Yes I am back. I have decided to finally post something in my on-again off-again blog. Thanks to those that follow the blog for waiting so long. I’ve deliberately chosen a quote from AC/DC’s classic You Shook Me All Night Long as the title for this post as I believe it sums it up really well. As 2014 has just drawn closed it is timely to reflect on older artists releasing new recordings throughout the year.
I recently did a 2014 Year in Review Special on my community radio program, The Sunday Smorgasbord. The playlist for that program is available at this URL, 7tyg.radiopages.info/the-sunday-smorgasboard/2015-01-04. Although it featured new releases from a diversity of artists here are some of those released by older artists. Some making a return to recording after many years in the wilderness, so to speak.
In January Bruce Springsteen released High Hopes as he continues in one of the most prolific periods of his career. High Hopes is his eighth studio album this century. The real surprise in January was the release of Croz, by David Crosby, his first studio album in twenty years!
February saw the release of Paul Rodgers’ studio album The Royal Sessions, a collection of Blues, R&B and Soul covers and his first studio album since 2000. Also returning to the music racks in February after an 18 year absence was none other than Neneh Cherry, with her fourth studio album, Blank Project.
Mike Oldfield chalked up his twenty-fifth studio album in March with Man On The Rocks. It was his first entirely song-based album with no long instrumental passages since 1989’s Earth Moving.
In April Australian singer-songwriter Russell Morris released his second album in as many years with Van Diemen’s Land. Blues journeyman Robert Cray also churned out yet another studio album in April with In My Soul, his seventh since 2001. He has also released two live albums in this period.
Blondie released their second studio album in five years in May with Ghosts Of Download. It was made available with Blondie 4(0) Ever, a compilation of re-recordings of their biggest hits for their fortieth anniversary.
Scottish rockers Nazareth released their twenty-third studio album in June. It was the last with singer Dan McCafferty, who left before the album’s release. It was called Rock ‘N’ Roll Telephone.
July saw the release of a new studio album from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers with Hypnotic Eye. Judas Priest dropped Redeemer Of Souls in July, their first without founding guitarist K.K. Downing. July also saw Weird Al Yankovic release his first number one album, despite his long career, with Mandatory Fun. Choosing to not release a single, but eight music videos simultaneously instead, obviously helped.
Ace Frehley left KISS with the intention of kicking off his solo career. He left the band in 1982 yet August 2014 saw the release of only his fifth studio album since his departure, with the suitably titled, Space Invader.
September saw new releases from music industry stalwarts U2 (Songs Of innocence) and Robert Plant (Lullaby … And The Ceaseless Roar). September also saw the welcome return of Canada’s The Tea Party releasing their first studio album for a decade, The Ocean At The End.
Returning in October with his trademark sneer and legendary guitarist foil, Steve Stevens, was none other than Mr William Broad, better known as Billy Idol. His latest album is almost semi-autobiographical in places, particularly on the title track, Kings & Queens Of The Underground.
November was the month for the return of two industry giants. The first being the band mentioned at the start of this post, AC/DC. They released Rock Or Bust, the follow-up to Black Ice, sadly without founding brother Malcolm Young’s involvement due to illness. Somehow between recording and releasing the album they also seem to have left drummer Phil Rudd behind too, although I am sure that is for entirely different reasons. The one that pundits like me were most hanging out for was the new Pink Floyd album, The Endless River. Predominantly instrumental and recorded during sessions for 1994’s The Division Bell, it was a fitting swan song and a memorial to late keyboardist, Rick Wright.
In December legendary Australian musician Paul Kelly released his album, The Merri Soul Sessions. Some of the material was originally released on four double A-sided 7″ vinyl singles throughout 2014. The work is largely a collaboration with different vocalists chosen to suit the various tracks. Vocalists on the album include Vika & Linda Bull, Dan Sultan, Clairy Browne, Kira Piru and of course the man himself.
All in all a very productive year for older musicians with some still going strong, others returning to form and some just basking in their glory days. To quote Molly Meldrum, “do yourselves a favour” and get hold of some of these albums. Your ears will thank you.