Our Ten Best- Episode 11: Classic Rock Guitarists

JimiHendrix2Compiling a list of the top ten Classic Rock guitarists in history is an arduous task, but an enjoyable one. The requirements needed to make this countdown are playing ability, impact on the classic rock world, memorable riffs and songwriting. Any ranking of the multitude of brilliant guitarists in the classic rock era is sure to elicit approval and vociferous disagreements, so feel free to voice your opinion by posting a comment.

1-Jimi Hendrix- The “Master of the Stratocaster” revolutionized guitar playing from 1966-1970 with his incendiary, breathtaking rhythm and lead playing. This “comet,” who shone brightly for a short time, left an indelible mark on the rock world that will never be equaled. He burst onto the scene with his monumental “Are You Experienced” (1967) LP with bass player Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell complementing him perfectly. Anyone who listened to this album and/or saw him play was blown away and changed forever, including Pete Townsend and Paul McCartney, who caught his early shows in England. If you want slow blues, just listen to “Red House” (live or studio version). “Third Stone from the Sun” is a psychedelic collage of guitar brilliance while “Fire,” “Manic Depression,” “Purple Haze” and “Hey Joe” are guitar showcases that have heavily influenced every young kid who picked up a Fender Stratocaster or Gibson Les Paul. His mellow moods were impressive (“The Wind Cries Mary” and “Little Wing”) with melodic, lilting and effortless guitar work. Hendrix’s command of the fret board in any guitar style is legendary which extended to his live playing at the Monterey Pop Festival (1967), Woodstock (1969) and the Isle of Wight Festival (1970- one month before his tragic death). He is the standard by which all other rock guitarists are measured. Hendrix’s senseless death at the age of 27 robbed the music world of a musical virtuoso and songwriting genius. We should all be thankful that we have recordings and video documentation of this one of a kind guitar hero.

2- Ritchie Blackmore- Another Stratocaster axe man who plays in a style all his own. His Middle Eastern, classical- rock guitar magic with Deep Purple has influenced every Heavy Metal guitarist on the planet (Yngwie Malmsteen is a disciple). His “Smoke on the Water” riff is an aspiring guitarist’s rite of passage and the Bach inspired solo on “Highway Star” is an example of how rock and roll guitarists can reach new heights in creativity. “Made in Japan” is a live testament to Blackmore’s fluid and virtuosic playing. His tenure in “Rainbow” also contains guitar excellence (“16th Century Greensleeves”) as does his current medieval music project “Blackmore’s Night” with his wife Candice. Underrated, but appreciated by many, Blackmore reinvents himself every time he straps on his guitar.

3- Jimmy Page-
This former session player (Tom Jones and Donovan recordings) and “Yardbird” redefined the role of a guitar hero with his formation of the legendary Led Zeppelin. His signature riffs on “Heartbreaker,” “Whole Lotta Love,” “Kashmir, “Black Dog” and “Livin’ Lovin’ Maid” are classic rock gems that will never tarnish with age. His production work on Led Zeppelin albums broke new ground (Mikes on John Bonham’s drums from different areas in the studio) and his live performances took classic songs and made them live and breathe in a unique, startling way. Check out “How the West was won,” a triple CD package (performances from 1972) and the companion double DVD set that both display Led Zeppelin at their best. His blues- soaked solos (“I Can’t Quit You Baby” and “You Shook Me”) along with brilliant acoustic work (“That’s The Way”) make Jimmy Page the most versatile guitarist on the planet. The image of Page playing his double neck Gibson with half moons and stars on his pants while soloing at a breakneck pace is a hallmark of classic rock history.

4- Jeff Beck- This band mate of Jimmy Page’s for a short time in the Yardbirds later formed the Jeff Beck group with Rod Stewart as lead vocalist ( “Truth and Beck-Ola” releases). Beck is a guitar chameleon, as he gave us psychedelic blues as a Yardbird, heavy sludge- rock with the “Jeff Beck Group” and “Beck, Bogert and Appice,” jazz –rock ( “Blow by Blow” and Wired”) and Rockabilly on his tribute to Cliff Gallup, Gene Vincent’s guitarist(“Crazy Legs” CD). His unique playing style (sans pick) creates a one-of-a kind sound that is his alone. Though not part of any super groups in recent years, Beck can be comfortable in any rock or jazz style on recordings while consistently wowing crowds in a live setting.

5-Stevie Ray Vaughn- This Texas born disciple of Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy put blues back on the map in the 1980’s. Vaughn was discovered by the Rolling Stones in a small bar. He later added his guitar brilliance to David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” His solos are a how-to in blues playing. Most guitarists have to take a “breath” while playing lead breaks, but not Vaughn. His seamless runs up and down the fret board are breathtaking to behold (“Live at Montreaux” and “Live in Austin”). His versions of Hendrix’s “Manic Depression,” “Voodoo Chile” and “Third Stone from the Sun” are masterful and fresh sounding. His own compositions like “Couldn’t Stand the Weather” and “Crossfire” took blues to another dimension. Vaughn used heavy gauge strings to get a full, meaty sound on both his rhythm and lead playing. His premature death in a helicopter crash while on tour in August 1990 robbed the world of a blues-rock virtuoso.

6-Eric Clapton- Speaking of blues, this English “God” is a walking blues history lesson. A Robert Johnson devotee, Clapton took the acoustic blues that he pioneered and shone as a lead electric guitar specialist in The Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith( see my Clapton- Winwood CD review on this site) and Derek and the Dominoes. His guitar excellence has spanned the course of generations and he is still going strong. His devotion to the blues has never waned. Whether playing “Crossroads” (A Robert Johnson composition) with Cream or a solo album track like “After Midnight,” “Slowhand’s” earthy, emotional tone and breakneck runs up and down the guitar neck are awe-inspiring. He will go down in history as guitar player who appreciated the musical contributions of African American bluesman who never got their just due in terms of financial remuneration or public appreciation and took blues to a new level and wider audience. Robert Johnson is smiling in blues heaven.

7- Carlos Santana- This self-taught Mexican-born guitarist took Latin music and fused it with late 1960’s style rock and shook the music world with his band, Santana. His “singing”, soulful solos are alternately heart wrenching and uplifting. Santana (originally called the Santana Blues Band) and a 22-year-old Santana played Woodstock and stole the show with their scintillating version of “Soul Sacrifice,” before their debut was released. His live playing defies description. The “Santana” and “Abraxas” releases alone justify his legendary guitar-icon status. Congas, timbales, Santana’s screaming guitar solos and Greg Rolie’s expert keyboard work featured on these albums are rock and roll perfection.

8- Eddie Van Halen- His influence on guitar players in the late 1970’s and 1980’s is a testament to his brilliance. Every future shredder, including Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, owe a debt of gratitude to this Amsterdam-born virtuoso. His finger tapping technique and lightning fast solos revolutionized guitar playing in 1978 as Jimi Hendrix and Chuck Berry did earlier on. With his brother Alex on drums, Michael Anthony on bass and lead vocalist David Lee Roth on board, “Van Halen” (Originally named Mammoth) rewrote rock and roll history with their guitar driven, carnal rock and roll. From the opening strains of “Runnin’ with the Devil” to “1984’s” “Hot for Teacher,” Van Halen’s guitar is front and center driving each song along. He is undoubtedly one of the most influential and talented musicians in rock and roll history. The recent Van Halen reunion, minus Michael Anthony, is a welcome sight in arenas and stadiums, as Eddie Van Halen’s guitar wizardry still amazes audiences. He is a true original.

9- Michael Schenker- This German “Paganini of the guitar” burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old wunderkind on the “Scorpions” debut album, “Lonesome Crow.” His mature technique belied his age and his legend grew. He left the Scorpions and joined UK greats UFO after they heard him playing a sound check. His guitar playing on their “Force it’ (1975), “No Heavy Petting (1976) and “Lights Out” (1977) albums cemented his brilliance. Check out “Mother Mary,” “Let it Roll,” “Natural Thing,” and “Love to Love” from the aforementioned classic UFO albums. He later formed the Michael Schenker Group and played on The “Scorpions” 1979 release “Love Drive.” Schenker, playing a Gibson Flying V and giving audiences awe -inspiring blues based electric rock is a remarkable sight. Once you see or hear him play, you will be a convert and will wonder why he is so underrated and under appreciated.

10-Johnny Winter- This Mississippi-born, Albino, Southern-blues rock and roll guitar wonder is a forerunner to Stevie Ray Vaughn. His Delta-soaked Southern boogie and straight blues playing is fluid, speedy and full of dynamics. Winter’s slide playing is legendary (“Highway 61 Revisited” and “Leland Mississippi Blues”).He played a nine song set at Woodstock and overcame Heroin addiction which is chronicled in “Still Alive and Well” a song written by Rick Derringer. I just heard a BBC concert of his from 1978. His sixteen-minute version of “Hey Joe” rivals Jimi Hendrix’s with a slow blues section that eventually reaches a rollicking blues crescendo that does not let up. A forgotten great, Johnny Winter deserves adulation and reverence by every blues and rock guitarist.

Honorable mention- Angus Young, Brian May, Slash, Frank Marino and Duane Allman.

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Steve Janowsky is a former co-host of the Rocktologists theme based classic rock show radio show on WKRB 90.3 fm, which was voted the best classic rock podcast in the country by Dave White of About.com. Some of the interview guests on the show were Simon Kirke ( Free and Bad Company), Carl Palmer (ELP), Vince Martell (Vanilla Fudge), Randy Jackson (Zebra) and Frank Marino of Mahogany Rush. Janowsky is also an English and Journalism instructor at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, NY and is an avid guitar player and songwriter.

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About Steve Janowsky 88 Articles
Steve Janowsky is a former co-host of the Rocktologists theme based classic rock show radio show on WKRB 90.3 fm, which was voted the best classic rock podcast in the country by Dave White of About.com. Some of the interview guests on the show were Simon Kirke ( Free and Bad Company), Carl Palmer (ELP), Vince Martell (Vanilla Fudge), Randy Jackson (Zebra) and Frank Marino of Mahogany Rush. Janowsky is also an English and Journalism instructor at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, NY and is an avid guitar player and songwriter.

39 Comments

  1. While I agree with everyone on the list I would have Clapton #2,and Stevie Ray #3. Close enough though.Great that you added Johnny Winter, a sometimes forgotten classic rock guitarist. Duane Allman as a honorable mention is also a nice touch. A great talent cut down in the prime of his life.Imagine going to the Beacon and seeing him with the Brothers !!

  2. Clapton is a great guitarist, but he’s a bit overrated. Same with Angus Young and Slash. Tony Iommi and Mike McCready are both better contemporaries of each, IMO.

  3. Brilliant and well written mr.Janowsky i would have added Danny Gatton as #3 Page#2 santana although a great guitar player he does tend to bore me aftre a while,,1.hendrix 2.page 3.Clapton listen to Live cream then u’ll get it 4.Stevie ray Vaughn5.Blackmore6.santana 7 ed van halen8g.harrison9d allmen10b quinne,,,,,thanks

  4. Johnny Winter in the Top 10 and Duane Allman only Honorable mention? And where the heck is Pete Townshend? Joe Walsh also deserves to be here – even if only an Honorable Mention. He has an instantly recognizable style, and his work with James Gang, Barnstorm, solo, plus the Eagles speaks for itself.

  5. Great list. Very well thought out with good supporting information. The only changes I would make would be to include Zappa at the expense of EVH and add Rory Gallagher as honorable mention.

  6. steve…one more came to mind…keith richards…i know what your thinking about his playing ability but he makes up for it on impact, memorable riffs and songwriting…deserves at least an honorable mention for being the prototype…don’t forget mick when you do the vocalists list

  7. Well, first of all, I would say that we must first identify the timeline of classic rock music.
    How early are we considering the music to be classic and up to when we draw the line?
    Looking back 20 some add years ago, during the 80’s there were a lot of great guitartists
    that ever picked up a guitar and play timeless and masterpiece riffs, tunes, solos, etc.
    that until now, it is still a big influence for many musician out there especially those who
    are highly interested in playing guitar. However, the list were categorized as the early
    pioneers of classic rock music and they were the first to be known worldwide. There is
    still more musicians to be considered.

  8. I think one guy that are realy forgotten is Former Members of CCR, John Fogerty. His guitar play is out of this world. I like to to add Santana to to this list. and the Mick Box of Uriah Heep!!

  9. Arik, I agree with you.
    Revolutionizing guitar playing from 1966-1970 by Hendrix, does not make him a virtuoso, a classical, talentated and a clean guitar player as Blackmore is.
    The list is almost perfect, with the exception that Page is overrated as lead guitar player. He is so sloppy.
    Clapton plays always the same licks over and over again. Peraphs the most overrated guitarist in the world.
    What J.D. Stevens is talking about. Pete Townshend? This is about lead guitarist, the best in the world. Pete can not lead to save his life, with all due respect for him and Who that is great band.

  10. Decent list…although I am still waiting for someone to have the balls not to automatically put Hendrix at the top of all such lists. Personally I’d put him “mid pack” at best, with Blackmore at the the top of the list. I also think Vivian Campbell (Dio, Whitesnake) and Mick Box (Uriah Heep) should be on the list – and that to make room for them, Winter and Santana should not be there.

  11. Great list. On pure playing ability I would rate Jeff Beck at No.1. When you include impact, riffs, song writing etc. then maybe Blackmore has the edge. He is unfairly hugely underrated and it is refreshing to see him rightly recognised for a change. Both he and Beck are legends and are still producing material in their respective fields to this day. Agree with previous posts – Page, great in the studio, sloppy live. Townshend – magnificent songwriter/arranger not so lead guitar. I’d leave out Santana and include David Gilmour who IMHO is not only a better allround player, but when you include his impact/songwriting etc. is way ahead of Carlos. But as always these lists are purely subjective – but make for good debate!

  12. The first time i see such a list that shows some sensibility. Glad that Blackmore got a rightful place in the top 2. I would mention Mark Knopfler and Dave Gilmour, Rory Gallagher.

  13. where is steve howe who can play any guitar and a steel pedal guitar or gary moore who can play soft,slow or hard and fast not to mention the blues

  14. Ritchie Blackmore is hands down the best guitar player and song writer, producer and music arranger etc. Ritchie’s track record speaks for itself!!!! Ritchie’s writes and plays songs people love to listen too and his guitar playing is absolutley awesome. Check Ritchie out live in concert and you will see the master at work, nobody plays the guitar better!! Ritchie’s guitar playing is real and he doesn’t use effects to hide behind when he plays, He plays some many styles and so many different instruments. I personally think Ritchie is the best!!

  15. Nice to see Ritchie on the top of a list for a change. Amen to brother Jim, I’d put him one personally, but thats as may be. Not like some mag lists which put him over the top 50, very sad

  16. With all due rispect to Pete Townshend and the Who, but we are talking about guitarist who can lead, who are virtuoso and so forth.
    Peter Townshend could be one of the best rock and roll showman, one of the best song wirter, one on the best singer, but not one of the best guitarist. Leading guitar is not his trade. yes he can olay cords, but leading is not in his DNA

  17. I THINK BLACKMORE SHOULD BE NO 1. BUT WHAT ABOUT DONALD ROESER( BUCK DHARMA) ? I THINK HE IS NUMBER 2. DAVID GILMOUR , ROBERT CRAY, MARK FARNER, ROBIN TROWER, JOHN MCFEE AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST B B KING. TO BE HONEST, THERE ARE A LOT OF GREAT GUITAR PLAYERS THAT WERE NOT MENTIONED ON THE LIST. SO I THINK IT IS FAIR TO SAY IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHAT STYLE YOU LIKE.

  18. Hey Steve,
    I really enjoyed reading the top 10 guitar player list.
    For ability I would say Steve Vai.
    For song writing I would say Jimmy Page.
    For showman I would say Eddie Van Halen.
    Please note that all top ten guitar players you chose possess characteristics of immortality.
    My favorite of all time is Jimmy Page.
    Best riff I would say it’s between Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen.
    For the greatest impact on the classic rock world hmmmm…. it would have to be all of these players Jimmy Page, Jimmy Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and Ritchie Blackmore. But if it would have to be just one you then would have to ask all the great guitar players on the list and see which one had the greatest impact on them the most.
    Jimmy Hendrix had the greatest impact on many of them but that’s just my opinion.

    Keep up the wonderful work Steve.
    Your friend Kurt

  19. Fair top ten. Though I’d also put Blackmore at the top. A name that I’ve not seen in the responses, and which should at least figure among the ‘honorable mentions’ is Alvin Lee. Speaking of ability and technical wizardry, the man’s got some in spades.

    But I fear a ‘Top Ten’ is too small to gather all the great snarepickers: Ted Nugent, Gary Moore, Ulrich Roth, Mike Oldfield, David Gilmour, Frank Zappa, Mick Ronson, Kirk Hammett, Dave Edmunds, Django Reinhardt, Steve Howe, Glenn Tipton, Rory Gallagher… there’s just too many of them… lol

    I also wonder if Hendrix would have made anyone’s top-ten shoulkd he not have died, because I feel that he ‘suffers’ from what I call the James Dean syndrome, or Monroe Effect, if you like, in that he also was propulsed into mythical stardom due to dying at his peak…

    JJ

  20. Richie Blackmore is by far the finest guitarist we’ve seen over the past 40-50 years. The only reason Hendrix beats him in this list is because Hendrix is dead and Blackmore isn’t. The moral of the story? You don’t miss what you’ve got ’till it’s gone!

  21. One only has to listen to the Son of Alerik, never mind his other virtuoso-level solo efforts to realise that Blackers richly deserves his No.2 spot in these rankings. If I had my way, I’d give him the top spot, But there again,Blackers has never tried playing upside down guitar with his teeth, smacked up to his eyeballs, so I guess that’s a serious shortcoming that no credible reviewer can afford to overlook. Seriously! Blacker’s technique: his tone, style and, particularly, his musicality are unsupassed by the other guitar greats listed. I can’t get enough of his playing.

  22. My list: Is:
    1.Ritchie Blackmore
    2.Jimmy Hendrix
    3.Jimmy Page
    4.Eric Clapton
    5.Eddie Van Halen
    6.Peter Green
    7.Gary Moore
    8.Dave Gilmour
    9.Rory Gallagher
    10.Martin Barre
    Why Ritchie is not in Rock’n’roll Hall of Fame?
    Keep rocking.
    Jaro

  23. There is no doubt Richie Blackmore’s Talent has long been under-rated, I can listen to and appreciate other guitarists for the work they do, and I have seen almost all of the top 10, but after seeing Blacks with Deep Purple in the very early 70’s in Vancouver B.C. Well, what can I say, changed my life, ever since it has been Blackmore, and the rest of the list, always seems to not get the recognition he deserves, the man is head and shoulders above the rest. One addition I would add to the list is another one who doesn’t get the recognition he deserves is Alvin Lee, another great one. Cheers Bill Palmer

  24. as an observer of rock guitar since mid60s – these comments about Blackmore and Hendrix , the key players on the list.Hard rock guitar owes much to the rock blues crucible of late 60s Beck Clapton Page but perhaps most to Ritchie Blackmore whose powerful attackiong slyle comes closest to defining the genre.There are at least two Blackmores _ the searing guitrarist of early Deep Purple (69-75) taking rockl guitar on occasions to zones as dissonantly innovative as Hendrix an the fluent master guitarist of Rainbow and later Purple.Hendrixs ratcheted up blues style is cosmically cen trifugal (spiralling outwards).Like john Coltrane in jazz and Maria C allas in opera Blackmores centripetal style at its most intense is like a heat seeking missile tracking its quarry at blitzing speed and with lethal effect. Two performances of Mandrake Root (Ortf ina 1970 and Granada Tv 1970) make the point.The balances are not optimal and the guitar levels on the Ortf execrable (perhaps the guitar sound on the Ortf live session could be isolated and the violume raised considerably.Its one of those rare performances where the guitar cries out justifiably for louder volume. Mandrake Root was frequently concertised by Deep Purple at the time.Using the group as a sort of musical trampoline Blackmore kicks starts a solo of sundering fury. No other guitarist( I have seen or heard and that includes Hendrix )matches it . Blackmores use of the tremolo bar is merciless yet the effect is superb. Its all part of the musical equipment needed to achieve momentary RAPTUS. In these performanxces Blackmore draws leves with the greatest guitarist Jimi |Hendrix.Its instructive to compare Blackmore with the latterday Steve Morse
    Morse is fine technically and has oodles of speed but compared to Blackmore is a one trick pony. There is no incremental growth in his solos. Where Blackmore tonal colourings al;one can sound like a marauding bass guitar MORSE is samey .Factor in Blackmores cumulative heft and the discrepancy between a peerless master and a very good guitarist becomes apparent. At long last a list that actually names the two key p layers in rock guitar The debate will rage over taxonomies to wit is Hendrix rock or blues (given a conspicuous absence of a rock prequisite – a driven up tempo beat) In 1970 I believed that Ritchie BLACKMORE WAS second only to Hendrix in the rock guitar pantheon. ALmost forty years later i am of the same opinion. Dermot Murphy.
    o

  25. I had the pleasure and privilege to see Ritchie Blackmore with Blackmore’s Night for the second time in Chicago last Saturday night at the House of Blues. The band was superb and they played for two hours and twenty minutes doing their renaissance thing. At the 3/4 mark they rocked it up a bit doing (in this order) Woman From Tokyo, Smoke on the Water, and Black Night with his wife taking lead vocals of course and the rest of us in a sing-along. It was fucking great. Ritchie gave so much of himself to the audience that night both in his incredible guitar playing and his personality and playfulness. I have seen Blackmore (5) different times. Twice with Deep Purple, once with Rainbow and twice now with Blackmore’s Night.

    I am a workingman’s guitarist as I am sure their are others writing hear as well. One thing we all have in common in writing here is we love guitar music. Here is a list of they guitarists I’ve been fortunate to see and hear play in person: Ritchie Blackmore, Eric Clapton, Rory Gallagher, Steve Howe, Santana, Jeff Beck, Allan Holdsworth, John McLaughlin, Adrian Belew, Robert Fripp, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, Edward Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Steve Morse, Steve Vai, Ted Nugent, Robin Trower, Peter Frampton, Derek Trucks, Eric Johnson, Al DiMeola, and I may be forgetting some. Let me close with a few quotes from some of the greats about each other:

    Ritchie Blackmore – “Jeff Beck gets fucking notes from nowhere you know. Sometimes he finds notes that I don’t have on my guitar”

    Eddie VanHalen on Allan Holdsworth – “He’s the best in my book. He can play over any chord change you want, and his improv comes from so deep down.”

    David Gilmour – I like Eddie Van Halen’s playing alot. Of course, I can’t do that at all. I don’t have the dexterity in my fingers to play that fast.”

    I love all these guys..long live the guitar.

  26. I am so glad to see so many sane responses discussing the brilliance of Ritchie Blackmore. No other guitarist spans the decades of both recording and performance with his constant awesome virtuosity and inventiveness. I have seen just about every major rock guitarist live (including Hendrix) and no one touches Blackmore live. Ever. Pity that so few videos and films exist of his early playing. One just has to watch the 1972 Denmark Hallen show to see a glimpse of his energy and balls-out mastery of his instrument. In the studio, how many guitarists can match up to the pantheon of classic riffs and solos Blackmore created, often (at his own admission) in one-off sessions over 5 decades of quality recording. Even at his most bored or repetitive, Blackmore always finds something interesting to play in any style. The much overrated Page, for example, could never play as well live consistently, although his songwriting was very strong. Beck is one dimensional, as is Clapton, when compared to what Blackmore has chosen to play over the years. Few guitarists inspire fans to savor each song as Blackmore has, even today with Blackmore’s Night. Anyone who sees the current band in concert knows the demon is still loose, dancing along the strings with a fluidity and intelligence few musicians in any genre have ever attained. Not to mention the man, at 64, looks twenty years younger and will outlive and outproduce his peers if only for the fact that his ability to inhabit new music and his willingness to please himself keeps him fresh and vital. The fact he is not in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame points out how shallow and ridiculously irrelevant that institution has become.

  27. Wow, I’m glad to see Ritchie getting his dues, both on the list and with all the comments. Since Hendrix died, Ritchie has been my favorite rock guitarist. Such a unique style and so much talent. I like the fact that in concert, Ritchie will go after a riff that is so challenging and complex, that most others would never even attempt. It’s a shame that he isn’t even more famous; so many people don’t really know who he is.

    I’m a little surprised that Satriani isn’t on the list – he’s great technically, but his song writing doesn’t always match the others on this list. But I would put him above Johnny W and Michael Schenker – even though I love them both. And Buckethead should also get honorable mention.

  28. Hello all, Ritchie turns 65 today (April 14). There can be no doubting his hard rock guitar mastery of this true “Child in Time” – best ever in my opinion. We can all only hope and pray that this is the year he and his D.P. Mark II mates somehow get back together, i.e., while they all still have the musical chops to recreate the magic that personified D.P. circa 1969 -1972. Such magic hasn’t happened since with that (or any other) band. And yes, I include Gillan and Glover in “the magic equation” of the Mark II lineup – for as many of you know, Ritchie soldiered on with the band until 1975, sans Gillan and Glover. The guitar wizardry of the Man in Black was still there in abundance (spades?) – but alas, the magic was not. …Go figure the intangibles that make for “the best of the best” on such lists.

    Happy Birthday Ritchie!!!

  29. Where is everybody?

    Check out Ritchie Blackmore’s solo on “Child in Time” on Deep Purple’s “Nobody’s Perfect” live album. I would be interested in comments from all. …To me, it is the best hard rock guitar solo ever. It also shows just why Blackmore is (by a freakin’ long shot) the best hard rock guitarist ever – musically and technically (and for those who care about such things, “speed-wise”).

  30. Richie Blackmore the best guitarist ever!! He is influenced some guitarist.
    Genius and talented, both for play guitar or songwriter.
    Great in studio and live concert.
    unfortunately a lot of people doesn’t know about him including few magazine ranked him to low.

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