I Want Out – Helloween

Cue flying watermelon: “And so?”

This is a strange hotch-potch of a video featuring warehouses, deserts and endless trips down Michael Kiske’s throat. The emphasis is on humour combined with kick-ass guitar solos but it’s hard to ignore those ridiculously tight jeans. That and Kiske’s lovely flicked hair.

German band Helloween formed in the mid 80s and are considered to be one of the pioneers of power metal. I Want Out was a successful single from 1988’sKeeper of the Seven Keys Part II and did well commercially thanks to heavy rotation of the video on MTV. It marks the high point of Helloween’s success. Writer and guitarist Kai Hansen has said in an interview that “I Want Out” was indicative of his personal position at that time; he left the band not long after.

Helloween official site
Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II CD (Remastered, extra tracks) from Amazon
Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I CD (Remastered, extra tracks)
Unarmed: Best of 25th Anniversary CD – reimagined versions of their best-loved songs.

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Kiss Me Deadly – Lita Ford

“It aint no big thing…” Cue the penis size jokes.

This whole video is an adolescent boy’s dream. Lita is a sex goddess in a boob tube held up by magic. She’s lap dancing to a guitar and she’s singing into the wind, her crown of huge blonde hair blowing perfectly into the breeze.

Women were fairly scarce in 80s heavy metal but Lita Ford is a glowing exception. After the demise the all-female band The Runaways in 1979, Lita launched her solo career. She reached a peak in 1988 when, managed by Sharon Osbourne, she produced the album Lita. Kiss Me Deadly did well on the charts (#40 in the US) and helped propel the album to platinum sales.

Kiss Me Deadly was named the 76th best hard rock song of all time by VH1.

Lita Ford is married to Jim Gillette of Nitro.

Lita Ford official website
Lita CD at Amazon
The Best of Lita Ford CD
Lita Ford: The Complete Video Collection DVD

I Wanna Be Somebody – W.A.S.P.

Hit play, adjust the tracking… I said adjust the tracking! Ah well, this will have to do.

Enjoy W.A.S.P. as they vamp it up big time, the black leather pants matched only by Blackie Lawless’s bent-kneed stance. It’s as if the sheer weight of his awesomeness is pressing him down. That or his guitar. Note also at 1:17 that drummer Steve Riley is looking positively possessed and may well be about to spontaneously combust, as is often the case with drummers.

I Wanna Be Somebody is the first track from W.A.S.P.’s eponymous 1984 album, replacing the original first track Animal (Fuck Like A Beast) which was removed due to concerns over US chain store sales. W.A.S.P. were one of the main targets for the Parents Music Resource Center and the latter song was included in their “Filthy Fifteen” list, used to lobby for “Parental Advisory” stickers. I Wanna Be Somebody ranked #84 on VH1’s list of the top 100 hard rock songs.

The band won’t be drawn on whether the acronym W.A.S.P. means anything. Wikipedia reports that it is sometimes read as “We Are Sexual Perverts” or “We Are Satan’s Preachers.” Blackie Lawless has said it really stands for “We Ain’t Sure, Pal.”

The official W.A.S.P. site.
W.A.S.P. CD remastered at Amazon
Best of W.A.S.P. CD

Welcome To My Nightmare – Alice Cooper

Replete in top hat, scary black eyeliner and Dracula cape, Alice Cooper welcomes us to his nightmare. And what a freaky dreamscape it is. Never mind that this heavy metal classic sounds a little like lounge music to today’s sensibilities, scarier things are afoot. For a start there’s a bunch of weird masked dancers gyrating around his bed, including a woman wearing a phallic snake hat. Then Vincent Price sneaks up from nowhere and tries to grab Alice from behind. Finally, our hero’s head explodes like shattered glass. I don’t know about you, but the little 1975 kid in me is hiding behind the couch at this point.

Welcome To My Nightmare was the first track on Alice Cooper’s 1975 concept album of the same name. It charts a journey through the nightmares of a child called Steven and features narration by horror film star Vincent Price. The album was the first solo effort from Alice Cooper after the breakup of the Alice Cooper band.

The song only reached #45 on the US charts but the album went on to become a best seller.

Official Alice Cooper site
Welcome To My Nightmare CD at Amazon
The Best Of Alice Cooper: Mascara and Monsters CD Remastered

Youth Gone Wild – Skid Row

Don’t these pretty boys have the shiniest long hair? And they know how to wear a pair of denim jeans.

Youth Gone Wild was Skid Row’s debut single from their first eponymous album in 1989. While the single itself didn’t chart well, the song was played heavily on MTV and contributed to the overall success of the album. Wikipedia reports that the band’s sucess was sullied by the fact that a large percentage of song royalties were actually paid to Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora, in payment for their “leg up” from the better-known band.

Skid Row official site
Skid Row CD at Amazon
40 Seasons: The Best Of Skid Row

I Was Made For Loving You – Kiss

From the second that bass line starts, you can’t help but love this song. Sure, it was written by Paul Stanley to prove how easy it was to write a disco hit, but forget that “d” word. This is a kickass heavy metal song, man. It’s just so over the top.

The video has much to offer: the platform shoes, a hairy-chested Paul Stanley, Ace’s glittering holographic guitar. But the best part by far is Gene’s bass solo when he looks down the barrel of the camera like he’s gonna kill just by thinking about the A string. And then he licks it. Oh yeah.

The song was #1 in Australia in 1979 but only got to #11 on the US chart.

Official Kiss site
Dynasty (reissued) CD at Amazon
The Very Best of Kiss CD
Kissology: The Ultimate Kiss Collection DVD

The Devil’s Interval And Black Sabbath

Devil's guitarHeavy metal has long been the bane of rabid Christian groups who fear that metal music leads kids into satanism and suicide. How could they not? The genre has been built on the idea of the devil since Black Sabbath decided to play “horror music” as a change from jazz.

It turns out that a lot of metal music has made use of what’s known as the Devil’s Interval or the Devil’s Tritone. This is a combination of two notes that give a “spooky” effect. If you want to know what it sounds like, think of the first bit of the Simpsons theme tune (the “Simp” part of “The Simp..sons”). According to the BBC:

On the surface there might appear to be no link between Black Sabbath, Wagner’s Gotterdammerung, West Side Story and the theme tune to the Simpsons.

But all of them rely heavily on tritones, a musical interval that spans three whole tones, like the diminished fifth or augmented fourth. This interval, the gap between two notes played in succession or simultaneously, was branded Diabolus in Musica or the Devil’s Interval by medieval musicians.

A rich mythology has grown up around it. Many believe that the Church wanted to eradicate the sounds from its music because it invoked sexual feelings, or that it was genuinely the work of the Devil.

The tritone is used extensively in Black Sabbath’s eponymous song:

Guitarist Tommy Iommi says: “When I started writing Sabbath stuff it was just something that sounded right. I didn’t think I was going to make it Devil music.”

Other examples of the Devil’s Interval include Purple Haze and Foxy Lady by Jimi Hendrix and Maria from West Side Story.