For My Sunday Song #226, we are going to discuss the opening track to ‘Sheer Heart Attack’, “Brighton Rock” by Queen. The song was not a single and being the first song on the album, I guess you couldn’t call it a deep cut as it isn’t very deep on the album. But there is something in this song that makes it so incredible and we will get to that piece in a minute.
The song was written by Brian May and the vocals were done by Freddie and Brian. Brian wrote the song during the Queen II sessions, but they didn’t feel like it fit that album so they worked it some more and it actually kicks off this album. The song is about 2 “Mod” kids in love, Jenny and Jimmy, who travel off to Brighton on Holiday. I don’t think the holiday goes great as Jenny is afraid she will get in trouble. There is more, but the story isn’t the best part of the song as it is really secondary. It isn’t even Freddie’s singing that is best part even though his vocals are always stellar.
What is incredible about this song is simply, Brian May. The guitar solo is probably one of the best he has ever done, hands down. It is the centerpiece of the song. There is an entire interlude in the song that is only Brian and that guitar. His use of delay for the harmony that sets the song apart. Brian was tinkering extensively with an Echoplex (a tape delay machine) to get the effects he wanted. The song contains one normal guitar sound and then one with the delayed effect and it must be heard to believe as I don’t know how to describe it in words. It is true audio experience.
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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 #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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