It was a very exciting afternoon for me. The four of us gathered in a small room filled with cables and amplifiers. We each held our instrument and wore headphones. In the center of the room was the revered 8-track tape recorder. Weeks of careful persuasion were required to convince the rightful owner of the tape recorder to lend it to us. And even then - only for one afternoon ("and you better return it in one piece, no scratches, not even a grain of dust!")
I was tapping my fingers nervously over my guitar bridge. We were about to record one of the songs I wrote for the band. It was a nice song. The lyrics were awfully silly but the tune was catchy and the other members of the band liked it. We had a burning ambition at the time and this song seemed to have the potential.
The song had three verses. We decided to add a guitar solo after the first two verses. I spent the whole morning trying to come up with a nice solo. I wanted the solo to be a slight variation from the tune. Hours passed by and I was becoming more and more frustrated. Nothing came up.
After 30 minutes the keyboard player showed up. He wasn't officially a member of the band but he used to play with us every now and then. We really didn't have much time left so we taught him the chords and he picked it up quickly. We started the first take.
Two verses, the chorus and then - my guitar solo.
"Maybe I should play the solo" he suggested gently after we finished the take. I looked at the others, nobody seemed to mind. We started the second take. Two verses, the chorus, and then he played the solo. It had been no more than 10 minutes since he first heard the song, and the solo that he improvised was so... brilliant! Ingeniously simple!
In less than 10 minutes he wrote a much better part than I did in 4 hours. It is called Talent, I believe.
It all happened when I was 17. Quite some time ago. I think this afternoon affected me deeply. It was a clear, sharp reminder of the limits of my musical talents.
We didn't become famous. I don't think I can even find the cassette with the song that we recorded that afternoon. Still - I made an important discovery then, which allowed me to pursue my talents somewhere else. Lots of mediocrity would be spared if more people had the chance to experience similar revelations.