Saturday, August 01, 2009

100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time

We got discussing this list the other day at work when a couple of us started listening to Jeff Beck and found he was #14 on the Rolling Stone Magazine's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" list. . Actually, I first ran across this list a couple months ago when I became acquainted with Mick Ronson, #64 on the list. .
01. Jimi Hendrix
02. Duane Allman
03. B.B. King
04. Eric Clapton
05, Robert Johnson
06. Chuck Berry
07. Stevie Ray Vaughan
08. Ry Cooder
09. Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)
10. Keith Richards (Rolling Stones)
11. Kirk Hammett (Metallica)
12. Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
13. Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead)
14. Jeff Beck (Yardbirds, et. al.)
15. Carlos Santana (Santana)
16. Johnny Ramone (Ramones)
17. Jack White (White Stripes)
18. John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
19. Richard Thompson (who?)
20. James Burton (who?)
21. George Harrison
22. Mike Bloomfield
23. Warren Haynes (who?)
24. The Edge (U2)
25. Freddy King (who?)
26. Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave)
27. Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) My #1.
28. Stephen Stills (CSNY, Buffalo Springfield)
29. Ron Asheton (The Stooges)
30. Buddy Guy
31. Dick Dale (who?)
32. John Cipollina (Quicksilver Messenger Service)
33. & 34. Lee Ranaldo, Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth)
35. John Fahey
36. Steve Cropper (Booker T. and the MG's)
37. Bo Diddley
38. Peter Green ("early" Fleetwood Mac)
39. Brian May (Queen)
40. John Fogerty (CCR)
41. Clarence White (The Byrds)
42. Robert Fripp (King Crimson)
43. Eddie Hazel (Funkadelic)
44. Scotty Moore (who?)
45. Frank Zappa
46. Les Paul
47. T-Bone Walker
48. Joe Perry (Aerosmith)
49. John McLaughlin
50. Pete Townshend (The Who)
51. Paul Kossoff (Free)
52. Lou Reed (Velvet Underground)
53. Mickey Baker (who?)
54. Jorma Kaukonen (early Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna)
55. Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple; Blackmore's Night)
56. Tom Verlaine (Television) (who?)
57. Roy Buchanan
58. Dickey Betts
59. & 60. Johnny Greenwood, Ed O'Brien (Radiohead )
61. Ike Turner
62. Zoot Horn Rollo (The Magic Band) (who?)
63. Danny Gatton (who?)
64. Mick Ronson
65. Hubert Sumlin (Howlin' Wolf)
66. Vernon Reid (Living Colour) (who?)
67. Link Wray
68. Jerry Miller (Moby Grape)
69. Steve Howe (Yes)
70. Eddie Van Halen
71. Lightnin' Hopkins
72. Joni Mitchell
73. Trey Anastasio (Phish)
74. Johnny Winter
75. Adam Jones (Tool)
76. Ali Farka Toure (who?)
77. Henry Vestine (Canned Heat)
78. Robbie Robertson (The Band)
79. Cliff Gallup (Blue Caps) (who?)
80. Robert Quine (The Voidoids) (who?)
81. Derek Trucks
82. David Gilmour (Pink Floyd)
83. Neil Young
84. Eddie Cochran (who?)
85. Randy Rhoads (who?)
86. Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath)
87. Joan Jett
88. Dave Davies The Kinks)
89. D. Boon (The Minutemen) (who?)
90. Glen Buxton (Alice Cooper)
91. Robby Krieger (The Doors)
92. & 93. Fred "Sonic" Smith, Wayne Kramer (MC5)
94. Bert Jansch
95. Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine)
96. Angus Young (AC/DC)
97. Robert Randolph (who?)
98. Leigh Stephens (Blue Cheer)
99. Greg Ginn (Black Flag) (who?)
100. Kim Thayil (Soundgarden)
I'm cool with Jimi at #1, although personally I'd put Mark Knopfler there. Eddie Van Halen and David Gilmour are woefully downlisted here. Ike Turner, Johnny Ramone, Joni Mitchell and Joan Jett are jokes. A lot depends on your definition of "greatest". Rolling Stone gives a nod to influential guitarists, hence Robert Johnson being all the way up at #5. I've listened to his stuff (there isn't much around); I'm not impressed. But historically, he's important.
What makes this list a joke is not who's on it; but who isn't. Were the Rolling Stone guys drunk when they compiled this? Here's some notable omissions...
101. Joe Satriani (not in the Top 100? that's criminal.)
102. Alvin Lee (Ten Years After) (they were great!)
103. Chet Atkins (saw him in concert. fan-freaking-tastic)
104. Slash (Guns & Roses) (but stay away from the booze, Slash)
105. Buckethead (Jason's made a believer out of me re him)
106. Lindsey Buckingham (his solo work is excellent)
107. Bonnie Raitt (Joan made it and Bonnie didn't?? C'mon.)
108. Buddy Holly (you want influential? Buddy's influential.)
109. Ritchie Valens (how much did music lose in that air crash?)
110. Wes Montgomery (my favorite jazz guitarist)
111. David Bromberg (maybe the best folk guitarist around)
112. Joe Walsh (how did RS forget about him?)
113. Muddy Waters (makes John Lee Hooker look like a rookie)
114. Robin Trower (the 2nd coming of Jimi)
115. Steve Vai (his list of credits is too long to post here)
116. Ritchie Sambora (Bon Jovi isn't just about a pretty face)
117. Tommy Bolin (someone I've just recently started to listen to)
118. Ricky Skaggs (a bluegrass god)
119. & 120. Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs (speaking of Bluegrass)
121. John 5 (someone else Jason turned me on to)
Nuff for now. Your answers may differ from mine. Anything's better than Rolling Stone's opinion.


terry said...

and Chris Rea. How the hell can you leave him off the list?!

Luke said...

Michael Angelo Batio. One of the greatest guitarists of all time. I don't know how they couldn't have even mentioned him. Jimi can play with his right or left hands, but Michael plays with the same freaking time.

Anonymous said...

You should listen to Phil Keaggy sometime. Extremely versatile...certainly better than Joni Mitchell and Joan Jett for the love of all that is true and beautiful. I do think that there is a big difference between skilled and influential. Curt Kobain was high on influential, relatively low on skilled. Writing and arranging is different than playing. Distinctions should be made when compiling a list.

At any rate, Keaggy's instrumental stuff is top notch. He is an evangelical Christian, which black lists him for consideration by many but listen to his Beyond Nature album, or Jammed and you'll be convinced.

terry said...

Luke, i had never heard of Batio, but Wiki has a great article about him. i wonder if he has any videos on YouTube.

Anon, i have to admit a prejudice against evangelical musicians. they all seem to want top dollar for a mediocre effort. OTOH, i haven't really listened to anything in that genre since Stryper broke up. so maybe the talent has gotten better over the last 15 years.

and you make a good point. how Joan Jett and Joni Mitchell made the top 100 list absolutely dumbfounds me.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Rob Buck of 10,000 maniacs

Anonymous said...

ALLAN HOLDSWORTH - While being below the radar for the broader public his style and ability has influenced more of those names on that 100 list since Jimi H. Despite wide opinions if the measure of great guitar work is not just acrobatics but a sense of the lyrical statement as well. STEVE MORSE???? C'mon guys-HE'S GREAT- BILL CONNORS ( especially in the 80's )