Friday, November 20, 2009

Song of the Week - Episode 65

Well I’m guessing that the lack of comments on the blog or replies to last week’s tunes meant one of two things; either I choose the most awesome songs that you all love, or, no one reads any of this tripe! Either way I feel free to play almost anything this week.

In that case, I’m going for a themed approach. These are the songs that made me want to be a guitar player.

There were a number of stages for me in learning the guitar. First up I had a few lessons that in retrospect were a few blokes teaching a group of kids some basic chords and songs. More than enough to strum along to most things. At the same time I would try and mimic my Dad’s hands as he played his guitar. After that, when I became more aware of rock music I experimented with learning what I could on an acoustic guitar. I bought a pickup for it but plugged in, it still sounded like an acoustic guitar only louder – very much to my disappointment. At the end of Year 11 I bought my first electric guitar and a small amplifier – and I was inspired. I loved it. And I still have the guitar 22 years later. It rocks! Of course, joining a band at university with people who were all better musos than me meant I had to work to keep up but that was awesome fun. And the journey never ends.

Here’s a song that had the first rock riff I really wanted to play. It turned out to be so simple but the electric guitar was essential:
Queen – One Vision:

About the same time I discovered my favourite band via this song…it took me longer to come to terms with this famous riff:
AC/DC – Back In Black:

Probably the first complex thing I learned was the intro to this classic Ozzy Osbourne song. Man, I thought I was cool when I could play this over and over at age 17:
Ozzy Osbourne – Crazy Train:

If you’re looking for serious guitar tone then this player is unmistakable. This was the first piece that I tried (and pretty much succeeded) in learning from a guitar magazine. In 1988 it was seriously credible to be able to pull this one off!
Dire Straits – Money for Nothing:

Then of course there were plenty of things that I couldn’t play. I had a short Hendrix phase and of course an admiration for guys like Van Halen and Yngwie Malmsteen. Somewhere in there I remembered that I liked acoustic and country music as well. If it had a guitar in there somewhere I was happy.

But, if I had to put down the most important influence to me guitar wise then it isn’t any of the well known guitar heroes. A friend gave me three LPs to listen to in about 1990 and they were all Billy Bragg. Truly life changing. One man, one guitar – all you ever need:

Billy Bragg – Between The Wars:

So there you have it. Of course I have heaps of other favourite guitarists but these are the ones that made, and continue to inspire me to play.

Thanks to my Dad for selling his piano accordion to finance my first guitar. Thanks to my Mum for taking me to buy the electric guitar probably against her better judgment! And of course, thanks to Alison who understood when I wanted a huge Marshall amplifier.

And look, if you really feel the need to see me play then check this out….rough but honest.

DJ Rob

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