When a big-name guitarist is invited to play on a recording session, he or she is expected to make a noticeable impact on the song or album being recorded. Bearing that in mind, Jeff Beck — as a session guitarist — has rarely disappointed. Here are his top 10 guest-session appearances.
Obviously, over the years I've had loads of guitars, but they’ve come and gone. I got to the point where I didn’t think it was nice to have guitars and not use them. All the guitars I’ve got I intend to use. I’ve got a couple of Teles with Lace Sensor pickups and maple necks. Maple necks feel softer to play, and I think you get a bit more sustain. I find the rosewood necks a bit tinnier. But I’m no expert by any means.
The rise of Blackberry Smoke, a hard-working, heavy-riffing quintet of southern-fried road monsters, hasn’t exactly been meteoric. For the past 14-plus years, the Atlanta-based rockers have been enjoying what frontman Charlie Starr calls a “slow build,” playing more than 250 shows a year, touring with ZZ Top, releasing a handful of studio and live discs and, most importantly, forging a legion of rabid fans.
Even though Metallica's James Hetfield makes it look all too easy, there are countless guitarists who find it challenging to sing while doing anything on the guitar — besides strumming. Some players (myself included) even get bent out of shape when they're asked to provide the simplest of vocal harmonies while playing basic to semi-challenging riffs.
The powerful and bluesy "I've Got A Feeling," which John Lennon jokingly called "I've Got A Fever," is a true Lennon/McCartney composition. It blends — via alternation and superimposition — two incomplete songs, one by Paul McCartney, one by Lennon.
There was no mania quite as manic as Beatlemania, and it was at its undisputed height in 1964. In February, The Beatles had conquered the United States, the birthplace of their rock and roll idols, appearing twice on the Ed Sullivan Show and performing pandemonium-inducing shows at the Washington Coliseum and Carnegie Hall.
Sure, there are scores of stellar live versions of Stevie Ray Vaughan's version of "Texas Flood" online, but there's simply something magical about this raw performance from July 17, 1982, at the Montreux Jazz and International Music Festival. The extended, dynamics-filled rollercoaster ride finds SRV reaching into his bag of King-meets-Hendrix Licks — not mention behind his back, where his Strat rested for the final third of the song.
Christmas time is here again! So sang the Beatles on their 1967 Christmas record, one of several now-collectable flexi-discs issued annually to members of the band's official fan clubs in the UK and the US. The records, which often were mini-masterpieces in their own right (1966 and 1967 in particular), featured spoken and musical messages from all four members of the band.
Outside of Saturday Night Live, no other current TV show can boast as many impressive musical guests as The Simpsons. And The Simpsons has the edge because its many musical appearances are actually meant to be funny. Scores of rock icons—including three Beatles, two Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica—have appeared on the show as eight-fingered, yellow-tinted versions of themselves.
From a guitarist's perspective, the 1970 Woodstock film, which documents the highs and lows of the August 1969 Woodstock Festival, has several highlights. There's Jimi Hendrix's immortal take on "The Star-Spangled Banner"; a lengthy, mind-blowing performance by newcomers Santana; and Pete Townshend's high-flying Gibson SG acrobatics with The Who, to name just a few.