Top Ten Favorite Guitarists
10. Joe Perry from Aerosmith: Aerosmith was a hard rock group during the 1970s. During the late 1970s they had some drug issues but made a come back during the early 1980s. During the 1990s and 2000s they moved to more pop music than their traditional hard rock. I’d say their peak was during the 1970s because that was when they made their classic albums such as Toys In the Attic and Rocks. Rocks had many great rockers on it such as Back In the Saddle, which was a song about Steven Tyler visiting a whore house, but the lyrics make it sound like he is a cowboy riding in the saddle.
9. Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top: ZZ Top was a blues rock group from the 1970s. They made their big break during the 1980s with their music videos, growing out their beards and their car called the Eliminator. During the 1990s they declined. They made a new album last fall, which was a decent come back, though, and I had the privilege of seeing them live at Ribfest last summer. Give Me All Your Loving is one of their best songs from one of their best albums during the 1980s called Eliminator and has a classic music video.
8. Joan Jett from the Blackhearts: Joan Jett was originally in the Runaways, which was the first ever all female, hard rock group. Joan Jett and the other members of the Runaways had to deal with an abusive, controlling manager, the infamous Kim Fowley and a lot of drama with Cherrie Currie as the lead vocalist. After making five albums, they disbanded the group. Joan Jett then went on to have her own solo career with the Blackhearts. She had to go to twenty three different labels before she was finally accepted. Joan Jett is well known for her tough girl image and is the only woman who plays guitar that I think should be allowed anywhere near a top ten guitarists list.
7. Zakk Wylde from Ozzy Osbourne and Black Label Society: Zakk Wylde was the third guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne. They made two albums together, a couple of classics called No Rest For the Wicked and No More Tears. Then Ozzy Osbourne retired temporarily and came back again with a tour called humorously Retirement Sucks. However, none of the other three albums Ozzy Osbourne made with Zakk Wylde except for maybe Black Rain was as good as the first six albums Ozzy Osbourne had made. Zakk Wylde then went on to form his own music group during the late 1990s called Black Label Society, which is a great example of Zakk Wylde’s guitar shredding abilities. Occasionally, he would make an acoustic album like Hang Over Music or The Song Remains Not the Same, which completely took away any impact the songs might have had. Zakk Wylde is great on electric guitar, but boring on acoustic guitar in my opinion.
6. Randy Rhoades from Ozzy Osbourne: Randy Rhoades make a couple of albums with Quiet Riot in Japan, but neither of them was that good or popular. Quiet Riot then came to the United States and Randy Rhoades left Quiet Riot to be with Ozzy Osbourne instead. Randy Rhoades made two albums with Ozzy Osbourne but then was one of many rock musicians over the years who died during a plane crash. During his short time as a guitarist with Ozzy Osbourne during the early 1980s, though, he was considered one of the best along with Eddie Van Halen.
5. Slash from Guns and Roses, Velvet Revolver and solo career: Slash was one of the first guitarists for Guns and Roses, although technically the first guitarist for Guns and Roses was Traci Gunns who went on to be with another great 1980s metal group called LA Guns instead. Slash made four classic albums with Guns and Roses, but when Guns and Roses started work on some rather crummy albums such as a cover album called The Spaghetti incident and the infamous Chinese Democracy, Slash had a falling out with Axl Rose, which led to him leaving Guns and Roses and trying out other groups. Slash made a couple of albums with Velvet Revolver, but they also broke up after playing together for around five years. in the last couple of years Slash has had his own solo career. His first album called Slash had multiple vocalists working with him. Slash then decided to settle on one named Myles Kennedy and they made a new album together a year ago called Apocalyptic Love. I will probably have the privilege of seeing Slash at Ribfest one week from now if things go according to plan.
4. Jimmy Paige from Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin was a rock and roll group from the 1970s that made six classic albums in a row. Their quality then declined slightly with their later albums because they became longer, more serious and more pretentious. Led Zeppelin disbanded and Jimmy Paige went on to make a couple albums with Paul Rodgers in a music group called the Firm. During Led Zeppelin’s hey day they made one of the best albums ever called Led Zeppelin VI, which had some big songs such my favorite Led Zeppelin song called When the Levee Breaks and what many people consider to be the best rock and roll song of all time called Stairway To Heaven. Stairway To Heaven is an eight minute long song with an epic build up during the first five minutes that goes from acoustic to a stunning apex with some of the best vocals and guitar ever.
3. Eric Clapton from Yardbirds, Cream and solo career: Eric Clapton was one of the two best guitarists from the 1960s. He was the only guitarist who could hold his own against Jimi Hendrix when Jimi Hendrix, the ultimate guitar God, was alive. He started out in a music group called the Yardbirds, which is well known by classic rock fans for having three highly influential guitarists all in the same group at one time or another. He then left Yardbirds early on in Yardbirds’ career and formed a turbulent super group called Cream with a bass player named Jack Bruce and drummer named Ginger Baker, who had a rivalry that led to Cream disbanding after making only four albums. Eric Clapton then set out on a solo career that he has now had for the last forty years. During this time he made twenty albums showing not only is he one of the best guitarists, he is also incredibly prolific.
2. Jimi Hendrix from Experience: Jimi Hendrix is considered by many people to be the best guitarist of all time. He made only three albums, though, unfortunately before he died from a drug over dose. Conspiracies as to how Jimi Hendrix actually died are still going today. Jimi Hendrix during his three albums laid the ground work for any electric guitarist who came after him to follow. Every guitarist from the last fifty years probably owes Jimi Hendrix some of his influence. He also had a classic concert at Woodstock that was delayed by a day due to technical difficulties. You can hear some very pissed off and impatient hippies yelling at him during his live albums, like they had anything better to do… However, Jimi Hendrix made the stunning instrumental called Star Spangled Banner at the concert that is considered one of the ultimate moments in rock and roll history.
1. Eddie Van Halen from Van Halen: He might not be the best or most influential guitarist in many people’s opinions including probably my own, but he is my favorite. Eddie Van Halen along with Van Halen was one of the main groups that got me interested so much in rock and roll in the first place, which led to me having this blog for my internship. Eddie Van Halen hit the ground running, with the devil that is, with Van Halen’s first album, which quickly brought them to the top of the rock and roll world. Van Halen their six albums with Eddie Van Halen’s brilliant guitar playing and the ultimate frontman of David Lee Roth. David Lee Roth left the group in 1984 due to an argument, but they had him replaced with Sammy Hagar who helped Van Halen to have four albums in a row make it to number one on the charts. Van Halen then got rid of Sammy Hagar with their revolving door policy on lead vocalists and recruited Gary Cherone as their third vocalist for one album, which is considered by many people to be their worst. Van Halen and Gary Cherone ended their time together on amicable terms and Van Halen got David Lee Roth back on lead vocals. They then went on to make their new album in the spring of 2012 called A Different Kind of Truth and had a come back tour, which I was lucky enough to attend during their very first concert in Kentucky.