tony peluso's guitar break(explosion)in the carpenter's song'goodbye to love'....leaves you wondering where the heck that came from. brilliant.
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Mahavishnu John McLaughlin - Mahavishnu Orchestra - Inner Mounting Flame. Being a devout fan (then and now). Jimi's death hit me very hard emotionally and left me feeling a huge void would be left unfilled. The MO album came out and I honestly picked it up 'cause I was becomng a rabid Billy Cobham fan due to his earlier work with Dreams. Imagine my surprise!!! Mclaughlin's not Hendrix, but his guitar intensity and music just felt right and left me feeling the void was beginning to be filled. I so wish Johnny Mac would just get his hands back on a Gibson Les Paul! An interesting story I read about 'Voodoo Chile...', some cameramen were in the studio and asked Jimi to just let it all hang out and do his 'Wild Man' thing while they filmed it, so he did. On his knees, behind the back, tounging the geetar, humping microphone stands and amps, totally improvised! Now THAT is virtuoso genius, and wouldn't ya love to see that video clip!
First off there are way to many "explosions" as you call them to list & it is completely unfair to limit this response to a single event as you call for.
In my humble opinion this is not even remotely possible as an exercise to list just one "Best Guitar Explosion of all Time".
There have been so many great performances over the years, none better than the next just different, unique and/or magical in and of themself.
If we could narrow down the pool of choices by using some variables of sorts it would give us at least a fighting chance at "the Best".
1.) Using a particular "genre" of music
2.) Picking a specific period in time
(i.e. 60's, 70's, 80's...etc)
3.) Having some other sort of other classification or label that would narrow down the field
(i.e. artist vs. band, dead vs. alive, live vs. studio etc)
As a guitar player & connoisseur of all types of music my experiences go back now almost 40 years so I would like to think I have a little of a track record and personal experiences to pull from.
OK, now that I have that off my chest and was able to throw in my 2 cents I will give at least my Sunday 05.13.07 Explosion.
This is a selection that has always been up there for me personally as one of those "magical moments" that over the years seems to be often imitated but never duplicated.
This from the current "hardest working guitarist in the biz":
Mr. Warren Haynes of Gov't Mule
We will be choosing the following event (Warren has had countless nights that have brought grown men to tears so the explosion selection I am going after could be anyone of many he has thrown down with);
song: TEMPORARY SAINT > THORAZINE SHUFFLE
5th track of the evening ~ Set #1 (depending on how your copies tracking is)
where: 4:35 +/- of Temporary Saint is where the "Explosion" as you so eloquently put it is beginning to erupt, this then continues on for several more minutes )
venue: The Fillmore
city / state: San Francisco, California
Fortunately there are dozens of great scorching guitar moments available for hungry consumers. Can't pick a best, but McLaughlin Inner Mounting Flame is *#*&**!!! brilliant. "Purpose of When" from his Devotion record kills too. Sonny Sharrock "Dick Dogs", Reeves Gabrels "Heavens In Here", Ollie Halsall "Money Bag", Peter Wolbrandt "Holiday in Martenhorn" John Etheridge on "Saturation Point", Zappa "Muffin Man", Michael Karoli "Vernal Equinox"... Checking out David Fiuczynski, David Torn, Toto Blanke (Spider Dance) and Ron Thal (Bumblefoot) should pay off too. There's a not too bad Banyan "Maggotbrain" clip on Youtube where Nels Cline tears it up pretty good. Gotta agree there was only one J. H. the Ax Generich stuff on early Guru Guru records nails the LSD Hendrix thing.
Like others above, I give Fripp some serious credit for the stuff he's done with Eno. Many nights I've listened to those solos and been amazed. Funny enough, I sat next to him at a show in town a few years back where a friend of mine was playing. He was asking me questions about my friend and it was all I could do to answer calmly and not blurt out something stupid like "You're a freakin' god, man!"
@ Btstrg: you've beat me to it. I have seen and heard many wonderfull guitarists, but there's something magical about Eruption. Maybe it's because it was the first proper guitarsolo I heard when I was a teenager, or that it inspired me to play guitar myself... Every time I hear the first notes, I get this happy feeling inside. And that's what's music is about!
"Btstrg" and "Satch" - Another great choice and Eddie is another of my huge favorites! "Pje" is getting way too serious about this! It's supposed to be fun. We are not analyzing the notes, but how you were just blown away by a certain guitar solo. It's all a matter of personal fav's and nobody is wrong. I just like to have others help me explore music I haven't experienced and the electric guitar solos are the most emotionally exciting for me.
Some of my favorites:
Sonny Sharrock on Herbie Mann's "Hold On, I'm Comin'"
Bill Nelson (Be-Bop Deluxe) "Cryin' To the Sky"
Vernon Reid (Living Colour) "Cult Of Personality"
Jimi Hendrix "Machine Gun"
Hubert Sumlin on Howlin' Wolf's "Love Me Darlin''
John McLaughlin "Dragon Song"
Duane Allman (Allman Brothers) "Hot 'lanta"
Ok, since no one mentioned Stevie Ray Vaughn, then I need to add him next to John Mclaughlin and a few others--I actually liked Birds Of Fire better than Inner Mounting Flame, with speedy Narada Walden on drums replacing the thunderous Cobham.
Ray Vaughn's solo work was other worldly at times, and there were a couple moments on his Austin City tapes that were absolutely on fire-- he even did incredible justice to a Hendrix staple.
I'll never forget the video tribute paid him on PBS where the likes of Clapton said he wished he had half the talent of SRV, and Buddy Guy said his solos were almost beyond possible in terms of intesity and virtuosity. His peers all thought his solos were the best they'd seen.
Not to say Vaughn deserves his own category in terms of 'eruptive solos' but he damn sure belongs on the list with all the others mentioned. Another not mentioned is legend BB King. In his day he could deliver chills with the best of them. I'd put SRV in the Hendix, B.B King, Mclaughlin and George Benson (pre-pop) category as the best "eruption" guitarists I've seen/heard.
Eddie V.? Great guitarist that never had the range or balls to step out of formula to show how good he might have been. He got trapped in cliche' laden pop-rock. Sure you saw glimpses of the incredible raw talent and "explosion" but none of it sustained like J Mac, Stevie, Hendrix or BB. Fripp too.
Phenomonal Jazz guitarist George Benson sold his talent out to sugar coated million dollar pop in the same way, but at least he made his mark as an explosive solo guitarist in Jazz before cashing in--and played with legendary side-men on the Rudy Van Gelder label to boot. Eddie never got the chance, or didn't take the opportunity when it came--he was having too much fun counting $. Too bad. With Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth as frontmen, VH music was totally unlistenable IMO.
Many good suggestions...Eddie Van Halen and Vernon Reid for sure.
Jimi and Stevie Ray to me are among the best(I watch tape of SRV playing and it is like some Higher Power flowing through him) - personally, I prefer them to Clapton. Leslie West of Mountain. Pete Townsend with the Who...start with Live at Leeds or take your pick (Quadrophenia's "Love Reign O'er Me"). Neil Young - Cinnamon Girl, Southern Man, practically the whole Zuma album also the Freedom album. Very many things by Frank Zappa ("Orange County Lumber Truck" on Weasels Ripped my Flesh...why do think he's laughing at you after the abrupt break at the end of the cut???...cause you want more and he knows it). Roy Buchanan. Rory Gallagher.
A question for the Fripp "Baby's on Fire" contingent: Anyone else prefer Phil Manzanera's version with 801?
Even though it would never qualify as an "explosion" my favorite Fripp solo for Eno is the odd, little elliptical piece on "St. Elmo's Fire" from Another Green World.
If the "explosion" is a burst of energy at the end of a long solo "fuse" (maybe "guitargasm" works better) there are a bunch of Richard Thomspon solos that rise to the top of my list - the live "Calvary Cross" from the Watching the Dark Box set might be first among those IMHO.