Q: Who played the flute on the Troggs’ classic, “Wild Thing”?
A: Considered by many to be among the quintessential rock ’n’ roll songs of all time, “Wild Thing” is as much known for its instrumental middle section as it is for its head-banging guitar riff. There was some mystery as to what type of flute was being played. In a November 2015 interview with the “Sydney Morning Herald,” guitarist Chris Button confirmed that the instrument lead singer Reg Presley played was actually an ocarina, a type of small, circular clay pipe whose origins stretch backwards some 12,000 years.
Q: Can you tell me which David Bowie songs does Stevie Ray Vaughan play on? I thought he played on “Let’s Dance,” but the video shows Bowie playing guitar.
A: Stevie Ray Vaughan, the late Texas-based guitarist, had been playing with his band Double Trouble in the Austin area for many years before playing at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in 1982. It was there that David Bowie saw them and then asked Vaughan to play on his next album which became “Let’s Dance.” Vaughan played on the title track and “China Girl” and when both songs became hits, interest in Vaughan increased. Vaughan and Double Trouble were signed to a record contract and subsequently released four acclaimed studio albums before Vaughan died in a helicopter crash in 1990.
Q: I’ve always wondered about the spoken-word part of the Big Audio Dynamite song, “E=MC2.” What is it and where does it come from?
A: In one of the earliest examples of sampling in a rock song, Mick Jones (formerly of the Clash) took inspiration from the films of British filmmaker, Nicolas Roeg. The lyrics for “E=MC2” were inspired by Roeg’s 1985 film, “Insignificance,” adapted from the Terry Johnson play, which imaginatively brings Albert Einstein, Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn Monroe and Sen. Joseph McCarthy together in a 1953 New York hotel. The “sampled” segments were taken from the movie “Performance”(1970), which tells the tale of an East London gangster who, after committing an ill-advised hit, hides out in the guest house run by a former rock star, who is looking for another chance to grab the spotlight.
Q: I was listening to Carol King’s “Tapestry” CD the other day and in the song “Way Over Yonder” there is a sax solo that sounds much like the one that was used on “Saturday Night Live” (many years ago) at the end of the show when the cast and host are milling around on stage. Is it the same music?
A: In our mind’s eye, the two solos do have a very similar feel and share similar emotions. However, they are not the same tunes. The closing theme to the old “Saturday Night Live” show is called “Closing Theme (A Waltz in A)” and was written by the then-SNL music director, Howard Shore. The theme was performed each show by the SNL band which featured Lenny Pickett on sax, Katreese Barnes on keys, Leon Pendarvis on piano, and the Saturday Night Live Band. Curtis Amy plays the tenor sax solo on “Way Over Yonder.” In addition to playing with many other musicians, readers might be interested to know that Amy also played sax on the Doors’ hit, “Touch Me.”