1965-1969… Guitars! Guitars everywhere!

Guitar history! How the guitar was used in #1 songs 1965-69 Click To Tweet

“Number One with an AXE! Vol 3” sells for $2.99 and is available at:
smashwords, amazonkobo, iBooksbarnes & noble.

“Number One with an AXE! A Look at the Guitar’s Role in America’s #1 Hits, Vol 3, 1965-69” $2.99
June, 2017
The guitar drought ended in 1964 with the arrival of the Beatles, but in the late sixties things REALLY get interesting! The Rolling Stones, The Byrds, The Doors and many others join the six-string party in the guitar’s most fertile period yet.

Michael Rays continues his guitar-oriented analysis, rating all 101 #1 hits of the era based on four criteria: Riffage, Rhythm Playing, Fills and Solos. He also writes a brief commentary on each song, as well as providing video links (when available, which is most of the time) so you can watch/listen to each tune.

This ebook is a must for guitar fanatics who also love pop music!


Help Me Rhonda, The Beach Boys, 5/29/65, 2 weeks at #1

Riffage 8, Rhythm 5, Fills 5, Solo 0; Total 18

Stick with me here. There are TWO versions of “Help Me Rhonda.” The first one, “Help Me Ronda” (with no ‘h’) was recorded in January 1965; it opens with a ukulele riff and features no Brian Wilson falsetto and no guitar solo.

The version that hit #1 (recorded in February 1965) adds the ‘h’: “Help Me Rhonda.” It opens with Al Jardine’s vocals, has Brian on falsetto in the chorus and does feature a three-bar guitar solo which, as with “Ticket to Ride,” is really too short to be called a solo.

Sunshine Superman, Donovan, 9/3/66, 1 week at #1

Riffage 3, Rhythm 7, Fills 0, Solo 5; Total 15

Session men Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones played on this four-and-a-half minute psychedelic-meets-blues hit by Donovan. The riff is pretty thin, the rhythm features a cool backwards effect, and I must say it: Page’s solo is nothing to write home about. Not to worry, though: he and Jonesy would go on to bigger and better things.

Many hands contributed to this song’s unique and hard-to-define groove, which still sounds great today. In addition to Page (guitar solo) and Jones (electric bass), there was Spike Heatley on acoustic bass, Eric Carr on that meowing guitar and Donovan Leitch (aka Donovan) on acoustic.

Get Back, The Beatles, 5/24/69, 5 weeks at #1

Riffage 0, Rhythm 7, Fills 7, Solo 7; Total 21

Keyboard King Billy Preston comes on board for this Beatles tune, but that doesn’t damper the guitars at all. John Lennon and George Harrison switch roles, with John taking lead guitar and providing ethereal solo and fill work while George lays down a bluesy, dirty-toned rhythm line.