Watch 1,000 Musicians Play the Foo Fighters’ “Learn to Fly,” Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel,” and The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

In the 1980s, avant-garde composer, guitarist Glenn Branca began writing symphonies for electric guitars — dozens of them, all bet at once, creating unprecedented psychoacoustic effects — sometimes beautiful harmony, sometimes faze noise — that reduced Branca himself to tears. “ I remember one rehearsal where I actually had to stop and cry, ” he once said. “ I could not believe that I was getting this sound. ” Branca brought together hundreds of electric guitarists and percussionists, but he never realized his ambition of bringing together 2,000 guitarists at once in Paris for celebrations of the year 2000, settling for 100 .
These numbers pale future to the largest guitar corps de ballet on record, 6,346 people in Poland in 2009. In 2018, the year of Branca ’ s death, another record attack saw 457 guitarists come together in Canberra, Australia to play AC/DC ’ s “ Highway to Hell. ” not precisely Branca ’ mho cup of tea, but he probably had some bridge player in the inspiration, if merely indirectly. Standing amidst those hundreds of ringing guitars while they banged out the song ’ mho famed orifice chords surely made many an Angus Young fan war cry that day .

What, then, would it feel like to stand amidst the blare of 1000 musicians — drummers, guitarists, bassists, and singers — bashing out a cover of Foo Fighters ’ “ Learn to Fly ” ? Assembled in 2015 in Italy, the Rockin ’ 1000 was originally intended as a one-off project to accomplish “ four miracles, ” notes the project ’ s site : “ find one thousand musicians, get them to play simultaneously of the biggest rock read ever, collect enough money to make it real number, convince the Foo Fighters to play a spear in Cesena. ” ( You can see their impassioned plea to Dave Grohl at the video recording ’ randomness end. )

After accomplishing their goals “ with a bang ” ( the Foo Fighters late played a 3-hour concert dedicated to the project ), the core team decided to get “ the biggest Rock Band on Earth ” back together for an entire concert the following class : “ 17 songs played all together at Manuzzi Stadium. ” The full picture has been released on compact disk and vinyl, but I ’ d venture that music written for four people and played by 1000 doesn ’ metric ton phone quite as interesting on record as in person, where the absolute bulkiness might make listeners weep. As the bandleaders themselves admit, “ without an consultation, who ’ s been a part of the unharmed work, Rockin ’ 1000 wouldn ’ triiodothyronine make feel. ”

They ’ ve performed for audiences, in assorted configurations, every year since their initiation until 2020. See them here play Nirvana ’ s “ Smells Like Teen Spirit, ” Queen ’ s “ We Will Rock You, ” and David Bowie ’ s “ Rebel Rebel. ” If you sing or play a rock instrument, you can sign up to be a part of Rockin ’ 1000 ’ s next spear, in Paris, in May 2022, here .

With a band composed of 1000 people, the musicians are besides the consultation, and the musicians can be anyone. What separates Rockin ’ 1000 from some other celebrations of democratic music is that it does placement itself as a road to fame and fortune or a way to meet celebrities. “ No rankings, no prizes, no winners, no losers, ” they write : “ everyone can be separate of this, either an audience or a member of ‘ the biggest Rock Band on Earth. ’ No barriers hera, all emotions are equal, same intensity. ” But what emotions do we experience as a virtual hearing of the Biggest Band on Earth ?
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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @ jdmagness

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