January 2012
AOR special

Previous videos

1/1 Led Zeppelin
2/1 Fleetwood Mac
3/1 Queen
4/1 Styx
5/1 Kansas
6/1 Journey
7/1 Electric Light Orchestra
8/1 Boston
9/1 Meat Loaf
10/1 Queen
11/1 Foreigner
12/1 Styx
13/1 Toto
14/1 Journey
15/1 REO Speedwagon
16/1 Yes
17/1 Scorpions
18/1 Opus & Midnight Oil
19/1 Styx & REO Speedwagon
20/1 Asia
21/1 Starship
22/1 Survivor
23/1 The Police
24/1 Foreigner
25/1 Def Leppard
26/1 Toto
27/1 Rainbow
28/1 Giant & Mr Big
29/1 Journey & Jeff Scott Soto
30/1 Issa

January 31st 2012
Queen - The Show Must Go On & Don't Stop Me Now

I know what you're thinking but no, this is not a video special for Queen despite this being video number four and five from the Brits. More than any other band in this special but since this is one of the most important and biggest bands in the world it doesn't matter that they get more videos than any other band in this special - it's still too few since they're the uncontested masters of arena rock and AOR.
By the year end of 1990 Freddy Mercury was so ill that it was far from certain that Queen would even complete their album 'Innuendo'. But the fighter as he was, Mercury defied all odds and as they reached the very end of the recording he came to the song The Show Must Go On. Despite Mercury had problems even standing up or walking in the studio he just went in to recording and absolutely nailed the songs every tone. The song became the last single to be released in home country England before Mercury died on the 24th of November 1991. Despite the band was unable to record another video for the song they edited together a video with old footage and it's the result you can see in todays first video. If you consider the circumstances this is actually a very sad song when you listen to the lyrics.
The Show Must Go On actually gets even more sad when you take the second video of the day in to the equation. Despite it only being twelve years between the recordings it's like two completely different bands. Don't Stop me Now is much more up-beat and positive. It comes from the album 'Jazz', which also gave us Let Me Entertain You and Bicycle Race, and is another of Queens many super classic hit songs. However, only peaking ninth in England, it wasn't one of their biggest hits when it was released.
So… this is it. This special - that has given us 5 Queen videos, 4 Journey videos and Toto videos, 3 Styx videos and 2 videos from Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Scorpions, Asia, Starship, The Police, Def Leppard and Rainbow as well as many other by Kansas, Boston, Meat Loaf and Survivor to mention a few - is over. But despite our AOR special being over, neither AOR or our specials are over. AOR is still going strong and in a few days we get a packed Journey special and February continues with Swedish metal in the video special. Because as freddy Mercury taught us all: the show must go on… so also at Hallowed.
Caj Källmalm

January 30th 2012
Issa - Looking For Love & I'm Alive

Why not end with something new and something we haven't had before in this special? Female fronted AOR has not been reprecented here before, sure we had Starship where Grace Slick is a singer but there was a guy in that band singing as well and since Alyson Avenues never did a video fro When Dreams Fall Apart from their Omgea album the choices were a bit limited. The few female fronted band that were around on the eighties were as fun as drying paint so the choice was to look at something new so why not Issa from Norway? So here you go one song from her latest album The Storm and one from her debut Sign of Angels. Maybe not even close to best videos around, in fact they are truly dreadful but the songs are good and that's what matters (you can always scroll down and select what to play next while listening so you don't need to see the crap). So, one little look into the 2000s, now there is only the brother's grande finale left.
Daniel Källmalm

January 29th 2012
Journey - When You Love a Woman & Jeff Scott Soto - Believe In Me

After a seven year hiatus, between 1987 and 1994, Journey reformed in their classic set-up and recorded the album 'Trial By Fire' and released it in November 1996. The album peaked at third on the Billboard with the lead single, the beautiful ballad When You Love A Woman, reaching twelfth on the single chart. This is a typical AOR-ballad - grand, beautiful and sticks in your head immediately. This became the last studio album with Steve Perry as lead vocalist and the departure became a sad story with Perry sacked due to his illwill to tour. You can read all about Journey in our complete Journey story article that will be available in a few days. After Perry, Steve Auguri took over the lead vocalist role but he was never appreciated by the Journey fans and as his voice couldn't withstand the extensive touring he was also relieved of his duty. For a brief moment, Talisman vocalist Jeff Scott Soto became lead vocalist of Journey, a man that guitarist Neal Schon had worked with earlier - like in todays second video song, Believe In Me. This is a up-tempo song and not really a typical AOR song as we know them but since Sotos voice has become such a classic AOR-voice by now it still breathes AOR but in a led apron. Sotos visit in Journey was short and the band never recorded anything with him in the studio. Howver, Soto has made a huge impression in AOR on his own so no harm done there. Don't miss our Journey special article, available in a few days.
Caj Källmalm

January 28th 2012
Giant - I'll see you in my dreams & Mr. Big - To Be With You

Two bands often mentioned here at Hallowed, one of them we have already reviewed here on their latest offering. Mark Spiro with Alan Pasqua wrote Giant's biggest hit which reached the 20th position on the Billboard list mud it is not really for the list success we have Giant here, but because they are very often mentioned when Frontiers release AOR albums so now you get to hear how they sound when doing power ballads. Mark Spiro has also written music for Mr Big but not this song which is the biggest hit of the band with the top spot on the lists in fifteen countries. A Song I am quite sure you will recognise when hearing it, not really an AOR song but an acoustic song by an AOR band.
Daniel Källmalm

January 27th 2012
Rainbow - I Surrender & Stone Cold

Unfortunately our video special is getting closer to the end every day and with only a few days left I hope you feel we've delivered to your satisfaction with both the classics and a few surprises along the way. However, the month is only 31 days and the number of videos we can include are therefore limited so we've been forced to leave a few out that we'd wanted to have, both old and new ones. With this in mind, I think todays choice comes as somewhat of a surprise to some of you - Rainbow, the band started by Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore in the mid 70's. The band begun as much heavier than Deep Purple but with time and as the vocalists changed the band softened until they reached the 80's when they got the nowadays classic AOR-voice of Joe Lynn Turner for 'Difficult To Cure', an album celebrating 31 years since the release in exactly one week (3 February). 'Difficult To Cure' became the commercial breakthrough for Rainbow internationally because despite their success in the US and UK they still had a few frontiers to reach and with this album they reached top ten in Sweden and top 20 in Germany, Norqay, Finland and the Netherlands as well as their peak position in the home country with a third. The first video of the day and first single of the album, I Surrender also made it to third on the single charts, their best single and album chart positions in their career which is probably a bit thanks to the success of the predecessor album and single Since You've Been Gone that was also quite successful. The band released another two albums in the 80's before splitting up and all though reforming in the mid 90's, releasing one more album their peak years were the 80's and their AOR-period with Joe Lynn Turner and this is where we find the second video of the day too. From 'Straight Between The Eyes' we find the innovative power ballad Stone Cold, released in 1982.
Caj Källmalm

January 26th 2012
Toto - Africa & Pamela

Totos sole top of the Billboard Hot 100 and one of their most known songs is Africa written by the keyboarder and vocalist David Paich and drummer Jeff Porcaro. A song that has been covered a lot and been played on all the Toto tours until the band disbanded in 2008. Pamela was not as big a hit as Africa but one of the songs that has defined my taste in music, an enchanting song when it was released and it is as good now and in my book Joseph Williams is the best vocalist that Toto has ever had. So, here you go, two great AOR songs, the best from one of the bands that deined the genre. Nothing else is needed to be said.
Daniel Källmalm

January 25th 2012
Def Leppard - Love Bites & Let's Get Rocked

In the mid 80's, people started to get fed up with AOR the way the genre had sounded during the last ten years or so. In 1984 Bon Jovi released their debut and had their breakthrough in 1986 with 'Slippery When Wet' which in many ways became the definition of where the arena rock was going. It was 20-years old with big, fluffy hair styling and hairspray and all the beardy, curly haired men who had reached their 40's. Bon Jovi took a lot of band with them to the top, like Skid Row, Poison, Rat and Gun's 'N' Roses, and in a way also the video special band of the day - Def Leppard (though they had already had their breakthrough as Bon Jovi cemented the "hair-rock" in the top). There is however a difference between Def Leppard and the rest in more aspects than when and why they became big in how their music sound. The others are more related to the sleaze and metal, while the sound of Def Leppard is more relatable to AOR (the appearance however is right there with the others). In 1983 Def Leppard had a super hit with the album 'Pyromania', which generated as many as seven singles (!). Four years and a whole lot of touring later, the band made their second super hit album with 'Hysteria'. It's from that album we've collected the first song of the day, the power ballad Love bites. Love Bites was the sixth out of seven singles from 'Hysteria' but this didn't stop it from becoming the first and so far only number one single on the Billboard singles chart. VH1 has ranked it the eight best power ballad of all time and the 52nd best love song. The single was big, but the album was bigger, it has sold more than 20 million copies world wide and spent six weeks at the top of the Billboard album chart (spread on three different occasions). In 1992 it was time to make a follow-up and this became 'Adrenalize', which generated six new singles - none though in the top ten at the Billboards (despite two at the top in the official rock-charts). The first single of 'Adrenalize' became the most famous, much of that is probably a result of the music video - a computerized video with so much CGI that many movies at the time couldn't compare. It was the first music video to have this kind of advanced animation, and so much of it, and in the end Let's Get Rocked made it to the top ten in five countries and peaking at fifteenth on the Billboard. The video however was groundbreaking and the song is an arena rock song that could get any audience anywhere started and to sing along.In 2011 Def Leppard released their first ever live album, which is reviewed here at Hallowed, but there's nothing new about a new studio album. So until we get one, let's enjoy these classics!
Caj Källmalm

January 24th 2012
Foreigner - I Want to Know What Love Is

Number one in several nations and Foreigners biggest hit and besides that one of the best known rock ballades through all times, covered by lots of bands and artists, some that have reached the charts as well. But this is the original by the british-american rock band Foreigner. From the album Agent Provocateur that didn't do as well as the single and worse than several of their earlier albums. But here you go, maybe the biggest rock ballad ever created.
Daniel Källmalm

January 23rd 2012
The Police - Message In A Bottle & Every Breath You Take

The Police from England became a leading actor within AOR in the beginning of the 80's as they put number one hits after eachother as very few bands in the history of music has managed. In five years they made five number one hits, which all were top ten in more or less every other country in the world. The success begun with the number one single Message In A Bottle from 1979 and the album 'Regatta De Blanc', which was followed by plenty of hit songs - like Walking On The Moon (number one), Don't Stand So Close To me (number one), De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da (number five), Invisible Sun (number two), Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic (number one), Spirits In The Material World (number twelve) before finally peaking the career with their biggest hit - Every Breath you Take (number one). All though the band only released five albums and their last album became 'Synchronicity' from which Every Breath You Take is taken, The Police made a huge imprint in the world of music. All of their albums are multi platinum certificated and some of their best-of albums as well. After Every breath You Take, The Police released another three singles from 'Synchronicity' which all were top 20, with Wrapped Around Your Finger as the best (number seven). And the success actually did start before Message In A Bottle too, with the release of Roxanne (number twelve), followed by Can't Stand Losing You (number two) and So Lonely (number six) before Message In A Bottle. No other band in this AOR-special has had so many top ten singles in such short period of time as The Police. Not even Queen. And despite their short career The Police has been awarded with two BRIT-awards, six Grammys and are voted in to the Rock And Roll Hall OF Fame as well as voted one of the 100 greatest bands of all time by both Rolling Stones Magazine (number 70) and VH1 (number 40). In 2008 the band was reunited for the first time in almost 25 years and became the highest earning musicians that year. In total they've sold more than 50 million albums and uncountable number of singles. It's easy to see why...
Caj Källmalm

January 22nd 2012
Survivor - Eye of the Tiger

The incredibly popular boxing film series Rocky had made huge success in the 70's. The first of the movies won three Oscars (among these one for best movie) and the follow-up became the second best grossing movie of 1979 (the year it was released) and the highest grossing sequel in history (until Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back took that title the next year). The third movie was made bigger and better than ever and to make the movie even more epic they had planned a theme song in Queens Another One Bites The Dust. Luckily the rights for that song was never released by Queen or their management and Sylvester Stallone instead turned to a small band he had heard on the radio, known as Survivor. The year before they had released the top 40 single Poor Man's Son from the top 100 album 'Premonition'. On Stallones request, the band wrote Eye Of The Tiger as the theme song of the movie and the single was first on the three major charts, in Australia, United Kingdom and USA. The single even took the movie soundtrack to the Billboard charts (though never top 100) and the Survivor album with the same name to an impressing second. The song is just that kind of AOR-classic as we think of when we hear the word AOR - a catchy beat, memorable chrous and impossible to forget. A few years later, Survivor once again got the question from Stallone to do a song for the Rocky series, now for the fourth film. This resulted in the number two charted single Burning Hear. Between these, Survivor also did a song for the movie Karate Kid, called The Moment Of Truth, and despite this and the fact that they had a number four charted single in The Search is over, Survivor are more or less only associated with this one particular super classic song. It's just top sing along: Rising Up, back on the streets. Did my time, took my chances. Wi the distance now I'm back on my feet, just a man and his will to survive...
Caj Källmalm

January 21st 2012
Starship - We Built this City & Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now

The Spinoff band which is a spinoff of a spinoff, Starship is a spinoff of Jefferson Starship which in turn is a spunoff of Jefferson Airplane. These two singles are two of the three that topped the Billboard list during the time the band was active as Starship. From the albums Knee Deep in Hoopla and No Protection which didn't succeed as well as the singles. We Built This City was voted the worst song of the eighties by the readers of the Rolling Stone Magazine in a poll. Also the Blender Magazine said it was the worst in the Most Awesomly Worst list. You can judge for yourselves, it did top the lists in Australia, Canada and the USA anyway. Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now was even more successful on the lists, even though it was only second here in Sweden. It was also a motivational song for the Montreal Canadians team in the 1993 Stanley Cup campaign where each player was given a so called Cassette with the song to motivate them and say that nothing's gonna stop them which ended up being correct. It was also nominated to best original song in the 60th Academy Awards. So there you go, two hits, one that killed Rock'n'Roll according to the Blender Magazine and another one that was in a movie and motivated an ice hockey team.
Daniel Källmalm

20:e januari 2012
Asia - Heat of the Moment & Only Time Will Tell

1982 fick världen stifta bekantskap med ett band från Sverige som hette Europe då dessa vann Rock-SM och ett annat band från England med namnet Asia. Asia bestod av idel välkända namn som t.ex. Geoff Downes, Steve Howe, John Wetton och Carl Palmer. Tillsammans satte de ihop sin självtitulerade debutskiva till 1982 och fullständigt chockerade hela världen. Etta på Billboard i USA med albumet och fjärdeplats med första singeln samt en sjuttondeplats med en av de fem följande singlarna från albumet. Först ut var Heat Of The Moment som utöver fjärdeplatsen i USA bl.a. var tvåa på Schweiziska singellistan. Att kalla låten annat än en megaklassiker i AOR-sammanhang vore en hädelse - det är en låt som vi knappast skulle kunna klara oss utan i dag - så stor påverkan har den haft på rockmusikvärlden.
Only Time Will Tell följde upp några månader efter framgångarna med Heat Of The Moment och är en stor hitlåt även det. En klassiker som inleder med ett keyboardstycke som är lika klassiskt som det är unikt. Efter 'Asia' kom ytterligare sju album som började på bokstaven A innan de 2004 övergav A-ligan. Vid det laget hade bandets stora glansdagar sedan länge vinkat farväl till bandet. Den senaste topp 20 chart-placeringen Asia hade var till 1994-års 'Aria' som var just 20:e i Japan. Asia har fallit skrämmande mycket i glömska de senaste åren känns det som. Heat Of The Moment har bara blygsamma drygt 516 000 visningar på Youtube (där vi hämtar videorna till denna special) och Only Time Will Tell har knappt hälften av det. De flesta av videorna i denna special har åtminstone runt miljonen visningar. Så kom igen nu! Dags att återuppväcka intresset för denna unika supergrupp - berätta för alla era vänner om Asia och spela dessa låtar igen och igen och igen och igen och igen…
Caj Källmalm

January 19th 2012
Styx - Mr. Roboto & REO Speedwagon - Can't Fight This Feeling

Domo arrigato Mr Roboto, I guess you have heard that phrase, it is said that it derived from this song. On of the bottom 40 things of Homer Simpsons is that Mr Roboto is not played enough on the radio. 2011 the restaurant Mr. Robata was opened in New York, its name comes from the japanese cooking style called Robata and the Styx song. It has also appeared in television advertising for VW, in lots of TV-shows and movies and it has been quoted a lot in medias and also voted the second best music video ever. Topped at third spot in the Billboard list and topped the lists in Canada, it is just a song we cannot skip in the special.
Or for that matter this one, the second one of Styx's brothers in arms REO Speedwagon's two number one singles on Billboard Maybe not as freqeuently as the more unique Mr Roboto, it was released in 1984, the year after Mr Roboto and is a really good rock ballad. So here you have it, the last Styx and REO Speedwagon for this special since non of them has done much sensible after these two tracks.
Daniel Källmalm

January 18th 2012
Opus - Live is Life & Midnight Oil - Beds Are Burning

We've already seen the classic sports-arena rock-songs We Are The Champions, Rock You Like A Hurricane and We Will Rock You but there is a fourth you can't really move on without, in the form of Austrian Opus and their classic song that's been frequently used within ice hockey - Live is Life. Charted as a numbe rone single in six countries and top ten in just as many, this classic sports song has written itself in to the history of those audience charming songs at sport events all over the world. All though releasing about ten other singles and ten other albums, Live Is Life became Opus only hit song but it's a good song - worse one hit wonders has been heard.
The second video of today comes from another one-hit-wonder-band, but a considerably more successful band beside their one-hit-wonder-song with secen top ten albums in their home country, Australia, and a handful of sucessful singles. The most successful of the pack, however, is this song - the classic power ballad Beds Are Burning, which reached top ten and top 20 in many countries all over the world (among them first in New Zeeland, sixth in the UK and seventeenth in the US). This song has been voted as one of the 500 songs that shaped the rock music by Rock 'n' roll hall of fame and beside this also as one of the 100 best one-hit-wonders-songs by VH1 and the third best Australian song, ever! It's hard to argue, this is a really classic AOR-hit, though a bit Australian in the edges. Together, these two songs are two classic one-AOR-hit-wonders and it's good to see some names that you normally don't mention when talking AOR in this special. Be prepared to be blown away!
Caj Källmalm

January 17th 2012
Scorpions - Rock You Like A Hurricane & Wind of Change

The first non-UK and non-US band in our AOR-special is the German band Scorpions, which was formed as long ago as 1965 in Hannover by guitarist Rudolf Schenker (big brother of vocalist Michael Schenker whom is best known from his work in UFO and his solo-band Michael Schenker Group, though he has sung in Scorpions for a short while). Scorpions released albums during the entire 70's but it was first in 1979 the band had an international hit with the album 'Lovedrive'. With 'Blackout' and 'Love at First Sting' the band established themselves internationally and with the later they also had their first international hit song, called Still Loving You. However, as the second single of 'Love at First Sting', Still Loving You wasn't the song that later grew a cult-status, it was the first single of that album - Rock You Like A Hurricane.
Now we've already asked when it came to Queens epic sports hits We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions - how would a sports event seem without these songs? Well, that very same question need to be asked abour Rock You Like A Hurricane too. How would a sports event or flight show or any kind of happening seem without Rock You Like A Hurricane? What song would thousands of sports teams enter their arena to if not "Here I am! Rock you like a hurricane!"? It's hard to even imagine such a thing!
After 'Love at First Sting', Scorpions continued to deliver during the entire 80's but it was first in 1991 that they really delivered that major smash hit - their politically loaded Wind Of Change. Specially written for the fall of the Berlin Wall, Wind Of Change is inspired by the peoples rebellion all over the world at that time as people took back the power with which they'd been pushed back for so long. Two very important songs for this genre, coming from one of the most important bands - probably the only classic AOR-band that's neither American or British.
Caj Källmalm

January 16th 2012
Yes - Owner of a Lonely Heart

What would a special like this one without Yes? Maybe not so great which is why we decide to add their biggest hit, released in 1983. It topped the Billboard list and was on the album 90125 which didn't manage the same success on the boards as the single on the lists. I know some Yes supporters says this is below the dignity of Yes and that they became crap in the eighties and so on, just because the band changed their style a little towards a more pop oriented style of rockmusic instead of the progressive rock they played in the seventies. But at the same time the same guys ought to be happy for the return of Anderson behind the microphone. And there is lots more to be said of this song but it should be a bit dull to read all of that here but to say that it has been an influental song that has been featured a little here and there isn't an exaggeration. Another good thing about this song is that it actually has a video that tells a story rather than just showing a band standing somewhere playing. So, here you have the biggest hit of Yes in a musci video directed by Storm Thorgerson.
Daniel Källmalm

January 15th 2012
REO Speedwagon - Keep on Loving You

Hi Infidelity, the ninth album by REO Speedwagons was the best selling rock album in 1981 and it was also REO Speedwagons most successful album with several top ten hits like for instance this track which reached the top spot on the Billboard list and is on of two songs to do reach that position. The album also reached the top spot on Billboard and sold around ten million copies. It is also the music that signifies their changing style towards the more pop oriented rock music. So, here you go, a fine rock ballad that in a good way show the real breakthrough of REO Speedwagon.
Daniel Källmalm

January 14th 2012
Journey - Open Arms & Don't Stop Believin'

På precis denna dag för exakt trettio år sedan släppte Journey en av sina mest klassiska hitlåtar, balladen Open Arms som tog bandet till en andraplats på Amerikanska Billboardlistan. Hämtad från det mest framgångsrika studioalbumet i bandets diskografi var Open Arms den fjärde av fem singlar från 'Escape' som släppts i juli 1981 och var också den klart mest framgångsrika av singlarna på den skivan. Ironiskt nog då det normalt brukar gå åt andra håller ju längre in på skivan du kommer. I efterhand är det dock den tredje singeln som släpptes några månader tidigare som har stulit all uppmärksamhet inte bara från singlarna på denna skiva utan hela Journeys diskografi. Låten Don't Stop Believin' är idag ansedd inte bara som en av tidernas bästa låtar alla kategorier utan även en låt som står för så mycket uppmuntrande och positivt tänkande att det inte går att räkna bort budskapets betydelse heller. Ska vi börja räkna utnämnanden och rekord låten har så kan vi hålla på ett bra tag därför gör vi nog bäst i att inte börja, men vi kan väl konstatera att få i världen missat att den här låten existerar och hur den låter. Det klassiska pianointrot som inleder låten gör att man känner igen låten på en gång, att låten inte har någon refräng mellan verserna gör den ännu mer speciell och sedan när vi väl får refrängen på slutet blir det ett klimax som gör att det lätt blir en vända till innan man går vidare… Vi konstaterade redan till Wheel In The Sky att Journey satt standarden för hur hela AOR-genren definieras och dessa låtar är precis så som de flesta av oss definierar det. Klimax!
Caj Källmalm

January 13th 2012
Toto - Hold The Line & Rosanna

It's not easy to leave the 70's when you're talking AOR as so many brilliant and influential songs came back then but here is some sort of official attempt at least and we do that by using one of the most important bands of this genre - Toto - and their two probably best known hits (released on each side of the 70's/80's shift and bundle them together nice and cozy on this Friday the 13th. Hold The Line is probably recognized immediately regarding to the classic synth beat that goes through the song from start to finish. This beat made the song so popular that it, despite being the first ever single by Toto, jumped straight to fifth on the Billboard single charts and classifying for Gold both in the US and Canada. 'Toto' was followed by two less successful albums with no hit singles until four years later when 'Toto IV' was released and had the lead single Rosanna which was one of seven (!) singles of that album and one of two singles to be top two on the Billboard chart. Africa, which was released a few months later, was the most successful of the singles in the charts, being Totos first and only number one single in the US but with time it's Rosanna that has become the biggest. Being a ballad, Rosanna is one of the major classics of the whole AOR-genre and it even received a Grammy and was nominated for a second. It has also given name for a particular way of drumming, later known as "the Rosanna shuffle", a sort of jazzy drum bridge that has been used plenty ever since. However, in the US and UK Toto lost a lot of popularity after 'Toto IV' and later disappeared completely from the album charts. In Europe though, things were going better and better... but that's another story.
Caj Källmalm

January 12th 2012
Styx - Babe

Styx' only number one in the US, also number one in Canada where it held on to the top spot for six weeks and became the single that opened the 80s as number one there. The lead single from the triple platinum album Cornerstone, released in 1979, also became there only big hit in the UK with a sixth position as the best and the song wasn't even supposed to be released to the public. It was written by Dennis DeYoung as a birthday gift for his wife Suzanne, he recorded it with help from the Panozzo brothers with whom he once founded the band Styx, he sang all harmonies himself, in the end DeYoung was convinced by Tommy Shaw and James Young to include the song on Cornerstone. The song is the same as recorded by DeYoung with only an added guitar solo from Tommy Shaw. The success was a given, it is unfortunate though that music videos was not recorded for the singles at that time which is why you will have to enjoy a live recording for VH1 which might not be as good as the album version but what does that matter when we are talking about probably the best ballad ever written.
Daniel Källmalm

January 11th 2012
Foreigner - Double Vision

Let's stay in the 70's just for a little while longer as we move on to one of the biggest bands in AOR with their first hit - Double Vision by the quite familiar Foreigner. Double Vision comes from the album with the same name and was released as a single in June 1978. The song panned all the way to second on the Bilboard chart, classifying for gold according to the RIAA. Yet, somehow the song is alarmingly invisible today. One reason for that might be how Foreigner six years later really took the world with their fifth album 'Agent Provocateur' and the lead single of that, the power ballad I Want To Know What Love Is. After that, it's almost as everything Foreigner did before the 80's had vanished in the mainstream, though it still remains a true AOR classic and a song you should know if you're in to AOR to some extent. So take some time and enjoy this classic tune!
Caj Källmalm

January 10th 2012
Queen - We are the Champions/We Will Rock You

Two of the biggest and most known arena rock songs happen to be the A-side and the B-side of the same single. Majestic songs written to engage the crowds which I think they succeeded fairly well with. They were released in 1977 and they are also found on the album News of the World which was released the same year. Worldwide hits but I think the songs have really reached their peaks post release and charting time, they are icons nowadays. Imagine a championship without We are the Champions or sports events where We Will Rock You aren't played, feels kind of unthinkable doesn't it? Some scientists also did in 2011 conclude that We are the Champions is the catchiest song in the history of pop music. Så relax, sit down and enjoy two of the most iconic songs in the history of rock music and another proof of this period being probably the most interesting throughout rock music.
Daniel Källmalm

January 9th 2012
Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell

What would a special about grand and melodic rock music be without including the biggest of them all, not just his size but also if we look at how much music that has been sold. Only one rock album (two if you could AC/DC's Back in Black as rock music) has sold more than this one and it is the might Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd if we look at worldwide sales. Grande rock music fore the arenas is what these Steinman compositions are and considering the size of vocalist Meat Loaf an arena is required for him to fit. If we are to give just a small glimpse of how big this album is, we can start by saying that worldwide sales are in excess of 43 million copies which makes it the fifth best selling album ever and it still sells around 200'000 copies a year which in itself is a fantastic figure. 14 times platinum in USA and 21 times in Australia making it the second best selling album ever down under. But it isn't just the numbers that impress, the pompous rock hymns were groundbreaking at the time in their epic format and has paved the way for many of today's epic metal bands, no Bat Out of Hell and maybe no bands like Rhapsody and their likes. But enough talking now, it is the breakthrough with the capital B of the late seventies and here you have the title track of that album.
Daniel Källmalm

January 8th 2012
Boston - More than a Feeling

Daniel said it yesterday, the breakthroughs came thick and fast in the latter half of the 70's within this genre. We've already seen Queen, Styx, Kansas, Journey and yesterday ELO with their respective breakthrough singles and here's another: Boston.
In foundation being a one-man-band, Boston mostly consisted of live musicians except the creative mastermind Tom Scholz. With the help of Brad Delp and Sib Hashian (and a few guests) he recorded the album 'Boston' on where we can find More Than A Feeling on his own. This single took him five years to write and finish but then in the fall of 1975 when he went to record the album it took him another six months only to finish the song. In the end, however, I think the effort was worth it because what it resulted in was one of the biggest hit-singles in the history of AOR. The song has appeared in so many movies and television occasions that it's hard to keep track of them and despite the single being such a major success, it's nothing compared to how the album presented itself. All around the world this is one of the best selling albums of all time and in the USA where it had most of its success it's the second best selling album of all times with more than 17x platinum. The song is not only a commercial super hit, it's also one of the best songs of all time...
Caj Källmalm

January 7th 2012
Electric Light Orchestra - Livin' Thing

The breakthroughs were coming thick and fast during the latter half of the seventies, we have already looked at a few and here's another one. ELO were already big in the states but they finally reached commersial success in the home country of Great Britail with their first top ten album in New World Record. This is one of three singles from that album, a hit single that reached the top ten lists in many nation around the world and one of many memorable songs from the ELO discography over the years. The realyl big success came following this album in the dying years of the seventies they hade mghty success with multi platinum and so on. That might be something we stumble upon later, who knows? Like everything with ELO it is all written by Jeff Lynne and it carries all the the trademarks of the ELO music and also shows one of many exciting and fresh perspectives that was to be found in this genre during this era.
Daniel Källmalm

Januray 6th 2012
Journey - Wheel In The Sky

Every genre has its germinal band. A band that sort of becomes one with the genre and is what everyone thinks of when you say the genre or vice versa. Progressive hard rock has Dream Theater, heavy metal got Iron Maiden, power metal is Helloween, thrash and Metallica is unified, as is Morbid Angel to the classic death metal and In Flames with the Gothenburg death. And when we say AOR I'll bet you anything that either Journey or the kind of music Journey gave us is what appears in 99% of everyones heads. Journeys music has been copied by many and inspired even more and Steve Perry, Neal Schon, Ross Valory and in this song Aynsley Dunbar and Gregg Rolie (but the last two are usually replaced by Steve Smith and Jonathan Cain in the "classic line-up") is in many ways responsible for AOR to be defined as AOR is defined today. Wheel In The Sky was the first hit-single of the band, it started what would become a magical career generating many classic songs and sold-out tours on the biggest stadiums in the USA. The songs peaked as high as sixth on the French charts and it was here it all started, with this song in 1977 - the first single of 'Infinity' (an album peaking 21st in the USA). We'll return to Journey later on in this special but for now let's enjoy what's probably one of my absolute favorite AOR songs of all time and my personal favorite by Journey. Enjoy!
Caj Källmalm

January 5th 2012
Kansas - Carry On Wayward Son

The album Leftoverture marked in 1976 a breakthrough for Kansas while one of the main writers started suffering from writers block, hence the cover art of the album possibly. This led Kerry Livgren to have to write more or less all songs on the album, that includes the the one we have here. The opening track of the album Carry On Wayward Son which is often wrongfully named by people due to the lyrics was the band's first bigger hit, the first for them to reach the top 40 on the Billboard list, its peak position was eleventh and it is a track that is today considered to be one of the best rock songs ever, it has also been in videogames, in movies and television shows. The video I found is a bit newer than the song itself but the performance is good and I should also add that the this song is from the era when this kind of music was making its breakthrough and this is one of the big hits of that era, so lean back and enjoy another timeless classic.
Daniel Källmalm

January 4th 2012
Styx - Lady

Daniel will probably kill me because I was the first to include a Styx song in this video special about AOR, but he'll get more chances as we'll defenitely return to Styx as we will to Queen later on. This is the first big hit of Styx, Lady. A ballad. The first ballad in this AOR-special and it was released as a single in 1974 and reached as high as sixth on the Bilboard singles charts. The song however, was not an immidiate success, it took them a label change and a few months of time to get that but in their home town it took the market with storm. One reason was that they had built a solid fan-base in their home town during the years they'd played there but the biggest was probably because the band themselves called to radio stations and wished for the song to be played whenever opportunity arose. Lateley the song has been played in several tv-shows and the best appearance if you ask me is when Simpsons make a parody of 'Odyssey' and Homer gets the instructions to cross the river Styx. As he does so, he hear the tunes of Lady and calls out in agony "This is truly hell!"
A given feature on the band's live-shows since many years, Lady is one of the best love songs ever written. We'll return to Styx later on, but here is the band performing in San Francisco in 1978 and the footage comes from the DVD 'Live And In Concert 1976-1978'...

Janury 3rd 2012
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody

One of the biggest Arena Oriented Rock bands ever, and one of the best selling musical acts ever with over 300 million sold albums. Bohemian Rhapsody is one of the bands biggest hits which has twice charted at the top spot on the english charts, it took the first place after the release and stayed there for nine weeks and then again in 1991 following Mercury's death it topped the british charts again and stayed for five weeks. It is the third best selling single in Britain ever. A ground breaking song in many ways, not just the stylistic way combining opera and rock music in a way never done before and also because it came with a promotional video which was considered ground breaking in that time during the seventies. Also the real commercial breakthrough for Queen along with their impressive A Night at the Opera album. This is also a song from the time when the success of the bands we now call AOR bands started, following this in the late seventies bands like REO Speedwagon, Styx, Foreigner, Meat Loaf and many more had great success with melodicly oriented rockalbums and filled stadiums with their anthemic rock. It started before this with some of those bands experimenting in a similar fascion but Queen really showed with this song that it was possible to become successful with this kind of music and led the way for great hits from ELO, Kansas along with the bands already mentioned and many more. Now enjoy this timeless classic!
Daniel Källmalm

2nd of january 2012
Fleetwood Mac - Oh Well

Today our video special continues with Fleetwood Mac - a band you may not think of when we're talking AOR though if we're honest they're self written in the history of the arena rock as they are the band with the biggest arena successes of them all with major sell-out stadiums and arena all over the planet. Oh Well was the first hit single of the band, with many to come, and pretty similar to the Led Zeppelin song we had yesterday in structure, sound and style. In the years to come, Fleetwood Mac became softer and more radio-adapted and less rock, but here in the beginning of their career they were a full grown rock act. This song comes from before the commercial success and before there were any female vocalists or anything. It's also one of the later songs by Mr Peter Green, the man who originally founded the band but in 1970 left just as the band became famous. This single was top ten in seven countries around the world, peaking first in Holland. One of the real fathers of AOR and with this and Led Zeppelin in the bag, the history lesson can end as we head on in to the 70's - the decade when AOR really had its break through. But that will have to wait for tomorrow…
Caj källmalm

1st of january 2012
Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love

After a two month intermission, we'll start 2012 by reviewing the video special on Hallowed right here in January and we'll begin with one of the great fathers of hard rock - Led Zeppelin. However, this is not a Led Zeppelin video special, but an AOR special. Adult Oriented Rock. Arena Oriented Rock. American Oriented Rock… call it whatever you want, this genre has heard most already, and Led Zeppelin is one of those bands that kickstarted the arena rock for real. This commercially acclaimed rock music that can sell out any stadium regardless of size. Whole Lotta Love was the first super hit of Led Zeppelin charted number one and top ten in more than ten countries. Commonly known music magazines like Rolling STone, SPin, Q as well as other music medias like VH1 and Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame has accoladed the song wideley, for example as one of the top 100 singels/rock songs/guitar songs of all time, one of the 500 songs that shaped rock 'n' roll and one of the top 500 songs of all time. Hallowed thinks there are better songs to come within this video special of AOR, but this is an excellent song to start this years video specials.
Caj källmalm

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Hallowed looks at AOR in january.