Guitar Hero

Once again, my post has a dubious title. I am not going to write about the game, I am going to write about my guitar hero.

More or less from the mid of the last century until today, there has been a proliferation in the use of the guitar (both the old classical or the then recently develop “electric” one), increasing its prominence in the music industry. Or it might have been the other way round – the prominence of the guitar among musicians led to more people playing guitar.

This means that guitar players are usually the most recognized players of rock bands, sometimes even more than the lead singers!

Red Hot Chili PeppersI guess I can say John Frusciante is one of those guitar players. And with legitimacy – Red Hot Chili Peppers have existed and exist again without John, but they are totally not the same. All but one (the first) of the albums in which John participated had sales above 10 million, and still that first one, recorded when John was still 18, had sales 4 times bigger than their previous album (still with Slovak).

By this time you have probably understood that I am really a great fan of Frusciante and that he is my idol as a guitar player. So what I am going to say might be biased, but in my opinion he is the best guitar player of his  generation (here BBC readers agree with me) and one of the best since Hendrix (here there’s some people at Rolling Stones agreeing with me and others not so much)!

I will only bring you one song, I leave the others in playlists. It is not easy to choose one – I love lots of Chili Peppers and John songs. But bringing the choice to one, I decided to show you the most melodic solo I have ever heard and which I consider a masterpiece – the final solo of Don’t Forget Me live at Slane Castle:

Now, if you really feel like listening to the Chili Peppers, here’s a playlist containing many of my favourite Chili Peppers songs.

And one more with solo songs of John Frusciante, the man whose this post is about, after all!

At last, I leave you a video of John teaching how to play Under the Bridge and not only, hoping that this helps the ones learning guitar:

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Covering (in) the 60’s

Two weeks and 30 posts later, I think it’s time to finally write a post with a song from the 60’s! We’ve had songs from all the decades  since the 40’s, but somehow we missed what was perhaps the most prolific decade (40% of Rolling Stone’s list of 500 best songs ever are from the 60’s) of modern music history. But I am writing to change that!

In 1968, after the release of two successful albums, The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Henrix’s band) released its third and last studio album, Electric Ladyland. “All Along the Watchtower”, a cover of a Bob Dylan’s song that had been released less than a year before, was one of the songs featured in the album.

Dylan’s version was released as a single, but it did not reach the charts. Unlike the original, Hendrix’s version reached number 5 in UK charts and number 20 in the US. Dylan himself understood this quite well, as he praised Jimi’s version and started performing the song in a way that resembles Hendrix’s.

Hendrix did not live to see it (he died two years after, in 1970), but “All long the Watchtower” became one of his most acclaimed songs: it stands at the 47th place of the already mentioned Rolling Stone’s list; it was considered also by Rolling Stone the greatest cover ever; and it has been covered by many artists, including U2, Grateful Dead, Eric Clapton & Lenny Kravitz and the already mentioned in this blog Neil Young (both with Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen) and Dave Matthews Band (with an acoustic version that mixes both Hendrix and Dylan’s versions, while simultaneously diverging from them).

If you had the patience to listen to all those versions, you have probably enjoyed them all, as they are all quite good. But Hendrix is Hendrix 😉