Red Guitar

Album: Album III (1973)

Songfacts®:

  • This song tells the story of Wainwright getting drunk and smashing his guitar Pete Townshend style. After burning what was left of the instrument, Wainwright bought a new guitar, only to have it stolen three days later.

    The red guitar sounds like it could be a metaphor with deep existential significance, but Wainwright claims no deeper meaning. He said in our interview: "Well, I got drunk and that's what it really was. I was frustrated by something that day or night, I don't even know if it was day or night. But yeah, it was a Gibson Hummingbird, a nice guitar."
  • Wainwright usually uses real names in his songs, and in this one he mentions "Kate," who is his first wife, the singer Kate McGarrigle. The couple had two children - Rufus and Martha - who inherited their parents' musical gifts.
  • Fittingly, this song is performed on piano, as Wainwright has smashed his guitar.

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