“Comfortably Numb”: 4 Votes
“Eruption”: 1 Vote
“Maggot Brain”: 1 Vote
Winner: “Comfortably Numb”
My Winner: “Comfortably Numb”
Wow, I am quite surprised that no one voted for the pre-poll shoe-in “Free Bird.” I am actually very surprised that my pick “Comfortably Numb” won and I am also glad that “Maggot Brain” got a vote because that is a very underrated song and guitar solo (Edie Hazel is the best guitarist no one has ever heard of). Since there were no resounding “Free Bird” requests from the crowd we can move on to the winner of the poll: the solo from “Comfortably Numb.” On the page of the poll I posted a video of a mind-blowing live version of the “Comfortably Numb” solo. I will post it below so you can all take another listen to it.
Let me premise this defense by admitting a slight bias. Pink Floyd is my favorite band. But, since this is just about guitar solos I will admit that Jimi Hendrix is my favorite guitarists and I am not defending “All Along the Watchtower” which no one voted for. So, the aboveboard nature of the post is kept in check. Let’s get to the reasoning behind why the majority of people, including myself, believe “Comfortably Numb” is an out of this world solo.
I believe that the most important part of music is feeling. The emotion one struggles to find words with in a lyric. The emotion of a straining vocal, or a soft grainy one. In this case, we have the emotion of a solo. A solo on the instrument that was practically made for extended note crunching, the guitar. While a blues solo encompasses this feeling more than any other type of rock solo, “Comfortably Numb” takes all solos to a new level of artistic prowess and blissful spacyness (Yes, we are going to call that a new word meaning having to do a stupor one is put into by a musical solo…not drugs!) I do admit that Clapton or Hendrix or Hazel (for that matter) putting feeling into a blues of funk guitar solo is remarkable. Yet, David Gilmour just takes the level of soloing to a new height in the hit off of Pink Floyd’s rock-opera The Wall. This 1979 song blows all other songs from The Wall out of the water and like “Hey Jude” or “Let it Be” it proves that sometimes the best songs by the greatest bands are released late in the height of the band’s production.
Put on the video for a second. Listen to the crying of the guitar. The easy moaning of the other instruments keeping the rhythm in the back. The solo continues with skilled runs by Gilmour. He has no fear of exploring the fret board and demonstrating his control over his guitar. Close your eyes and let the guitar seep through you. The solo bedraggles your clothes and soaks you in the straining sound of the electric guitar. Gilmour after 3:00 into the video lets his guitar howl in a revolutionary bend, while the capsule above the stage opens up and the wall comes crumbling down. The solo crescendos and then falls into a distant echo, a soft lull. Show me any other solo that does that.