For a lot of rock fans, Glenn Hughes first came to prominence when he joined Deep Purple in 1974. In the few years leading up to that big breakthrough, he’d spent time working as bassist/vocalist with British rock band Trapeze. Although not big sellers, their first two albums were solid affairs, that showcased some talented musicians. 1970’s ‘Trapeze’ (produced by Moody Blues man John Lodge) presented a five piece band indulging in 60s freakouts and although enjoyable in its own way, almost felt dated by the time of its release in the May of that year. With Black Sabbath’s debut (released three months earlier) opening up new avenues for rock and the release of Deep Purple’s ‘In Rock’ literally a few weeks away, it was clear that Trapeze already sounded like yesterday’s men. By November, Trapeze had undergone an overhaul in both line up and sound and for their second album,‘Medusa’, the band’s core of Glenn Hughes (vox/bass), Mel Galley (guitar) and Dave Holland (drums) had reinvented themselves as a hard rocking power trio, cranking riffs in a style that often sounded like a tougher version of Free. With the previous hazy psychedelia having morphed into something harder and clearer, Hughes’s vocals were allowed to truly soar for the first time. A solid album, ‘Medusa’ showed a band who were truly on their way, but the best was yet to come…
Upon release in the summer of 2018, the first Glenn Hughes official bootleg box gained a mixed response. Some fans were delighted to have access to several hours’ worth of rare and unreleased live material at a bargain price, while others bemoaned the audio quality. Yes, five of its seven discs were sourced from audience recordings – and in a couple of cases, Hughes sounded as if he were miles away in a very large venue – but it’s hardly like the record company made secret of any audio roughness: the word “bootleg” should have set alarm bells ringing for the kind of audiophiles who consistently expect perfection. The first official bootleg box was rough in places, but for the more obsessive fan (or perhaps those who came to Glenn’s work late) it was a great collection filler. If nothing else, it was worth owning for a handful of spirited performances from a Brazilian show, a disc’s worth of near pristine acoustic tracks and a very welcome reissue of ‘Burning Japan Live’. A second set released in 2019 was similarly of a scattershot quality, but was worth having for a 1996 show promoting the heavy ‘Addiction’ album.
In terms of pop, 1982 was a strong year: Madness took a further step towards songwriting sophistication with their album ‘The Rise & Fall’, Prince made a huge breakthrough with his ‘1999’ double platter of much filthiness and Phil Collins showed us that the previous year’s ‘Face Value’ wasn’t just a one-off solo success when his “tricky second album” spawned a #1 hit single and a few of his best solo tunes.
With the string of superb albums starting with 1992’s ‘From Now On…’ through to 1999’s ‘The Way It Is’, the legendary Glenn Hughes released his most consistent block of work ever. Moving into the new century, both ‘Return of The Crystal Karma’ (2000) and ‘Soul of A New Machine’ were enjoyable enough, but sometimes lacked the overall consistency of those 90s albums. In 2003, Hughes released ‘Songs In The Key of Rock’, an album that pretty much showed off his full vocal range on a collection of brilliantly constructed hard rock tunes.
Two years after the release of the soul tinged ‘Feel’, Glenn Hughes returned with ‘Addiction’ – an album that couldn’t be any more different from its predecessor if it tried. With Hughes in the middle of a work frenzy, ‘Addiction’ found him not only returning to hard rock in a big way, but delivering his heaviest solo album to date.
‘Addiction’ is an album that has weathered all kinds of musical storms and from both a performance and production value still sounds absolutely terrific. Not that it was well received by everyone upon release back in 1996. Some older listeners felt that Hughes had adopted “grunge sympathies”, a lazy, somewhat ignorant claim that seemed to miss the fact that the album is also varied in style. Decades on, such claims seem even sillier, as with the passing of time, Soundgarden – and sadly missed vocalist Chris Cornell – have very much joined the pantheon of classic rock acts and Cornell’s approach to vocals never seemed that far removed from the likes of Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale anyway. [If you’re still blinkered enough to not believe this, the proof is there in tracks like Temple of The Dog’s ‘Call Me A Dog’ and ‘All Night Thing’.]