Friday, July 16, 2021

Weekend Listomania: Special "Hot Licks" Edition

[I originally posted a version of this in 2007, back when the world and this blog were young. I've done some obligatory rewriting, and I've swapped out some of the choices for other songs, in an attempt to disprove the fact that I'm the slacker I demonstrably am. But I think the results are pretty entertainining in any event. Enjoy! -- S.S.]

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 cameo roles as torturees in a forthcoming episode of the Neflix revival of 24. Apparently, we're going to have to cross some sort of picket line, but as far as I'm concerned those rich writers are just greedheads. I mean, really -- does Aaron Sorkin really need a better royalty deal for the Criterion Blu-ray Edition of A Few Good Men? Feh.

So posting by moi will be necessarily sporadic for a while.

But in my absence, here's a fun project for us all to contemplate:

Best Guitar Break -- or Breaks -- on a Rock Record in Which Said Breaks are Under Two Minutes Long

You know -- the most succinct, the most melodic, the most inventive, the most menacing, the most technically accomplished -- however you define a great guitar break.

Yeah, yeah, I can already hear the harrumphing -- 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 me --- tough titties.

Okay -- here's my reasonably well considered Top Ten.

10. James Burton (Ricky Nelson) -- Hello Mary Lou

Rockabilly guitar doesn't get any better. (Also: Moah cowbell!)

9. 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...]

8, Either Keith Richards or Brian Jones (The Rolling Stones) -- The Last Time

[Honorable mention: Keith on the faster than the speed of light solo on "She Said Yeah."]

7. Dave Edmunds (With Brinsley Schwarz) -- Let It Rock

I can't tell you how many hours I spent learning all those licks.

6. Paul Kossoff (Free) -- All Right Now

If there's a more beautifully structured single-note blues rock solo ever committed to a recording medium, I haven't heard it.

5. Neil Young -- Cinnamon Girl

'Nuff said.

4. Roger McGuinn (The Byrds) -- I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better

[honorable mention: "Eight Miles High," which may clock in over two minutes]

3. John Lennon (The Beatles) -- You Can't Do That

Yeah. He was just a rhythm player.

2. Elliot Randall (Steely Dan) -- Reelin' in the Years

I can't think of better guitar work on a commercial pop hit.

And the most awesome short form guitar on a rock record obviously is...

1. Tom Verlaine (Television) -- See No Evil

Verlaine. Sheesh. Also Richard Lloyd, but he isn't playing the solo.

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choices be?

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!


Blue Ash Fan said...

Tommy Keene's solo on Adam Schmitt's "Three Faces West." Keene should be remembered as a guitar hero.

Sal Nunziato said...

Henry McCulloch on McCartney's "My Love."

Gummo said...

The Beatles (again), "I'll Follow the Sun" - 4 picks, 8 notes, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

neal t said...

Andrew Gold on Ronstadt's you're no good.

Shriner said...

The very short guitar (20 seconds!) solo on the Wondermints "If I Were You" has long been my go-to example of a short and tasteful solo.

It's not going to make anybody rush out to pick up a guitar to become a rock god -- but it's perfect and fits the song greatly.

(Man, I love the Wondermints records...) said...

Elliot Randall no disagreement- Paul Kosuff, no disagreement.
Neil and Pete are not fair comparisons.
My take - Lowell George, Cold,cold cold - tripe face boogie

daudder said...

Add Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown". Guitar solo is fantastic. As is the song...

pete said...

I'm pretty sure the Last Time lick was played by Brian.

pete said...

"Little Girl" - a lovely overlooked Clapton solo from the Bluesbreakers album

pete said...

Anonymous said...

Waddy wachtel on johnny strikes up the band / Jeff Beck on Dion's can't start over again

Jai Guru Dave said...

Elliot Easton’s solos on any number of Car’s songs were often stunningly perfect.

Anonymous said...

Phelps "Catfish" Collins on Ain't It Funky Now, from James Brown Live at the Olympia, Paris, 1971

JDGoldberg said...

Jerry Miller, Moby Grape’s “Fall On You”. Just about any Mike Campbell solo. Ry Cooder, John Hiatt’s “Lipstick Sunset”.

steve simels said...

JDG - couldn’t agree more.

BG said...

Keith Richards’ 35 seconds of perfection in “Sympathy for the Devil”, especially the last note. Here’s a live version ... you can catch a glimpse of John Lennon dancing. I’d guess there are some serious drugs involved.

JDGoldberg said...

My apologies for revisiting so late after the party…but this started a process in my guitar brain that won’t stop so here’s a few more…
Jeff Beck “I Ain’t Superstitious”, Stephen Stills “Wooden Ships”, Rick Derringer “Rock and Roll Hoochee Coo”, Todd Rundgren “Crazy Lady Blue”.
This process will continue.