01 March 2020
Continuing our look back at albums released in 1980, let’s have a look at March which saw further rock albums being released , some were deemed important then and some are now seen as classic. Read the reviews of our picks from March 1980 by members of the MMH team.
Genesis – Duke
Release date (UK) 28 March 1980
After what seemed like forever, at the time, Duke finally got released in the UK. After the storming successes of earlier works, I was excited for Duke – their tenth studio album. Bought with one of my first paychecks, I remember having to wait until the house was empty before I could satisfy my impatience. Phil Collins was once again on lead vocals as well as the drums and percussion while Tony Banks excelled in his mastery of keyboards as well as the 12-string guitar. Mike Rutherford, as one of the 1970’s most influential guitar players began the decade where he left the previous one. The three of them had returned together after spending time on solo projects and brought with them a mix of material they developed into the ‘Genesis’ style. This meant ‘Duke’ was, at that point, their most successful studio album – reaching number 1 in the UK charts.
The album is a quirky mix, mixing threads of the ‘prog rock’ Genesis had become famous for and with hints of a new ‘pop rock’ era. Occasionally, as I listen, I can hear the distinctive sounds flowing from earlier albums, including Then There Were Three which came after Steve Hackett left. Three singles came from the album. First, Turn it on Again, released 8th March, reached number 8 in the UK singles chart, the other two, Duchess and Misunderstanding were released a few weeks after the album and were significantly less successful. Perhaps the more ’poppy’ style of the first single brought more people to the Genesis fold as they created a rock album that would stand the test of time.
I am sure that no Genesis fans were disappointed by this creation. It was, and still is, one of their best.
Reviewed – Morag Farley
Van Halen – Woman and Children first
Although when this album was released, I was 7 and blissfully unaware of Van Halen, seven years later this cassette was stuck into my Sony Walkman tighter than Dave Lee Roth’s trousers. I remember walking to school listening to When The Cradle Will Rock followed by Everybody Wants Some. No-wonder I loved being a teenager. On hindsight this album was interesting as it mixed the good-time feel of Roth with the serious musicianship of Eddie VH. For me though, it was just fun, sleazy and very, very heavy. With the battering ram of Loss of control and the mixture of soothing sounds and crunching riffs of In a Simple Rhyme this album is a real signpost of the future and the past of rock. You can clearly hear the influences of Hendrix, Queen and Zeppelin in this very short album. I loved it as a kid, and I love it now. I must admit, sometimes its replaced by more later Halen or their predecessors Extreme on my playlist but it always makes a well-deserved return
Reviewer Pete K Malley
Scorpions – Animal Magnetism
The7th long player from the Germanic titans who now had settled into the groove of what was to be deemed their classic line up of Klaus Meine, Mathias Jabs , Rudolf Schenker , Francis Buchholz and Herman “The German” Rarebell. Sandwiched between Lovedrive and this follow up, Blackout (1981) the band had eyes on domination of the US and this did them no harm at all. Extensive touring had taken its toll, deemed by some to be the weakest of the 3 mentioned albums it did contain the tracks Don’t make no promises (your body can’t keep) , the title track , Make it real and Jabs using a voice box on the magnificent The Zoo, the last two are still live staples. With MTV beckoning and as said the release of Blackout this was the beginning of the most successful period for the band who are still going strong today.
Reviewed by Skid
Angel Witch self titled debut album – 1980
Formed in London and one of the NWOBHM bands in the late 70s/early 80s, alongside the likes of Iron Maiden, Saxon, Diamond Head and more. They signed a record deal with EMI on the back of a track featured on the ‘Metal For Muthas’ compilation, at a time when record labels couldn’t sign up enough NWOBHM bands. However the EMI deal was short lived and Bronze Records picked them up, releasing their self titled debut album, which has been re-released several times over the years with bonus tracks and is a perfect introduction to the band, with their aggressive riffs blasting out of the speakers. I personally have the 30th anniversary release of this album that came out in 2010, with Friday Rock Show sessions, demos, single b-sides and more, highlighting just how good this band were. Allegedly, they inspired Lars Ulrich to form Metallica and there can be no greater tribute. They are still performing to this day and released a cracker of an album last year called ‘Angel Of Light’.
Reviewed by Tony Heare
Triumph – Progression of Power
Rush were/are not the only power trio from Canada , Triumph , with Rik Emmett on guitar and vocals were giving Rush a run for their money in the day. This album, the bands 4th was their breakthrough long player and contained their only UK charting single with I live for the weekend, which just made the top 60. Tear the roof off and I can survive were strong tracks, however it was the bands next album, Allied Forces which pushed the momentum that this album created.
Reviewed by Skid
Def Leppard – On through the night
March 1980 in the world of music were interesting times with Pattie Smith marrying former MC5 member Fred “Sonic” Smith Sotheby’s in London auction off a napkin signed by Elvis Presley for £500 pounds, four American dollar bills autographed by the Beatles for £220. the first state sanctioned rock festival in the Soviet Union. Quincy Jones receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Dr. George Nichopoulous is found guilty of overprescribing tablets to Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and other artists and Radio Caroline shuts down in the UK after it’s ship Mi Amigo sinks in a storm. But what really sets off March 1980 were five teenagers from Sheffield with their very first full-length studio album. Rick Allen, Steve Clark, Joe Elliot, Rick Savage and Pete Willis better known as Def Leppard released On Through the Night.
Forty years on and this still sounds as fresh as when it was released, pounding drums, screaming guitars from founder member Pete Willis and company, Willis was later replaced by current member Phil Collen after excessive drinking hampering his playing on the 1983 Pyromania album. Willis was inducted in 2019 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Def Leppard and rightly so. My favourite tracks on the album are When the walls came tumbling down (Monologue on the beginning provided by Dave Cousins) and Overture which have a distinctly prog vibe to them. The album itself has a brilliant American vibe to it which ultimately is something that they wanted so that they could break into the American rock scene and later with the Hysteria album made them a household name over there as well as the UK.
Last October in an interview with Ultimateclassicrock.com Joe Elliott announced that a live album of On through The night would be released sometime in 2020 and you don’t have to wait long as The Early Years 5CD Set will feature a live concert of the album which was recorded at the New Theatre Oxford. The 15-song set includes all of the debut album’s 11 tracks as well as two songs that featured on the 1981 follow up High and Dry (Lady Strange and Let It Go). Good Morning Freedom (the b side to Hello America) and Medicine Man which eventually turned into Rock! Rock (Till You Drop).
The Early Years 5CD Set will be available from Def Leppard’s official shop https://defleppardshopuk.com/collections/media-releases-2020/products/the-early-years-5cd-set in late March for £59.95
Reviewed by Mark & Claire Parker
Other releases –
Journey – Departure
Departure is the band’s sixth LP, The album includes “Any Way You Want It“, the lead off track and top 25 single. Their next release was Escape released the following year which became a monster LP that took them to yet another level.
Loverboy – Loverboy
Debut from the Canadian band which included the hit singles The Kid is Hot Tonite and Turn Me Loose. A fair if often overlooked first album.
Myofist – Hot Spikes
The 2nd LP from Ron Chenier‘s band called Fist in Canada but due to the band Fist in the UK they had to change their name to Myofist which caused all sorts of issues and hampered their success, which is unfortunate as they were a great band and this was a strong release.
Next Month – April including Pat Travers, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest , Phil Lynott , Black Sabbath , Alice Cooper, Witchfynde, Magnum and more.