Monday, February 28, 2011

Take It, Slim

One rock & roll trope that has fallen by the wayside in recent years is the lead singer verbally throwing it to his lead guitarist in advance of the requisite guitar solo. This is probably in large part because hardly anything is recorded live in the studio anymore, but also because the gold standard has already been achieved in this field, way back in 1974 on Rick Derringer's version of "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo," in which he preceded the guitar solo by saying, "Yeah, did somebody say keep on rocking?" Lawdy mama, I believe someone did!

That will certainly never be topped, although we're also quite partial to Ringo Starr, throwing it to George Harrison on the Beatles' "Honey Don't": "Rock on, George, one time for me" - and then following it up, before the next break, with "Rock on, George, for Ringo one time." That was the lofty hurdle Rick Derringer had to clear, but clear it he did.

I'm also partial to the purity Bob Dylan brings to "The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)," the version on his Greatest Hits Volume Two: "Well, that GIT-tar now!" Any other nominees?


  1. I guess "Go, Johnny, go" doesn't count as a "throw," since it's mid-solo. But that was a fine Beatles moment, too.

  2. Take me down, Jimmy! Move over, Rover, and let Jimi take over! Rock me, Joe! Play it, Steve! OK, Edge, play the blues! CC, pick up that guitar and uh, talk to me!

    (motivational words courtesy of Paul, Jimi, Francis, either Sam or Dave, Bono and Bret)

  3. I always thought Paul McCartney was saying "take me down, Junior!" but it was you who pointed out to me that in fact, he is saying "Jimmy!" i.e. his actual guitarist, rather than the proprietor of the farm.

  4. Rob mentioned my favorite: Black Francis's "Rock me, Joe!"
    No idea why I find that so funny.

    How about McCartney's growled, "Oh, COME ON!" in "Back In The USSR"?

    Or somebody on Neil Young's "The Losing End" (it doesn't sound like Neil - maybe it's Danny Whitten?): "Pick it, Wilson."

  5. On the great "Mississippi" by John Phillips, he introduces a guitar line in the first half-minute by saying, "Do it to me James"--as in James Burton.

    I believe that on the version of "Life in the Fast Lane" found on "Eagles Live," Don Henley says, "Step on it, Joe," before Walsh takes his solo at the end.

    And there's "Play it, Steve" on Sam & Dave's "Soul Man" (lifted directly by John Belushi on the Blues Brothers' version).

    In the words of C.W. McCall, "we gone bye-bye."

  6. I've got blisters on my fingers!

    (At least that's what I would be saying if I read this blog in Braille.)

  7. Is that your way of asking for more Stevie Wonder items?

  8. I'm fond of Mike Doughty's "Oh let's get down, to business now" on "Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well."

  9. There's a brilliant moment in Nick Lowe's early Stiff single "I Love My Label," where he says "Play the blues," right before a totally white faux-classical In-My-Life style piano break.

  10. back to Ringo, he sings "If You've Got Trouble" a shelved song CIRCA 1966 that ended up on the Beatles Anthology where he says, "ah, rock on, anybody!!!"

    And there is debate over whether it is Ringo or John who says "I've got blisters on my fingers!" I always thought it was John. A Beatle fanatic friend says it's gotta be Ringo.

  11. oh, I just remembered the classic:

    OK, let's give it to 'em right now!!

    And "c'mon Billy" Rod Stewart says to Billy Peek before his guitar break in "Young Turks."