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Rickenbacker Guitars – Out of the Frying Pan into the Fireglo

Written by Martin Kelly and Paul Kelly. Published by Phantom Books

The guitar that defined the 60s
Marking 90 years of the electric guitar
Includes new interviews with Roger McGuinn, Peter Buck, Susanna Hoffs, Johnny Marr and many more

Here at thewhodotcom we were delighted to hear about this book. Rickenbacker guitars have long been associated with The Who right from the band’s early beginnings when Pete Townshend rammed the neck of his Rick into the ceiling at the Railway Hotel and kicked off the first display of ‘auto-destruction’ –  albeit by accident – that assured The Who’s place in rock history. And it’s Pete with his arm raised over his Rickenbacker that graces the famous Marquee poster from 1964 declaring to the world that . . . this is Maximum R&B.

Electric guitars are not simply just musical instruments. At their best they are iconic works of art – a marriage of form and function that has come to symbolise the very essence of 20th century pop culture. Marking what is also the 90th anniversary of the electric guitar, Rickenbacker Guitars – Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fireglo is a new book that explores the 90 year history of the company that invented the instrument, the guitar that defined the 60s, and would change popular music forever.

Back in 1964 The Beatles first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, reportedly watched by an epic 73 million people – they performed with Rickenbacker guitars, making the brand instantly iconic. Authors Martin and Paul Kelly have travelled the world to gather over 350 original instruments, including all seven surviving Beatles-owned Rickenbackers, now beautifully photographed for the most comprehensive study on this unique marque.

Though Fender and Gibson are considered brand leaders in an industry that has provided the tools for millions of musicians around the world, Rickenbacker, a small family-run business, remains one of the most important musical instrument makers almost 100 years on. In addition to their pivotal role in the development of electric music, Rickenbacker guitars have also shaped the sound of bands as diverse as The Beatles, Rush, Motorhead, The Jam, Fugazi, The Byrds, Creedence Clearwater Revival, R.E.M, The Stone Roses, The Who and Yes.

The book details the fascinating story of how the electric guitar was created and developed in California during the early 1930s by George Beauchamp and Adolph Rickenbacker – and how, via unsung German born luthier Roger Rossmeisl, the company’s designs developed into some of the most iconic musical instruments ever made. New interviews with legendary Rickenbacker players including Roger McGuinn, Peter Buck, Susanna Hoffs, Johnny Marr, Mike Campbell, Geddy Lee, and Paul Weller intertwine with original commentary from John Lennon, George Harrison, Tom Petty and Lemmy to tell the fascinating story of Rickenbacker’s undying appeal.

Limited to just 800 copies worldwide the Super Deluxe set comes in a beautiful bespoke, embossed slip case that includes the 336 page book in a textured hard back cover with end papers signed and numbered by the authors. Unique to this set is a second 160 page book of Rickenbacker catalog reprints spanning 1933-1969 – impossibly rare artefacts reprinted in their entirety for the very first time. The slip case also includes an embossed card wallet that contains three specially produced posters. One that depicts all seven surviving Beatle Rickenbackers, a second featuring six famous 330 guitars played by Paul Weller during his time fronting The Jam, plus a replica 1960s shop poster. The Super Deluxe Edition of Rickenbacker Guitars – Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fireglo is one of the most lavish guitar titles ever produced.

Rickenbacker Guitars – Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fireglo is available in two special editions:

• Standard Soft Back – priced at £35 ($47)

• Limited edition Super Deluxe two volume set – priced at £175 ($235)

Initial orders can only be made via the Phantom Books website

Rickenbacker Guitars – Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fireglo details Pete’s use of these iconic guitars during the mid 1960s. In an extract from the book he describes the scene at an early Who concert at The Railway Hotel on September 8th 1964: “I started to knock the guitar about a lot, hitting it on the amps to get banging noises and things like that and it had started to crack. It banged against the ceiling and smashed a hole in the plaster and the guitar head actually poked through the ceiling plaster. When I brought it out the top of the neck was left behind. I couldn’t believe what had happened. There were a couple of people from art school I knew at the front of the stage and they were laughing their heads off. One of them was literally rolling about on the floor laughing and his girlfriend was kind of looking at me smirking, you know, going ‘flash c**t’ and all that. So I just got really angry and got what was left of the guitar and smashed it to smithereens.”

Between 1964 and 1966 Pete was rarely seen without one of his beloved Rickenbacker guitars. This fantastic new book by brothers Martin and Paul Kelly details the era he played and smashed these to pieces with stunning original photographs plus gorgeous photography of all the models Pete used including the two Rose-Morris twelve strings pictured here.

What the players say about Rickenbacker Guitars – Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fireglo

Roger McGuinn, The Byrds: “The attention to detail is amazing! I’ve been playing Rickenbacker guitars for over 50 years and had heard some of the history but learned so much more from Rickenbacker Guitars – Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fireglo. Thanks for such a wonderful history of my favorite guitar!”

Susanna Hoffs, The Bangles: “There are few things more satisfying than the shimmer of an open chord played on a Rickenbacker through a Fender Deluxe Reverb amplifier. With Rickenbacker Guitars – Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fireglo, Martin and Paul have given us the definitive history of these magical instruments.”

Geddy Lee, Rush: “In 1967, I watched the Beatles make history by playing ‘All You Need Is Love’ live on television via satellite, and the entire time I was transfixed on the rather odd looking piece of 4 stringed furniture Paul McCartney held in his mitts. Of course, I know now, that it was a Rickenbacker 4001S Bass, and I’d have to wait until 1973 before my dream of owning one like it could come to fruition. As a favour to all lovers of musical instruments, Martin and Paul Kelly have combined art and information to create the definitive book about Rickenbacker in all its profound and quirky incarnations. It’s a joy to the eyes and is a must have reference guide to this fascinating and historic musical brand.”

Johnny Marr, The Smiths: “Knowing Martin and Paul Kelly’s perfectionism and attention to detail it’s no surprise that this is the ultimate and complete story of all things Rickenbacker.”

Rickenbacker Guitars – Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fireglo is available in two special editions:

• Standard Soft Back – priced at £35 ($47)

• Limited edition Super Deluxe two volume set – priced at £175 ($235)

Initial orders can only be made via the Phantom Books website

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