My Girl, The Temptations, 3/6/65, 1 week at #1
Riffage 10, Rhythm 7, Fills 0, Solo 0; Total Guitar Score: 17
The opening riff is instantly recognizable to pop music lovers in general and to musicians in particular: the riff itself is none other than a C major pentatonic scale! If that’s not enough, the riff doesn’t stop when the lyrics start; rather, it glides seamlessly into being one half of a nice underlying rhythm guitar part, the other being a standard “chunking” guitar part. Wonderful stuff!
Note: once the lyrics start, the riff switches back and forth between C major pentatonic and F major pentatonic scales. Music theory in action!
The above is an excerpt from Volume 3 of “Number One with an AXE!”, a song-by-song look at the guitar’s role in all of America’s #1 Billboard hits.