Monday, May 12, 2008

Brilliant Musical Moments

It's been a while since I wrote a music thing, but I actually liked doing the previous ones. Here I try to capture the greatest rock music moments, usually a little snippet of a song, that carry the weight of the entire piece, or album, as it may be. Be advised, some of my past posts (such as about rock riffs, etc) have several of the same songs as listed below - that's no accident, of course.

- The Who - "Shakin' All Over"
After the second chorus, they break into a thundering "boom" of a D chord that just destroys the arena during their "Live At Leeds" recording. The subsequent 20 seconds are priceless.

- Led Zeppelin - "Stairway To Heaven"
Before the great big guitar solo, that set of chords that stop the percussion and is basically a "bah bah bing....bah bah bing....bah bah bing bing bing" deal - wow great stuff.

- Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Freebird"
The introductory slide guitar from Gary Rossington is legendary, and we all remember it. While somewhat of a trite reference, that passage sticks with us.

- Led Zeppelin - "Whole Lotta Love"
Forget it, the opening is enough to sell the car. Plant's opening chuckle helps the cause.

- Ozzy Osbourne - "Bark At The Moon"
The opening of the song is priceless. It was always a goodie to blast in the car when angry, upset, or whatever. The monstrous, hard-edged guitar riff to open the track had so much power to it, I loved it back in the day. I distinctly remember the day, back in 1984 (I believe) the video was to premiere, and I made my mother wait for the video to air on MTV before we went to the store. She didn't get it.

- Soundgarden - "Half"
A Ben Shepherd track, very strange and brief. But after the peculiar vocals are delivered, the band tacets into a haunting but beautiful bass passage that, even to this day, sends chills. Worth hunting down, despite it being what some might consider to be a "throwaway" track.

- The Beatles - "Got To Get You Into My Life"
George Harrison hit it big here, after the second chorus, the so-called "intro to the outro". It's a snaking, heavily bended guitar passage that precedes the big finale. I'll also admit, as a guitarist, it's very hard to replicate. Hats off to him for this one.

- Billy Idol - "Eyes Without A Face"
What starts out to be a slow, balladish song, leads to a powerful guitar riff moment, possibly one of the best ever, mined from the dregs by guitarist Steve Stevens. The obsessive riff breaks the "quietness" of the song like a kamikaze fighter flying into a battleship. Kamikaze moments are always priceless.

- Rolling Stones - "She's A Rainbow"
The opening piano passage is so infectious, I'll never get tired of hearing it. For that matter, most of the song is brilliantly effected, and a favorite of mine that never gets much airplay. Especially valuable for its reflection of the brilliance of Brian Jones as well.

- Van Halen - "Unchained"
This was a fantastically effective opening song back in 1983 and 1984. It was such a glorious moment to see the lights turned down, the crowd go wild, and the long anticipated announcer's famous words. "I give you...the mighty Van Halen!" which yielded that powerful, monstrous opening guitar riff. This was Van Halen when they were cool. They were crazy cool back then, and I'm fortunate enough to be one of the few to have seen it in person back in 1984, as a 12 year old punk. Was lucky to be there.

- Rush - "Xanadu"
Again, obsessions with openings of songs. The riff is huge and pure genius. Being well recorded as well, the guitar double-tracks into both speakers (if you're an old timer like me with stereo only) and seems very multidimensional. A long song, not radio friendly, but worth finding just for the opening alone.

- The Beatles - "A Day In The Life"
Very little can compare to the powerful orchestral progression that follows the "Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head...". At the point of the massive orchestra's chord progression from C to E in a "circle of fifths" (music terms), it's priceless.

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