John Perry has short-listed the 10 great guitar solos of all time. Knowing as to how much I love the instrument, here it is with the kindest courtesy of John Perry and The Times. (The Top 10 Guitar Solos - Times Online. And, yes, my favorite band The Doors is on top of pack. I recently held my friend Abu Abraham's Statocaster guitar in my hand and strummed it. Was it heaven? Don't ask!
Here it is:
1 MOONLIGHT DRIVE Robbie Krieger, the Doors Krieger created visual soundscapes: look at Francis Ford Coppola’s use of The End in Apocalypse Now. With a lyricist of Jim Morrison’s singularity, he had to devise a way of accompanying narrative. Krieger did it without ever straying into melodrama, as on this signature track from Strange Days.
2 LOVE IN VAIN (live) Mick Taylor, the Rolling Stones Live from Madison Square Garden on the Stones’ 1969 US tour, the one that stepped in something nasty at Altamont, Taylor’s solo (among the loveliest he created) can be heard on the album Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out, but it’s better watched on DVD (the Maysles brothers’ documentary Gimme Shelter). As Taylor improvises an achingly lovely bottleneck refrain (on a standard-tuned guitar), the film cuts to slo-mo footage of Mick Jagger doing his Nijinsky routine.
3 OMAHA & HEY GRANDMA Jerry Miller, Moby Grape Moby Grape are among several groups with peerless credentials whose careers were wrecked by CBS Records. Bursting at the seams with talent – three great singers, three great guitarists and one authentic loony in a five-piece band – here was a band that simply could not fail. What’s more, they were great live.
4 BANGKOK Alex Chilton He was the 16-year-old Memphis prodigy who sang The Letter with the Box Tops. Chilton’s later work included Big Star’s essential third album, Sister Lovers, released shortly before Bangkok, a solo single of 1978. The guitar solo here is made up almost entirely of feedback, noise and random squeaks.
5 PAINTER MAN Eddie Phillips, the Creation Unless you’re familiar with rock’s back streets, you probably know this song as a mid1970s MOR hit for Boney M. But, 10 years earlier, the original, by pop-art band the Creation, scraped into the Top 40. Phillips used a violin bow on the guitar, and, since electric-guitar strings don’t respond well to a bow, all sorts of strange overtones are generated. Hard sound to describe. Red with purple flashes.
6 DRIFTING Jimi Hendrix, on First Rays of the New Rising Sun “Drifting. . . on a sea of forgotten teardrops” – Jimi’s favourite compositions were his ballads.
He was clearly a man carrying a weight.
His melancholia found its purest expression on ballads such as The Wind Cries Mary, Little Wing and Angel. Drifting is not the greatest of these, but it contains three or four seconds of the most beautiful electric-guitar tone ever recorded: 2’23” to 2’26”. Amid sparse backward-guitar, Jimi hits a high note, slides down, then, playing with just one hand (his right), weaves a melodic phrase through his backwards-guitar part. It’s Hendrix in cameo; beautiful, effortless, casual, throwaway.
7 I CAN SEE FOR MILES Pete Townshend, the Who (best on 7in vinyl)/CINNAMON GIRL Neil Young, on Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere Two very different examples of that specialised solo form, the one-noter. Townshend uses (rapid) mandolin picking to turn that one note into a blur; Young keeps steady time and holds a single high D going over eight chords.
8 YOU’LL BE MINE Hubert Sumlin, with Howlin’ Wolf The one and only Sumlin mixing it with the Wolf’s peerless Chicago blues band. Marc Bolan “borrowed” most of the song for T Rex’s Jeepster.
9 CHAMBERTIN Bert Jansch Davy Graham came first, but Bert had the charisma. This record is unobtainable on CD, but there’s a knockout live version on an album called River Sessions. Jansch at his finest.
10 I’M LEFT, YOU’RE RIGHT, SHE’S GONE Scotty Moore, with Elvis Presley On this B-side of Presley’s fifth single for Sun, Moore rocks up the basic Chet Atkins style to give the King the bounce he needed. The solo is a gem, mirroring the vocal in the treble register and bouncing it off syncopated picking in the bass line.