Landing somewhere between the classic rock sounds of the Beatles, the bottom-heavy pop metal of AC/DC, and today’s mainstream offerings, Tonic’s Open Up Your Eyes is rapidly becoming a favorite guitar piece with contemporary audiences. The A&M artists scored a big No. 2 on the Modern Rock charts with this single in late 1996 and threaten to make even bigger waves with their debut album, Lemon Parade.
Cream was rock’s prototype power trio, and The Sunshine of Your Love was the prototype power trio song. Reflecting the blend of electric blues and hard rock – which precipitated the harder blues-rock and heavy metal of the 70s and beyond – it is arguably Cream’s best known piece and unarguably one of the greatest riff tunes of all time. Built on a line conceived by bassist Jack Bruce for Jimi Hendrix, Sunshine is a stand-out track from the classic Disraeli Gears album of 1967, and an auspicious outing for a then relatively unknown guitarist, Eric Clapton. It has since become a mainstay of both Clapton and Bruce’s live shows, a jamming favorite, and a must-know piece in the annals of blues-rock lore. (more…)
Beck’s Bolero was recorded in either late 1966 or early 1967 during the golden age of British blues-rock. It is an amazing collaboration. Written by Jimmy Page, the instrumental features the band that would have been Led Zeppelin, and is reputed to be Jeff Beck’s favorite all-time recording. The band was pieced together from the creme de la creme of the Yardbirds (Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page), the Who (Keith Moon), and London’s busy rock studio scene (John Paul Jones), and according to Beck, recorded “Bolero’ and a couple of other outrageous things in one day.” Beck’s Bolero was to be a maiden voyage for the all-star lineup until contractual hassles stalled and ultimately killed the project. (more…)
In contrast to the Beatlesque vibe of Oasis or the neo-Zep trappings of the Stone Roses, Bush’s sound is surprisingly American for a band which is currently spearheading the newest wave of the British Invasion. Called “England’s Great Grunge Hope,” the band, fronted by singer-songwriter-rhythm guitarist Gavin Rossdale and lead guitarist Nigel Pulsford, took inspiration from a number of U.S. influences – television, the Talking Heads, Alex Chilton, Robbie Robertson, and Earth, Wind & Fire, as well as 90s alternative music pouring out of Seattle. A year ago, they were virtually unknown but hit big in 1996 with their debut album, Sixteen Stone – now beyond quadruple platinum – and ear-catching tunes like “Everything Zen,” “Comedown,” and Glycerine. (more…)
Alice in Chains kept hard rock alive in the face of the 90s alternative explosion. The Seattle band was certainly as eclectic and as experimental – as alternative – as the best of them, but never lost its rocking edge, thanks in large part to the crunchy guitar work of Jerry Cantrell. They succeeded in bringing the heritage of the Stones, Van Halen, and AC/DC into the grunge arena, and in having it seem fresher and more dangerous than ever – which is exemplified on 1996’s Alice in Chains album, and the standout cut Over Now. Over Now began life as a home demo by Cantrell and was brought to the band, along with “Grind” and “Again,” shortly before the sessions. (more…)
You can learn more about rhythm and the real Keith Richards from the first 10 seconds of Start Me Up than from volumes of chord books. Start Me Up is one of the ultimate groove tunes in rock history with one of the most memorable guitar hooks of all time. A definitive track from the modern Stones era, it reached No. 2 as a hit single in 1981, and contains one of the most essential Keith riffs in the band’s entire catalog – and there are many in that 30-year-old catalog. Interestingly, it began life with a reggae feel, was recorded and discarded, and remained in the vault for a couple of years until the Stones revisited the piece for the Tattoo You album. (more…)