"’s Top 50 Guitar Solos of All Time 09.22.2010
"25. “Sweet Jane” (live), Lou Reed (Steve Hunter, Dick Wagner)
What makes for a great guitar solo? Is it mind-melting precision or bone-chilling soul? Is it the way it can leave you slack-jawed, wondering, “How did he do that?” Or is it something that you can sing from memory, a melodic passage that weaves itself into the DNA of the song? Or are the greatest solos ever played the ones that somehow manage to do all of the above? a panel of rock and roll experts (Gibson editorial staff and writers, some of our favorite musicians and, most importantly, our fans), asking for everyone to name the greatest guitar solos in music history."

“When your recording session needed some monster guitar solos, you called Wagner and Hunter first. Period. Just ask Kiss. Or better yet, ask Aerosmith.”
~ Vintage Guitar

"Dick Wagner has had an amazing career as the guitar player for Lou Reed and Alice Cooper. In addition he has recorded classic songs with Kiss and Aerosmith and written songs for artists as diverse as Meat Loaf and Air Supply. Wagner’s discography is a Who’s Who of 70’s rock music."
~ Classic Rock Revisited

"Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner were as potent a duo as Keith Richards and Mick Taylor, and the four make-up the “Golden Era” of both The Rolling Stones and Lou Reed, that period when the recordings were beyond magical."
~ Book: A Study of Lou Reed’s Berlin and Rock & Roll Animal Albums by Joe Viglione, 2009

“Heavy, thrilling without threatening to stupefy.... The made-in-Detroit guitars of Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner mesh naturally with the unnatural rhythms, and Reed shouts with no sacrifice of wit. .... This is a live album with a reason for living. A- “
~ Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.

"This is a record to be played loud. Like a Formula One car, it doesn't really begin to perform until it's pushed close to the limit…Powered up on a strong system loud enough to make enemies a quarter-mile away, Rock n Roll Animal -- recorded live at Lou Reed's Academy of Music concert December 21st, 1973 -- is, well, very fine."
~ Rolling Stone, Timothy Ferris

"This live set is a prime example of why Reed is considered one of the most electrifying performers in rock today. The set is a simple one, featuring a standard rock combo and Reed's vocals, but there is an excitement provided by the guitars of Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner and Reed's renditions of his classics, 'Heroin' and 'Sweet Jane.' One of the few live sets not requiring overdubs."
~ Billboard, 1974

"100 Greatest Solos of All Time: Sweet Jane - Lou Reed (Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter) #81!"~Guitar Legends - a special edition from Guitar World magazine, September 2001

Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner - Two Legendary Guitarists Reunite - "In many ways, the alliance between Hunter & Wagner, which continued (with) the pair recording on Alice Cooper's largest selling album of all time, Billion Dollar Babies, is as significant and as memorable in the lexicon of Rock 'n Roll Greatness as that of Duane Allman & Eric Clapton trading dueling solos on the Layla album. Indeed, the introduction to Reed 's glitter-anthem Sweet Jane on Rock & Roll Animal found the pair exchanging eloquent instrumental phrasing with a seamless & soaring passion that one is hard-pressed to compare."
~ Robert E. Martin, Review Magazine

"Welcome To My Nightmare... blazed new trails... yielding a monster hit in the (Cooper-Wagner) ballad Only Woman Bleed.... To replace the muscular sound of his long-standing band, Cooper recruited Lou Reed's rock & roll animals, guitarists Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter, who stacked up fiery riffs like so much sawmill fodder throughout the songs on Welcome To My Nightmare."
~ Alt.Culture.Guide -  Rev. Keith A. Gordon (Rev. Keith A. Gordon)

"'Welcome To My Nightmare' is one of my all-time favorite motherfucking albums." ~ Guitarist Slash, Prime Cuts (Video interview)

"Destroyer, certified platinum on November 11, 1976, was the first Kiss album to achieve that distinction (and) the first Kiss album to prominently feature outside musicians..... However, one musician was not credited: Dick Wagner, from Alice Cooper’s band, replaced Ace Frehley on tracks such as “Sweet Pain”… and even on a song that Frehley himself co-wrote, “Flaming Youth”. Lead guitarist Ace Frehley, who did not approach the recording process with the discipline Ezrin wanted, often found himself at odds with the producer.... As a result Ezrin brought in session guitarist Dick Wagner... Wagner also played the acoustic guitar found on the song “Beth.” Certifier Certification Sales RIAA (U.S.) 3x Platinum 3,000,000 Rolling Stone U.S. The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time[25] 2003 496 Blender U.S. The 100 Greatest American Albums of All Time"

"25. “Sweet Jane” (live), Lou Reed (Steve Hunter, Dick Wagner)
Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter created one of rock’s greatest dual-guitar moments when they unleashed their three-and-a-half minute intro to this opening track from Lou Reed’s 1974 album, Rock ’n’ Roll Animal. Close friends in real life, Hunter and Wagner weaved a sustained solo tapestry that sounded born of brother-like telepathy. By the time the song’s signature riff kicks in, you feel you’ve been carried on gossamer wings to a place where beautiful six-string splendor rules. 
~ Russell Hall

"Rock 'n' Roll Animal remains amongst Reed's most celebrated and controversial tours. The soaring guitars of Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner, swirling organ of Ray Colcord and thundering rhythm section of Peter Walsh and Pentti Glan, created high-voltage rock.... Reed and this band were a decade ahead of their time, blazing a path that many rock artists were soon to follow. The live album from this tour, Rock & Roll Animal, remains one of the most influential guitar albums in rock history. "
~ Lou Reed Empire Theatre Liverpool, England 09/28/1973

Dick Wagner: Aerosmith’s 'Train Kept A Rollin’ might never have left the station if his playing wasn’t so dangerously off the rails. And Kiss’ ‘Great Expectations’ could have been anti-climactic if he didn’t lay down the elegant solo. But  more than just hot solos, Wagner brought intricate arrangements and even a hit song or two (Alice Cooper’s ‘Only Women Bleed’ and You and Me, etc.) to the table.
~ Daniel Siwek, Music Connection Magazine

Lou Reed - Rock And Roll Animal "...Showcases newer Reed hits and the legendary VU songs....the heartless cyborg brilliance of these performances is absolutely stunning..."
~ The Wire

Lou Reed – Rock and Roll Animal: 'Powered by a dual lead guitar tapestry crafted by Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter, this 1974 live effort remains the most incendiary album of Reed’s career. On the 3-1/2 minute intro to “Sweet Jane,” Wagner and Hunter weave together a sustained solo duet that sounds borne of telepathy. Rarely has there been as thrilling a guitar moment."
~Russell Hall,

"This set, recorded in the Beatles hometown of Liverpool England at the Empire Theatre, captures this remarkable band as they were hitting their stride and Reed was creating emotionally honest musical turbulence on stage....Reed’s set begins with the band developing one of their soon-to-be classic opening jams, applying it on this night to “Vicious,” rather than the more familiar “Sweet Jane.” The instrumental sparks fly through this opening sequence, clearly defining the sound of this band. Thanks to the dual guitar creativity of Hunter and Wagner, when Reed enters, the energy level is cranked way up....Hunter and Wagner launch into a blistering version of “White Light/White Heat” to conclude the set. This is a powerful closer to the show, leaving the audience clamoring for an encore. Reed and his band oblige with a driving take on yet another Velvet Underground classic, “Rock & Roll.” .... The melding of Reed's unique brand of decadent, literate music with a big arena rock sound would eventually reach the masses in a way the Velvet Underground never could. The strange contrast between Reed's detached, blasé vocals and the hard rocking professionalism of his backup band is the essence of its appeal."
~Waka Jawanka Link:

Lou Reed, Empire Theatre, Liverpool, England, 09/28/1973

"The “Rock’n'Roll Animal” tour, thankfully and magnificently well-documented on vinyl, was a sight to see and a tremendous thump to the ears as well, due in very large part to what was arguably the best rock band ever assembled. This was in fact the almost seamlessly melded “Berlin” and “Sally Can’t Dance” tours, and it hit the road with the double-trouble guitarist team that “Berlin” producer Bob Ezrin had hired: Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner from Detroit. Those guys put so much heavy-metal fire into the music that the two live albums resulting, “Rock’n'Roll Animal” and “Lou Reed Live”, were close to molten vinyl. To me and legions of others there is no better rock instrumental than the Hunter-Wagner intro to “Sweet Jane”, which opened the shows (Hunter actually wrote the intro years before). They wove flawlessly back and forth, building and building, until Lou was cued to the stage and they crunched into the song’s swinging, anthemic triple chording. It was like that for every track, all of Reed’s stuff, old and new, being reborn in fireworks. “Waiting for My Man”, “Vicious”, “Lady Day”, “Satellite of Love”, “White Light/White Heat”, “Rock & Roll” and the searingly poignant “Heroin”, which, as Timothy Ferris wrote in Rolling Stone, was “rooted in a treacherous organ and strung tautly on a set of vaunting guitar riffs. The piece has the atmosphere of a cathedral at Black Mass."
~ Music in Dorseyland

“Considered by many to be Reed's best live recording of classic Velvet Underground material, this five-song disc benefits form the strong backup efforts of a band that includes the guitars of Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner. "Sweet Jane," "Heroin," "White Light/White Heat," and "Rock 'n' Roll" are all here. Robert Christgau said it most succinctly: "This is a live album with a reason for living." The sound quality on the CD is really very good for a concert recording. The unforgivable absence of any real information in the almost nonexistent liner notes is an all-too-common omission from so-called budget releases. B+ “
~ Bill Shapiro, Rock & Roll Review: A Guide to Good Rock on CD, 1991.

“Retaining guitarists Hunter and Wagner from the Berlin sessions, Reed hired a rhythm section consisting of Prakash John on bass, Pentti Glan on drums, and Ray Colcord on keyboards. Two shows were recorded at New York's Academy of Music in 1973. Behind Reed the band produced fierce near-heavy-metal twin-guitar apotheosis for ninety minutes. Just under half of the concert made it onto this album. An FM radio staple at the time, Rock 'n' Roll Animal includes searing versions of The Velvet Underground classics "Sweet Jane," "Heroin," "White Light/White Heat," and "Rock 'n' Roll," plus "Lady Day" from Berlin. * * * “
~ Rob Bowman, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

".... on Rock n Roll Animal…the duo came into their own. The intro to that album, Sweet Jane,....gave both Wagner and Hunter ample room to show off their individual solo skills...That cut alone proved the value of employing these two together...Both guitarists guested on the last two Alice Cooper Band albums, ostensibly to fill in for Glen Buxton.... In 1975, Cooper brought in Wagner and Hunter full time for Cooper's solo debut, Welcome to my Nightmare." and for his new touring band.... But perhaps Hunter and Wagner's greatest performance was their uncredited stint on Aerosmith's 'Get Your Wings,' where they were brought in to add lead guitar muscle where Joe Perry wasn't cutting it. Both players wail on the classic 'Train Kept a Rollin', while Wagner also appears on three other cuts including the popular 'Same Old Song and Dance.' While this news doesn't do much for Perry's stock, it certainly adds credence to the idea that Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner were among the best hard rockers of the middle seventies."
~ Legends of Rock Guitar by Pete Brown, Harvey P. Newquist, Jon F. Eiche

"The 10 songs I feel are essential in any air guitarist’s catalogue..."
1. “CROSSROADS” by Cream
3. “TIGHTROPE” by Stevie Ray Vaughan
4. “SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL” (LIVE) by the Rolling Stones
5. “SWEET JANE” (LIVE) by Lou Reed — This is from the “Rock N Roll Animal” album, recorded at New York’s Academy of Music on December 21, 1973. It presents one of those rare air guitar opportunities where you can mimic two real guitarists of equal ability. Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter share a magnificent intro before Lou takes the stage, then they close the song out with some astounding riffs.
6. “DAZED AND CONFUSED” by Led Zeppelin
9. “I’M GOING HOME” (LIVE) by Ten Years After
10. “LITTLE MARTHA” by the Allman Brothers Band
© 2007 MSNBC Interactive
~ Music for the imaginary ax man: Tunes to test your air guitar skills, live your rock 'n' roll fantasy. By Michael Ventre

"Tim Curry - Read My Lips: That Reed guitarist Dick Wagner and producer Bob Ezrin are involved in Read My Lips, the solo debut from the star of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, should come as no surprise. Wagner's tastefully brilliant guitar on "Sloe Gin" underscores the melancholy vocal, and these journeymen are the perfect crew to work on this "film for the ear" sequel." ~ Joe Viglione, All Music Guide

"The 1973 tour to promote Berlin included one of the finest bands ever assembled. With the dual guitars of Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner weaving in and around Reed’s poetry, the tour produced one of the most powerful live albums ever, Rock ’n’ Roll Animal." ~ From book: Contemporary Musicians, Calen Stone

"The Twenty Greatest White Boy Axe Whackers
8. Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper, Lou Reed). Possessed by Duane Allman's ghost (as Steve Hunter was with Dickie's, I guess). Or maybe... they were listening to him. Listen to the intro to "Sweet Jane" on Rock and Roll Animal."
~Juke Box Heroes with Flying Fingers

“For those of you so culturally deprived as to never have heard it, here's the lowdown on Rock and Roll Animal: it kicks off with a blazing introduction, featuring the spectacular dueling lead guitars of Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter—this band would also work with Alice Cooper during his heyday. As the instrumental builds to a fevered pitch, there is a roar of applause. It apparently marked the moment when the leather-clad, bleached blonde “Rock and Roll Animal” himself first graced the stage, there at Howard Stein's Academy of Music, on that December night in 1973. Shortly thereafter, the music switched gears and locked into the plodding but eminently satisfying groove of ‘Sweet Jane.’ … The intro to “Sweet Jane”,…. (has) become iconic enough that the geeks at Guitar Player magazine saw fit, nearly two decades after the fact, to subject it to a scholarly analysis. Because, when it comes right down to it, there's nothing that says rock ‘n’ roll like an egg-headed dissection of its assorted and sundry component parts. Rock critic Robert Christgau called Rock and Roll Animal "a live album with a reason for living."
~ CRAWDADDY MAGAZINE - The Magazine of Rock

"Sweet Jenny Lee" opens the album Frost Music like some unholy marriage between the Zombies and Ted Nugent's Amboy Dukes. And that sums up nicely this wonderful amalgam of British and Detroit rock, a surprisingly poppy effort from Dick Wagner and company. As a future purveyor of hard rock, and within the decade, eventual producer of his friend Mark Farner, the English sounds of bands like Kaleidoscope (U.K.) reverberate through songs like "Stand in the Shadows." With hints of very early  Pink Floyd meets Strawberry Alarm Clock in track two, "The Family," Frost Music is more than a respectable effort from the young Wagner, …. "Susie Singer or "Little Susie Singer (Music to Chew Gum By)," is the album's highlight. A very psychedelic combination of ideas and sound effects that both the Alice Cooper Group and the Velvet Underground were playing with at the time. Wagner's eventual impact on the leaders of both groups would emerge in just four years when he co-led the Rock & Roll Animal Band with Steve Hunter for Lou Reed, and when that group went on to backup Alice Cooper, becoming in some paradoxical fashion, a macho foundation for one of music's most influential glitter/glam rock ensembles.…. The Frost were certainly more influential than they ever got credit for. "Who Are You" is really Syd Barrett/Floyd come to America. Hearing this music makes one wonder why Frost Music isn't as sought after as Moulty & the Barbarian's first album or Chocolate Watch Band. If Paul Revere & the Raiders and Leslie West's the Vagrants got immortalized on the Nuggets compilation, it makes the obscurity of the Frost all the more obliging. "Baby Once You Got It" is vintage '60s pop that bands like the Lyres and the Fleshtones have made a career out of emulating. In fact, this album is a delight for the '60s connoisseur… Wagner eventually (became) Alice Cooper's lead guitarist and co-songwriter. "A Long Way Down From Mobile" might throw the listener for a loop, sounding more like an outtake from James Taylor's backing band, but that's the curve Dick Wagner has always thrown. The Frost keep shifting from the garage rock of "Baby Once You Got It" to the English psychedelia of "Stand in the Shadows." …That Alice and Dick Wagner would join forces was only logical, as evidenced here in this very important and hard to find record.”
~ All Music Guide: The Frost

"Guitarists Steve Hunter & Dick Wagner play with the most incredible harmony, phrasing and fluidity and the interplay between guitars makes this a standout track. The guitar playings jaw-droppingly good guitar playing which stands today as relevant and as good as the day it was first recorded.... Turn this one up LOUD."

And here’s just one from the International Press:

“The Frost est vraiment l'une des plus fantastiques machines à Heavy-Blues, avec des teintes psyché et soul, et "Rock and Roll Music", enregistré en live à la célèbre Grande Ballroom de Détroit…  Pourtant, ce qui frappe d'entrée, c’est d’abord une guitare, celle de Dick Wagner. C’est un son précis, fluide, clair et toujours chantant. C’est aussi une grosse basse ronflante, celle de Gordy Garris, et une batterie un peu à la Keith Moon, celle de Bob Rigg.

C’est enfin trois voix qui s’unissent à merveille : celle de Don Hartman, le chanteur-guitariste, et celles de Wagner et Garris. C’est surtout le commencement du heavy-rock héroïque avec les guitares à saturation.

Sauf qu’il y a une âme dans cette musique, celle qui anima le rock rageur de Detroit. Il n’y a pas d’esbrouffe ici. On vit le riff, on plane sur un nuage d’électricité et de mélodies, porté par les soli de Wagner, la grosse basse de Garris, et les cymbales de Rigg.

Le lyrisme est poussé à son paroxysme sur le magnifique blues "Donny’s Blues", et le final est lui quelque peu orgasmique, avec l’intro de la reprise soul « We Gotta Get Out Of This Place » (avant Blue Oyster Cult, tiens, tiens !), sur laquelle Hartman et Wagner se livrent un duel dantesque de guitares.”


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