Please Don't Say 'Freebird'
by Michele Christopher
It's another group LNT! This week we got our idea after watching some dorks on tv playing air guitar to Rock You Like a Hurricane. So we polled the staff of FTTW and asked them: What are your three favorite guitar solos?
Here are the responses we got from a few of them.
Turtle rocks out first
1. Super Stupid - Eddie Hazel (Funkadelic) - Eddie was just great. I loved all the old Funkadelic stuff, but this one was really cool. This whole album seemed to be rediscovered when the whole west coast rap seemed to sample every god damn thing Funkadelic ever made, but it is still funny to tell people what year this stuff was made in.
2. Tales Of Brave Ulysses - Eric Clapton (Cream) - Um, wasn't this whole song one big solo? I mean, I'll be the first to say that Eric Clapton is not my favorite guitarist, but this thing just wouldn't stop.
3. War Pigs - Toni Iommi (Black Sabbath) - Like Black Sabbath wasn't going to make it in here. Tony is just awesome on this early stuff. Another one of the things I find is cool about this solo is that it totallly covers up whatever agenda Ozzy was on that week. See, good solos make you do that. Forget the lead singer and wait for the break.
1.Sweet Child o Mine- G'n R
2. Jimi Hendrix-The Star Spangled Banner (does that count as a solo?)
3. The opening of "Hotel California" the unplugged version.
1) Master of Puppets - Kirk Hammet (Metallica) - classic hammet, and as far as I'm concerned, is the definitive Metallica solo.
2) As I Am - John Petrucci (Dream Theater) - Dream Theater's pretty much every guitar fan's soggy dream as it is, and As I Am's solo is one of the best Petrucci's ever done, and boy is that saying something. I'm pretty sure in the 80-some-odd seconds that song is going on, he touches all 7 strings and all 24 frets of that beautiful Ernie Ball guitar of his.
3) Ravenous - Chris and Mike Amott (Arch Enemy) - Ok, so it isn't a solo per se, but they're never playing at the same time, so it's really like two solos. The first half is Mike's shot, and he does a nice melodic bit, with lots of the whammy bar and slides. Very cool. Then Mike comes in, and I'm pretty sure he'd just snorted a line off some hooker's ass, cause he's on fire. Flying up the neck and picking every note. Some people would use sweep picking or some legato, but not Chris. He's wired and he's gotta play that energy off.
Randy Rhoads - Suicide Solution - The live version on the Tribute album. Epic. Inspirational. This solo plus all the various fills in this version of the song really showcases Randy's abilities. RIP.
Angus Young - Whole Lotta Rosie - His solos throughout the song are pure sonic head-banging joy. No matter where you are when this song pops up, you automatically reach to turn up the volume. You can't help yourself.
Chuck Berry - Johnny B. Goode - Historic and still copied to this day.
Pril plays bass
Gordie Johnson's second solo on the Big Sugar cover version of "Dear Mr Fantasy".
Eruption - Eddie Van Halen: He certainly didn't invent the two hand tapping technique, but he brought it to the forefront of rock and roll. He took that technique, toyed with it, made modifications and adjustments and variations, and turned it into his, and the band's, trademark sound. What you hear when you listen to the-guitar-solo-as-song Eruption> is a meaty, full, percussive wall of sound that you feel in your gut and heart as well as your ears.
Floods - Dimebag Darrell: Holy shit. This solo blows me away every time I hear it. Man, this guy could wail. The rain in the background just puts the atmosphere on this one over the top. The last 40 seconds or so of this gives me goose bumps. This guy never got enough recognition for what he could do with a guitar. RIP Darrell. (See Floods played live at youtube)
1) Ted Nugent - Stranglehold -Yes, a lot of people hate The Nuge these days 'cause of his big fat conservative mouth, but I prefer to remember the Ted that s-l-a-y-e-d crowds in the '70s with his masterful track "Stranglehold". This stunning solo exhibited more playfulness, ferocity, nimbleness and melody than seen in earlier Nuge solo turns like "Migration" and "Hibernation". Ted still kicks it live. When I saw him in '03, it was the highlight of the show...
2. Starz - "Coliseum Rock/It's a Riot" 'Coliseum Rock' from '70s melodic rockers Starz is actually a 3-minute instrumental with dual guitars a-blazin' throughout in different chord set-ups, leading into a smokin' rocker "It'[s a Riot". Both tracks mix together to form a seamless hard rock whole. Great stuff - Richie Ranno, Starz' sorely underrated lead guitarist, still gets his kicks playing weekend in a Cream Tribute band in New Jersey.
Two of these were easy. A third, that I place above others, not so much.
2. When the Water Breaks - Liquid Tension Experiment. There is a lot of really good Dream Theater and solo album John Petrucci to choose from, but I really think the LTE stuff is his best. And this song is like a guitarist's primer of awesomery. It's so good it makes you make up words, and clocking in at almost 17 minutes, it covers almost every gamut imaginable.
Not so easy:
I had to think long and hard on this, but I kept coming back to this one song -
3. Little Wing - as performed by Stevie Ray Vaughan. I am a HUGE Hendrix fan, but the SRV version is one of those few remakes that transcends the original. And when you're talking about Jimi Hendrix, that's fucking saying something. His Scuttle Buttin' from the Live at Carnegie Hall album was almost this entry, but Little Wing is just SO F-N AMAZING.
Anyway, that's my list. Subject to change without warning.
I'm not much into the geetar solos, but seeing as how I'm the new guy I should probably play along.
1. Steve Clark of Def Leppard - Pour Some Sugar on Me, from the album Hysteria: I love this album, and I love this song. The lyrics are amazingly stupid yet fun to sing. While the solo isn't exactly a screaming blur of technical virtuosity, it fits the song perfectly.
2. Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits - Telegraph Road, from the album Love Over Gold: The entire 14 minute song is packed with beautiful, clear, singing guitar work. It's like an extended solo punctuated with lyrics. There are not a lot of songs that can hold my attention for that long.
3. Joe Satriani - Flying in a Blue Dream, from the album Flying in a Blue Dream: I'm not much on hotrod guitarists. There are lots of guitar players that are unbelievable technicians yet bore the hell out of me. (Steve Vai, Yngwie, etc.) Joe is technically amazing along with emotionally compelling. He has such amazing mastery, but doesn't come across like a robot. I love the solo work in this piece, and quite frankly love the whole album.
1. Layla – Eric Clapton – You say Guitar, I say LAAAAAAAYYYYYLAAAAAAAAA. The opening bars of the song are classic, and the 10 minute(ish) opus at the end of the song is just fun. I have made out to this song more times than I need to count. You’ve got it in your head now don’t you?
2. Thunder Kiss ’65 – Rob Zombie – The bass makes my panties a wet (in a good way), it’s also a great hockey fight song and work-out song.
3. Stairway to Heaven – Led Zepplin – Last dance, last chance for looooooooooooove. It’s soothing and reminds me of a time when the guys I danced with only came up to my boobs, now they mostly come up to my shoulders. What’s with all the Hobbits?
So what about you? What are your favorite solos? What makes you pick up that air guitar and jump around your living room when you think no one is looking?