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A big hello to my readers! I know I’ve been for quite a long time, but you should already know the reason. During the long and stressful holiday I took from blogging, I happened to stumble onto a band known as ‘The Ventures’. Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’ve known The Ventures from a very long time. But just recently did I have the pleasure of putting my headphones on and listening to the beautiful cover songs they produced. I shall be putting up my top 5 Ventures cover songs post this Top 5 review.

Aah, guitar solos. Where would we Rock fans be if it weren’t for those soul stirring moments wherein the guitarist makes his instrument cry? While the previous sentence may sound oddly sadistic, it’s very much true. That squealing sound of a guitar, finely tuned to the craft of its master, can send shivers up the listener’s skin. The high pitch notes, which send an electric zap right through your skin, and those low pitches, which match the beats of your heart – a true Rock enthusiast would surely know what I’m saying here. Not only does a guitar solo have the power to make one move to its rhythm, but also possesses the unreal ability to express what the singer can’t. Some artists have signature solo styles, some don’t. The quality of a guitar solo doesn’t depend on the duration, but on the skill exhibited. According to my knowledge, there are 2 unique skills which clearly distinguish guitar artists:

  • Shredding
  • Bending

Shredding is generally used in Heavy Metal, Death Metal, Hard Rock, Alternative Rock, etc. Shredding is basically playing the guitar at an unreal speed. The speed required in this technique is sometimes so much that the fingers aren’t visible in the video. Shredding can be related to a vengeful, hateful or upbeat mood (depends on the mood of the song and the band). Shredding requires a LOT of talent. Bending, on the other hand, is a very unique skill only few maestros possess. It is a slow technique wherein the focus is more on the notes, not the speed. Bending, if performed properly, can bring out emotions nothing else can express. Anyways, back to the showdown!

Number 5: Avenged Sevenfold – So Far Away

So Far Away - Syn

So Far Away – A7X

I am a huge fan of Avenged Sevenfold. They’ve helped me in almost all of my sorrows. Their songs are a bit different than the mainstream Rock bands, but once you start developing that taste for music, you’re hooked. My idol from this band is Synyster Gates. A superb guitar player, who relentlessly shreds his guitar and chokes us with emotions. This song, however, is not about vengeance, nor anger. It’s about sorrow, regret, remorse – This song was made on account of the passing away of the band’s primary drummer – The Rev. The solo is so beautiful, it made me cry like a baby (not just the first time I heard it. I still cry every time it plays).

Solo timing: 02:22 – Rest of song

Download linkhttp://www.maplespace.net/wp-content/plugins/mp3-player-plugin-for-wordpress/mp3/so%20far%20away-Avenged%20Sevenfold.mp3

Lyricshttp://artists.letssingit.com/avenged-sevenfold-lyrics-so-far-away-w69ngcn

 

 

Number 4: Santana – While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Santana

Santana – While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Let’s face it – There is no one like Santana. His style and technique are completely different than everyone out there today. The confidence this man shows when he holds the guitar is baffling. Santana shares a place is Rock and Roll’s most famous list – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has collaborated with countless artists and helped them get recognized. From Maria Maria to this song, every tune composed by Santana haunts the very living out of you. This song was originally written by The Beatles, after whom Eric Clapton made a different version of the same. Santana covered the original, and boy does it make you move. India.Arie’s voice and Santana’s amazing technique are guaranteed to leave you spellbound for the remainder of the day.

Solo timing: Full Song

Download linkhttp://www.santana.com/audio/Supernatural%20Legacy/WhileMyGuitarGentlyWeeps.mp3

Lyricshttp://artists.letssingit.com/santana-lyrics-while-my-guitar-gently-weeps-6359drz#axzz2tOHO2Nmm

 

 

Number 3: Eric Clapton – Layla

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton – Layla

Absolute genius. A master of the guitar, Clapton can make his guitar sing and awaken the dead. His technique – relentless. His style – unmatched. This solo helped me understand what Rock really is about. The very first notes of the solo tell you that the forthcoming is going to be amazing. His skill is not bound within the constraints of an electric guitar – His acoustic versions are to die for too (Tears in Heaven).

Solo timing: 02:56 – 04:02

Download link: http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~ap87/index_files/Eric%20Clapton-%20Layla.mp3

Lyricshttp://artists.letssingit.com/eric-clapton-lyrics-layla-6zlf5ds#axzz2tOHO2Nmm

 

 

Number 2: Dire Straits – Sultans Of Swing (Alchemy Live)

Dire Straits

Dire Straits – Sultans Of Swing (Alchemy Live)

This song – My oh my. I have NEVER seen so much energy output from a song. And that too from a Live version. Mark Knopfler ABSOLUTELY demolishes it with his crazy licks. Terry Williams (the drummer) has probably ripped the coating of the drum skin. It is the SECOND best live performance I’ve ever seen. I know for a fact that if I was present at this concert, I would’ve died from the sheer ecstasy of the energy and the atmosphere. There are two solos in this version – and both are mind boggling. The first one is performed in between the  second last and the last stanza, and the last one kicks off as soon as the last stanza ends. If you survive the intensity of the first solo, you’d better brace yourself for the next one. Because it contains one of the most amazing guitar riffs I’ve ever heard! And yes, you HAVE to see the video for the live version too. It’s one of the many reasons why I’ve grown to love Dire Straits so much.

Solo timing:

Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Pa9x9fZBtY

Download linkhttp://simant.ru/pub/multimedia/mp3/.fg/D/Dire%20Straits/1984%20-%20Alchemy%20Live/06-Sultans%20Of%20Swing.mp3

Lyricshttp://artists.letssingit.com/dire-straits-lyrics-sultans-of-swing-llgkkwc

 

 

Number 1: Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb (Live in Gdansk)

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb

If God can play the guitar, well then this man is God. I’ve never seen anyone else who handles the guitar as exquisitely as this man does. David Gilmour is the inventor of a technique known as ‘bending’, wherein the guitar  chords are strained to their maximum potential to get every last ounce of sound they can deliver. If executed perfectly, it sounds heavenly. A perfect example of how solos should be played can be taken from this song. Once the solo starts at 04:31, you’ll be void of everything around you. The highs and the lows are perfectly blended together. Seeing a man like David Gilmour performing so brilliantly in his 60’s just goes to show the extent of experience he has under his belt. Add an orchestra backing up this solo, and you’ve got yourself the arguably best guitar solo playable. The song brings out so many emotions simultaneously – peace, happiness, respect and gratitude. The way he effortlessly handles the guitar  seems as if he does it because he has no other thing to do. I was in complete awe when I heard the  solo for the first time. The original Live version’s solo is amazing, but this is GODLIKE. If you’re a fan of Rock music, you CANNOT afford to let this solo go amiss.

Solo timing: 04:31 – End of song

Youtube linkhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY8EwM3vah8

Download linkhttp://muzon.co.ua/audio/103412591/47683686/David_Gilmour-Comfortably_Numb_Live_In_Gdansk(myfreemp3.eu).mp3

 

Well, that’s about it. Feel I did some song injustice? Tell me the name of the song in the comments section, and I’ll get to it straightaway. Adios!

It was finally over. A week of hardcore studying finally paid off; and me, along with a bunch of my friends were partying at a famous CadB (It’s a THICK Chocolate shake – I’ll give you the recipe if you want!) joint. As I payed for my chocolate shake and headed back to join my friends, my feet froze in their place, and I perched my ears almost involuntarily. The sound of a girl? Nah. The sound of music? Hell yes! I followed blindly, as the music led me (Imagine the Tom & Jerry scene, where Jerry follows the ‘trail’ of the smell of cheese) to it’s master. I stumbled upon a boy named Chinmay, and he was listening to this extraordinary song. We hit it off almost instantly, as we both loved English music (He’s a little more into the ‘Akon‘ and ‘Dr. Dre‘ stuff; but hey, he still loves English music, right?) As I investigated on and asked him about the song, he said it was from a band called ‘Five Finger Death Punch’. He sent me the song via his phone on to mine; and all I could do for the rest of the day was listen to the song; learning it by heart (As I always do). There was something about this song that clicked. Really clicked. I mean, it’s a new age Rock band, it couldn’t possibly pull off such an amazing song, right? Wrong. I smiled inwardly as I said to myself, “Rahul old pal, REAL English music still isn’t dead!” And that, my friends; is how I met “Far From Home”, a stunning song from “Five Finger Death Punch”. So, let’s get to it!

Five Finger Death Punch (Band)

Five Finger Death Punch [L-R]: Zoltán Báthory, Jason Hook, Darrell Roberts, Jeremy Spencer, (Sitting) Ivan Moody

History:Far From Home” is a song from a not-so-famous (At least in India) Heavy Metal band, known as “Five Finger Death Punch“, or often abbreviated as “FFDP”. The album which it belongs to is called “War Is The Answer“, which was released on September 16, 2010. It did pretty well on the music charts (Compared to the other songs in this blog, it’s nothing), starting off as the Number 33 song on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs, but eventually scaling the Number 4 summit. It also debuted at Number 45 on the Billboard Rock Songs chart peaked at Number 14 eventually. It was also featured in the ending song track of “Criminal Minds” [Source: Wikipedia]

Review: Before I start the review, let me make one thing ABSOLUTELY clear. There is NO screaming, growling, (And whatever else) etc. in this song. Though the name of the band may suggest otherwise, listening to this song will keep you coming back for more. Now that the fact is cleared, let’s move on, shall we?

The song starts off with an acoustic guitar rift, coupled with a bass rift too. A word of warning – even though the song is soft, the bass is pretty heavy. Keep your headset volume to medium while listening to this one, guys! Moving on, the vocals are initiated at 00:12. The vocals are just AMAZING. The pitch and command Ivan Moody has on the his songs is just out of this world! They’re sharp, crisp, loud and to the point. The lyrics… WOW! No words to describe them. They’ve got a on-the-razor’s-edge feeling to them. Fun fact – There is NO chorus in this song; I repeat: THERE IS NO CHORUS IN THIS SONG! There’s a pre-chorus (You can call it that!) which is looped from time to time, but it’s NOT the chorus. I cross-checked with many a websites, and their say was no different than mine. The first vocal interlude (I’m comfortable with this) starts at 00:34. As soon as you hear it, mark my words – YOU’LL LOVE IT. “And It’s Almost Like, You’re Heaven’s Trying Everything To Keep Me Out” – any other explanation required? Good. I thought so! There’s a slight synthesizer rift after the pre-chorus, and the song takes it’s original shape from 00:51 (The second chorus is also initiated from here). There are mild electrical interludes in the background, but you’ll hardly notice them. Again, the vocals and the lyrics – 10/10! The song moves ever so beautifully along with the drum beats (Courtesy Jeremy Spencer). There’s this one thing I find really iconic in this song – whenever Ivan Moody wants to elaborate on a line, he raises his pitch – and it’s done seamlessly. The second interlude starts at 01:17, only this time it’s accompanied by the electric guitars. It’s looped twice, and then starts another awesome part of the song – the solo (01:50). It’s got SO much intensity, you feel the solo talking to you. The magnificent solo ends by blending by Moody’s voice (Third interlude initialization) at 02:23. The interlude is looped from thereafter till the end of the song. All throughout, it never loses it’s momentum, and just keeps delivering punch after punch. Moody fades his pitch at 03:11, with the final “You’re Heaven’s Trying Everything; You’re Heaven’s Trying Everything To Break Me Down”. An unforgettable experience, this is!

Rating: Mind blowing vocals, accompanied with superb lyrics, beats and grooves; and an awesome solo to top it all off. This song is the flagship that proves to us – REAL ENGLISH MUSIC IS NOT YET DEAD! 10/10 to this masterpiece! FFDP, you’ve just earned yourself a new follower! Listen to this one, guys! It’s a must-listen-to!

 

Lyrics for “Far From Home”http://artists.letssingit.com/five-finger-death-punch-lyrics-far-from-home-crdp72d

Download link for “Far From Home”http://www.inshadowsandsilence.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/farfromhome.mp3 (Right Click on link. click “Save Link/Target As”)

 

Album Art

“Far From Home” is a song from FFDP’s album “War Is The Answer”

Fleetwood Mac is one of my favorite oldies rock bands. They were simply superb! I love all of their songs. “You Make Lovin’ Fun“, “Sara“, “Gypsy“, “Rhiannon“,”Dreams“; you name it, I’ve listened to it. My favorite album is, of course, “Rumours“. Of all my favorite songs, I love “The Chain” the most. According to me, it’s their best song. It’s got some kind of feel to it, which I just can’t seem to resist. From bass guitar solos, awesome lead guitar solos, mind blowing drums, and powerful lead and background vocals; THIS SONG HAS EVERYTHING A TRUE ROCK FAN WOULD WANT! It absolutely blows your brains out! So, let’s get to it!

History: “The Chain” is a song from Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 best ever selling album, “Rumours”. Interestingly, it’s the only song credited to all the five members of the band. While working on this song, the members split the work and then beautifully wove it together. The bass solo was done by John McVie and Mick Fleetwood; while Stevie Nicks wrote the lyrics, and Lindsey Buckingham changed the vocals from a single, to a duo (Actually its a trio). The ending bass solo is highly recognizable, because it was used as a theme track for  BBC‘s Formula One coverage. [Source : Wikipedia]

Band

Fleetwood Mac

Review: The song starts with steady drum beats, a banjo and an acoustic guitar rift together. It goes along nicely, when suddenly it stops at 00:26, and resumes again, along with the vocal duo. The first stanza consists of only two lines, and Lindsey Buckingham starts the chorus at 00:51. The chorus is simply outstanding (It is sung in a trio). The tempo of the beats is increased, and Lindsey increases his tone by a pitch too. It sounds beautiful to your ears, just too good to be true. Lindsey has a very powerful and deep, commanding voice that suits the song perfectly. Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie have given the background vocals to perfection. There is a slight banjo tune you will hear in the second part of the chorus. The second stanza begins right after a brief instrumental (Just like in the beginning of the song), and ends abruptly at 01:28, just like at 00:26. This time however, the stanza is longer than the first one (Consisting of two more lines). The chorus begins again at 02:06, and is repeated twice (It keeps the intensity of the song intact). At 03:01, the most famous rift of the song begins – The bass guitar solo (Courtesy John McVie). And god, oh god; the solo ROCKS! The lead guitar slowly seeps in at 03:15 and gets louder by the second (Courtesy Lindsey Buckingham). That, combined with the awesome drumming of Mick Fleetwood, makes it a solo which is just IMPOSSIBLE to forget! It has highs and lows, and mids, and EVERYTHING! As the (Mind blowing) solo signals its end, the outro begins and keeps the feel of the song alive. The outro is also pure awesomeness! While McVie and Nicks sing “Chain keep us together”, Buckingham sings “Running in the shadows” in the shadows (Pun intended!). All this time, the solo is still ongoing (But in the background). The song ends slowly at 04:15. (As I always say) The song will slowly fade OUT from your ears, but slowly fade INTO your heart. PLEASE DON’T MISS THIS SONG, GUYS!!

Rating: 10/10! An excellent bass guitar rift, deep and powerful vocals, a superb lead guitar solo, a mind blowing trio chorus, and to top it all off, superb drums to keep the tempo alive. What else could a Rock song want? It doesn’t get any better than this!

 

Lyrics for “The Chain” : http://artists.letssingit.com/fleetwood-mac-lyrics-the-chain-tp5fc83

Download link for “The Chain” : http://jezdesign.net/vault/Fleetwood%20Mac/Rumours/07%20The%20Chain.mp3 (Right click anywhere, and click “Save As”)

 

Album Art

“The Chain” is a song from “Rumours”

Dire Straits is perhaps one of the most acknowledged and famous British pub rock band in the world. Mark Knopfler, as we know him, can play the lead guitar like crazy, and give amazing vocals to any song. His most notable guitar solo is in ‘Sultans of Swing (Alchemy Mix)’. Their other mention-able classics are ‘Money For Nothing’. ‘Walk of Life’, ‘Brothers in Arms’, etc. Today, I will be reviewing perhaps one of their most famous songs to date, ‘Sultans of Swing’. So here goes!

History: “Sultans of Swing” was the first single release of Dire Straits. It was first released in 1978, but unfortunately, it didn’t catch the eye of many. It was re- released in 1979, and that’s when the song skyrocketed them to fame. Their song peaked at number 8 on the UK charts, and number 4 on ‘Billboards hot 100’, i.e the US chart. The solo Mark Knopfler has played in the extended Alchemy version peaked at #22 on Guitar World’s list of the greatest guitar solos and #32 on The Rolling Stone magazines. The most famous version of the song is the 11-minute performance at the 1988 Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert in London. I will be reviewing THIS version today. There are two versions of this song. The studio version has a duration of 5 minutes and 48 seconds while the ‘extended Alchemy Mix’ has a duration of 10 minutes and 55 seconds. The latter is a hundred times better than the former.

What it tries to convey to us: Nothing actually, it’s just a song by Dire Straits to prove that they’re a cut above the other rock bands, and BOY have they succeeded in proving it!!

Review: I shall be reviewing the Alchemy version of ‘Sultans of Swing’, because personally; I thought it was WAY better than the original one. The guitar solo? Whew!! Can’t express it in words! The song kicks off immediately from 00:00 and the way it starts, you know it’s going to be epic. The drum cover is insane! I will be posting a youtube link (see below) for the live performance, and I know you will be sore in your throat at the end of the song. The piano cover is equally amazing. The vocals Knopfler has given has a I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude that just elates you.The first solo starts at 03:20 and BOY does it rock you! It ends at 04:04, and you reluctantly descend down to earth and into your seat, because the vocals take over again. The audience cheering in the background gives the song a special feel to it. If you listen to this song on a home theater, you’ll surely feel as if you’re one of the people in the crowd. Believe me, the feeling is amazing. Knopfler keeps the tempo of the song alive by executing these short solos, and they completely blow you off! He handles the electric guitar like it’s some frigging bass guitar! Anyways, heaven calling earth, the second solo begins at 04:47, and after 1 minute and 13 breath taking seconds later, the solo gradually dies down, not for another stanza, but to give room for the bridge (It’ll start at 06:00). The piano cover, quirky guitar and rhythmic clapping make it THE best bridge ever. Knopfler starts a guitar loop at 07:21, and then gradually keeps increasing the tempo and the volume of the loop. It’s executed to perfection, and the technique is sheer brilliance. The clapping makes the bridge sound EVEN better. At 08:10, the solo begins again, and… I can’t find any other words to describe it. It has EVERYTHING in it! Highs, lows, shredding, loops, EVERYTHING! As I had mentioned earlier, and will mention it again; the drum cover is INSANE! At 09:50, the solo ends; and the finishing part of the song begins. It’s the typical Who style and Dire Straits style ending formality, with rapid drums and some strings pulled here and there, and a big, final thudu- thum at the ending. You’ll be left with a smile on your face after the song ends, and believe me, YOU WILL HIT REPLAY AGAIN!

Rating: What rating can a common man give to such a God-like performance? Infinity/10 is the answer, but 10/10 is just about legit, so we’ll stick it out with a smack-in-the-center 10/10.. No other words to describe the song!! E-P-I-C!!

Lyrics for ‘Sultans of Swing’ : http://artists.letssingit.com/dire-straits-lyrics-sultans-of-swing-llgkkwc

Download link for ‘Sultans of Swing’ (Alchemy Mix) : http://beemp3.com/download.php?file=18488775&song=Sultans+Of+Swing

Youtube link for ‘Sultans of Swing’ (Alchemy Mix) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Pa9x9fZBtY

CD Cover

‘Sultans of Swing (Alchemy Mix)’ is a song from the album ‘Alchemy Live’