Song of the Day: Sweet Child o’ Mine (Guns N’ Roses)


GunsNRoses

As a child of the 1980’s it would be difficult to come up with a greatest guitar solo ever list and not make mention of the work of one Slash. The man with the top hat, who played a mean Gibson Les Paul  would become part of what the 80’s called “The Most Dangerous Band” in Guns N’ Roses.

“Sweet Child o’ Mine” would become one of the band’s biggest hits and, ultimately, their most recognizable. This is quite an impressive considering this is the band that came up with quite a bit of classic tunes in the short time they all played together. It’s also the song where Slash truly made his mark by creating not just one of the most recognized opening hard rock riffs, but also one of the best guitar solos.

For a band that was seen and who saw itself as “the most dangerous” they also came up with a power ballad that combined not just genuine emotions, but the hard rock sensibility one expected from a band such as Guns N’ Roses. It’s a power ballad worthy of past great power ballads such as “Stairway to Heaven” and “Free Bird”.

Sweet Child O’ Mine

She’s got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky

Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that special place
And if I stared too long
I’d probably break down and cry

Sweet child o’ mine
Sweet love of mine

She’s got eyes of the bluest skies
As if they thought of rain
I’d hate to look into those eyes
And see an ounce of pain

Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place
Where as a child I’d hide
And pray for the thunder and the rain
To quietly pass me by

[3x]
Sweet child o’ mine
Sweet love of mine

(guitar solo)

[4x]
Where do we go?
Where do we go now?
Where do we go?
Sweet child o’ mine

Great Guitar Solos Series

Song of the Day: Fade to Black (by Metallica)


FadetoBlack

Metallica.

Love them or hate them there’s really no middle-ground when it comes to one of the Big Four of thrash metal. You either love the band even through their dabbling into hard rock and the Bob Rock-era or you hate them for  the perceived selling out and the Bob Rock-era. You ask any Metallica fan and they would pretty much agree that their third album, Master of Puppets,  was the band at it’s peak. There would be some debate on whether the Black Album was where the band began to alienate some of it’s earliest fans, but that’s not what we’re here for.

We are here for the latest “Song of the Day” and it’s from their second full-length album, Ride the Lightning. The song is the band’s very first power ballad and follows the album’s theme and exploration of death. Where the album’s title took on the concept of death by electric chair the song chosen this time around is about the band’s exploration of the concept of suicide.

Yes, this was the song that the band had gotten into hot water for it’s suicidal lyrics which purportedly led to teens offing themselves after listening to it constantly. What critics of the song failed to realize was just how much teens at the time the song came out saw the song as therapeutic. They related to the song and used it as an outlet for their own alienation and depression.

Just like it’s subject matter it begins with a melancholy melody that gives a glimpse into the singer’s mindset. It’s not the typical fast playing many have associated with thrash, but that arrives soon enough as the song finishes off it’s vocals with a fade out that leads into Kirk Hammett’s 2-minute guitar solo that ultimately fades out as well…

The song that critics of metal gets wrong then and continues to even now is the classic “Fade to Black”.


Fade to Black

Life it seems, will fade away
Drifting further every day
Getting lost within myself
Nothing matters no one else
I have lost the will to live
Simply nothing more to give
There is nothing more for me
Need the end to set me free

Things not what they used to be
Missing one inside of me
Deathly lost, this Can’t be real
Cannot stand this hell I feel
Emptiness is filling me
To the point of agony
Growing darkness taking dawn
I was me, but now he’s gone

No one but me can save myself, but it’s too late
Now, I can’t think, think why I should even try
Yesterday seems as though it never existed
Death Greets me warm, now I will just say goodbye

Bye…

(guitar solo)

Great Guitar Solos Series

Song of the Day: Stairway to Heaven (by Led Zeppelin)


los-acordes-de-la-imagen-2348

The latest in the Song of the Day for the greatest guitar solo series is the power rock ballad of power ballads. Straight from their untitled fourth album, Stairway to Heaven is a mixture of acoustic-folk music and anthemic hard rock. The fact that this power ballads of all power ballads have stood the test of time, ridicule and countless covers (both serious and comedic) says much about the power that Led Zeppelin had over rock music. Even 30 years since they broke up the band still influences musicians to this day.

Stairway to Heaven to me best exemplifies the gradual shift of the band from a down and dirty blues-based hard rock band to the proto-metal/progressive rock which would dominate the band’s sound from the mid-70’s until the band’s break-up after the untimely death of drummer John Bonham in 1980. The song puts to light Jimmy Page’s growing attraction for the esoteric as the song’s lyrics conjures up images of the fairy folk of the Welsh countryside. The acoustic guitar arpeggios which begins the song soothingly brings the listener in. Each section brings in more of the modern to the Renaissance-like intro. This build-up reaches a crescendo at the mid 5-minute mark when Jimmy Page begins a guitar solo which finally leads to a climactic hard rock finish to the song.

The song was the most requested and played track over the radio and became a staple of the band’s sets on their many tours during the 70’s. Like any piece of artistic work extremely popular with the masses the song reached such a popularity that a backlash just as extreme followed as the band broke up in 1980. The fact that this backlash didn’t diminish the song’s appeal to future generations of fans and to the legions before them shows just how important this song has become to rock music history.

While other epic power ballads have come and gone since Stairway to Heaven they will never supplant Led Zeppelin’s epic mystical anthem of fairy folk, magical lands with progressive hard rock. Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven was first and to many will always be First and The One.

Stairway to Heaven

There’s a lady whose sure all that glitters is gold
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.
When she gets there, she knows if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for.

Ooh, ooh, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.

There’s a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
’Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.
In a tree by the brook, there is a songbird who sings:
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.

Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it makes me wonder.

Theres a feeling I get when I look to the west,
And my spirit is crying for leaving.
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees,
And the voices of those who standing looking.

Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, really makes me wonder.

And it’s whispered that soon if we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason.
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter.

If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow,
Don’t be alarmed now,
Its just a spring clean for the May queen.
Yes, there are two paths you can go by but in the long run
Theres still time to change the road you’re on.

And it makes me wonder.
Ooooooh…

Your head is humming and it won’t go,
In case you don’t know:
The pipers calling you to join him.

Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow,
And did you know:
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind.

(guitar solo)

And as we wind on down the road,
Our shadows taller than our soul,
There walks a lady we all know.
Who shines white light and wants to show…
How everything still turns to gold.
And if you listen very hard the tune will come to you at last.
When all are one and one is all, yeah, to be a rock and not to roll.

And she’s buying a stairway… to heaven.

Great Guitar Solos Series

Song of the Day: Free Bird (by Lynyrd Skynyrd)


FreeBird

I think if the United States ever decided to change it’s national anthem then I propose they just use Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classic arena power ballad Free Bird. It’s already considered by many as the unofficial anthem. There’s something about this song that is just so Americana. I know that the band itself has been accused of being racist because of their support for the historical legacy of the South and the Confederacy, but I don’t go for such nonsense. Lynyrd Skynyrd was just one of the best southern rock bands during the 70’s and probably would’ve reached Led Zeppelin status if a tragic plane crash hadn’t killed almost a third to half of the band.

It’s very hard not to get into this power ballad. A song which band front man Ronnie Van Zant would use to personally memorialize his fallen friend and colleague, Duane Allman of The Allman Brothers band who died from a motorcycle accident just a few years before. This song was always the most requested song by concert fans to be played by the band and play it they did and extending the triple guitar solo in the end from the usual 3-4 minute to as long as 10. It was this extended triple guitar solos with Gary Rossington, Allen Collins and Ed King which would be the highlight of any live performance of the song (one of my favorite solos)

It has also become a favorite amongst those who compose and pick music for films of late. Rob Zombie used it to highlight to great effect the nihilistic ending to his grindhouse film The Devil’s Rejects. The latest to use this song in a very inventive manner was Matthew Vaughn in the surprise hit of 2015, Kingsman: The Secret Service.

Even with most of the band either dead or retired the song still gets massive play when the current band tours and is still a favorite staple with most rock stations. Everytime I hear it come on or I play it on my mp3 player I feel like pulling out my Bic lighter, flicking it on and waving it in the air in tune to the song. FREE BIRD!!!

Free Bird

If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be traveling on, now
‘Cause there’s too many places
I’ve got to see

But, if I stayed here with you, girl
Things just couldn’t be the same
‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now
And this bird, you’ll can not change
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

And the bird you cannot change
And this bird you cannot change
Lord knows, I can’t change
Bye, bye, baby it’s been a sweet love

Yeah, yeah
Though this feeling I can’t change
But please don’t take it so badly
‘Cause the Lord knows
I’m to blame

But, if I stayed here with you girl
Things just couldn’t be the same
‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now
And this bird, you’ll can not change
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

And this bird you cannot change
And this bird you cannot change
Lord knows, I can’t change
Lord help me, I can’t change
Lord I can’t change

Won’t you fly high, free bird, yeah?

(commence awesome triple guitar solos)

Song of the Day: We Are the Champions (by Queen)


1024px-New_England_Patriots_logo_old.svg

I’ve used this song twice to celebrate my San Francisco Giants winning the World Series in 2010 and 2012 (so shocked they won 2014 that I forgot to post it) that I thought it only fair to use it for the New England Patriots. They are the new champions of the NFL after their thrilling win over the Seattle Seahawks.

It was a game that had our own pantsukudasai56 on the verge of losing it (and he probably did but in a good way and not the bad one I was predicting). The New England Patriots have become like a sort of second NFL team for me because of two people: Tom Brady (local boy made good) and Bill Belichik (the Dark Lord himself). Yes, two people who have their equal share of admirers and haters (probably more of the latter).

These two have now cemented their 4th NFL championship through the modern salary-cap era, adversity (concocted and self-inflicted) and heartbreaking losses. Yet, as much as people would hate on Belichik deep down most would dump their coach if it meant they would have him instead. The same goes for his apprentice in Tom Brady.

So, controversies aside, congratulations to the New England Patriots for winning Super Bowl XLIX.

We Are the Champions

I’ve paid my dues
Time after time
I’ve done my sentence
But committed no crime
And bad mistakes I’ve made a few
I’ve had my shelves and kicked in my face
But I’ve come through

We are the champions my friend
And we’ll keep on fighting till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers ‘cos We are the champions of the world

I’ve taken my bows
my curtain calls
You brought me fame and fortune
And everything that goes with it
I thank you all
But it’s been no bed of roses
No pleasure cruise
I consider it a challenge before
All human race
And I ain’t gonna lose

We are the champions my friend
And we’ll keep in fighting till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers ‘cos
We are the champions of the world
We are the champions my friend
And we’ll keep in fighting till the end
Ooh, we are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers ‘cos
We are the champions

27 Days of Old School: #13 “Alone” (by Heart)


Heart

“How do I get you alone”

Early last year I posted one of my favorite songs from my youth and it was by the band Heart. That song was “These Dreams” and still continues to be a favorite of mine to this day. My second favorite from this band is their power ballad from their 1987 album Bad Animals.

“Alone” is actually an even better song but “These Dreams” was just the song that first introduced me to the Wilson Sisters, Ann and Nancy. Where the earlier song was more folksy in it execution with “Alone” we get a full out power ballad that includes Nancy doing a guitar solo near the end. Ann Wilson crushes this song and just reinforces the fact that she remains one of the best, if not the best, female rock vocalist to ever belt out a song.

Oh, I still have a major crush on Nancy Wilson right up to this day. She’s definitely the first lady of rock.