inspirations

My Inspirations – David Coverdale

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Yes, it’s the king of hair rock, David Coverdale’s turn in the spotlight of my inspirations this week.

david coverdale
David Coverdale in the olden days when he was a bit gorgeous.

I literally cannot tell you how many times I span my vinyl ‘Come An’ Get It‘ album; signing along with passion and heart yet coupled with pangs of awkward guilt at the content, but loving the absurd cheek of it all the same.

David Coverdale as frontman for Whitesnake was/is unashamedly sexual in his image and lyrics. Ordinarily that would put me off; that’s the main reason I find AC/DC so objectionable (there are other reasons too!), but in the case of Coverdale / Whitesnake, I just couldn’t write it off; I loved that voice, the blues-influences riffs and melodies, Bernie Marsden’s singing guitars – it all had me well and truly hooked.

Oh man did I ever face ridicule for it from my feminist friends; the assumption being that any intelligent woman couldn’t possibly take Whitesnake seriously. The thing is I don’t think Coverdale himself ever totally took Whitesnake seriously. He’s quote as saying ‘a lot of my songs are firmly tongue in cheek.’ Thinking about it, that comment could be tongue in cheek in itself!

I preferred his edgier early stuff, and so my enthusiasm started fade when they moved into the fluffy poodle-haired synth-soft-rock stage in the mid/late 80s with songs like ‘Is this love’ and the remix of ‘Here I go again’.

Whitesnake in the mid to late 1980s fluffy poodle hair David Coverdale
Whitesnake – 1987 Crufts Champions in the Poodle Category

Probably my all-time favourite song – one that couldn’t in any way be seen as being sexual/sexist – is Child Of Babylon. In my opinion it still stands its ground as an epic classic rock song, brilliantly arranged and performed, and I would love to cover this one day, either live or on a record, and put all those hours of bedroom singing practise to the test.

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My inspirations – Ronnie James Dio

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dioThe Urban Dictionary defines a ‘legend’ as “someone or something whose coolness extends beyond all space and time.” That, my friends, totally sums up Ronnie James Dio.

According to the BBC’s review of ‘Mightier Than The Sword‘ Ronnie James Dio was “a genius, a gentleman and perhaps [rock and metal’s] greatest voice.”

Sadly, I never met they guy to know whether or not he was a gentleman, all I know was that growing up I was simply awestruck by the quality and power of his voice.

I first discovered Dio in the Holy Diver era. At that time Rainbow was headed up by Joe Lynn Turner and I didn’t learn until much later that Dio had previously fronted Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow as well as Black Sabbath. So my formative memories of Dio were from songs like this:

And of course wishing I could sing like him!

I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing him live twice and it was probably the closest I’ve ever got to hero worship! He was (and still is) one of my most loved and enduring inspirations, not just because of his voice, but also because he simply kept on and on writing and performing really great songs; powerful, passionate melodic and thoughtful. That’s where his main inspiration lies for me; the consistent quality of his output. He was unquestionably someone who discovered their God-given gift and lived it to the max.

A few years back I gigged at the Cheese and Grain in Frome with my old band. It was a great venue, one of the few times we had a decent sound guy; this enormous but mellow dreadlocked American guy with a southern Californian drawl. We sound-checked with Holy Diver and I’ll never forget his reaction “WOOOAH Holy Diver, I was NOT expected that. That was totally aaaawesome”. Yup, you got that right.

My inspirations – Paul Rodgers

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paul rodgersI first discovered the delights of Paul Rodgers’ voice in the late 80s when my friend decided to clear out his old album collection; like a magpie I swooped in for some shiny gems and there in the midst was a couple diamonds:

  • Free: Fire and Water
  • Bad Company: Bad Company

Stunning stuff. I lost count of the number of hours and plays those records got, whilst I sang along with my hairbrush in the mirror, completely lost in the music.

I raved to my friend about how awesome Free were, and scrawled the band name over my jeans in cheap biro just to assert how much I loved them. And of course a big part of that was Paul Rodgers. The voice, the hair and the tight cords all came together into the perfect rock frontman bundle.

Someone once described Paul Rodgers’ voice as ‘gravel and honey’, which I think’s a pretty much perfect description! He has got the smoothest gritty voice I’ve ever heard and I had the great pleasure of seeing him live for the first time only a couple years ago at Bournemouth. Vocally his performance didn’t disappoint; literally didn’t miss a note.

Bad Company Performing Live On Stage At Wembley Arena In London, 2010

Although I don’t listen too often to the old stuff any more, as soon as ‘My Brother Jake’ comes on, I suddenly realise my brain has retained all that conditioning from years ago and I find myself still recalling all the words. Mr Big, Fire and water, Moving on, Ready for love, The hunter, I’ll be creeping; are all still filed away in my mental music library.

freeI still have huge respect and admiration for his passion and achievements, and without a doubt Paul Rodgers was one of my earliest and strongest vocal influences from a very young age.

http://www.paulrodgers.com/

Lyrics – Time Will Tell

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I often get asked about my lyrics – what they mean, or what a certain song is a about.

So I thought I’d start a little series and post up some of my favourite lyrics over the next couple months. To start the ball rolling these are from my most recent single, Time Will Tell. I was inspired by the writing style of Ronnie James Dio on this song. Maybe you can tell!? Would love to hear your comments.  Are you surprised by what the lyrics actually are? Especially if you’ve been singing along something completely different! 😉

Lyrics for Time Will Tell (c) Janey Summer 2009
Lyrics for Time Will Tell
(c) Janey Summer 2009