Songs that inspired: Throw Down The Sword - Wishbone Ash

The band that started it all for me...

Songs that inspired: Throw Down The Sword - Wishbone Ash - The band that started it all for me... - by Simon Campbell

I am often asked what artists and songs inspired me to write songs and pick up the guitar. This is the seventh and final post in the series featuring the wonderful Wishbone Ash

So, the most influential band to me and inspired me as a youngster to be profession musician was Wishbone Ash...

Many people now may not know them but in the early 70's they we hot property and considered to be one of the major innovators of the harmony twin lead guitar format.

Andy Powell and Ted Turner to be voted "Two of the Ten Most Important Guitarists in Rock History" (Traffic magazine 1989), and to appear in the 'Top 20 Guitarists of All Time' (Rolling Stone). Melody Maker (1972) described Powell and Turner as "the most interesting two guitar team since the days when Beck and Page graced The Yardbirds".

Of course they were the start of the twin guitar thing, made really fashionable in the mid late 70's by Thin Lizzy.

Argus was released in 1972 when I was 14 and all my mates were wild about it. I loved the fantastic sound of two guitars, the tone and sensitivity of the playing. It wasn't blues as some of the earlier stuff was pretty jazz/rocky such as Vas Dis from Pilgrimage.

Anyway, not only did they sound super cool but they also looked cool, using Orange Amplifiers and Andy played a Gibson Flying V. At 16 I started to play and wanted learn everything and persuaded my mum and dad to buy me Flying V for my 17th birthday present. I still own that guitar...

I later bought Orange/Matamp Amplifiers and embarked upon a life of rock and roll.

The link below again is not particularly my favourite song by the band but remember very clearly working it out in my bedroom at school... The first three albums were totally mindblowing to me.

There is a connected story as when we were in the studio recording the 'Little Brother' record with producer Derek Lawrence (who also produced Deep Purple and Wishbone Ash) I asked him about recording Argus and specifically the solos in 'Throw Down The Sword'. 

He said:

When they were mixing the record, there were two takes of the guitar solo by Andy at the end of the song. We [Derek & Martin Birch, the engineer] forgot to mute the least favourite, hence the twin guitars at the end of the track. It sounded great, so we left it...


The band, fronted by now Andy, is still touring and making records. This performance from 2009 shows that (unlike many of their contemporaries) they can really do it; I still adore these pure guitar tones.

So then, a track from the album that started all the madness...


[EDITOR'S NOTE: In January 2016, we recorded a podcast talking in detail about this track and all the others in the series. Take a listen!]


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