Well here it is, the last day of November. Florida has had a bit of cold snap, very early for this year.
Lately, I have been listening to the Deep Track channel on Sirius XM more. I do this for two reasons, primarily because I get to hear songs that don’t get a lot of airtime, and second for Earle Bailey’s Head Trip show. Mr. Bailey is also the morning drive DJ on the Classic Vinyl channel. I really enjoy his DJ work. He has a great voice (whereas I was told I have the perfect face for radio!), is very knowledgeable about the music and has a rather dry sense of humor.
Yesterday’s Head Trip was all instrumentals. When he first promoted the concept, I was intrigued. The show did not disappoint. Earle talked about a song I had never heard. Taurus by Spirit. The interesting thing about this particular track is, well, let me quote from the wiki;
Guitar World magazine stated that “California’s most enduring legacy may well be the fingerpicked acoustic theme of the song ‘Taurus’, which Jimmy Page lifted virtually note for note for the introduction to ‘Stairway to Heaven‘.” The Independent noted the similarity in 1997. In 2014, Mark Andes and a trust acting on behalf of Randy California filed an copyright infringement suit against Led Zeppelin in an attempt to obtain a writing credit for “Stairway to Heaven”. Page denied copying “Taurus”, and the suit was unsuccessful. The verdict was overturned on appeal in September 2018.
If you listen to Taurus, I think you’ll agree that Stairway is a copy.
But as Alro and I said in this post; “That’s not what I came here to tell you about”.
When there is a show about “Classic Rock” (and I still hate that term), that’s all instrumental, I will always listen for one song in particular.
This track has always been near the top of my list of all-time favorites. I would dream of one day being able to play it myself. Sadly, I can only play it on the radio. My guitar skills suck.
In case I’m being too obscure here, I’m talking about Classical Gas by Mason Williams. Reading up on Mr. Williams, I didn’t realize that he was also a comedy writer. He has written for some of my favorite shows, The Smother Brothers Comedy Hour and Saturday Night Live among others.
It was on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour that he created and perpetuated the 1968 “Pat Paulsen for President” campaign, an elaborate political satire. Williams also helped launch the career of entertainer Steve Martin. Martin was hired by Williams as a writer on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, for which his contributions were initially paid out of Williams’ own pocket. In 1968, he won an Emmy Award for his work as a comedy writer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
I’m not sure if this clip is from The Smother Brothers show or not, but it’s still impressive. Enjoy!
What’s your favorite instrumental?