Song of the Day: Turn the Page (Metallica)


MetallicaTurnthePage

Through good times and bad I have always been a huge fan and follower of Metallica. Even as they foolishly went off track following the path Bob Rock set for them throughout most of the 1990’s through the disastrous St. Anger debacle as they tried to return to their earlier sound, I have always followed this band which made up the original Big 4 of thrash metal (Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth).

It was on their 1998 cover album, Garage Inc., that the band released one of their most popular songs. It wasn’t an original, but a cover of the classic Bob Seger hard rock song about the hard road and life of a musician. Seger’s “Turn the Page” is just one of those hard rock tunes that latches onto the listener and forces them to listen and understand. Most such songs tend to be quite pretentious with nothing much to say once the listener really pays attention. The same cannot be said about Seger’s song.

Metallica decided to cover this song for their Garage Inc. album which was all about them covering their own favorite hard rock and metal songs of the past. While Metallica kept the original’s tempo, they added their own heavier and harder edge to song that straddles the line between hard rock and heavy metal. Even James Hetfield’s alcohol and cigarette ravaged vocals lent a sense of the hard road and life the track sings about.

The biggest change from the Seger song to Metallica’s cover has to be the accompanying music video which still remains one of the most controversial in MTV’s music video history (well, when they still played music videos). Seger’s song was released in 1973 when the concept of music video was nonexistent. With Metallica’s cover it was almost a guarantee that it would get a music video and what a video it was and still is.

The video was directed by Jonas Akerlund who had made a name for himself directing some of the most creative and innovative music videos of the day. His take on the song switches from a musician’s hard road and life on the road to that of a single mother trying to make ends meet as an erotic dancer by day and a prostitute by night to provide for her young daughter. The video was banned from receiving any sort of airplay on MTV as it dealt and showed the disturbing side of such a life. The fact that the tamer version of the video (below) still couldn’t make it on the airwaves just showed how much more haunting and controversial the uncensored version turned out to be.

Turn the Page

On a long and lonesome highway,
East of Omaha
You can listen to the engines
Moanin’ out it’s one note song
You can think about the woman,
Or the girl you knew the night before
But your thoughts will soon be wanderin’,
The way they always do
When you’re ridin’ 16 hours,
And there’s nothin’ much to do
And you don’t feel much like ridin’,
You just wish the trip was through

(Chorus)

Here I am, on the road again,
There I am, up on the stage
There I go, playin’ star again,
There I go, turn the page

So you walk into this restaurant,
All strung out from the road
And you feel the eyes upon you,
As you’re shakin’ off the cold
You pretend it doesn’t bother you,
But you just want to explode
Yeah, most times you can’t hear ’em talk,
Other times you can

All the same old cliches,
Is it woman, is it man
And you always seem outnumbered,
You don’t dare make a stand
Make your stand

(Chorus)
Ah But here I am, on the road again,
There I am, up on the stage
Here I go, ah playin’ star again,
There I go, turn the page
Woah

Out there in the spotlight,
You’re a million miles away
Every ounce of energy,
You try and give away
As the sweat pours out your body,
Like the music that you play

Later in the evenin’,
As you lie awake in bed
With the echoes of the amplifiers,
Ringin’ in your head
You smoke the day’s last cigarette,
Rememberin’ what she said

What she said

Yeah, and here I am,
On the road again,
There I am, up on that stage
Here I go, playin’ star again,
There I go, turn the page
And there I go, turn that page

There I go, yeah, Here I go, yeah, yeah
There I go, yeah, Here I go, yeah
Here I go, There I go
And I’m gone

Song of the Day: Wanted Dead or Alive (by Bon Jovi)


The newest entry in the “Song of the Day” feature takes us back in the glory days of the late 80’s when hard rock made a major come back. It’s only appropriate that I pick one of my favorite hard rock songs of the era: Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”.

It was to be the third single released off of their monster third full-length album, Slippery When Wet. It would turn out to become their official anthem as millions of fans from several generations since it’s initial release. The Old West-themed song was a collaboration between frontman Jon Bon Jovi and band lead guitarist Richie Sambora. It took the two listening to Bob Seger’s own “on the road” song “Turn the Page” to bring inspiration to the two musicians. What they came up with was their own version of “Turn the Page” and it would become an instant hit and classic.

“Wanted Dead or Alive” would have one of the more recognizable openings with Sambora playing the initials chords on a Spanish guitar before the rest of the band comes in and Jon Bon Jovi starts singing about the hard life of a rock band as it travels from gig to gig. The lyrics to this song shows the less-than-glamorous side of a band no matter how successful they may be. The two musicians liken themselves to the Old West cowboys and gunslingers who, just like a rock band, lived like outlaws and on the edge of what’s morally decent as they passed from dusty towns to dusty towns plying their skills.

Even after 23 years since this song came out I’m still not tired of it and could always get me to sing along to it to the top of my lungs.

Wanted Dead or Alive

It’s all the same
Only the names will change
Everyday
It seems we’re wastin’ away

Another place
Where the faces are so cold
I drive all night
Just to get back home

I’m a cowboy
On a steel horse I ride
I’m wanted
Dead or alive
Wanted
Dead or alive

Sometimes I sleep
Sometimes it’s not for days
The people I meet
Always go their separate ways

Sometimes you tell the day
By the bottle that you drink
And times when you’re alone
All you do is think

I’m a cowboy
On a steel horse I ride
I’m wanted
(Wanted)
Dead or alive
Wanted
(Wanted)
Dead or alive

Ohh alright
Ohh

Oh I’m a cowboy
On a steel horse I ride
I’m wanted
(Wanted)
Dead or alive

When I walk these streets
A loaded six string on my back
I play for keeps
‘Cause I might not make it back

I’ve been everywhere
(Ohh, yea)
Still I’m standin’ tall
I’ve seen a million faces
And I’ve rocked them all

‘Cause I’m a cowboy
On a steel horse I ride
I’m wanted
(Wanted)
Dead or alive

I’m a cowboy
I got the night on my side
And I’m wanted
(Wanted)
Dead or alive
And I’m right
(And I’m right)
Dead or alive
I still drive
(I still drive)
Dead or alive

Dead or alive
Dead or alive
Mm dead or alive
Dead or alive