8 rock ‘n’ roll albums coming out this fall

The cover photo for "Letter to You" was taken in New York during Springsteen's Broadway run in 2018.

Credit: Danny Clinch

Credit: Danny Clinch

From Springsteen to The Struts, fall albums are guaranteed to rock.

While watching the “I Want My MTV” installment of A&E biography last week, I was reminded about the early days of the channel and how, despite technically being “music television,” its emphasis was on rock ‘n’ roll videos.

MTV eventually realized what it was tragically ignoring — thanks in some part to David Bowie, who called them out in an engrossing interview clip — and soon added R&B, rap and soul to its rotation.

I wouldn’t have wanted an MTV without Michael and Janet Jackson, Run-D.M.C. and Aretha Franklin videos. But I also loved my Bon Jovi, Motley Crue and U2.

Sometimes, you just want to rock.

Among the reduced itinerary of albums arriving this fall (thanks, pandemic) are a healthy number of rock-oriented artists. Here are a few releases that I’m anticipating:

The former rapper turns to rock for his new album.

Machine Gun Kelly, “Tickets to My Downfall” (Sept. 25)

Those accustomed to seeing the man born Colson Baker as a rapper might have been surprised to see him on the MTV VMAs cranking out guitar riffs on “My Ex’s Best Friend” and “Bloody Valentine” (the latter with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker). But if you recall his memorable stint playing Tommy Lee in the Motley Crue biopic, “The Dirt,” it’s understandable why Machine Gun Kelly detoured into rock-pop-punk territory.

Queen + Adam Lambert, “Live Around the World” (Oct. 2)

The decade-long pairing of the former “American Idol” favorite and the legendary rock band has been so joyfully cohesive, it’s hard to believe this is the first time they’re committing their fiery live performances to record. The set is a compilation of concert highlights selected by Roger Taylor, Brian May and Lambert from more than 200 shows performed around the world. All versions of the release will include Queen’s 22-minute appearance during Fire Fight Australia — a benefit that was one of their last performances before lockdown — where the band re-created their historical Live Aid set from 1985. So yes, that means “Radio Ga Ga,” “Hammer to Fall” and even Freddie Mercury’s trademark “ay-yo”s.

Bon Jovi's "2020" will be out Oct. 2.

Bon Jovi, “2020” (Oct. 2)

It turned out to be fortuitous that Bon Jovi postponed the release of the band’s album — named for “a pivotal election year” — from its original May date. The combination of the pandemic, the death of George Floyd and racial equality movement sent Jon Bon Jovi back to his writing den to birth a pair of timely new songs — “American Reckoning” and “Do What You Can.” Today, Bon Jovi will unveil a new version of “Do What You Can,” a tribute to COVID-19 frontline workers, with his “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” partner, Jennifer Nettles.

The Struts enlisted Robbie Williams and members of Def Leppard for their third album.

The Struts, “Strange Days” (Oct. 16)

Along with a magical pairing with Robbie Williams for the lush title track — a relatable anthem that showcases the elastic vocals of frontman Luke Spiller — the British glam rockers also teamed with The Strokes' Albert Hammond Jr. (“Another Hit of Showmanship”) and Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott and Phil Collen (“I Hate How Much I Want You”) on their third release. The band recorded the album in 10 days at the Los Angeles home of producer Jon Levine (after all were tested for COVID-19) and even tossed in a swaggering cover of Kiss' 1976 stomper, “Do You Love Me.”

Tom Petty, “All the Rest” (Oct. 16)

The late rocker always had grand plans for the additional material he recorded for his 1994 “Wildflowers” album, and his untimely death in 2017 didn’t quash his intentions. Petty’s daughters, Adria and Annakim, along with wife Dana and Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, curated the compilation, which includes solo demos, live performances and alternate studio takes. “Wildflowers” captured Petty during an emotional period and the first single from the collection, “Confusion Wheel,” written in 1994, is acutely relevant today.

Bruce Springsteen, “Letter to You” (Oct. 23)

The 12 tracks recorded by the veteran rocker and his E Street Band will comprise Springsteen’s 20th studio album. Calling it the “livest” recording session he’s had with his venerable musical warriors in the studio, Springsteen gathered Roy Bittan, Nils Lofgren, Patti Scialfa, Garry Tallent, Stevie Van Zandt, Max Weinberg, Charlie Giordano and Jake Clemons for a five-day session in late 2019. Among the dozen tracks are three previously unreleased recordings — “Janey Needs a Shooter,” “If I Was the Priest” and “Song for Orphans.”

U2's "All That You Can’t Leave Behind” celebrates 20 years on Oct. 30. Photo: Anton Corbijn

U2, “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” 20th-anniversary edition (Oct. 30)

Most U2 devotees claim “The Joshua Tree” as the supreme offering from the band. I’ll take this soul-gripping collection that includes “Walk On,” “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” and “Elevation” every time. The anniversary version (how has it been 20 years?) features a 12-track remaster of the album that includes an additional song, “The Ground Beneath Her Feet”; as well, a 51-track “super deluxe” box set will be available for prime holiday gifting.

Stevie Nick's live album will be released in late October to complement a concert film.

Stevie Nicks, “Live in Concert: The 24 Karat Gold Tour” (Oct. 30)

As a precursor to the album release, concert footage from Nicks' 2016-17 tour will play in theaters on Oct. 21 and 25 under the same title. (Check stevienicksfilm.com for a list of theaters.) Then comes this two-CD/digital/streaming release featuring 17 tracks, including “Stand Back,” “Edge of Seventeen” and the first-ever live recording of “Crying in the Night.” The “24 Karat Gold” run played then-Philips Arena in 2016 with Chrissie Hynde opening, and there is no doubt as to why Nicks calls it her favorite tour.

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