A bright sunny May day (for a change) in Manchester as we made our way beyond the centre of the city and through a housing estate into the Apollo. As is standard for a Manchester gig John Robb is holding court in the foyer, a quick hello and we’re into the main hall.
Buzzcocks – Boredom
A real punk two fingered salute to the prog rock guitar noodling before it. Shelley’s two note solo leads the way. B’dum b’dum!
XTC – Books Are Burning (Late Show Version)
XTC’s Andy Partridge called a halt to live performances following an unfortunate bout of anxiety whilst performing a gig in 1982 (captured on video below)
So he must’ve dug deep to perform on TV 10 years later to promote their fantastic Nonsuch album. Andy’s guitar solo has to be up there with the greatest.
David Bowie – Scary Monsters
Robert Fripp’s guitar work throughout this track is pretty nuts. The guitar work towards the end is quite something.
When Bowie toured in the 90s this was a regular in the setlist. Reeves Gabrels gives it some welly.
Incidentally Reeves throws a wonderful solo into Tin Machine’s Roxy Music cover of If There Is Something
Big Country – Wonderland
I have to throw Big Country into here. The band’s “bagpipe guitar” style and their output is worthy of a mention. Here we have Stuart Adamson and co extending the middle section in a live performance of Wonderland. They were always great live.
The Damned – Noise Noise Noise
I could’ve chosen just about any Sensible era Damned track for inclusion here. Captain Sensible is such an underrated guitarist.
The Stranglers – Goodbye Toulouse
Taken from their first album this track paves the way forward for Hugh’s signature guitar sound (Telecaster, no pedals, “angular”). A unique guitar sound which would see The Stranglers as the most successful punk band and gave them hit after hit from 1977 to Hugh’s departure in 1990.
Ultravox – All Stood Still
Losing serious cool points here I know (not that I had any to lose). So Midge Ure makes it into my Top 10 guitar solos?! Yeah get over it. Another underrated guitarist. Legend has it that Midge was called up to play for Thin Lizzy when Gary Moore left. Midge didn’t have time to prepare and only had the Concorde flight from UK to US to learn the tracks by ear that he was about to perform. Not a massive fan of Ultravox or Midge but this deserves a nod.
Frank Black – Bad Wicked World
Frank’s Teenager Of The Year album is a humdinger from start to finish. So many great tracks and a natural progression from his time in the Pixies. And Pixies guitarist provides us with this quirky solo that made me LOL when I first heard it.
Velvet Underground – Heard Her Call My Name
The steam train progression and feedback all over this solo make it something to behold. The live version of this track is also worth a listen on their reformed 1993 Live album.
Julian Cope – Charlotte Anne
Donald Ross Skinner laid down some fantastic guitar which was always buried in 80s production treacle. A great example is on Cope’s Charlotte Anne single from 88.