I like to rock. I like to mow. Sure I’m some middle-age guy in the suburbs wearing black boots and an iPod, but inside my ears I’m screaming for a vengeance. Today’s edition of this feature I will list the songs it took to mow my yard on my 80’s Hard Rock playlist. I’ve included the videos of songs that I think you might not have heard. Check them all out, though, if you like this type of music.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High – Sammy Hagar
When it comes to Van Halen, I’m a Dave guy, but that doesn’t mean I’m anti-Samuel Hagar. His solo stuff is really great. I’m mean the first side of Standing Hampton is classic. Here is one I never understand why it didn’t get more play on radio.
I’ve Done Everything for You- Rick Springfield
Ricky was more than just Jessie’s Girl. He took this Sammy Hagar tune to the next level. Sure fuck him for being so pretty, but he could play.
Fantasy- Aldo Nova
The guitar solos on this tune sting. One of the great 2 hit wonders to me, as Nova also has the equally good Monkey on your Back.
Don’t Say You Love Me- Billy Squier
I could’ve chosen anyone of 10 songs by William Squier, as he and Hagar were the kings of the solo hard rock records in the 80’s.
All Fired Up- Pat Benatar
Patricia never seemed to strain for one note. Her hubby, Neil Giraldo was an underrated guitar player. This is them at their most blistering.
Children of the Sun- Billy Thorpe
One of those corny 80’s one-hit wonders that strangely continues to be played on classic rock radio.
The Confessor- Joe Walsh
Another 6-7 minute long epic tunes that DJ’s could smoke joint outside and still get back to the studio in time. Joe Walsh at his most hard-rockin.
I Like to Rock- April Wine
Journey to the stars, rock and roll guitars! My guess is April Wine is headlining some casino in Canada right as we speak.
Are You on My Side- Shooting Star
This Kansas City-based band seems to be totally forgotten today, but where I grew up in Des Moines during the 80’s, these guys were the shit. Hard-rocking version of Kansas?
Love is Like a Rock- Donnie Iris
Crunchy metal guitars, reggae steel drums, soaring harmonies to a Bo Diddley-beat. Makes no sense and totally works. Donnie Iris greatest hits is well-worth checking out.
The Kid is Hot Tonite- Loverboy
While they became more of a arena rock band, on their first album they had a real new wave sensibility, with swirling keyboards. Just look at the cover of their debut record. Does that look like a band who wants to be the next Journey? I went to some Ribfest in the 90’s and even though Mike Reno was pushing 3 bills in the late 90’s, they were still a good live band.
Thinking of You- Harlequin
They came from Canada around the same time as Loverboy and shared that same hard rock/new wave sound, but never got traction in the US.
Fight Fire with Fire- Kansas
For a couple records in the 80’s Kansas replaced their lead singer, Steve Walsh, with John Elefante. Impossible high-notes with a Beatlish-bent. This doesn’t sound like classic Kansas, but rocks.
Talk to Ya Later- The Tubes
Another one of these groups which mixed new wave and hard rock. It was made for dudes who couldn’t accept the Roxy Music influences that Duran Duran wore on their puffy shirts.
Strap Me In- The Cars
The 2nd Greatest American rock band not in the Hall of Fame. One of the most influential rock bands during their decade together. Brought punk and new wave to classic rock radio. This song is about as hard as they ever rocked.
No Turning Back- The Sherbs
Now here is a great example of 80’s 2 hits wonder. See also No Turning Back which was more Icehouse-like.
Stop this Game- Cheap Trick
The greatest American rock band not in the Hall of Fame. (Take that Kiss fans.) Punkish-pop in the 70’s, went more arena rock in the 80’s, but they kept a Todd Rundgren-type production sound. There is no type of music Robin Zander can’t sing. Still a great live band.
Midnight Rendezvous- The Babys
Very little music like this from 1980 holds up well, but John Waite’s voice is so strong that all the Baby’s hits still hold their edge.
You have to give it to Ritchie Blackmore that he could pick rock singers. Ian Gillian, Ronnie James Dio, Graham Bonnet, and at the end of Rainbow with Joe Lynn Turner. Many know him for the ballad stuff, but he could bring it on a song like this and the great Death Alley Driver.
Midnight Blue- Lou Gramm
Like Paul Rodgers, most of Louis Gramm’s lyrics were pretty corny, but the dude could always sing his ass off. The schtick he uses on this one to try to get this chicks pants off is pretty poetic. Remember baby, I will be saving up my love.
That’s The Way that It Is- Uriah Heep
One of those bands that put out a boatload of records and you wonder how they kept on their label. Here is their version of being Foreigner and it’s probably the best Lou Gramm rip-off I’ve ever heard. Bonus: Horribly funny video.
Tied Up in Love- Ted Nugent
Ok, maybe the Nuge found the best Lou Gramm-sound-alike. It’s good Ted’s ego didn’t get in the way during the video. Not sure if the lead singer was even shown.
Tell Me What You Want- Zebra
For those who wished Geddy Lee would sing a little higher.
On the Loose- Saga
This screams 80’s to me. No one can stop me now, tonight I’m on the Loose!