Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Don't Play it Again Sam

When guitar players go into music stores, they tend to want to pick up the axes and play a few riffs. The more popular a song is, the more likely it is that -- if you are a clerk in a guitar store -- you will quickly get real sick of hearing it, because every Clapton wanna-be who comes in will sure as hell play it.

Recall the sign on the guitar store wall in Wayne's World -- No Stairway to Heaven ... ?

Now it's all Green Day and Prince, but back in my day, it was Deep Purple and Led Zepplin and Beatles, and for the acoustic guys, Mason Williams.

I thought it would be fun to put together a little parody of this, so I came up with something called "Guitar Clerk's Bane, 1969. These are some of the Oh-crap-not-again! pieces the guys behind the counter at Music City were hearing in the late sixties ...


Bobbe Edmonds said...

I caught the first two - "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple, and of course "Stairway" by Zep - The others are a mystery, but I wasn't born then.

The guy I share an office with actually identified two more.

You gonna give us a list, or what?

Nice licks, by the way.

Steve Perry said...

Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple
Stairway to Heaven - Led Zep
House of the Risin' Sun - Animals
Classical Gas - Mason Williams
Blackbird - Beatles

Steve Perry said...

"Smoke" everybody knows, even youngsters, such at yourself, and ditto "Stairway."

The Animals version of an old folkie blues number, "House of the Risin' Sun, came out in, I think 1965, and was the first arpeggio piece I -- and nine million other guys -- learned on the guitar. Number One on the charts when I was a senior in high school.

The tune is about a woman working in a place of ill repute. (As an ironic counterpoint, you can sing the words to "Amazing Grace," instead of the traditional verses, which works really well.)

Blind Boys of Alabama did that first, I believe, and it's way cool.

"Classical Gas" was an instrumental by singer-songwriter Mason Willams, who was also a writer on the Smothers' Brothers TV Show. Song sold a million copies. won him two Grammys, in 1968. What I played was just the intro.

"Blackbird," written by Paul McCartney, was his attempt to speak to racism, which he did not care for. Pretty good for a working-class lad from Liverpool without any formal education.

Tiel Aisha Ansari said...

At the Waterfront Blues festival in July, we got to hear the Blind Boys do their version of "Amazing Grace", and the next evening Eric Burdon was up with "House of the Rising Sun". It was pretty cool hearing them almost back to back like that. One about sin, one about redemption...