THE BARGAIN BUY: The Sony "Original Album Classics" series: It's only rock'n'roll

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Kansas: Paradox

We've pitched these Sony Original Album Classics previously so let's turn to spotlight on the loud, stadium-rock collections in this series.

You want widescreen stadium rock which was big on melodies and power ballads?

You want parent-baiting music or something to annoy your kids?

These sets -- five albums for just $20 from JB Hi-Fi stores (here) should be ideal.

It's all about volume and if you can still hear the words it's probably not loud enough. And get your lighters or phones out to wave in the air during the power ballads. 

Journey; Infinity/Evolution/Escape/Frontiers/Raised on Radio

Spanning more than a decade starting with the first album with singer Steve Perry, skipping a couple and then the departure of founder/keyboard player Gregg Rolie, these five albums showcase co-founder Neal Schon's guitar work. Rolie and Schon formed Journey after being in Santana but knew their way around stadium rock . . . with big choruses. Masters of the genre.

Kansas; Kansas/Song for America/Point of Know Return/Leftoverture/Masque:

Five albums in little more than four years to 1977, this band defined MOR ballads (Dust in the Wind), pop hits (Carry on Wayward Son) and are so generic most people couldn't name two members in a pub quiz. Rather unremarkable but FM radio couldn't live without them.

REO Speedwagon: Live/You Can Tuna Piano But You Can't Tuna Fish/ Hi Infidelity/Good Trouble/Wheels Are Turnin'

The master of the punny album title, the Speedwagon story here starts after they'd done the hard yards in the early Seventies. After that live album it's chopped and channeled stadium-shaped pop-rock the whole way for another band whose members remained largely anonymous. Radio doesn't care about faces.

Coachella_rtv1Molly Hatchet; Molly Hatchet/Flirtin' With Disaster/Beatin' the Odds/Take No Prisoners/ No Guts . . . No Glory

Southern rebel rock which aimed for the epic, the barroom, the gunfight and chicks in leather'n'lace. Probably inexcusable but ridiculously good fun.

Judas Priest; Sin After Sin/British Steel/Turbo/Painkiller/Angel of Retribution

British heavy metal which came with Deep Purple approval (Roger Glover produced Sin After Sin) but not well represented here on albums that are cherry-picked from almost three decades and skips some pivotal points. That said, British Steel is pivotal when it comes to fists-in-the-air.

Mountain; Climbing/Nantucket Sleighride/Flowers of Evil/Twin Peaks/Avalanche

The stars seemed aligned – monster guitarist Leslie West with Cream producer and reputable bassist Felix Pappalardi founded this well-named rock band – but some residual prog tendencies sidelined them for the Led Zepp/Wishbone Ash crowd and their material wasn't as strong as some of their peers. Volume is the key word here.


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