Hired gun guitarist Hugh Burns about recording with George Michael.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Blazer, Nov 20, 2019.

  1. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    [​IMG]
    Well it's almost three years ago that the world lost George Michael and in him one of the most gifted song writers from the eighties. But with the movie "Last Christmas" and Andrew Ridgeley's book putting his music firmly back into the limelight, I figured it to be a good idea to talk about how the man did his recording sessions. Using the interview which his loyal side man gave in Guitarist Magazine in October 2010
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    This is session ace and hired Gun guitarist Hugh Burns, playing a tasty Walnut Roger Giffin custom number, now this Glasgow native's name won't ring everybody's bell but you sure heard and recognize his playing.


    That's Burns playing that simply EPIC solo

    In addition Burns also recorded with Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce and Albert Lee, in addition he also worked on film scores such as the "Twilight" series and "The Full Monty" so his CV is nothing to scoff at.

    But in the interview he reflects how working with George Michael was an effortless affair, the man himself knew what he wanted but also was wise enough to give the musicians free reign to put in their own input. Burns' first sessions with George was with WHAM! and he played on their albums "Make it big" and "The Final"

    For this song Burns said that the credit should go to long time bass player Deon Estus who came up with the funky Motown bass line. Burns began to play along with him, doubling the bass, giving it that Stevie Wonder "Uptight" sound.

    Burns also did the guitar parts for "Careless whisper" using a Japanese Kohno classical. And toured with the band through China. Again, that's nothing to scoff at.

    So when George Michael went to record his first solo album "Faith" Burns received the call to be there to provide axe slinging.

    Burns said that George asked him to use an acoustic for this song but he didn't have one with him, so they searched the studio and found this no-name metal body POS guitar which out of necessity was used on the session with every intention of deleting that track and overdubbing it with a Martin or anything else which didn't sound like a cheap toy. But it stayed in, for some reason it just glued that track together.

    The solo is Burns' Giffin strat into a Fender Princeton amp and overdubbed that four times, which also ended up on the song.

    Burns revisited his classical playing on "Father figure" and much later on "Jesus to a child" but he says that the track he's most proud of was this jazzy crooner.


    When asked if George Michael ever played guitar on the tracks, Burns said that there was only one occasion where he did, on the song "A different corner" where the timing was very specific and George couldn't convey how he wanted it. But he also mentioned George being a groovy bass player, he's playing bass on "Faith" and "Kissing a fool."

    So, as a hot shot player who did some VERY iconic recordings, what was his opinion on WHAM!'s "Other guy?"
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    I'll quote the interview directly.

    "People ask if I think George is misrepresented by the media, but I think Andrew Ridgeley was: he was a great, very funky guitar player and he never got credit for that."
     
  2. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    Today, as I was watching Netflix's "Rolling Thunder Revue" documentary, I googled violinist Scarlet Rivera and it led me to her late husband, keyboardist Tommy Eyre, who also played on "Baker Street" and was a regular collaborator with George Michael.
     
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  3. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Almost forgot to mention, Andrew's book reveals why the band named themselves WHAM!

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    Both George and Andrew were big Paul Weller fans and cited the Jam and Style Council as being major influences.
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  4. geoff_in_nc

    geoff_in_nc Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    George Michael's solo work is much more familiar to me than Wham, but it came out in a time period where I wasn't receptive to that style. It's very clear that these were real *musicians* playing on his records, and playing well. I like hearing about the artists who have a vision and pursue it, as opposed to a singer who is just another instrument for a producer to play.
     
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  5. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Hey Blazer,

    Remember when I used to tell you to start a blog or write a book?

    It's always been sincere.

    You can take any subject and make it a fascinating thing.

    You have a lot of unusual and cool music knowledge. You're the fountain of cool.

    I'm just saying......

    I appreciate your posts. Really.

    John
     
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  6. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Believe me, I tried writing a book but got the shock of my life when I tried to submit my manuscript to publishers because it will cost me over 4000 euros to have it published.
     
  7. tintag27

    tintag27 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Always a treat to read a Blazer thread - we appreciate your hard work putting these gems together!
     
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  8. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

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    My band has performed Faith a number of times over the past few years.

    It's always a crowd-pleaser.

    The Hugh Burns rockabilly lead guitar bit is super-easy, and fun to play.
    :)
     
  9. Brian J.

    Brian J. Tele-Afflicted

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    I thought you meant the Michael Cera character from Arrested Development
     
  10. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    If I really meant THAT Hugh Burns, I would have left out the words "Hired gun guitarist" from the thread title.
     
  11. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Friend of Leo's

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    I still think that Faith is one of the most perfect pop records ever made. Especially the A side.
     
  12. Brian J.

    Brian J. Tele-Afflicted

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    George Michael was the name of the character played by Michael Cera and I was making a joke sorry that you needed me to explain that
     
  13. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    you can publish your book on amazon for free.
     
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