The 1970s were the heyday of what is now considered Classic Rock. This Package presents detailed lessons on 15 of the most popular songs Neil has taught over the last 4 decades.
Lesson 1: Madman Across The Water - Guitar Lesson Elton John
Madman Across The Water was written by Elton John and his main lyricist, Bernie Taupin and was the title song from his 1971 album. It is one of his few songs that features acoustic guitar. The lesson goes over the basic riff and strumming accompaniment. Neil also improvises a chord solo arrangement of the tune which is not covered in the lesson but tab is included.
Lesson 2: Mr. Bojangles
Mr. Bojangles, written by Jerry Jeff Walker is a classic American folk- country tune, even though the subject matter and time signature are a bit unusual. It is in 3/4 time and features a descending bass line similar to These Days by Jackson Browne and America by Paul Simon. This is a great lesson for improving the accuracy of hitting individual bass notes as part of a strumming pattern. It has been covered by hundreds of artists, most notably the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Sammy Davis Jr., and even Bob Dylan.
Lesson 3: Amie - Acoustic Guitar Lesson
Amie was written by Pure Prairie League co-founder Craig Fuller and released on their 2nd album, Bustin' Out in 1972. It became a hit a few years later and is one of the top requested songs here at TG. This lesson goes over the chord progression, strumming patterns, and includes chapters on the Intro Lead, the Main Lead, and the Outro.
Lesson 4: Dust In The Wind
Dust In The Wind is a classic Travis-style fingerpicking song that is a ‘must learn’ lesson for all guitar students. It uses a steady alternating bass technique in a repetitive pattern. The main difficulty is getting it up to speed but it will come with practice. It appeared on Kansas’s 1978 album Point Of Know Return.
Lesson 5: Pancho And Lefty Guitar Lesson - Townes Van Zandt
Pancho And Lefty was written by Texas songwriter Townes Van Zandt and recorded on his 1972 album The Late Great Townes Van Zandt. It has been covered by many artists, including Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Joan Baez, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Townes always said he didn't really write the song as much as discovered and channeled it, a frequent occurrence for talented songwriters. This Campfire lesson just goes over the chord progression and encourages the student to improvise some fingerpicking patterns as the accompaniment. Some experience with alternate bass patterns is necessary to get the most out of this basic lesson.
Lesson 6: Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress
Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress was written by Hollies singer Allan Clarke and a couple of British songwriters, Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway. It appeared on the Hollies album Distant Light, released in 1971. It features one of the greatest opening riffs in the history of Rock And Roll, followed by a driving, power chord-based progression. Another ‘must learn’ tune for students into the classic rock era.
Lesson 7: Alison - Guitar Lesson
Alison is one of Elvis Costello's best known songs, it was released on his first album My Aim Is True, in 1977. Like many of his songs, the lyrics can be interpreted in multiple ways, and it is not likely that this is the love song that it might appear upon first listen. The song is in the key of E, and that means plenty of barre chords, including some 1-beat changes. The lesson uses a fingerstyle plucking technique in the intro, followed by finger strumming accompanying the verse and chorus.
Lesson 8: The Weight - Guitar Lesson
The Weight is one of the most popular songs by Robbie Robertson and The Band. It was released in 1969 on their 1st album, Music From Big Pink. The whimsical lyrics and instantly recognizable opening lick make it a lot of fun to play and sing, especially if you can round up some friends to sing along. This TARGET Short lesson includes playing it in the original key of A as well as transposed down to G.
Lesson 9: Don't Fear The Reaper - Guitar Lesson
Don’t Fear The Reaper was written by Blue Oyster Cult guitarist and singer Buck Dharma. It appeared on their 1976 album Agents Of Fortune and was their first big hit. This is a great song for guitar players of any level. I make just about all of my students learn the opening riff early in their guitar lives. The chords can all be played with just 2 fingers, many of which are just power chords. It is also a good way to learn the technique of placing your left fingers down one at a time, in the order you need to play them, rather than slapping the whole chord down at once.
Lesson 10: It's Still Rock And Roll To Me - Guitar Lesson
It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me is one of the few Billy Joel songs that features the guitar rather than the piano. The song appeared on his 1980 album, Glass Houses and is written from the point-of-view of an aging artist who is pressured by his label or manager to get with the times. Typical of a Billy Joel song, It’s Still Rock And Roll uses a wide range of chords, including some bar chords and some power chords. The power chords can be played using the common shuffle pattern that moves from the 5th of the chord to the 6th of the chord on beats 2 and 4 in each measure. The song opens with single bass notes played using the palm mute technique. Half way through the verse it starts strumming, then continues with a combination of the two techniques.
Lesson 11: My Maria - Guitar Lesson
My Maria was a hit for B. W. Stevenson in 1973 and again in 1996 when Brooks & Dunn covered it. It features a great opening lick and some syncopated strumming patterns with quick chord changes, along with some incredible vocals, which are a bit beyond the scope of this guitar lesson.
Lesson 12: Sunshine - Guitar Lesson
In 1971, Jonathon Edwards released Sunshine on his self-titled debut album. The song featured some quick, percussive strumming with very catchy lyrics and rhythms.
This lesson includes a little ear training puzzle, then breaks down the progression and strumming technique. It also includes left hand muting to create the percussive effect.
There is a slowed down metronome section as well as a short look at the little tag that ends the song.
Lesson 13: Rock & Roll All Night - Electric Guitar Lesson
Rock and Roll All Nite is one of the most popular rock songs of all time, released on Kiss's 1975 album Dressed to Kill. This is a cool song because it uses a lot of inner string chord shapes to a great effect. Generally speaking, you play chords with the root note on the 5th or 6th string and the rest of the chord above it. In this case, the root is pretty much exclusively played on the 2nd or 3rd string which gives a larger interval between what the bass guitar and guitar is playing, creating a more dynamic harmony between the parts since the notes are farther apart. There's a lot of sliding used between these chord shapes as well that has a really cool sound once you get it down. You'll need to be able to switch between double and triple stops, and it's important that you can play barre chords comfortably as well, since there's a couple of trickier riffs that switch from a power chord to add the major 6 and back.
Lesson 14: My Sharona - Guitar Lesson
My Sharona is an epic rock tune that’s so easy to sing along with and incredibly fun to jam on.
Based on some simple octave riffs, most of the guitar parts are fairly easy. The solo is where things begin to heat up, and you’ll learn some of the most famous and challenging licks from this iconic song!
Lesson 15: Werewolves Of London - Mini-Lesson
Warren Zevon’s 1978 album Excitable Boy included Werewolves Of London, a very simple but fun song. It is just a four measure phrase, using three chords, with a little hook as the riff.
It was originally done on the piano but the riff can be played easily on the guitar. The lesson starts with a Campfire Version, but includes a few other ways of approaching the tune from a guitar point of view.