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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

My favorite rock guitar solo.


Comes smack dab in the middle of "Sinful Love" by Blue Öyster Cult. It's on the deliciously ridiculous Agents of Fortune album.

Just thought you'd like to know.

PS: Did you check those lyrics?


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You really need to listen to a few more rock guitar solos.
Maybe you hadn't noticed, but they're ubiquitous. Here comes one now.


Don't knock that solo, man — it's some fiendish shit!

Although I do agree that the world could use less guitar wankery in general.


A few years back I made up a list of my favorite guitar solo mistakes (my "Favorite Mistakes"??). I think that's what makes them great. It actually sounds like someone playing the guitar. All I can remember now are a couple: a little misstep in Cortez The Killer, a weird hesitation in Box of Rain, both of which are great solos.

I had the pleasure of meeting Dave Schramm a couple years ago and telling him he was responsible for one of my all time favorite guitar solos on Barnaby, Hardly Working on YLTengo's "Fakebook". That was cool. How often do you get to do that?

Bill Simmon

I have to chime in with Buck Dharma's solo on the live version of Astronomy on the Some Enchanted Evening LP. That's a heluva solo.

I am also partial to the Steely Dan Kid Charlemagne solo--not sure if it's actually Becker on guitar--they used so many studio musicians.

Stevie Ray Vaughn's Little Wing cover, 2 or 3 Trey solos from late 80s/early 90s live tapes, almost every solo Frank Zappa ever played...

Yes, guitar shenanigans can be cheesy and awful, but really, we are in a virtual guitar solo black hole in popular music. There are no (or very few) "guitar heroes" out there recording now. My brother keeps trying to turn me onto John Petruchi and Dream Theatre, but man that's some thick cheese.


Man, I LOVE the kid Charlemagne solo. And the whole song, actually. Nothing like the thinly veiled tale of Owsley's decline in the drug cuture wars.

But you have to admit the solo sounds like the exit music to a "gritty" '70s sitcom.


Oh, and Becker rarely played guitar on those records. He was most often found on bass. Actually, I think he just hung around, wrote the charts and groomed "Skunk" Baxter's handlebar moustache.

By the way, 'ol Skunk works for the DOD now as a nuclear proliferation threat analyst. No joke.

Bill Simmon

But you have to admit the solo sounds like the exit music to a "gritty" '70s sitcom.

I used to love the outro music to WKRP in Cincinatti, and oh man the bass line intro to Barney Miller? That was some cool shit. Now I get all emotional over the piano-driven outro tunes to the various Ricky Gervais shows. I gotta pick up some of those old Cat Stevens records.


Yeah, the WKRP outro is exactly what I was thinking of.

Speaking of Gervais, you should check out the Faces (with rockin' Rod Stewart!) version of "Handbags & Gladrags." Always makes me a tad wistful.

Maybe I'll post it.

You're on your own with Islam Whasshisface, though.


Kid Charlemagne, from Steely Dan's 1976 album the Royal Scam, was actually played by Larry Carlton. I do not think Becker or Fagen played on that song. I believe bass was played by Chuck Rainey, and Piano and keyboards by Don Gronlick and Paul Griffin. Michael McDonald is also credited for backing vocals, although his voice is not as easily recognizable as some of his other Steely Dan tracks. They did write it, and Fagen did sing lead vocals though. I guess that really encompasses the meaning of a studio band.

Anyway, Kid Charlemagne is probably actually my favorite guitar solo.

Mike Evans

"Kid Charlemagne" tastiest solo ever. In more of a rock mode, Zappa's "Pink Napkins". I also sometimes fancy a bit of Ozric Tentacles, especially "Space Between Your Ears". Don't know if that counts as a solo becuase of the structure of the tune but there it is.

Keep on truckin' or whatever.

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