In this special video, I choose five guitar solos and explain why I think they are so special and what album you can find them on.

  1. Paul Kossoff: Mr Big : Free Live
  2. Bill Nelson: Crying To The Sky: Be-Bop Deluxe: Sunburst Finish
  3. Lindsey Buckingham : So Afraid: Fleetwood Mac Live
  4. Ronnie Montrose: Zero G : Speed of Sound
  5. Ritchie Blackmore: A200: Deep Purple Burn

Video Transcription (Edited for ease of reading)

I have chosen these guitar solos not because there are hundreds of notes, but because there is something about these songs and the way the guitar solo is involved with the song that to me really shows what a real guitar hero is all about.

Some of them may be obvious, but some of them may not be! These aren’t in any particular order of which one is greatest but taken together feature some of the most emotive guitar playing ever laid down.

Paul Kossoff : Mr Big from the album Free Live (1971)

There are many versions of this track available but this is the one to have. When it comes to playing with emotion Paul Kossoff had it in spades.  The guitar solo is not fast but the way he builds up to the crescendo taking in the feeling behind the words and the song is just stunning. It is pure humanity, I don’t know what else to call it. It probably is one of Free’s finest performances and the guitar solo is one of Paul Kossoff’s best ever. The song also features a fantastic bass solo by Andy Frasier and Kossoff supply a backing that is just perfect for the song. Every home should have a copy!

Bill Nelson: Crying To The Sky: From Be-Bop Deluxe: Sunburst Finish (1976)

I’m choosing Crying To The Sky to represent this reluctant guitar hero. This is from the album Sunburst Finish, it was also the B Side of Ships In The Night. This solo is absolutely incredible, it has got to be one of the finest solos he ever laid down did. During the guitar solo he teeters on the edge of feedback as if he can barely control the guitar. The guitar sound is absolutely so huge. The solo at the end also follows this path with each note literally crying to the sky.

Lindsey Buckingham: So Afraid: From Fleetwood Mac Live (1980)

This is from Fleetwood Mac live, it is one of the last songs on the 2LP set.  During this guitar solo towards the end, he actually breaks a string, but I think this is what makes it so amazing. You can picture an image of him standing on the edge of the stage, just about holding it together. The notes are long, they’re not rushed and he plays higher and higher, building into this crescendo. Lindsey also supplies the lead vocals on this track and so when he sings, I’m so afraid. Not only do you feel that he really is afraid of something, but the guitar solo translates that fear into music.

Ronnie Montrose: Zero G : From the album Speed of Sound (1988)

This is Ronnie Montrose from Speed of Sound. I have chosen this because of the guitar tone. I think the way Ronnie comes in on this track Zero-G is just fantastic. Just listen to that sound. He also uses just a subtle amount of tremolo on the sustained notes. I never tire of listening to this and it is my favourite instrumental guitar album.

Ritchie Blackmore: A200: From the album Deep Purple Burn (1974)

Finally, I have chosen something by Ritchie Blackmore (are you surprised!) It is not an obvious one. In fact, at the beginning, it sounds like an outtake from Dr Who! Even the reviews at the time saw this track as the weakest on the album.

But the guitar solo? My God, is it fantastic? Just listen to how he comes in. The hairs on the back of my neck still stand to attention after all these years.

So there you have it, a quick rundown of five guitar solos I feel convey human emotion as good as any voice. Each chosen not for guitar heroics but for playing that enhancing the song and the music.

if you’ve got any ideas for future videos, please get in touch

Phil Aston

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