Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Song #19 of 9999 - Cult of Personality by Living Colour

Song #19 of 9999

Title: Cult of Personality
Artist: Living Colour
Year: 1988
Album: Vivid

Back when we were kids and we subscribed to magazines with titles like Guitar for the Practicing Musician, Vernon Reid was being touted as the next amazing rock guitar god, the one that was going to render every other guitar god from Eddie Van Halen to Randy Rhoads (yes, that is a deliberately narrow range, hopefully for comedic effect) obsolete. Reid's splash was unfortunately minimized by the arrival of grunge, which somehow managed to make guitar solos uncool (unless they were of the one-note Neil Young variety). Nonetheless, Living Color did make a hit out of this "guitar riff with shouting about politics" song and video.

I remember first hearing this song on a promotional compilation disc we had to play in the Wall to Wall Sound and Video where I worked in the record department. I can still remember the sound of the guy's voice as he said "That's Cult of Personality by Living Color, available now!" I also remember trying to learn the bass line, which proved surprisingly difficult and frustrating (my right hand just didn't want to deal with the string crossing). In retrospect, it's not a great song, but if you haven't heard it for a while or ever, it's worth a few minutes. Just don't try to learn that bass line!

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