Arena Rock, A to Z: DAY 1

9.18 Arena Rock

Although I never saw Elvis during his prime nor did I ever get a first-hand experience of Beatlemania and the rest of the original British Invasion nor did I have a front-row view of Bob Dylan and The Band changing rock music’s direction. No, I learned all about them and the other original rockers who laid the foundation to the music that allowed me to escape the life I was mired in at the time. Sure, I got indoctrinated about Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Kinks, Aretha Franklin and the others second-hand.

9.18 Arena Concert
Arena Rock not only focuses on the music, using speakers that will fill the arena or stadium with the artists’ sweet noise, but also top notch laser lights or LED lights that only enhances the concert experience.

But, it was cool, because I had a front row for what Lester Bangs referred to as the last gasp of rock music before the corporations took it over. When I was a teenager, movie stars were no longer the glamorous people, it was the rock stars. I became aware of music in the early ’70s, with Bubblegum, Glam, Power Pop and Soul being my favorite genres at the time. As I got older, I lived through the rise and fall of Disco, Punk and New Wave, though did they ever really die out? I got to hear Hip Hop grow up from party music, to the most important voice of society since Dylan and back again in the new millennium. In other words, my generation got to since rock expand and evolve. Sure, right now, the music on the radio does nothing to reflect what is artistically happening, but there are many interesting things happening, and not just with the established artists. As a matter of fact, Power Pop is currently going through what I consider to be its fourth generation Golden Era. Additionally, many artists are building upon the Pixies/Sonic Youth soundscape of the Eighties and Nineties to interesting effects now.

9.18 U2 at the O2 Arena
U2 is one of the world’s biggest bands, and they show it by filling stadium after stadium on the world tours ever since breaking into the stratosphere back in 1987.

This past summer, I went to more concerts than I had in years. This summer was one full of nostalgia acts for my age group, plus my pain level was good at the time, and we got great tickets at extremely great prices, so I got to see three shows: Weezer, Pixies and the Wombats; Styx, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and Tesla; and Chicago and REO Speedwagon. To me, Chicago had the best performance, followed by Weezer, Pixies, Styx, Joan Jett, the Wombats, REO and Tesla, easily the most bland. Still, it was a summer to relive my high school and college days with all of these, what I call “Arena Rock” bands.

9.18 Journey
The lineup of Journey that originally broke the band across the country.

Arena Rock is the loosely-defined genre of artists whose music was mainly based in hard rock, although there were prog, folk or classical music touches, depending on the group. Also, their music were written with great melodies, ear worm hooks while maintaining all the hard rock gestures that allowed the bands’ music to maintain an obvious jolt of masculinity with strong guitar solos. Artists run the gamut from Pat Benatar, Rush and Journey to April Wine, Quarterflash and Triumph. And, really the only thing that connects these people is the fact that their music could be heard on the radio as they all sounded better in large arenas.

9.18 Styx in 70s
Styx, during the days in the Seventies when they were the biggest-selling albums band in the world. Yeah! You read that correctly!

So, this week, here’s to this much-maligned, highly underrated music, as I will present Arena Rock, A to Z. Today, I bring to you the first twenty artists of this genre, along with what I consider to be that artist’s best album and best song. Buckle up! This will last five big days!

9.18 38 Special - Wild Eyed Southern Boys

  1. .38 Special

Best Album: Wild-Eyed Southern Boys

Best Song: “Caught Up in You”

  1. AC/DC

Best Album: Back in Black

Best Song: “Highway to Hell”

  1. Aerosmith

Best Album: Toys in the Attic

Best Song: “Walk This Way”

  1. Alice Cooper

Best Album: Billion Dollar Babies

Best Song: “School’s Out”

  1. April Wine

Best Album: Nature of the Beast

Best Song: “Just Between You and Me”

9.18 Asia - Asia

  1. Asia

Best Album: Asia

Best Song: “Heat of the Moment”

  1. Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Best Album: Not Fragile

Best Song: “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet”

  1. Bad Company

Best Album: Bad Company

Best Song: “Rock and Roll Fantasy”

  1. Bad English

Best Album: Bad English

Best Song: “When I See You Smile”

  1. Billy Idol

Best Album: Rebel Yell

Best Song: “Dancing with Myself”

9.18 Billy Squier - Dont Say No

  1. Billy Squier

Best Album: Don’t Say No

Best Song: “In the Dark”

  1. Black Sabbath

Best Album: Paranoid

Best Song: “Iron Man”

  1. Blue Öyster Cult

Best Album: Agents of Fortune

Best Song: “Don’t Fear the Reaper”

  1. Bob Seger

Best Album: Night Moves

Best Song: “Turn the Page”

  1. Bon Jovi

Best Album: Slippery When Wet

Best Song: “Livin’ on a Prayer”

9.18 Boston - Boston

  1. Boston

Best Album: Boston

Best Song: “Foreplay/Long Time”

  1. Bryan Adams

Best Album: Reckless

Best Song: “Lonely Nights”

  1. Cheap Trick

Best Album: At Budokan

Best Song: “I Want You to Want Me (live)”

9.18 Chicago II

  1. Chicago

Best Album: Chicago II

Best Song: “Dialogue Parts 1 & 2”

  1. Cinderella

Best Album: Long Cold Winter

Best Song: “Nobody’s Fool”

And, that’s the first day. Tomorrow, we will cover Numbers 21 through 40. And remember, you not only get the artists’ names, but a small sampling of their work to boot!

Author: ifmyalbumscouldtalk

I am just a long-time music fan who used to be a high school science teacher and a varsity coach of several high school athletic teams. Before that, I worked as a medical technologist at three hospitals in their labs, mainly as a microbiologist. I am retired/disabled (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), and this is my attempt to remain a human. Additionally, I am a serious vinyl aficionado, with a CD addiction and a love of reading about rock history. Finally, I am a fan of Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Hall & Oates, Springsteen, Paul Weller & his bands and Power Pop music.

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