Free, All Right Now. In praise of editors

by Steve Seager

The magic in the way we communicate comes directly from the writer. The author who sits, sweats, and crafts the words we see on the page. The one credited in the byline. Right?

Often it’s the editors who do all the truly great work – sifting through the pages of ideas and sharpening the storyline, restructuring, exhuming the lead, fine tuning the punch line – until the story leaps off the page.

Listen to this solo by a 19 year old Paul Kossoff in Free’s “All Right Now.” Start from 2:02 if you’re not a Free fan.

Here’s what really happened …

During the studio sessions for this track, Kossoff spent hours and hours trying out licks, shaping ideas, and improvising the solo. The band began to run out of patience, money and time. So overnight, one of the engineers decided to sit down and sift through Kossof’s ideas and put together all the best parts.

When the band re-entered the next day, the engineer had finished. He hit ‘play’ and the band listened. The solo you just heard is the solo that the engineer had pieced together from the best of Kossof’s ideas. Kossof learned and played the exact same solo onstage every day for the next 6 years before his untimely death.

The tone and style – all Paul Kossof.

The solo itself? The thing that has sat at the top of ‘greatest guitar solos of all time’ lists for over 30 years? Take another listen. I can hear at least 4 major edits. You?

My take … simply … thank God for editors. They’re the ones who often turn great ideas into reality.

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