front page

news

features

a & e

opinions

sports

 • web exclusive

 

In days of less quality music, the top 10 guitarists of all time

Greg Livengood / Reviewer

Over the past decade, I believe music has hit a serious decline in quality and standards. I have chosen to focus on the music of the lead guitar, the instrument that has been the icon of rock 'n' roll for as long as the genre has existed.

1. Jimmy Page

The lead for Led Zeppelin will always exist in a league of his own. From the rock shredding of "Black Dog," to the funk of "D'yer M'aker,"into the blues of "Dazed and Confused," and the legendary "Stairway to Heaven"; Page has the greatest balance of skill and versatility that place him at the top.

Suggested Listening: "Heart Breaker"

2. Duane Allman

The master of slide guitar who made "Layla" the audio masterpiece that it was, Duane Allman was a true master of his craft. While working with his brother Gregg in the Allman Brothers Band, Duane was their main writer, creating masterpieces such as "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed," "Jessica," and "Revival."

Suggested Listening: "Melissa"

3. Jimi Hendrix

The writer and genius behind the 'new American anthem' "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)," Jimi Hendrix was one of the many unfortunate casualties of the 60s drug culture. In his prime, Hendrix brought a feel of soul and blues to the British music scene that had never been experienced before.

Suggested Listening: "Ezy Rider"

4. Eric Clapton

Clapton has been a part of many bands in his life, but his standout work will always come in his solo work, which is when he wrote "Layla" and "Tears in Heaven," among his bluesy repertoire. Clapton also played guitar for George Harrison's Beatle composition "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."

Suggested Listening: "White Room"

5. Angus Young

Famous not only for his crazy solos, but also for his schoolboy attire from AC/DC's live performances, Angus Young has single-handedly inscribed AC/DC into the annals of music history. Though he is not so outgoing as to play fills at every chance, he plays a solid rhythm and shreds his solos with a unique style.

Suggested Listening: "Back in Black"

6. Eddie Van Halen

There's nobody whose name evokes the image of the guitar quite like Eddie Van Halen. Though the flamboyant men who sang for his group sometimes overshadowed him, Van Halen has the prowess and ability to retake the spotlight in a single note of one of his finger tapping extravaganzas.

Suggested Listening: "Eruption"

7. Tony Iommi

When most people think of Black Sabbath, they think of their crazy front man, Ozzy Osbourne. Without Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath would not have the sound that has made them famous. Iommi's ability to use studio overdubbing to create harmony in guitar duets was pioneer.

Suggested Listening: "War Pigs"

8. Chuck Berry

The original master, "Johnny B. Goode," Berry was the first standout guitarist in music. With his standout style and signature song intros, you can't mention great guitarists without mentioning his name.

Suggested Listening: "Johnny B. Goode"

9. David Gilmore

The second lead for Pink Floyd, Gilmore was as much a visionary as he was a musician. Along with Roger Waters, he masterminded "Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wall," and performed flawlessly on both. His signature solo in "Time" was recorded in a single take, impressive since it's a minute and 25 seconds.

Suggested Listening: "Time"

10. George Harrison

The lead guitarist for the Beatles was a study in improvement throughout his career, coming to his ultimate achievement, the album "All Things Must Pass." Harrison was the first person to utilize an early Wah-Wah pedal on his guitar, as well as the first person to incorporate a Sitar in pop music; Harrison is overall one of the most influential musicians of all time.

Suggested Listening: "Here Comes the Sun"

Contact Greg Livengood at pendulum@elon.edu or 278-7247.