The following content is related to the September 2013 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.
Canadian-born Joni Mitchell originally intended to be a fine artist and considered herself a hobbyist musician in the early Sixties, occasionally playing paid gigs to support her painting studies. That all changed by the mid Sixties, when personal issues inspired her to channel her thoughts into music that would soon be covered by folk artists like Tom Rush and Judy Collins.
Pete Townshend is a killer tunesmith who has penned such rock classics as “My Generation,” “Baba O’Riley” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” But the Who guitarist and band leader is also among the most skilled and influential rock rhythm players in history.
The Beatles’ “Blackbird,” performed entirely by Paul McCartney using his Martin D-28, was released on the 1968 album The Beatles (commonly referred to as the White Album). From a guitar standpoint, the song’s roots and inspiration can be traced back to McCartney’s early experimentation with a well-known piece by J.S. Bach titled “Bourée in E Minor,” which he woodshedded in his youth.
John Denver began his career in folk groups in the Sixties and had chart success as a songwriter, but it was the sweet sounds of his Seventies solo records that made him a household name. Hits like “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Annie’s Song” and “Rocky Mountain High” helped bring folk, pop and country to the commercial forefront that decade. Though he was often dismissed for his wholesome, clean-cut image, Denver was undeniably a stellar tunesmith and a fantastic fingerpicker.