Sunday, December 28, 2008

Classic Rock Legends

The Unsung Greats of Classic Rock by Matthew Kepnes

Classic rock is a term used loosely to describe the albums released in the early to late 70's by artists which have become legendary and therefore 'classics".

Most of these albums/artists were highly original and would become influential on many other bands for generations to come. No matter what era you were born in since the 70's almost ANY band you listen to would have been influenced by artists and bands from this era. So even if you are now only in your teens and you find you favorite band sounds "totally original" you can bet your bottom dollar that they were influenced by someone from this era ( even if they don't even know it!).

The seventies was a great era for music because it truly was a ground breaking time for original music. Nothing was copied, or rehashed, everyone had their own sound even though, as always in music, the 70's was a continuance and evolution of music from the 60's, but it matured more fully in the 70's.

Bands and artists such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix , Free, Allman Brothers, Queen, Black Sabbath, Cream, David Bowie, Status Quo are all examples of acts who made their start in the 60's but found their sound and style in the 70's, and therefore gave rise to many other bands who then added their own flavor to these styles.

Lesser known bands such as Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash, Grand Funk Railroad, Scorpions (who became quite huge in the 80's), and Thin Lizzy are worthy of mentions but would not necessarily be known as legends, where as other acts such as Queen became absolutely huge and remain so to this day.

It is the same with "guitar heroes". Almost every guitarist no matter what age has heard of or has listened to Hendrix, Clapton. Jimmy Page etc but there are other extremely talented and influential guitarists who are less well known that should be in the legend status as well. Two such examples are Richie Blackmore from deep purple and Michael Schenker from UFO. You will find some modern players such as Kirk Hammet and Dimebag Darrel were heavily influenced by Michael Schenker, but Schenker has not really achieved "god like" status such as some of his contemporaries like Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton.

I could go on for hours about classic rock and there are hundreds of excellent albums that are still available today, (and some fine ones deleted) but some songs and albums rate a special mention for their guitar prowess and are worth your time to have at least a quick listen.

Here's a quick list or lesser known gems of classic musical genius that are worth a listen.

Deep Purple
Guitarist: Richie Blackmore
Choice albums: Made in Japan and Deep Purple in Rock
Songs: Highway Star, Child in Time

Some of the most blistering guitar work you will ever hear recorded in the early 70's and held the Guinness Book of Records title as the loudest recording ever made!

Guitarist: Michael Schenker.
Choice Albums: Phenomenon and Force It.
Songs: Rock Bottom

One of the most exciting and dynamic solos ever recorded, he was about 18 at the time!

FREE: (later to become" bad company" another excellent act!!)
Guitarist: Paul Kossof
Album: Best of Free
Songs: All Right Now, Fire and Water, .Mr. Big [live]

Simplistic and slow style excellent natural tone, all feeling!!! A Les Paul plugged straight into a marshal, no pedals and no tricks.

Guitarists: Andy Powell & Ted Turner
Choice albums: Argus and There's The Rub

Excellent melody and twin harmony lead breaks, copied by many acts since! Very complex arrangements.

I know I have missed many other guitarists and bands here, but the thought is to give an idea of the amount of unearthed 'gems' there are to be heard apart from the obvious legends!!

Matt is a guitar enthusiast who lives and breathes anything guitar related. He's been playing for a long time and loves talking about guitars with everyone. You can find him frequently playing on his porch. Check out free tips, online lessons, and a guitar forum at Axebay- Used Guitars.

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