Hey readers! Today I’m writing my tribute to one of my favorite guitarists of all time Mike McCready, because today he has officially turned 52! Mike is an incredible guitarist, and anybody who has seen Pearl Jam play live knows that he’s also a ton of fun to watch. The guy’s like an alien on stage, and it’s awesome. He developed his own tone, and it’s beautiful. Coming in with bass pickups, cathedral reverb, and a clean setting – genius. Wish I thought of that! Anyways, now I’ll get into the list – of my personal top five favorite Mike McCready solos. Please enjoy!
5. YELLOW LEDBETTER (1992)
This is such a beautiful song, and the solo is even better. It’s moving, powerful, and reckless all at once. He out did himself with this solo, because as you know the 90’s is my favorite musical decade. But I’ve gotta admit that the guitar solos weren’t as great, other than the Pearl Jam solos of course! Love this song, love this solo, and I especially admire all the effects Mike put on it. It’s rare to see the guy not use a ton of different effects, and just play clean.
4. BLACK (1991)
While this solo is indeed a duet with Stone Gossard, it still counts. And it’s a really amazing solo. Mike was reinventing the word guitar with this one, and this solo was way ahead of it’s time. Reason being, because the stuff he put over the rhythm guitar was the same effects used with Seven Nation Army’s guitar solo, and many more iconic songs of the 2000’s and the late 90’s. After all this is Pearl Jam’s best album.
3. SIRENS (2013)
Sirens is a great solo, and I’m not going to lie – when 2000 hit I was sure Pearl Jam’s solos would become more dry, and not as good because of all the mainstream pop “music” that was flowing in. But I was proved wrong, and this guitar solo is one the best in history. And I’d never thought I’d say that about a 2000’s solo, but in this case we have to remember it’s Mike McCready and he’s AWESOME. And no matter how much mainstream crap comes in, Mike’s gonna play a great guitar solo. Because even though everybody else it going with an iPad for an instrument, Mike doesn’t sell out.
2. EVEN FLOW (1991)
Anther great one of “Ten”. This solo was also originally worked on by both Mike & Stone, but Mike recorded it in studio, and he also is usually the one to play it live. And all I can say about this solo is WOW. How one guy can do all that on just one guitar is absolutely mind-blowing, and not to mention INSANE. Mike’s no doubt a guitar guru, and this definitely one of Pearl Jam’s better guitar solos.
1. ALIVE (1991)
This solo is amazing, and without doubts is my favorite. I love how much suspense it builds from Stone’s opening riff, to Mike’s shredeffric solo! It was proving that Mike wasn’t looking to be the next Jimmy Page, and instead looking to be the first Mike McCready. And it was pretty amazing of him to develop his own tone so fast, and he without hesitation helped shaped the sound of guitar music. Love him or loathe him, he’s an iconic guitarist and that’s something you have to admit. He and other great guitar prodigies helped shape the sound of guitar rock, and I thank him always for that.
HAPPY 52ND MIKE!