Tag Archives: Jimmy Page

Sixties Guitar Masters

Welcome once more to my on-again off-again blog. Despite my best intentions to post more regularly, sometimes, sadly, life gets in the way. This post follows on from my post on Fifties Guitar Masters as we move on to the next decade.

The 1960s was a decade of unprecedented development in terms of recorded popular music and an era of constant change. Naturally this was a fertile breeding ground that created a whole new generation of innovative guitarists.

hank-marvin

Hank Marvin

Kicking off the 60s it would be hard to go past the legendary Hank Marvin. With The Shadows he virtually defined the sound of the guitar in the early part of the decade and was an inspiration to many who came after him.

Choice Pick: check out the international chart-topper “Apache” released in July 1960

jimi-hendrix-07

Jimi Hendrix

You couldn’t have a list of guitarists from the 1960s without including Jimi. Renowned for being so extraordinarily gifted that the guitar was considered an extension of his body, his recordings are as exemplary as they are limited. For a career so brief he certainly shone brightly.

Choice Pick: Hard to go past his cover version of  Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower”  originally released in September 1968. Even Mr Zimmerman considered it the definitive version of his tune.

eric_clapton_1966_large

Eric Clapton

The first of three incredible guitarists to have a stint in The Yardbirds, Eric Clapton’s career has been like no other. The amount of different genres he’s covered during his career combined with his longevity can only lead one to conclude that he is peerless. Just list the bands he’s been in and any one of them would look good on a guitarist’s c.v. The Yardbirds, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Cream, Derek and the Dominos and his solo stuff too!

Choice Pick: For me his finest hour was the Derek and the Dominos period, but his solo on Cream’s live version of “Crossroads”, from 1968’s Wheels Of Fire, is one of the finest ever.

jeff-beck

Jeff Beck

The second Yardbirds guitarist to feature in this list and one who has a very unique playing style. From his faux-slide playing using only his hands and a whammy bar, to doing away with a pick sometime during the 1980s, he has certainly developed his own “signature sound” on more than one occasion.

Choice Pick: “Beck’s Bolero”, the B-side to his 1967 single “Hi Ho Silver Lining”, displays his talents exceptionally well. The recording featured the Who’s Keith Moon on drums and future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones.It was during the sessions for the tracks that would form Beck’s first solo album, Truth, that Page first heard the term “lead zeppelin”.

jimmy-page

Jimmy Page

Which brings us to Jimmy Page, the third of the guitarists from The Yardbirds to feature in this post. Page formed Led Zeppelin from the debris of The Yardbirds, even to the point of going out on their first tour as The New Yardbirds, to meet some outstanding contractual obligations.

Choice Pick: Hard to go past the blistering “Whole Lotta Love” from Led Zeppelin II, released in 1969.

peter-green

Peter Green

Clapton’s replacement in John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers came with a unique sound and style all his own. He also founded Fleetwood Mac by convincing first Mick Fleetwood, then John McVie, to join him. Sadly, his drug use caused many years of decline during the 70s and 80s, before returning in the 90s better, yet not quite what he was in his youth.

Choice Pick: His work on the John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers track, “The Super-Natural”, released on A Hard Road in 1968, is nothing short of spine-tingling.

frank-zappa

Frank Zappa

Q: Has their ever been a guitarist like Frank Zappa?

A: Yes, his name is Dweezil.

Choice Pick: Hard to go past the 1969 Mothers Of Invention single “My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama”.

keith

Keith Richards

Keith earns the nickname Keef Riffhard for a reason. His riffs are second to none. He’s been known to wake in the middle of the night, strum a riff into a tape recorder by the side of his bed, then roll over and go back to sleep. He then listens the next day to decide if the riff is a keeper or not. Its where the riff for “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” came from and many more.

Choice Pick: “Sympathy For The Devil” from 1968’s Beggars Banquet, the beginning of a four-album golden period, in my humble opinion.

santana

Carlos Santana

Carlos built a reputation for himself after his blistering performance with Santana at Woodstock in 1969. The unheard-of band were included as a favour to promoter Bill Graham, who insisted after being called in to help with logistics and planning for the event.

Choice Pick: “Soul Sacrifice” from debut album, Santana, released in 1969, is an excellent example of his work, although the studio version doesn’t capture the wild majesty of the Woodstock performance.

albert_king

Albert King

Albert King was blessed with two things. Precocious talent and the Stax house band, Booker T & the MGs. Recording together on his second studio album, his first for Stax, saw the creation of one of the definitive blues albums of the decade.

Choice Pick: “Born Under A Bad Sign”, the title track from the aforesaid album, released in 1967.

 

 

Fifties Guitar Masters

The 1950s was a time of upheaval in the music world with the development of electric blues leading to the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, groundbreaking recording techniques, studio equipment and effects pedals and the like. This blog post aims to briefly examine just some of the guitarists whose work made a large impression on other musicians, and in turn, popular culture.

Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters

No examination of guitarists in the 1950s  can ignore the plethora of talented blues guitarists. Although Muddy Waters first began recording in the 1940s it is his work when joining the Chess record label in Chicago in 1950 for which he is most remembered. His use of amplification was also said to be hugely influential on other guitarists and was essential in the development of rock ‘n’ roll. His band members have included a variety of famous bluesmen particularly during his time with Chess.

Choice Pick: check out his “Rollin’ Stone” from February 1950

Les Paul

Les Paul

Les was a guitarist capable of playing jazz, blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll. He was also an inventor, songwriter and an innovator in studio techniques such as overdubbing, multitrack recording and the use of phasing effects.

Choice Pick: His work with Mary Ford is a career highlight particularly “How High The Moon” from January 1951.

Chet Atkins

Chet Atkins

Chet Atkins is a key proponent of the fingerpicking guitar style and his work has influenced many, most notably Mark Knopfler. His music played an important part in developing a smoother country style that came to be known as the Nashville sound and helped bring country music to a wider pop audience.

Choice Pick:Galloping On The Guitar” released in January 1953 is a good place to start.

Scotty Moore

Scotty Moore (with some other chap called Elvis or something)

Scotty Moore made a name for himself as part of Elvis Presley’s band for many years was a key player in his sound. His pioneering rockabilly style was a key influence on musicians such as Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards and Jimmy Page, to name just a few.

Choice Pick: It’s hard to go past their Sun debut together on the Presley version of “That’s All Right” released in July 1954.

Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry chalked up numerous hit singles all of which feature his signature guitar style. However, upon closer examination you could almost credit pianist Johnnie Johnson for his sound, as Chuck’s licks appear to mimic Johnnie’s piano lines.

Choice Pick: The debut single “Maybellene“, originally released in July 1955, is a classic example of the style Chuck would use throughout his entire career.

bo diddley

Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley not only created his first guitar himself out of an old cigar box, but he also designed numerous others throughout his career. He also developed a signature beat and used it often in his songs, which in turn has also been used often in other people’s songs.

Choice Pick: One of my favourite tracks from Bo, and a good one for any casual fan to start with, would have to be “Who Do You Love?” released in March 1956.

Hubert Sumlin

Hubert Sumlin

Hubert’s guitar prowess quickly earned him a place in Howlin’ Wolf’s band after Wolf convinced him to move from Memphis to Chicago in 1954. He remained in his band for the majority of his career from that time on.

Choice Pick: If you haven’t heard it before get hold of the definitive Howlin’ Wolf track “Smokestack Lightnin’” to demonstrate Sumlin’s skills.

b b king

B.B. King

Riley “Blues Boy” King was fortunate enough to have Bukka White as a second cousin, who no doubt taught King a thing or two and is alleged to have given him his first guitar. No one plays like B.B. and he never taught himself chords. Yet he still managed to have a career that spanned six decades.

Choice Pick: There are so many to choose from, but his treatment of “Sweet Little Angel” from August 1956 is well worth tracking down.

Link Wray

Link Wray

Link’s work was built around his distorted guitar sounds and he is credited with the popularisation of the power chord. He is often credited with paving the way for punk and hard rock due to the sounds he was able to wrangle out of his guitar and amp.

Choice Pick: His debut single with his Ray Men, “Rumble“, released in April 1958, changed the musical landscape forever!

Duane Eddy

Duane Eddy

Eddy developed a “twangy” sound by playing on his guitar’s bass strings to produce a low, reverberant sound. This became his signature sound and was used throughout his career. Check out his album discography and you will find the word “twang”, or its derivatives feature most prominently in many of the titles.

Choice Pick: His second single, and one of his biggest hits, “Rebel Rouser” from May 1958, is an excellent example of his “twangy” sound.