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Any Major Guitar Vol. 1

January 25th, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

You know you’re losing it as a writer when you start off writing padding crap in the amateur league of “Guitar solos, everybody loves ’em”. Obviously, to spare you the tedium I’ve deleted all the noodling on about guitars — just as one might wish some musicians would do on their recordings, and on stage.

Having said that, it’s not awfully difficult to compile a list of favourite guitar solos, some of which may even be very long. Hell, I even love me a dose of Freebird now and then.

By definition, a list of anything “favourites” is subjective. They may include unheralded guitarists and exclude masters of the craft. My list certainly does. Slash and Eddie and Sambora? Missing? Dudes from Metallica or Led Zep? Nope. Any number of blues guitarists? I’m afraid not there. But the session guy from Wuthering Heights features.

So this is not an attempt at compiling “greatest-ever” guitar solos, though some of those here are contenders, or to bring together the greatest guitarists, though by the nature of things, many of the greatest will feature. This mix puts together songs on which there is guitar work that makes me sing along in the style of “Byoong, bee-bee-byoom-bee-byum – diddiddiddiddi-byoong-byoo-byoo-byoo-byoo-byoooo”.

And, of course, I apply my usual terms & conditions: one song per guitarist and, if it can be helped, no repeated acts either. This is just Volume 1, so please don’t shout at me for excluding Jimi Hendrix.

And tell me what are some of your favourite guitar solos? What makes you sing “Byoong, bee-bee-byoom-bee-byum”?

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-strummed covers.

Cream – White Room (1968)
Byoong moment: 4:00. Cream make us think that the song is over, and then Eric Clapton goes all guitar solo for the remaining minute. So many Clapton solos to choose from… Bell Bottom Blues was another leading contender.

Chicago – 25 Or 6 To 4 (1970)
Byoong moment: 1:58. Whoever said Chicago were soft? Terry Kath threatens to let rip for a couple of minutes, then eases himself into his 2:15 minutes long second guitar solo which becomes increasingly aggressive.

Steely Dan – Reelin’ In The Years (1972)
Byoong moment: 1:58. His mini-solo kicks off the song, then session guitarist Elliott Randall gives us two solos for the price for one: first a “wanna-take-me-on” duel with the rhythm section, then a triumphant face-contorting solo.

America – Sister Golden Hair (1975)
Byoong moment: 0:00. It’s not really a solo; the slide guitar intro and its reprise after the break last only a few seconds, but what a beautiful ethereal sound. Rumour had it that it was played by George Harrison (since George Martin produced the song). Boringly, lead singer Gerry Beckley played the guitar, inspired by Harrison’s work on My Sweet Lord.

Wilco – Impossible Germany (2007)
Byoong moment: 2:29. If was asked to vote, I might nominate this as my all-time favourite guitar solo. Even if it features two soloists: Nels Cline (right speaker) and Jeff Tweedy (left speaker). It’s 3:28 minutes of exquisite, exciting and epic elation.

Foo Fighters – Everlong (live) (2006)
Byoong moment: 3:44. From the acoustic Skin And Bones live album, one doesn’t expect so much noise in the instrumental interlude and (aptly) climax. Not really a guitar solo, but those instrumental breaks are driven by Dave Grohl’s acoustic and Pat Smear’s electric guitars.

Crowded House – Don’t Dream It’s Over (live) (1996)
Byoong moment: 2:24. Neil Finn’s glistening guitar is all over it, in the studio version and in this gorgeous live recording from Sydney on the Farewell To The World set, but it really kicks in after the organ solo, and certainly doesn’t outstay its welcome.

Gary Moore – Still Got The Blues (For You) (1990)
Byoong moment: 3:39. Plenty of byoong throughout as Gary Moore puts on his orgasm-face and noodles exquisitely on his Les Paul. A court ruled that Moore plagiarised the solo from a 1974 song called Nordrach by the German prog rock act Jud’s Gallery — and the similarities are indeed there. But there’s a reason several thousands of people have had sex to Moore’s song, and only eight to that by Jud’s Gallery.

The Isley Brothers – Summer Breeze (1973)
Byoong moment: 3:51. There are few guitar solos in soul music, but when there is one, you can do worse than Ernie Isley laying it down, turning the gentle warm breeze into a heatwave. His solo on Who’s That Lady was another contender.

Toto – Georgy Porgy (1978)
Byoong moment: 1:58. There is so much musical excellence going on (and Cheryl Lynn’s superb vocals) here that the fleeting, half-minute guitar solo by Steve Lukather can be overlooked. But it is exquisite.

Eric Gale – Blue Horizon (1981)
Byoong moment: 3:44. The only instrumental here, by the late, great fusion guitarist Eric Gale. The real star of the show on this song is the recently late Hugh Masekela’s flugelhorn, perhaps even Peter Schott’s keyboards, to which Gale’s guitar offers accompaniment — until Gale takes centrestage with two brief solos; after which he lets his guitar sing like a bird that is desperate to mate.

Commodores – Easy (1977)
Byoong moment: 2:47. A guitar solo that comes from nowhere. Lionel goes: “Ooh!” and Thomas McClary lets his fuzz guitar sing. It’s superb, but be alert for another great McClary moment: that tiny fill at 2:23.

Carpenters – Goodbye To Love (1972)
Byoong moment: 2:47. Another fuzz guitar solo, by the late Tony Peloso. If you’ll disqualify the Cline/Tweedy solo, I’ll nominate this as my all-time favourite guitar solo, alone because it comes so unexpectedly in a Carpenters song; guitar solos did not really feature on easy listening numbers. The first solo, at 1:21, sounds at first melancholy, reflecting Karen’s resignation and sadness, then it tries to lift her up. But that second solo, if Karen doesn’t invite love back in after the big solo that closes the song, backed by celestial harmonies, then she really has no chance.

Fleetwood Mac – Never Going Back Again (1977)
Byoong moment: 0:44. No “byoong” here, just lots of finger-picking acoustic guitar by what essentially is a Lindsey Buckingham solo track. I was very close to picking Buckingham’s solo for Landslide (which features on Any Major Fathers).

Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights (1978)
Byoong moment: 3:47. Given that he discovered Kate Bush, I sort of guessed that the guitar solo that sees out Wuthering Heights, and takes centre-stage, was played by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. It was, in fact, the work of Scottish session musician Ian Bairnson, formerly of glam-pop band Pilot.

The Knack – My Sharona (1979)
Byoong moment: 2:43. My Sharona is dominated by that insistent riff and the stuttering vocals and “whooo”s, but that guitar solo by Berton Averre is one of the finest in late 1970s pop music. It goes on a bit, so it does need that furious power pop drumming, with the brutal assault on the cymbals, to sustain it. The Freebird for the new wave generation.

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  1. halfhearteddude
    January 25th, 2018 at 08:19 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Halfwit
    January 25th, 2018 at 10:14 | #2

    Agree with your top two picks, and, as with so many favourites, I’m sure I first came across Impossible Germany on this blog.
    You can watch the magic here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmI7SiLe4Vw

  3. Horst
    January 25th, 2018 at 12:45 | #3

    I must have listened to it 10.000 times since 1978 but I still love the “seagull” solo on Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street.

  4. Stinky
    January 25th, 2018 at 15:22 | #4

    As always, a great compilation, and I agree with your selections.

    One of my “always makes me smile” guitar solos is the tasteful run Elliott Easton serves up at the 1:58 point of My Best Friend’s Girl by The Cars. “Tasteful” describes The Car’s collective strength, in my opinion. Every member tends to play only what serves the song–they were a band comprised of six Ringos!

  5. Ben
    January 25th, 2018 at 16:11 | #5

    Great selection of solos. Ernie Isley laid down some insane solos on the Isley Brothers 70s albums. The most unsung is his solo on “Hope You Feel Better Love” on the “Go For Your Guns” album. “Climbin’ Up The Ladder” is another one on that album with a great solo,

    Big fan of this site.

    Ben

  6. Dave B
    January 25th, 2018 at 16:40 | #6

    Good call on The Knack and The Commodores; along with “Play That Funky Music White Boy”, some of my favourite guitar solos right there!
    I wonder what song you were thinking of when you wrote out the “words” to the guitar solo in your preamble. It doesn’t look random.
    P.S. – “Driven To Tears”

  7. halfhearteddude
    January 25th, 2018 at 19:09 | #7

    @Horst

    On my (looong) shortlist!

    @Dave B

    It’s entirely random, but I suspect that some doodling solo influecned by subsconsciously. Or maybe it was the inner axeman breaking out.

  8. Rhodb
    January 26th, 2018 at 00:52 | #8

    Thanks for the guitar solo’s. Some thinking required here , good work. I need to go away and think about some tunes.

    Regards

    Rhod

  9. Fox
    January 26th, 2018 at 01:51 | #9

    Great mix. Nothing sweeter than a solo guitar taking center stage! Thanks.

  10. Russ
    January 27th, 2018 at 16:36 | #10

    Great selection. I didn’t download because I have all of them (!) but kudos for Impossible Germany and My Sharona – two of my top ten for sure.

    Since you asked for suggestions, anything from Robin Trower’s Bridge Of Sighs album, and Eliot Easton’s solo on The Cars’ Touch And Go. And I’m always partial to Dave Davies, lately I’ve been obsessed with The Kinks’ No More Looking Back.

    For unexpected solos, there’s probably some on Air Supply records because Steve Hunter played on several of them.

  11. srcstcbstrd
    January 27th, 2018 at 17:12 | #11

    Like the picks, hate the fact that the bitrate is so low.

  12. February 2nd, 2018 at 16:15 | #12

    Hi!

    Haven’t listened yet but seem a “wide” selection of styles. This is a HUGE field & could keep comps. coming for ages. Would enjoy a selection (at least 1 comp.) of BLUES guitarists. LUV “Mary Had A Little Lamb” by Buddy Guy off his 1st solo ’68 LP. Will leave it with you to sort it out. THANX for the music shares.

    Cheers!
    Ciao! For now.
    rntcj

  13. Jeff
    February 2nd, 2018 at 16:55 | #13

    I personally love guitar solo lists, even more so when they are not a ranking type of list. You have provided a number of new (to me) songs to listen to the leads. I could provide just as long a list, from my favorite solo in an awful song (most Jeff Beck non-instrumentals-Get’s Us All in the End specifically) to those everybody would recognize. So, thank you…

  14. carlos
    February 3rd, 2018 at 15:35 | #14

    thank you, I’m thoroughly enjoying this mix! great idea and good choices. I really enjoy the in memorium’s too.

  15. Mr. Whiskers
    March 14th, 2018 at 03:53 | #15

    Great call on “Impossible Germany” by Wilco
    I am not a big Tweedy fan, but that one is inspired.
    Thanks!!

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