No less than four influential rock guitarists were born today; three of them are still with us; the fourth was killed in a road accident before reaching his true potential.
If you weren't around in 1969 it will be difficult for you to grasp what a truly massive hit Spirit In The Sky was, even though it has been remastered, covered, and played in countless places on countless occasions including the Apollo 13 mission.
The song was written by performer Norman Greenbaum, and its unique guitar sound has never been replicated to this day. Although far from a one hit wonder, he never enjoyed the follow up success that he deserved, and saw hard times financially, although he isn't doing too badly nowadays. If nothing else, the royalties from that one song have kept a roof over his head. Norman Greenbaum was born in 1942.
The man from SongFacts has some information about Spirit In The Sky in his database.
Duane Allman - Fillmore East - 6/26/71
Duane Allman was born in 1946, and was killed in a road accident aged only 24 on October 29, 1971. The younger brother of Gregg Allman, he was also a noted slide guitarist. The Allman Brothers Band had already broken through and achieved considerable success by the time of his death, and they went on to become one of the biggest names in Southern rock, so it is difficult to say what heights they may have climbed to but for that fateful motorbike ride.
Joe Walsh was born in 1947, and like many time-serving musicians has suffered from his own inner demons, in his case drink, but he is still with us. Though probably best known for his stint with the Eagles, he had and continues to have a solo career. His 1973 hitRocky Mountain Waywas one of the first tracks to use a talkbox with a guitar. Innovative he may be, but he still considers himself an analog man.
The fourth guitar great born on November 20 is Canadian Frank Marino, who is not to be confused with his fellow fretboard wizard, Marino (who is currently and shockingly languishing in an American gaol). Frank Marino is the youngest man on this list; born at Montreal in 1954, he was said to have been visited by the ghost of Hendrix during a bad LSD trip. It remains to be seen who originated this claim, but no one who has heard him play would take issue with it. Amusingly, if you key his name into your search engine, you are currently liable to be directed to the website of an entirely different Frank Marino, but the man and his band, Mahogany Rush, are still around. What can be said about him? If you like your guitar solos fast and furious, check out Finish Line.