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Top 5 Gretsch Road Trip Songs


Hopefully you have at least one road trip planned for the summer. And whether you’re driving in a Toyota Prius or a ’64 Chevy Impala, a solid soundtrack is a must.  It’s an important list, one that requires the requisite consideration to match the tempo of the ride and the terrain of the pavement.

We take our road trip playlists seriously.  After all, conversation with your fellow riders can only last so long.

So as a public service, we’ve pinpointed five road trip songs that will get your list started on the right foot, errr… wheel.

“Drive My Car” – The Beatles

Coming off the British version of1965’s Rubber Soul, the story goes that “Drive My Car” grew from the Beatles’ first recording session that extended past midnight, as Paul McCartney and George Harrison put together the basic rhythm.

“Drive My Car” features a thumping bottom end that is great for rolling down the windows and revving the engine, with an R&B feel that calls to mind the bass-heavy tracks that came out of Memphis’s Stax Records.

“Beep, Beep! Beep, Beep! Yeah!” indeed.

“Rebel Rouser” – Duane Eddy

The king of twang could have several entries on our playlist, with his signature guitar sound shining so bright on every track he released.  But Eddy’s “Rebel Rouser” has a rambling groove that is well-suited to flat country roads.  The instrumental hit is accentuated with bleats from a saxophone as it winds down, adding a car chase feel to the tune.

But don’t accelerate too fast.  It’s best to just take in the scenery when Eddy is doing his thing.

Highway to Hell – AC/DC

Written by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young and the late Bon Scott, “Highway to Hell” is a paean to the rigors of touring and life on the road with “no stop signs/speed limit.”

The riff is instantly recognizable and makes you want to put the pedal to the metal, as it sears through the brain and has the ability to instantly conjure an adrenaline rush.  Now, this fact might also make the song a dangerous one to drive with, but sometimes you need to drive fast and take chances.

Just watch out for the speed traps.

“Tush” – ZZ Top

Whether you’re going to Dallas, Texas, or Hollywood, “Tush” fits the bill.  The opening riff immediately commands the listener to pull on their sunglasses and secure their cowboy hat.  The original recording was found on Fandango and was ZZ Top’s first Top 20 single, with good reason.

Billy Gibbons takes two turns with searing slide guitar solos, and Dusty Hill’s strong bassline rumbles just as much as the engine.  The Texas trio’s hit is definitely at home when traversing the Lone Star State, but there is certainly room for a lot of “Tush” on the Sunset Strip.

“Long May You Run” – Neil Young

“Long May You Run” is an homage to Young’s beloved first car, a hearse that was known as “Mort.”  Seriously.

But this hearse has a lot of historical significance.  It was the vehicle that carted Young and his original band around Canada.  It broke down in the early 1960s in Blind River, Ont., but that spawned Mort’s successor, another hearse named “Mort Two” which ended up carrying him from Toronto to Los Angeles.  There, Young met Stephen Stills and eventually formed Buffalo Springfield.

So long may you run, Mort, in that scrapyard in the sky.  We’ll appreciate the song you inspired with our wheels firmly on the pavement.

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Five (More) Great Gretsch Movie Moments


We offered a list of five great Gretsch movie moments a few months back. Since there’s plenty more where they came from, however, here are a few more great Gretsch cinematic appearances.

Help!, 1965

Directed by Richard Lester, Help!, was the second feature film from the Beatles.  The comedy adventure’s plot was based around the band running up against an evil cult that was about to sacrifice a woman to the goddess Kaili.  Unfortunately, the woman in question is not wearing the sacrificial ring.  Guess who has the ring stuck on their finger?  Beatles drummer Ringo Starr.

We won’t spoil the rest of the flick for you, but it should be noted that there were several musical performances during Help!, as well, and the soundtrack was even released as an album.  Most notably during a performance of “You’re Going to Lose That Girl” in the film, George Harrison is seen strumming a Country Gentleman.


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Gretsch on ’60s U.S. Series TV


Gretsch guitars were all over the tube in the 1960s. Big hollow-body guitars remained in widespread use in rock and pop throughout the entire decade, and it seemed at times as though you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting a TV set that was showing some variety or music show featuring some band that had at least one Gretsch instrument in the lineup. Pretty cool.

From the Beatles and the Stones and the Animals on The Ed Sullivan Show to the Kinks on Shivaree to the Zombies on Shindig! and more, Gretsch guitars were a staple on U.S. programming. Even across the pond, the Who’s John Entwistle wielded a Gretsch 6070 bass on Ready Steady Go! in 1965.

And yet there was a whole other category of U.S. television programming in the ’60s that also showed Gretsch instruments: prime-time series television on the three major networks at the time—ABC, CBS and NBC. Not only did you see and hear Gretsch guitars on variety shows and music shows; you also saw them on top-rated sitcoms, action-packed cop shows, cool spy shows and more.

Here are five notable examples of That Great Gretsch Sound on U.S. network series television in the 1960s. Some of these shows and the musical acts on them are well known and some are pretty obscure, but there’s simply no mistaking a Gretsch when you see one.

The Monkees

Gretsch instruments appeared in nearly every Monkees episode from first (Sept. 12, 1966) to last (March 25, 1968). In this clip, from fall 1965 pilot episode “Here Come the Monkees” (which, oddly, aired Nov. 14, 1966, as episode ten), NBC’s simian heroes swing their way through “Let’s Dance On.” Sort of.

And that’s three Gretsch guitars out front, wielded not only by Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork, as usual, but here even by Davy Jones. Nesmith’s guitar undergoes an interesting change toward the end, but it’s nothing compared to the utterly magical transformation of Tork’s bass. And pay close attention to the logo on that kick drum head, by the way …


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Five Rockin’ Gretsch Movie Moments


The Edge laying down guitar tracks in Rattle and Hum.


The summer blockbuster movie season is upon us, and we’ve got movies on the mind after thinking about some of the best Gretsch moments that have graced the silver screen over the years.

From rock to country to rockabilly, bands both real and fictitious have reached for Gretsch instruments, whether electric or acoustic.

So with that in mind, here are five great Gretsch moments from feature films: (more…)

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Five Great Gretsch Songs of the 90s


Ask most people about music in the 1990s, and they’ll probably point to grunge’s dominance during the early part of the decade and bubblegum pop towards the end as main mile markers.

Gretsch artists and their trusty guitars certainly had several standout moments in those areas. But whether it was the straightforward punk from Tim Armstrong and Rancid or the infectious rockabilly of Brian Setzer, Gretsch played a big part in many other genres, as well. (more…)

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