OK, yeah there’s Jimi.
It was great and all, but a little…unfocused. Acid is a helluva drug.
Anyway, Jimi nostalgia aside, whom has played the National Anthem at a noteworthy event on electric guitar since…ever?
My submission: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MP8Gl_nqqc
Jimi’s version is not unfocused at all. If you are looking for the warm glow of complacent patriotism, this is not it, but Jimi knew exactly what he was doing.
I don’t know. I like Zakk Wylde, but that just seems like an imitation of Jimi to me. I think he overplays it. It’s fun, but not truly soaring and majestic the way Jimi’s was - or as original either, since Jimi had no template.
I honestly don’t think anything can top Jimi Hendrix, but I like this effort from Eric Johnson. It has heart.
I don’t know how to fully express my sense of astonishment at your flip dismissal of Jimi’s version of The Star Spangled Banner. It is probably the most inventive and expressive interpretation of ANY song–ever! It’s like the first painting by Picasso that used Cubism. Before it there was nothing even remotely like it. After it, the best people can do is imitate it…
Your example, and the one by Eric Johnson are nothing but interpretations of Jimi’s version.
Unfocused? It’s like an impressionist painting. Did you hear the rockets and bombs after “and the rockets red glare” the screams of the dying people? Unfocused? It’s just the acid talking?
For this thread to be valid, someone needs to post something that is not derivative of Jimi. I’d be glad to hear other, truly original, approaches to the tune.
For reference in case anyone reading hasn’t heard the Hendrix version:
Jimi Hendrix - The Star Spangled Banner (Live at Woodstock 1969)
Seriously, the other examples here either didn’t get what Jimi was doing or didn’t want the controversy.
Jimi rules. He got the message across.
Wikipedia says that Zakk Wylde fellow named one of his sons Hendrix…
**FGiE **- I would put it this way: the only reason this question is worth posting as a thread is because of Hendrix and his version.
When you start threads about guitar, it is pretty clear you value technique - fast, articulate, using the array of techniques that a highly-distorted, metal-type guitar makes available. That is cool and there are a ton of players who have mastered that approach to playing.
Hendrix is not one of those players. He innovated in the use of feedback, playing the amp as much as the guitar, use of a whammy bar, etc. - but was essentially blues/r&b based, with some jazz, soul and folk thrown in. And he had a lot of slop in his playing - easy to have happen when you are skiing that far over your tips in terms of creativity and improvisation
So given that Hendrix is the definer of the category and you walk right past him, it kinda sounds like you are saying that a clean-technique shredder approach is by definition better. Again, you are welcome to do that - YMMV and all - but don’t be surprised if folks push back…
Honestly, Jimi’s is the only version of the Star Spangled Banner I enjoy.
By “unfocused” I didn’t mean that as a slam on Jimi. He just…goes so far out there after the initial melody that (to me) it seems to lose the initial grasp on the melody of the song. He does tie it all back together towards the end. I don’t know, the song as played on electric guitar is essentially a non-stop solo, but somehow Jimi manages to wedge a solo within a solo, as it were. What I am saying is that its cool and all that, I suppose I prefer a more literal interpretation of that song.
I knew I was going to catch all kinds of grief for this!
He isn’t leaving the melody, he’s transcending it. He’s coloring it in with sonic illustations. Are you sure you’ve really listened to it closely? Not to sound condescending, but some people don’t really hear it on the first listen. He isn’t playing randomly, he’s very deliberately creating a soundscape of war, of falling bombs, machine guns, sirens, screams of the dying, the playing of Taps and so forth. He takes it to a level that no one had ever even thought of taking it before, and he did this while Vietnam was still raging on, which gave it extra resonance.
IMHO, Jimi’s is THE guitar version of the Star Spangled Banner.
Thing is, I personally don’t like the melody of that song, so that may color my opinion. I just don’t think it’s a very good tune. Jimi turns it into something interesting. I’m also not a big fan of the “add vibrato/deep bends/or trills/hammer-ons to every note and end each phrase with scale runs” type of approach. Jimi’s take starts off fairly straight before building into the more ornamented melody, and even there, it feels somewhat restrained to me until it crashes into the noise-rock explosion of “And the rockets red glare…” where it sounds like bombs, babies crying, rockets flying overhead, a quote of “Taps,” etc. It’s just infinitely more interesting to me.
ETA: I see Nazarene has touched on some of my points as I was composing this.
What could be “a more literal interpretation” than rendering the sounds of rockets for the lyrics “and the rocket’s red glare”? Maybe you didn’t literally mean “literal”.
Meaning “playing it as it was written” rather than “including a huge improvisational part”, even if that improv is in keeping with the spirit of the song.
I probably should have inserted a smiley ;).
It’s your post. I guess you can define “best” as you see fit.
Mike McCready does a pretty good version in the style of Hendrix…
Given that a bass guitar is technically an electric guitar, there is always Flea
Boston and KISS both play pretty good versions of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
To be honest, you’d be hard-pressed to top this.
Jimi’s version is the best I’ve heard. Followed by Boston’s.
I haven’t scoped out the latest posts, but on first blush…KISS? Really?
If it’s any good I will be stunned.