Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental manservant Hop-Sing and I are off to Hollywood, where we've wangled a cameo as an actual waterboard in a forthcoming episode of 24. Apparently, we're going to have to cross some sort of picket line to do it, but as far as I'm concerned those rich writers are just greedheads. I mean, really -- does Joe Esterhaz really need a better royalty deal for the Criterion Edition of "Showgirls?" Feh.
So posting by moi will be necessarily sporadic for a while.
But in my absence, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:
Best Guitar Break Under Two Minutes Long
You know -- the most succinct, the most melodic, the most inventive, the most menacing, the most technically accomplished -- how ever you define a great guitar break.
Yeah, yeah, I can already here the grousing -- because of the time constraint, this list is necessarily going to be skewed towards (mostly) out and out pop records. Which means that a lot of stuff by a lot of my faves (Richard Thompson, for example, who I think is pound for pound the greatest rock guitarist ever) and a lot of yours (Duane Allman or Stevie Ray Vaughan, perhaps?) can't qualify.
That being the case, may I simply say to both you and I --- tough titties.
Okay -- here's my reasonably well considered Top Fifteen
15. James Burton (Ricky Nelson) -- Hello Mary Lou
14. Mike Mitchell (The Kingsmen) -- Louie Louie
13. Dave Davies (The Kinks) -- You Really Got Me
12. Pete Townshend (The Who) -- The Kids Are Alright
[This one's my favorite, partly because it's gorgeous in its minimalism, but mostly because it was edited out of both the American versions -- single and album -- back in the day. Why? Somebody at the American record company thought the feedback was a mistake. Hahahahahahahaha...]
11. Paul McCartney (The Beatles) - Taxman
10. Jeff Beck (The Yardbirds) -- Heart Full of Soul
9. Roger McGuinn (The Byrds) -- Feel a Whole Lot Better
[honorable mention: "Eight Miles High," which may clock in over two minutes]
8. Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones) -- The Last Time
[Honorable mention -- the faster-than-the-speed-of- sound solo on "She Said Yeah"]
7. John Fogerty (Creedence) -- Proud Mary
6. Neil Young (Crazy Horse) -- Cinammon Girl
[honorable mention -- Warren Zevon's "Sentimental Hygiene']
5. Paul Kossoff (Free) -- All Right Now
4. Bruce Springsteen (E Street Band) -- Incident on 57th Street
3. Jerry Hahn (Paul Simon) -- Peace Like a River
2. Elliot Randall (Steely Dan) -- Reeling in the Years
1. Tom Verlaine (Television) -- See No Evil
Okay -- what are your faves?
Update: In comments, the estimable Culture of Truth takes me to task for my remarks about the WGA strike. For the record, I was kidding, which I (perhaps naively) thought should have been obvious. My bad. Apparently, Pete Hamill was right when he said you should never employ irony in a Third World country.