Thursday, May 17, 2012

MONTROSE- A Debut of Legends

Post #196
With the recent passing of rock guitar legend Ronnie Montrose in April 2012 the world of rock music lost a talented musician who was very influential to hard rock and heavy metal, particularly in the late 70's and early 80's. As a way of paying tribute to Ronnie, I am finally reviewing his debut album, Montrose.

The debut album from Ronnie Montrose's namesake band Montrose, also happened to be the first recording of another legendary figure in heavy metal: Sammy Hagar. These two future icons were not collaborators for very long, but the music they wrote together in these early years speaks for itself. Ronnie would go on to pursue a jazz-rock fusion style of music, while Sammy Hagar went on to a successful solo career that is still thriving today, not to mention he would spend many years as the lead singer of Van Halen after the initial departure of David Lee Roth.

With Montrose's eponymous debut in '73 the band gave the hard rock genre an album to be reckoned with. The influence from this recording is apparent in many cases where other prominent rock and metal bands have covered the tunes. In a previous post I mentioned how Dave Mustaine of Megadeth once covered the Montrose song 'Bad Motor Scooter' in his early band Panic. In the early 90's, BulletBoys did a cover of 'Rock Candy', and Contraband (an early 90's supergroup of hair metal veterans) covered 'Good Rockin' Tonight'.

The album's first track is a great example of a band making a mission statement apparent with their song title: 'Rock the Nation'. A great hard rock tune, and somewhat prophetic, for these guys would go on to rock the nation for many more years, even if they would do so after parting ways.

I know that some of these songs have appeared on some of Sammy Hagar's hits collections over the years, but there are many others here worth checking out. Here are my favorites from this legendary debut album:
-Rock the Nation
-Bad Motor Scooter
-Space Station #5 (Intro sounds like it could be a Pink Floyd song, then they kick into full-swing and make this song rock!)
-Good Rockin' Tonight
-Rock Candy
-Make It Last  (Again, here is a song with almost prophetic lyrical themes, as Sammy sings about the way he was at earlier stages of his life, and what he hopes to be at future ages... this is a kind of 'slice-of-life' song, with a slow and steady beat...)

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