Say It's Your Birthday: Guitars A Go-Go

The late guitarist would have had a party today. Actually, he's probably having one anyway.

Today's birthday contains so many guitar players that we

won't even attempt to single any of them out. Instead, we'll let them all plug

in and battle to the death with dueling versions of "Happy Birthday To Me."

First up is the late Frank Zappa, born in 1940. Though the guitar was often

used as the baton with which he'd conduct his Mother's Of Invention and other

teen-friendly combos, Zappa's abilities on the instrument were awesome, as

evidenced by the double CD of nothing but solos called Shut Up 'N Play Yer

Guitar. Known to her parents as Gabrielle Glazer when she was born on the

same day a quarter century after Frank, Gabby is the guitarist in Luscious

Jackson, a band whose cut 'n paste sensibilites are not unlike Zappa's, just

much younger and female. Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys born in 1946 never got

much respect for his guitar playing. But in the early 60's he stood at the very

front of the line of Chuck Berry acolytes, at least until Keith Richard came

along and ruined everything. Albert Lee, the English guitarist born in 1943, is

not Alvin Lee (another guitarist, who celebrated a birthday two days ago) and

doesn't even try to be, for which employers like Emmylou Harris, Jerry Lee

Lewis, Eric Clapton, and The Everly Brothers are grateful. Lastly it's another

Englishperson, Martin Belmont, guitarist for the Rumour, and absoslutely no

relation to Marty Rumer, guitarist of the Belmonts. Our only non guitar-playing

birthday belongs to Memphis soul royality, Carla Thomas.