Songs Worth Learning - 18
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.
Bridge Of Sighs - Robin Trower
Robin Trower initially achieved fame and success in the band Procol Harum (Whiter Shade Of Pale.) Then he launched a successful solo career in the early 1970s. In an era when originality in music was actually prized and encouraged, Robin Trower was often unfairly criticized for sounding too much like Jimi Hendrix. Imagine that happening today. While there were obviously similarities - tones, gear (Strat/Marshall), even a power trio band, Trower always seemed a little bluesier than Hendrix to me. Decide for yourself.
Bridge of Sighs is a moody, slow burning blues/rock masterpiece. This classic moves from an opening trill to a combination of riffs, chords, and fills. It then features unusual (for overdriven rock) major seventh chords in the chorus and a simple, yet highly effective, single note riff as an outro. The main riff is actually very similar to a riff in the song “I Can’t Wait” from his previous year’s Twice Removed From Yesterday album. But Trower is certainly not the first artist to tweak old riffs into new ones. Blues guys do it all the time. And he obviously got it right the second time. The first time they played Bridge Of Sighs live, at Winterland in San Francisco, they got a 10 minute standing ovation.
Some say the song was inspired by the famous Ponte de Sospiri bridge in Venice, also known as the "Bridge of Sighs”, or a 19th century poem by Thomas Hood of the same name. But Trower himself set the record straight when he said he actually saw a horse named Bridge Of Sighs in a sports page and thought it would be a good title for an album or song.
In fact, the whole Bridge Of Sighs album is worth a listen with lots of great guitar playing (and James Dewer’s soulful vocals.) And if you can find a copy of his Robin Trower Live album from 1976 you have found a perfect lesson in how to make one guitar sound huge.