Budgie: An Early Influencer Of The Heavy Metal Bands To ComeThe heavy, funky singing bird that was almost unheard of by the mainstream rock audience, Budgie is the focus of this week’s “Lost Tracks,” featuring ‘Who Do You Want For Your Love’
Imagine the following scenario: you are a record label executive with the opportunity to travel back in time to remarket forgotten bands in the early seventies, and make sure that they get as big and successful as they originally deserved to be. Which groups would you choose?
For me, the answer is quite simple – Budgie, Budgie, and Budgie only!
When I first heard an original version of a Budgie song, I was immediately blown away by the heaviness of their sonic presence. The fact that most people have never heard of Budgie has astonished me even more.
Budgie is a Welsh heavy rock band formed in the late Sixties in Cardiff, consisting of Burke Shelley on vocals and bass, Tony Bourge on guitar and vocals, and Ray Phillips on drums. The band had a substantial impact on bands like Metallica, Soundgarden, Megadeth, and Iron Maiden. All of these bands have covers of Budgie songs on several of their releases, including ‘Crash Course in Brain Surgery,’ ‘Breadfan,’ ‘I Can’t See My Feelings,’ ‘Melt The Ice Away,’ and ‘Homicidal Suicidal.’ All of the groups repeatedly include Budgie songs in their live sets.
The band underwent several line-up changes, with bassist/vocalist Burke Shelley remaining the only constant member throughout the years. Budgie was initially named Hills Contemporary Grass. After performing several gigs in 1968, the group changed the name to Budgie the following year and recorded their first demo.
Shelley has said that the band’s name came from the fact that he, “loved the idea of playing noisy, heavy rock, but calling ourselves after something that was diametrically opposed to that.”
From 1971 to 1975, Budgie released a run of 5 superb albums; the self-titled Budgie, Squawk, Never Turn Your Back on a Friend, In For the Kill, and Bandolier. These works were followed by another six studio albums up to 2006, none of which could hold up to the high standards of their first five albums, but are still well worth some listening time.
‘Who Do You Want For Your Love’ is the 3rd song on their 5th album, Bandolier. The record was released in 1975, and also stands out for its magnificent cover artwork, which was apparently inspired by Planet of the Apes.
Like most early Budgie albums, the cover artwork was created by the one and only Roger Dean, who has done countless record covers for bands like Yes, Osibisa, Gentle Giant, and Uriah Heep. Dean’s works created extraordinary and phantastic worlds serving as a visual background for all kinds of progressive music.
The song stands out for its funky and soulful opening part and the unpredictable changes of dynamics and rhythm throughout the song. First creating a silky chilled and funky vibe, while stomping guitar riffs would carry the tune forward shortly after.
‘Who Do You Want For Your Love’ is one of the first attempts to combine funk with heavy music, laying the ground for many successful funk rock and metal acts to come showing how powerful a three-piece band could play, and creating a sound that you would only expect if Tony Iommi were to team up with Bootsy Collins, Geddy Lee and Ian Paice.
Over the years, Budgie shared stages with almost all the big hard and heavy groups in the Seventies and Eighties, but for some reason never gained the same success as any of those bands.
Listen to Burke Shelley talk about the early days when hard rock was taking shape.
It is very interesting to see that Budgie’s influence on other bands always outweighed their record sales, but somehow contributed in the creation of a cult status among fans of hard rock, early metal and the new wave of British heavy metal, often referred to as NWOBHM.
The time-traveling option mentioned earlier might not be available (yet), however, the bands below at least tried to resurrect, and keep up the legacy of the mighty Budgie by covering their songs.
The lyrics to ‘Who Do You Want For Your Love’
Oh, well I ain’t got nothing
I got nothing to say
To the right man
I don’t mean nothing
I got nothing to feel
For the right man
I ain’t got nothing
You’ve been running away
From your one
Who do you want for your love?
I got nothing
Take my time
I’m a wild one
And if I’d ever tried to lover instead
Lord, I’m like a son
Yeah, I don’t know who’s to blame
The same way as he
Who do you want for…
I ain’t messin’ ’round your head
Don’t you ever turn your back on a friend
So yeah come girl to my bed
Armed and ready, come to bed
Well I’ve been getting bad vibes
Living in the smoke
Try and tell a good friend
But it sounds a joke
Giving up the good things
Changing all my ways
It is going, bad girl
Now I will be saved
Yes, I wish I could be strong
Living with the good winds
That I waited long
Hear me calling out your name
Here’s a lesson that you gave
Don’t you do that, do it bad
Keep your cool girl
Pay your debt
Hear me moving
Hear me moving
Hear me moving
Hear me moving
Working, working, working, hear me, please
© 2018 rockingthenet.com
RTN’s “Lost Tracks” is a weekly feature of Rock’s hidden gems and little-known bands. Check out the “Lost Tracks” archive below.
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