When I was in school, like all other kids, I was enamoured by “western music”. Yes that’s what we called it since we hardly knew about the genres of music. Any music produced in the west was western music. I still vividly remember the LP player that we had in our home and the only LP records or discs that had western music were Boney M and ABBA. Listening to them was pure joy even though I did not understand a single word of the lyrics. Just the thumping drums and the energetic vocals gave me a high since Hindi music at that point of time still used Indian instruments and the songs were based more on the classical.
In my teens, was introduced to pop music by my school chums. Back then, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Wham had burst on the scene and albums like “Thriller”, “True Blue” and “Fantastic” dominated the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Those days we had cassette players and visiting the music store scouring for the latest released album had become a part of our routine. The cassette had the lyrics of the songs in the album inside the paper cover. I would read and memorize the lyrics while listening to the songs. Me and my friends would sing those songs aloud while hanging out. My room was cluttered with posters of the pop stars. I was enjoying my new found “freedom” feeling like a “lucky star” and everyday felt like “just another day in paradise” trying to do crazy stuff like “walk like an Egyptian” and if anyone had a problem with that, would tell them to “beat it”.
All this time, a best friend of mine had been goading me to listen to some “heavy” stuff. He was into metal and hard rock. I said, not my cuppa. He persisted and one day made me listen to “All I want is you” by Bryan Adams. Now Bryan Adams is more on the pop side of Rock, definitely not metal or hard rock. However, I instantly took a liking to the sound of electric guitar. The riffs synched with my inner strings and felt like this is what I always wanted to listen. I longed for more and started listening to likes of Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, ACDC, Van Halen and Motley Crue. Now these are the artists who embody everything that rock is. Rock is intense, power packed, high octane and right from the gut. Check out Def Leppard’s “Have you ever needed someone so bad” to experience a power ballad. If you want to get a real kick, listen to Motley Crue’s “Kickstart my heart”. Today there are few guitarists who can match Eddie Van Halen’s speed and dexterity. Inspired by Jimmy Hendrix, he took the electric guitar to new heights. Slash’s guitar intro in “sweet child of mine” is one of the greatest of all times. To compliment the guitar, you need to have drums to keep the audience’s heads bobbing. Alex Van Halen provided the thrashing force to Eddie’s out of the world solos. Tommy Lee provided the mojo to Motley Crue’s grooves. Def Leppard’s Rick Allen who is known as the “Thunder God” amongst his fans can still whip up the same drum frenzy with one hand. Yes, here is a drummer who lost his left hand in a car accident but came back two years later with an improvised drum kit and recorded many albums.
These and many more Gods of Rock with their ability to set the stage and billboards on fire had a deep impact on me and thirty years down the line after I heard my first rock song, still continue to give me goose bumps. Rock music in its most raw and pure form needs a good vocalist, lead guitarist, bassist and a drummer and an unlimited amount of passion and energy. These days, people may prefer dance and electronica but nothing beats the pyromania that a genuine Rock show can produce. For me and other rock aficionados, we are still “thunderstruck” and “for those about to rock, we salute you!!”
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