Favorite Guitar Solos
I've been playing guitar for many years. Once upon a time I was even pretty good, but my skills have atrophied somewhat over the years because I'm always too busy working. Although I've never been a lead guitarist, I appreciate a good guitar solo when I hear one. Here are five of my favorites, in order of length.
- George Harrison in "Till There Was You" by the Beatles on their With The Beatles album (1963). This little 8-bar solo is impressive in its tasteful economy. Sure, it's nothing fancy, but it fits perfectly into the Beatles' performance of this show tune from The Music Man.
- Peter Tosh in "Concrete Jungle" by Bob Marley and the Wailers on the Catch a Fire album (1974). Yet another short solo (16 bars by my count), but absolutely searing. I love the way the solo ends on an extended string bend, like a cry of pain that matches Marley's heartfelt lyrics.
- Denny Dias in "Do It Again" by Steely Dan on the Can't Buy a Thrill album (1972). Yes, I know that this is an electric sitar solo, but I'm counting it as a guitar solo because this is my blog and I can do what I want. :P This is a snaky solo that wends its way along in a funky-jazzy-eastern kind of way that I've never heard anywhere else.
- Neil Young in his song "Like A Hurricane", first released on his American Stars 'N Bars album (1977). This eight-minute song contains three guitar solos, a short one toward the beginning, a longer one (about 100 seconds's worth) in the middle, and an extended one that takes up the last 3 minutes of the song. There's some fierce, passionate, noisy playing here that I really like.
- Steve Howe in the live version of "Perpetual Change" from the Yes album Yessongs (1973). Given my love of Yes music and my extreme regard for Steve Howe, it's no surprise that one of his solos makes the short list. His playing on this live recording simply shreds up the guitar with such intensity that it's amazing to me he was able to provide not just one but two extended solos in this 14-minute song. The first one starts out quiet and jazzy but quickly romps through ~3 minutes of progressive-rock complexity. After a vocal interlude, Howe returns with another solo that starts out with some contrapuntal interaction with Chris Squire's bass and then launches into some intense minutes of flat-out rock before he yields to a solo by drummer extraordinaire Bill Bruford. Incendiary stuff.
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