Playing for Fun- Part II

More is always better, right?

This one got postponed due to the live collaboration between Max and Rock on Saturday. But of course, we had to do a deep dive into one-man bands, right?

The Challenge
In addition to being talented, most musicians have a wacky competitive streak that leads them to try all sorts of challenging and sometimes incredible musical feats. In the videos below I share some of my favorites. Do you have others?

This is sort of how I envisioned one-man bands when I started working on this post. Wikipedia describes a one-man band as, “A musician who plays a number of instruments simultaneously using their hands, feet, limbs, and various mechanical or electronic contraptions. One-man bands also often sing while they perform.”

Sidney Bechet: The Sheik of Araby
Back in the days before tap recording and tracks, Bechet came up with a plan to play all six parts on six different instruments for the song, “The Sheik of Araby.” He had to memorize the timing and melody for each instrument. Each part would be recorded on a 78rpm wax original and then superimposed on the one below it. On April 19, 1941, Bechet played six instruments – soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, clarinet, piano, string bass, and drums – for the recording of “The Sheik Of Araby.” Absolutely incredible.

Paul McCartney: Maybe I’m Amazed
Paul McCartney seemed to be able to play any instrument he tried, so while the Beatles were taking a hiatus, he began working on a solo album called, McCartney. He played all the instruments – acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums, piano, organ, percussion - and sang all the parts on the album because, as he put it, “I think I’m pretty good.”

Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells

Phil Collins: Can’t Turn Back the Yeats

Jon Anderson: To The Runner from Olias of Sunhill

In 1975, the members of Yes agreed to take a break from the group so that each member could record a solo album. Jon Anderson, the band’s co-founder and lead singer, opted to make his effort an entirely one-man affair.

“Olias of Sunhillow” was a concept album that told the story of an alien race whose planet had been decimated by a volcanic eruption, leading them to search for a new world to make their home. Over four months, Anderson carefully laid down each track for the LP - including vocals, guitars, harp, sitar, keyboards, percussion, bass, flute, mandolin, and sax - despite his admitted inefficiency with several of the instruments. I don’t know about you, but I think he did a pretty good job!

Joe Penna : Clone Orchestra
Penna is a Brazilian musician and filmmaker best known for his YouTube channel MysteryGuitarMan. In recent years he has been focusing on his other passion - directing.

Penna’s YouTube channel:

And finally, just for fun.

Croatia’s One Man Band: Cigo Band
Gladson Peter: India's One Man Band
Got Talents Around the World

Okay, it’s your turn. Whatcha got?


Copyright 2021 by Jena Ball. All Rights Reserved.