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Bert Weedon's Play in a Day: Guide to Modern Guitar Playing (Guitar)

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Most of the big bands didn't carry a guitarist, but every time they did broadcasts or recordings, they'd call on yours truly. So I worked with all of them, which was nice. I found a little cheap boarding house and I went down there and I used to go and sit on the end of Southend pier every day and I got better from TB. Although, I did have a relapse a few years later.

The other night I was at a function and [English classical guitarist] Julian Bream was there and he said 'It's lovely to see you, Bert'. He said 'I haven't seen you since I used to come and see you in Plaistow hospital'. I said 'Good God! I'd forgotten all that'. And that was a subsequent flare-up that got better because by then they'd invented penicillin. These things happen, and Hank's a great guitar player. In fact, when they did This Is Your Life on the BBC, Hank came on and said some very nice things, as indeed did Brian May and Eric Clapton. They were all very nice." Many years later, Martin Taylor took over playing for Stephane and he played beautifully. He's a great guitarist and is also one of my heroes." Among those who were inspired by the televised lessons was Mike Oldfield, who told me: "I saw him on television when I was seven and immediately persuaded my father to buy me my first guitar. If it wasn't for Bert I might never have taken it up in the first place." I had TB and hadn't known that I had it. In those days, I'm talking about the '40s again, it was a killer because they hadn't invented all the drugs that they have now. They took me to Plaistow hospital and I stayed there for about three months. And I went to the specialist, and I could ill afford a West End specialist, who said, 'Can you go to Switzerland, Mr Weedon?' So I said 'No, I can't'. I couldn't afford to go to Switzerland, because I was married then and had a baby. He said, 'Well, could you afford to go to Southend?' So I said "That I could afford but why do you ask?' He said 'Because the air at Southend when the tide goes out, it's covered in mud, and the air is just as beneficial at Southend as any of the air in Switzerland'.He is survived by his second wife, Maggie, two sons, Geoff and Lionel, eight grandchildren and a great-grandson. a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19thed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p.595. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.

I've also got the Guild guitars [the Bert Weedon Guild]. I've got an original Hofner. I've got two or three Yamahas. In all I think I've got thirteen or fourteen guitars. And, of course, Marshall amps.I said 'I'd rather stay in England here because I'm a big fish in a small pond. In America you've got great, great guitar players. I'd be a smaller fish in a huge pond'. I said 'So I'm happy here and I've got a wife and baby" so I didn't go. But it was very enjoyable working with people like Sinatra and Nat King Cole." For the restaurant job, Stephane said 'I would like you to take the job'. So I said 'I'd love to take the job, but I've got to be perfectly honest. I'm not going to try and play like Django Reinhardt, because no one can. I'd only be a second-hand copy of Django Reinhardt'. Stephane said 'You are very sensible, Bert. You play like Bert Weedon and you will be a star. Do not be a copyist'. His first chart hit in 1959 Guitar Boogie Shuffle began a path that saw him becoming a major influence. He also had a number one album (albeit having a very brief stint at the top of the charts). Play in a Day sold more than a million copies and many a youngster was able to learn to play the guitar as a result. But the testimonies of some of the guitar greats is telling. Brian May claimed that Weedon influenced pretty much all guitarists of his generation. His concentration on tome and rhythm were important Weedon also recorded prolifically for the Top Rank label under his own name. Guitar Boogie Shuffle (1959, by the American guitarist Arthur Smith) and Apache (1960, by Jerry Lordan) were minor hits, although the latter was a much greater success in the version by Weedon's disciples the Shadows. His own compositions included Sorry Robbie (1960), China Doll and the much-recorded Ginchy (both 1961).

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