Ever since Eric Clapton's guitar solo on Go Back Home - from the first Stephen Stills solo album - set me on fire again a few months ago, I haven't been able to stop thinking about this latest iteration in my oldest extant series. Which four guitar solos from any musical genre except jazz - I plan to cite four of those in the future - would you enshrine on your musical Mt. Rushmore?
Mine are listed alphabetically by the last name of the guitarist. I also chose not to repeat any names; put your four in whatever order you like and disregard my no-repeat guideline if you want.
1.) Jeff Beck on Cause We've Ended as Lovers: There are two non-jazz guitarists on my mountain who could have easily had a few slots; Beck-O and Carlos. Actually, on the same Beck album as this little-heard Stevie Wonder composition - i.e. Blow by Blow - Jeff plays so ferociously I could have easily picked almost any song on that landmark LP to carve into stone.
2.) Doug Fieger on My Sharona: Fieger is the least well-known of my guys - yeah, they're all guys I'm afraid - but this song is the most widely known of the four, maybe even over-played. No matter. Fieger blazes on both guitar solos and his second is a musical marvel.
3.) David Lindley on I Don't Know Why: Without exaggeration, I have wept nearly every time I've listened to Lindley do his magic on this Shawn Colvin tune from her recording entitled Polaroids.
4.) Carlos Santana on You Can Have Me Anytime: If it were to come out one day that Carlos and Jeff Beck were brothers, I wouldn't be surprised. After all Don & Phil, Nat & Natalie, Judy & Liza were blood, right? I have played this Carlos gem - from Boz Scaggs's Middle Man LP - for every guitar player I've ever known. Carlos - like his maybe brother Jeff - has total command of his instrument. The closest analogue I've ever come up with is to compare his skill on the instrument to the writing skill of Julian Barnes, Toni Morrison, Anne Tyler. His solos are of a piece with the novels of those three modern-day masters.
I will excuse any reader who is not a guitarist from commenting here, although I'm reasonably sure I can predict at least two solos my non-guitarist wife will cite. But I will not forgive any guitarist who reads this and doesn't weigh in. Come on, guitar geeks - show me what you got.