Five Awesomely Terrible Solos

Sometimes, like a Japanese gibberish prog-rock band, terrible things are also awesome things. Let’s examine.

1. “I Will Survive” by Cake

Now Cake is a band known for its simplistic arrangements, but the guitar solo at 4:45 really takes the… cake. Backed myself into a corner on that one. What makes it so great is the guitarist just rocking out on that one note – to the adoration of thescreaming fans below. Never has the one note solo been so successfully employed in a song, so kudos, Cake.

2. “Icky Thump” by the White Stripes

The blips and bleeps that make up the solo at the end of this song are surprisingly melodic – despite the fact that most of them sound like a dying calf. Jack White is the master of odd noises as evidenced by the bagpipe sound that he pulls out of his guitar earlier in the song. Or maybe he plays bagpipe also. Who knows?

3. “Fresh Garbage” by Spirit

Now John Locke’s organ solo in this song isn’t so bad, (we’ll get to one that’s far worse) but the section around 2:00 where he starts jabbing at two dissonant notes on the keyboard is mind blowing. Bassist Mark Andes joins in on the fun by playing a swath of discordant notes at 2:05. All of this was done cognizantly however. I’m not sure I can say the same thing about our number 5 solo.

4. “If” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

What were they thinking when they included this song on their latest album, Stadium Arcadium? There’s not really a solo in this song, but John Frusciante I’m sure is really holding back some strong words as he watches Flea rock out while he sits dejectedly in the corner plucking half notes. And what about the accordionist? Poor fellow, who only get’s to play one chord throughout the entire nearly three minute song. That was probably Chad Smith being punished by the band for losing his light up drum kit. “Here, Chad, hold these three notes and Squeeze”.

1. “Do It Again” by Steely Dan

OK. This is le creme de le creme of terrible solos. I don’t care, Wikipedia, that it was “among the first in popular music to include an organ solo featuring a pitch-shifting technique”. It’s simply not good. It’s awesome that it’s on the album recording, for sure, but especially following atfer Denny Dias’ spectacular electric-sitar solo, what was Donald Fagen thinking? It get’s better towards the end, but those first few measures…. man.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think.

Happy Listening,




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