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Best guitar solo in a pop song?


mooncaine

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Saw a poll on GP's website. Thought that would be a thread in this forum, too, but I guess not...

 

... but if it were, I would have said, "none of those choices, but this is mine: the guitar solo in Blinded By The Light (Manfred Mann's Earth Band)."

 

That thing's gorgeous.

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what songs aren't "pop songs?"

 

If pop is a genre then are artists in the genre or are songs in the genre?

 

David Bowie has had incredible guitar on his hit pop singles.

 

Steely Dan has had incredible guitar on their hit singles.

 

Queen, Jerry Rafferty, Dire Straits, Bill Haley, Thin Lizzy...

 

I can't get head around limiting it enough to make a list.

 

 

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Who ever played the solo in Michael Jackson's song "Beat It"! Awesome!

 

Actually, that was on their short multiple-choice list- and it was none other than Eddie Van Halen that played it. :cool:

 

Saw a poll on GP's website. Thought that would be a thread in this forum, too, but I guess not...

 

I saw that last night, too, and was going to start a thread about it today- butcha beat me to the post, mooncaine!

 

... but if it were, I would have said, "none of those choices..."

 

Hahh! Yhup, much agreed on the "none of the above" sentiment, though at least Schon's "Lights" solo, and Amos Garrett's in "Midnight at the Oasis", were particularly worthy of being on the ballot...

 

My write-in vote would have been cast for Jeff "Skunk" Baxter's sublime solo in Steely Dan's "Rikki, Don't Lose That Number"...

 

Quite a number ;) of Steely Dan songs both qualify very well as "Pop" songs (excellent ones, at that), and include exquisite examples of the craft of guitar-solos within Pop-vehicles. I can literally think of no less than fourteen more off the top of my head even as I type. (It helps that a "Greatest Hits" CD of theirs gets heavy rotation here, being one of my favorites. :cool: )

 

"Do It Again" (yeah, yeah, I know it's done on an "electric sitar"- really just a buzz-bridged cheapo guitar),

 

"Reelin' In The Years" (the tone could've been smoother, rounder, 'n' warmer, but as-is the track ably leaped right out of automobile-radio speakers and into the ears, minds and hearts of millions),

 

"My Old School",

 

"Bodhisattva",

 

"Show Biz Kids",

 

"Pretzel Logic",

 

"Any Major Dude",

 

"Here At The Western World",

 

"Black Friday",

 

"Bad Sneakers",

 

"Kid Charlemagne" (a standard-bearer for "great guitar solo in a pop song" for decades),

 

"Peg",

 

"Josie",

 

"Haitian Divorce"...

 

The exquisite sax-solo in "Doctor Wu" is as as worthy as any of the breed for covering and pilfering by guitarists, as well.

 

what songs aren't "pop songs?"

 

If pop is a genre then are artists in the genre or are songs in the genre?

 

David Bowie has had incredible guitar on his hit pop singles.

 

Steely Dan has had incredible guitar on their hit singles.

 

Queen, Jerry Rafferty, Dire Straits, Bill Haley, Thin Lizzy...

 

I can't get head around limiting it enough to make a list.

 

Good points, and some excellent candidates for consideration...

 

Pokemon Theme Song lawl ;)

 

edit: Power Rangers, anyone?

 

:D

 

There was this bizarre, upbeat, peppy-poppy kinda song with silly lyrics in a Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball Z vid that my friends' kids had years ago, featured in a sequence where some characters accidentally gobble up some psychedelic mushrooms; damned if I can find the lyrics or a vid-clip for ya, it'd be a perfect reply...

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I don't seem to recall much, if any, notable guitar work being DONE on "Blinded By The Light".

Whitefang

 

That's what I was thinking. I recall that one repetitive riff, but that's it. I'm going to have to strap myself into a chair and sit through the whole song again now to listen for good guitar work.

"And so I definitely, when I have a daughter, I have a lot of good advice for her."

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I don't seem to recall much, if any, notable guitar work being DONE on "Blinded By The Light".

Whitefang

 

That's what I was thinking. I recall that one repetitive riff, but that's it. I'm going to have to strap myself into a chair and sit through the whole song again now to listen for good guitar work.

 

I do believe that there have been at least two versions/edits of that song that have gotten broadcast rotation over the years, one much longer than the other(s)...

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I don't seem to recall much, if any, notable guitar work being DONE on "Blinded By The Light".

Whitefang

 

There was a solo, and it wasn't bad. It was rather brief, but it was there. The guitarist used a bit of wah pedal on it, and I think some reverb was added in the mix. But if I were to choose from their work, I think the Earth Band's guitarist did a better solo on another Springsteen song they covered, Spirits In The Night. It went on long enough to develop, kinda go from low and subtle to a full-on, in-yo'-face rock GIT-tar solo.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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Just for the heck of it, veering Off-Topic just a smidgeon: Bruce Springsteen & the Seeger Sessions Band (and some of the E-Street Band members?) in Dublin, Ireland, performing "Blinded By The Light"- Klezmer style...

 

________ [video:youtube]

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I recall many Van Halen "purist" friends of mine being appalled when Beat It came out and finding out that Eddie had teamed up with Jacko. Personally, I really liked what Eddie did with that solo... heck, I even kind of liked the one that Weird Al's guitarist did on Eat It - before he exploded! :laugh:

 

 

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Mine is Crossroads by The Cream. That is the tune that turned me on to playing guitar. I was on a strange little trip and a friend of mine walked up behind me & clapped the headphones on my head and that is the first time I ever heard that tune or that style of Rock and Roll (of course it was just when it was released for the first time). Before that I was singing baritone in an A-Capella group on the street corner.

 

Once I heard Crossroads I went bonkers for playing guitar, my thoughts on those solos in that tune have not changed in all these years. I can still hear it the same way after all this time.

 

I quit singing doo wop almost immediately after my friends refused to pick up instruments and expand the group into instrumental music. I did sit in with them however a few years back when I went back east. It's been 35 years since I sang harmony last. I weren't very good!!!!!!!

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Quick historical note: while EVH did indeed play the killer solo in "Beat It" the person who played it on tour was Jennifer Batten.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPcBDzDlvKQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player

 

(I don't think EVH could make that outfit work...)

 

Re: Solos in Bowie's work- SRV on "Let's Dance" and "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)", Robert Fripp in "Fashion" and Reeves Gabrels in "Under the God" and "One Shot" are among my faves.

 

 

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fripp did 'fashion'?! awesome!!!

 

great topic...imho the long version of 'blinded by the light' has fantastic playing...epic.

 

how about 'my sharona'? Everyone knows the riff...but the solo section is brilliant.

 

ANYTHING by Elliot Easton - the Cars.

Keith Scott - Bryan Adams Band...always singable and memorable solos.

Steve Lukather - Rosanna!!! Running with the night (is that the name?...a Lionel Richie tune) and I'm pretty sure he did the solos on Olivia Newton John's 'Let's Get Physical'. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

 

 

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Have you noticed that Amos Garrett's solo on Midnight at the Oasis (Maria Muldaur) has always been considered one of the greatest? Listen to it now and then try to figure out how he thought it up. Incredible and beautiful. Here's an excellent version of it:
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Have you noticed that Amos Garrett's solo on Midnight at the Oasis (Maria Muldaur) has always been considered one of the greatest? Listen to it now and then try to figure out how he thought it up. Incredible and beautiful. Here's an excellent version of it:

 

I agree, it's a great, classic solo and an excellent example of a "great solo in a Pop song". (See my first post on this thread.)

 

 

Does Journey count as pop? Neal Schon has lots of great solos.

 

Definitely on both counts; and as a matter of fact, he was included in their very short list of multiple-choice candidates, for his solo in Journey's "Lights". (See my first post on this thread.)

 

 

Hell, does "Stairway to Heaven" count as a "Pop Song"? :D Maybe, maybe not- but damn, I think Page's solo there is phenomenal, even profound!

 

 

But my vote still goes for Jeff "Skunk" Baxter's on Steely Dan's "Rikki, Don't Lose That Number"- which wasn't on the list.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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But my vote still goes for Jeff "Skunk" Baxter's on Steely Dan's "Rikki, Don't Lose That Number"- which wasn't on the list.

 

Everything, solos, comping, writing, arranging, just everything on those first 4 or 5 Steely Dan records is light years ahead of anything else in pop at the time, so to give anybody else a chance you sort of have to make the category "Best guitar solo in pop music, excepting everything by Steely Dan." Just my opinion as a fan. "Rikki," is the most finely crafted piece of pop music ever.

 

Scott Fraser
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Quick historical note: while EVH did indeed play the killer solo in "Beat It" the person who played it on tour was Jennifer Batten.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPcBDzDlvKQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player

 

(I don't think EVH could make that outfit work...)

 

Re: Solos in Bowie's work- SRV on "Let's Dance" and "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)", Robert Fripp in "Fashion" and Reeves Gabrels in "Under the God" and "One Shot" are among my faves.

 

 

a local guy from here, Gregg Wright, was the guitarist on the Jacksons Victory Tour, which I think was the first tour where Jacko performed that material from Thriller.

 

[video:youtube]

 

Left-handed black rock guitarist... can you figure out who everyone compared him to?

 

He was the local hero from before I could remember. Comes back once a year or so from CA and is playing blues now (again).

 

and Elliot Easton and Mike Campbell are my personal George Harrisons, as far as putting great to the point solos in pop songs that made me start playing guitar as a kid... and just being stylish, cool dudes.

 

 

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May we have the envelope, please...

Most surprising gtr solo in a pop song

Taxman / Beatles / solo by Paul

 

The fury with which McCartney attacks here, melding aspects of sitar-like playing and rock, must've stunned Harrison, as well as most guitarists.

Remember, Hendrix was still banging clubs in NYC & even Jeff Beck was only beginning to touch this area.

 

Most inventive gtr solo in a pop song

I'm Only Sleeping / Beatles / solo by George, under direction of John Lennon

 

There had already been many inventive tricks applied to electric gtr in pop music (wah, fuzz, volume pedals, interactivity with vocal controls, etc) but I don't think anyone else had tried playing backwards as a serious musical device.

 

Most influential gtr solo

Tie

Purple Haze / Hendrix

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnFSaqFzSO8

Combining alla JH's trix---invention in scale/note choices, electronic effects and multitracking---in a single record, this remains the best single reprentation of how he changed the world of pop music.

For kicks check out this version, with no FX !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0dmPKYJiB8

An excellent tutorial on how he actually played the song.

 

All Along The Watchtower / Hendrix

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bng3agUOYiI

This reworking of Dylan's slightly Iberian-flavored folky strumalong leads the pack among JH's later works (Star Strangled Banner, Voodoo Chile, Machine Gun, etc) by virtue of it's sheer inlikeliness, structural depth & influence on Jummy Page, among others.

 

Oh, you wanted the best gtr solo...?

...that will always remain personal choice, that prolly isn't even the same for most of us from day to day.

But, hey, consider these...

8 Mile High / Byrds / Roger McGuinn

Spirit in the Sky / Norman Greenbaum / solo by Ry Cooder

All Right Now / Free / aolo by Paul Kossoff

 

d=halfnote
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But my vote still goes for Jeff "Skunk" Baxter's on Steely Dan's "Rikki, Don't Lose That Number"- which wasn't on the list.

 

Everything, solos, comping, writing, arranging, just everything on those first 4 or 5 Steely Dan records is light years ahead of anything else in pop at the time, so to give anybody else a chance you sort of have to make the category "Best guitar solo in pop music, excepting everything by Steely Dan."

 

:D:thu::cool:

 

Why the Hell did it take the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame until freakin' 2001 to indite 'em, and why the Hell were they ceremoniously introduced by "Moby"? :rolleyes:

 

Just my opinion as a fan. "Rikki," is the most finely crafted piece of pop music ever.

 

It's certainly very high in that category, to say the least.

 

May we have the envelope, please...

Most surprising gtr solo in a pop song

Taxman / Beatles / solo by Paul

The fury with which McCartney attacks here, melding aspects of sitar-like playing and rock, must've stunned Harrison, as well as most guitarists.

Remember, Hendrix was still banging clubs in NYC & even Jeff Beck was only beginning to touch this area.

 

Most inventive gtr solo in a pop song

I'm Only Sleeping / Beatles / solo by George, under direction of John Lennon

There had already been many inventive tricks applied to electric gtr in pop music (wah, fuzz, volume pedals, interactivity with vocal controls, etc) but I don't think anyone else had tried playing backwards as a serious musical device.

 

Most influential gtr solo

Tie

Purple Haze / Hendrix

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnFSaqFzSO8

Combining alla JH's trix---invention in scale/note choices, electronic effects and multitracking---in a single record, this remains the best single reprentation of how he changed the world of pop music.

For kicks check out this version, with no FX !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0dmPKYJiB8

An excellent tutorial on how he actually played the song.

 

All Along The Watchtower / Hendrix

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bng3agUOYiI

This reworking of Dylan's slightly Iberian-flavored folky strumalong leads the pack among JH's later works (Star Strangled Banner, Voodoo Chile, Machine Gun, etc) by virtue of it's sheer inlikeliness, structural depth & influence on Jummy Page, among others.

 

VERY good points and candidates. :cool:

 

If the soloing in "Purple Haze" is "the best single representation of how he changed the world of pop music", the definitive solos in Hendrix' arrangement of "All Along The Watchtower" drive the point home beyond any doubt; a tour-de-force lesson showing "this is how it's done" without equal.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I recall many Van Halen "purist" friends of mine being appalled when Beat It came out and finding out that Eddie had teamed up with Jacko. Personally, I really liked what Eddie did with that solo... heck, I even kind of liked the one that Weird Al's guitarist did on Eat It - before he exploded! :laugh:

 

 

i am pretty sure Rick Derringer did the Eat It solo.

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George Benson's "On Broadway" and "This Maquerade" feature some nice work.

 

And Andy Summers' (The Police) career is littered with nifty solos, and his colleague The Edge is no slouch, either.

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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Lowell George (of Little Feat) did an interesting exploration of the E maj scale & harmonic suspensions on the song "Easy To Slip".

The lines dive up & down through the passing chords like a porpoise coursing through the waves.

The final downward line remains a fave---way to fully exploit the fretboard !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuxlbjNmuAQ

d=halfnote
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We have an embarrassment of riches, don't we?

 

 

Does this count as a pop-song? It sure has a slammin', a-ringin'-a-bell solo:

 

________ [video:youtube]

 

How 'bout this? Does this count? Always loved the solo in this one, too:

 

________ [video:youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2015S3A-lg

 

Lest George Harrison not get his due here, let me bring this one up: Something

 

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah! :D:thu::cool: He contributed a LOT of great solos, fills, and supportive guitar-parts to so many great Beatles songs. A particular favorite of mine is Harrison's cranked, fuzzed lead-break on "Hey Bulldog"- so vibey and energized!

 

________ [video:youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thYUAqeCNy0

 

George Benson's "On Broadway"...

 

LOVE that lead; incredible tone, too!

 

________ [video:youtube]

 

And Andy Summers' (The Police) career is littered with nifty solos, and his colleague The Edge is no slouch, either.

 

Much agreed! I'll let you post some examples... :thu::cool:

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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