Ted Nugent Credits The Guitar Lick That Has Formed The Foundation Of His Music

Although Ted Nugent has made a name for himself with his not-so-musical statements lately, he has been a crucial figure in the rock scene with his distinctive guitar licks. In a recent episode of the Nightly Nuge, he revealed the story of his famous ‘Stranglehold’ lick, which became the basis of his music.

“And when I got out of the swamp that day, it was 1967 when I first did theStrangleholdlick,” recalled the rocker. “I just got off stage at the Grande Ballroom, and I got with Steve Booker and John Souter, and we jammed in a church, and I just plugged into the amp that they had with one of my bird lands.”

He continued, “And it was in October, and I had been hunting that weekend, so I really lived that primal scream, that tooth, fang, and claw down to earth, a grounded celebration of God’s miraculous creation. Hands on with my bow and arrow, old threadbare reeker [gun] at Manistee National Forest, 1967. And I’ve been doing that my whole life, including this morning.”

When he picked up the guitar, filled with all those primal feelings, the famous lick was right there. Nugent noted, “And when I grabbed the guitar, Steve Booker, incredible virtuoso, and John Souter, incredible virtuoso, they say, ‘Well, what do you want to play? Will we play ‘Johnny Be Good,’ or we play a Beatles song or a Rolling Stones song or a Little Richard song?’ But I just happened to go [plays ‘Stranglehold’ lick with his guitar]. Rest is history.”

The veteran singer also added, “So I’ve been doing that lick… How many years ago was 1967? We didn’t actually record it till my solo album in 1974, but it was always the foundation of a great earthy pump, pounding, a tribal groove. And I just started saying, ‘Here I come again now baby / Like a dog in heat.’ I don’t know where that lyric came from except that ‘Here I come again now baby / Like a dog in heat.’”

Nugent lastly said, “It’s all autobiographical, and again thank you, everybody, for making that song one of the top one percent powerful pieces of music in the history of music. That’s quite a cocky statement, but it happens to be irrefutable. When you hear the lick on ‘Stranglehold,’ everybody turns up their radio, everybody gets into a groove.”

Ted Nugent is known for his stylish, really fast, and very loud guitar licks. The lick he tells its story above is from the opening song of his solo debut album released in 1975 under his own name. Nugent’s guitar-driven sound can be heard throughout the eight-minute song. When he picked up the guitar, that renowned lick was already there, so it was effortless for him to reveal it. The song, recorded in just one take, also brought Nugent great critical acclaim.