photo by Kevin Statham
By Steve Newton
I’ve heard a lotta amazing guitar solos in my life, but today I decided to just go ahead and pick the greatest one of all time.
I’m goin’ with Mick Ronson‘s 30-second blast on Ian Hunter’s classic boogie number “Once Bitten Twice Shy”.
It’s not because that’s the best rock song of 1975–the year I graduated high school.
And it’s not because Mick Ronson–who left us way too early, at the age of 46–is one of the most underrated pickers of all time.
It’s not even because the band at my 40th high-school reunion in Chilliwack last month, Cold Chain, played “Once Bitten” for me, forcing me to get my ass up on the dance floor and pretend I wasn’t old.
It’s because that solo is just bloody perfect. Not too long. Not too short. It serves the song impeccably.
There’s that sweet twinge of feedback at the 2:37 mark, just three seconds before Ronson kicks off the solo proper by running his pick down the neck and cranking out some wah-wah licks that–to me, anyway–resemble someone in a fit of hysteria, cackling their ass off.
After 15 seconds of that gorgeously rockin’ stuff Ronno makes the entire second half of the solo one long, soaring, beautiful note.
That’s what I call sustain. That’s what I call vibrato.
That’s what I call fvcking rock ‘n’ roll!
If anybody else knows of a greater guitar solo than that, speak now, or forever hold your peace.