Guitar Legends - 2009-109 Classic Rock

September 5, 2017 | Author: Christian Olvera Jiménez | Category: Jimi Hendrix, Heavy Metal Music, Popular Music, Rock Music, Pop Culture
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THE SEVENTIES With BlacL Sabbath, kd Zeppetin, Quen od Kiss at the heisht o{ their po*€E, it's no *!nd€. thk is remeDbe!€d d the "cla!6ic" rock era.

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TIIE MAKING OF ACIDC'S BACK IN BI-{CK

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GREATESTGUITAR STORIES Keith Richads, TowEhend

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INETEEN SIXTY-NINEWAS A MAD, madyear.Acrossthe USA,peopleprotestedsilentlyor violentlyagainstthe Vietnam War, racismandpoverty.Men with crewcutstraversedthe moon'ssurfacein giantleapsandbounds.Againstall odds,the New York Jets won the SuoerBowl and the New York Mets won the World Series.

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ajoyous crowd, halfa million strong braved the elements and personal discomfort to witness history at woodstock. Outside lovely Sa11Francisco, California, at Altamon! Speedway,equally joyous crowdsjoined the Rolling Stores in wihressing murder. 1969was thebest oftimes and the wildest oftimes, so it should comc as no surpdse that it was an incredible year for music. So incredible, in fact, tha!we arcuitdr world believe it to have been the 8t€dt€st rock ard roll yea] ofthem all. Yes,that's abigstatement, the

kind ofproclamation onc associateswith boorish, opinionated know-nothings. Now, before we tale offenseat such aharshcharacterization, let us hestily male this point:we got the proof. The prool so tospeak, is in the vinyl. The notion of1969's supremacyis, ofcourse, arl opinion until one examines the incredible num ber oflandmark albums issued it1that glo ous year-True, miny fine records first saw the light in 1968,1970,1979and 1994,for thar matter, but nothingcomparcs to MCMLXIX when itcomes to shccr volurne of rock achievement.

But how is "achievement" gauged?on the one hand, there js the mxtter ofdurability. Turn on any classic radio station tomor row morningand you r.villfind an incredible array of songs recorded in r969 in regllar rotation.led Zeppelin's "whole Lotta Lovc" (Lea Zeppelil II). Creedence Clenrwater Revival's "Bad Moon tusind' (crcen xiver). The who's "Pinball Wizard"(?ommJ). These songs are not oldies, but:rs current as the latest cdses in the Balkans. Another lneasure of greatncss, whether an album rvas issued in 1969or 1989,is its impact on

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subsequenI generations of musici:rns.where woulrt today's punk rockcrs be without lggy Pop's flre Sfoojes and the MC5's iaicl Ou. rftcJdms? 50,000 rock and metal bands without thc tlvo Lcd Zeppc lin albul11sof'69? The world withorlt Let It Blee.1and Abbey Roada o n a m o r e s p e c i f i cg u i t r r l e v e I , 1 9 6 9w a s a b o n a n z a o f p o w c r ard glory. The arrivalofthe All m e n B r o t h e r s B : r n d ,u , i r h t h e i r trvin guitars fiom heaven. Thc novel tunings and sweet rlrythns ofCrosby, stills and Nash. And rhe lantastic funL siylings of .lames Brown's unsung guitarist, J i m m , vN o l e n The moment which best rep resents all the fire and rain ofa nDSt chaotic and creative tine belongs to Jimi Hendrix, who on one July day atthe woodstock festival forevel ensl ted a cosnic n1omellt in an incredible 1,s1.ttitt his majestic version of"The StarSpangled Banner." It u-as 1969, and America rockcd.

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JANUARY

Ld Zeppeli4* LED ZEPPELIN

IT WASI]ARI,YIN TID SUrnrnCI Of 1968andJimmy Pagewasdeeply preoccupied, For severalyears he hadworkedIikea dogto build a reputationasoneofEngland's finest sessionguitaiists, playing on manyof the recordsreleased in Britainin the 1963-1965 era, includingalbumsby thewho, th€ RollingStones, the Kinks, Tom Jonesandmanyothers.He then par:layedhis notoriety into a year-longstintwith the Yardbirds, whose previousguitarists,Eic ClaptonandJeffBeck,hadgone on to becomefull-fledgedlegends. Page,it \ras assumed,would be next in line.Unfotunately,dueto the pressuresof touring the Yardbirds disintegratedjust ashe was beginningto comeinto his own. with his band and careerin complet€disarray,Pagestoodata crossroads. He couldresumehis session work,returnto artschool, or try hisluck at creatinga new band.The gui[arist,determinedto takea shotatbig-timerocksuccess, decidedto forgeahead.To that end,he carefullydevisedabluepdnt for his idealband.Thathe would actuallyseehis planscome to fruitionand,in doingso,shake the very foundation ofrock, would no doubt havesurprisedPage. "The bandthat I envisioned would combineblues,hardrock a]rdacousticmusicandtop it alloff 5 with hearrychomses,"remembers 6 Page."Itwould be acombination g that had neverbeendonebefore. : Lotsoflight andshade." : Ina strokeofcosmicluck,Page

"Mu5icallyil 5aur Zeppeli4a5 a marriage of blueE,

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acou,tic muEic, topped uit[ lleavy' cllora.6e6.It vould be a combi4atio4 tlyzt lpd 4everbee4 do4e beforc. Lot5 of Iigfu a4d 6llade." -linnyPage

wassuperhurnan.Besidesbeing oneofthe bestdrummersI've ever heard,hewasalsooneoftheloudest.He wasthe reasonwe had to start buyingbigger amps.And his playingwasn't in his arms;it was all in hiswrist action.Frightening!I still don't know how he managedto getsomuchlevelout ofa kit."

rttw!tttlt\tttlw quickly found just the right men to help him achievehis radler ambitiousmusicalgoals.John PaulJones,oneofEngland'sfinest session bassists, keyboardists and arrangers,wastircd ofthe studio g nd and askedto join Jimmy's newband.Page,recognizingJones' talent and versatility,inmediately edistedthe multi-insffumentalist. Vocalist RobertPlant, recom mendedby two of Page's liiends, wasalsoaremarkable find.He lookedeveryinch the leadsinger, and his volcanic,androgynous voicewassuitablefor everything from the raunchiestbluesto the mostdelicateballad.But perhaps Page'sgreatestdiscoverywas dmmmerJohnBonharn, who hadplayedwith Plantin previous bands.Pagehad wanted a very powerfuldrummer,but Bonham was "beyondthe realmsof anlthing I couldhavepossiblyimagined. He

with hisdreambandassembled,Pagewassoconfidenthe decidedto recordthe bandhimself andsellthe resultsto the highest bidder.The quartet,now officially namedLed Zeppelin,assembled in London'sOl).rnpicStudiosin Novemberof1968,with Page producing.After only a few weeks ofreheaisalanda shorttour, they cut their groundbrealingdebutin a mere30 hours,at a costofl,700

Englishpounds. But evenon this tightschedule, the band,just asPagehad envisioned,producedplentyof"light and shade."trrom the ominous hea\y metal epic "Dazed and Confused"to the folky "BabeI'm GonnaLeaveYou" to the quicksilver popof"CommunicationBreal down,"Zep'spower,versatilityand imaginationwereundeniable. with the albumfinished, Pageenlistedformer Yardbirds managerPeterCrantto takeLed Zeppelinto the bank.Usingthe guitarist'sassociationwith the Yardbirdsasbait, the ruthless Grant worked out a five-year worldwide distributiondealwith Atlantic Records.Under its land mark terms,Led Zeppelinwere promisedtotal creativecontroltheir recordswould be produced independently,without any label inteference. The group would alsocontrol alljacket artwork, pressads,publicity picturesand anlthing elserelatedto their image.The basicoutline ofthis remarkablecontractlater influencedthe RollingStones,another Atlantic band,in their dealingswith the label.Both bands retainedcompl€tecontrol over all creativeprocesses, leavilg only the manufactureand distribu tion ofalbums and,to a limited degree,promotionto Atlantic. On January12,the salneweek the Beatles'"White Album" was No.l on the Billboardcharts, Led Zeppelin was rclensed,.k enteredthe albumchartsat 99, from which itjumped to 40, then 28.lts highestpositionwas No. 10,butthe albumremainedon the chartsfor a remarkable73 consecutiveweeks.While Led Zeppelin'simmediateimpactwas surprising especiallyfor a new band,itwas evenmore impressiveconsideringthe group's popularitywas achievedprimar ily throughword-of-mouth. There were no singlesreleased from their debut,they had little radio exposureand practically no supportfrom the rock press, who were caughtoff-guardby the band'sovernightsuccess.

JANUARY ALBUM RELEA6E6 Odesn-The Bee Gees BayouCountry-CreedenceClearwater Revival Erglis, Rose.-FleetwoodMac YellowSubnairc (Soutdtrack)-The Beatles

GUITAR LEGENDS II

FEBRUARY Eric Qlapto4a4dgteveWi4tr6odforn BLIND FNTH WITH ITSI\{EI/BERSDRAWNfTom Traffic and Cream, two of the most populargroupsofthe era, Blind Faith washailedasrock's firstsupergroup. The bandstartedwhen Eric Clapton,who hadjust Ieft Cream, reachedout to Traffic'sSteve Winwood in hopesof forming a new band.Inspiredbythe tight arrangementsand selflessinterplay of the Band,Claptonwanted his next ventureto includenone ofthe endlesssoloingand egotismwhichhad beenCream's callingcard.But unbeknownst to the guitarist,Winwood had,in the meantime,invited Cream's GingerBaler to join the project. DespiteClapton'sfearsthat the public would seethe new group asan extensionofCream,he decidedto soldieron. Recordingbeganin February 1969at MorganStudiosin Lon' don.The nameBlind Faithhad not yet beensuggested,and the trio bookedstudiotime underthe nameBaker-Clapton-Winwood. Recordingwith engineerAndy Johns,the group put do\I,.nbasic tracks for tlvo songs,'nvell All Fjght'' and "Presence ofthe Lord." After a handfulofsessions, evbryonesteppedback andevaluated their progress.It wasdecided that a bassistshouldbe added to the trio and Fjc Grech,formerly of the Family,was selected. "We had run into [Riccre.h] on a few occasionsand he seemeda very sympathetickind offellow, so he was in," winwood says. Bylate May 1969,theband had comeup with only two incompletesongs,andboth Robet Stigwood,managerofBaker and Clapton,and Chris Black\rell, Winwood'slabel'schief,were becomingincreasinglyexasperated.The two had organizeda massivepublicity campaignto promotethe forthcomingalbum, aswell asa crowdedU.S.tour itinerary.The pressureto capital ize on their lucrativereputations was not lost on Baker,Clapton and Winwood."It hadbecome obvious during that era that artists couldbe consideredhot property,"

remaikswinwood. Suchwas the enthusiasmfor the new group,now known as Blind Faith,that on June7,they decidedto male theh public debut in London'smassiveHyde Park. The fiee concet drew in excess of100,000people,an astonishing feat consideringthat the group had yet to issuea singlesong. Blind traith'sunevenperformanceat Hyde Park,coupled with the tenuousstatusof their unfinisheddebutalbum,heightenedfearsthat the groupmight notbe ready.To salvagetheir studio effort,Chris Blackwellturned to producerJimmy Miller, hailed for his innovative work with Traffic and the RollingStones. Miller joined the bandat Olympic andgalvanizedthem with his trademarkenthusiasm. "l receiveda frantic call fiom ChrisBlackwell,askingme to pull the situationtogether," rememberedMiller in 1993."I went throughthosetapesthey had recordedandknew that they

F EB RUARY ALBUM RELEASEE Ball-Iron Butterfly Dr. Byds & Mr. Hyde-The Btrds Blesslts Poi ted Little Head-JeffersonAirplane It1stdnfR€pldl-The Monkees Krct Orr l,h€Jarfls-The MC5

12 GUITAR LEGENDs

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could do so muchbetter.Because ofthe limited time available,we worked nonstopfor a weekuntil the albumfinally cametogether." Miller calledfor retalesof "Presenceof the Lord," but none ofthe new effortscould match the intensityof the originalMorgan Studiosrecording.However, an Olympicremakeof"Had to Cry Today''vastlyupgradedthe previouseffort. The album was finally complet€d when the grcup replacedan electricversionof"Can't Find My way Home" with a superb acoustic rendition. Andy Johns,recruit ed by Miller from Morpn Studios to record the session,captured the group performing live in ollrn-

pic's massiveStudio A with just threemicrophones. Led by winwood'sdelicatevocalandBakeds exquisitepercussionaccents,the resultswere spectacular. Released in July 1969,Blind Fdith instantly enjoyedenormous commercialsuccess throughout the world. A huge public relationsflap over the album'srisqu6cover brought the "supergroup"additional notoriety. Designedand photogaphed by Bob Seideman,the cover artwork featuredBaker'sbarechestedtt year-olddaughter brandishinga toy airplanebuilt byBaker and crech. Amid howls ofprotest, Atco Recordsissueda substitutecover,which featured a staidblack and white group photo.The resultingpublicity only seryedto fuel the album's meteoricrise to the top of the Billboardcharts. Their summerU.S,tour was equallysuccessful,but the group e quickly cameapart."It became very difficultwhen we went out 5 on the road," explainsWinwood. : "As soonaswe got started,we realizedthat this really wasn't happening we just fulfilled our commitmentsand decided to havea rethink. Still, I enjoy that album and look back at that experiencewith fond memories."

rwY MARCH

Qro5bygtill5 & Na5hgetit togetlpr

DAVIDCROSAY, STEPHEN STILLS andGrahamNashhad eachfled fiom oneofrock'sgreatmidSixtiesoutfits-CrosbyFom the B]'rds, Stills from Buffalo Springfield alrdNashliom the Hollies. They knew of eachotherand had evenmet,but they didn'tbecome collaborators until eachhadgravitatedto LosAngeles.Nashrecalls the songwhichcementedtheir partnership-'You Don't Haveto Cry." "It tumed outtobe nothingshort ofmusicalmagic,"Nash says."Whenwe heardourselves for the first time, it was bxly astoundingto us asmusicians that thesethree people from such diversebackgrounds canmeld and come together with that sound-" Soonaftet the rio landeda recording contract with Atlantic Recordsand setto work making its debut album,CrosbJ,SftIls& Narh du ng February1969at wally Heideis studioin HollFvood.The

songswere strong,fiom "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes"through "Marra}€sh Express,""Long Time Gone,""Blue Eyes,""cuinnevere" and 'lvooden Ships."And they were infusedwith equallydynamic musicalideas,suchasthe leadgui-

tar linesthat snale tllrough "MarrakeshExpress"andthe backwards guitar licks in "Long Time C,one," which Stills cameup with during an all night sessionafter everyone had gonehome. The Cuban-flavoredoutro

on "Suite:Judy BlueEyes"was addedto inject a bit of life to the album'slong (7:28)openingcut. "The little kicker at the end of the songwasjustto liven it up," Stills writ€s in the l991box set'sliner notes,"becauseit had goneon foreverand I didn't want it to fall apart.I said'Now that we've sung all thes€lyrics aboutone thing, let's changethe subjectentirely.' And we did. Evendid it in a different languagejustto makesure nobodycould understandit." For "HelplesslyHoping,"meanwhile,the trio couldn'tfind a steel guitarplayer,soStillsmimicked the soundbyusinga volumepedal and a cretschwith atonebar. Releasedin May 1969,CrosbJ, Stills& Ndsfimadean immedi ate impact,hittingNo.6 on the Billbodrdchartsandgoingcold in just a few months.It promptly kickedopenthe door for the simultaneouslygentleand urgent SouthernCaliforniafolk-rock soundthat would dominatethe early Seventiesvia artistssuch asthe Eagles,JacksonBrowne, Americaand JamesTaylor.

MARCH ALBIIM RELEA$E$ Goodbye-CreamSaylt Laud,I'n BlackandI'ra Proad-James Brown TheVefuetUnderground-"1\eVelvet Underground Fron Genesis b newlatioft-C\er,fx,is

APRIL

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THIRTY]'EAIrsIiA\,T PASSED since the album'srelease, but Freddie Stewart (a.k.a.FreddieStone) barely pauseswhen askedto providehis assessment of Slyandthe Family Stone'sStand! "Oh,man,thatwasthe greatest-our greatestalbum,without a doubt,"saysthe group'sguitarist and the younger brother of leaderSlyStone."It's my favodte becausewe were still freshand hungryand sharp." Still fiesh asa springbreeze, Sfdnd/representsthe FamilyStone at the heightof their powers.For a realsenseofStdndl'sweight, considerits songlist:"Everyday People,""Singa simplesong," "You CanMakeItIfYou Try," the scorchinglypolitical"Don't Call Me Nigger,Whitey,"the title track and-ifall that wasn'tenough-the boom-shakalalarevelationof the seminalSlytrack,"I Want to Take You Higher." But if modem listenersrecognizeStdndlfor the masterpiece that it is, Family Stonemembers saytheydidn't recognizethisat the time. Rather,saysbassistLarry

I

Gra}lam, theywere accustomed to the slow gro\l'th th€ goup experienced since former DJ Stone put it together in 1967. "There was obviously gowth," Graham says, "not just in the band but in Sly as a writer, too. You could hear the songs getting stronger, the melodies getting stronger. We were becoming a better band, better musicians, and he was becoming a better writer." Sly had developed his own way ofwriting, too, a less-is-more approach which left the band a melody and a basic rh)'thmic structure to work with. The musicians would subsequendycraft dreir own

partsduringrehearsals. "No onewas held to anyrules," Freddieremembe$."It wasn'tnecessarilyaboutplayingthe traditional guitar part or the traditional bass part or the traditional horn line. It was aboutgiving the musiciansthe iieedom to createa part that they thought was appropriate." Planning,in facg usuallyworked againstthe group-as Freddie leamedwhile crafting his solofor the insfumental"SexMachine." "I satat homeand rehearsedand rehearsedit," he says,"and went to the studio and couldn't play anything. I was there two, three,maybe four hours trying to play it Sly realizedI probablyhadrehearsed it and tried to make it someding; sohe said'Go home,trred. co to sleep,man.Don't evendrink about it. Comebacktomorlow,' "SoI camebackthe next day

and they tumed it on, and by the time it got to my part everything I'd rehearsed was gonc.I just played whatever I wanted to play, and thatwas it." Graham's fondest memory of the albumwas the basspart for "Everyday People," a single c note which, chugling its way through the song, proved as effective as it was unorthodox. "l'd never done that before," he says."Thesongjust felt like that to me. Thafs where

APRILALRUM RELEA6E6 Naslni,[e Skyiirc-BobDylan OntheThruhold ofa Decn-The MoodyBlues

GUITAR LEGENDS 13

the {ieedomof creatjvitycamein frrrthc band.We wouldbe allowed to do that." crahamalsocreditsthat spirit for hisbassoverdubon"I Want to TakeYou Higher," for which he pluggedinto a fuzz pedal which, he notes,"wasthe kind ofthing reservedfor guitar playersback then.But sinceI playedguitar

before I playedbass,plugging a bassinto a fuzz or a wah-wah didn'tseemoddto me." with four singleshitting lhe Billboardcharts including "Everyday People"at No.I for four weeks theStandj bum won Slyandthe FamilyStonethe embraceofboth the pop mainsEeamand the counterculture. It wasthe group'sfirct

million-seller, andfootagefiom its perforheroicmiddJe-of-the-night manceat Woodstockis still inc€ndiary enoughto prompt lighterflickingfiom crowdsat occasional midnight showings. It was alsoa plateauliom which the group would gradually fa1i. Increasingdrugproblemsmade it notoriouslyunreliableon tour.

Members began drifting away, and by the mid seventies the damage was imeversible. "I believe in providence, man," saysFreddie. "I think that Sly and lhe Family Stonewas ordained- It just had something that wes great and unique and possible onlywith that group ofpeople at that particulartime."

classicalmusic,fine wines and other highbrow matters.In true Townshendfashion,Tommy's multi-layeredstoryline reflects much that wasgoingon in his life at the time-not only his spiritual interests,but his growingdisillusionmentwith rock stardomas well. Thework alsodealswith anotherperennialTownshend theme:the profoundand often devastatingpsychologicaleffect parentshaveon their children. Peteendedup scrappingan earlier plan to overduborchestral instrumentsonto the tracks the Who had recordedfor ?ommy. Bassist JohnEntwistlecomplained that time ran out and the band couldn'tevencompletethe over dubstheyhadplannedio do themselves.Time limitations may even explainthe piece'snotoriously ambiguousending.Doeslommy

revert to his earlier stateof deaf, dumbandblind catatoniawhenhis disciplesrejecthim in theend?Or doesthat rejection touch off a new spidtual awal
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