In this edition, we’re diving in with the first taping of MTV Unplugged, and how a special relationship between the program and Martin guitars was established. In 1989, MTV recorded the inaugural episode of Unplugged. But, pitching the radical new format to artists and audiences wasn’t exactly easy. As producer Alex Colleti recalls, “getting someone to do the first one was like rolling a boulder up a hill. There were maybe 50, 60 people in the audience; I could look at footage and name half of them, because I had to invite people”
Here at Thalia, we’re big fans of the Gibson SG. Winning out in both playability and aesthetic departments, it’s an iconic axe for a reason. With that in mind, it’s perhaps unsurprising that an iconic axe has so many iconic players. Today, we’re spotlighting three Gibson SG wielding guitar legends, and the stories behind their signature instruments.
We’re back with the final entry in our top Led Zeppelin bootlegs list. In Part One, we covered the band’s raucous early days. In Part Two, we looked at some releases from their stadium packing mid period. Now, we’re focusing on the final years of the band. Many Zeppelin fans will attest that the group’s performing prowess faltered in their final years. But, there are some truly grand live moments in Zeppelin’s latter days, and the first entry in this article might just be the grandest…
We’re back with Part Two of our Led Zeppelin bootleg rundown. In the first article of this series, we covered the band’s early days, from the Fillmore West in 1969 to their first tour of Japan in ’71. In this edition, we’re picking up with Zep as they make the transition from burgeoning rock heroes to the arena level superstars. And, appropriately enough, we’re kicking off with a show that one-or-two of you might be familiar with…
“What’s your favorite Led Zeppelin album?” I’ve always struggled with this question. It’s not because I don’t like Led Zeppelin; they’re one of my favorite bands of all time. It’s because my favorite records from Messrs. Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham are ones that hardly anyone has heard of. I’m talking about bootlegs, and live bootlegs specifically. As far as I’m concerned, Led Zeppelin was a live band. I’m not saying that to downplay their immense achievements in the studio, but it was on stage that their music reached transcendence.
A few weeks ago, I read “1971 - Never a Dull Moment: Rock’s Golden Year” by David Hepworth. In the book, Hepworth argues that 1971 was the most important year in rock history. According to the author, the rock landscape changed in those twelve months, with massive shifts at an industrial, social and cultural level. As a result, a huge number of monumental albums were released; The Stones’ “Sticky Fingers”, “Who’s Next” and “Led Zep IV” to name but a few. And, it was the year that a plethora of rock legends established their place in the pantheon of popular music.
In 1970, Derek and the Dominos released “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs,” one of the landmark rock albums of all time. Arguably Eric Clapton’s definitive musical statement, “Layla” is also the record that made Slowhand synonymous with the Fender Stratocaster.But, while Clapton and Fender are synonymous today, his early sound, and some of his most famous recordings, were actually created using Gibson instruments. Today, we’re going to run through Eric Clapton’s Gibson years, and three of the Ted McCarty-and-co designed guitars that he staked his name with.
Leo Kottke is a fingerstyle institution, and an inspiration to guitarists across the globe. His unique blend of folk, blues and jazz and his distinctive syncopated, polyphonic melodies have earned him accolades and followers galore. And, his battles with adversity – he’s overcome partial hearing loss and a near career-ending bout with tendonitis – are testament to his dedication to his craft.
We’re living in a great time for acoustic music. Fingerstyle guitar is thriving, and outlets like YouTube give exposure to new guitarists on a regular basis. But, this wasn’t always the case. In the ‘80s, when synths and electronic sounds reigned supreme, some thought the humble hollow-bodied six-string would go the way of the dinosaur.