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Another Day, Another Poll

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Rolling Stone picks the 100 greatest guitarists of all time in the new issue coming out Friday:

    Late rock musicians Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman lead the list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time in the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone magazine.

    Hendrix, who invariably tops such polls, received a glowing tribute from Who guitarist Pete Townshend, who wrote that he “made the electric guitar beautiful.”

    Allman was hailed by the magazine for transforming “the poetry of jamming” with the Allman Brothers Band, the Atlanta rock group he founded with younger brother Gregg in 1969.

    B.B. King, who turns 78 next month, came in at No. 3. “His string-bending and vibrato made his famous guitar, Lucille, weep like a woman,” the magazine said.

    Clapton landed at No. 4, followed by Delta bluesman Robert Johnson. Rounding out the top 10 were Chuck Berry, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ry Cooder, Jimmy Page and Keith Richards. [Reuters]

I don’t have much comment until I see the complete list, but it’s hard to argue with the top 10, although it is of course rock-oriented. Even within rock I wouldn’t put Stevie Ray that high.

I am pleased to see the now relatively obscure Peter Green, the original guitarist for Fleetwood Mac during their blues days, make the list of 100. Green, who didn’t record much for decades, released a new album earlier this year, Reaching the Cold 100. Although his voice is pretty well shot (he sings a bit like Clapton, but even more laconic and at times shaky), Green’s signature guitar sound – unforced, unhurried, apt, stinging when it needs to be – is remarkably intact.

In addition to new songs Green also had the nerve to re-record four of his best-known Fleetwood Mac songs for the album, including “Black Magic Woman” (he even incorporates a bit of the Santana cover arrangement), “Green Manalishi,” and the spellbinding instrumental “Albatross.” While he doesn’t match the originals, he does hold his own pretty well with his much younger self.

Though there are a ton of collections, the best Green-period Fleetwood Mac package is the very reasonably priced Sony import Best of Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, which has the aforementioned classics plus the ineffable “Oh Well,” in addition to “Need Your Love So Bad,” “Man of theWorld,” “Rattlesnake Shake,” all the goodies – magical.

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About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted, Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.
  • trey bruce

    Shawn Lane was the very best ever.

  • regan

    interestingly enough, keaggy has commented on dane and taylor being the best guitarists he’s ever heard. they’re both early 20’s and from my area, and incredible.

  • David Kidd

    Oh! Sorry, we have a loser, Hendricks said that about Keaggy on the tonight show, to Johnny Carson

  • The Theory

    yeah, my question was regarding eric’s comment #9… not the whole talk show thing.

    and i have a problem with that snopes article. it does a lot of assuming on behalf of Hedrix which really is pretty silly. Like Hendrix wouldn’t go around talking about a guitar player no one had heard of, or that he would enjoy a Christian, God loving guitar player. How would they know what Hendrix appriciatted?

  • TT/Eric, as I understand it, the timeline doesn’t work out very well for Hendrix having said anything about Keaggy. This will likely be debated forever, but mark me down in the “false” camp.

  • The Theory

    eric, i realize this is an old thread, however, i was curious as to whether you know of any documentation of Hendrix being a Keaggy fan, or how that is known…

  • The Theory

    i think John Petrucci will be on the list. He’s the most well known guitar player in prog rock today. And the latest Dream Theater album got a lot of attention.

  • I bet all these are either missing from the list, or very low down:

    Steve Hackett
    Dave Gilmour
    Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser
    Michael Schenker
    John Petrucci
    Brian Robertson
    Brian May
    Tony Iommi

  • Lessee, in no order, but the list should include:

    Robert Quine
    Pat Metheny
    Sonny Sharrock
    Eddie Hazel
    Les Paul
    Bob Brozman
    Jeff Healy
    David Lindley
    Steve Cropper
    John Fahey

    But since it’s Rolling Stone, I guess it will include Russell Hammond because he was on the cover.

  • Eric Olsen

    Marty was THERE, baby!

  • The Theory

    good lord, who are you people?! Sometimes the name dropping on this site is *scary*…

  • Marty Thau

    I was there when Stevie Wonder csme into our studio at Electric Lady to listen to Keaggy play on the first Glass Harp LP. He was absolutely floored. It’s impossible to say who is #1 or # 21 but for sure Phil Keaggy belongs near the very top of any list like that.

  • Eric Olsen

    I think they’re pretty conversant with Fripp: King Crimson, Eno, Bowie, solo Frippertronics, Discipline label, etc. He is an icon and they like icons.

  • JR

    Zappa yes, but Fripp? In Rolling Stone? I’d be very surprised. That magazine has never been big on “music for music’s sake”, and they seem downright hostile to prog. Zappa at least testified before Congress; no doubt Rolling Stone took more notice of that than any of his guitar solos.

  • Eric Olsen

    Great list Dave, I’m certain Zappa and FRipp will be on their list – I particularly like Rypdal. Please my review of the new Robin Guthrie (from Cocteau Twins) solo album, which reminds me a bit of Rypdal.

  • Probably won’t make the list but they’re on mine:

    Ralph Towner
    Terje Rypdal
    Shawn Lane
    Zoot Horn Rollo
    Frank Zappa
    Warren Haynes
    Edgar Froese
    David Torn
    Robert Fripp

  • andy

    yeah…I know……..brain fart. big time.

  • Eric Olsen


  • andy

    “withdrawled” hehe

  • andy

    Keaggy would probably be huge now(I mean like, huge huge, not cult following huge) if when he converted to Christianity he wouldn’t have withdawled into the Christian Music ghetto. grr

  • Eric Olsen

    Daniel Pecchio told me that no one really knows what Hendrix said on that show since it wasn’t taped (other than people who actually saw it), but that he might have said it because he was a Phil fan.

  • andy

    Ted Nuggent(who cares) did say Keaggy coulda saved the world w/ his guitar playing.

  • sonny

    no truth to the rumor about hendrix mentioning keaggy. hendrix did praise pre-ZZ Top billy gibbons, as well as hire randy california (spirit) when he was 16.

    i love peter green, too. saw him live a few years ago when he came to the states. link wray gets on my list. dick dale, too.

  • How about Link Wray who discovered distortion and still plays surf rock shows today despite his advanced age and failing eyesight. Any list not including him would be incomplete as well.

  • JR, you’re right: Eddie not in the top 10? Another list with a glaring hole. These lists are tough to do, because there’s always somebody that is being forgotten I think 🙁

    I also hope Randy Rhoads breaks the top 100 somewhere. His life, musically and otherwise, was all too brief, but that didn’t diminish his incredible talent. Who knows what would have happened to Ozzy if he hadn’t hooked up with Rhoads after Oz was booted out of Sabbath.

  • andy

    wasn’t there this rumor that one time someone asked Hendrix how it feels to be the best guitarist in the world and he replied, “I don’t know. Ask Phil Keaggy”. Any truth to that one?

  • Phil who?


  • The Theory

    there’s gonna be an ass whuppin if Phil Keaggy isn’t on the list…..


  • JR

    Eddie Van Halen not even in the top ten? The list is bullshit.

    Very true about Peter Green; in fact, I’d rate him above Clapton. Check out his solo with Fleetwood Mac on “Fool No More”. That’s powerful stuff.