Sep 232015

The late Ray Charles was born on this date in 1930.

No, this doesn’t have a lot to do with guitars.

It does, however, remind me of John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers’ interesting 1966 version of Charles’ 1959 hit “What’d I Say,” which features Eric Clapton on guitar.

To put it bluntly, even though it appears on a groundbreaking, legendary guitar album—Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton—”What’d I Say” is not a standout track by any means. It just sort of sits there, and its lengthy drum solo (played by Hughie Flint) isn’t exactly “Moby Dick.” Who knows, maybe it was a crowd favorite at the Bluesbreakers’ live shows.

Anyway, there is this oddity: When the band comes back into the song after Flint’s drum solo, Clapton is totally playing the guitar riff from the Beatles’ 1965 hit “Day Tripper”—over and over again. Is he stealing it? Is it plagiarism? Not really, folks. I mean, he’s just having a bit of fun, quoting a famous song within another song, just as he did a little later, quoting the melody to Rodgers and Hart’s “Blue Moon” in the guitar solo to Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love.”

As a member of a cover band, I can tell you it’s fun—and often funny—to insert the “Day Tripper” riff wherever it fits, which is almost any classic rock or blues song in E major. Try it!

Additional Content

Eric Clapton Borrows The Beatles' "Day Tripper" Riff in Cover of Ray Charles' "What'd I Say"
Source: Guitar World