One of the fundamental building blocks of rock music is the Guitar Solo. The character and soul of much of rock and roll comes out in the solo. Even more so than a drum solo or driving rhythm guitar riff, the guitar solo evokes a visceral response that is unrivaled in popular music.
Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World found solace in their favorite guitar solos, courtesy of Jimi Hendrix and Brian May.
People that scream for Free Bird when at a live rock show are paying homage to that venerable, overplayed classic rock staple, not because of the upward looking lyrics, but because there is an over the top, killer 3 guitar solo that goes on ad nauseum, at the close of the song.
Through September 30, 2009, Fat Tone Guitars is having a promotional giveaway with an MJM London Fuzz Pedal as the prize. To enter the giveaway, you must visit this website and submit your five favorite guitar solos. A winner will be randomly selected from all the entrants.
To get things going, I’ll submit my 5 faves–in no particular order–with a little commentary on each. Thanks for playing.
- Sweet Jane and Intro, Lou Reed’s Rock and Roll Animal: What is so ironic is that this album, put out by the godfather of punk not only showcases some killer lead guitar work throughout by Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner, but also is the blueprint for the brand of arena rock that bands like Journey and Styx milked for years.
- Astronomy, Blue Oyster Cult’s Some Enchanted Evening: Donald (Buck Dharma) Roeser is one of the unsung guitar heroes from the first wave of heavy metal. I’ll never understand why guys like Michael Schenker got so many props while Buck had all the chops and much more nuance and feel for a song than Schenker ever did. Astronomy, from this under appreciated live album was my first true guitar epic.
- Things You Didn’t Know, The Bottle Rocket’s 24 Hours a Day: A slow burn song that follows that classic rock tradition of ending in a flurry of guitar, Things You Didn’t Know is a poignant tune that pulls great feeling out of the lyrics and the tasty guitar solo. Brian Henneman recalls Neil Young and Billy Gibbons while coaxing some awesome sounds from his Gretsch Tennessean.
- County Fair, Joe Walsh’s So What: Apparently Joe Walsh quit the James Gang because he was sick of carrying a power trio. His next 3 albums as a solo artist incorporated lots of classically inspired dynamic arrangements and layered keyboard and guitar. County Fair is a masterpiece of tension and release. Feel the guitars building on both speakers until they fairly explode and then the song is over. Best when listening through headphones.
- Smiling, Marc Ford’s Neptune Club: Marc Ford paid his bills for 10 or so years recording and touring with the Black Crowes but his strength has always been as a quasi-bandleader playing post Band inspired music. Possessing immense chops, Ford constrains himself on this album (and this song) while still getting great tone and emoting with the best of them.
Well, there you go. Have fun with this.