The Greatest Guitar Solo Ever

Dear Mr. Bangs, you have publicly thrashed a hero of mine, and I would like to put you in your place. […] you have the nerve to lump Duane Allman together with the Grateful Dead, saying all he did was to have the “stamina to play scales for an hour or two.” When it comes to making a list of instrumentalists of any kind who have played with true visceral passion you can bet that Duane’s name will be there near the top. […] You have done a great man a great public injustice. Take it back or else.

Bruce Piscitello
Easton, PA

Lester Bangs responds:

You’re right. Duane Allman was a great guitarist. I hate guitar. The greatest guitar solo ever was Lou Reed on “I Heard Her Call My Name.” This is the same man who took a Gibson L-5CEF Guitar (bought 40% off at Manny’s for $1,659 tax included) and plugged a soldering iron into it just to see how it would sound. That’s rock and roll.

Lester Bangs
Musician Magazine, August 1980

I Heard Her Call My Name
Music by Lou Reed
Performed by the Velvet Underground
White Light/White Heat (1968)

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