Saturday, April 02, 2011

the (original) helicopter tune

this was one of the very first pieces of pop music to really grab my young ears

it was that chickenscratch wah-wah lick

particularly the intro and then that thrilling last section from 3.58 onwards where it keeps cutting back and forth between just guitar and beat and the jabbing horn fanfare

i would have been eight or nine... i wonder if i could even tell it was a guitar... it was just this freaky whisking sound

probably had a similar sort of impact on me that hearing "Dominator" or "Chime" or "Mentasm" would have had on someone who was eight in 1991

not exactly "wow!futuristic!!" but more like "what is that sound?"

and just the electrifying tension of the riff, tightening the air with excitement

it always made me picture the blades of a helicopter

STOP PRESS: Ted Wilkinson points out that the player of the guitar part is Charles "Skip" Pitts,who can be seen here recreating it at "this past January's annual Guitar Geek Festival in Anaheim, California":

here's an odd thing I just remembered, a few years later, at my school, there was this film club, and the usual fare was, i dunno, stirring war films, s.f. movies like Soylent Green... but one time they showed Shaft!. Now bear in mind we're talking an audience of ten year old to twelve year old boys here. What were they thinking? Surely that was an X certificate picture.