Who played that solo?

Who played that solo?
Authored By John Nicholson

The death of the session musician has long been marked. But once upon a time they were an important part of the warp and weft of rock and roll. The foot soldiers of the music scene, they were often handsomely paid to add sparkle to songs. The Wrecking Crew and the Section were, along with the Muscles Shoals Section, the most famous and were on hundreds of records, often uncredited. The Section released three largely instrumental records which were rather classy and they, Danny Kortchmar, Craig Doerge, Leland Sklarr, Russ Kunkel were the core, were on loads of Asylum Records albums. Also performing live with the likes of Stevie Nicks and Linda Ronstadt.
Every time you wonder who played that solo from the late 70s to the first half of the 80s, the answer is either Steve Lukather or Jeff Skunk Baxter. Luke is extraordinary. He is omnipresent. His style is easily recognised. It’s always like he has taken a run up to the solo and it is epic - like Running With The Night by Lionel Ritchie. That solo is typical. He played most of the guitar on Thriller, even having his solo usurped on Beat It by Eddie Van Halen.
And of course there’s Toto.
Jeff Baxter was famous for being in Steely Dan and the Doobies but also played solos on everything from Bryan Adams to Donna Summer records. His solo on ‘Hot Stuff’ is typical of this slightly off-beat style.
Andrew Gold played most of the instruments on You’re No Good by Linda Ronstadt and spent 20 years playing for artists as diverse as Cher on Heart Of Stone and Art Garfunkel on I Only Have Eyes For You as well as touring with the Eagles.
These stars of the studio got less and less work as sampling and computer-made music began to dominate and in a recent interview Luke, the once and future king of session work, said there was no demand for his brilliant guitar anymore. That seems very sad to lose such fabulous talent.

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