Monsters of Rock!

“Plus Ozzy, Bon Jovi, ZZ Top and More”! Nice of them to give a shout-out to NWOBHM legends, More, who appeared in ’81!

There’s a wee Oxfam charity shop near me that does a good line in second-hand music magazines for 50p. It’s always worth a rummage. The other weekend I was especially pleased to find this beauty! Future Publishing’s one-off Monsters of Rock special. I didn’t know about this issue so I was well chuffed to pick it for small change!

It covers all the legendary Monsters of Rock festivals that took place at Castle Donington between 1980 and 1996. It also covers the attempted revival in 2006 (at Milton Keynes) and some of the other Monsters of Rock shows that have taken place elsewhere (the big Moscow one, the 1988 US Tour etc…). It’s full of reviews, recollections, photos and nostalgia for the golden age of the Rock festival. Just 6 or 7 of that year’s hottest bands clashing on a single stage could bring the best and worst out of them and there have been many careers made and broken at the event. It makes for fascinating reading.

Unfortunately, I only ever made it to one (the KISS headliner in ’96 by which point they had been adding more bands and an extra stage) but the festival always seemed to be recorded for broadcast on UK radio and TV so I was usually able to enjoy the festival, even when I wasn’t there. Many of the recordings made for broadcast have since been released as albums or used as bonus tracks. AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Dio, Anthrax, Whitesnake and more have all released albums and/or videos of their performances.

And talking of official releases… I’ve thrown in the LP of the Monsters of Rock compilation released by Polydor to celebrate the first Donington festival in 1980. This gets a full-page feature in the mag so I thought I’d include my copy here. It’s got two epic Rainbow performances, Stargazer and All Night Long, which are slightly marred by Graham Bonnet’s gruff warble but worth hearing for Ritchie Blackmore’s awesome playing (check out the nifty blues coda in All Night Long). The Scorpions tracks are great but could have done with being a bit beefier and Touch’s melodic AOR is out of place in such heavy company. Riot and Saxon steal the album with their gritty, bloodthirsty performances. The biggest let-down of the album is the absence of anything from Judas Priest’s set from the day. But still, this is a great listen and a fun item from the HMO vault!

[Riot – Road Racin‘ Live at Monsters of Rock 1980]


14 thoughts on “Monsters of Rock!”

    1. There’s two Scorps tracks.” Loving You Sunday Morning” and “Another Piece of Meat”. I honestly don’t know if they’ve been released elsewhere. I’ve got most the Scorpions albums and they’re not on any of those. Saxon and Riot tracks can be got elsewhere… not sure about Touch and April Wine.

      What release are the Rainbow tracks on?


  1. Actually looking it over again, I think only the one Rainbow track, All Night Long, its available — on their anthology. Stargazer, don’t think so! I think they also put out Since You Been Gone from Donington out on Finyl Vinyl maybe?


    1. Ah, don’t have either of those! I’ve keep meaning to get Finyl Vinyl at some point. It’s a real obvious omission in my collection! Bonnet is a bit rough on Stargazer but it’s not a bad version at all. The band is great.


      1. Looks like this record of yours is now official on my “want” list! I have nothing of Bonnet doing Dio. Not even on the Down To Earth deluxe did they release those tracks.

        Thanks for posting! It’s not every day that LeBrain finds a hole in his collection that he wasn’t aware of. You now have that honor!


      2. Wow! I can’t believe I’ve got something you don’t have haha. This is a proud day! 😉

        I’ll keep an eye out for any copies that might be floating around in the 2nd-hand shops here! If I see one, it’s yours.


      3. Not something I don’t have per se, there’s lots that I don’t have. The key here is — something that I didn’t know I was missing! And I’m a completist, I’m sure I’ve made that clear on my blog. When I find out there’s something missing it is like a knife in my side! LOL!

        Incidentally Deep Purple appeared on a rare Pavarotti and Friends disc if you wanna keep your eyes peels for that too 🙂


    1. I think they were pretty big in the early 80s when the NWOBHM was cool! They had hit albums and singles but hurt their career by going glam for a while and the records got a bit too slick.

      They’ve only recently started to get a bit more noticed in the UK. They had a TV reality show appearance here that gave them publicity at a time when they had a great record coming out (Inner Sanctum) so they’ve picked up a bit, playing bigger venues and stuff. I think they were always pretty big in mainland Europe. They love the Trad Metal over there!


      1. Oh dear, I didn’t know about Biff saying that! I quite like some of Destiny too but it doesn’t hold up to the classic stuff. Shame that era was the first thing most Americans were introduced to. I think, for a while, that also stopped a lot of the Thrash bands citing their earlier stuff as an influence. They were too uncool to be associated with!


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