One Night At Budokan/Michael Schenker Group (1982)

If asked to pick up three greatest live albums in rock, I would choose this album in addition to UFO's 'Strangers In The Night' and Deep Purple's 'Made In Japan' (dubbed 'Live In Japan' in Japan) albums. In this album, the tone of Michael Schenker's guitar play created by his Flying V with his Crybaby and 50 Watt Marshall is the sweetest I have ever heard in my life. Every improvisation work of Michael's in this album was the best during his career in Michael Schenker Group and as cool as those in 'Strangers In The Night' album. In particular, his lead plays in 'Lost Horizons' and 'Attack Of The Mad Axeman' will go down in history forever. One of the characteristics of Michael's lead play around this era was so called "Note Skipping Technique." This technique was, instead of playing neighboring note of a certain scale in order, to skip several notes which comprise the scale, making the phrases quite thrilling. In addition to Michael, Cozy Powell, a drummer of the band, was playing good in this album as to deserve to be called a master. Gary Barden, a singer of the band, was unusually (sorry, Gary!) good in this album (maybe partly post-recorded?). There's one thing I am not satisfied with as to this album: album jacket is too horrible.



Blow By Blow/Jeff Beck (1975)

I used to dislike Jeff Beck even though I had no actual experience with his music, which was about 20 years back. This is because I was mad at one music magazine article saying that Jeff Beck fired(?) Rod Stewart out of Jeff Beck Group, and he felt no need for vocalist in his band. Rod was one of my favorite singers at that time. However, this "Blow By Blow" album proved that Jeff Beck was right. His guitar-works in this album are more eloquent than any other vocalists!! This album went far beyond the realm of "rock music"; it can be called "fusion" or "crossover" of rock and jazz. It is true that Jeff had originally been known for avant-garde guitar plays, but his plays in this album were too ahead of time. This album still sounds avant-garde after over 20 years has passed since its release. Jeff has also been known as a guitarist who is able to play guitars in many styles of music and actually he has played as a guest/session guitarist for a tremendous number of other musicians in various fields. However, it is important to note that, not only that, but his guitar-works have a distinguishing characteristics and as such, by listening to only a tiny part of his guitar plays in other musicians albums, everyone can recognize that it is "his play". His instrumental trilogy (Blow By Blow - Wired - There And Back) paved the way for subsequent emergence of guitar instrumental albums by other guitarists. It seems to me that it was the most brilliant era for Jeff Beck when these albums were released. Other jazzy recording members' skillful performance is also scaring me. "Scatterbrain" is a magnificent song in which every member demonstrates his own superb techniques. And, Jeff's guitar is highly vocalized in "Cause We've Ended As Lovers".



Hotel California/Eagles (1976)

Great bands have great singers, not a single but multiple numbers of vocalists. Beatles, Queen, and Kiss are good examples. In this regard, Eagles is also far ahead of others. Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Randy Meisner (and his successor Timothy B. Schmit), Joe Walsh and Don Felder, they are all good singers. Given that, they could created fabulous chorus/backing vocals parts. Their music is basically guitar-oriented. The title track 'Hotel California' which is famous for its lead guitar part, is made of uncountable number of overdubbed guitar parts by the three guitarists. Each part has a different effect; some are electric, some are acoustic, some are percussive, some are like organs. Joe Walsh's entry into the band had an important meaning of strengthening their guitar ensamble, increasing their rock orientation with less country taste. Another guitarist, Don Felder is also a superb guitarist. He is good at many techniques especially bottle-neck works. His incredibly high techniques have been proven at their recent MTV performance.