64 Comments
May 5Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

Borderline on your spec but Led Zeppelin's Heartbreaker solo. Jimmy Page crafts a solo that is musical, but also pure solo, in that all other instruments do not play during the solo

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Knopfler and Gilmour are two of the most distinctive guitarists out there- if they do guest work on someone else's song I can recognize them by their touch.

A great example of Gilmour's brilliance was when he and his band (with Rick Wright) were goofing around during s rehearsal and he started playing the chaotic guitar part from "Echoes" on an acoustic. He laughed about doing acoustic "Echoes" and the rest of the band joined in, znd a mind blowing performance fell into place. But his solo at the end of that? Incredible.

https://youtu.be/KPXWKO-EBgc

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One more bit of Gilmour brolliance: "Fat Old Sun". One of his early Floyd songs, often overlooked- but his solo at the end raises the hair on my neck every time.

https://youtu.be/qB3dLKVSs6s

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May 5Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

Slash - Johnny B Goode

I’m a huge Guns N’ Roses fan.

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May 5Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

Thanks for writing this. Comfortably Numb, still makes me weep for my first husband. Bridge of Sighs, can’t bear it. Right Down The Line, Gerry Rafferty, still lets me smile thinking of how Tim ALWAYS held my hand when the song came over the airwaves.

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May 5Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

After comfortably numb my 2nd pick has to be Carlos Santana playing Europa try his Live in London 1976 set so pleased I was there

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVI7ZDDQXKA

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May 5Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

My favorite band now is Band-Maid and Kanami has lots of great short sweet solos, this longer one is amazing.

https://youtu.be/B9Lq46ARFxs

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May 5Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

Rory Gallagher-Alexis,still in love with you-thin lizzy...Gary moore's big lush sound.

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founding
May 5Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

I showed this to my wife, as she is a massive Prince fan. Ye Gods that man could play!

As per her instruction she suggests the Bon Jovi (whom she also loves...) song Dry County. Richie Sambora can certainly give it beans on a guitar! Who knew!

It's about 5:30 mins in.

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May 5·edited May 5Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

I'm going to have to push you way outside your comfort zone here. Bear with me, it's worth it in the end. None of these tracks are short, none of them has 'one solo' to point at. You're just going to have to take an hour out. ;)

A band who have never really been noticed by the general public, but debuted at Woodstock & made their best stuff 70-72, then rapidly faded. They have been called 'the first ever heavy rock band'. Their career was short, their worldwide popularity low, but their influence great. Most are sadly no longer with us.

So, I'll offer you Leslie West, and Mountain - Nantucket Sleighride [the best version, live] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oa7pDgF8rrY - there's no video, just the album cover still.

If you lived in the UK during the 70s, you will probably recognise one of the themes in this, it was the theme tune to 'Weekend World' the political commentary show, Sunday lunchtime, ITV.

If you want more in the way of virtuosity, then the [much] longer Dream Sequence (though feel free to skip the Roll Over Beethoven cover after the intro solo segment, introduced by the single 40 second note held on the borders of feedback, to get to the meat of it. Come back at about 5:50 for the end solo, or get right to the point at 8:45, then right through to the end.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8iGat21cJE

You need patience with these, because they don't have the honed refinement of later rock, they're very raw - almost playing for themselves rather than to the audience. They take a long time to develop & there's not really any one 'solo' other than the standalone bits around Beethoven. It's mainly all in the interplay.

It's not how West plays the solos, so much as how he interacts with what else is going on. He has a bassist, Felix Pappalardi, who could hold a show on his own. [If you think you vaguely know that name - he was Cream's producer, whilst Jack Bruce produced Mountain, in a 'you scratch my back…' between two exceptional bassists]

Maybe you should listen to a studio track first though - apparently the solo work is a single take, though it must be an overdub to the band, as there's still rhythm going on. Felix Pappalardi on vocals (& bass of course), Leslie West on guitar, written & produced by Jack Bruce. What more could you ask for. The solos fit a more logical 'short' (5 mins) format too, rather than spread for 20.

Theme for an Imaginary Western. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0l_x0xH9fLM

I hope it lets me post the links...

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May 5Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

Great takes. I’ve quoted the Debussy before myself. Not interested in technical proficiency with no soul. Too many notes! I’m an old Allman Bros and Dead fan. Duane on almost anything, Jerry on Morning Dew from the Lyceum in 72. But since you mentioned newer artists I have to say Derek Trucks. A tone that you recognize from the first note. Range, dynamism, feel, soul. I’ve heard so many awesome solos live but here is a pretty good little video clip https://youtu.be/QC9rQcb5Kyg The Tedeschi Trucks Band just keeps getting better. Go see them.

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May 5Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

Another interesting read! I went to so many rock concerts as an 80s/90s teen — all men then too. Well, except my first concert at 14 — Joan Jett. Any guy in a band was treated like a 'god' — it was so sexist then. And no surprise there aren't more live performances with women guitarists to choose from: most never had the chance. I remember my boyfriend in a local rock band telling me “You can be the water girl,” as if it were some great honor. But some of the music has held up better. I was surprised how many classic rock songs were on my 17-year old son’s playlist.

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May 5Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

Thank you so much for sharing that video with Mark and Brian. That was wonderful.

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May 6Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

Apart from the music, the last two sentences are so very important. ❤️

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May 6Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

Ohhh this one is right up my street. I would absolutely rate Knopfler's solos alongside Gilmour's - Tunnel Of Love is my favourite Dire Straits song, and that solo is gorgeous. The live version of Telegraph Road off the Alchemy set also features more than one astonishing solo (and is noteworthy for stunning piano and drum work. Really you can't fault that whole band, they were extraordinary).

Now I'm aware it's unfashionable to say so (they used to sell 'Uncool As Fuck' tees on their website), but Marillion's Steve Rothery is one of the greatest unsung soloists in the world. Over twenty albums and forty years, he's delivered some truly remarkable work. The 90-second solo that links the two sections of Easter was improvised in a single take in the demo sessions in 1989 - singer Steve Hogarth was so blown away that he begged Rothery not to change a note, and that solo is still exactly what he plays live today, 34 years later, note for note:

https://youtu.be/btKxRUPeRLg

Nothing he plays on Neverland is complex, but it's such an emotional song and his work on it is so dynamic and in sync with the ebb and the flow of the music:

https://youtu.be/l3NhNz9-EOA

On a completely different... note, Andy Bell (from Ride, Hurricane #1 and Oasis) is a wonderful guitarist. Hurricane #1's Step Into My World is a five minute song, and the second half is all him soloing... but there's a second solo playing at the same time, panned over to the left, the two working not necessarily in harmony the way bands with two lead guitarists often do, but at counterpoint, ebbing and flowing into one another. It's quite something:

https://youtu.be/JuFe6DfXrnA

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May 6Liked by Michael Marshall Smith

A guitarist ive been listening to a lot,now sadly passed-kim simmonds and savoy brown,got a free dvd of their songs for the road...Great soulful blues guitar,he knows how to bring the fire though,shifting up from soft tantalising with the blues to full on both barrels...also the track thunder lightning and rain from the LP witchy feeling-the cover art looks like it was done by a child but belies the content therein.

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