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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rock guitar, classic rock and lists ...

It's that time of year.   

Year-end stories and year-in-review lists.  Top moments, champions, biggest winners and losers. We see it all the time and, quite frankly, can't get enough of it.

Rolling Stone Magazine is listing it's greatest guitarists - a group of people close to my heart and on my mind as Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes and the Allman Brothers Band head to Boston for a quartet of shows which began last night, you all should know.

See: Rolling Stone

The coolest angle on this particular list is the panel of contributing voters.  It needs no prelude aside from posting the list:

THE VOTERS: Trey Anastasio, Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys), Brian Bell (Weezer), Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple), Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket), James Burton, Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains), Gary Clark Jr., Billy Corgan, Steve Cropper, Dave Davies (The Kinks), Anthony DeCurtis (Contributing editor, Rolling Stone), Tom DeLonge (Blink-182), Rick Derringer, Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), Elliot Easton (The Cars), Melissa Etheridge, Don Felder (The Eagles), David Fricke (Senior writer, Rolling Stone), Peter Guralnick (Author), Kirk Hammett (Metallica), Albert Hammond Jr. (The Strokes), Warren Haynes (The Allman Brothers Band), Brian Hiatt (Senior writer, Rolling Stone), David Hidalgo (Los Lobos), Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Lenny Kravitz, Robby Krieger (The Doors), Jon Landau (Manager), Alex Lifeson (Rush), Nils Lofgren (The E Street Band), Mick Mars (Mötley Crüe), Doug Martsch (Built to Spill), J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.), Brian May, Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Roger McGuinn (The Byrds), Scotty Moore, Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Tom Morello, Dave Mustaine (Megadeth), Brendan O’Brien (Producer), Joe Perry, Vernon Reid (Living Colour), Robbie Robertson, Rich Robinson (The Black Crowes), Carlos Santana, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Marnie Stern, Stephen Stills, Andy Summers, Mick Taylor, Susan Tedeschi, Vieux Farka Touré, Derek Trucks, Eddie Van Halen, Joe Walsh, Nancy Wilson (Heart)

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In the measured world of "value" per click, Rolling Stone has mastered the sure-fire method of obtaining 100 or more clicks with their group of lists:

Bruce in '85
But, back to the original point of this post, let's look at the list of greatest guitarists.  

First impression?  When you start off by seeing Lindsey Buckingham/of Fleetwood Mac at #100, you know the list is pretty damn deep.  And, Jimi at #1 is no surprise for any rock n roll fan.  You should read the list before I reveal any other aspects of the compilation and spoil your own fun and original thoughts/impressions.  So, read it - then return...

Okay, I figure you're back now.

My next thought?  Springsteen at #96.  Wow.  Bruce is good, much under-rated as a guitarist and he's better and better as he's aged, although not quite as spectacular in terms of bounding around the stage.  But, he can play.  And when you see Paul Simon at #93, it makes you scratch your head in disbelief.  C'mon, Bruce can out-play Paul Simon if Bruce had an air guitar.

Joe Perry at #84?  I can't wait to see #83.

Robert Johnson at #71.  I thought he'd be in Top 25.

Richard Thompson of the Thompson Twins (British rockers) at #69 seems sacrilegious.  Especially with the others already listed.  Johnny Winter at #63...again a Top 25 in my mind.

Mark Knopfler at #44?  To my ear, he's Top 10 and to state that "The Edge" is better than Mark Knopfler is flat-out wrong.  Don't take it the wrong way, I LOVE the way Edge plays for U2, but he is not better than Mark Knopfler.  I respect the fact The Edge is self-taught and erratic and the sound he creates for U2 complements Bono and the band in mysterious way, but Knopfler is a better guitarist.  Period.

Prince at #33 sets another high bar for those to follow him.

My guy, Derek Trucks at #16 is great.  I can't recall him being listed that high on any prior list.
Now, the problem.  I made my statement about Knopfler, but I can't say I'd argue with any of the guitarists listed in the Top 10, so I have to place him at #13, and bounce Albert King back one notch which pushes everyone else back as well.

I can make a Top 10-25 list all day long and I'd probably switch my favorite guitarists on each and every list.  I think that's what makes it fun.  

Very happy to see Keith Richards, Pete, David Gilmour and the fact Freddie King (a major influence on my main man, Eric Clapton, who holds the #2 spot behind Jimi quite nicely.


The other list I noticed over the Thanksgiving weekend, was a Top 1,043 by NYC-based radio station Q-104.3 WAXQ-FM.  I was not able to listen to the majority of the countdown, but logged in to the station's site at to check it out. 

Right off the bat, I couldn't figure why Bruce's "Sherry Darling" was ranked higher than Grateful Dead's "Fire on the Mountain."

Here were the Top 25 greatest songs of all-time.  Have some fun reviewing the list and make your own.  I will be doing the same between now and the New Year.

25 - The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
24 - The Rolling Stones - Sympathy For The Devil
23 - Bruce Springsteen - Jungleland
22 - Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone
21 - Bruce Springsteen - Rosalita
20 - Don McLean - American Pie
19 - The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again
18 - Aerosmith - Dream On
17 - The Beatles - In My Life
16 - The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter
15 - Billy Joel - Piano Man
14 - The Who - Baba O'Riley
13 - Led Zeppelin - Kashmir
12 - Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
11 - Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb
10 - The Rolling Stones - Satisfaction
 9 - Bruce Springsteen - Thunder Road
 8 - Lynyrd Skynyrd - Free Bird
 7 - John Lennon - Imagine
 6 - Eagles - Hotel California
 5 - The Beatles - Let It Be
 4 - Derek & The Dominos - Layla
 3 - Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run
 2 - The Beatles - Hey Jude
 1 - Led Zeppelin - Stairway To Heaven

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