Author:Chris Sutton/Steve Pilkington
Two new additions to this series which runs alongside the On Track books, but which concentrates on an artist’s work in a specific decade, in this case the seventies.
Listening to the big Alice Cooper albums of the first half of that decade takes me right back to my early teenage years – Killer, Schools Out, Billion Dollar Babies and Welcome To My Nightmare are all still great listening. The book takes a song by song look at each album, actually starting with Pretties For You (included even though it was released in 1969) and running through all the ‘band’ albums, followed by the solo efforts from later in the decade, ending with 1978’s From The Inside. Between each album, the author looks at what was happening within the band itself, featuring some new interesting insights by key figures from the time, including original band members Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith and Michael Bruce. Sadly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s no input from The Coop himself, but nevertheless this is a really informative and critical look at the band and their work over the frantic period from its formation to eventual disintegration after 1974’s Muscle of Love album and tour. Alice’s somewhat variable quality solo records that followed in the second half of the decade are also given well deserved scrutiny and attention. A very good and enjoyable look at Alice’s best years.
Despite decent album sales and a relentless touring schedule, Uriah Heep are one of those bands that never seemed to be able to take that final step up into the big league. They did, however, produce some cracking albums in their heyday, such as Look At Yourself, Salisbury, Demons and Wizards and The Magician’s Birthday, with their sound dominated by the combination of Ken Hensley’s trademark Hammond and Mick Box’s guitar. They churned out albums at an incredible rate, releasing thirteen studio efforts in these ten years plus the obligatory double live set. Their slide began when charismatic frontman Dave Byron was ousted in 1976, and the ever-revolving door of subsequent line up changes inevitably impacted on the music, with a big drop off in quality in the latter part of the decade. It’s quite sobering actually to read the list of band members who are no longer with us – Ken Hensley, Dave Byron, Lee Kerslake, Gary Thain, John Wetton and Trevor Bolder. However, enduring songs like Easy Living, Stealin’ and July Morning live on, as indeed does the band itself. Although Mick Box is now the only remaining original member, they still tour when circumstances permit, keeping the Heep flame alive for a new generation. This is a very well researched and put together book that covers all the seventies albums while also examining the ups and downs of relationships within the band. It concludes with an afterword that briefly looks at what the future held for the band over their eventual fifty years and counting career.
Length of Read:Short
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Two very good books, which I’d heartily recommend if you’re a fan of these artists.
One thing you’ve learned
For me, the seventies will always be ‘the decade’.