100 Great Guitar Moments – #100 to 91

Well, here goes…

Mansun – Wide open Space: Although I rate this song very highly – likewise the band and their brief recorded career – it’s the guitar intro that particularly appeals to me. Dissonance is the key here, with an alternately-picked guitar going from an unsettling E played against an F to a totally harmonious major triad. It sets the whole song up very nicely and suits the subject matter very well.


David Bowie – Drive-in Saturday: Sometimes the guitar can be used orchestrally, as in this example. The stellar Mick Ronson (RIP) plays some big beefy lines and chords in the chorus – starting at 0:54 – that could have been played by a string section using mainly cellos and double bass but weren’t, thank goodness. A better-known example from him is the title track from the ‘Ziggy Stardust’ album, but I prefer the guitar in this song.


The Smiths – This Charming Man: Again, it’s all in the intro with Johnny Marr playing a mutated mix of African High-Life music and the Byrds, although the whole track is an exercise in creative rhythm guitar playing. Who needs a solo when you’ve got guitar playing like this?


The Beatles – And Your Bird Can Sing: I’m not a Beatles fan, but the harmony guitars throughout are a reminder that Wishbone Ash didn’t invent the concept. George and Paul play the lines on a Lennon composition that he described as "another of my throwaways…fancy paper around an empty box". In which case, I’m very happy with the paper, bugger the absence of a present…


 Frank Zappa – Zoot Allures: This time: the whole damn track! From the beautifully-bizarre arpeggiated chord at the beginning, through the controlled feedback to the plaintive concluding solo, this is probably as good as rock guitar playing gets and it’s not bludgeoning its way into your consciousness with speed, volume and distortion all the time.


Al Stewart – Rocks in the Ocean: Time for a solo – and one from one of my many guitar heroes, the highly-talented Tim Renwick. I love the melodicism that he puts into his playing and this solo is a prime example at 3:06. His playing soars on this and it’s definitely one of those guitar moments that make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.


Eric Johnson – Cliffs of Dover: I used to get ‘Guitar Player’ magazine every month back in the 1980s and one of the great things about it was the free flexi-discs that used to accompany it. Often exclusive recordings, this very track was featured one month. Johnson re-recorded it for his second album, but it wasn’t a patch on this version. Again, melodicism is at work and amidst all the technical skill, there’s a tuneful thread weaving its way through the piece, constantly changing and shifting. Beautiful playing!


 Blind Blake – Blind Arthur’s Breakdown: Time for some acoustic goodness with a stunning piece of ragtime guitar from 1929. Yes, that’s just one guitar, although you could swear that sometimes it’s two players going at full chat. The guy was a true genius and some 90 years later, there’s still no-one to better him!


King Crimson – Red: Say ‘power trio’ and people immediately think of Cream or the Jimi Hendrix Experience. However, during the final stage of the first flowering of Robert Fripp’s King Crimson, they were ‘reduced’ to a line up of Fripp on guitar (and occasional keyboards), Bill Bruford on drums and John Wetton on bass and vocals. Not that this caused their output to suffer any decline in quality. This track has that dissonant quality that few people can use effectively and as a written guitar instrumental is a million miles away from what most people expect one to be. Nothing flashy, just very muscular playing.


Django Reinhardt – Limehouse Blues: I’m a sucker for Jazz Manouche. There are many great gypsy jazz guitarists, past and present, but all roads ultimately lead to Django and this is one of my favourite pieces of his. Sounding as fresh as it must have done way back in the 1930s, this has it all. Sublime soloing from Django, great violin by Grapelli and that rhythm – la pompe. Who needs a drummer? I especially like the dischords Django plays at about 1:50 and then he solos again, along with Grapelli. Stunning stuff and, above all, such happy music!


Well, there you go.

That’s the first 10 and only 90 to go.

The next 10 will come just as soon as I can make the time.

Meanwhile, enjoy the choices and try and find more by all these people to listen to. It’ll be worth it!

11 Responses

  1. A-ha! Well I am a Beatles fan, and also a Mick Ronson fan, and could be tempted to start droning on about the joys of rhythm guitar as exemplified by Johnny Marr despite his heretical views on note bending, but I won’t cos……I’d never even heard of Blind Blake before. Thank you.

    I look forward to the next batch.

  2. Here’s the greatest ever guitar moment (3.30 onwards) –

  3. No doubt Steve will have his view, and no doubt the diminutive one is a very good player, but personally I would have advised him against playing that solo in that context on a Telecaster.

  4. I didn’t like the original to begin with – the effect applied to Clapton’s guitar is horrible. It was some sort of ADT, I gather, but it was applied after he recorded it and someone must have turned everything up as far as it would go.
    I like Prince, but I’ve heard better playing from him – especially on boots of after-show jams.

  5. […] 100 Great Guitar Moments – #100 to 91 (steveshark.wordpress.com) […]

  6. People have something against Prince, for some reason. He should be far more celebrated.

  7. @Michael Fowke
    Note that I’ve called this latest venture ‘100 Great Guitar Moments’.

    Not ‘greatest’.

    Note also that I’ve stated that for every moment I choose, I could have chosen several dozen others. You, on the other hand, have chosen to introduce superlatives.

    That Prince performance may be the greatest guitar moment as far as you’re concerned, but that’s as far as it goes.

    I found it overlong, derivative and repetitive – I’ve heard him play much better. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, but to me it wasn’t great.

    To then complain that Prince deserves more celebration is to further miss the whole point of this post – and the next 9 on the same subject.
    I shouldn’t imagine that Prince would agree with you for one second – I’m sure he has a more open mind than that, to judge from his past actions and music.

    I have nothing against Prince, whatsoever, and despite his lack of ‘celebration’ he seems to be managing OK. He’s not exactly languishing in obscurity, is he?

    Unlike many, many other fine musicians…

    It’s just part of the whole business of life – sometimes people don’t get what they deserve. I mean, I think it’s almost criminal that Rory Gallagher is passed by every time people rave about Stevie Ray Vaughn. I also think that XTC were a far better pop group than the Beatles.

    But, so what?

    In the end, it’s only subjective opinion – and thank god for that, because it means that there’s a much more open playing field for more people to enjoy their favourite music and, hence, more music.

    The moment someone becomes the greatest, music will die – what will be the point of listening to anyone else?

  8. Not to wish to barge in on Mr Shark’s list, but:

    Which is better, Slash’s solo at 4.12, 5.26, or 7.10 ?

    Or is this guy better?

    As Mr Shark says, music is not a competition – we are all allowed our favourites, what we like and do not like, and we are allowed to disagree. That’s part of the fun, because when we “know what we like” we stop looking for it, and it often takes someone who likes something else to show us something we didn’t know we liked…..if you like…..

  9. I’d have to say the first one – if pressed.
    However, I’m not too keen on any of them – especially the last one, which just screeches to my ears.
    I love Slash on the ‘Appetite’ album but nothing he’s done since then has grabbed me very strongly.
    Ah…Yepes. The first time I heard the Aranjuez Guitar Concerto it was his version.
    Better than Slash?
    Hmm…I like beer…I like wine…which is best?
    A redundant question, Mr Rob – and designed to be so, if I’m any judge of your thinking after the last couple of years…
    What about this?

  10. @SteveShark

    Yes, redundant indeed. Thanks for the Yepes Asturias – Amazon trip beckons again after memories reactivated 🙂 …..and people look in awe when one drops the odd harmony or two into a rock solo, or someone shreds tunelessly on a couple of strings…..

    I found this quote on one of those YouTube pages, which I think sums up the idea of bestness in music quite succinctly:

    “I will not say that Yepes was the best nor the worst. He has simply been my guitarist par excellence. My guitarist.”

    Joaquin Rodrigo in « El Mundo » May 4, 1997

  11. […] 100 Great Guitar Moments – #100 to 91 (steveshark.wordpress.com) Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Guitars, Life, m/ and tagged AC/DC, AC⚡DC, Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love, Alice Cooper, Avenged Sevenfold, Black Sabbath, Crazy Train, Cream, David Bowie, David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, Enter Sandman, Eric Clapton, Eruption, giotar riff, guitar, guitar intor, guitar rock, Guns N' Roses, Heart, Heartbreaker, Hendrix, Hey Joe, intro, Jimi Hendrix, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelin, List, Lynyrd Skynyrd, metal, Metalli-freakin'-ca, Music, Ozzy, Ozzy Osborne, Pearl Jam, Purple Haze, riff, rock, Rock You Like a Hurricane, Rush, School’s Out, scorpions, Set Me Free, Slash, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Stairway to Heaven, stipid list, Suffragette City, Sweet Child O' Mine, Sweet Home Alabama, Thunderstruck, Top 10, Top 10 Greatest Guitar Intros, Top 10 List, Vah Halen, Van Halen, Velvet Revolver, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Working Man, You Really Got Me. Bookmark the permalink. ← Separate is indeed not equal! Food allergies & bullying. |-o-| […]

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