Tag Archives: Mark Knopfler

Eighties Guitar Masters

Yep. Another blog post requiring difficult decisions. Please note there is no order of merit in this list.

thorogood

The man in front of the Delaware Destroyers – the inimitable George Thorogood

I remember being totally enamoured by his hit “Bad To The Bone” the instant I heard it. Even more so after seeing the music video with Bo Diddley. For my eighteenth birthday I received a copy of his album George Thorogood Live as a gift. I loved it. After realising most of the tracks were covers, I made it my mission to track down the original versions. So thanks to George I ended up discovering all these fantastic blues artists from the fifties and sixties.

Choice Pick: I’m still enamoured by 1982’s “Bad To The Bone”

satriani

Virtuoso guitarist and one-time guitar tutor, Joe Satriani

Any Satriani fan owes a debt to Steve Vai. When Steve Vai signed with a record label he asked them to check out his guitar teacher, leading to a recording contract for Satch as well. Aside from Vai, other former Satch students include Larry LaLonde from Primus and Testament’s Alex Skolnick. Apparently the last guitar lesson he gave, for the princely sum of $20, was to Metallica’s Kirk Hammett.

Choice Pick: Hard to go past 1987’s “Surfing With The Alien” 

gambale

Canberra export, Frank Gambale

Canberra-born jazz fusion guitarist Frank Gambale, remains largely unknown in his home country outside of jazz circles.Yet the twenty-album veteran is world renowned for his sweep picking and economy picking techniques. As well as a solo career he had a six year stint with the Chick Corea Elektric Band. Worth tracking him down if jazz fusion is your bag.

Choice Pick: “Credit Reference Blues” from his debut album, Brave New Guitar

knopfler

Fingerstyle guitarist, film composer and songwriter extraordinaire, Mark Knopfler

When Dire Straits burst onto the scene in the late seventies no one could have predicted how meteoric their rise would be. The 1985 album Brothers In Arms would be a massive worldwide success on the back of singles “Money For Nothing”, “Walk Of Life” and “So Far Away”. Mark has had a successful solo career since the demise of Dire Straits releasing solo albums and composing film soundtracks. I still think the album before Brothers In Arms, 1982’s Love Over Gold, is an absolute masterpiece, overshadowed by the success of its follow-up.

Choice Pick: The epic “Telegraph Road” from Love Over Gold

marr

Influential guitarist, Johnny Marr

Cutting his teeth co-writing and performing with Morrissey in The Smiths, Johnny Marr’s career has been as diverse as it has been influential. Since leaving The Smiths he has performed with The The, Electronic, Modest Mouse and Neil Finn’s 7 Worlds Collide project as well as releasing solo material.

Choice Pick: The eerie-sounding guitar work on “How Soon Is Now?” by The Smiths

moss

Guitarist with a penchant for playing barefoot, Ian Moss

Ian Moss has had a very successful career with Aussie legends Cold Chisel. Taking a break from music after the breakup of Cold Chisel in 1984, he returned with a vengeance in 1989 launching a successful solo career with his debut solo album, Matchbook. His playing was integral to Cold Chisel’s sound and this was once again evident after their reformation in 1998.

Choice Pick: The self-penned “Bow River” from the classic album Circus Animals

malmsteen

Swedish metal guitarist, Yngwie Malmsteen

Yngwie Malmsteen made an impact right off the bat, performing on albums with Steeler and Graham Bonnet’s Alcatrazz in 1983 when he was only 20 years of age. He released Rising Force the following year launching a solo career based around his neoclassical metal style of guitar playing. His playing has influenced many others since, but his own influences include Queen’s Brian May and 19th century composer Paganini.

vaughan

The late Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan, with his band Double Trouble, reinvigorated the blues rock scene in the eighties. His style was unique and heavily influential on his peers. He was much sought after as a session musician appearing on material by David Bowie, Jennifer Warnes and James Brown. He was also one of the few guitarists he could successfully cover Jimi Hendrix without sounding like a pale imitation.

Choice Pick: “Cold Shot” from 1984’s Couldn’t Stand The Weather

slash

Lead guitarist with Guns ‘N’ Roses, Slash

Guns ‘N’ Roses seemed to come out of nowhere in 1987. You can thank Saul Hudson, aka Slash, for the large part he played in their success. The sublime riff from “Sweet Child o’ Mine” contributed to high-rotation airplay on radios and televisions all around the world. The fact he has also had success with Slash’s Snakepit, Velvet Revolver and with his solo material, is testament to his talents.

Choice Pick: The aforementioned “Sweet Child o’ Mine” from Appetite For Destruction

the-edge

U2 guitarist, The Edge, aka David Evans

Never one to rest on his laurels, Irish guitarist The Edge, has kept himself busy outside of his work with U2 by contributing to various human rights and philanthropic causes, collaborating with other musicians and contributing to the soundtracks of theatre musicals. Despite all the musical style changes U2 has gone through over the years, The Edge’s playing has been continually at the core of their sound.

Choice Pick: “Sunday Bloody Sunday” from U2’s 1983 album, War

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.