Wednesday, July 29, 2020

"Now Batting For..."

The first time I heard "Taxman" was also the first time I recall recognizing the bass guitar as something other than what was at the bottom, keeping a song whole. I thought McCartney's distinctive phrase on the intro was as important to that song as Harrison's guitar solo, except it wasn't Harrison. That ferocious guitar solo that happens twice is also Paul, and believe it or not, I only found that news out in the late 90s. I hung my head.

Then, just under a year ago, I was mildly embarrassed again, when I credited one of my favorite drum parts to one of of my favorite drummers. I was having a "Rag Mama Rag"/Levon Helm moment, only to be told, "That's Richard Manuel." This incident might have actually happened on these premises.

Hey, it happens!

Are there more songs featuring surprisingly amazing and distinctive parts not played by the starting player of the instrument?

Any one man band artists like Todd Rundgren, or McCartney on his solo records, should not be considered. I'm looking for obvious songs by obvious bands, like if we found out the guitar solo on "Stairway To Heaven" was John Paul Jones.

Got it?


Anonymous said...

despite having Denny Dias and Jeff Baxter, Elliott Randall pinch hit on Reeling in the Years.

Sal Nunziato said...

Session guitarist pinch hitting on first album for then basically unknown guitarists is not quite what I am looking for, though to be fair it is an obvious song in an obvious band. It's just not so surprising.

jeff said...

not sure if it qualifies as amazing, but I was impressed that the lead guitar on "Go Down Gambling" was played by David Clayton Thomas.

Dr Wu said...

Producer Jimmy Miller playing drums on the Stones’ ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’, ‘Happy’, and the outro of ‘Tumbling Dice’. And of course, cowbell on ‘Honky Tonk Women’ - maybe not a surprise, but the band admits to being unable to recreate.

Sal Nunziato said...

Good one, Dr.Wu.

Anonymous said...

McCartney again -- playing the hook in "Ticket to Ride."
Also, always amazed that Keith played the solo in "Sympathy for the Devil."

Ccjctwo said...

Bob Weir's guitar solos.
Usually presented in a live format. And I am not talking about some chord formations up and down the neck - solos.
A) The transition between China Cat Sunflower and I know You Rider. There is a spot carved out for Bobby Ace, every time.
B) Hard to Handle. Ditto - right before Jerry's first solo.
I am sure this is not what anyone is looking for, but I got nothing else to do . . .

Chance said...

Some more Beatles:

Takes the lead solo on "Tell Me What You See"
Plays drums on "Back In The USSR" and "Dear Prudence"
Plays everything (except the brass overdubs) on "Martha My Dear"

Plays lead guitar on "Get Back" and "For You Blue"
Plays bass on "The Long And Winding Road"

Plays bass on "She Said, She Said"

paulinca said...

Bobby Whitlock, uncredited, playing organ on "Just Want to See His Face" on Exile. Someone with a better memory can also name the studio musician who played guitar (and probably bass) on Pink Floyd's The Wall.


M_Sharp said...

He didn't play it on the recording, but Jeff Beck created the drum riff for Stevie Wonder's "Superstitious" when he was sitting at a drum kit in the studio during a break.

Bill said...

Isn't ir rumored that Pete Townshend played a lot of the drums on Who By Numbers?

Sal Nunziato said...

Really? That's news to me. If that's Pete on "However Much I Booze" and "In A Hand Or A Face," I'll eat my Who Sell Out. (Damn, now I have to listen to The Who Sell Out.)

buzzbabyjesus said...

Keith played bass on "Live With Me".

FD13NYC said...

Clapton playing scorching lead guitar on Gently Weeps from the White Album. We all didn't know then when it first came out, but we all know now.

Sal Nunziato said...

Just to clarify:

Richard Manuel is not The Band's drummer.
Paul McCartney is not The Beatles lead guitarist.

Guest spots are common, though yes FD13NYC, it was surprising years later, just not a stretch to find out EC played a great guitar solo.

If Ginger Baker played the solo on "Crossroads" we'd have a ballgame! THAT'S what I am looking for.

Unknown said...

McCartney's drums on Steve Miller's My Dark Hour.

Bill said...


Maybe I dreamed it? At any rate, don't eat your Who Sell Out before you play it again.

Shriner said...

Sloan, The Replacements, and Robyn Hitchcock with the Venus 3 swapped around instruments for a few songs when I saw them live, but I don't think any of these would be iconic examples (as I'm not sure how many of those songs were recorded that way...)

buzzbabyjesus said...

All the Soft Boys are playing the wrong instruments on "Rock N Roll Toilet".

hpunch said...

After listening to The Kinks Word Of Mouth from the day it came out, I didn't know until the Return To Waterloo Soundtrack was released that Sold Me Out, Going Solo and Missing Persons had no Dave Davies on them, Which meant the raunchy, messy guitar solo in Sold Me Out was played by Ray. I believe that is the lone time he plays lead guitar on a Kinks track

Stephen said...

One of my favourites, as its always great to have a good story behind why:
The Beatles......(or is it!?)
"The Ballad Of John And Yoko" 7" Single (also exclusively in Stereo) released as The Beatles.
Recorded in a moment when Ringo was away filming and George on holiday...or buying a house (possibly!)
John Lennon – lead vocal, lead guitars, acoustic guitar, percussion
Paul McCartney – harmony vocal, bass guitar, drums, piano, maracas

"Christ you know it ain’t easy" (unless youre Lennon & McCartney)

Keep up the wonderful work......Cheers