Wednesday, July 11, 2007

'Cause I can play this here guitar, Pt. 14

Recognize this guy?

Either one of them, actually. One was in some band, named after a bug. The other is the Godfather of British rock guitarists.

Continuing in my series on under-appreciated guitarists, let's talk about Bert Weedon:
Thames TV did a "This is your Life" on Bert Weedon. Among the people paying tribute to Bert were ;- Eric Clapton, Brian May, Hank Marvin, Phil Collins, Adam Faith, Val Doonican, Joe Brown, Lonnie Donegan, Marty Wilde, Frank Bruno, Henry Cooper, Paul Daniels, Gloria Hunniford, Basil Brush and many other stars from the world of show-business.

. . . As a result of his exciting solos on the early rock records. Bert was asked by Top Rank to make a record as a solo artist, and so Bert became the first British guitarist to get a solo record in the Hit Parade - the memorable "Guitar Boogie Shuffle". He subsequently notched further hits with "Apache". "Nashville Boogie". "Ginchy". "Sorry Robbie" "Tokyo Melody". to mention but a few. His L.P. `s have sold in tremendous numbers; "Bert Weedon remembers Jim Reeves" sold over 250,000 while his "22 Golden Guitar Greats" L.P. reached the No 1 spot in the Album Charts, and he once again made disc history by becoming the first solo guitarist to reach the coveted top of the Hit Parade - receiving both Gold and Platinum L.P.'s for his record breaking sales of over one million copies. The tremendous success of his L.P.'s and C.D's ensures that Bert is still among the top recording artists of Britain.

Wikipedia has this:
Bert Weedon OBE (born 10 May 1920, East Ham, London) was an influential English guitarist and composer during the 1950s and 60s.

Weedon began learning the guitar at the age of twelve. The first British guitarist in the UK Singles Chart, with "Guitar Boogie Shuffle" in 1959, he was an influence on many of today's big names, including Eric Clapton, Brian May, Mike Oldfield, The Shadows and The Beatles.

Indeed. Bert was a transitional player, crossing from the '50s into the '60s, from gold lame tux jackets to overdriven amps, and making the guitar a truly popular and populist instrument.

Bert's version of Apache wasn't a hit, but many of his other recordings were. Here he is at the height of his popularity:

Here's Bert with some kid who achieved modest success in the '70s:

And here's Bert in '52 with some guy who had a Gibson guitar named after him. From left to right: Ivor Mairants, Les Paul, Bert Weedon:

True guitar geeks will notice that this early Les Paul model has a very unusual control arrangement. It looks like a single Volume and Tone, with some sort of switch added, and the jack is on the top rather than on the side.