In rock or power-pop music, a guitar solo usually has to explode from the start, take the song’s energy up a notch or eleven, and launch it into the next section. Often this is done in 16 bars or more, but there are some notable examples of short and sweet 8 bar solos which do this beautifully. My favorite 8 bar solo of this type is Mick Ronson’s work on Ian Hunter’s single “Once Bitten, Twice Shy.”
The guitar playing on the entire track is brilliant, starting with an almost comical little drum beat and Chuck Berry style rhythm, building steadily to an ecstatic solo, which sets up the last verse, chorus and outro. I encourage guitarists to try and learn this one. I recently went at it with one of my more advanced young students, and it surprised both of us. This thing is hard to cop! I have spent more time on it than I have spent dissecting much longer solos by virtuoso players like Jeff Beck and Steve Morse. With expert use of amp feedback, note bending, vibrato, and just, insane over-the-top rock passion, Ronson stuffs more energy into this short little outburst than any other short solo I can think of.
Know any others in this category? If so, please post in the comments below! This will be the first of a series of posts on my favorite guitar tracks, some famous, some not so well known. This gem hit the UK singles chart in 1975, peaking at #14. It was later covered by Great White. They had a top 5 in the US with it, but.. well I’ll just let Ian and Mick finish my thought. Nice live footage here, synced to the original studio track. Great hair, too!