When analyzing the classic rock era, major band releases like The Whoâ€™s â€œTommy,â€ Led Zeppelinâ€™s â€œRunes album,â€ The Beatleâ€™s â€œSgt. Pepper,â€Â The Rolling Stonesâ€™ â€œSticky Fingers,â€ The Jimi Hendrix Experienceâ€™sâ€ Are You Experiencedâ€ and Pink Floydâ€™s, â€œ Dark Side of The Moonâ€ and a host of others stand out. These masterpieces have stood the test of time and still sound fresh and unique today. The quality of the musicianship, brilliant lyrics and timeless melodies are what makes them a part of the classic rock lexicon.
But what about the bands that got lost in the shuffle? Due to an incredibly fertile and creative period for album rock, many lesser known bands, despite incredible talent, didnâ€™t have major commercial success, but are nonetheless worth looking at and listening to. I could compile a few lists, but here is my countdown of the recordings that fell through the cracks, but deserve to be recognized.
1- Elf-â€œElfâ€ (1972)- This first effort by Ronnie James Dioâ€™s hard rocking unit predates his tenure with Rainbow. Dio â€“ whose real name is Ronald Padavona â€“ played bass and sang on this blues-based good time rock and roll album.Â Two other releases followed, but they do not measure up. â€œHoochie Coochie Ladyâ€ starts it off with Doug Thalerâ€™sâ€ Facesâ€ â€“like rollicking piano and Dioâ€™s strong and self-assured vocals leading the way. David Feinsteinâ€™s lone guitar attack, as second guitarist Nick Pantas had died in an automobile accident before the recording of â€œElf,â€ complements underrated tracks like â€œNever Moreâ€ and â€˜Gambler, Gamblerâ€ and Dioâ€™s vocal range and depth are out front on â€œDixie Lee Junction.â€ Â This CD rocks from beginning to end with varying styles of rock and is a harbinger of things to come for the great Ronnie James Dio. To top it all off, thisÂ classic rock masterpiece features a scary elf on the cover.
2-Silverhead- â€œ16 and Savagedâ€ (1973)- Led by vocalist Michael Des Barres, who later married Pamela Des Barres â€“ author of groupie tome â€œIâ€™m With The Bandâ€â€” and fronted the Jimmy Page produced Detective, this heavy glam rock, guitar-oriented unit should have hit the big time. â€œHello New Yorkâ€ has a Rolling Stones feel, â€œBright Lightâ€ rocks with intensity and the odd-timed â€œHeavy Hammerâ€ is inventive and intricate in its construction. Des Barres later starred on â€œWKRP in Cincinnatiâ€ and Robbie Blunt (Robert Plantâ€™s guitarist) and Nigel Harrison(bassist for Blondie) cut their teeth on this effort and a 1972 self-titled album.
3-Klaatu- 3:47 E.S.T. (1976)-Named after aÂ character from the film â€œThe Day the Earth Stood Still,â€ thisÂ Canadian trioâ€™s release was shrouded in mystery and rumor spread that it was in fact the reunited Beatles under a different name. Backwards guitar and other psychedelic hallmarks plus well-crafted songs and first-rate vocals added to this myth. â€œSub-Rosa Subwayâ€ has a Beatle pedigree, but most tracks are far removed from the Fab Four sound. â€œCalling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft,â€ the most famous track (which was also covered by â€œThe Carpentersâ€), is a breathtaking listening experience, while â€œCalifornia Jamâ€ is original yet reminiscent of The Beach Boys. Â A friend of the group created the albumâ€™s artwork, a shining sun with bandâ€™s logo above it. The group enjoyed modest success in the U.S.A. because of the Beatle rumor.
4- Riot-â€œRock Cityâ€ (1977)-This scintillating, hard driving rock and roll album by a Brooklyn-based band (which I featured in my top ten-concert list) is A+ in terms of musical quality and expert musicianship. Guy Speranzaâ€™s dynamic vocal range and Mark Reale and Louie Kouvarisâ€™ blistering guitar attack make this CD a must for rockers young and old. There is not a bad song on the disc. The title track is intense yet hooky, while â€œWarriorâ€ and â€œOverdriveâ€ are rock primers that do not let up. A second release with this line-up (â€œNaritaâ€-named after a Japanese airport) also rocks hard.
5-Dust-Hard Attack (1972)- Another undiscovered Brooklyn-based gem featuring Kenny Aaronson on bass (Stories, Derringer), Marc Bell on drums (Richard Hell and the Voidoids and the Ramones) and Richie Wise on guitar and vocals. The bandâ€™s lyricist, Kenny Kerner, later co-produced Kissâ€™ â€œKissâ€ and â€œHotter than Hellâ€ with Wise. There are intense rocking tracks like â€œSuicideâ€ and the Led Zeppelin influenced instrumental â€œIvoryâ€ with its scorching guitar. â€Thusly Spokenâ€ is an acoustic piece accompanied by strings that provides a nice contrast to the hard rocking songs on the CD. This underground metal classic should have been commercially viable, but the strong vocals, sludgy yet technically proficient guitar work and a killer rhythm section tell the story.
6-Stretch-â€œYou Canâ€™t Beat Your Brain for Entertainmentâ€ (1976)-The second release by this English band fronted by Elmer Gantry (not his real name) and Kirby(Graham Gregory-guitar and vocals) takes us on a musical journey that traverses many styles of rock, from boogie to country to straight ahead, in your face blues rock. â€œThatâ€™s the Way the Wind Blowsâ€ is a rocking gem. This unit enjoys a place in rock trivia history. Mick Fleetwood, Fleetwood Macâ€™s drummer was going to take Stretch out on the road as an alternateÂ for his band to fulfill contractual obligations, but reneged on the deal leaving the band in the lurch. They went out on the road anyway and fans soon noticed that this facsimile was missing a female singer that the â€œMacâ€ employed. There was tepid response to their shows at first, but soon some concertgoers realized these guys could rock and warmed up to them. They eventually wrote â€œWhy Did You Do It,â€ a knock at Fleetwood, which appears on Elastique (1975).
7-Geordie-â€œHope You Like Itâ€ (1973)- This band, from Newcastle, England, was the first recording venture for diminutive rock screecher and second AC/DC lead vocalist, Brian Johnson, featuring 50s retro style rock, pub rock and glam rock elements on this release. The record company wanted the band to fully embrace the glam rock trend in their appearance and stage show, but the band was resistant. Johnsonâ€™s effortless power and range shine through on such undiscovered classics like â€œKeep on Rockin,â€™â€ Strange Manâ€ andâ€ Give You Till Monday.â€ The band had two subsequent albums that are weaker. Johnsonâ€™s hoisting of guitarist Vic Malcom on his shoulders was a feat he employed later with ACDC axe-slinger Angus Young.
8-Hard Stuff-â€œBulletproofâ€ (1972)â€“This CD is one of the rarest hard rock collectables and is almost impossible to find, as itâ€™s only available as an import. This English power trio employs an aggressive guitar attack along with intricate changes within songs.Â The band features two former members of the progressive band â€œAtomic Roosterâ€ (John Cann, guitar and Paul Hammond) and John Gustafson, a future member of Gillan. Bluesy â€œSinister Mister,â€ â€œTaken Aliveâ€ and the heavy â€œTime Gamblerâ€ are standouts. This band was on Deep Purpleâ€™s record label and members Ian Gillan and Roger Glover Â co- wrote â€œMonster in Paradiseâ€ with Gustafson.
9-Hydra- â€œHydraâ€ (1974)- This Southern rock unit ranks with other more famous outfits like Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Blackfoot. â€œ Itâ€™s So Hardâ€ has Allman Brothers written all over it, whileâ€ Glitter Queen,â€ â€œGood Time Manâ€Â andâ€ Warp 16â€ are up tempo good oleâ€™ boy romps.Â â€œMiriamâ€ closes out the CD in a mellow mood.Â The guitar work is melodic and gutsy throughout and Wayne Bruceâ€™s vocals are earthy and true.
10-The Scruffs-â€œWanna Meet the Scruffs?â€ (1977)-Last but certainly not least; this power pop band in the mold of the â€œRaspberriesâ€ and â€œBig Starâ€ never achieved the success they so richly deserved. Their melodic vocals, 60s styled guitar licks and song hooks are catchy and memorable. â€œBreak the Ice,â€ â€œMy Mind,â€ â€œYouâ€™re No Funâ€ and â€œFrozen Girlsâ€ are standouts that will keep you humming along and dancing.
We hope you enjoyed this trip to the recesses of rock history. Give these CDs a listen (if you can find them) and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised by the quality of some priceless rock and roll artifacts.
Thank you Steve……I appreciate it….
Where is Dirty Tricks,Schloss and Copperhead?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh yeah and Eric Moore and The Godz?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’ve only heard of 3 bands on this list. This list is will help my personal adventure in seeking “unknown” rock music. Any interest in Zephyr (early 70’s Colorado band with Tommy Bolin) or Pato (early 70’s eclectic British band)?
What about the band Called Banchee year 1969
It is a really awesome album can be found on iTunes Apple Music I think
Or you could ride to CD on Amazon or LP on eBay The first one is the best
They had 2 lps