Ever since Amoeba fan/Simpsons creator Matt Groening recently paid tribute to Amoeba Music by including an Amoeba Music Hollywood fashioned building (renamed Protozoa Records) in the Season 24, Episode 7 Simpsons show titled "The Day The Earth Stood Cool" that aired in early December I have been scratching my head and wondering what if Homer Simpson were to stop into Amoeba for some music shopping? What would he buy? What would be included in a Homer Simpson's WIMB (What's In My Bag?) episode if he were to go crate digging at Amoeba Music? Based on the numerous songs Homer has cited (most well worn Top 40 pop/rock hits that the cartoon character supposedly grew up listening to) and have been featured in episodes in the long running animated series, now in its 24th year, this is my stab at what Homer's WIMB might look like.
Bear in mind that this list only scratches the surface since over the years Groening and company have incorporated such a long list of hit songs into The Simpsons. In fact the show must have racked up quite a bill in copyright fees to license all this popular music for the show. But it is worth it since music often plays such an important role in so many episodes of The Simpsons - especially the Homer related songs. For example, when Homer and Marge pop into the open house next door to them and he imagines buying the house and what it would be like living next door to himself, just how horrible that would be, as he visualizes himself always playing Journey's "Separate Ways" and at way too loud volumes.
Rock music has way too many incredibly memorable guitar riffs to limit a best of list to just one hundred, but the 100 riffs that guitarist Alex Chadwick of The Chicago Music Exchange came up with for the above video performance ain't half bad, and it is a nice informal overview of the history of rock n' roll. Sure it's a subjective selection that includes a lot of mega hits of the genre, and no doubt every rock fan could come up with their own unique list of a hundred best guitar riffs. But I like what Alex has done: from his playing to his choices of riffs, and from how he segues from song to song, to how he plays it on his 1958 Fender Strat all in chronological order. Below is that list of songs and artists in order with the artist names that are blue highlighted linking back to the Amoeba Online Store. where you can find their respective music (CDs, LPs, DVDs) including (in near all cases) the song played by Alex.
1 "Mr. Sandman" Chet Atkins
3 "Words of Love" Buddy Holly
4 "Johnny B Goode" Chuck Berry
5 "Rumble" Link Wray
Call me cynical, but when I first heard about the almost two thousand strong mob of white folks* gathered in Kansas City a couple of days ago (all at their own expense) to play "Smoke On The Water" on their guitars for five minutes and then leave, the first thing that popped into my mind was that recurring line from some of my favorite Jim Jarmusch films. You know, the one uttered in both Dead Man and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai that goes "stupid fuckin' white people."
Okay, so I admit, I am cynical and you might even accuse me of being self-hating, since I, too, am white. No matter. I still think what I think. And I think that if this same level of commitment and focus were directed at, say, getting Bush out of office right now, that the country might be in a better position to gather en masse to collectively strum 'dah, dah, dah.....dah, dah, dahdah....dah, dah, dah...dah dahdah!'
In case you didn't already hear this story: on Sunday exactly 1683 guitarists all converged at the Community America Ballpark in Kansas City to collectively beat a Guinness Book of World Records record set in Vancouver in 1994 when 1323 similarly minded guitar pickers gathered to be the largest gathering of individuals to simultaneously play on guitar the familiar riff of Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" (from their 1972 album Machine Head).
And on Sunday, June 3rd, as part of a stunt organized by local radio station KYYS, the gathering of 1683 guitarists* (acoustic and electric), who traveled to Kansas City from all over the globe and who ranged in age from toddlers to senior citizens, did successfully accomplish what they set out to, collectively play that famous classic-rock riff for five minutes, and consequently made a new Guinness World Record.