February 10, 2014

Is It Better To Be Old Or Better To Be New?

I've started listening to music while pursuing the laborious process of rewriting my novella, and the funny thing about listening to music (at least for me) is that my mind has a tendency to wander whenever I hit a momentarily lull in pounding the keyboard. In this particular case, my mind often wanders to the music I'm listening to.

Because my novella is in the crime genre (of sorts), I decided that the type of music I should be listening to is hard rock. This, believe it or not, is a no-brainer, as I have quite a bit of hard rock/heavy metal/alternative rock floating around my house, be it on vinyl or on c.d.

So I started out by listening to some Metallica, then drifted to Motorhead, then wandered over to some early-to-mid 80's metal (Grim Reaper and a compilation from Metal Blade Records), wandered back to Black Sabbath I (Ozzy) and II (Dio) then sidetracked to hair rock as played by Van Halen I (Diamond Dave) and II (Slammin' Sammy), and finally, AC/DC.

I should point out that AC/DC was one of the first bands that I really got into, and as such, I have a good catalogue of both old and new to listen to. Thus, the topic of conversation today is old versus new.

There are maybe a good half dozen to dozen bands out there who have had long storied careers with multiple singers fronting the band. Some, like Van Halen, should really go away now and call it a day. Others, like Genesis, knew when it was time to call it a day, and thus bowed out while still on top. And then there are those like AC/DC who seem not to care that everyone in the band is north of 65, 'cause they keep playing the same way.

However, while listening to AC/DC I (Bon Scott) and AC/DC II (Brian Johnson), I've come to the conclusion that while the stuff with Bon Scott bordered on the X-rated at times (in a good way), the stuff with Brian Johnson was basically straight on R-rated violence. And the stuff done with Brian Johnson (Back In Black and For Those About To Rock, We Salute You) I believe, is what kept the fan base from leaving after Bon Scott left the planet for a higher plane.

Highway to Hell is what got me hooked on AC/DC, and the first two done with Brian Johnson is what kept me as a fan. Over the years, I did pick of copies of their early stuff, but it has only been very recent in which I actually started listening to the early stuff. The early stuff, while provocative to the point of being explicit, is actually quite good, and if you want to fully appreciate the band, you have to start there.

I guess the point that I'm trying to make is that AC/DC is one of the few bands that managed not to skip a beat when they were forced to change singers.

So my question to you is this: Are there any bands that you like that managed to have a smooth transition when they were forced to change frontman? Any bands that you like that bit the big one because the replacement wasn't as good as the original? Any bands that improved with changes?

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.


  1. I'm not really into bands. I prefer sold artists, but Buddy Holly & the Crickets weren't too good with Buddy Holly.

  2. Joey: I actually they were pretty good together for the time period they played in.

    I like some solo artists as well, but there are others who went the solo route but should've stayed with the band that they were in originally.

  3. Though I was impressed with the Journey replacement as an equal but not better than Perry

  4. I can't think of any bands that survived a signer replacement that I currently listen to...it's funny, Mr. RK will listen to Van Halen with David Lee Roth but not Sammy Hagar, and I tend to agree. (And they're still making music? Really?)

  5. Bearman: For Styx and Journey, their respective lead singers Dennis DeYoung and Steve Perry were such a identifiable part of the band that I would have to agree with your point about the later versions of the bands.

    M: I lost a lot of respect for Van Halen when kick out Mark Anthony simply because he maintained a friendship with Sammy Hagar.

    And yes, they're still making music. They figure having Diamond Dave back for a 2nd stint will somehow allow them to strike gold.


  6. There simply were no replacements for Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey...

  7. G.A.: They were legends in their time, that I can agree on.

    Most people my age, unless they're into hardcore jazz/big band/swing music, would not recognize this fact.


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