Going Electric

Lightning Joe's Rickenbacker Frying Pan Guitar

Lightning Joe's Rickenbacker Frying Pan Guitar

In this new series from The Rock n Roll Archaeology Project, host Christian Swain goes behind the scenes, on the road and further explores subjects surrounding the culture, technology and music that make Rock n Roll the magic that it is!

Today we explore that most iconic of rock instruments, the electric guitar. To find the proper company and setting, we travel down to Guitar Showcase in San Jose, California to meet up with Gypsy Jack -- and gain access to the shop’s collection of impressive vintage guitars. Jack shares some general, as well as personal history.

Then we travel back in time, as far as the 1930s, to trace the beginnings of the electric guitar as a necessity, a technology, and a phenomenon. We meet a guy named Les Paul from Wisconsin and Leo Fender from Southern California, and cover the founding of their quintessential guitar brands.

And, of course, along the way, we run into rock musicians and songs from different eras and genres, all united by their passion and prowess when it comes to their axes.

Thanks for tuning in and we hope you enjoy! Many thanks to Guitar Showcase in San Jose, CA.

Here is a list of the great songs referenced in this show:

Sol Hoopii’s Novelty Trio: “Ka Mele Oku'u Puuwai” from The Descendants, 2011 Walt Disney Records

Les Paul & Quincy Jones and His Orchestra: “Blue Skies” (Written by Irving Berlin), from The Complete Decca Trios-Plus, 1936-47 Decca Records

Led Zeppelin: “Whole Lotta Love” (Written by Bonham, Page, Plant, Jones & Dixon), from Led Zeppelin II, 1969 Atlantic Records

Red Hot Chili Peppers: “Higher Ground” (Written by Stevie Wonder), from Mother’s Milk, 1989 EMI America

Bruce Springsteen: “Born to Run”, from Born to Run, 1975 Columbia

Ritchie Valens: “La Bamba” (Traditional), Single, 1958 Del-Fi

Jimi Hendrix: “Star Spangled Banner” (Written by Francis Scott Key, John Stafford Smith), from Live at Woodstock, 1999 MCA

Derek and the Dominos: “Layla”, from Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, 1971 Atco (US)

Listen and enjoy!