For My Sunday Song #127, I am covering the instrumental classic Steve Vai song “For the Love of God”. The song is off his 1990 album ‘Passion and Warfare’ which was my first Steve Vai album. After hearing him play with David Lee Roth and with Whitesnake, I was a huge fan of his and had to have this on CD.
The song has this dreamlike feel to it as if it is floating around you in the heavens. It is strange and wonderful all at the same time. His playing is exceptional and out of this world. Per Wikipedia…
Vai recorded the track on the fourth day of a ten-day fast. During an interview, he explained, “I do try to push myself into relatively altered states of consciousness. Because in those states you can come up with things that are unique even for yourself”.
The song goes on for over 6 minutes and actually ends with some spoken words. Those words are spoken by David Coverdale and are “Walking the fine line between Pagan and Christian.” So, does this still count as an instrumental? Yes, it most certainly does.
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For My Sunday Song #126, the instrumental we will be covering is “Switch 625” by none other than Def Leppard. For a band that is not noted for doing instrumentals, when they did one, they definitely got it right. The song is off the band’s second album ‘High & Dry’ and is still played today in concert as a tribute to the writer of the song, the late, great Steve Clark.
The song bleeds effortlessly after “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” with such a smooth transition you would swear it is part of the song. The long, unedited version of the song. The song itself is a beautiful representation of all that was great about the god-given gift of Steve’s guitar playing.
I love the dual guitars battling it out. I can picture Pete & Steve going back and forth and playing off each other (now I am making an assumption that Pete played on the recorded version). It also has such a great melody and if it had lyrics would have made for another great Def Leppard ballad I am sure.
In fact, producer Mutt Lange wanted to add lyrics but after battling out with Joe Elliot, no lyrics were added. Joe felt the song was perfect the way it was and no need to mess it up with his voice (of course that isn’t a direct quote, I’m making assumptions but the story itself is true).
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For My Sunday Song #125, the instrumental this week is one that blew my mind and I think changed the way guitar solos were done for most of the 80’s. The song is “Eruption” by Van Halen. Often thought of as the introduction to the band’s cover of the Kink’s song “You Really Got Me”, it is considered one of the greatest guitar solos of all time. In fact, Guitar World Magazine ranks it at #2. For me, it might be #1.
The Van Halen debut is considered one of the greatest debut albums of all time in no small part to the work that Eddie Van Halen did on this song. At only 1:42 in length, it is the most exciting and electrifying 1:42 you will ever experience in music. The song is accompanied by Michael Anthony on bass and brother Alex Van Halen on drums, but there is no denying the star is Eddie Van Halen.
The introduction of the song is based on a song by Cactus called “Let Me Swim” and it has a little piece of “Etude #2” by Rodolphe Kruetzer, but the rest is all Eddie. The song is famous for a guitar technique using the two-handed finger tapping. Finger tapping was not new, but never before had it been showcased in such an amazing way.
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For My Sunday Song #124, the instrumental this week is none other than Eric Johnson’s “Cliffs of Dover”. The song was released in 1990 and is off his album ‘Ah Via Musicom’. The song garnered Eric a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1992 and it has been named #17 in the list of 100 Greatest Guitar Solos by Guitar World Magazine. That should tell you something about how great this song is.
The song starts off with one wicked guitar solo before kicking in to that familiar riff of the song. What I really love about the song is the melody. It is so infectious and gets stuck in your head. When you hear the song, you immediately strap on your air guitar and strum along. It is taking everything for me to not stop typing and do just that as I am listening to it. Forget, I will be right back…(air guitar strumming)…(still going)….(almost done)…okay, I’m back.
Eric Johnson claims the song came to him quickly and he was done in about 5 minutes. I guess he knew a good thing when he heard it. If it was only that easy for every song. Now, that creative output occurred back in 1982. Eric being the perfectionist that he is spent a lot of time tweaking the song and trying to get it right. He was going to included it on his 1986 debut, but it was nixed by the powers that be. And some 8 years after he first created the song, it was finally released. At least the idea was quick!
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For My Sunday Song #123, we are still tackling instrumentals and this one will celebrate Christmas. The song is “Christmas Eve / Sarajevo 12-24” by the band Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO). The song is off their debut 1996 album ‘Christmas Eve and Other Stories’. The song was originally done by the metal band Savatage back in 1995 on their album ‘Dead Winter Dead’.
Okay, TSO is a side project of some of the Savatage band members and you might have seen them as they tour each year a very popular Christmas show that rocks out. TSO tours two groups at one time and the show looks spectacular. The song, you have heard it, there is no doubt. It has become a Classic Christmas song in my book and one of my favorite Christmas songs.
I am going to cheat heavily on this edition of My Sunday Song. I want to capture for you the great story behind the song and the composition itself as both stories are great and I don’t think I can write it any better.
The story behind the song comes from an interview Paul O’Neil (founder of TSO) did with Christianitytoday.com and it goes like this…
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For My Sunday Song #122, the instrumental this week is “Satch Boogie” by my favorite guitarist Joe Satriani. The song is off his 1987 album ‘Surfing With the Alien’. This album was what I would compare all instrumental albums against. It was how an instrumental album should be and sound.
The songs should be that, songs. They don’t need to be just showcases of your shredding because that would get old, fast. The songs should be songs. They should tell a story, have melodies, a chorus even and just be awesome. Joe normally does just that. Makes a song. And sometimes, he just shows off and this one is him showing off and having fun. Heck, the name of the song is fun…”Satch Boogie”. And boogie he does.
Form the opening light touches of the high-hat to his frantic fret work, it is a shredding good time. There is technique Joe uses in the song called “pitch axis theory”. Thanks to wikipedia, it is the following:
Pitch axis theory is a musical technique used in constructing chord progressions. The tonic is used as the bass note, and melodic scales are chosen according to the chords that lie beneath them. “A variety of scales or modesare used, all built around the same tonic pitch.”
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For My Sunday Song #121, we are going to explore the instrumental classic by Ace Frehley called “Fractured Mirror”. For the next 10 posts, I am going to go through 10 of my favorite instrumental songs. I figured I would start with the first instrumental song I ever got into. The song is from Ace Frehley’s 1978 Kiss Solo album and it was the last track on an album that made me wish I could be Ace Frehley and a guitar god.
“Fractured Mirror” was actually the first instrumental that Ace would release would end up being a total of 5 pieces released in total on most of his solo records. You have “Fractured Too”, “Fractured III”, “Fractured Quantum” and finally “Quantum Flux” on his latest release. For me, they are usually the highlight of the albums.
On Ace’s 1978 solo album, Ace showed he could be the frontman, he could survive on his own and do songs just as good or better than Kiss. It was the start of things to come. With “Fractured Mirror”, Ace showed that he was a technical guitarist and that he had the chops to hang with the best.
From the opening bells of the song, the opening guitar riff and throughout the beautiful melodies he created to the ending of that same opening guitar riff, Ace delivered a masterpiece that all his other instrumentals would be compared against. Sadly, all were good, but none were this good.
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For My Sunday Song #120, I am discussing one of my favorite songs of 2018 called “I’m Not A Saint” by newcomer Billy Raffoul. The song is from his 2018 E.P. called ‘1975’ which I did a review on a couple months back (go check it out – click here). The song was released as a single, but sadly, I don’t think I have heard it on the radio which I find to be sad as the world is missing out on a real talent.
When I saw Billy Raffoul open for Needtobreathe over the Summer, I was really impressed with his Jeff Buckley sounding vocals and so I picked up the E.P on vinyl at the show (which he gladly signed for me) and it turned out to be one of my favorite albums I have heard this year. This song in particular jumped out at me and I really connected to it.
The song is about the fact we all have things we do that we know we shouldn’t. Some sort of vice that is keeping us from being what he calls a “saint” such as smoking, drinking and cursing (which is my biggest problem). He states he could be a saint if he tried, but honestly, I don’t think he is going to try which is fine as there is nothing wrong with having a vice (well as long as it doesn’t kill you I guess it is okay.
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For My Sunday Song #119, I am going with “Not Ready to Make Nice” by the Dixie Chicks. The song was off their 2006 album ‘Taking the Long Way’. The single was a Platinum selling song and reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 which is pretty great for a country song.
Back in 2003, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks made some comments during a show in London about then President George W. Bush and about the impending invasion of Iraq. When word got back to the States, people were not happy with her or the band. The band’s music was banned from Country radio and the band received death threats and all sorts of abuse. So much for Free Speech!!
And I think things are worse with Free Speech now then they have ever been. You can’t say anything that someone else might disagree with or find offensive without being racked over the coals. It is a scary time. But that is for another conversation.
This single was released and the band let it be known their thoughts on the whole situation. And let me tell you this was quite a Statement!! What a great song. It lays bare their thoughts and the troubles they faced during that time. Natalie sings with such conviction and people loved it. I guess time heals all wounds. I was never a Dixie Chick fan until this song. It made me respect them and their music.
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For My Sunday Song #118, I am going to highlight “Sunset Station” by Jorn Lande. I know most people in the U.S. probably aren’t familiar with Jorn and that is a shame. Jorn Lande is a Rock/Metal singer from Norway and has been in bands such as Ark, Millenium and Vagabond. However, I came to know him thanks to Melodicrock.com and his solo work as well as with Power Metal band Masterplan. I even highlighted him in a post way back in my early days on this blog (check it out – Jorn Lande).
One of my favorite songs by Mr. Lande is “Sunset Station” off his 2nd solo album called ‘Worldchanger’. The album was released back in 2001 and really stood out for me (not in that year – I came across it a few years later). This song in particular jumped out of the speakers and grabbed hold of me.
Jorn’s vocals are solid and a cross between David Coverdale of Whitesnake and Ronnie James Dio (both obvious influences on Jorn). That alone was enough to catch my attention. He sings with such power and lays it all out every time. Musically, it is loud, heavy and very melodic but more metal than melodic rock. The guitar work is another attention grabber for me as it just screams and comes at you with blistering veracity.
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