Earlier this week, the Rolling Stones announced an expanded, remastered edition of their 1973 album “Goat’s Head Soup.”
As I read the press release, I could feel my wallet lightening. I’m a sucker for the Stones, especially that 1969-1974 period with Mick Taylor on guitar.
By the time I read that the album included a bonus track featuring the work of one Mr. James Patrick Page, I was practically throwing banknotes at the screen. The Stones and Led Zeppelin are two of my all time favorite bands. The prospect of those two entities combined into one glorious rock ‘n’ roll supergroup? Of Messrs Richards, Jagger and Page together on wax at last? Shut up and take my money.
Once I remembered that Amazon has a pre-order button and picked all those banknotes off the floor, my mind wandered onto the subjects of ‘70s supergroups.
Admittedly, these combinations of all-star musicians are rarely the sum of their parts. But, nonetheless, there’s something exhilarating about taking great musicians out of their natural environment and mixing and matching them.
This got me thinking: if I could choose any five musicians for my ultimate fantasy ‘70s supergroup, who would they be and why?
Then, being the nerd that I am, I decided that there needed to be some rules for this hypothetical supergroup.
I only got one pick from any given band, the line-up needed to result in a functioning group (I couldn’t have four piano players and a percussionist for example) and supergroup members needed to have featured on a prominent album released in the 1970s (So U2, for example wouldn’t count; while they played live from ’76 onwards, they didn’t release an album until 1980).
I decided not to set a minimum or maximum number of group members: so long as the band fit the “functioning group” criteria, that didn’t matter.
With those entirely arbitrary boundaries in place, I then started the whittling down process. This was much more difficult than I expected. As I quickly realized, just choosing your favorite drummer, bassist, guitarist, keyboardist and singer and sticking them together in a (hypothetical) room does not a great band make. I started aiming for a group that I thought would have genuine cohesion, that could function, and make records that people would actually listen to.
So, after much hemming and hawing, I give you my ultimate fantasy band:
Vocals: Rod Stewart
Guitar: Rory Gallagher
Bass: Cliff Williams (AC/DC)
Drums: Mick Fleetwood
So that’s my dream ‘70s group – I went for a hard-hitting blues-rock combo in the end – but what is yours? Who would you chose for your dream ‘70s supergroup, and why? Let us know your picks in the comments section, as well as why you chose them. Once the suggestions are in, we’ll compile a list of our favourites; a dream ‘70s supergroup superfestival line-up if you will!
When it comes to breakout singles, they don’t get much better than “You Really Got Me.” The 1964 track didn’t just put the Kinks on the map; it changed the rock n’ roll landscape with its incendiary guitar tone. “You Really Got Me” brought distorted guitar to the masses. It’s the genesis of all things hard and heavy in rock. And, as the legend goes, it was an act of aggression from Kinks guitarist Dave Davis that created the sound and started an amplifier revolution in the process.
That the instrumental Albatross was a mammoth hit for Fleetwood Mac is testament to the lyrical nature of Green’s guitar playing. One of the biggest selling instrumental songs in English history, it’s the track that the Beatles wished they’d written. As Rolling Stone notes: “Its heavily reverbed guitar partially inspired the Beatles’ “Sun King.” “We said, ‘Let’s be Fleetwood Mac doing “Albatross,” just to get going,’ ” George Harrison recalled. “It never really sounded like Fleetwood Mac … but that was the point of origin.”
My heroes at the time were guys like Hendrix, Slash and Jimmy Page. Chet Atkins did not feature. Today, though, it would be a different story. Not only was Chet a fantastic guitar player; his sage wisdom on the subject of pickin’ was most definitely bedroom wall worthy. So, with that in mind, I’ve compiled a selection of my favorite Chet Atkins quotes for your reading pleasure. If these speak to you, then I’d heartily recommend printing some of them out and putting them up in your practice space. They’ve been motivating me these past few weeks; hopefully they’ll do the same for you.