Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jørgen Ingmann and his Guitar

When I hear Eric Clapton, I know that it’s Clapton, just from the style and sound of the guitar. Same is true (with appropriate adjustment for identity) of Carlos Santana, Roger McGuinn, James Taylor, Jimi Hendrix, Robbie Robertson. At the same time, there are hundreds, nay thousands, of world class guitarists whom I would not know without a program: Randy Bachman, Steve Howe, Keith Richards, Pete Townshend. Even Alvin Lee, he had speed and he had style, but I’m not sure that he was (is?) distinctive enough to be recognized without album credits.

All that makes me wonder about the oddball guitarists who sneak out of the pack to become featured soloists. I wonder how they did it, how they managed to distinguish themselves in a field where the competition is more than just overwhelming, who did they bribe or what amazingly serendipitous break did they get, who are they related to or what amazing feat of instrumentality did they perform to impress the impresarios?

And so we have an example, Jørgen Ingmann, a Danish musician who put 2 songs into the Billboard Hot 100, both of which are entertaining, but neither of which display the level of musical virtuosity that would explain Ingmann’s status as a featured soloist. I’m missing something.

Jørgen Ingmann and his Guitar:

Anna – Not the Arthur Alexander song, the one covered by The Beatles. I would tell you about the special Annas in my life but there haven’t been any, a music teacher maybe. From the summer of 1961.
Apache – A number one hit for The Shadows in 1960, but that was in England. It was Ingmann from Denmark who exported the song successfully to North America, and it was Ingmann who came up with that weird whooshing sound, which became a characteristic of cover versions from then on. From the spring of 1961.
Fourth Man Theme – Bastard child of Third Man Theme, musically and literarily.

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