Tuesday, July 2, 2013

5 Greatest Guitarist on Earth: 1. Jimi Hendrix

I feel sad for people who have to judge Jimi Hendrix on the basis of recordings and film alone; because in the flesh he was so extraordinary. He had a kind of alchemist's ability; when he was on the stage, he changed. He physically changed. He became incredibly graceful and beautiful. It wasn't just people taking LSD, though that was going on, there's no question. But he had a power that almost sobered you up if you were on an acid trip. He was bigger than LSD.
What he played was fucking loud but also incredibly lyrical and expert. He managed to build this bridge between true blues guitar — the kind that Eric Clapton had been battling with for years and years — and modern sounds, the kind of Syd Barrett-meets-Townshend sound, the wall of screaming guitar sound that U2 popularized. He brought the two together brilliantly. And it was supported by a visual magic that obviously you won't get if you just listen to the music. He did this thing where he would play a chord, and then he would sweep his left hand through the air in a curve, and it would almost take you away from the idea that there was a guitar player here and that the music was actually coming out of the end of his fingers. And then people say, "Well, you were obviously on drugs." But I wasn't, and I wasn't drunk, either. I can just remember being taken over by this, and the images he was producing or evoking were naturally psychedelic in tone because we were surrounded by psychedelic graphics. All of the images that were around us at the time had this kind of echoey, acidy quality to them. The lighting in all the clubs was psychedelic and drippy.

2. Duane Allman

If the late Duane Allman had done nothing but session work, he would still be on this list. His contributions on lead and slide guitar to dozens of records as fine and as varied as Wilson Pickett's down-home '69 cover of "Hey Jude" and Eric Clapton's 1970 masterpiece with Derek and the Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, constitute an astounding body of work. But Allman also transformed the poetry of jamming with the Allman Brothers Band, the group he founded in 1969 with his younger brother, singer-organist Gregg. 

Duane applied the same black soul and rebel fire he displayed as a sideman to the Allmans' extended investigations of Muddy Waters and Blind Willie McTell covers and to his psychedelic-jazz interplay with second guitarist Dickey Betts in live showpieces such as "Whipping Post." Although Duane and Gregg had played in bands together since 1960, Duane did not learn to play slide until shortly before the start of the Allmans. In his only Rolling Stone interview, in early' 71, Duane said that the first song he tried to conquer was McTell's "Statesboro Blues." Allman's blastoff licks in the recording that opens his band's third album, At Fillmore East, show how far and fast he had come — and leave you wondering how much further he could have gone. In October 1971, eight months after the Fillmore East gigs, Allman died in a motorcycle accident in the band's home base of Macon, Georgia.

3. B.B. King

The self-proclaimed "Ambassador of the Blues" has become such a beloved figure in American music, it's easy to forget how revolutionary his guitar work was. From the opening notes of his 1951 breakthrough hit. "Three O' Clock Blues," you can hear his original and passionate style, juicing the country blues with electric fire and jazz polish. King's fluid guitar leads took off from T-Bone Walker. His string-bending and vibrato made his famous guitar, Lucille, weep like a real-life woman. It was the start of a hugely influential blues-guitar style. As Buddy Guy put it, "Before B.B., everyone played the guitar like it was an acoustic."

King grew up on a Mississippi Delta plantation and took off in 1948, at twenty-three, for Memphis, where he found fame as a radio DJ on WDIA and earned the nickname "Beale Street Blues Boy." Along the way, he picked up a uniquely eclectic vision of the blues, blending the intricate guitar language of country blues, the raw emotion of gospel and the smooth finesse of jazz. His Fifties classics — "Every Day I Have the Blues," "Sweet Little Angel," "You Upset Me Baby" — are tender as well as tough, and 1965's Live at the Regal remains one of the hottest blues-guitar albums ever recorded. King remains unstoppable, touring hard and cutting albums such as his recent Eric Clapton collaboration, Riding With the King.

4. Eric Clapton

It first appeared in 1965, written on the walls of the London subway: "Clapton is God." Eric Patrick Clapton, of Ripley, England — fresh out of his first major band, the Yardbirds, and recently inducted into John Mayall's Bluesbreakers — had just turned twenty and been playing guitar only since he was fifteen. But Clapton was already soloing with the improvisational nerve that has dazzled fans and peers for forty years .
In his 1963-65 stint with the Yardbirds, Clapton's nickname was Slowhand, an ironic reference to the velocity of his lead breaks. But Clapton insisted in a 2001 Rolling Stone interview, "I think it's important to say something powerful and keep it economical." Even when he jammed on a tune for more than a quarter-hour with Cream, Clapton soloed with a daggerlike tone and pinpoint attention to melody. The solo albums that followed Layla, his 1970 tour de force with Derek and the Dominos, emphasize his desires as a singer-songwriter. But on the best, like 1974's 46I Ocean Boulevard and 1983's Money and Cigarettes, his solos and flourishes still pack the power that made him "God" in the first place.

5. Robert Johnson

Johnson is the undisputed king of the Mississippi Delta blues singers and one of the most original and influential voices in American music. He was a virtuoso player whose spiritual descendants include Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Jack White. Johnson's recorded legacy — a mere twenty-nine songs cut in 1936 and '37 — is the foundation of all modern blues and rock. He either wrote or adapted from traditional sources many of the most popular blues songs of all time, including "Cross Road Blues," "Sweet Home Chicago" and "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom." Johnson, the illegitimate son of a Mississippi sharecropper, poured every ounce of his own poverty, wandering and womanizing into his work — documenting black life in the Deep South beneath the long shadow of slavery with haunted intensity. 
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Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Weirdest and Most Complicated Rock Album's Titles Ever, Can You Figure out What They are Telling You? : 1. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars: David Bowie

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (often shortened to Ziggy Stardust) is a 1972 concept album by English musician David Bowie, which is loosely based on a story of a fictional rock star named Ziggy Stardust. It peaked at #5 in the UK and #75 in the US on the Billboard Music Charts.
The album tells the story of Bowie's alter-ego Ziggy Stardust, a rock star who acts as a messenger for extraterrestrial beings. Bowie created Ziggy Stardust while in New York City promoting Hunky Dory and performed as him on a tour of the UK, Japan and North America. The album, and the character of Ziggy Stardust, was known for its glam rock influences and themes of sexual exploration and social commentary. These factors, coupled with the ambiguity surrounding Bowie's sexuality and fuelled by a ground-breaking performance of \'Starman\' on Top of the Pops, led to the album being met with controversy and since hailed as a seminal work.

2. My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair... But Now They're Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows: Tyrannosaurus Rex [Marc Bolan]

My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair... But Now They're Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows is the 1968 debut album by Tyrannosaurus Rex (later known as "T. Rex"). The album reached number 15 in the UK Album Chart upon initial release, but later reached number 1 when it was paired with the second Tyrannosaurus Rex album Prophets, Seers & Sages: The Angels of the Ages as the compilation album Tyrannosaurus Rex: A Beginning in 1972. This double LP set was released in the United States on A&M Records, and was the first time the album was available there.