Great Guitar Solos
Michael Schenker – “Only You Can Rock Me”
From UFO’s Obsession
It’s a little more than symbolic that guitarist Michael Schenker graces the cover of UFO’s 1978 Obsessionalbum. It would be the band’s last studio album with Schenker for more than a decade, and it also signaled the end of a string of five solid records dating to 1974’s Phenomenon – the band’s first with Schenker. Coincidence? Hardly. It was Schenker’s gift for a riff and incredibly melodic soloing that turned the band from a wandering, flying space outfit into a tight, hard-rocking song machine. Nearly every solo the man has played is worth hearing, but I’ll set his lead playing on “Only You Can Rock Me” as one of his greatest moments. The solo is sublime. It’s a blissful tour of the fretboard, showcasing Schenker’s unmatched melodicism, beautiful vibrato and phrasing. More than anything, he understands how to build a solo through movement, tension and resolution. There’s no gimmicks or wasted notes, just pure music.
I once asked Schenker what one song written by another artist he wished he had composed. His answer was “Theme For An Imaginary Western” by Mountain. The tune was actually written by the great bassist Jack Bruce (of Cream fame), but Mountain’s cover stands on its own thanks to the incredible soloing of Leslie West. I imagine there’s a guitarist out there who wishes he/she had written “Only You Can Rock Me.” See how everything comes back around?