Before I learned that 91 year old guitar ace Bert Weedon had died today, I was thinking about something that comes with age. Possibly with wisdom, possibly due to brain cells dying in droves, but definitely with increasing age, comes a mellowness about things that you used to think sucked and now seem very fitting, and an important part of life's great tapestry.
As a kid, the two things I knew about Bert Weedon were:
1. The Bonzo Dog Band chanted on one track, "We are normal and we dig Bert Weedon."
2. Bert Weedon wrote the guitar tutorial Play In a Day, which featured little in the way of brain-burning, skull-peeling Hendrixisms and therefore sucked.
If the Bonzos thought Bert was too normal - we used to call normals 'straight' - and I thought his guitar course sucked, then of course so must have old Bert.
Nowadays it's pretty clear that if Bert hadn't written Play in a Day, which went on to sell millions, then pretty much everyone who provided the guitar soundtrack to the sixties and seventies would never have learned to play. When I saw a guitar course that taught you how to play Bobbie Shaftoe, I couldn't get beyond the normal - straight - song choice. Luckily, Eric Clapton, the Beatles, Pete Townshend, Brian May and many others had considerably more imagination than I did, and went from Bobbie Shaftoe to much brain-burning and skull-peeling of their own.
They say that hearing Lonnie Donnegan made the boys of the fifties want to play guitar, and Play In a Day enabled them to do so. Perhaps if I'd bought it, I would have learned the guitar properly back then myself, but I was too snooty. RIP Bert Weedon.