Tag Archives: Queen

Seventies Guitar Masters

The hardest thing about these posts about guitar masters is limiting myself to only ten. I can pick my preferred ten and then easily pick another ten if required and each list would be equally noteworthy. So I just have to accept that some notable guitarists will be glaring omissions for some, including myself!

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Tony Iommi rocking out with Ozzy in the 70s

Tony Iommi’s guitar playing style and sound would help define heavy metal. Losing the tips of his middle and ring fingers on his right hand during a factory accident as a teenager affected his playing style and he is the only continual member of Black Sabbath throughout all its incarnations. Never did a guitar sound more ominous than in his hands.

Choice Pick: The 1970 album Paranoid is a master class in hard rock riffery and there is no better example than the classic “Fairies Wear Boots”.

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Ritchie Blackmore, lead guitarist of Deep Purple and Rainbow

Another guitarist that contributed to defining the sound of heavy metal was Deep Purple founding member, Ritchie Blackmore. He later left Deep Purple to form Rainbow then rejoined Deep Purple for a second stint. In recent years he has formed a folk-rock duo with his girlfriend Candice Night called Blackmore’s Night.

Choice Pick: Hard to go past the obvious “Smoke On The Water”, still being mastered by learner guitarists today.

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Underrated or forgotten by many, Tommy Bolin’s guitar playing was exceptional and well worth seeking out

Tommy Bolin replaced Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple in 1975 to form their much-maligned Mk III lineup. He had previously worked in bands Zephyr, Energy and The James Gang. Despite this impressive pedigree his most outstanding work is on his two solo albums. His debut Teaser, provided examples of the different styles he could play, and the second more cohesive album, Private Eyes, really showcased his development as both a guitarist and a songwriter. Sadly, he died of a drug overdose at a mere 25 years of age during the subsequent promotional tour.

Choice Pick: The 9 minute epic “Post Toastee” from Private Eyes.

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Pink Floyd’s lead guitarist, David Gilmour

Was there ever any doubt David Gilmour would turn up in this list? His playing is simply sublime and he was an integral part of Pink Floyd’s sound in the post-Syd Barrett era. His solo albums don’t quite reach the peak of his work with Pink Floyd yet they’re still worth a listen.

Choice Pick: Hard to limit myself to one outstanding track, but if forced I would have to choose “Comfortably Numb” from 1979’s The Wall.

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The Who’s Pete Townshend in full flight

Although Pete Townshend kicked off his career in the sixties, for me his most stellar performances were in the seventies. Renowned for his unique windmill playing style, the rarity of playing solos, his propensity to jump in the air whilst playing and his obsession with rock operas, he is a guitarist like no other.

Choice Pick: “The Real Me” from the The Who’s second rock opera, the double album Quadrophenia released in 1973. In my opinion a superior work to the much more famous Tommy.

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AC/DC’s Angus Young

From his schoolboy appearance to his duck walks everyone knows Angus Young. His sound defines AC/DC’s sound along with the outstanding rhythm playing of his older brother Malcolm. Without him there would be no AC/DC.

Choice Pick: “Jailbreak” from their third Australian album Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap released in 1976.

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Slide guitarist extraordinaire, Duane Allman

Although he died far too young, at age 24 in a motorcycle accident in 1971, he is still remembered as one of the greatest slide guitar players ever. His work with his brother Gregg and friends in the Allman Brothers helped define their sound. His performances with Eric Clapton as part of Derek and the Dominos were integral to the Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs album released in 1970.

Choice Pick: The Derek and the Dominos performance “Bell Bottom Blues” from the aforementioned album is impossible to ignore.

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Eddie Van Halen displaying his guitar prowess

Eddie Van Halen’s guitar playing blew everyone away when Van Halen’s debut eponymous album was released in 1978. It seems somewhat hard to believe now that Gene Simmons had trouble securing them a record deal with demos he had recorded for the band. I bet someone kicked themselves about not jumping on to that band wagon early enough.

Choice Pick: His exemplary skills are on full display during the short instrumental “Eruption” from their 1978 debut.

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Irish guitarist, Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher is one of Ireland’s most famous guitarists and deservedly so. After performing with power trio Taste, a band who supported both Cream and Blind Faith in their time, he commenced his solo career with the release of his first solo album in 1971. His solo career went on to last for nearly 25 years before his untimely death from complications after receiving a liver transplant in 1995.

Choice Pick: I’ve always been a big fan of “Tattoo’d Lady” from 1973’s Tattoo.

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Co-founder and lead guitarist of Queen, Brian May

A technically gifted guitarist, Brian May is also renowned for his work outside music. He was awarded a CBE for his services to the music industry and charity work, attained a PhD in astrophysics, was a science team collaborator on NASA’s New Horizons Pluto mission and has an asteroid named after him. What a legend!

Choice Pick: The standout track from their debut album and Queen’s first single “Keep Yourself Alive”, released in 1973.

 

Albums of the Month

It’s now been just over 12 months since I commenced my feature “Albums of the Month” on my community radio program The Sunday Smorgasbord as heard on TYGA FM. The idea behind the feature was to provide listeners with several tracks from one of my favourite albums each month with the aim of giving a better indication of what an album is like. Hopefully those liking what they have heard would then obtain the album for themselves. It harks back to why I got involved in community radio in the first place. To share my music with others. I felt I had no choice but to begin with one of my favourite albums of all time, Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos.

A personal favourite, Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs released by Derek & The Dominos in 1970.

A personal favourite,
Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs
released by Derek & The Dominos in 1970.

I’ve always been a big fan and supporter of Australian music so I’ve made certain to include some classic Australian albums as well, not just those from international artists.

INXS's Shabooh Shoobah, released in 1982.

INXS’s Shabooh Shoobah,
released in 1982.

Each of the albums I feature also have to have resonated with me on some level in the first place. In some cases I can even remember the circumstances of where and when I first heard them. There is only ever one first listen.

The 1971 album from the Stones, the seminal Sticky Fingers

The 1971 album from the Stones,
the seminal Sticky Fingers

Australia’s musical landscape has always heavily featured both US & UK artists, as well as our own, so it was inevitable that my “Albums of the Month” would too.

Cold Chisel's 1982 album, Circus Animals

Cold Chisel’s 1982 album,
Circus Animals

The classic Darkness On The Edge Of Town, released by The Boss in 1978

The classic Darkness On The Edge Of Town,
released by The Boss in 1978

I’ve always believed that most music-lovers like to hear a little bit of everything, the whole modus operandi of my radio program. I always advise listeners if they don’t like what’s playing, just wait five minutes, because the next one will be different. Hopefully, over time, the artists I’ve featured in my “Albums of the Month” will also illustrate the diversity of my taste.

Human Frailty, a classic Hunters & Collectors album, released in 1986.

Human Frailty, a classic
Hunters & Collectors album,
released in 1986.

Blood Sugar Sex Magick, the 1991 album from the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Blood Sugar Sex Magick,
the 1991 album from the
Red Hot Chili Peppers

I’ve also tried to feature albums from different eras and different genres. But ultimately we are limited by our own experiences. Some albums featured will be ones I grew up with, whilst others I will have discovered later in life due to either their release date or when I eventually became aware of them.

Daisies of the Galaxy, an album released in 2000 by Eels

Daisies of the Galaxy,
an album released in 2000 by Eels

When January rolls around my first show of the year always features my favourite music released in the previous 12 months. I call it my “Year In Review Special”. Consequently I decided to make the January album of the month my favourite one released the previous year. For 2014 that was the one released by Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators.

World On Fire from Slash, featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators. My pick of 2014.

World On Fire from Slash,
featuring Myles Kennedy
& The Conspirators.
My pick of 2014.

I can remember some Regurgitator fans being disappointed with their change in sound on their second album. The band embraced their reaction in advance kicking off the album with the hilarious I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff. Personally, I thought Unit was brilliant.

Regurgitator's second album, Unit, released in 1997.

Regurgitator’s second album, Unit,
released in 1997.

Some albums also indicate a change in direction for an artist or hint what is about to come. Hunky Dory did this brilliantly, bringing together the musicians that would become The Spiders From Mars as well as demonstrating that David Bowie’s songwriting had reached another level since The Man Who Sold The World album.

The album that culminated in the formation of The Spiders From Mars, David Bowie's Hunky Dory released in 1971.

The album that culminated
in the formation of
The Spiders From Mars,
David Bowie’s Hunky Dory
released in 1971.

This brings me to this month’s “Album of the Month” from Queen. Although they would release another two studio albums before his death, A Kind Of Magic would be the last studio album to be accompanied by a tour from the Freddie Mercury era of the band. The tour ended up leading to some of their finest live performances, none better than their performance at Knebworth, thankfully captured on film for posterity.

A Kind Of Magic by Queen, the unofficial Highlander soundtrack, released in 1986

A Kind Of Magic by Queen,
the unofficial Highlander soundtrack,
released in 1986

So there we have a baker’s dozen of albums I’ve featured on the program. So to quote Molly Meldrum, “Do yourself a favour”, add some of these to your music collection, you won’t regret it.

Don’t forget you can listen to my program 8pm Sunday nights on 98.9 TYGA FM here in the beautiful Derwent Valley, stream online at http://www.tygafm.org.au or listen with your mobile device via the TuneIn app.

Where’s the title track?

One of those curious little things that seem to happen in the music industry is the decision by some artists to not include the title track on an album, only for said track to turn up on a later album.

Why does this occur? The common excuse appears to be because it doesn’t fit with the album musically. Other times it’s because the songwriter hasn’t written it yet but the lyric or phrase they intend to use is going round in their head.

One can’t help but wonder why they then choose the song as the title for the album. Wouldn’t the title of one of the other songs from the album be more appropriate?

Here are some examples of this practice. I am sure there are more but these are what I could come up with from the top of my head.

The Mothers of Invention
Song appears on We’re Only In It For The Money (1968)

Absolutely Free (1967)

Absolutely Free (1967)

The Doors
Song appears on Morrison Hotel (1970)

Waiting For The Sun (1968)

Waiting For The Sun (1968)

Led Zeppelin
Song appears on Physical Graffiti (1975)

Houses Of The Holy (1973)

Houses Of The Holy (1973)

Queen
Song appears on News Of The World (1977)

Sheer Heart Attack (1974)

Sheer Heart Attack (1974)

AC/DC
Song appears on T.N.T. (also 1975)

High Voltage (1975)

High Voltage (1975)

Hall & Oates
Song appears on Beauty On A Back Street (1977)

Bigger Than Both Of Us (1976)

Bigger Than Both Of Us (1976)

Def Leppard
Song appears on High N Dry (1981)

On Through The Night (1980)

On Through The Night (1980)

The Radiators
Song appears on Life’s A Gamble (1984)

Scream Of The Real (1983)

Scream Of The Real (1983)

The Triffids
Song appears on In The Pines (also 1986)

Born Sandy Devotional (1986)

Born Sandy Devotional (1986)