Saturday, July 7, 2012

A blast from the past.

I was wandering around the Internets yesterday, minding mah own bidness when to my surprise, listening to Alex Chadwick's One Hundred Riffs in one take, the guitarist played the opening riff of a song I hadn't heard in maybe forty years.

The song was from 1969, titled Oh Well by a fresh new band from England called Fleetwood Mac.

Yes, Fleetwood Mac before the introduction of estrogen.

Oh Well was written and sung by Peter Green, the guy on the far right.  The original version is just over nine minutes long and split into two parts. The first part starts with an acoustic guitar riff that builds into a monster jam, with two short lyrical bursts punctuating a blistering guitar and drum riff. The first part ends with a big crescendo, then acoustic guitar playing a very pretty and simple chord progression/melody, soon to be joined by a full orchestra and somebody playing the recorder.  Here's the cleanest version of it I can find on The You Tubes.

Sadly, Green got messed up on drugs and the band had to let him go. Rock music of the 1970s was notorious for becoming ridiculously pretentious with massive orchestral versions. (Think Stairway to Heaven and Bohemian Rhapsody.) In some ways, a lot of this this was just people trying to capture lightning in a bottle the way Peter Green did with his odd combination of early heavy metal and the film scores of Ennio Morricone.


Joshua Macrae said...

Thirty seconds into it and I suddenly realized where Jet got "Are you Gonna Be My Girl?"

Not that the question had been laguishing in my prefrontal cortex, but some things you hold onto for a long time.

Matty Boy said...

Nice to hear from you, nef.

I'm not so sure. Early hard rock has a lot of riffs like the beginning of the song by Jet, and the screaming style of singing is more like Zep or AC/DC. The big difference between Oh Well and a lot of other hard rock is how long it stays on one theme with only minimal variation and chord changes, and then the trip off into film music land.