Classical Gas video from Todd Taylor

Todd Taylor, everyone’s favorite rock ‘n’ roll banjo player, has a new single and video, his take on the monster Mason Williams hit from 1968, Classical Gas.

Though he’s equally adept at picking bluegrass style, which is how he learned as a boy, Taylor made his name transforming rock and pop songs into banjo arrangements. These have found him success over the years, often with rock-oriented audiences and playlists.

Williams’ original was for classical guitar, and he first performed it on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour on TV, where he served as head writer. He has since said that its actual title was meant to be Classical Gasoline, but once shortened, the name stuck.

The single was all but inescapable in ’68, being played seemingly on all radio stations, and has since been covered dozens of times by artists as varied as The Ventures, Rick Wakeman, Tommy Emmanuel, Steve Howe, and Weird Al Yankovic, who recorded an accordion version.

Here’s Todd with a video for his banjo arrangement, arriving in a classic Chevy truck.

Classical Gas by Todd Taylor is available from Pirate Records at popular download and streaming services online. Radio programmers can get the track from AirPlay Direct.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.