I think I’ll do something different with this post.
I have been listening to more music lately as I have posted before. I have revisited things the radio ran into the ground when I was growing up and had not listened to since forever. I have listened to some newer music, “classic rock”, and my personal favorite: progressive rock and it’s definitely gotten me into music again.
I was in a store last week looking for something and heard a real blast from the past – “Midnight Confessions” by The Grass Roots. A good old tune. It was an “oldies” station so there were many other “oldies but goodies” as they used to say. Whomever “they” were.
Listening to these songs made me ponder some of my favorite guitar solos and live albums. I have never really listed any of this stuff before so I thought I might list a few here in this post. These lists are not comprehensive since music is still being made (albeit mostly bad). It may be lousy music for the most part these days, but there are a few good ones out there.
First, a few guitar solos in order of my favorites:
- “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd. Holy shit – two great solos in one song. My all-time favorite; so much feeling and emotion was wrenched from that black Fender Strat that I get chills each and every time I hear it. (This version is with David Bowie. The solos in this one are about as grand as the studio album and is the best live one I have heard.)
- “Easter” by Marillion. Another holy shit moment from one of my favorite prog bands. The solo was done in one take. Yep, no second takes, no trial and error, no “lemme do that over” from Steve Rothery. This is a live version and is virtually note-for-note of the studio version. The solo just cries out to you. Amazing.
- “The Wind Cries Mary” by Jimi Hendrix. It’s Jimi at his finest. I don’t need to say anything else. Sorry, couldn’t find a decent video for this so find it on your favorite music source. How’s about this one instead…
- “Highway Star” by Deep Purple. Speeding-ticket-gettin’ song this one here is. Solo kind of surprises you, grabs hold of you, then takes off like a shot. A great solo.
- “Hold the Line” by Toto. Like the top two, the buildup and emotion leave you weak.
- “On the Loose” by Saga. An older and poppier song but still a great solo. Great keys/guitar duels in this one. A catchy well-written hit song.
- “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin. Probably the most requested/overplayed song on the radio back in the day (okay, maybe tied with “Free Bird”) but a great song nonetheless from a band I never really liked many songs from. Builds and builds and you feel like you need a smoke afterwards.
- “Ice” by Camel. A beautiful instrumental song with incredible emotion. I wish I could find another live version where his emotion came out physically at the end. His shoulders dropped and it looked like he could do no more. Made you want to cry.
- “Firth of Fifth” by Genesis. REAL Genesis. Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins behind the drums. A great solo by Steve Hackett – a bit frantic in that Genesis way.
- “Hotel California” by The Eagles. A GREAT album. Tasty solos that just take you away…
That’s a good start on guitar solos for the time being. There are so many I just keep thinking of more songs by people like Rory Gallagher, Joe Bonamassa, Tommy Bolin and others. Perhaps I’ll add more in a later posting.
Here’s my top few live albums list:
- “Live Album” by Grand Funk. Another holy shit. Talk about a power trio. This one is one hell of a live album. Nothing but raw energy. Probably THE best live albums ever. Yes, EVER.
- “Steppenwolf Live” by, well Steppenwolf. A great live album that really has somew interesting political references by singer John Kay, whose family escaped West Germany.
- “Live Under a Blood Red Sky” by U2. The video this is from was shot at Red Rocks and edited so well. I would have loved to have been there. That band was killing it back then.
- “Alive” by KISS. No, not “Alive 2” or “Alive 17” or WTFever. The original one, and it simply kicks ass old school. All the great old songs that were full of energy.
- “Made in Japan” by Deep Purple. The album that really captured the band’s live show. Extended freeform jams, solos by everyone, massive sound. One of the first good-sounding recorded live shows. On vinyl.
- “Anesthetize” by Porcupine Tree. Of course, PT has to be in this list. Two of the best live concerts out of the hundreds I have been to (one of their shows was the “Deadwing” tour, the other was this tour for “Fear of a Blank Planet”). The DVD with this CD is a great representation of their live shows.
- “Live at Leeds” by The Who. One of my favorite bands whilst growing up. Another one of those raw energy recordings that harnessed the power of the band pretty well. Townsend said that he and Entwistle really traded parts and made the bass the star while he played more of a rhythm role. In a recording like this you can really hear that.
- “You Get What You Play For” by R.E.O Speedwagon. A great high-energy album before all the ballads. Granted, I saw a recent live show on TV last week and it was good. It was nothing like this album however.
That’s a few on that list. I am generally not a live album listener. There are some good ones other than the ones I listed here, but there are unfortunately some really bad ones due to the way they were recorded way back when.
Anyhoo, just some randomness. Maybe I’ll try to make a list of concerts. Could be pretty tough though!