When I got wind that this week's show was 1979 Year in Review, I took a quick glance at some of the albums that were released that year and immediately smiled upon seeing Helix's Breaking Loose.
I jumped at the chance to "review" this album for the Decibel Geek. This was an album I loved but I will confess that I certainly never heard it in 1979, nor had I even heard of Helix at that point. I was nine years old and busy with little league, getting home to watch the Dukes of Hazzard and collecting Hockey Cards. I was not quite the card carrying metalhead that you know now, although I did purchase the single for Kiss's "I was Made For Loving You" (which the flip side "Hard Times" quickly became my favorite) that year.
These guys played great, melodic metal and had the image to back it up. Leather and studs, long hair and tattoos, these guys were right at home onstage with Priest or the Scorpions. By the time we found them they were already Canadian "Rock Stars" opening for the likes of Kiss and the aforementioned Scorpions and here in Canada they were headlining theatre tours and packing in fans.
So my friend Adam and I were thrilled when we were able to score front row tickets to see them in Hamilton. We were 14 years old and I was already a concert veteran having already seen Mötley Crüe, Kiss, and Ratt but this was the first time I was going to front and center, up close and not up in the stands.
Now remember, this was pre-internet and here in Canada we didn't have MTV. We would clamour to read all the rock magazines we could find to learn about our favourite Rock Gods. We would also spend countless Saturday afternoons in the record stores, examine all the albums we wanted to buy (but for the most part couldn't afford). I clearly remember searching for years hoping I would find a copy of Mötley Crüe's "Toast Of The Town" to no avail.
Then we got to the track "Billy Oxygen" and we went nuts. This tune is a high energy rocker with such a cool hook that it immediately became our favorite song on the album and we just couldn't get enough of this one. I clearly remember recording the album onto cassette and thinking how cool it was to have such a rare album in my collection. Everyone knew "Heavy Metal Love" and "Rock You" at school, but Adam and I were the only ones with "Billy Oxygen" in our collection.
When the time arrived for the concert, we would prove that we were "true fans" we were so excited that they would play Billy Oxygen we even made a sign urging them to do so. Of course at the time this would be like yelling to hear "the Oath" at a Kiss concert. The chart climbing band were focused on the Capital Records albums and we were denied hearing "Billy Oxygen" live. In fact, if I remember correctly Brian even made mention of our sign informing us they didn't even remember how to play it.
Ironically it would be some 28 years later when as a new writer for the Decibel Geek Podcast, I would get to see Helix live once again. In fact the date was April 27th, 2012 the night I met my Heavy Metal brother, Rich "The Meister" Dillon and the night that FINALLY I would get to hear them play "Billy Oxygen" live! It was worth the wait.