Here is the playlist and commentary for Rick’s Radio show on Radio Turia on April 24, 2013.
The show is all about the electric guitar in the 20th century. Rick’s Radio show almost always has some theme about it and today we will hear some of the greatest electric guitar players of the 20th Century.
One of the most important performers on the electric guitar, and probably the first to actually use one on stage and in recordings is Charlie Christian. Gaining exposure for himself and the electric guitar from none other than Benny Goodman. He played from 1939 to 1941 and helped to bring the guitar from the rhythm section to the front as a solo instrument.
Charlie was the roots of bebop and cool jazz. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Here is one of his early recordings from 1940 called:
WAITING FOR BENNY
Now we move on to a very popular French artist, Django Rhienhardt, who astoundingly played the guitar using only 2 fingers, as his others were burnt at an early age. I am always amazed at how agile he moves through his scales on the guitar with just those two fingers.
Moving on to the 1950’s we are going to the king of the blues BB King. Electric guitars took a smooth passage from jazz into blues and there is no better way to start the 50’s than with the king of blues.
It would be hard to ignore the next blues artists, who started around the same times as BB King and many would argue as to who is the greatest bluesmen. So the question is really not who is the greatest but what you feel from each artist who is great in his own right. We find ourselves with Buddy Guy and Junior Wells with a great hit from the 60’s that influenced many rock groups from the Rolling Stones to Led Zeppelin.
Now we are taking a step into rock and roll with a legendary group of the 60’s that again showcases the expansion of the electric guitar into rock. Following Beck’s departure from the Yardbirds. Now, I am going to skip onto arguably the best guitar player ever. That would be Jeff Beck playing Blues Deluxe in 1969 under his own bands name.
Next up is Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix took guitar to new heights not only in his agility on the frets but because he could play the guitar with any part of his body; tongue, hips, arms, hair, legs, he did not care and the more he played the more outrageous he got.
Kicking into the 70’s came several greats on rock and blues, none had more guts than George Thorogood. Oh George, you are one bad boy! George is not only a great guitarist but was an amazing front man. Something every group needs. George rocked his live audience and I was proud to have seen him do this set back then. No song had more raunchy aura than this one:
BAD TO THE BONE
On another note, lost guitarists we move on to Stevie Ray Vaughn. Stevie died in a plane crash just as he was breaking out on his own. His brother had gained fame with the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Stevie Ray was on his way. I have a lot of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s recordings and saw him live. He was amazing and never missed a lick. Here is a nifty ditty called:
YOU’LL BE MINE
So now we get into the 90’s with Dire Straights where we start to hear Mark Knopfler taking the spotlight. When I first heard this song I went nuts over Knopfler’s amazing tonics, chording, and changes. The electric guitar was like putty in his hands and he could build anything out of it.
TUNNEL OF LOVE
For the final tracks we have Eric Johnson representing the late 90’s and his amazing guitar does not let you down.
Cliffs Of Dover