Songs Worth Learning - 16

Songs Worth Learning - 16

There are certain songs that I think every guitar player should try to learn. Either they have cool guitar parts, or they will expand your playing skills, or they will introduce you to a style of music you may not have played before. I am going to recommend songs in several styles of music and explain why I think they should be added to your “play list.” Obviously, these are my choices, and no doubt, some will disagree with my choices. But each song has something good to offer so I think they are worth learning. 

This will eventually be a huge list so I am going to post them one song at a time in no particular order. Take your time and enjoy each one.

Rock Around The Clock - Bill Haley & His Comets

In 1954 rock and roll was in its infancy. Bill Haley & His Comets had gone into the studio to record a new song (Thirteen Women) their record label, Decca, wanted them to record as a single. This was before multi-track recording so the band all played together and did take after take until they got a good one. Getting a good take of “Thirteen Women”, which the band was not familiar with, took almost the entire session. With the remaining time they did two takes of a song they had been performing live to good reaction. A song called “Rock Around The Clock.” In the first take the band was too loud so they did another. 

They had brought in a lead guitar player named Danny Cedrone for the session. He didn’t know they were going to be playing “Rock Around The Clock” and had not worked out a solo for it, which lead to him playing the frantic, now famous solo on the record. He was paid $31 for the session. 

Decca deemed “Rock Around The Clock” good enough to be the B-side of the “Thirteen Women” single. The single sales of “Thirteen Women” were underwhelming, yet life is always full of surprises. It just so happened that a young boy flipped the single over and fell in love with “Rock Around The Clock.” And this boy’s father just happened to be famous actor Glenn Ford who was about to star in a move called Blackboard Jungle. The boy recommended the song to his father for the movie and it was played over the opening credits. After the release of the movie in 1955, “Rock Around The Clock” sold over one million copies in a single month. 

This is an early rock and roll classic from the era when guitar players still used jazz guitars and still played jazz chords. The ninth chords in this song still sound way cool and the manic solo is still a fun picking workout. 

1, 2, 3 O-Clock, 4 O-Clock rock…


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