Today I’m continuing my summer series of articles about songs that remind me of my past. In case you missed them, here are the previous two:
As an early birthday gift to my good friend Eric, this week’s song is “Sultans of Swing” by Dire Straits.
Time: Spring 1999
Place: Ellicott Hall, University of Maryland, College Park.
Setting: In my dorm room trying to learn a new song on the guitar.
Although this article is dedicated to Eric, one of my oldest friends, he has already stopped reading this post by now. I’d wager that Eric is standing over a shallow grave. In that grave: his computer. Why? Because he hates “Sultans of Swing.” He once jumped out of a moving car because “Sultans of Swing” came on the radio. Not really, but you get the point.
I know what you’re thinking. How could anyone hate “Sultans of Swing?” It’s jangly joviality is beyond reproach. And hate? Hate is a word reserved for things like social injustice, animal cruelty, and if you’re my wife, milk.
So how could Eric hate “Sultans of Swing.” Simple. To Eric, it is a torture device. As a fledgling guitar player, I chose “Sultans of Swing” as the first song I was going to learn note-for-note. Tough choice, I know. I would sit at the computer — Eric’s computer, mind you — and play the song over and over again. Eric couldn’t escape; he was trapped in 12-foot by 12-foot Brit-rock prison.
The torture drove Eric insane. To this day Eric compulsively hits the power button on the car stereo any time “Sultans of Swing” comes on. I, on the other hand, turn it up and smile, thinking of my good friend Eric. Happy Birthday man!
For more information about me and the guitar lessons that I give in and around Baltimore, visit www.ewguitar.com.