Alex Chadwick’s 100 Riffs


Misirlou (Photo credit: Thomas Zachariah McCormick)

I was making brunch in the kitchen this morning when I heard an interview of Alex Chadwick on NPR’s Weekend Edition.  He’s a wonderfully talented guitarist from Chicago, who performed 100 riffs on his guitar, all in one fluid take, and in so doing, takes us through a brief history of Rock N’ Roll from 1952 to today.  He’s featured on YouTube.  (Please put your speakers on full if you like this sort of thing.)

English: The Beatles wave to fans after arrivi...

English: The Beatles wave to fans after arriving at Kennedy Airport. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You will go through memory lane with the earlier snippets like:  Mr. Sandman, Johnny Be Goode, Rumble, Summertime Blues, Pipeline, Miserlou, and Wipeout.  Then there’s the group after with Day Tripper (Beatles), Satisfaction (Rolling Stones), Black Magic Woman (Santana), Communication Breakdown (Led Zeppelin).  There were some more familiar ones like Layla, Fortunate Sun, Bohemian Rhapsody, Strangehold, Don’t Fear the Reaper, and Barracuda.

English: Icon for rock music on Wikipedia. Sil...

English: Icon for rock music on Wikipedia. Silhouetted rock ‘n’ roll guitar player. PNG version Italiano: Icona per musica rock in Wikipedia. Silhouette di un chitarrista di rock ‘n’ roll. Versione PNG (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Interestingly, Beat It by Michael Jackson made it to the cut. At least he included a U2 song (Where the Streets Have No Name), one of my all-time favorite bands,  and Guns N Roses (Welcome to the Jungle). He had two Red Hot Chili Pepper songs, Give It Away and Scar Tissue (played sweetly).  Sex and Candy by Marcy Playground was in and so was Seven Nation Army (White Stripes).  And towards the end, I was entertained by his version of Are You Gonna Be My Girl by the Jets (The song Louie said he’ll sing to me in his PJs) and Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day, another favorite band.

Quite visibly absent was Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin.  Alex was asked if this is  true among guitarists, especially those who work in guitar stores.  And yes, it is!  If you will recall, in the movie Wayne’s World, the character of Mike Myers sees as sign while in a guitar store that says, “No Playing Stairway to Heaven.”  Hahaha!

There you have it!  Do take a few minutes to listen if you are so inclined to these quirky inclinations.  Alex deserves a standing ovation!

P.S.  While looking into guitar riffs, I came across guitar licks. Are you as confused as I am?  Being a novice in these terms, I looked it up.  I found out that a “lick” in jazz or rock is like a patter or a phrase, a series of notes used in solos or melodic lines.  A “riff,” although related is more a repeated progression of chords.

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8 Responses to Alex Chadwick’s 100 Riffs

  1. munchow says:

    Alex Chadwick is a great guitarist and the 100 riffs really fun to listen to. Thanks for sharing this awesome knowledge of yours.


  2. Pingback: 100 Riffs by Chicago Music Exchange - Arts & Entertainment - You + Dallas

  3. Writerlious says:

    Gotta love NPR’s Weekend Edition! They always air the best stuff. 🙂


  4. What a talented man. I love the songs of the past. I think the lyrics are more inspiring and relevant than a lot of our pop songs nowadays. Times changed but quality songs never fades away. Thanks for sharing these. Have a great weekend.


  5. Very Impressive….”Some guys got all the luck” some people are just really gifted and they cultivated the gift… have you heard of Sungha Jung? That boy is one of those people with gift in playing their guitar….


  6. Gilly Gee says:

    That was fantastic, I’m buzzing now to start the day!


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