Guitars in movies are not a common occurrence but when they do feature they tend to be pretty memorable. To acknowledge guitars on the silver screen we have decided to review some of the best guitar moments in movie history in this series. To get off to a cracking start we thought we would look at that well known homage to blues guitar – Crossroads.
Crossroads should not to be mistaken for the unforgettable British TV soap set in a Birmingham Motel, or the truly forgettable Britney Spears movie. Crossroads is in fact a 1986 film inspired by the legend of blues guitarist Robert Johnson’s lost song. Crossroads starred Ralph “The Karate Kid” Macchio, Joe Seneca and Jamie Gertz and featured an original score by Ry Cooder.
The plot is centred around Eugene Martone (Ralph Macchio) who is studying classical guitar at The Juilliard School for Performing Arts in New York. Eugene, who is a bit of a mean axe man, loves the blues and is often caught interspersing blues licks into classical guitar pieces. This obviously does not go down too well with the teaching staff at Juilliard. Eugene’s fascination with blue’s myths and legends leads him to the legend about Robert Johnson selling his soul to the Devil at the Crossroads and a “lost song” that Johnson wrote but never recorded. In his search to find the song he discovers that one of Johnson’s friends, Willie “Blind Dog Fulton Smoke House” Brown, is alive and well but incarcerated in a minimum security hospital. Martone blags a job at the Hospital and slowly befriends Fulton who offers to teach Martone the lost song in return for breaking him out of the hospital. Martone agrees to Brown’s plan and so begins a road trip as the two make their way down to Mississippi where Brown has some unfinished business to resolve. The unfinished business is with the Devil who owns Brown’s soul. The film culminates with Martone taking on the Devil’s guitarist, played by Steve Vai, in a memorable shred-off for which the film has become justifiably famous.
You can buy the film on DVD so if you have not seen it we highly recommend it. Click on the link to purchase this great film now Crossroads [DVD].
The sound track, by Ry Cooder, is also brilliant but sadly does not feature the final guitar duel between Martone and The Devil’s guitarist. If you want to get hold of the soundtrack click here.