Time for a lead into the weekend diversion - old guy will start this off with two people I doubt you would ever think of in this category, yet they are recognized in the country AND rock communities as two of the greatest guitarists ever - and the Roy Clark clip from The Odd Couple is one of the greatest guitar performances ever…
Jimmy Hendrix, Jimmy Page, or Clapton
Who all learned/copied a ton from this man
Also not a rock guitarist, but still one of the all-time greats
Maybe my age is showing, but for me it is Tom Morello. His solo work as the Night Watchman is excellent as it is like Bruce Springsteen’s Ghost of Tom Joad era meets Woody Guthrie in South LA. Seen him perform under his two big bands, Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave & a few benefit shows as The Night Watchman & he never disappoints live.
Nothing to fear - we are ALL showing our age here. I could go on and on with the “ancients” - Les Paul, Chet Atkins, Chuck Berry, B.B. King, I could go on forever…
It’s like trying to rate the greatest tenors - by all accounts Enrico Caruso was 1st or second, but recordings that remain are poor and few are living who ever heard him perform live…
Tom Morello is great. I’ve seen Rage Against The Machine several times with my daughter (she’s a huge fan). Even if you aren’t on board with their politics, there is no denying their musical ability. "killing in the name of " rocks
An underrated IMHO guitarist is Edge in U2. Very innovative especially in U2’s earlier days. “I Will Follow” has one of the all time great riffs
Kath would have been on this list if he’d lived as long
Oh , man, so true Chicago was nowhere near the same after he was gone and Pete Cetera turned them in to MOR pablum.
Very fond of Richard Thompson — guess I’m dating myself by declaring as a fan of Fairport Convention.
If you haven’t heard it, don’t miss 1952 Vincent Black Lightning:
or a younger iteration:
Quite the musicologist, he got an entire concert series out of Playboy asking for a list of the songs of the millennium:
I especially like the last album he did with his soon to be ex-wife Linda, “Shoot Out The Lights”. One of the very best chronicles of the end of love. “Walking On A Wire” especially.
Let’s not leave Brian May out of this discussion - far too often overlooked because of the vocal range of Freddy Mercury…
I propose honorable mention in this category to Kerry Livgren of Kansas. Prolific writer in his own right, the band had such a large “orchestral” sound including keyboards that he might not have gotten as much recognition as other guitarists of his age. Seen here:
Well. I’m going to jump in here with the great Memphis Minnie, a great female blues singer and astounding guitar player… quite a character as well. Wrote and performed the original version of When The Levee Breaks…
Here she is later on when she had taken up an electrified guitar.
Definitely had a rock n Roll heart.