"The Guitar Man" is a song written by David Gates and originally recorded by the rock group Bread, of which Gates was a member. It first appeared on Bread's 1972 album, Guitar Man. The song is a mixture of the sounds of soft rock, including strings and acoustic guitar, and the addition of a wah-wah effect electric guitar, played by Larry Knechtel. It peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States and their third number-one hit on the easy listening chart, (following "If" and "Baby I'm-a Want You").
The melody of the song is complex and is played by using 12 different chords, which is a rather high number for a pop song.
The song has been covered by David J on his 2003 album Estranged, Cake on their 2004 album Pressure Chief, Starflyer 59 on their 2007 vinyl collection Ghosts of the Future, and Bobby Bare, Jr. on his American Bread EP. Hank Marvin released his album Guitar Man with a cover version of the song.
In 2012 Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby recorded a version for a fund raising CD titled Super Hits of the Seventies for radio station WFMU.
There was also the country song "Guitar Man," written by Jerry Reed and originally released in 1967. It was made a hit a year later in 1968, when Elvis Presley released a version of it.
Personnel (Bread version)