Friday, January 26, 2007

While my guitar gently . . .

Growing up in the '50s, my family was conservative, Eisenhower conservative. Decent, hard working folks living the American Dream.

So exposure to rock'n'roll and solid body electric guitars was pretty minimal. We watched Your Hit Parade:

Your Hit Parade was a popular American radio and television program, sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes and broadcast from 1935 to 1955 on radio and telecast from 1950 to 1959. During this 24-year run, the show had 19 orchestra leaders and 52 singers or groups.

We also watched Lawrence Welk:
Lawrence Welk (March 11, 1903May 17, 1992) was a musician, accordion player, bandleader, and television impresario. His style came to be known to his large number of radio, television, and live-performance fans as "champagne music."

It was on Welk's show that I was first exposed to the magic new world of the solid body electric guitar. Rickenbacker, Bigsby, Les Paul, & Fender all had a hand in its development. But Fender made it a household word:

Fender is particularly important because of its role in bringing solid body electric guitars to the masses. Fender offered the first mass-produced solid-body Spanish-style electric guitar, the Telecaster (originally named the 'Broadcaster', 'Esquire' is a single pickup version); the first mass-produced electric bass, the Precision Bass (P-Bass); and the enormously popular Stratocaster (Strat) guitar.

Here are Buddy Merrill & Neil Levang of the Lawrence Welk Show rocking on Fender Stratocasters:

Here's another satisfied solid body user: