what else did they have to do? They barely even had television. But there was nothing else. There were records, instruments… there’s so many distractions for young people these days, but back then, the internet, video games, all of that rolled into one was a guitar and an amp. That’s what they had.

BRAD: Yeah.

BRIAN: And eventually, the book almost becomes kind of like a day-to-day telling of how they formed, how they built this catalog of songs played almost every night of the week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, even in bars, almost all of them in Illinois and Wisconsin. They made plenty of treks to Michigan, Iowa, Minneapolis, stuff like that, and a few trips outside of that Midwest. But almost everything they did from like ‘73 to through ‘76 was in Illinois and Wisconsin. But it was every night, and just 1 bar after another.

BRAD: Well, one of the things they always say about the Beatles is that they weren’t really that great of a band until they went to Hamburg and played every night for 8 hours a night. And nothing will hone you as a band, both as an individual musician and as a unit, as that kind of level of playing together, and these guys put in that many hours and then some.

It’s interesting how Rick Nielsen, I think is, when you think of 70’s guitar icons, he’s definitely one of those guys that comes to mind. But he started his career as a keyboard player.

BRIAN: Yeah, well, he played guitar before that. He would go back and forth in the early versions of his band, The Grim Reapers. The Grim Reapers and Toast And Jam kind of merged at one point, when they decided they wanted to write their own songs. And there was this guitar player named Craig Myers, who everybody I’ve talked to says he was just a genius, a virtuoso. So, yeah, Rick kind of became the keyboard player. He would play guitar once in a while, but like on the record. Yeah, they made one record for Epic, and he played guitar on the album

BRAD: The Fuse album, right?

BRIAN: Yeah, they were called the Grim Reapers and the record label made them change their name. So, Rick had this band, the Grim Reapers, going back to 1965, but when they joined forces with the guys from Toast And Jam, it was a completely different band. But they still used the Grim Reapers name, just because that was the name with the most notoriety for getting bookings. It was a completely different band called The Grim Reapers, basically.

BRAD: And the Grim Reapers have a connection to Otis Redding and the infamous plane crash, right?

BRIAN: Yeah, they were the opening band for that show. And also, it’s important to mention Ken Adamany, who became Cheap Trick’s manager and was a huge part of writing this book, a lot of my information comes from him and I mean, he’s become a friend. He told me he considers me a friend, which was insane. Yeah, Ken Adamany owned the club, The Factory, where Otis was supposed to be playing. And Ken Adamany was booking bands since the late 50’s. He had his own band called The Night Trains, which is interesting, because he eventually ended up playing with Steve Miller and Boz Skaggs, who were going to the University of Wisconsin in Madison. And Ken kind of went from playing in his own band to eventually just becoming a guy who booked concerts and promoted concerts. And then he started managing some of his bands, and eventually his entire career became Cheap Trick for a while, pretty much. But, yeah, he owned The Factory, booked Otis Redding; The Grim Reapers, yeah, they were supposed to open. This was not the band that I was just talking about with Craig Myers and Tom Peterson, this was the earlier version of the Grim Reapers. So, the only guy from Cheap Trick in that band was Rick Nielsen. But, yeah, they were supposed to open, and then Otis’s plane crashed into Lake Minona, which is really just 5, 10-minute drive from where I am right now. Yeah.

BRAD: All right, so I had asked you to pick five songs that would kind of be like a primer for the first period of Cheap Trick. And so, let’s dig into some of those songs. The first one that  you wanted to talk about was a song called “Downed”.


BRIAN: It’s hard to know when Rick wrote this song. It’s about a period when he thought about moving to Australia in, like, 1971.

BRAD: Yeah, that’s like one of the first lines of the song, right?  He references in Australia.

BRIAN: Yeah.  There’s even a newspaper article when the second version of Fuse that had Stewkey and Tom Mooney from Nazz in the band, when that band broke up, the newspaper said that all the guys were going to different places; Rick is going to Australia, Tom Peterson was going to Germany, Tom Mooney back to California, and Stewkey to Texas. That’s what it said in this newspaper article. And Rick has explained later that one of the reasons he didn’t go was because he couldn’t bring his dog [laughs].


BRIAN: I’ve seen him kind of imply, too, that he wrote this song at that time. But the thing is, this song was never played with Sick Man of Europe, the band that he had in ‘71 to ’73, and it was never played in the earliest years of Cheap Trick. So, it’s weird if he would have had this song and then they never played it, so I’m not sure when it, but it is one of the earliest Cheap Trick songs.

BRAD: Well, that’s interesting, too, that it’s one of their earliest songs, but it’s not on their first record. It’s on the second album.

BRIAN: Yeah, most of the songs on the second album they had for the first album, including “I Want You To Want Me”.

BRAD: Me which is so incredible, because the classic thing that everybody says about bands, they have a lifetime to accumulate the songs on their first album and then after that, they’re kind of spent. The sophomore slump and all of that. But here’s a band that had such an incredible catalog of songs that they were able to draw on that for not just their second album, but their third, and even beyond that, which is pretty incredible.

BRIAN: Well, Jack Douglas picked about 20 songs for them to record during the sessions for their first album. And three of those songs were “I Want You To Want Me”, “Surrender” and “Dream Police”.  And then none of them were on the album.

BRAD: Well, “Downed”, the intro of the song is great. It’s this descending melody, really strong melody, reminiscent of, like, “Dear Prudence”, but there’s a million songs that do that. It’s got the Cheap Trick patented harmony vocals in there, and then it kicks in with that really heavy riff. And to me, it just encapsulates everything that’s great about the Cheap Trick sound in that one song. You’ve got it all: you get the melody, you got the heaviness, it’s all there. It’s just a super strong track.

BRIAN: Yeah, it really is. It’s a brilliant piece of work.


BRAD: The second song that you picked is a song that brings us back to that first album, which there’s some history to this song, “The Ballad of TV Violence”. Why don’t you tell us the story of this track?


BRIAN: Yeah, this is another one. One of the earliest Cheap Trick songs, definitely one of like the first ten. This song, I think, is a perfect example of what was so different about Cheap Trick. If you picture a song like this in 1975, if you really listen to the song, and then ask yourself , “who the hell would write this?”  It’s a very different song. It’s a very unique, brilliant song, I think, but it’s really odd in a lot of ways, because the song is about Richard Speck, a mass murderer, and you’ve got Robin Zander kind of playing that role. By the end, he’s just screaming. Just screaming like a maniac.


BRIAN: It’s an insane song. I mean, there’s a concert they played, on Mother’s Day in a park in Rockford in 1975. And they play this song. And you’re just thinking, “This song is insane. And they’re playing it to a bunch of families in the park.” There’s an article in the newspaper about all the families out for this nice spring day. It’s Mother’s Day. And then the band is playing this song

BRAD: This song about a mass murderer. And the original title of the song was “The Ballad of Richard Speck” or something, right?

BRIAN: Yeah. Richard Speck was a spree killer in Chicago, in I think the late 50’s that happened.

BRAD: Yeah. He murdered a bunch of nurses, right?

BRIAN: Yeah. I think he murdered eight young women just in one night. This insane crime. Yeah.

BRAD: It’s a horrific story.

Speaker C: Yes. And since it was in Chicago, it was virtually like a local event for Cheap Trick, you know?

BRAD: So “The Ballad of TV Violence”, it’s got a great stomping riff to it. I love how the guitar kind of follows the vocal. It’s like you said, Robin is just shredding his voice at the end of the song. I imagine this must have been the last session of the day, because I can’t imagine going back and singing anything else after he finishes this take. It’s intense.


BRAD: Well, another song off the first record that you picked is a song called “He’s A Whore”. What’s the story behind this one?

BRIAN: This song came after the last two songs we talked about, at least by a little bit, but they had it by ‘75. And I mean, this is kind of the quintessential Cheap Trick song, really, especially the early version of Cheap Trick. And you think about a song like this in 1975, it’s almost a punk song. It’s just a perfect example of how unique and original Rick Nielsen’s songwriting was at the time. Rick Nielsen’s songwriting is probably more influential than we even realize. You know, the bands like Kiss and even Cheap Trick, a lot of the people they influenced are not considered, by elitist or pretentious people or whatever, they’re not considered top-tier bands, or important bands, or whatever. But if you look at all these people that started bands in the ‘80’s and even the ‘90’s, tons of them were influenced by Cheap Trick. And Rick Nielsen was, his songwriting style was very individual and unique. The way he played guitar and the way he wrote songs, he really developed his own style. And I think this song is a perfect example. Nobody else would have written this song.


BRIAN: I think it’s just a brilliant song. But it’s so Cheap Trick. It really kind of sums it up about what was unique and special about the early years of Cheap Trick, I think.

BRAD: Yeah, it’s a classic Robin Zander vocal. And, I mean, he still sounds like that today, which is incredible. Then you’ve got Rick’s backing vocals, which are again, it’s a trademark Cheap Trick sound, those backing vocals that he does.


BRAD: The song clocks in at 2 minutes and 43 seconds. I mean, there’s not a second wasted in this song. And that’s, that’s a Cheap Trick thing, too. I mean, all of these songs we’re talking about today, but just in general, their songs are always tight. You know, “Downed” is just over four minutes; “Ballad Of TV Violence” clocks in at over five minutes. But that’s about as long as a Cheap Trick song ever really gets.


BRIAN: And a really interesting thing I have in the book is, Ken Adamany had told me a story about how Rick Nielsen, when he would write some lyrics, he would call Ken Adamany’s office, he was the manager of Cheap Trick, and he would dictate the lyrics over the phone to Ken’s secretary, who would take them down in shorthand and then she would type them up. So, then Rick had his lyrics typed, you know, and so Ken Adamany still has this piece of yellow paper from a legal pad, says “He’s A Whore” at the top, and then it’s a bunch of shorthand symbols. And the picture of that is in the book. It’s pretty amazing.

BRAD: Shorthand. Talk about a lost art, right?

BRIAN: It’s hilarious, too, because it’s all these shorthand symbols and you get town towards the bottom and you just see the word “gigolo”, because there’s no shorthand symbol for ‘gigolo”.

BRAD: That’s great. All right, so the fourth track on your list jumps ahead to the third album, a song called “Auf Wiedersehen”. It’s the first song we’ve talked about that wasn’t entirely written by Rick Nielsen; this one, Rick and bass player Tom Petersson share writing credit. But what’s the history of “Auf Wiedersehen”?

BRIAN: Well, they had it for the first album. They had this song, was written in ‘76. It seems like the original title of it was “Kamikaze”. There’s at least one article where the author refers to it as that. That might have been the original title. But again, this is a perfect example of how unique and interesting Rick Neilsen’s songwriting was, especially for the time; it’s another song that’s completely insane. I do a podcast with Ken Mills called “Cheap Talk” where Ken has laughed multiple times on the podcast about when I brought up the concept of you go see Cheap Trick at like a state fair, and by the end of the show, Rob Zander is just screaming suicide over and over at the top of his lungs. It’s a perfect example of early Cheap Trick and how out there it was. But also, it’s a great song. It’s such a cool song, the riffs are amazing.


BRAD: Yeah, you’re right, it’s a great riff. Great riff. It’s another pretty tight song, this one’s 3 minutes and 41 seconds long. You can clearly hear Tom Petersson’s 12-string bass at the beginning of it, which is kind of another element of their sound. Not that many people are playing– still today, not that many people play the 12-string bass. Kind of an integral part of their sound in a lot of ways. And Robin’s voice, this is his classic punky voice.


BRAD: In your book, you point out what a great mimic Robin was as just as a singer. He really is a guy who could sing anything.

BRIAN: Yeah. And it’s interesting, because when Robin first joined Cheap Trick, when he was like, 20, 21 years old, I don’t think he knew exactly what he was capable of. And I think he learned as he went. He mostly sang, like, folk music, and he was playing for years. He would play Neil Young. Bee Gees, early Bee Gees, Crosby Stills and Nash, he was doing a lot of stuff.

BRAD: Yeah, he was mostly performing as a duo with another guitar player, right? They were primarily acoustic kind of stuff.

BRIAN: Right. Yeah, he did that for years. And he had never really been in a rock band. He had a couple of flirtations with it. But if you hear the really earliest recordings that are available of Robin with Cheap Trick, you can tell that he really developed his vocals, and I think actually learned what he was capable of. You know, eventually Rick Nielsen just starts using Robin’s voice as another instrument. That’s another facet of Rick Nielsen’s songwriting is, he only could write some of the songs he wrote because he knew Robin could sing it.

BRAD: Yeah, there’s so many influences in there. You mentioned it right at the top that all of these guys were big fans of The Beatles and the British Invasion. So, you’ve got The Beatles influence and The Who and all of that. But there’s just elements of everything in his songwriting, and the fact that he had a singer who could pull off whatever he gave him, like whether it was a Beatles pop melody or just an all-out screamer, or something that had that kind of punky edge to it. He could write whatever he wanted and Robin could sing it.

BRIAN: Yep. Yeah, that was very important because it gave Rick Nielsen the freedom to just kind of go wild with his songwriting and run the gamut, from nice and sweet and syrupy to completely over the top insane screaming at the top of your lungs.

BRAD: And that brings us to the last song that you had on your list, which is “On Top of the World”, which is one of my favorite Cheap Trick songs. It’s got everything. It’s got that Peter Gunn style guitar riff at the top. Then it goes into that brilliant chorus that is super catchy. The verses have these very… it’s not a three-chord blues type of riff, there’s a lot of chords in there. It’s very kind of Beatlesque. There’s the piano in there, I assume that’s Rick playing the piano on the track? And then at the end, you have almost this ELO-style, Beatlesque bit at the end. I mean, once again, all the elements of what make Cheap Trick great are in this track.


BRIAN: So this is the only song I picked that they didn’t have in the early years. This is one that was actually written probably right before “Heaven Tonight”. They had never even played this song live before they recorded the album. But to me, this is one of the most incredible songs of all time, by anyone. And I think it’s really a quintessential example of exactly how brilliant Rick Nielsen was and exactly how great this band was. The arrangement of this song is stunning. I don’t know how anyone could not be impressed by a song like this. This is one of the best examples, I think, of the capabilities of Rick and the band. It’s an amazing, incredible song.


BRIAN: The arrangement and the melodies and the instrumentation and the musicians playing it, everything about it is pretty stunning. Yeah, I thought it was a good way to round it out and maybe the best example, just in terms of songwriting and arrangement, it’s one of the best examples you’re going to find of the brilliance of Rick and Cheap Trick.

BRAD: Yeah, and I think it points in the direction that the band would follow. You’ve got a guy who can write a song like this and of course, a guy who can sing it, but also a band who can execute on all these different parts and changes. It’s kind of like a little mini tour de force of what makes Cheap Trick such a great and unique band. It’s, it’s a great song.


BRIAN: Yeah, exactly. Both Jack Douglas and Tom Werman, who have worked with a lot of bands, both basically say Cheap Trick are the favorite band they ever worked with, the best band they ever worked with, the tightest band. They took the least amount of time in the studio. They would just hammer everything out, play it perfectly, because they had been doing it for so long by that point. And they were at the top of their game. But also, they were very creative and unique. Rick Nielsen always injects an element of kind of sloppiness or just wackiness into everything, which I think in some ways, is one of the reasons, maybe, that people don’t realize quite how talented and skilled he was, because he never took himself seriously and never really let anybody else take him seriously, either.

BRAD: Right.

BRIAN: But if you look past that, a song like this makes it so obvious how talented they were.

BRAD: So the book is called “This Band Has No Past”. Obviously, you’ve got to love a band to devote that much time and energy into writing a book about them like this. How did you first get into Cheap Trick?

BRIAN: Well, they were always around when I was growing up. But when I was a kid, everything for me was about heavy metal. So, I knew Cheap Trick, I had a couple of their records ‘cause I would buy records at my local record store for a buck. And so, in my first, like, 50 records I had, I had “In Color” and “Dream Police” in there or something. But they were not one of my favorite bands when I was growing up, it wasn’t until I got to college and it was really the revelation of the first album, which I had no idea about until I was in college and started just collecting records like a maniac. And when I heard the first Cheap Trick album, that was kind of the realization of, wait a minute, this is the same band? That album probably my favorite album of all time. It’s very different from anything else in Cheap Trick’s catalog. And it blew me away at the time. And then I got “One On One”, it’s another of my favorite Cheap Trick albums that I just had no idea about when I was growing up. Once I started getting their entire catalog, and learning more about them, they just became my favorite when I was in college. Of course, Kiss was my favorite band growing up.

BRAD: Yeah, me too.

BRIAN: That’s another thing: I went to college in Madison, where Cheap Trick were complete legends. That was like their home away from home. They were from Rockford, but Madison was where Ken Adamany, their manager, was based. They had a huge fan base there. I don’t know, it just went from there. But yeah, I became kind of obsessed.

BRAD: And what inspired you to write the book?

BRIAN: When I started the podcast– which was one of the smartest things I ever did– I met a lot of people; one of my earliest episodes, I had Greg Renoff on, and this is when he was just working on “Van Halen Rising”. I guess that was part of my inspiration. My original idea was to pitch a “33 1/3” book about the first album; that’s that I first started working on. And I started interviewing people, including some people from the record label. And then I talked to this guy named Jim Charney, who was part of signing the band to Epic, worked for Epic at the time. Turns out Jim Charney had been friends with Ken Adamany since the late ‘60’s. And he’s like, “I could put you in touch with Ken”. And for me, Ken Adamany was like this mythic figure. You know, anybody who was a fan of Cheap Thick just knows about Ken Adamany. But by the time I became a fan, that was kind of around the time they broke ties with Ken. So, Jim Charney puts me in touch with Ken Adamany, and then Ken Adamany gets involved. And that’s when I started to realize that might I have to expand the scope of this thing. And then I was supposed to go meet with Ken, and when the meeting finally happened, he got Bun E. Carlos to come. So, then I had this, like, three-and-a-half hour meeting with Ken Adamany and Bun E. Carlos, and it’s like “OK, OK… Now this is really turning into something.” So, this has been like five years in the making.

BRAD: What were the biggest things you learned writing the book?

BRIAN: I guess I learned that with a project like this, there’s a long period of time where you might not, would never even say it out loud or admit it to someone, but you’re not sure you can actually accomplish what you’re trying to accomplish. And at some point you get over the hump and then it’s a downward slope. And that’s an amazing moment when you realize, “I actually am going to pull this off. I actually can do this.” It’s an insane process to get from a blank page to a 400-page book. So I guess one lesson is, you can do it. I wasn’t anybody, but I just tried. So, if you want to do something like this and you think that you can do it, even if you feel like nobody else thinks you can, there’s no harm in trying, so…

BRAD: Well, we mentioned a few times throughout this episode, you host a podcast called “Rock And/O Roll”, you’ve been doing it for years and that’s how you and I first connected. And you’ve recently relaunched the podcast, which I am totally psyched about. So, just drop a few hints or tidbits about what you’ve got coming up on your podcast.

BRIAN: Well, I. Have a whole bunch of interviews in the can with guys from the history of power pop from the 70’s & 80’s, that’s one thing that’s coming up, and probably a series about Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’s con-man grifter manager. And then episodes here and there that’ll be similar to what I used to do.

BRAD: That’s awesome. I’m particularly looking forward to those power pop interviews, that’ll be great. I said it before, and I will never stop giving you credit for it, it was you and a handful of shows like yours that inspired me to start this podcast. This show would not have ever existed without you, so I thank you so much for that. And I thank you so much for coming on the show today. Brian Cramp, the podcast is “Rock And/Or Roll”. It’s available again on your favorite podcast service. The book is called “This Band Has No Past – How Cheap Trick Became Cheap Trick” It’ll be available September 6, 2022, published by Jawbone Press, right? That’s the publisher?

BRIAN: Yeah, they’re a publisher out of the UK. Do you have their Todd Rundgren book?

BRAD: Mm-hmm.

BRIAN: I figured.

BRAD: Yep. Yep. Yeah. So, Jawbone Press. You can order it from Amazon today. You can get it from your local bookstore. Brian, so good to talk to you. Thank you so much for coming on the show.

BRIAN: All right, thanks, Brad.

BRAD: And thanks to everyone for listening to this episode on Cheap Trick. They’re an amazing band with a really rich, deep catalog. I hope this episode gave you a taste of what the band has to offer and inspires you to check out more of their records. You’ll be glad you did.

Brian’s podcast “Rock And/Or Roll” is part of the Pantheon Podcast Network, right alongside this show and dozens of other music related shows. So please check out “Rock And/Or Roll” and some of the other shows on the Pantheon Network of podcasts.

The “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast will be back in a couple of weeks with a brand new episode, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, follow us on Facebook and check out our previous episodes on our website, lovethatsongpodcast.com, as well as anywhere you can find podcasts.

Thanks again for listening to this episode on Cheap Trick. Farewell, sayonara, auf wiedersehen, so long.

The Angels (known as “Angel City” in the US) are one of those fantastic bands that made it big in their home country– in this case, Australia– but never caught on in the US. A shame, because these guys had it all: big riffs, great hooks, and clever lyrics. Let’s check out this great track from the band I like to think of as “the intellectual AC/DC”.

“Look The Other Way” (Rick Brewster, Doc Neeson, John Brewster, Brent Eccles) Copyright 1984 ATR/EP/Cat Songs

— This show is just one of the many great podcasts on the Pantheon Podcasts network. Try ’em– you’ll like ’em! And remember to subscribe to this show, so you never miss an episode.

Greg Renoff, author of “Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal” and “Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life in Music”, joins us to talk about a pivotal album in his youth, “Burn” by Deep Purple. It also happens to be one of my favorite albums, too. We also spend some time talking about the first solo LP from bass player Glenn Hughes, another personal favorite of mine.

If you liked this episode, check out the previous episode where we do a deep dive into the song “Burn”: www.lovethatsongpodcast.com/deep-purple-burn/

— This show is one of many great podcasts on the Pantheon Podcasts network. Check ’em out!

In our previous episode, we looked at the history of instrumental songs that topped the pop charts. For my money, there’s never been a more unlikely hit instrumental than the synth-infused, riff-heavy stomper that is Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein”. This episode, we break down this instrumental classic featuring Edgar Winter on keyboards, sax and drums.

“Frankenstein” (Edgar Winter) Copyright 1972 EMI Longitude Music

— This show is part of the Pantheon podcast network — THE place for music junkies, geeks, nerds, diehards and fans!