Wow, this song brings back memories. Music is so compelling because it can shift your emotional center from its current position, whatever that may be, to something totally different. Music is like a great friend: your day instantly changes when they’re around.
“People Get Ready” by Jeff Beck brings me a strong sense of nostalgia. Every time I hear this song, I’m instantly transported to my youth. Hanging out at the Eastcrest Pool while Mix106.5 plays over the PA. It reminds me of how much fun I had with my brother Ed and my best friends Ryan and Josh. I’m reminded of how maddeningly fun it was to have a crush on a girl and be too shy to do anything about it.
All summer long we’d swim, splash and scope out the girls. We’d take an occasional break and eat a miniature pizza called a “pizza baby” sold at the snack bar. I can actually hear, “Earle, your pizza-baby is ready” streaming over the PA.
Good times. Great times, really. Not a care in the world. Just fun, friends, girls and frozen pizza.
It’s funny how a song can bring all of that back. That’s the power of association for ya’. That song must have played everyday on Mix106.5 that summer, along with hits like “Baby Baby,” by Amy Grant and “Hole-Hearted,” by Extreme. Every time I hear these songs I think of that summer.
Songs like “Baby Baby” earned their place into my music collection purely on their nostalgic merit. Not this one. “People Get Ready” is a lead guitar pop masterpiece.
The lead guitar work is so compelling and perfectly performed that it is hard to find anything constructive to say about it. Jeff Beck is a true master and it is a shame that most people think of Rod Stewart when they hear this song, but maybe that was the point (more on that in a moment). Don’t get me wrong, Stewart’s voice is fantastic and he sounds great. But Jeff Beck’s guitar work is the showpiece in this song.
Jeff expertly inflects subtle bends and legato into his melody lines, creating a soulful and inspiring theme. His use of the vibrato bar is also top notch. Overall, this song is a wonderful example of how compelling pop guitar can be. Intricate guitar work doesn’t need to be dumbed down for the masses. It just needs to packaged in an easy-to-swallow Rod Stewart-flavored jell-cap.
Oh, and one other thing….oops, sorry. Gotta run. My pizza baby is ready.
For more information about me and the guitar lessons that I give, visit www.ewguitar.com.