Rolling Stone fucks up big-time with its 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time

The once-revered Rolling Stone magazine released its list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" on its website today, and man, does it suck.

"We assembled a panel of top guitarists and other experts to rank their favorites and explain what separates the legends from everyone else," reads the intro to the list, but they aren't foolin' anyone. What kind of "top guitarists" and "experts" would dare compile a list of the world's best pickers and put the godlike Rory Gallagher way down at number 57. They dumped him two spots behind axe master John Lennon, fer chrissakes. What the fuck!?

They made Jimi Hendrix number one--which I don't have a problem with--but then they screwed up royally again when they put Jeff Beck at number 5, behind Eric Clapton (2), Jimmy Page (3), and Keith Richards (4). Come on! Keith Richards? I love Keef's playing as much as the next guy, but he doesn't hold a candle to Beck. Nobody who's still breathing does.

Speaking of dead guys, it was a nice surprise to see Duane Allman take the number 8 spot, but there's no way Stevie Ray Vaughan (12) should have been kept out of the Top 10. Even though Quadrophenia is my fave album of all time, I believe Pete Townshend (10) should have been bumped to make way for Stevie.

Other amazing players who should have ranked much higher than they did were Peter Green (58), Johnny Winter (63), and Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson, who only snuck in at number 98.

Equally shocking is the number of deserving guitarists who got left off the Top 100 entirely, people like Roy Buchanan, Danny Gatton, Michael Schenker, Alvin Lee, Warren Haynes, Joe Satriani, Sonny Landreth, Robin Trower, Gary Moore, Steve Howe, Eric Johnson, John Fogerty, Joe Bonamassa, Steve Morse, Jorma Kaukonen, Brian Setzer, and Hank Marvin. And speaking as a proud Canadian, how about Jeff Healey? The brainiacs at Rolling Stone could have easily made room for at least a few of those instead of wasting valuable space on the likes of Lou Reed (81), Willie Nelson (77), Joni Mitchell (75), Roger McGuinn (95), Bruce Springsteen (96), Paul Simon (93), Prince (who came in three notches ahead of Randy Rhoads at 33), and--although I love the guy--the aforementioned Lennon (55).

On the bright side, I was happy to see that a few of my faves who sometimes fly under the guitar-hero radar got chosen, in particular Dick Dale (74), Link Wray (45), Duane Eddy (64), Hubert Sumlin (43), Mike Campbell (79), and the mighty Mick Ronson (41).

You can follow Steve Newton on Twitter at twitter.com/earofnewt.

Comments (186) Add New Comment
Geezer
I for one would love to see a Straight's top 100 geetar player list.
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Louie
Rolling Stone is a joke. How can you not have Steve Vai, Joe Satriani or Ace Frehley. Paul Simon is a legend, but on a greatest guitarist list? Steve is right, Keith Richards ahead of Jeff Beck? Silly stuff, A lot like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Wenner and a lot of these clowns behind it.
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A. MacInnis
...but this list is exactly the sort of tripe we should expect from Rolling Stone, innit? It leaves off its list anyone the average consumer might not have heard of - from legendary and influential blues musicians like the Reverend Gary Davis or Blind Blake (or a host of others) to sublime jazz geniuses like the Canadian Lenny Breau to brilliant, unclassifiable lunatics like Eugene Chadbourne (or Fred Frith) while stocking its ranks with safe, obvious choices designed to flatter and placate the tastes of its mediocre, middlebrow, know-nothing-nohow readership and keep people shopping at Walmart. Even Nels Cline, genius that he is, wouldn't make the cut if he didn't have a highly visible gig with Wilco. Marc Ribot has proven pretty versatile, but he's nowhere to be seen. And Thurston makes the list but Lee doesn't? Aww. However - what could anyone EXPECT, it's ROLLING STONE, forgodsake - and who even reads that magazine, exactly, these days? Complaining about this list is like complaining about the Academy Awards - these are institutions that are devoid of merit, all about the marketplace and the median, keeping people happily lined up at the feeding trough, and thereby pretty much best ignored. It's like caring about the opinions offered by the editors of TV Guide, if that magazine is even still in print...

There, I said it.
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sleepswithangels
Yeah baby. Look who was right on the money declaring on this very site that Keef was the greatest Rock and Roll guitarist of all time. #4 baby.
Notice that this "greatest guitarists" list was not the "greatest rock and roll guitarists". When it comes to pure Rocknroll...Keefer's #1 yeah.

Buch dich Jeff Beck and all the other pretenders.
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Martin Dunphy
Steve-o:

I'd list my top 10, but it would end up more like the top 17. What's with this counting by tens, anyway? Who cares what a bunch of dead Romans went by?
Anyhow, I'm with A. Macinnis above. Rolling Stone stopped being even remotely relevant about 20 years ago.
And, yeah, Lenny Breau: sublime. (And you're right, Steve: Mick Ronson: "mighty".)
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Seb Garceau
And what about the mighty Dave Gilmour? should be at least in top 10
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Steve Newton
Seb: RS has Gilmour at number 14.
Geezer: Here's my top 10 for today, but it might change tomorrow: Rory Gallagher, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Gary Moore, Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, Peter Green, Danny Gatton, Randy Rhoads.
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Brandt Hardin
Jimi invented Metal and everything Rock knows about the guitar after 1970 came from his psychedelic twisting of what the instrument could do. I paid homage to Hendrix with a portrait called Purple Haze on the anniversary of his passing recently. You can see it at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/09/purple-haze-jimi-hendrix.html and tell me how the voodoo child’s music has influenced you!
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Carl Spackler
Where did they put Mick Taylor? He should be in the top 5 for sure.
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rain
Dick Dale should easily be in the top 20 - if your talking about sheer talent and creativity. He influenced and trained a lot of people on that list.
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HellSlayerAndy
When you think about it...if just guitarists, then probably more are left off than on...especially acoustic ones?
Don Ross? Didn't notice John Abercrombie?
Or rockabilly type guitarists like Rev Horton Heat or Rick Miller...?
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Jethero
I'm just as outright shocked that Brian Setzer isn't on that list.
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Woof
Zakk Wylde FTW.
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Mark Fornataro
I agree Hendrix should be #1, speaking of which there is a Vancouver shrine to him- where he used to practice after hours at his grandmother's little cafe.http://www.yelp.ca/biz/jimi-hendrix-shrine-vancouver
And I agree Lennon should not be on this list; a phenom as a song writer but not able to dazzle technically on guitar as he was not interested in putting in the time to be a virtuoso.
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Mark Fornataro
And speaking of Dave Gilmour here he is using a Lewis guitar on Dark Side about 5:30 in. It was built at Bill Lewis Music in the early 70s, which was in the 3600 block W Broadway, Vancouver.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NKDSDbipGU&feature=related
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blueheron
Love Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler jamming together! And B.B. King is a master! Good list.
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Andy Robbins
Buckethead should be in the top 10.
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T.W.
Glad to see Tony Iommi on the list but he should be higher than 25 IMHO.
And J. Mascis is missing, what's with that?
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Asmo
If you don't think Prince deserved to be on the list then you don't know what you're talking about. Watch his performance of While My Guitar Gently Weeps and you'll understand.
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Carl Spackler
And don't forget :
Joe Walsh
Paul Kossoff!
Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter (Alice Cooper and Aerosmith session men)
Ron Asheton!
Jim McCarty!
Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt"!
And here is why Taylor lives in the top 5.http://youtu.be/tCu7Qq1J-Jw
G.F.Y. if you don't feel this
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