View Full Version : Classical Gas, Give credit where credit is due.
10-25-05, 09:31 PM
Classical Gas, what a great instrumental masterpiece, all done on one guitar.
Many folks credit this composition to Eric Clapton (EC is god, I agree) BUT I must put out there that Classical Gas is NOT *repeat NOT* Clapton's work. The true composer and fine performer of this piece is Mason Williams. Thank You.
11-03-05, 04:59 PM
"Many folks credit..Eric Clapton"
I've never ever heard that.
What kind of moron would think of Clapton when hearing that song?
11-03-05, 05:02 PM
I have the original 45 for Classical Gas which is one of the best songs ever in my opinion. I have also heard the Eric Clapton version but I do not give him credit for it.
11-03-05, 08:54 PM
Good, now that we got the composer out of the way riddle me this:
Why the title "Classical Gas"? It was odd hearing that such a ..pleasent....piece has such a name.
Its like finding in the 3rd Suite that Bach composed a song for a g-string; funny out of context, but in context makes perfect sense. (http://www.last.fm/music/Johann+Sebastian+Bach/_/Air+for+G+string)
But "Classical Gas"? Why that title?
11-04-05, 10:58 PM
It has a strong "classical guitar" sense to it. It pretty much has to be played on a nylon-string guitar with your fingernails. I've got the sheet music, it's pretty intricate. I've never been able to play it correctly, I always simplify it.
Gas? It was the 1960s. "Gas" was slang for something that was a lot of fun.
"Classical Gas": a song played on a classical guitar in a vaguely classical style that was a lot of fun to hear.
I suppose any of today's guitar gods could duplicate it on an electric with a flat pick and a guitar synthesizer.
11-06-05, 07:45 PM
Gas? It was the 1960s. "Gas" was slang for something that was a lot of fun.
Not..... quite. I could've looked before asking:
I remember virtually living in my sunglasses... I came back to L.A., slept for a couple of days, got up and spent an entire weekend alone with the guitar. It felt so good to get back to my old friend that I decided to compose something. I didn't really have any big plans for it, other than maybe to have a piece to play at parties when they passed the guitar around. I envisioned it as simply repertoire or "fuel" for the classical guitar, so I called it Classical Gasoline.
Mason Williams originially intended the tune to be something like an energy drink for the guitar to endure being passed around at parties, in other words its 'gasoline'.
He therefore called the classical tune "Classical Gasoline"
It was only years later after it debuted on the radio and became a quick hit that the producers and hippies reinvented the meaning of gasoline into 'gas' which meant 'cool' or 'hip' in 60's slang.
Mason Williams gave us Classical Gasoline as in fuel. Flower children gave us
Classical Gas as in pretty fucking cool.
11-07-05, 08:19 PM
Well okay. I was too old to be a flower child but we all picked up on their slang. However, "gas" as "fun" (not "cool") goes way back. It's hard to look up a three-letter word on Google so I can't find a slang dictionary with both "gas" and the date it first appeared in writing. But when the Rolling Stones said that Jumpin' Jack Flash was a gas gas gas in 1968, the word had been in use meaning "something fun or funny" for a long time.
So you'll have to forgive us if we didn't catch Mason Williams's original meaning. But that's okay, "Them Toad Suckers" didn't have any second-level meanings to dig for. :)
THEM TOAD SUCKERS
by Mason Williams
How about Them Toad Suckers,
Ain't they clods?
Sittin' there suckin'
Them green toady-frogs.
Suckin' them hop-toads,
Suckin' them chunkers,
Suckin' them leapy types,
Suckin' them plunkers.
Look at Them Toad Suckers,
Ain't they snappy?
Suckin' them bog-frogs
Sure makes'em happy.
Them huggermugger Toad Suckers,
Way down south,
Stickin' them sucky-toads
In they mouth.
How to be a Toad Sucker?
No way to duck it.
Gittchyself a toad,
Rare back and suck it!
I could play Classical Gas in it's entirety at one stage (I struggle a bit now).
Sorry, just had to put that in. When I learnt the tune I was intending to play it for a sort of music scholarship to my school. I only had a week to prepare it though, so there I was trying to get this song down for 5 hours or so a night (it was way out of my reach before I started). I didn't get the scholarship, pipped on the line by this wicked piano player :(
(but at least I knew a cool song! :))
11-12-05, 03:47 AM
When I think of the term 'gas', I always come to the complete phrase "Now we're cooking with gas!" which was a term used in the 20's, I believe. I bet it began as an advertising slogan for natural gas and was so successful that it came to indicate anything good or succesful... futuristic. Like electricity.
Ah. Natural gas. I miss it. Up here, it's so expensive that electricity is a more frugal choice. Stupid electricity. It has it's uses but cooking and heating are not good examples...
Anyway. Another use of the term gas would be 'gaslight' which was a movie from 1944 about a woman who was being driven crazy purposefully by her husband. Or convinced that she was crazy when she wasn't. Something like that. Never actually seen the movie, don't you know, only heard the term. "Gaslight treatment."
That's about it for the use of the term gas that I can think of (other than flatulence...). I'd think that the use of 'gas' as 'groovy' would have evolved from the first term. I'd think that the definition Gendanken came up with might possibly have a similar source. But, then again, maybe not.
11-12-05, 08:34 AM
I enjoyed that song but since I liked organ music more I prefered "The Happy Organ" by Dave "Baby" Cortez.
The first rock and roll instrumental was Bill Doggett's "Honkey Tonk in late 1956. More than a year later the second big instrumental was Bill Justis' "Raunchy." By mid-1958, the Champs and Duane Eddy each were beginning a long string of instrumental hits.
Riding the their coat tails came dozens of artist and combos, most with only one minor hit. Among the more successful were the Applejacks ("Mexican Hat Rock",) Link Wray ("Rumble"), the Royaltones ("Poor Boy'), the Gone All-Stars ("7-11"), Lee Allen ("Walking With Mr. Lee"), Dave "Baby" Cortez ("The Happy Organ"), the Kingsmen ("Weekend"), Ernie Fields ("In The Mood"), Sandy Nelson ("Teen Beat"), the Virtues ("Guitar Boogie Shuffle"), Preston Epps ("Bongo Rock"), the Rock-A-Teens ("Woo-Hoo"), the Wailers ("Tall Cool One"), the Fireballs (Torquay"), Chet Atkins ("Boo Boo Stick Beat"), the Hot-Toddys ("Rockin' Crickets"), the Rockin' R's ("The Beat"), the Wildcats ("Gazachstahagen"), and the Intruders ("Fried Eggs"), the Quarter Notes ("Record Hop Blues"), and the Frantics ("Straight Flush"). Those were just the individuals and groups with hits through the end of 1959.
Originally rock instrumentals were played by R&B dance combos that flourished in the early Fifties. These bands usually featured an organist or honky-tonk pianist or sax player.
These bands remained popular at dances, but by 1957 black music had become almost purely vocal as far as recording was concerned. White rock had divided into two categories: teen idols and rockabilly. Rockabilly had little commercial appeal and by the late Fifties, white rock was almost completely monopolized by teen idols.
The result of this divergence of rock and roll from its roots, was the appearance of white instrumental bands popping up around the country, keeping the music alive at the local level and directly in- flunking the British bands that would signal the start of Rock's classic era.
Instrumental groups were generally regional, products of the local music scenes that had been the source of virtually every significant innovation in rock and roll. The professional musicians in the music capitals - New York, Los Angeles, and London - had become insulated from influences outside the music industry, while local bands, playing in front of audiences which they had a direct rapport, started new styles, dance and music developments.
In the early days bands were simply there to back up a singer. Many of the early instrumental groups continued to feature singers on some numbers, but the rockabilly style of signing was becoming dated. Anyways these bands just wanted to rock, and played for the audiences that wanted to drink and dance. So they just did away with the singer altogether.
The earliest instrumental rock hits "Honky Tonk," " Raunchy," and "Topsy" featured saxophones, piano, and drums. Toward the end of 1958, guitar, the predominant instruments of rockabilly, began taking over instrumental rock. The tunes were usually simple, relying on a gimmick, but others created an intense mood , such as Link Wray's "Rumble" or Johnny and the Hurricanes' "Crossfire."