Back in 2003 Rolling Stone’s David Fricke put together a list of what he thought were the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All-Time for the magazine. Now, eight years later, Rolling Stone has revisited the topic and has augmented a panel of three contributors with 56 esteemed musicians and industry vets such as MMJ’s Carl Broemel and Jim James, the Allman Brothers Band’s Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes as well as Eddie Van Halen. The resulting list has its flaws (no Trey!?!?), but you can’t blame this one on the Jersey Shore-loving editorial staff over at Rolling Stone since they loaded the panel with respected vets.
In what should be a surprise to no one, Jimi Hendrix took the top spot and was correctly followed in the Top Five by Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards and Jeff Beck. Besides Anastasio (who was a judge), shockingly missing from the list are Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Al DiMeola and Ace Frehley. Who would we have replaced on this list? We love Paul Simon, but he can’t compare to those left off that we mentioned. Willie Nelson, Kurt Cobain and Ron Asheton are other guitarists who we appreciate yet are baffled by their inclusion.
The best part of the feature, which serves as the cover story on the soon-to-hit-newsstands edition of Rolling Stone, is that for some entries members of the panel wrote about why those on the list deserved the honor. From Carlos Santana discussing Jerry Garcia to Trey Anastasio paying tribute to Neil Young to Tom Petty honoring George Harrison, these essays are all good reads. Look, in the end it’s all opinion, and we hand it to Rolling Stone for putting together an eclectic panel rather than letting their staffers make this list.
What do you think of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarist List?