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

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      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).

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      Nov 23, 2011 at 4:42pm

      I for one would love to see a Straight's top 100 geetar player list.


      Nov 23, 2011 at 4:45pm

      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.

      A. MacInnis

      Nov 23, 2011 at 5:02pm

      ...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.


      Nov 23, 2011 at 5:04pm

      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.

      Martin Dunphy

      Nov 23, 2011 at 5:13pm


      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".)

      Seb Garceau

      Nov 23, 2011 at 5:16pm

      And what about the mighty Dave Gilmour? should be at least in top 10

      Steve Newton

      Nov 23, 2011 at 5:23pm

      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.

      Brandt Hardin

      Nov 23, 2011 at 5:31pm

      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 and tell me how the voodoo child’s music has influenced you!

      Carl Spackler

      Nov 23, 2011 at 5:33pm

      Where did they put Mick Taylor? He should be in the top 5 for sure.


      Nov 23, 2011 at 5:34pm

      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.