April 21, 2023

126 - The 5 Greatest Live Guitar Moments

In this week's episode, I discuss the top five greatest live guitar moments ever. From Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire to The Beatle's first US performance and the birth of Beatlemania.

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  • Song Study - Sweet Child O'Mine by Guns & Roses released on BGA. Learn this GNR classic note by note as I walk you through a simple beginner version right up to the Slash lead parts.

Main Content

The 47 greatest live guitar moments [Article]

Jimi Hendrix Performs Wild Thing at the Monterey Pop Festival [Video]

Bob Dylan Performs Maggie's Farm Newport Folk Festival [Video]

Sister Rosetta Tharpe Performs Up Above My Head On TV Gospel Time [Video]

The Beatles Perform I Want To Hold Your Hand on The Ed Sullivan Show [Video]

Les Paul and Mary Ford Perform There’s No Place Like Home On The Colgate Comedy Hour [Video]

Beginner Guitar Academy $1 Trial Offer


[00:00:00]: In this week's episode of the Beginner Guitar Training podcast, I'm counting down the top five greatest live guitar moments.

[00:00:34]: Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the Beginner Guitar Academy podcast, episode 126. And in this week's episode, I'm counting down the top five greatest live guitar moments.

Now, as I was going around on the internet, I stumbled across an article by Guitar World magazine titled the 47 Greatest Live Guitar Moments and thought that'd be quite a cool thing to talk about. But I thought that's probably a few too many to try and fit into an episode of the BGA podcast. So I cut down to the top five and these are iconic guitar moments I'm sure you've heard about, but you might not actually have heard the actual recordings. And that's what I will be playing in this episode.

All these recordings have come from YouTube and you can find links to those on the show notes page over at www.bgapodcast.com/126. Before we dive into that here is a bit of housekeeping, and that is, I have released this month's Song Study. So a little bit later in the month than I hoped because we got a bit of work done in the house and I just couldn't get into the studio to record it. But it's now live in the Academy. So if you go to the community section in the forums, you'll see it there under the section Song Study. And it's Sweet Child of Mind by Guns and Roses And I go through a nice simple beginner guitar version. So if you have only played a few months, it's a great one to just get your open chords going. And then I go over the obviously the harder slash parts, the cool little intro riff, the riffs he does over the chorus, and then his solos as well.

Now I've only the first two solos. I haven't done the third solo, so up to about three and a half minutes of the song I have done for you guys. I'm going to put the tab in there for the rest of it, but it's just going to make the video way too long and it's obviously a little bit more tricky. But if you do get as far as that last solo, let me know and I'll do you a personal video going through it. So that is in the community now for you to check out.

So that's all the housekeeping for you this week so let's dive into this week's content the five greatest live guitar moments.

Okay, so let's dive straight into number five greatest live guitar moment is Jimi Hendrix at the Montreal Pop Festival in 1967. This was a three-day music festival held on June 16th to the 18th, 1967. That was kind of the start of the whole flower power hippie movement in America they had some big names in this festival as well including Janis Joplin, Jefferson Aeroplane, otis reading, the Mamas & the Papas, the who and the Grateful Dead.

The big talk of this festival was The Who, because Pete Townsend smashed up his guitar but Hendrix kind of wanted to steal the show and make him become the iconic part of the festival. So before he and The Experience went on stage, he asked around, got some light fluid, put it behind his Marshall stack, ready to steal the show. And steal the show he did. He kind of stole the show before that in typical Hendrix style coming out like he does, dressed like he does, playing the guitar like he does, using the feedback, his effects, his whammy technique, playing with his teeth, and his kind of showmanship that Hendrix isn't renowned for. So even before he sets fire to his guitar, he's already put on a very memorable Hendrix performance. And then he takes that light fluid, douses the guitar and sets it ablaze. You've probably seen that iconic picture of him above his guitar, the flames coming up. Super iconic. And a really iconic guitar as well. You can even get that guitar. It's a limited edition guitar you can get from Fender. It's got a cool little design that Hendrix actually painted on his guitar the night before with nail polish. So everything is just iconic, everything's just classic about that whole performance. So have a listen to Wildfing by Jim Hendrix and The Experience.

[00:10:26]: So the fourth greatest live guitar performance is Bob Dylan's performance at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. Now, up to this point, Bob Dylan had been on stage with just himself, his guitar and probably a harmonica. That is it. And maybe another singer that he's duetting with. But at this folk festival, he came on stage with a full band, an electric band. It was the first ever time he'd played an electric set. The reason why, as Rumor has it, I think this is actually documented is Paul Butterfield Blues Band went on, I think it was Saturday, and they were introduced by Alan Lomax, and he wasn't very nice introducing them and said, something to the effect that they're imitating and not an original band. Bob Dylan took offence to this because he was friends with Paul Butterfield Blues Band and the members of it and got together with the guys and on a Saturday night rehearsed for a few hours and then came on stage on Sunday with a full band. It was not expected, it was not announced. He just came on stage and rocked out a set, I think, about three or four songs.

Now, I will play for you the first song of that set, which is Maggie's Farm and check out the guitar work here. Mike Bloomfield, a guitar player in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, is such an awesome guitar player. And you'll see what I mean when you listen to this and you can close your eyes, expect Bob Dylan to come on stage with acoustic guitar, close your eyes, then listen to what you hear and what they would have heard on that day, thinking, oh, yeah, we're going to have an acoustic guitarist. And then you don't get an acoustic guitarist. Yeah, check this out, and you'll see what I mean. So here is Bob Dylan playing Maggie's farm.

[00:17:02]: So the third greatest live guitar moment of all time is Sister Roseta Tharpe on the TV Gospel Time show in the mid 60s. Now, if you don't know Sister Rosetta Tharpe definitely check her out. She's known as the Godmother of rock and roll, and she was the first great recording star of gospel music. What's interesting about her, she's singing gospel music but she's rocking out on a 62 Gibson SG. Really, really cool. And she has been named by so many different musicians as being a big influence, including people like Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lewis and Eric Clapton.

Tharpe was a pioneer in her guitar techniques. She was among the first popular recording artists to use distortion and basically paved the way for electric blues guitar or blues-rock guitar. Her guitar playing had a profound influence on many British blues guitar play as well in the 1960s. And she actually did a European tour with Muddy Waters in 1964, which stopped in Manchester on May the 7th and is cited by Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Keith Richard an influence on their playing. So check out this awesome track. This is from the TV Gospel Time show and it's called Up Above My Head.

[00:21:06]: The second greatest live guitar moment is the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 1964. Now, to give an idea of how popular they were at this time, there were 50,000 ticket requests to watch them. The studio they were playing in only seated 728. When Elvis Presley debuted on the same show in 1957, there were 7000 ticket requests.

This really was the start of the whole Beatles boom, Beatlesmania, and it's considered a milestone in American popular music and, furthermore, the beginning of the British Invasion in pop music in America. Now, the broadcast drew more than 73 million viewers, a record in US television at the time. A typical Sullivan broadcast at the time only drew in about 21 million. I say only obviously 21 is quite a lot, but 73 million is quite substantially more after this performance instrument order skyrocketed as a direct consequence. And George Harrison on the show was playing a Gretch and Gretch then sold 20,000 guitars a week after their performance. And the Gretch he was playing was a Gretch country gentleman, just in case you were wondering.

The appearance also inspired a lot of up-and-coming musicians, including Billy Joel, Tom Petty, Gene Simmons, Joe Perry, Nancy Williams and Kenny Loggins. Nancy Williams, I think Joe Perry as well said the performance inspired them to pick up the guitar and to play. So it was a really big iconic moment for the Beatles and basically popular music.

Now we're going to check out I Want to Hold Your Hands taken from the Ed Sullivan Show performance.

[00:25:03]: So the number one greatest live guitar moment of all time is a duet between Mary Ford and Les Paul. And this is taken from the Colgate Comedy Hour from 1954. Now, you may have heard of Les Paul, I'm sure you've heard of him in regard to his name on Gibson guitars. Yes, this is that Les Paul. He was a guitarist, songwriter, luthia, inventor and pioneer of the solid-body electric guitar. And his wife is Mary Ford. And they're both rocking out Gibson Les Paul's gold top Gibson Les Paul's just two years after they were first introduced and they're playing basically like a tongue-in-cheek guitar battle. They basically do a mock guitar battle and they're performing their song There's No Place Like Home. Now these two were big recording artists in the early fifties, and they produced 16 top ten hits, including two number-one tunes. And in 1951 alone, they sold more than 6 million records. So they're a big deal, Les Paul and Mary Ford. So take a listen to them playing There's No Place Like Home and their guitar battle.

[00:31:37]: And there we go. And hopefully, you enjoyed this week's episode of the Beginning Guitar Academy podcast. I definitely recommend you go and check out the article which inspired this week's episode, the 47 Greatest Live Guitar Moments. You can find the link to that over on the website https://www.bgapodcast.com/126.

Now, if you haven't already, make sure you subscribe to the podcast. Just hit the little subscribe button. Whichever podcast app you are using to listen to me today, I'd really appreciate a review. It only takes a few minutes. You can head over to the BGA podcast website to do that www.bgapodcast.com or you can do it on Apple or Spotify, wherever you're listening to me today.

And also, if you are battling out trying to learn guitar on your own, finally going around in circles, pulling your hair out, I invite you to come and check out my online guitar school. Beginner Guitar Academy. At beginner guitar academy.com, you will find a complete structured syllabus across five levels, built off the G4 guitar method, a method that I use in my offline guitar school and is taught worldwide to thousand of guitar students every week.

I teach the seven essential guitar skills and put them in a class format. So every time you log on, it's like you're taking a class with me at my offline guitar school, I go through warmups, skills, and songs everything you need to become an awesome guitar player. Also, on the website, we have songs, we have quick tips, we have riffs and every month I do a new workshop. You can start beginning guitar at the Minute for a $1 two week trial and you can do that over at Beginning Guitar Academy.com. And I hope to see you in the academy real soon.

So that is it from me this week, guys. So keep practicing, have an awesome week, and I'll catch you next week for another episode.