On January 16, 1981, a great thing happened in the world of Israeli music, with the release of the debut album of the band "T-Slam" - "Strong Radio".
This is a groundbreaking album that puts rock on the map of Israeli music. It has influenced young artists and rock bands, that until then had not dreamed of recording and releasing rock albums in Israel. It's a bit funny to use the phrase "Hard Rock" in the context of this album, but the distortion effect used in some of the songs on the album was somehow "new" in the Israeli musical landscape of those years. It was the closest to Hard Rock we could listen to in Israel at the time. It was also one of the reasons we fell in love with this album, with the band and its members, "at first sight".
T-Slam or "Tislam" was formed in 1979 by two friends who served in the IDF: guitarist Yizhar Ashdot, who was the Israeli Army Radio music editor, and keyboardist Yair Nitzani, who was a broadcast technician. The two, who shared their intense love for music and especially Rock and Roll, played and wrote songs together. At one point singer Danny Bassan, who was part of the Air Force entertainment team joined them, and thus came the core of the band. During their service, the three recorded the song "Gimmie rock 'n' roll", a kind of protest song designed to shout the cry of rock music lovers, which unfortunately did not get enough expression in Israel. This recording was done in "Galei Tzahal" studios, without the station commander's knowledge.
In 1980, while the band members were only 22 years old, the three recorded demo tapes in English, for songs that would later become part of the band's debut album. During the recordings, Yoshi Sadeh, a guitarist and singer who was a recording technician at the "Triton" Studio, joined the band. The four gave the band the name "T-Slam", as the name of Ashdot and Nitzani production company.
The songs on the album were written by the band members with the help of Dori Ben Zeev. They included memorable Israeli rock hits such as: the theme song and the hit "Loud Radio", "Anemones", written by Yoshi Sadeh in English even before he met the band members, "See you Aroud", "Smoking In The Boys Room" (a cover version of a song first performed and recorded in 1973 by "Brownsville Station" and translated here by Kobe Meiden); And of course "Down The Road", which won the title of Song of the Year and excites us today just like 40 years ago, especially in its amazing live version.
For the recording of the album, drummer Alon Hillel and bassist Ohad Inger were recruited, as well as other guest musicians such as: Barry Keys, who played the "Hammond" organ, Dave Boroff on saxophone; And Jackie Kelso, Chuck Finley and Jim Horn on brass instruments.
The album was recorded in 1981 and at the time considered to be the album with the most expensive production in the Israel. It turned the band and its members into superstars overnight, with an admiration not seen in the country until then and reserved only for bands like "The Beatles" and the like.
It was a groundbreaking album that created new standards in the Israeli music of the early 1980s, which over the years became a pure Israeli classic.
The album sold about 10,000 copies within two months and about 60,000 copies within six months, a very respectable number on an Israeli scale. Later it also led the band to the title "Band of the Year" also winning "Song of the Year" for the song "Down The Road".
It is interesting to note that the album was also released in English and was given the name "Loud Radio", after being recorded in Los Angeles.
On the occasion of the album's 40th anniversary celebrations, the band has released a remixed version of the album in its expanded edition - A one that includes 5 bonus tracks of the English song versions. The album cover was also "politicly corrected" to the present day, dressing up the nude model.
As you may recall, the original album cover, which is one of the best-known in Israeli music, included a naked girl with her back turned to the camera, while in front of her are the four members dressed in black suits while indifferent to her nude appearance.