THE 2011 MELROCK AWARDS

Welcome to the 2011 MelRock Awards. Late as usual of course, but I will simply revert to my tried and tested line that it is never too late to discover new music and to go over an annual summary and check out titles you might have missed. And there are plenty of titles below to check out. The Top 30 albums are expanded to the Top 40 of 2011 and Song Of The Year is busted way open from 50 titles to 100. There were simply that many great releases and great songs around in 2011. In fact I call it the best year of music releases since 1992.
A lot of big names delivered and few disappointed, which I think sets things up for a positive few years ahead as bands continue to "get" what fans want and try and deliver just that. Of course there's a stubborn few that still want to do their own thing and that's ok too....just as long as the song quality remains high and there's some hooks to hang on to. Strangeways is one band that just doesn't get it (in my opinion), but the Top 40 is filled with bands that did.
Not too many disappointments in 2011, nothing major at least apart from the obvious Metallica disaster and the Bulletboys album was pretty atrocious too.

I often get asked what my favourite albums of past years (before this site) were. So I am beginning to address that by filling in the gaps. These are pretty simple Top 30 lists of the best (or my favourite at least) albums of that particular year. It was really interesting going back over those years and remembering just what albums came out when and how they stack up against each other now...some 15-20 years later! Amazingly....not too much has changed as far as my tastes and opinions. So when you get done reading the 2011 MelRock Awards, why not check out two more years:

The Best Of 1991

The Best Of 1993

For now....on with 2011! Thanks for reading.

Onto the Awards!

For the first time ever - we have a tie for Album Of The Year. I have been nominating the best album from every year I have been running the site and this is the 14th #1 - but for the first time ever, the #1 spot has been shared by two artists. No matter what I did, I could not split these two killer albums. Two bands with rich histories that both delivered knockout albums in 2011 that made them both sound as vibrant as if they were debut albums.
But two very different albums. Ignore the #2 next to NR - it's the lack of flexibility in the HTML coding!



ALBUM OF THE YEAR
  1. 1. Mr. Big
    What If...



    Mr. Big's album is quite raw and some didn't appreciate the Kevin Shirley production - but listen to the results on this album. Feel the energy of a band playing off each other in the studio setting where things can be notoriously sterile.
    'What If...' is filled with songs that take the listener to the edge. It captures the guys at their very best and the individual performances within, are simply stunning.
    Everyone delivers. And to this day I'm still marvelling over the interplay between the guys on certain tracks.
    They just seem to know what each other is thinking before they get there and the winner is the fans that bought this album. Album Of The Year 2011.
  2. 1. Night Ranger
    Somewhere In California

    Night Ranger have done what many bands can't seem to do. They have kept their classic sound intact, while still being fresh and moving their sound forward. It's ironic that they do this so well on this album after the more contemporary predecessor. But this album is no 80s throw back. It's just the band doing what they do best - delivering high energy melodic rock songs with a ton of harmonies and a mix of big choruses and duelling guitars.
    The new line-up seems to gel brilliantly together as showcased by their live shows, and this record sounds positive and fun and the songs are simply brilliant. Layers of harmonies, big hooks and guitars, guitars guitars!
    Night Ranger absolutely nailed this one and deserve to be joint winners of Album Of The Year 2011.
  3. Journey
    Eclipse

    Easily the band's most controversial album since Raised On Radio and perhaps the most controversial part of my 2011 list (at least for those that disagree!). I can hear the gasps now as fans that disliked this album wander around dazed and confused as to how it could be ranked 3rd best album of 2011? Well....go back to Raised On Radio or Arrival and seek solace.
    I loved the album right from the start and my enthusiasm hasn't dwindled any. Whether he likes the tag or not, this IS Neal Schon's record, as it is his amazing performance that drives the energy behind this record. The longer songs and the heavier, less chorus dominated direction of this album may have alienated some, but for those that like their music a little darker and more challenging sometimes, this is the album to have.
    I think the band need to be applauded for taking risks at this stage of their career and going against what most expected. If you pull the album apart, there were a few tracks that demand attention and stand out as the best on the album. But generally, it was a real "album" as such, in that the listener is best served listening to it from start to end and enjoying it as a body of work.
  4. Mecca
    Undeniable

    No one gave Mecca a chance of coming close to their masterpiece AOR debut. And I guess some might still state that. The slight change of direction didn't work for some, but at the heart of this album is an emotional journey and a story that few others could have told so well. This is simply one of the best Westcoast pop/AOR albums of the last decade, with a high-tech, yet honest feel that may have taken 6 years to complete, but feels to me like it was worth the wait.
    I know some others disagree, but this really is a wonderfully produced album that deserves the attention of AOR/Westcoast fans. I had this album for some 6 months before release and it really is a slow burner that never gets tired, so I hope some folks will revisit this album and re-discover it's greatness.
  5. Toby Hitchcock
    Mercury Down

    The Pride Of Lions vocalist matched with Eclipse's Erik Martensson - there could be only one result - a classic melodic rock album. And any other year this album might have made it to #1, but with the still competition of 2011, it still makes the Top 5. A monster album of monster anthems and a vocal performance that is turned to max from the first note. It's certainly heavier than expected, but really works well.

  6. Work Of Art - In Progress
    - The best pure AOR album of 2011 and again - it could have been #1 without question. An even more impressive album that the already heralded debut and shows these guys are in a class of their own and that the debut was not a fluke. Track for track, there isn't a dull moment throughout.
  7. Chris Ousey - Rhyme And Reason
    - For me this was the best album Chris has been involved in since the classic Virginia Wolf debut. He sings his heart out here and the songs are blindingly heavy in places (for what we are used to from Chris). The team of Mike Slamer and Tommy Denander work seamlessly together as a team and make one hell of a melodic hard rock album. I hope the guys come back for another round soon.
  8. Eden's Curse - Trinity
    - Well, in what should have been a triumphant year for the band, it all went horribly wrong. And there will be some that will be surprised I'm still willing to talk about this album at all after how the departing singer acted. But I want to talk about the music here and the rets of the band remain intact. There is no question that this album was the band's best of their 3 albums to date and the performances on this album were also easily their best. That includes the lead vocals, which eclipsed the first two records. This album lifted EC to world class contenders. This was just a great set of songs and another big production for the guys and I think all fans were really taken with this killer hard rock record.
  9. Whitesnake - Forevermore
    - No tricks or gimmicks, just Whitesnake doing what Whitesnake do best - with Doug Aldrich well in control of the band's sound. Mixing two era's of the band's past - the 70s and the late 80s - this record shows that old dogs can still deliver. Along with some of the other elder statesmen of rock n roll in the Top 10, it was really pleasing to see these guys still delivering quality music in 2011. Another album with few standout songs, but rather a solid overall start to finish record. Yes, David is singing within himself, but it is all about being aware of your limitations and playing to your strengths. This record certainly does that.
  10. Within Temptation - The Unforgiving
    - The Dutch Symphonic rockers show the competition how it is done and puts previous front runners like Nightwish well and truly in their place - a long ways behind! A heavy and dramatic record with some glorious vocals and symphonic passages of music. Easily the band's best album to date.


    xxxx

  11. House Of Lords - Big Money
  12. Beggars & Thieves - We Are The Brokenhearted
  13. Fergie Frederiksen - Happiness Is The Road
  14. Magnum - The Visitation
  15. Chickenfoot - III
  16. The Magnificent - The Magnificent
  17. Kimball/Jamison - Kimball/Jamison
  18. Shy - Shy
  19. Alfonzetti - Here Comes The Night
  20. Lionville - Lionville

  21. White Widdow - Serenade
  22. Black Country Communion - 2
  23. Mike Tramp & The Rock N Roll Circuz - Stand Your Ground
  24. M.ill.ion - Sane And Insanity
  25. Rob Moratti - Victory
  26. Reece/Kronlund - Solid
  27. Shadowman - Watching Over You
  28. Bad Habit - Atmosphere
  29. John Waite - Rough & Tumble
  30. Grand Illusion - Prince Of Paupers

  31. Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn Of Events
  32. Grand Design - Idolizer
  33. 7th heaven - Pop Media
  34. Outloud - Love Catastrophe
  35. Williams/Friestedt - Williams/Friestedt
  36. Warrant - Rockaholic
  37. Mitch Malloy - II
  38. Sixx:AM - This Is Gonna Hurt
  39. Coldspell - Out From The Cold
  40. The Poodles - Performocracy
Honorable Mentions: (in no particular order)
  • Robin Beck - The Great Escape
  • Fiona - Unbroken
  • Magnum - Evolution
  • Adelitas Way - Home School Valedictorian
  • Houston - Relaunch
  • Fate - Ghosts From The Past
  • Sencelled - Sencelled
  • Shannon Noll - Switch Me On
  • Xorigin - State Of The Art
  • Enbound - And She Says Gold
  • Miss Behaviour - Last Woman Standing
  • Far Cry - Optimism
  • Jamie Allen - The Storyteller
  • Ten - Stormwarning
  • King Kobra - King Kobra
  • Issa - The Storm
  • Talon - III
  • Sebastian Back - Kicking And Screaming
  • Sven Larsson - Sunlight And Shadow
  • Uriah Heep - Into The Wild
  • Edguy - Age Of The Joker


THE BEST METAL / PROG ALBUM:

  1. Eden's Curse - Trinity
  2. Within Temptation - The Unforgiving
  3. Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn Of Events
  4. Enbound - And She Says Gold
  5. Royal Hunt - Show Me How To Live
  6. Edguy - Age Of The Joker
  7. Coldspell - Out From The Cold
  8. Scheepers - Scheepers
  9. Cage - Supremacy Of Steel
  10. Symphony X - Iconoclast
BEST DEBUT ALBUM OF 2011:
.....(New Band/Artist/Solo Debut, Not Project)

  1. Toby Hitchcock - Mercury Down
  2. Chris Ousey - Rhyme And Reason
  3. Lionville - Lionville
  4. The Magnificent - The Magnificent
  5. Xorigin - State Of The Art
  6. Sencelled - Sencelled
  7. Jamie Allen - The Storyteller
  8. Sven Larsson - Sunlight And Shadow
  9. The Red White & Blues - Shine
  10. Adrenaline Mob - EP

BEST COMPILATION OR LIVE ALBUM:

  1. Shinedown - Somewhere In The Stratosphere
  2. Foreigner - Feels Like The First Time
  3. Def Leppard - Mirrorball
  4. John Parr - Letter To America
  5. Heartland - Travelling Through Time
  6. Jeff Scott Soto - Live At Firefest V
  7. Strangeways - Where Do We Go From Here (Live At Firefest)
  8. Bangalore Choir - All Or Nothing (Live At Firefest)
  9. LA Guns - Acoustic Gypsy Live
  10. Poison - Double Dose: Ultimate Hits
BEST RE-ISSUE/ARCHIVE RELEASE:

  1. Survivor - When Seconds Count / Too Hot To Sleep (Rock Candy)
  2. Stan Bush - Stan Bush / Stan Bush & Barrage (Rock Candy)
  3. Strangeways - Strangeways / Walk In The Fire / Native Sons (Rock Candy)
  4. King Of Hearts - King Of Hearts (Avenue Of Allies)
  5. Vandenberg - Vandenberg (Rock Candy)
  6. David Roberts - All Dressed Up / The Missing Years / Better Late Than Never (Avenue Of Allies)
  7. Kansas - Power / In The Spirit Of Things
  8. Paul Laine - Stick It In Your Ear (AOR Heaven Classix)
  9. Royal Blood - Thanks Seattle For Killing My Band And My Dreams
  10. Notorious - Radio Silence

2011 SONG OF THE YEAR
  1. Beggars & Thieves - We Come Undone



  2. Journey - Anything Is Possible



  3. Toby Hitchcock - I Should Have Said



  4. Night Ranger - Bye Bye Baby (Not Tonight)



  5. Mr. Big - Undertow




  6. John Waite - Better Off Gone
  7. Journey - Edge Of The Moment
  8. House Of Lords - One Man Down
  9. Night Ranger - It's Not Over
  10. Mr. Big - American Beauty

  11. Within Temptation - Shot In The Dark
  12. Loverboy - Heartbreaker
  13. Mecca - Perfect World
  14. Eden's Curse - Trinity
  15. Toby Hitchcock - Just Say Goodbye
  16. Journey - Tantra
  17. Work Of Art - The Rain
  18. Chris Ousey - Chemical High
  19. Night Ranger - No Time To Lose Ya
  20. Toby Hitchcock - A Different Drum

  21. Chickenfoot - Different Devil
  22. Work Of Art - Nature Of The Game
  23. The Poodles - Cuts Like A Knife
  24. John Waite - If You Ever Get Lonely
  25. Kimball/Jamison - Can't Wait For Love
  26. Journey - Ritual
  27. Work Of Art - Emile
  28. Beggars & Thieves - Stranded
  29. Night Ranger - Growing Up In California
  30. Toby Hitchcock - This Is The Moment

  31. Mr. Big - I Won't Get In The Way
  32. Night Ranger - Time Of Our Lives
  33. Foreigner - Save Me
  34. Kimball/Jamison - Worth Fighting For
  35. Beggars & Thieves - We Are The Broken Hearted
  36. Mecca - As I Walk Alone
  37. Fergie Frederiksen - Happiness Is The Road
  38. Magnum - The Fall
  39. Whitesnake - Steal Your Love Away
  40. Kimball/Jamison - Kicking And Screaming

  41. Eden's Curse - No Holy Man
  42. John Waite - Evil
  43. Mecca - I Know
  44. House Of Lords - Big Money
  45. Chickenfoot - Big Foot
  46. Night Ranger - Say It With Love
  47. Mr. Big - Around The World
  48. Magnum - Do You Know Who You Are
  49. House Of Lords - Hologram
  50. Eden's Curse - Guardian Angel

  51. The Magnificent - Memories
  52. Lionville - Here By My Side
  53. Journey - City Of Hope
  54. House Of Lords - Once Twice
  55. Guru - Sometimes
  56. Black Country Communion - The Outsider
  57. Grand Illusion - Gates Of Fire
  58. Brian Howe - I'm There
  59. Chris Ousey - On Any Other Day
  60. Def Leppard - Undefeated

  61. Mike Tramp - Wish You Well
  62. The Magnificent - Holding On To Your Love
  63. Fate - All That I Want
  64. Alfonzetti - Here Comes The Night
  65. Mitch Malloy - I'm The One
  66. Mr. Big - Stranger In My Life
  67. Dream Theater - Build Me Up
  68. Royal Hunt - Show Me How To Live
  69. Ten - Love Song
  70. Chris Ousey - By Any Other Name

  71. Whitesnake - Forevermore
  72. Shy - Land Of 1000 Dreams
  73. Lionheart - Power Of My Dreams
  74. Shy - Pray
  75. White Widdow - Serenade
  76. Paradise Inc - Time
  77. Paradise Inc - Who's Fooling Who
  78. Whitesnake - I Need You (Shine A Light)
  79. Shadowman - Watching Over You
  80. Rob Moratti - Life On The Line

  81. Mitch Malloy - Falling To Pieces
  82. White Widdow - Strangers In The Night
  83. White Widdow - Reckless Nights
  84. Mike Tramp - Straight From The Look In Your Eye
  85. Warrant - Home
  86. Black Country Communion - Man In The Middle
  87. Dream Theater - Beneath The Surface
  88. Meatloaf - All Of Me
  89. Shy - Breathe
  90. Alfonzetti - Heartbreaker

  91. Shy - Over You
  92. Def Leppard - It's All About Believin'
  93. Night Ranger - End Of The Day
  94. Work Of Art - The Great Fall
  95. Journey - Chan Of Love
  96. Issa - Looking For Love
  97. 7th heaven - Sing
  98. Magnum - Wild Angels
  99. Magnum - Mother Nature's Last Dance
  100. Edguy - Robin Hood
THE BEST MELODIC METAL SONG:

  1. Eden's Curse - Trinity
  2. Within Temptation - Shot In The Dark
  3. Royal Hunt - Show Me How To Live
  4. Dream Theater - Build Me Up, Break Me Down
  5. Within Temptation - Faster
  6. Edguy - Robin Hood
  7. Eden's Curse - Jerusalem Sleeps
  8. Royal Hunt - One More Day
  9. Enbound - Combine The Souls
  10. Evergrey - Leave It Behind Us
THE BEST BALLAD:

  1. Night Ranger - Time Of Our Lives
  2. Journey - Tantra
  3. Eden's Curse - Guardian Angel
  4. John Waite - If You Ever Get Lonely
  5. Mecca - As I Stand Alone
  6. Toby Hitchcock - One Day I'll Stop Loving You
  7. Mr. Big - Stranger In My Life
  8. Warrant - Home
  9. Dream Theater - Beneath The Surface
  10. Ten - Love Song
  11. Lionville - World Without Your Love
  12. Fergie Frederiksen - Follow Your Heart



2011 Best Artwork

1.

2. xx3.

04 - 07. xxx

08 - 11. xxx

12 - 15. xxx

16 - 20. xxxx



2011 Best Promotional Videos

xx

xx

xx

xx

xx


With the huge role YouTube now plays in discovering and showcasing music, I thought it important to single out some of the better promotional videos for 2011 and will continue to do so in future Awards pages. I don't think there will be too much debate about the above winners. Each video does it's own thing and highlights the best of what can be done - be it a concept video (Beggars & Thieves), extended storyline (Within Temptation), good fun (Ted Poley) or performance piece (Mr. Big).
I would like to explain the inclusion of the Sacred Heart video. Some have called it terrific, some the worst video ever. I side with the positive - as it shows what a little imagination, zero budget and a group of friends can create. One thing - it got people talking and that is the whole point.
A few less impressive videos are highlighted below.



2011 Artist Awards


VOCALIST OF THE YEAR:
Eric Martin (Mr. Big)

An absolutely stunning vocal performance on the comeback Mr. Big album. Whether it be wailing with the heaviest tunes or turning soulful on the ballads, Eric's voice has always been a joy to listen to and he continues to impress still.

Honorable Mentions - Lars Safsund (Work Of Art, Lionville, Enbound), Arnel Pineda (Journey); Bob Catley (Magnum); Toby Hitchcock; Jimi Jamison; Joe Vana; Sammy Hagar (Chickenfoot).

Past Winners:
2010 - Marcie Free
2009 - John Elefante
2008 - Arnel Pineda
2007 - Mike Reno
2006 - Pekka Ansio Heino
2005 - Jorn Lande
2004 - Jeff Scott Soto
2003 - Harry Hess.


GUITARIST OF THE YEAR:
Neal Schon (Journey)
Agree or disagree with the Eclipse album, there is no doubt that Neal's guitar rules the record and is without question some of his best playing ever laid down on record.

Honorable Mentions - Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big); Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake); Brad Gillis/Joel Hoekstra (Night Ranger); Tommy Denander; Joe Satriani (Chickenfoot).

Past Winners:
2010 - Steve Lukather
2009 - Erik Martensson
2008 - Doug Aldrich
2007 - Thorsten Koehne
2006 - Steve Lukather
2005 - Magnus Karlsson


DRUMMER OF THE YEAR:
Pat Torpey (Mr. Big)
Pat's drumming is just huge on the new Mr. Big album and together with Billy Sheehan he provides one of the best and most progressive rhythm sections in rock n roll.

Honorable Mentions - Deen Castronovo (Journey); Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger).

Past Winners:
2010 - Jamie Borger
2009 - Steve West
2008 - The Drum Machine
2007 - Kelly Keagy
2006 - Simon Phillips
2005 - Daniel Flores.


BASSIST OF THE YEAR:
Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big)
The new Mr. Big record takes the record for most bass solos in one recorded album. What a masterful display of talent and the interplay between Billy and Pat & Paul is simply staggering at times.

Honorable mentions - Michael Anthony (Chickenfoot); Paul Logue (Eden's Curse)

Past Winners:
2010 - Nalle Pahlsson
2009 - Bruno Ravel
2008 - Matt Bissonette
2007 - Jack Blades
2006 - Marcel Jacob


KEYBOARDIST OF THE YEAR:
Eric Ragno (Farcry, Talon, Mecca, Fergie Frederiksen, Pushking)
Mr. Keyboard wins for yet another standout year, not only performing with various bands and making their albums that bit richer for his involvement, Eric also made a whole bunch of other unheralded contributions where his efforts go further to making others sound even better. He is a vital part of the MR scene and one of the true good guys.

Honorable mentions - Jonathan Cain (Journey); Eric Levy (Night Ranger); Lars Safsund (Work Of Art)

Past Winners:
2010 - CJ Vanston
2009 - Darren Wharton
2008 - Eric Ragno
2007 - Eric Ragno.


PRODUCER OF THE YEAR:
Kevin Shirley (Journey, Mr. Big, Black Country Communion, Joe Bonamassa)
Controversial decision? Perhaps so...as Kevin's raw/70s influenced/bass heavy production style alienates some fans. But look at the results - Journey, Mr. Big, BCC and Joe Bonamassa. That's a staggering record for a 12 month period. And listen to the band's on those albums - Mr. Big especially - delivering the performance of a lifetime. It takes some talent to capture that on record, so Mr. Shirley takes home the award easily.

Honorable mentions - Dennis Ward (Fergie Frederiksen, Eden's Curse); Erik Martensson (Toby Hitchcock); Mike Slamer/Tommy Denander (Chris Ousey); Kevin Churko (Beggars & Thieves)

Past Winners:
2010 - Steve Lukather, CJ Vanston, Steve MacMillan
2009 - Erik Martensson
2008 - Dennis Ward
2007 - Dennis Ward
2006 - Harry Hess & Pete Lesperance (Harem Scarem)
2005 - Dennis Ward
2004 - Fabrizio V.Zee Grossi
2003 - Tommy Denander.


2011 Rest In Peace


Steve Harris (Shy), Steve Mach (Skin & Bones), Johnny G (Bulletboys), Jani Lane (Warrant), Jason Stonewall, Dan Peek (America), Joe Elliott Snr (Joe's Father), Taiji Sawada (X), Clarence Clemons (E Street Band), Dag Stokke (TNT), Matthew Davis LaPorte (Jon Olivia's Pain), Scott Colombus (Manowar), Mike Starr (Alice In Chains), Gary Moore, Henrik Ostergaard (Dirty Looks), Jan Somers (Vengeance), Tom Nigra (Trigger), Don Kirshner (veteran music mogul), Steve Prestwich (Cold Chisel), Harvey James (Sherbert), Phil Kennemore (Y&T), Pat Moran (record producer). And Basil - the MelodicRock Dog.
May these great people (and 1 dog) all Rest In Peace.


Worst Of 2011


ALBUMS:

  1. Metallica & Lou Reed - Lulu
  2. Bulletboys - Rocked And Ripped
  3. Swedish Hitz Goes Metal
  4. Various Artists - Sin-Atra
  5. Thunderdikk - Magnum Love
  6. Mickey Thomas - Marauder
  7. Strangeways - Age Of Reason
  8. Bang Tango - Pistol Whipped
  9. Scorpions - Comeblack
  10. Pushking - The World As We Love It
  11. John Wetton - Raised In Captivity
  12. Bridger - Bridger
  13. Sanchez (Sweden) - Run The Streets
  14. Nitroville - Can't Stop what's Coming


WORST ARTWORK:

xxxxx

xxxxx




WORST PROMOTIONAL VIDEOS:

xx




A massive year as previously stated. And not nearly enough comments here to sum any part of it up. But it's May right? So...a few random thoughts as they come to me:

ClassicRock Magazine launched their AOR side magazine, which started off really fresh, but soon got caught up in the reality of operating in the very insular scene that is AOR/melodic rock. Motley Crue got thrown on the cover of Issue 5 (to a huge uproar) and by Issue 6 the decision was made to cut it back to an Annual special. Too bad. Opportunity lost there.

James Christian successfully battled through a cancer scare and one hopes he can regain full health for many years to come. Same with Tony Iommi, who shocked the world with the announcement he was also fighting the disease. Jon Lord remains in treatment also. I hate this disease.

Legendary producer Keith Olsen was rewarded for his efforts with a Hollywood Fan Lifetime Achievement Award.

Journey received a 'Legends Of Live' Award from the very prestigious Billboard Magazine on top of their Eclipse and Greatest Hits 2 CDs.

I finally scored my elusive Steve Perry interview it went as well as hoped. It was great talking to the legendary vocalist. All that I need now is a chat with Eddie Van Halen, Joe Elliott and Mutt Lange and I'll be done!

Mike Reno lost 50 pounds good on him! Rumor has it he can now fit back into those red leather pants. I loved the band's Heartbreaker single. No sign of the second track they recorded yet though. Apparently it still hasn't been mastered.

John Sykes left Thin Lizzy finally, hooked up with a new power trio and then went on to leave said power trio to record a new solo album. I'll expect that in about 2017.

It was the year of the biography, with Sammy Hagar spilling more beans than he probably should have; plus biogs from Keith Richards, Belinda Carlisle, Duff McKagen, Stephen Addler, Glenn Hughes and Ozzy Osbourne.

The quality of CD artwork continued to decline, but realistically, it ain't going to get any better. At least some new Photoshop filters are due out soon.

A lot of complaints from fans also about cheap promo film clips. YouTube has such a huge influence on modern media, these are finally being considered important again for the first time since eMpTV sold its soul to reality shows a decade back. But with limited budgets and little chance of these clips being played anywhere else but on YouTube, it shouldn't be any surprise that they aren't overly impressive. But they do the job and that's about it. Still, creativity is not dead, there are still some get clips made on a budget out there. And you know what I like best - actually being able to see these bands in action - seeing the faces behind the music instead of a lame promo picture.


On a personal note, nothing to grand to speak of really. A positively terrible year for business and the whole problem of bringing a brand new website to life from the ground up has proved to be too much for one company and I'm still working with the new developer getting Take 2 finished. But....it's coming.
The fact that ClassicRock magazine couldn't bring itself to continue dealing with the insular AOR scene with it's AOR magazine is a major wakeup call, but I don't see anything changing. There is so little money in this small scene, but I am continually amazed at how many releases there are out there to choose from. No wonder sales are struggling. The minute a release comes out it's done, publicity is over and we're all waiting for the next one.

Site stats:
It may be a financially crumbling scene, but the users and visitors to this site hasn't changed. There are still plenty of folks that want to read about MelodicRock and thank God for that!

2011 Visitor Stats:

Total unique users: 1,665,138 // Total Visits: 5,822,245 // Number Of Pages Read: 32,489,067 // Total "Hits": 371,063,042 // Total Data Used (Outbound): 12,940 GigaBytes.

Best Months for traffic: May, October & November.

Slowest Day: Sunday. Best Days: Tues/Wed/Thur/Fri.

Top Countries (in order): United States, Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, France, Spain, Norway, Finland, Italy, Japan, Russian Federation, Brazil, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Austria, New Zealand, China, Indonesia.



2011 WTF?


Robin McAuley re-joins Michael Schenker Group, but only includes one McAuley Schenker Group tune in the whole set. WTF?

Rick Springfield gets his original Aussie band Zoot back together - but there's no return of their famous pink Zoot Suits. WTF?


Cheap Trick are nearly crushed by a collapsing stage in Ottawa Canada. 5 others were injured. WTF?

Sammy Hagar tells all....way to much! Talking of details of so much sex during the Van Halen F.U.C.K. tour, including lining up young lasses under the stage. WTF?

Jimi Jamison returns once again to Survivor. Lawsuits vanish! WTF?

Japan in full re-issue by any and all means frenzy - SHM-CD, Cardboard Sleeves, Blu-Spec CD, HQCD and not to mention the Limited Release and Priced-Down Reissue tags. WTF?

Both Van Halen and Def Leppard had CDs released featuring their songs as lullaby's. WTF?


2011 Hall Of Fame & Shame Awards


The 'We Finally Shat And Got Off The Pot' Award - Van Halen - And strangely enough....it was actually worth the wait!

The 'Steve Perry/Journey Best Bust Up' Award - Jack Rusell vs Great White vs Jack Russell vs Great White - Ugly doesn't even cover it - the documents released by both sides paint a very negative picture of how the band and its former singer operated.

The 'Most One-Sided Bust Up' Award - Eden's Curse - Some said it was inevitable. One party said everything and then some. The rest of the band said nothing.

The 'Too Precious' Award - Van Halen - For objecting to Jump being included in US broadcasts of "An Idiot Abroad", featuring Carl doing bad karaoke.

The 'Now Your See Them, Now You Don't' Award - Oni Logan - Ready to sing and tour for Lynch Mob, he disappears the day the tour starts, only to re-join the band late in the year as if nothing happened. Glad he's back though.

The 'Most Pointless Appointment Of A Lead Singer' Award - LA Guns (Tracii Version) - Tracii was obviously hitting on Dilana and announced her as lead singer of the band. A week later she was gone. Thank goodness...but what happened there?

The 'Son Of A Gun' Award - Blades & Lukather - That's Colin Blades and Trevor Lukather forming a band together.

The 'Retiring Until I Come Back' Award - Brian Howe - Says goodbye to recording with farewell EP. You know he'll be back!

The 'Using Facebook To Piss Off Fans By Spamming' Award - Subway - This German band were utterly relentless in their constant spamming of everyone on Facebook by multiple users. And when challenged, they just ignored it and kept spamming. Not even their label knew how bad it was.

The 'Power Quest Most Line-Up Changes In One Year' Award - Ten - After recording just one album together as a line-up, Ten lost 3 members over a couple of weeks and then gained 3 more. Gary Hughes remains at the helm.

The 'Missed It By That Much' Award - Jeff Hoad - The Aussie Kings Of The Sun frontman got busted for drug running and only narrowly escaped a lengthy jail term.

The 'Talking Smack' Award - Sammy Hagar - Spent most of the year dissing the VH brothers. Understandable to a point...but that point grew old about half way through the year...and he's still going!

The 'Vanishing Labels' Award - Suncity Records, Blistering Records - R.I.P. Z Records is still going though. WTF?

The 'Bite The Hand That Feeds' Award - Jon Bon Jovi - Steve Jobs/Apple is evil says JBJ and is destroying the record industry. Well...maybe...maybe not. What is for certain is that Jobs changed it for good in an era where sales were slipping, but those changes have also lead to less demand for the art form known as "the album".

The 'Shortest Ever Tour Announcement-To-Cancellation' Award - Crown Of Thorns - Their 2-show Aussie tour went on sale, only to have single figure ticket sales. It was promptly cancelled.

The 'Is It A Myth' Award - The Steve Augeri Solo Album - It's still coming out right mate?!

The 'Worst Tweeted Planking' Shot - Nancy Wilson & Wolfgang Van Halen - Both pics were, um....unnecessary!

xx

The Best 'Worst Name For An Artist' Award - Boguslaw Balcerak's Crylord - And then you still have to add the album title - Blood Of The Prophets!

The 'Worst Artist Promo Shot' Award - Ten - Enough said.




Predictions


THE PREDICTED BEST OF 2012:

Rick Springfield, Pride Of Lions, Alliance, Jimi Jamison, Magnum, Eclipse, Degreed, All I Know, Bonrud, Chris Laney, LA Guns, Seventh Key, W.E.T., Find Me, Steve Lukather, Brother Firetribe, Kiss, Baton Rogue, Slash, Jaded Heart, Asia, Hess, Pink Cream 69, Ozone, Overland, Hartmann, Rush, Richie Sambora, Shinedown, Halestorm, Hardline, Van Halen, HEAT, Jeff Scott Soto, Jack Blades, Trixter, Casablanca, Bruce Springsteen, Romeo's Daughter, Jakob Samuel, Adrenalin Mob.



Of course there are plenty more that may or not make it by the end of the year - Survivor, Dare, Eden's Curse, The Darkness, Dream Theater, Fair Warning, Fran Cosmo, Mecca, Ratt, Leverage, Def Leppard, Keith Semple. And then there's the Dokken album, but the only way I think that will rate is if they get a new singer :)


Possible 2012 Top 20 (in no order)


Rick Springfield
Pride Of Lions
Alliance
Magnum
Eclipse W.E.T.
Steve Lukather
Brother Firetribe
Hess
Rush
Richie Sambora
Shinedown
Halestorm Hardline
Van Halen
H.E.A.T.
Jeff Scott Soto
Jack Blades
Trixter
Degreed



Dickhead Of The Year Award

Now, we're talking the 2011 calendar year right, so no shouting out names at me... I know folks look forward to this. I wish there wasn't any candidates at all to be honest! This year I have selected a few random emails from fans of mine that never fail to give me a laugh. I won't embarrass those that sent them in...man love can be hard thing to deal with:

1 - "Every day you become a bigger prick you sad loser. Wonder how much Frontiers pays you to praise the new shitty Journey record. The preview review on the message boards was so fucking laughable. Fucking prick." (From former Noticeboard user "Born To Run")

2 - "there's always some kind of excuse, none of these other music sites stop, if something happens they have someone to help out. hope your knee falls off!!!!!!!" - In response to be being hospitalised with badly infected knee.

3 - The bootlegger that was selling a compilation CD made up of 90 second samples taken from my frontpage samples to promote the release of MRCD8.

4 - The phantom postcard sender! I haven't had one in a while now, but there was one sent earlier in 2011. In fact, after 2 or 3 postcards, our British fanboy upgraded to a LETTER! He must have got a raise in his pocket money. And it appears he can't read, as most of the points made below were covered in the interview.




THE END

2011 Award Feedback


Previous Years In Review: 2010 / 2009 / 2008 / 2007 / 2006 / 2005 / 2004 / 2003 / 2002 / 2001 / 2000 / 1999 / 1998 & 1997 / 1993 / 1991