Classic Albums: Rock For Light by Bad Brains

Right, I started writing this at the beginning this week but did posted Kate Bush on Tuesday and Dan Kelly on Monday but then all hell broken loose so before something else happens I’m put this up to finish the week on a positive note.

Oh god, how much do I love the Bad Brains? I guess another reason for all these Classic Albums posts is to try write about all these bands/artists/albums I love so much and explain it but I have no idea if I’m doing it well at all? Anyway by some amazing miracle this is only the second punk album with 24 of those pages/posts. I’ll say now that Punk is mostly likely my fave style of music but I guess I’ve wanted to show my well rounded listening habits so I’ve made it a bit of everything so far and hope to continue to mix it up too. So today is all about of all punks Bad Brains are my all-time faves and their most punk album Rock For Light.

It’s total American Hardcore Punk and the Rock The Light album but also is filed under Reggae too, that might seem a strange combo for anyone not really into Punk. It almost goes hand in hand from the very early days but Bad Brains are real Rastafari too so they’re not just some white English punks trying the style because they liked it or whatever. The Bad Brains are like my Bob Marley or whatever other over rated Reggae artists you can think of? Even if it’s totally mixing of the two styles, I think I love this much more than just true Reggae all by itself. They do hail from Washington, D.C. which seems like the most ironic thing, is that the right word to use? Because you know of what has just happened this week, I was planning to post this page earlier in the week but I got side tracked but finished it off for today.

So these guys started out in 1976 as a Jazz fusion band called something else so they really did know how to play their instruments unlike almost all other punk bands at the time then moving into Punk and Reggae by 1977 because of the quickest in the speed they played they’re pretty much one of the bands that created that Hardcore Punk style. They’re also my Ramones or Sex Pistols or whatever other over rated punk band is more popular or you can think of too? I just have to pick out the Rock For Light album as my fave one because of the fact it covers both these styles in just one album.

Darryl, Dr. Know, Earl and H.R.

This is my first album by them but I did get both this and the next one at the same time really if you want to know. My intro was just a video clip from that next album, the title track called I Against I which highly recommend as well and pretty my second fave by them. I must have been as a teenage or it would have been sometime around then which I did see than black & white clip on late night TV show called Rage in the small country town in Western Australia, I was like what the fuck is that? Next time I was up in the city which was six hours on a bus I found both these records at a little record shop called Dada, I still remember finding them in the rake’s like it was just yesterday. At the time I was getting pretty much almost every Punk record on the face of the earth as a teenage or whatever but I did go off it for years to tell you the truth, you know? How you grow up and listening real music, whatever that is? Bad Brains still remained my faves of all that punk music stuff and this album is my pick because I have some great memories of it and now still listen to it a lot to this day, where some of that punk stuff has fallen away.

When it was released in 1983 it had a total different track listing than the 90’s version but I’m used to hearing like this now. What happen is that is the debut self-titled album, the one with image of a lighting bolt hitting the white house on the cover is that was only ever released on cassette tape which was the big new thing at the time, remember it’s the early 80’s so I guess it did make senses at the time. So Rock For Light became and was the second album but also kind-off the real debut album because you really couldn’t get the another one for a while. That debut was final re-released somewhere in the mid-90’s but by that time I was so use to Rock For Light album it seem like it was covering the same ground even if it is most likely the other way around. The album Rock For Light reissued in 1991 not just changed the track listing but in the late 80’s/early 90’s they re-recorded some of the same songs and then re-mixed/edited some others. I can’t remember all the details, you can look it up if you really want to I guess but I think it don’t really matter or does it? I don’t know? Some of the 80’s versions could be still around somewhere, I think? Who knows because I’ve not looking because this is the only version I really know. I didn’t even really get into that real debut album/self-titled one too because it seem like a bit of a demo or something and Rock For Light seem to me as one of the most perfect album ever. Some say it’s too clear but I don’t know about the earlier one does pretty much sound like a demo but I guess both have good and bad thing and if you get into the Bad Brains yourself you can figure it out yourself. I do love Rock For Light album more but maybe it’s just the fact I’ve been listening to it longer. It was pretty much the last album that mixed those Reggae and Punk styles so well together on it. After it they broken-up for a few years so they is a gap in-between this album and the next album 1986’s I Against I which was taking Punk then into more Funk and Heavy Metal music by then.

So saying all that about Rock For Light might be confusing a bit to newcomers because I seem to be saying the Rock For Light album is the debut album and/or third album but really it’s just me and my fascination with recording studio details, I don’t know if other people really care about that stuff as much as me, I might just be talking to myself here anyway? I always been like this album for me you know? The track listing etc. and almost everyone else I guess unless you were around in the early 80’s when it was all happening in front of you then or you go out of you way to find it now. It’s twenty tracks in all but the shortest is 30 secs. long and the longest is a bit over five mins. but almost all of the rest are one to two mins. and the whole album is a little over forty mins. in length so pretty it’s perfect time for a Punk album.

I’ve got to say before finishing that the ex-guitar player of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ John Frusciante covered Big Takeover on his first solo album in 1994 called Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-Shirt and Mark Kozelek of Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon covered the track simply called I as the opening song on his 2013 solo covers album named Like Rats. Rock For Light also make into Kurt Cobain‘s top 50 albums of all-time too and can be found on p. 257 of his 2002 published Journals. They’re nominees this year of the Hall Of Fame, why the hell are they not in it already? I don’t know? Plus a new doco about the singer Finding Joseph I is being released soon right now around the world but I’ve not seen that yet but should be great.

Rock For Light track listing and times

1. Big Takeover – 2:29
2. Attitude – 1:09
3. Right Brigade – 2:07
4. Joshua’s Song – 0:32
5. I And I Survive – 5:13
6. Banned In D.C. – 1:57
7. Supertouch – 2:20
8. Destroy Babylon – 1:19
9. F.V.K. – 0:58
10. The Meek – 3:37
11. I – 1:55
12. Coptic Times – 2:06
13. Sailin’ On – 1:45
14. Rock For Light – 1:36
15. Rally Round Jah Throne – 3:58
16. At The Movies – 2:16
17. At The Movies – 1:59
18. How Low Can A Punk Get – 1:49
19. We Will Not – 1:34
20. Jam – 1:15


 My Classic Albums are, so far:

Tales From The Australian Underground – Volume 1 & 2 by Various Artists

Station To Station by David Bowie

Unplugged In New York by Nirvana

Rust In Peace by Megadeth

Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs by Marty Robbins

Henry’s Dream by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Whatever You Love, You Are by Dirty Three

Gala Mill by The Drones

Black Monk Time by The Monks

Ex Tropical by Lost Animal

Work (Work, Work) by HTRK

In The Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra

The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn by Pink Floyd

Songs Of Love And Hate by Leonard Cohen

Warm Leatherette by Grace Jones

The White House by The Dead C

Silence Is Sexy by Einstürzende Neubauten

Lulu by Lou Reed & Metallica

Kaira by Toumani Diabaté

Kings Of The Wild Frontier by Adam And The Ants

Drowning In The Fountain Of Youth by Dan Kelly And The Alpha Males

Aerial by Kate Bush

The Future by Leonard Cohen

So, this was the reason I started this blog. The idea is simply to write post about one of my fave album each that I consider a classic album. Please leave your comments below about each album because I would love to hear what you think about each album too, cheers!


    1. Cheers for the feedback! It’s not really a review per say, it’s just a list of my fave albums that I write something about each one like diary or something. I’m dyslexia so this blog is basically getting me to type something or anything even if it’s terrible. Maybe I’ll get better at it but maybe I will not, maybe I need it edited or whatever? Sorry you did come across it but maybe I don’t care at all! Have a nice day 🙂


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