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Bert Weedon – Guitar Boogie man shuffles off

Bert Weedon, an unlikely looking guitar hero, has died aged 91.

Famous for his 1957 “Play in a Day” book, he was ahead of his time writing an instruction book for would-be guitarists at the start of the guitar craze.

This was long before the availability of cheap playable guitars and DVD and Youtube instruction videos. Still in print and available from on-line book-sellers. Now priced at £9.99 it originally sold for 5 shillings ie 25p.

Weedon was a regular performer on TV and radio and backed not only home-grown pop stars, such as Adam Faith, Billy Fury and Tommy Steele, but visiting American artists including Sinatra, Judy Garland and Nat King Cole.

He was the first guitarist to have a top twenty hit when Guitar Boogie Shuffle charted in 1959 but he turned down Apache, written by Jerry Lordan, which was a big hit for the Shadows although he later recorded his own slower version which you can find on Youtube.

He’s said to have influenced a whole generation of British guitarists including the Beatles, Eric Clapton, Brian May, Pete Townshend and Hank Marvin among others and it’s probably true as there was nothing else around at the time and the 12 bar boogie progressions were fairly easy to play.

“Play in a Day” was a good marketing ploy which gave people hope but it wasn’t quite as easy as it sounds, although in theory if you practised for an hour a day for 24 days it would be possible to play some chords and a simple tune.

I can’t find my copy of “Play in a Day “ but unearthed the follow-up “Play every Day” and a book of his guitar solos, together with my copy of “King Size Guitar” the first LP my Dad bought me.

He was usually pictured playing a Guild guitar with a vibrato arm although I’ve also seen a picture of him with a strat-like guitar and a Marshall amp.

He was already a musical veteran when he became famous so never going to be a guitar god but arguably he was the most influential guitarist in post-war Britain.


Author: mikethepsych

He says he's a psychologist but aren't we all?

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