It is hard to think of a tune as pervasive in our culture as Louie Louie. The ultimate garage-band and frat-party song of all time, it is the epitome of attitude and the precursor of both rudimentary metal and punk. Though Louie Louie has been covered in over 200 different renditions, the definitive version belongs to The Kingsmen, who released it back in 1963 and gave it its familiar “da-da-da, da-da, da-da-da, da-da” rhythm pattern. One of rock’s happy accidents, it came about when lead singer Jack Ely incorrectly taught the Wailers’ version to the band at an early recording session. In true garage-band fashion and in keeping with the twisted evolution of rock music, the song was recorded practically ad lib in a primitive local studio for $50, using only three mikes. It rose to become one of the permanent icons of rock ‘n’ roll. (more…)
Counting Crows have defined heartland pop for the new age. This solid six-piece band, fueled by the guitar team of Dan Vickrey (lead guitar) and Dave Bryson (rhythm guitar), have laid claim to the turf established by Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and John Cougar Mellencamp in the past two decades and are currently revitalizing and reinventing the genre with their inimitable blend of pop, country, and rock influences. Along the way, the Vickrey-Bryson pairing has become a classic pop-rock guitar duo of the 90s. Let’s examine some of the duo’s magic chemistry found on A Long December, the lead single from their long-awaited Rediscovering the Satellites album. (more…)
The Who’s first big hit imparted a metallic urgency to the British Invasion of the mid 60s. Simply stated, My Generation is one of those records that turned pop music into rock music – fierce, brash and a thoroughly unique statement. In it Pete Townshend aggressively established a tradition of rhythm guitar and a rock warrior attitude that is a cornerstone of the Who legacy. One of the first pop records to overtly flaunt berserk power chording, guitar feedback and noise-as-music, it doesn’t just stop there.
You have to consider Keith Moon’s bashing drum attack. John Entwistle’s groundbreaking (and ground-shaking) bass guitar breaks, and Roger Daltrey’s sputtered pill-head vocals to gauge its full impact. And those factors push its intensity needle fully into the red. (more…)
Oasis has it. Call it attitude, call it the X-factor, call it rock ‘n’ roll… Sporting the same sort of insolent British swagger as their forebears (the Beatles, early Stones, Kinks, and the Who), the Manchester-bred, working-class band is currently spearheading the latest assault on the world’s pop charts. The hot sophomore release of 1996, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, is an eclectic mix of diverse, acoustic-tinged pop rock in the distinctly Anglo tradition of the 60s British Invasion, and has similarly taken America by storm with such prominent hit tracks as “Wonderwall,” and “Champagne Super-nova,” and much-requested album cuts as Roll With It. Yep, Oasis has it, and it’s abundantly self-evident on Roll With It. (more…)
This track comes courtesy of Brian Rankin, a certain bespectacled wielder of red Strats who recorded many a chart-topping track after changing his name to Hank B Marvin! Most of the Shadows’ early hits were composed by the likes of Jerry Lordan (Apache, Atlantis, Wonderful Land) and Norrie Paramor (The Savage, The Frightened City, Peace Pipe) but this selection (which became the group’s fifth UK number one in 1963) is of particular interest to us plank-spanking types because it was penned by Marvin himself, with the assistance of rhythm guitarist Bruce Welch. (more…)
This classic instrumental reached No 1 in 1968 then went Top 5 upon its re-release in 1973. We examine Peter Green’s flight of fancy… Very manageable slow tempo with a straightforward melody means that this tune should be well within the reach of most. Peter Green’s sound could be warm, bold, delicate, stinging or soothing, but it was always passionate. His Les Paul with one back-to-front pick-up was his mainstay until he let Gary Moore have it for a pittance, in line with his growing distaste for materialism. But it sounds to me like Albatross was recorded using a Strat on the front pick-up. In any case, you need a warm, clear tone with perhaps a hint of amp overdrive (not distortion in the accepted sense). (more…)