50 of The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time
MUSICnGEAR presents to you the 50 of The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time. The list is in no particular order. Enjoy!
These are MUSICnGEAR's picks for the 50 of The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time, in any genre. The list is in no particular order. Enjoy!
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music"
Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE (born 30 March 1945), is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time. Clapton ranked second in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" and fourth in Gibson's "Top 50 Guitarists of All Time". He was also named number five in Time magazine's list of "The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players" in 2009.
In the mid-1960s Clapton left the Yardbirds to play blues with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Immediately after leaving Mayall, Clapton formed the power trio Cream with drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Jack Bruce, in which Clapton played sustained blues improvisations and "arty, blues-based psychedelic pop". Furthermore, he formed blues rock band Blind Faith with Baker, Steve Winwood, and Ric Grech. For most of the 1970s Clapton's output bore the influence of the mellow style of JJ Cale and the reggae of Bob Marley. His version of Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" helped reggae reach a mass market. Two of his most popular recordings were "Layla", recorded with Derek and the Dominos; and Robert Johnson's "Crossroads", recorded with Cream. Following the death of his son Conor in 1991, Clapton's grief was expressed in the song "Tears in Heaven", which was featured on his Unplugged album.
Clapton has been the recipient of 18 Grammy Awards, and the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. In 2004 he was awarded a CBE at Buckingham Palace for services to music. In 1998, Clapton, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, founded the Crossroads Centre on Antigua, a medical facility for recovering substance abusers.
James Patrick "Jimmy" Page, OBE (born 9 January 1944) is an English musician, songwriter, and record producer who achieved international success as the guitarist and founder of the rock band Led Zeppelin.
Page began his career as a studio session musician in London and, by the mid-1960s, alongside Big Jim Sullivan, was one of the most sought-after session guitarists in Britain. He was a member of the Yardbirds from 1966 to 1968. In late 1968, he founded Led Zeppelin.
Page is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential guitarists of all time. Rolling Stone magazine has described Page as "the pontiff of power riffing" and ranked him number 3 in their list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". In 2010, he was ranked number two in Gibson's list of "Top 50 Guitarists of All Time" and, in 2007, number four on Classic Rock's "100 Wildest Guitar Heroes". He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice; once as a member of the Yardbirds (1992) and once as a member of Led Zeppelin (1995). Page has been described by Uncut as "rock's greatest and most mysterious guitar hero." Los Angeles Times magazine voted Jimmy Page the 2nd greatest guitarist of all time.
Eddie Van Halen
Edward Lodewijk "Eddie" Van Halen (born January 26, 1955) is a Dutch-American musician, songwriter and producer. He is best known as the lead guitarist, occasional keyboardist and co-founder of the hard rock band Van Halen. He is considered to be one of the world's greatest guitarists, and one of the most influential rock guitarists of the 20th century. In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Van Halen number eight in the list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists. In 2012, he was voted in, a Guitar World magazine reader's poll, at number one of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". Van Halen is considered by many to be the 'last guitar hero'.
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stephen "Stevie" Ray Vaughan (October 3, 1954 – August 27, 1990) was an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer. In spite of a short-lived mainstream career spanning seven years, he is widely considered one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of music, and one of the most important figures in the revival of blues in the 1980s. AllMusic describes him as "a rocking powerhouse of a guitarist who gave blues a burst of momentum in the '80s, with influence still felt long after his tragic death."
Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Vaughan began playing guitar at the age of seven, inspired by his older brother Jimmie. In 1971 he dropped out of high school, and moved to Austin the following year. He played gigs with numerous bands, earning a spot in Marc Benno's band, the Nightcrawlers, and later with Denny Freeman in the Cobras, with whom he continued to work through late 1977. He then formed his own group, Triple Threat Revue, before renaming the band Double Trouble after hiring drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon. He gained fame after his performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1982, and in 1983 his debut studio album, Texas Flood, charted at number 38. The ten-song album was a commercially successful release that sold over half a million copies. After achieving sobriety in late 1986, he headlined concert tours with Jeff Beck in 1989 and Joe Cocker in 1990 before his death in a helicopter crash on August 27, 1990, at the age of 35.
Vaughan was inspired musically by American and British blues rock. He favored clean amplifiers with high volume and contributed to the popularity of vintage musical equipment. He often combined several different amplifiers together and used minimal effects pedals. Chris Gill of Guitar World commented: "Stevie Ray Vaughan's guitar tone was as dry as a San Antonio summer and as sparkling clean as a Dallas debutante, the product of the natural sound of amps with ample clean headroom. However, Vaughan occasionally used pedals to augment his sound, mainly to boost the signal, although he occasionally employed a rotating speaker cabinet and wah pedals for added textural flair."
Vaughan received several music awards during his lifetime and posthumously. In 1983, readers of Guitar Player voted him as Best New Talent and Best Electric Blues Guitar Player. In 1984, the Blues Foundation named him Entertainer of the Year and Blues Instrumentalist of the Year, and in 1987, Performance Magazine honored him with Rhythm and Blues Act of the Year. Earning six Grammy Awards and ten Austin Music Awards, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2000, and the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2014. Rolling Stone ranked Vaughan as the twelfth greatest guitarist of all time. In 2015, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Saul Hudson (born July 23, 1965), known professionally as Slash, is a British-American musician and songwriter. He is best known as the lead guitarist of the American rock band Guns N' Roses, with whom he achieved worldwide success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. During his later years with Guns N' Roses, Slash formed the side project Slash's Snakepit. After leaving Guns N' Roses in 1996, he co-founded the supergroup Velvet Revolver, which re-established him as a mainstream performer in the mid to late 2000s. Slash has since released three solo albums: Slash (2010), featuring an array of famous guest musicians, and Apocalyptic Love (2012) and World on Fire (2014), recorded with his band, Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. He returned to Guns N' Roses in 2016, nearly 20 years after he had left.
Slash has received critical acclaim as a guitarist. Time named him runner-up on their list of "The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players" in 2009, while Rolling Stone placed him at No. 65 on their list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" in 2011. Guitar World ranked his solo in "November Rain" No. 6 on their list of "The 100 Greatest Guitar Solos" in 2008, and Total Guitar placed his riff in "Sweet Child o' Mine" at No. 1 on their list of "The 100 Greatest Riffs" in 2004. During 2010 Gibson Guitar Corporation ranked Slash as No. 34 on their "Top 50 Guitarists of All Time", while their readers landed him No. 9 on Gibson's "Top 25 Guitarists of All Time". In 2012, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Guns N' Roses' classic line-up.
Geoffrey Arnold "Jeff" Beck (born 24 June 1944) is an English rock guitarist. He is one of the three noted guitarists to have played with The Yardbirds (the other two being Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page). Beck also formed The Jeff Beck Group and Beck, Bogert & Appice.
Much of Beck's recorded output has been instrumental, with a focus on innovative sound, and his releases have spanned genres ranging from blues rock, hard rock, jazz fusion, and an additional blend of guitar-rock and electronica. Although he recorded two hit albums (in 1975 and 1976) as a solo act, Beck has not established or maintained the sustained commercial success of many of his contemporaries and bandmates. Beck appears on albums by Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Morrissey, Jon Bon Jovi, Malcolm McLaren, Kate Bush, Roger Waters, Donovan, Stevie Wonder, Les Paul, Zucchero, Cyndi Lauper, Brian May, Stanley Clarke, Screaming Lord Sutch and ZZ Top.
He was ranked fifth in Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" and the magazine, upon whose cover Beck has appeared three times, has described him as "one of the most influential lead guitarists in rock". He is often called a "guitarist's guitarist". Beck has earned wide critical praise and received the Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance six times and Best Pop Instrumental Performance once. In 2014 he received the British Academy's Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. Beck has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: as a member of the Yardbirds (1992) and as a solo artist (2009).
Keith Richards (born 18 December 1943) is an English guitarist, singer, songwriter, best-selling memoirist, and founding member of the rock band The Rolling Stones. Rolling Stone Magazine credited Richards for "rock's greatest single body of riffs" on guitar and ranked him 4th on its list of 100 best guitarists. Fourteen songs that Richards wrote with the Rolling Stones' lead vocalist Mick Jagger are listed among Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". The Stones are generally known for their guitar interplay of rhythm and lead ("weaving") between Richards and Brian Jones, Mick Taylor and Ronnie Wood over the years. In spite of this, Richards plays the only guitar tracks on some of their most famous songs including "Paint It Black", "Ruby Tuesday", "Sympathy for the Devil", "Gimme Shelter"", and "Angie.".
Brian Harold May, CBE (born 19 July 1947) is an English musician, singer, songwriter and astrophysicist, best known as the lead guitarist of the rock band Queen. He uses a home-built electric guitar, called the Red Special. His compositions for the band include "We Will Rock You", "Tie Your Mother Down", "I Want It All", "Fat Bottomed Girls", "The Prophet's Song", "Flash", "Hammer to Fall", "Save Me", "Who Wants to Live Forever" and "The Show Must Go On".
May was a co-founder of Queen with lead singer Freddie Mercury and drummer Roger Taylor, having previously performed with Taylor in the band Smile, which he had joined while he was at university. Within five years of their formation in 1970 and the recruitment of bass player John Deacon completing the lineup, Queen had become established as one of the biggest rock bands in Britain with the album A Night at the Opera and its single "Bohemian Rhapsody". From the mid-1970s until the early 1990s, Queen were an almost constant presence in the UK charts and played some of the biggest venues in the world, most notably giving an acclaimed performance at Live Aid in 1985. As a member of Queen, May became regarded as a virtuoso musician and he was identified with a distinctive sound created through his layered guitar work. Following the death of Mercury in 1991, Queen were put on hiatus for several years but were eventually reconvened by May and Taylor for further performances featuring other vocalists. In 2005, a Planet Rock poll saw May voted the 7th greatest guitarist of all time. He was ranked at No. 26 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". In 2012, May was ranked the 2nd greatest guitarist of all time by a Guitar World magazine readers poll.
He was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2005 for "services to the music industry and for charity work". May attained a PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College London in 2007 and was Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University from 2008 to 2013. He was a "science team collaborator" with NASA's New Horizons Pluto mission. He is also a co-founder of the awareness campaign, Asteroid Day. Asteroid 52665 Brianmay was named after him. May is also an animal rights activist, campaigning against the hunting of foxes and the culling of badgers in the UK.
David Jon Gilmour, CBE (born 6 March 1946) is an English singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He joined the progressive rock band Pink Floyd as guitarist and co-lead vocalist in 1968, effectively as a replacement for founder Syd Barrett, who left the band shortly afterwards.
Pink Floyd subsequently achieved international success with the concept albums The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall. By the early 1980s, they had become one of the most critically acclaimed and best-selling acts in the history of popular music; it was estimated that by 2012 the band had sold over 250 million records worldwide, including 75 million units sold in the United States. Following the departure of another founding member, Roger Waters, Gilmour assumed leadership of Pink Floyd in 1985.
In addition to his work with Pink Floyd, Gilmour has produced a variety of artists, for example the Dream Academy, and has had a solo career which has included four studio albums: David Gilmour, About Face, On an Island, and Rattle That Lock. As a member of Pink Floyd, he was inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2005, Gilmour was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to music. He was awarded with the Outstanding Contribution title at the 2008 Q Awards. In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 14 in their list of the greatest guitarists of all time. Additionally, Gilmour was voted number 36 in the greatest voices in rock by Planet Rock listeners in 2009.
He has taken part in projects to promote international charities related to such subjects as animal rights, homelessness, poverty, environmentalism, wildlife conservation, human rights, and music therapy. He has married twice and is the father of eight children.
Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016) was an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. He was a musical innovator and known for his eclectic work, flamboyant stage presence, extravagant dress and makeup, and wide vocal range. His music integrates a wide variety of styles, including funk, rock, R&B, new wave, soul, psychedelia, and pop. He has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. He won seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award for the film Purple Rain. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, his first year of eligibility. Rolling Stone ranked Prince at number 27 on its list of 100 Greatest Artists—"the most influential artists of the rock & roll era".
Prince was born in Minneapolis and developed an interest in music as a young child. He signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. at the age of 18, and released his debut album For You in 1978. His 1979 album Prince went platinum, and his next three records—Dirty Mind (1980), Controversy (1981), and 1999 (1982)—continued his success, showcasing Prince's prominently sexual lyrics and blending of funk, dance, and rock music. In 1984, he began referring to his backup band as the Revolution and released Purple Rain, which served as the soundtrack to his eponymous 1984 film debut and was met with widespread acclaim. After releasing the albums Around the World in a Day (1985) and Parade (1986), The Revolution disbanded, and Prince released the double album Sign o' the Times (1987) as a solo artist. He released three more solo albums before debuting the New Power Generation band in 1991.
In 1993, while in a contractual dispute with Warner Bros., he changed his stage name to Prince logo.svg, an unpronounceable symbol also known as the "Love Symbol", and began releasing new albums at a faster pace to remove himself from contractual obligations. He released five records between 1994 and 1996 before signing with Arista Records in 1998. In 2000, he began referring to himself as "Prince" again. He released 16 albums after that, including The Rainbow Children (2001). His final album, Hit n Run Phase Two, was first released on the Tidal streaming service on December 12, 2015. Prince died from a fentanyl overdose at his Paisley Park recording studio and home in Chanhassen, Minnesota, on April 21, 2016, at the age of 57.
Riley B. King (September 16, 1925 – May 14, 2015), known professionally as B.B. King, was an American blues singer, electric guitarist, songwriter, and record producer. King introduced a sophisticated style of soloing based on fluid string bending and shimmering vibrato that influenced many later electric blues guitarists.
King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and is considered one of the most influential blues musicians of all time, earning the nickname "The King of the Blues", and one of the "Three Kings of the Blues Guitar" along with Albert King and Freddie King. King was known for performing tirelessly throughout his musical career, appearing at more than 200 concerts per year on average into his 70s. In 1956, he reportedly appeared at 342 shows.
King died at the age of 89 in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 14, 2015, from congestive heart failure and diabetic complications.
George Harrison, MBE (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) was an English guitarist, singer, songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles. Often referred to as "the quiet Beatle", Harrison embraced Hindu mythology and helped broaden the horizons of his fellow Beatles as well as their Western audience by incorporating Indian instrumentation in their music. Although the majority of the Beatles' songs were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, most Beatles albums from 1965 onwards contained at least two Harrison compositions. His songs for the group included "Taxman", "Within You Without You", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something", the last of which became the Beatles' second-most covered song.
Harrison's earliest musical influences included George Formby and Django Reinhardt; Carl Perkins, Chet Atkins and Chuck Berry were subsequent influences. By 1965 he had begun to lead the Beatles into folk rock through his interest in the Byrds and Bob Dylan, and towards Indian classical music through his use of the sitar on "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)". Having initiated the band's embracing of Transcendental Meditation in 1967, he subsequently developed an association with the Hare Krishna movement. After the band's break-up in 1970, Harrison released the triple album All Things Must Pass, a critically acclaimed work that produced his most successful hit single, "My Sweet Lord", and introduced his signature sound as a solo artist, the slide guitar. He also organised the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh with Indian musician Ravi Shankar, a precursor for later benefit concerts such as Live Aid. In his role as a music and film producer, Harrison produced acts signed to the Beatles' Apple record label before founding Dark Horse Records in 1974 and co-founding HandMade Films in 1978.
Harrison released several best-selling singles and albums as a solo performer, and in 1988 co-founded the platinum-selling supergroup the Traveling Wilburys. A prolific recording artist, he was featured as a guest guitarist on tracks by Badfinger, Ronnie Wood and Billy Preston, and collaborated on songs and music with Dylan, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr and Tom Petty, among others. Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 11 in their list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". He is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee – as a member of the Beatles in 1988, and (posthumously) for his solo career in 2004.
Harrison's first marriage, to model Pattie Boyd in 1966, ended in divorce in 1977. The following year he married Olivia Harrison (née Arias), with whom he had one son, Dhani. Harrison died in 2001, aged 58, from lung cancer. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in India, in a private ceremony according to Hindu tradition. He left an estate of almost £100 million.
Carlos Santana (born July 20, 1947) is a Mexican and American musician who first became famous in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band, Santana, which pioneered a fusion of rock and Latin American music. The band's sound featured his melodic, blues-based guitar lines set against Latin and African rhythms featuring percussion instruments such as timbales and congas not generally heard in rock music. Santana continued to work in these forms over the following decades. He experienced a resurgence of popularity and critical acclaim in the late 1990s. In 2003 Rolling Stone magazine listed Santana at number 2 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. He has won 10 Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards... Source: Wikipedia
Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry (born October 18, 1926) is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter and is one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957) and "Johnny B. Goode" (1958), Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive, with lyrics focusing on teen life and consumerism and music featuring guitar solos and showmanship that were a major influence on subsequent rock music.
Angus McKinnon Young (born 31 March 1955) is an Australian guitarist of Scottish background, best known as the co-founder, lead guitarist, songwriter and sole constant member of the Australian hard rock band AC/DC. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, he moved to Australia with his family at the age of eight. Known for his energetic performances, schoolboy-uniform stage outfits and his own version of Chuck Berry's duckwalk, Young was ranked 24th in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 greatest guitarist of all-time list.
AC/DC have remained together since their formation in 1973 and have released 17 studio albums. The band has shipped over 200 million albums worldwide, with over 70 million certified units in the US. Their 1980 studio album, Back in Black, is accountable for 50 million of those worldwide sales and is the second all-time highest-selling album worldwide. In 2003, Young and the other members of AC/DC were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Kirk Lee Hammett (born November 18, 1962) is the lead guitarist and contributing songwriter for the heavy metal band Metallica and has been a member of the band since 1983. Before joining Metallica he formed and named the band Exodus. In 2003, Hammett was ranked 11th on Rolling Stone's list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. In 2009, Hammett was ranked number 15 in Joel McIver's book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists.
Howard Duane Allman (November 20, 1946 – October 29, 1971) was an American guitarist, session musician, and co-founder and leader of the Allman Brothers Band until his death in a motorcycle crash in 1971, when he was 24 years old.
The Allman Brothers Band was formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1969. The band had great success in the early 1970s. Allman is best remembered for his brief but influential tenure in the band and in particular for his expressive slide guitar playing and inventive improvisational skills. In 2003, he was ranked number 2 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, second only to Jimi Hendrix. In 2011, he was ranked number 9. His guitar tone (achieved with a Gibson Les Paul and two 50-watt bass Marshall amplifiers) was named one of the greatest of all time by Guitar Player.
A sought-after session musician both before and during his tenure with the band, Duane Allman performed with such established stars as King Curtis, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and Herbie Mann. He also contributed greatly to the 1970 album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, by Derek and the Dominos.
Duane Allman's skills as a guitarist were complemented by personal qualities such as his intensity, drive and ability to draw the best out of others in making music. He is still referred to by his nickname "Skydog".
Peter Dennis Blandford "Pete" Townshend (born 19 May 1945) is an English musician, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, best known as the guitarist, co-lead vocalist, songwriter, and leader for the rock band The Who. His career with the Who spans over 50 years, during which time the band grew to be considered one of the most influential bands of the 20th century.
Townshend is the main songwriter for the Who, having written well over 100 songs for the band's 11 studio albums, including concept albums and the rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia, plus popular rock radio staples such as Who's Next, and dozens more that appeared as non-album singles, bonus tracks on reissues, and tracks on rarities compilations such as Odds & Sods (1974). He has also written more than 100 songs that have appeared on his solo albums, as well as radio jingles and television theme songs. Although known primarily as a guitarist, he also plays keyboards, banjo, accordion, harmonica, ukulele, mandolin, violin, synthesiser, bass guitar, and drums, on his own solo albums, several Who albums and as a guest contributor to an array of other artists' recordings. He is self-taught on all of the instruments he plays and has never had any formal training.
Townshend has also contributed to and authored many newspaper and magazine articles, book reviews, essays, books, and scripts, and he has collaborated as a lyricist and composer for many other musical acts. Due to his aggressive playing style and innovative songwriting techniques, Townshend's works with The Who and in other projects have earned him critical acclaim. He was ranked No. 3 in Dave Marsh's list of Best Guitarists in The New Book of Rock Lists, No. 10 in Gibson.com's list of the top 50 guitarists, and No. 10 again in Rolling Stone magazine's updated 2011 list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. In 1983, Townshend received the Brit Award for Lifetime Achievement, in 1990 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Who, in 2001 received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award as a member of the Who, and in 2008 received Kennedy Center Honors. He and Daltrey received The George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement at UCLA on 21 May 2016.
Steven Siro "Steve" Vai (/vɑːɪ/; born June 6, 1960) is an American guitarist, composer, singer, songwriter, and producer. He was voted the 10th "Greatest Guitarist" by Guitar World magazine, and has sold over 15 million records. A three-time Grammy Award winner and fifteen-time nominee, Vai started his music career in 1978 at the age of 18 as a transcriptionist for Frank Zappa, and joined his band from 1980 to 1983. He embarked on a solo career in 1983 and has released eight solo albums to date. He has recorded and toured with Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth, Whitesnake, as well as having recorded with artists such as Mary J. Blige, Spinal Tap, and Ozzy Osbourne. Additionally, Vai has toured with live-only acts G3, Zappa Plays Zappa, the Experience Hendrix tour, as well as headlining international tours.
Vai has been described as a "highly individualistic player" and part of a generation of "heavy rock and metal virtuosi who came to the fore in the 1980s". The launch of the Ibanez JEM guitar developed and co-designed by Vai was described as the "exact moment the entire guitar landscape was reshaped". He also designed the first commercially produced seven-string guitar, the Ibanez Universe, which was used by nu metal artists in the 1990s. He released his first solo album Flex-Able in 1984, while his most successful release, Passion and Warfare (1990), was described as "the richest and best hard rock guitar-virtuoso album of the '80s".
Anthony Frank "Tony" Iommi (/aɪˈoʊmiː/; born 19 February 1948) is an English guitarist, songwriter and producer. Best known as lead guitarist and founding member of the pioneering heavy metal band Black Sabbath, he has been the band's sole continual member and primary composer.
While working in a factory as a teenager, left-handed Iommi lost the tips of the middle and ring finger of his right hand in an accident; an event which crucially affected his playing style. Iommi briefly left Black Sabbath's forerunner, 'Earth', in 1968 to join Jethro Tull, after which he returned to Black Sabbath in 1969, recording their self-titled debut album. In 2000, he released his first solo album Iommi, followed by 2005's Fused, which featured his former bandmate Glenn Hughes. After releasing Fused, he joined Heaven & Hell, which disbanded after Ronnie James Dio's death in 2010.
Iommi is widely considered one of the most influential rock guitarists of all time. A prolific riff writer, he was ranked number 25 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".
In 2011, he published his autobiography, entitled Iron Man: My Journey through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath.
Randall William "Randy" Rhoads (December 6, 1956 – March 19, 1982) was an American heavy metal guitarist who played with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot. A devoted student of classical guitar, Rhoads combined his classical music influences with his own heavy metal style. He died in a plane accident while on tour with Osbourne in Florida in 1982. Despite his short career, Rhoads, who was a major influence on neoclassical metal, is cited as an influence by many guitarists and is included in several "Greatest Guitarist" lists.
Darrell Lance Abbott (August 20, 1966 – December 8, 2004), also known as Diamond Darrell and Dimebag Darrell, was an American guitarist and songwriter best known as a founding member of two bands, Pantera and Damageplan, alongside his brother, Vinnie Paul. He was considered to be one of the driving forces behind groove metal.
Abbott was shot and killed by a gunman while on stage during a performance with Damageplan on December 8, 2004, at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio. He ranked No. 92 in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Guitarists and No. 1 in the UK magazine, Metal Hammer.
Joseph "Joe" Satriani (born July 15, 1956) is an American instrumental rock guitarist and multi-instrumentalist. Early in his career, Satriani worked as a guitar instructor, with many of his former students achieving fame, such as Steve Vai, Larry LaLonde, Rick Hunolt, Kirk Hammett, Andy Timmons, Charlie Hunter, Kevin Cadogan, and Alex Skolnick; he then went on to have a successful solo music career. He is a 15-time Grammy Award nominee and has sold over 10 million albums, making him the biggest-selling instrumental rock guitarist of all time. In 1988, Satriani was recruited by Mick Jagger as lead guitarist for his first solo tour. Satriani briefly toured with Deep Purple as the lead guitarist, joining shortly after the departure of Ritchie Blackmore in November 1993. He has worked with a range of guitarists during the G3 tour, which he founded in 1995. His G3 collaborators have included Vai, LaLonde, Timmons, Steve Lukather, John Petrucci, Eric Johnson, Yngwie Malmsteen, Brian May, Patrick Rondat, Paul Gilbert, Adrian Legg, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Steve Morse and Robert Fripp. Satriani has been the guitarist for the supergroup Chickenfoot since joining the band in 2008.
Lester William Polsfuss (June 9, 1915 – August 13, 2009), known as Les Paul, was an American jazz, country, and blues guitarist, songwriter, luthier, and inventor. He was one of the pioneers of the solid-body electric guitar, which made the sound of rock and roll possible. Paul taught himself how to play guitar and while he is mainly known for jazz and popular music, he had an early career in country music. He is credited with many recording innovations. Although he was not the first to use the technique, his early experiments with overdubbing (also known as sound on sound), delay effects such as tape delay, phasing effects and multitrack recording were among the first to attract widespread attention.
His innovative talents extended into his playing style, including licks, trills, chording sequences, fretting techniques and timing, which set him apart from his contemporaries and inspired many guitarists of the present day. He recorded with his wife Mary Ford in the 1950s, and they sold millions of records.
Among his many honors, Paul is one of a handful of artists with a permanent, stand-alone exhibit in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is prominently named by the music museum on its website as an "architect" and a "key inductee" along with Sam Phillips and Alan Freed. Les Paul is the only person to be included in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Neil Percival Young, OC OM (born November 12, 1945) is a Canadian singer-songwriter and musician, producer, director and screenwriter. He began performing in a group covering Shadows instrumentals in Canada in 1960, before moving to California in 1966, where he co-founded the band Buffalo Springfield together with Stephen Stills and Richie Furay, and later joined Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1969. He released his first album in 1968 and has since forged a successful and acclaimed solo career, spanning over 45 years and 35 studio albums, with a continuous and uncompromising exploration of musical styles. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website describes Young as "one of rock and roll's greatest songwriters and performers". He was inducted into the Hall of Fame twice, first as a solo artist in 1995, and second as a member of Buffalo Springfield in 1997.
Young's music is characterized by his distinctive guitar work, deeply personal lyrics and characteristic alto or high tenor singing voice. Although he accompanies himself on several different instruments, including piano and harmonica, his idiosyncratic electric and acoustic guitar playing are the defining characteristics of a varyingly ragged and melodic sound.
While Young has experimented with differing music styles throughout a varied career, including electronic music, most of his best known work is either acoustic folk-rock and country rock or electric, amplified hard rock (most often in collaboration with the band Crazy Horse). Musical styles such as alternative rock and grunge also adopted elements from Young. His influence has caused some to dub him the "Godfather of Grunge".
Young has directed (or co-directed) a number of films using the pseudonym Bernard Shakey, including Journey Through the Past (1973), Rust Never Sleeps (1979), Human Highway (1982), Greendale (2003), and CSNY/Déjà Vu (2008). He has also contributed to the soundtracks of films including Philadelphia (1993) and Dead Man (1995).
Young is an environmentalist and outspoken advocate for the welfare of small farmers, having co-founded in 1985 the benefit concert Farm Aid. He is currently working on a documentary about electric car technology, tentatively titled LincVolt. The project involves his 1959 Lincoln Continental converted to hybrid technology as an environmentalist statement. In 1986, Young helped found The Bridge School, an educational organization for children with severe verbal and physical disabilities, and its annual supporting Bridge School Benefit concerts, together with his ex-wife Pegi Young (née Morton). Young has three children: sons Zeke (born during his relationship with actress Carrie Snodgress) and Ben, who were diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and daughter Amber Jean who, like Young, has epilepsy. Young lived on Broken Arrow Ranch, about a thousand acres near La Honda, California until his 2014 divorce from Pegi, when he gave her the ranch and moved to Los Angeles with his current partner, Daryl Hannah. Although he has lived in California since the 1970s and sings as frequently about U.S. themes and subjects as he does about his native country, he has retained his Canadian citizenship. On July 14, 2006, Young was awarded the Order of Manitoba, and on December 30, 2009, was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.
George "Buddy" Guy (born July 30, 1936) is an American blues guitarist and singer. He is an exponent of Chicago blues and has influenced guitarists including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, John Mayer and Stevie Ray Vaughan. In the 1960s, Guy played with Muddy Waters as a house guitarist at Chess Records and began a musical partnership with the harmonica player Junior Wells. Guy was ranked 30th in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. His song "Stone Crazy" was ranked 78th in Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time. Clapton once described him as "the best guitar player alive". In 1999 Guy wrote the book, Damn Right I've Got the Blues, with Donald Wilcock.Guy's autobiography, When I Left Home: My Story, was published in 2012.
Richard Hugh "Ritchie" Blackmore (born 14 April 1945) is an English guitarist and songwriter. He began his career as a session musician as a member of the instrumental band The Outlaws and as a backing musician of pop singers such as Glenda Collins, Heinz, Screaming Lord Sutch and Neil Christian. Blackmore was one of founding members of Deep Purple in 1968, playing jam-style hard-rock music which mixed guitar riffs and organ sounds. During his solo career, he established a heavy metal band called Rainbow which fused baroque music influences and elements of hard rock. Rainbow gradually progressed to catchy pop style hard rock. Later in life, he formed the traditional folk rock project Blackmore's Night transitioning to vocalist-centred sounds. Their latest album, All Our Yesterdays, was released on 18 September 2015. As a member of Deep Purple, Blackmore was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2016.
Robert Leroy Johnson (May 8, 1911 – August 16, 1938) was an American blues singer-songwriter and musician. His landmark recordings in 1936 and 1937 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians. Johnson's shadowy and poorly documented life and death at age 27 have given rise to much legend, including the Faustian myth that he sold his soul to the devil at a crossroads to achieve success. As an itinerant performer who played mostly on street corners, in juke joints, and at Saturday night dances, Johnson had little commercial success or public recognition in his lifetime.
It was only after the reissue of his recordings in 1961, on the LP King of the Delta Blues Singers, that his work reached a wider audience. Johnson is now recognized as a master of the blues, particularly of the Mississippi Delta blues style. He is credited by many rock musicians as an important influence; Eric Clapton has called Johnson "the most important blues singer that ever lived." Johnson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence in its first induction ceremony, in 1986. In 2010, David Fricke ranked Johnson fifth in Rolling Stone magazine's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".
John Anthony Frusciante (Listeni/fruːˈʃɑːnteɪ/; born March 5, 1970) is an American guitarist, singer, producer and composer. He is best known as the former guitarist of the rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, from 1988 until 1992, and again from 1998 until 2009. He recorded five studio albums with them.
Frusciante has an active solo career, having released eleven solo albums and five EPs; his recordings include elements ranging from experimental rock and ambient music to new wave and electronica. In 2015, Frusciante released his debut acid house album under his alias, Trickfinger. He has also recorded with numerous other artists, including The Mars Volta, for whom he was a studio guitarist (and occasional live performer) from 2002 until 2008; Josh Klinghoffer and Joe Lally, with whom he released two albums as Ataxia; and various collaborations with both Klinghoffer and Omar Rodríguez-López.
At the age of eighteen, he joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers, first appearing on the band's 1989 album, Mother's Milk. The group's follow-up album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991), was a breakthrough success. Frusciante became overwhelmed by the band's new popularity and quit in 1992. He became a recluse and entered a long period of drug addiction, during which he released his first solo recordings: Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-Shirt (1994) and Smile from the Streets You Hold (1997). In 1998, he successfully completed drug rehabilitation and rejoined the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their next album, Californication (1999) would eventually go on to sell 16 million copies. His album To Record Only Water for Ten Days was made in 2001. A fourth album with the Chili Peppers, By the Way was released in 2002. On a creative spree, Frusciante released six solo albums in 2004; each album explored different recording techniques and genres. 2006 saw the release of his fifth and final album with the Chili Peppers, Stadium Arcadium. In 2009, Frusciante released The Empyrean, which features Flea and Josh Klinghoffer, and announced he had again parted ways with the Chili Peppers.
He has produced and/or recorded with Duran Duran, Wu-Tang Clan, The Mars Volta and Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Swahili Blonde, Black Knights, The Bicycle Thief, Glenn Hughes, Ziggy Marley, Johnny Cash, George Clinton, and others.
Frusciante has received critical recognition for his guitar playing, ranking at number 18 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" in 2003; and again in a second list published in 2011, where he ranked at number 72. He was ranked as number 42 in Gibson's list of the "50 Best Guitarists of All Time". He was voted "The Best Guitarist of the Last 30 Years" in a 2010 BBC poll called "The Axe Factor". Frusciante was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on April 14, 2012 although he did not attend the ceremony.
William Rory Gallagher (/ˈrɔːri ˈɡæləhər/ gal-ə-hər; 2 March 1948 – 14 June 1995) was an Irish blues and rock multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and bandleader. Born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, and brought up in Cork, Gallagher recorded solo albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s, after forming the band Taste during the late 1960s. He was a talented guitarist known for his charismatic performances and dedication to his craft. Gallagher's albums have sold in excess of 30 million copies worldwide. Gallagher received a liver transplant in 1995, but died of complications later that year in London, UK at the age of 47.
Thomas Baptiste "Tom" Morello (born May 30, 1964) is an American musician, singer-songwriter and political activist. He is best known for his tenure with the band Rage Against the Machine and then with Audioslave. As of 2016, Morello is a member the supergroup Prophets of Rage. Morello was also a touring musician with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. He is also known for his acoustic solo act called The Nightwatchman, and Street Sweeper Social Club. Morello is also the co-founder (along with Serj Tankian) of the non-profit political activist organization Axis of Justice, which airs a monthly program on Pacifica Radio station KPFK (90.7 FM) in Los Angeles.
Born in Harlem, New York, and raised in Libertyville, Illinois, Morello became interested in music and politics while in high school. He attended Harvard University and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies. After his previous band Lock Up disbanded, Morello met Zack de la Rocha, and the two founded Rage Against the Machine together. The group went on to become one of the most popular and influential rock acts of the 1990s.
He is best known for his unique and creative guitar playing style, which incorporates feedback noise, unconventional picking and tapping as well as heavy use of guitar effects. Morello is also noted for his leftist political views and activism; his creation of his side project The Nightwatchman offered an outlet for his views while playing apolitical music with Audioslave. He was ranked number 40 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".
Mark Freuder Knopfler, OBE (born 12 August 1949) is a British singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer and film score composer. He is best known as the lead guitarist, lead singer and songwriter for the rock band Dire Straits, which he co-founded with his younger brother, David Knopfler, in 1977.
Since Dire Straits disbanded in 1995, Knopfler has recorded and produced eight solo albums, and, as with his previous band, produced many hit songs. He has composed and produced film scores for nine films, including Local Hero (1983), Cal (1984), The Princess Bride (1987), Wag the Dog (1997) and Altamira (2016).
In addition to his work with Dire Straits and as a solo artist and composer, Knopfler has recorded and performed with many prominent musicians, including B.B.King, Chet Atkins, Chris Botti, John Anderson, the Chieftains, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Bryan Ferry, George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Jools Holland, Sonny Landreth, Phil Lynott, Van Morrison, Steely Dan, Sting, and James Taylor, sometimes working as a session musician. He has produced albums for Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, and Randy Newman.
Knopfler is a fingerstyle guitarist and was ranked 27th on Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Knopfler and Dire Straits have sold in excess of 120 million albums to date. A four-time Grammy Award winner, Knopfler is the recipient of the Edison Award, the Steiger Award and the Ivor Novello Award, as well as holding three honorary doctorate degrees in music from universities in the United Kingdom.
Frank Vincent Zappa (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American musician, songwriter, composer, guitarist, record producer, actor and filmmaker. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa composed rock, jazz, jazz fusion, orchestral and musique concrète works, and produced almost all of the 60-plus albums that he released with his band the Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist. He also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers.
As a self-taught composer and performer, Zappa's diverse musical influences led him to create music that was often difficult to categorize. While in his teens, he acquired a taste for 20th-century classical composers such as Edgard Varèse, Igor Stravinsky, and Anton Webern, along with 1950s rhythm and blues music. He began writing classical music in high school, while at the same time playing drums in rhythm and blues bands; later switching to electric guitar. His 1966 debut album with the Mothers of Invention, Freak Out!, combined songs in conventional rock and roll format with collective improvisations and studio-generated sound collages. He continued this eclectic and experimental approach, irrespective of whether the fundamental format was rock, jazz or classical.
Zappa's lyrics reflected his iconoclastic views of established social and political processes, structures and movements, often humorously so. He was a strident critic of mainstream education and organized religion, and a forthright and passionate advocate for freedom of speech, self-education, political participation and the abolition of censorship. Unlike many other rock musicians of his era, he personally disapproved of and seldom used drugs, but supported their decriminalization and regulation.
During Zappa's lifetime, he was a highly productive and prolific artist, earning widespread acclaim from critics and fellow musicians. He had some commercial success, particularly in Europe, and worked as an independent artist for most of his career. He remains a major influence on musicians and composers. Sterling Whitaker described Zappa as "one of the most innovative and versatile rock musicians of his generation."His honors include an induction into the 1995 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the 1997 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at number 71 on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", and in 2011 at number 22 on its list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".
John William Cummings (October 8, 1948 – September 15, 2004), better known by his stage name Johnny Ramone, was an American guitarist and songwriter, best known for being the guitarist for the punk rock band the Ramones. He was a founding member of the band, and remained a member throughout the band's entire career. He died from prostate cancer on September 15, 2004.
In 2003, he appeared on Time's "10 Greatest Electric-Guitar Players". That same year, he was number 16 on the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" list in Rolling Stone.
Alexandar Zivojinovich, OC (born 27 August 1953), better known by his stage name Alex Lifeson, is a Canadian musician, best known as the guitarist of the Canadian rock band Rush. In 1968, Lifeson co-founded the band that would become Rush, with drummer John Rutsey and bassist and singer Jeff Jones. Jones was replaced by Geddy Lee a month later, and Rutsey was replaced by Neil Peart in 1974; the band's line-up has remained the same ever since.
With Rush, Lifeson plays electric and acoustic guitars, as well as other stringed instruments such as mandola, mandolin, and bouzouki. He also performs backing vocals in live performances, and occasionally plays keyboards and bass pedal synthesizers. Like the other members of Rush, Lifeson performs real-time on-stage triggering of sampled instruments, concurrently with his guitar playing. The bulk of Lifeson's work in music has been with Rush, although Lifeson has contributed to a body of work outside of the band as well. Aside from music, Lifeson is part-owner of The Orbit Room, a bar and restaurant in Toronto, a painter and a licensed aircraft pilot.
Along with his bandmates Geddy Lee and Neil Peart, Lifeson was made an Officer of the Order of Canada on 9 May 1996. The trio was the first rock band to be so honoured, as a group. Lifeson was ranked 98th on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, and third (after Eddie Van Halen and Brian May) in a Guitar World readers poll also listing the 100 greatest guitarists.
James Alan Hetfield (born August 3, 1963) is an American musician, singer and songwriter known for being the co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for the American heavy metal band Metallica. Hetfield is mainly known for his intricate rhythm playing, but occasionally performs lead guitar duties and solos, both live and in the studio. Hetfield co-founded Metallica in October 1981 after answering a classified advertisement by drummer Lars Ulrich in the Los Angeles newspaper The Recycler. Metallica has won nine Grammy Awards and released nine studio albums, three live albums, four extended plays and 24 singles.
In 2009, Hetfield was ranked at no. 8 in Joel McIver's book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists, and ranked at no. 24 by Hit Parader on their list of the 100 Greatest Metal Vocalists of All Time. In Guitar World's poll, Hetfield was placed as the 19th greatest guitarist of all time, as well as being placed second (along with Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett) in The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists poll of the same magazine. Rolling Stone placed Hetfield as the 87th greatest guitarist of all time.
John Graham Mellor (21 August 1952 – 22 December 2002), known by his stage name Joe Strummer, was a British musician, singer, actor and songwriter who was the co-founder, lyricist, rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist of the Clash, a punk rock band that was formed in 1976 as part of the original wave of British punk. Their music also incorporated elements of reggae, ska, dub, funk, rap, and rockabilly. The Clash were one of the most prominent of the emerging bands in the UK punk rock scene, with their second album, Give 'Em Enough Rope (1978) reaching number 2 on the UK charts. Soon after, they began achieving success in the US, starting with London Calling (1979), and peaking with 1982's Combat Rock, reaching number 7 on the US charts and being certified 2× platinum there. The Clash's politicised lyrics, musical experimentation, and rebellious attitude had a far-reaching influence on rock, and alternative rock in particular.
His musical experience included his membership of the 101ers, Latino Rockabilly War, the Mescaleros and the Pogues, in addition to his own solo music career. Strummer's work as a musician allowed him to explore other interests, which included acting, creating film scores for television and movies, songwriting, radio broadcasting, and a position as a radio host. Strummer is one of the iconic figures of the British punk movement.
Strummer and the Clash were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in January 2003. In his remembrance, Strummer's friends and family established the Strummerville Foundation for the promotion of new music.
Anthony Joseph Pereira, better known by his stage name Joe Perry (born September 10, 1950), is the lead guitarist, backing and occasional lead vocalist, and contributing songwriter for the American rock band Aerosmith. He was ranked 84th in Rolling Stone's list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. In 2001, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of Aerosmith, and in 2013, Perry and his songwriting partner Steven Tyler were recipients of the ASCAP Founders Award and were also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In October 2014, Simon & Schuster released Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith, written by Joe Perry with David Ritz.
Jerome John "Jerry" Garcia (August 1, 1942 – August 9, 1995) was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist best known for his work with the band the Grateful Dead, which came to prominence during the counterculture era in the 1960s. Though he disavowed the role, Garcia was viewed by many as the leader or "spokesman" of the group.
One of its founders, Garcia performed with the Grateful Dead for their entire thirty-year career (1965–1995). Garcia also founded and participated in a variety of side projects, including the Saunders–Garcia Band (with longtime friend Merl Saunders), the Jerry Garcia Band, Old and in the Way, the Garcia/Grisman acoustic duo, Legion of Mary, and the New Riders of the Purple Sage (which Garcia co-founded with John Dawson and David Nelson). He also released several solo albums, and contributed to a number of albums by other artists over the years as a session musician. He was well known for his distinctive guitar playing and was ranked 46th in Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" cover story.
Later in life, Garcia was sometimes ill because of his diabetes, and in 1986 went into a diabetic coma that nearly cost him his life. Although his overall health improved somewhat after that, he also struggled with heroin and cocaine addictions, and was staying in a California drug rehabilitation facility when he died of a heart attack in August 1995.
John Peter Petrucci (born July 12, 1967) is an American guitarist, composer and producer. He is best known as a founding member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater. With his former bandmate Mike Portnoy, he has produced all Dream Theater albums from 1999's Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory to 2009's Black Clouds & Silver Linings, and has been the sole producer of the band's albums released since Portnoy's departure in 2010. Petrucci was named as the third player on the G3 tour six times, more than any other invited guitarist. Joel McIver's 2009 book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists ranks Petrucci second, after Dave Mustaine. He was also named as one of the "Top 10 Greatest Guitar Shredders of All Time" by GuitarOne magazine. In 2012, Petrucci was ranked the 17th greatest guitarist of all time by a Guitar World magazine reader's poll.
Chester Burton "Chet" Atkins (June 20, 1924 – June 30, 2001) was an American musician, occasional vocalist, songwriter, and record producer, who along with Owen Bradley and Bob Ferguson, among others, created the country music style that came to be known as the Nashville sound, which expanded country music's appeal to adult pop music fans. He was primarily known as a guitarist. He also played the mandolin, fiddle, banjo, and ukulele.
Atkins' signature picking style was inspired by Merle Travis. Other major guitar influences were Django Reinhardt, George Barnes, Les Paul, and, later, Jerry Reed. His distinctive picking style and musicianship brought him admirers inside and outside the country scene, both in the United States and internationally. Atkins spent most of his career at RCA Victor and produced records for the Browns, Hank Snow, Porter Wagoner, Norma Jean, Dolly Parton, Dottie West, Perry Como, Floyd Cramer, Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, Eddy Arnold, Don Gibson, Jim Reeves, Jerry Reed, Skeeter Davis, Waylon Jennings, and many others.
Among many honors, Atkins received 14 Grammy Awards and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He also received nine Country Music Association awards for Instrumentalist of the Year. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.
Yngwie Johan Malmsteen (/ˈɪŋveɪ ˈmɑːlmstiːn/ ing-vay mahlm-steen; born Lars Johan Yngve Lannerbäck on 30 June 1963) is a Swedish guitarist, songwriter and bandleader. Malmsteen first became known in the 1980s for his neoclassical metal playing style in heavy metal.
Joseph Fidler "Joe" Walsh (born November 20, 1947) is an American singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. In a career spanning more than 40 years, Walsh has been a member of five successful rock bands: James Gang, Barnstorm, the Eagles, The Party Boys, and Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. In the 1990s, he was also a member of the short-lived supergroup The Best. He has also experienced success both as a solo artist and prolific session musician, being featured on a wide array of other artists' recordings. In 2011, Rolling Stone placed Walsh at the number 54 spot on its list of "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."
In the mid-1960s, after attending Kent State University, Walsh played with several local Ohio-based bands before reaching a national audience as a member of the James Gang, whose hit song "Funk #49" highlighted Walsh's skill as both a guitarist and vocalist. After the James Gang broke up in 1972, Walsh formed a band, Barnstorm, with Joe Vitale, a college friend of Walsh's from Ohio, and Kenny Passarelli, a bassist from Colorado, where Walsh had settled as his home after leaving Ohio. While the band would stay together for three albums over three years, their works were marketed as Walsh solo projects. The last Barnstorm album, 1974's So What contained significant guest contributions from several members of the Eagles, a group that had recently hired Walsh's producer, Bill Szymczyk.
At Szymczyk's suggestion, Walsh joined the Eagles in 1975 as the group's keyboardist and guitarist following the departure of their founding member Bernie Leadon, with Hotel California being his first album with the band. In 1998 a reader's poll conducted by Guitarist magazine selected the guitar solos on the track "Hotel California" by Walsh and Don Felder as the best guitar solos of all time. Guitar World magazine listed it at eighth of the Top 100 Guitar Solos.
Besides his work with his several bands, he has released twelve solo studio albums, six compilation albums and two live albums. His solo hits include "Rocky Mountain Way", "Life's Been Good", "All Night Long", "A Life of Illusion" and "Ordinary Average Guy".
As a member of the Eagles, Walsh was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001. The Eagles are considered to be one of the most influential bands of the 1970s, and they remain the best-selling American band in the history of popular music.Walsh's creative contribution to music has received praise from many of the best rock guitarists, including Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, who praised Walsh by saying "He has a tremendous feel for the instrument. I've loved his style since the early James Gang." Eric Clapton said that "He's one of the best guitarists to surface in some time. I don't listen to many records, but I listen to his." The Who's guitarist Pete Townshend, a friend of Walsh's, commented that "Joe Walsh is a fluid and intelligent player. There're not many like that around.".
Zakk Wylde (born Jeffrey Phillip Wielandt on January 14, 1967) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and occasional actor who is best known as the former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, and founder of the heavy metal band Black Label Society. His signature bulls-eye design appears on many of his guitars and is widely recognized. He was the lead guitarist and vocalist in Pride & Glory, who released one self-titled album in 1994 before disbanding. As a solo artist he released Book of Shadows and Book of Shadows II.
Albert King Nelson (April 25, 1923 – December 21, 1992), known professionally as Albert King, was an American blues guitarist and singer, and a major influence in the world of blues guitar playing. One of the "Three Kings of the Blues Guitar" (along with B.B. King and Freddie King), he is perhaps best known for the 1967 single "Born Under a Bad Sign".
King stood taller than average, with sources reporting 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) or 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m), and weighed a hefty 250 pounds (110 kg) and was known as "The Velvet Bulldozer" due to his smooth singing and large size.
In May 2013, King was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Derek Trucks (born June 8, 1979) is an American guitarist, songwriter and founder of the Grammy Award-winning The Derek Trucks Band. He played with The Allman Brothers Band, and became an official member in 1999. In 2010 he and his wife Susan Tedeschi formed the Tedeschi Trucks Band. His musical style encompasses several genres and he has twice appeared on Rolling Stone's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
Eric Johnson (born August 17, 1954) is an American guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist from Austin, Texas. Best known for his electric guitar skills, Johnson is also a highly proficient acoustic, lap steel, resonator, and bass guitarist as well as an accomplished pianist and vocalist.
Johnson is skilled in a wide array of musical genres evidenced by the many different styles incorporated in both his studio and live performances including rock, electric and acoustic blues, jazz, fusion, soul-inspired music, folk, new-age, classical, and country and western.
Guitar Player magazine has called Johnson "one of the most respected guitarists on the planet". His 1990 platinum-selling, full-length album, Ah Via Musicom, produced the single, "Cliffs of Dover", for which Johnson won the 1991 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. He was voted No. 47 on "100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time" by Guitar World's readers.
Stephen James "Steve" Howe (born 8 April 1947) is an English musician and songwriter. He is best known as the guitarist in the progressive rock band Yes. He has also been a member of the Syndicats, Bodast, Tomorrow, Asia, and GTR, as well as having released 19 solo albums as of 2010.
Robert Fripp (born 16 May 1946) is an English guitarist, composer and record producer.
As a guitarist for the progressive rock band King Crimson, Fripp has been the only member to have played in all of King Crimson's line-ups from their inception in the late 1960s to the present. He is the driving creative and political force of the group, bearing responsibility for line-up changes and ending and resuming the group at various points. He has also worked extensively as a studio musician, notably with singer David Bowie on the albums "Heroes" and Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), Brian Eno, and contributed sounds to the Windows Vista operating system. His complete discography lists more than seven hundred releases over four decades.
He is ranked 62nd on Rolling Stone magazine's 2011 list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" after having been ranked by David Fricke 42nd on its 2003 list. Tied with Andrés Segovia, he also is ranked 47th on Gibson.com's "Top 50 guitarists of all time".
His compositions often feature unusual time signatures, which have been influenced by classical and folk traditions. His innovations have included Frippertronics, soundscapes, and new standard tuning.
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