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The 3 Most Distinguished Eric Clapton Guitar Solos

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Eric Clapton’s guitar skills are so crazy good you can only clap a ton (sorry for the pun).

Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton shredding on his axe (photo via Rolling Stone)

But for real, Clapton is one of the best guitarist that we’ve seen in the rock world. Someone even spray-painted “Clapton is God” on a wall in London.

And many rock bands have been pleased to call him a band member, including John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, and Derek & the Dominos (just to name a few).

So I think it’s only right that we have an article completely dedicated to his guitar-tickling talents.

“Layla” — Derek & the Dominos

During this long rock epic all about unrewarded love, we hear both Clapton and Duane Allman showing off. On this track, Clapton lays down rhythm, three harmonies with the main guitar riff, and a solo along with Allman.

It’s pretty amazing. That’s why it’s easily on this list.

For the next song, Clapton rubs shoulders with some even bigger names…

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” — The Beatles

George Harrison can bring it on the guitar. But he also wants the best for each song, and who better to bring the best than Clapton.

On The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” Harrison invited Clapton to come provide a solo. And what he played literally made Harrison’s Les Paul cry, squealing, moaning, and whimpering.

This solo is great, but the next one is even better…

“Crossroads” — Cream

On this cover of Robert Johnson’s “Cross Road Blues,” Clapton provides both a chugging guitar rhythm and a couple face-melting solos. Yes, the solos on the recorded version are actually get off beat at points, but that’s what makes them so human. So real, so raw.

And just like Clapton always does, he takes on a journey, riding on the wings of his guitar strings…

The Story Behind 4 Rock Stars Who Died On Stage

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You wouldn’t think that being a rock n’ roller would be a life-threatening career, but sometimes it could be.

Les Harvey
Les Harvey

We know sometimes an ungrounded microphone can shock rockers, like one did to Keith Richards, but that’s rare. And for things to go one step further and take a rock artist’s life is even more rare. But it has happened.

Here are four people who lost their lives while performing.

Johnny “Guitar” Watson (1935-1996)

People called Johnny “Guitar” Watson “The Godfather of Funk,” and for good reason. He could shred on a six-string. Any classic rock guitarist would respect Watson’s skills on the guitar.

The last people to see him perform were those in attendance at his concert in Yokohama, Japan, on May 17th, 1996. Right in the middle of a guitar solo, he collapsed, dying of a heart attack. He was singing his song “Ain’t That A Bitch,” and those ended up being his last words.

Mark Sandman (1952-1999)

Mark Sandman was the lead singer and guitarist for the rock band Morphine. While the band was playing a concert in Italy, Sandman suffered a heart attack, collapsing on the stage in front of the audience. They pronounced him dead at the scene, stating he had died due to the combination of cigarettes, stress, and temperatures of over 100 degrees.

Shortly after that night, the band broke up.

Dimebag Darrell (1966-2004)

Dimebag Darell formed the heavy metal band Damangeplan after being a guitarist in Pantera. Sadly, at one of their concerts, an apparently mentally unstable Marine opened fire from the front row of the audience. Three of the shots hit Darrell in the head, killing him instantly. Additionally, the band’s head of security, Jeff “Mayhem” Thompson, and a venue employee, Erin Halk, died while trying to stop the gunman.

Les Harvey (1944-1972)

Les Harvey was the guitarist for Stone the Crows, one of the biggest British bands in the 1970s. During their tour in 1972 to promote their second album, Teenage Licks, the band made a stop in Wales to play a show.

During sound check, Harvey stepped on stage to tune his guitar. He grabbed a mic that hadn’t been grounded properly. The mic electrocuted him and he collapsed onstage in front of more than 1,000 audience members.

He was rushed to the hospital, but it was too late. He died at the age of 27, entering the dreaded 27 Club.

4 Songs By David Bowie Put On This Earth To Make You Dance

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Singer-songwriter-rocker David Bowie made music that spanned many genres but the one style he always appealed to was rock.

David Bowie
David Bowie in 1976 (photo via Detroit Institute of Arts)

David Bowie died too young, but not so young that he didn’t have time to create some of the most classic songs of the 70’s and 80’s.

Here are his top four songs ever.

4“Changes” (1971)

Bowie’s hit “Space Oddity” had come out two years before “Changes” and people were speculating that he would just be another one-hit wonder.

But with “Changes,” he changed people’s minds. In this song, which features Yes’ Rick Wakeman, he not only showed off his songwriting skill but also his saxophone skills.

Bowie, as we see with this song, like to collaborate. And that’s just what he did on the next song.

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5 Of The Best Beatles Songs Of All Time

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What can one say about The Beatles that hasn’t already been said? And how can anyone rate their songs and choose the best five?

The Beatles
photo via Beatles Bible

It’s an overwhelming task and seems impossible. But I’m going to give it a shot.

Here are five of The Beatles’ top songs ever.

5“Abbey Road” Medley — Abbey Road (1969)

This is the way to end an album, mashing multiple songs together to create a 16-minute, eight-song musical montage. Paul McCartney did most of the writing and arranging, and he nailed it.

The next song is also a McCartney tune, but he wasn’t too happy with the recorded version of it.

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You’ll Never Guess This Weird Object Fleetwood Mac Used On “Second Hand News”

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Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours was not only their breakout album, but it was also the one with the most story behind it.

Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac

What stories lie within the making of this album, you ask? Well, Fleetwood Mac created the album while in chaos. Also, Stevie Nicks was upset that her song “Silver Springs” didn’t make the record. And at the end of it all, the band wanted to credit their cocaine dealer in the liner notes.

Those are some good stories, I’d say.

So it’s no surprise there’s a story no matter where you turn, no matter what song you look at on this album. For example, take “Second Hand News,” a Celtic-Irish-sounding song by Lindsey Buckingham.

“The song itself consists of kind of a Scottish Irish folk influences,” Buckingham said. “And when we first started cutting it, we started doing something that was maybe a literal translation of that, like maybe a march time on snare with brushes.”

But he didn’t want it to stay a folk song. At the time, the music on Rumours was considered pop. And the band wanted to embrace that label.

Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac (photo via Pitchfork)

“We were also very interested in keeping the pop element, because it was going to be the first song, and it was a pop album,” he said.

Not only did Buckingham want a pop influence, he also wanted to infuse some disco vibes. He loved the rhythms in the Bee Gees’ “Jive Talkin’.”

So to get the percussion sound he wanted, he grabbed a Naugahyde chair that was sitting in the studio. Next thing they knew, they were recording Buckingham drumming on a chair.

“Lindsey was the accent king,” said co-producer of Rumours, Ken Caillat. “He could accent with guitars, he could accent with toms [and] he could accent with Naugahyde chairs.”

Take a listen to the song below and listen for the chair drumming:

The Top 5 Influential Rock Bands That Made The Biggest Impact On Their Era

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Yes, music is subjective. But this list has specific guidelines that make it less subjective.

Rock N Roll
photo via Under30CEO

Instead of just choosing my favorite classic rock bands (even though #1 is my favorite classic rock band), I decided to have a parameter. This is a list of the classic rock artists who impacted the rock world in their own eras.

So here they are– the best classic rock artists of all time.

Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly
Buddy Holly.(photo via NPR)

Buddy Holly brought a unique sound to the rock landscape– he was a hillbilly and his music was a mix of country, blues, and swing.

Fans and critics alike know he was one of the first great American singer-songwriters. He influenced many of the rock artists that most people know.

The next band is very different from Holly but still changed the rock world around them.

4Led Zeppelin

(L-R) John Paul Jones, John Bonham, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin in front of plane in NY. July 24, 1973. © Bob Gruen / www.bobgruen.com

Led Zeppelin was the beginning of heavy rock and they were always trying to improve upon what they’d done before.

Someone once asked them if they were “innovative enough” to make it. I think we can say now that they were innovating in ways the inspired both classic rock and heavy metal bands everywhere.

The next band was active around the same time but had a pretty different sound.

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The Song Tom Petty Would’ve Killed If He Could Record THIS Album Again

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Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers almost always go together. Except for Petty’s first solo record.

Tom Petty and Bob Dylan
Tom Petty and Bob Dylan (photo via NME)

Tom Petty has written a lot of songs. And you have to expect that he’s not in love with every one of them. Well, it turns out, there’s one song he “hates.”

Full Moon Fever was Petty’s first solo record sans the Heartbreakers. The only Heartbreaker who contributed to the album was drummer Stan Lynch. But the other band members were not happy about this, and Lynch would later not enjoy playing the songs from that album live.

I mean, even every member of Petty’s former super group, The Travelling Wilburys, except for Bob Dylan, made an appearance on the album.

This album has the big songs Petty became famous for, like “Free Fallin’,” “I Won’t Back Down,” and “Runnin’ Down A Dream.”

2But among those great songs, there was one he wished wasn’t on the record.

Tom Petty (photo via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“I hate ‘Zombie Zoo,'” Petty told Rolling Stone, shaking his head. “I do not understand how that got on the record — I had better stuff. What frame of mind produced that? That was nearly a perfect album.”

He had a history of not liking his own songs. There was that time he smashed his hand against a wall out of frustration while working on Southern Accents. Such is the career of an artist.

This is also a common theme among rockers. Billy Joel said his song “We Didn’t Start The Fire” is like a “mosquito buzzing around your head” and has a boring melody. The Who regret ever making the whole It’s Hard record. And even Bruce Springsteen called his album Born To Rungarbage.

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Freddie Mercury Was Naked When He Wrote “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”

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Queen went to Germany in June 1979 to start recording The Game. One of the songs was born in a bathtub.

Queen
photo via Rolling Stone

Freddie Mercury proved to be an amazing songwriter and arranger, with songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “We Are The Champions.”

Often we don’t get a look into a songwriter’s creative process. But with Mercury’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” we do know how it came to him.

After Queen checked into their hotel in Munich, Mercury hopped into the bath to wash of the grime you collect when you travel. That’s when– in that soapy tub of water– a melody came to him.

It had a rockabilly feel to it and tongue-and-cheek lyrics. And it definitely sounded like an Elvis song.

As he sat there in the bathtub, he asked his assistant, Peter Hince, to grab a guitar for him. He wrapped a towel around himself, took the guitar, and started forming the song.

Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury was the mastermind behind one of Queen’s biggest hits “Bohemian Rhapsody”

“‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ took me five or 10 minutes,” Mercury told Melody Maker in 1981. “I did that on the guitar, which I can’t play for nuts, and in one way it was quite a good thing because I was restricted, knowing only a few chords. It’s a good discipline because I simply had to write within a small framework. I couldn’t work through too many chords and because of that restriction I wrote a good song, I think.”

Once he nailed down the structure of the song, he called the studio they were going to use to tell engineer Reinhold Mack to get ready to record. Mercury threw on some clothes and ran over to the studio.

“I was very quick and had everything set up in almost no time,” Mack said.

When Mercury got there, the only band member absent was Brian May. Despite this, Mercury pushed forward. He actually was glad May’s perfectionism was not present.

“Quickly, let’s finish it before Brian gets here, otherwise it takes a little longer,” he said.

And sure enough, the song was pretty much done by the time May arrived.

“Brian isn’t going to like it,” Mercury said.

And he was right. May didn’t like it.

“I wasn’t happy,” May said. “I kicked against it, but I saw that it was the right way to go.”

As it turns out, it was the right way to go. The song came out as a pre-album single– it quickly flew to No. 1 worldwide.

Roger Taylor remembered that whole ordeal.

“We were still making the record, we hadn’t nearly finished the album,” he said. “We were going out in Munich and someone came up and said, ‘It’s gone to Number One in America.’ And we were going, ‘Yeah! More drinks!'”

The Top 3 Bachman-Turner Overdrive Songs Of All Time

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Bachman-Turner Overdrive wrote some of the biggest songs in classic rock.

Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Bachman-Turner Overdrive was the brainchild of ex-The Guess Who guitarist Randy Bachman and his younger brother, Rob. They later added singer Fred Turner, hence their band name.

Yes, Randy Bachman said his band mates cheated him out of millions of dollars after they broke up. Yes, his band mates said that “the money looked too good” for them to not do what they did.

But let’s go back to before that, before trivial things like money tore them apart. Let’s go back to when they were a rock band united as one. Back when they were making awesome music together.

Because when they teamed up, they made some awesome rock songs. There were a lot of great songs to choose from, like “American Woman,” “Hey You,” and “Roll On Down The Highway.”

But we didn’t choose those ones as the top B.T.O. songs ever. We chose these three.

3“Let It Ride” — Bachman-Turner Overdrive II (1973)

In a Doobie Brothers-style song, “Let It Ride” features tight harmonies, a catchy hook, and chunky electric guitar. All the elements you need for a successful 70’s rock song.

And if you think this song is awesome, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

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This Guy Helped Bob Dylan Write One Of His Best Songs

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Bob Dylan says there are two songs people ignore but that he thinks are some of his best work.

Bob Dylan (photo via NPR)

Critics and fans alike don’t think Bob Dylan’s gospel era was that great. But he begs to differ, and one guy helped him write one of his best songs from that time.

On one of his gospel albums, Saved, there are two songs that Dylan singles out as underrated– “In The Garden” and “Brownsville Girl,” an 11-minute song that he wrote with a man named Sam Shephard. The late Shephard was a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and playwright.

If you’re a hardcore Dylan fan, you already know “Brownsville Girl,” and you probably agree with Dylan that it’s one of his better ones despite the lack of attention. Unfortunately, it appears on an album that most people consider his worst.

But that one song, it stands out.

Bob Dylan and Sam Shepard
Bob Dylan and Sam Shepard (photo via Sam Shepard)

Throughout the 17 verses of the song, both writers express their worries about the creative process, like in the lyric “If there’s an original thought out there, I could use it right now.” They also spout proverb-like lyrics for the listener to chew on (“Strange how people who suffer together/Have stronger connections than people who are most content”).

By the end of the song, you realize you’ve just listened to a conversation between two creatively minded men.

“Working with Dylan is not like working with anybody else,” Shepard told the Village Voice in 2004. “With Dylan, you’re continuing on this hunt for what he’s after, who he is, this continual mystery about his identity.”

And Shephard followed Dylan along in this journey.

During Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour, Shephard brought his pen, paper, and camera and created The Rolling Thunder Logbook, a book about the whole experience. In the book, he talks about Dylan as a mystery.

“If a mystery is solved, the case is dropped,” Shephard writes. “In this case, in the case of Dylan, the mystery is never solved, so the case keeps on. It keeps coming up again. Over and over the years. Who is this character anyway?”

Who knew this experience would lead to co-writing one of Dylan’s best songs?