Yep. Another blog post requiring difficult decisions. Please note there is no order of merit in this list.
I remember being totally enamoured by his hit “Bad To The Bone” the instant I heard it. Even more so after seeing the music video with Bo Diddley. For my eighteenth birthday I received a copy of his album George Thorogood Live as a gift. I loved it. After realising most of the tracks were covers, I made it my mission to track down the original versions. So thanks to George I ended up discovering all these fantastic blues artists from the fifties and sixties.
Choice Pick: I’m still enamoured by 1982’s “Bad To The Bone”
Any Satriani fan owes a debt to Steve Vai. When Steve Vai signed with a record label he asked them to check out his guitar teacher, leading to a recording contract for Satch as well. Aside from Vai, other former Satch students include Larry LaLonde from Primus and Testament’s Alex Skolnick. Apparently the last guitar lesson he gave, for the princely sum of $20, was to Metallica’s Kirk Hammett.
Choice Pick: Hard to go past 1987’s “Surfing With The Alien”
Canberra-born jazz fusion guitarist Frank Gambale, remains largely unknown in his home country outside of jazz circles.Yet the twenty-album veteran is world renowned for his sweep picking and economy picking techniques. As well as a solo career he had a six year stint with the Chick Corea Elektric Band. Worth tracking him down if jazz fusion is your bag.
Choice Pick: “Credit Reference Blues” from his debut album, Brave New Guitar
When Dire Straits burst onto the scene in the late seventies no one could have predicted how meteoric their rise would be. The 1985 album Brothers In Arms would be a massive worldwide success on the back of singles “Money For Nothing”, “Walk Of Life” and “So Far Away”. Mark has had a successful solo career since the demise of Dire Straits releasing solo albums and composing film soundtracks. I still think the album before Brothers In Arms, 1982’s Love Over Gold, is an absolute masterpiece, overshadowed by the success of its follow-up.
Choice Pick: The epic “Telegraph Road” from Love Over Gold
Cutting his teeth co-writing and performing with Morrissey in The Smiths, Johnny Marr’s career has been as diverse as it has been influential. Since leaving The Smiths he has performed with The The, Electronic, Modest Mouse and Neil Finn’s 7 Worlds Collide project as well as releasing solo material.
Choice Pick: The eerie-sounding guitar work on “How Soon Is Now?” by The Smiths
Ian Moss has had a very successful career with Aussie legends Cold Chisel. Taking a break from music after the breakup of Cold Chisel in 1984, he returned with a vengeance in 1989 launching a successful solo career with his debut solo album, Matchbook. His playing was integral to Cold Chisel’s sound and this was once again evident after their reformation in 1998.
Choice Pick: The self-penned “Bow River” from the classic album Circus Animals
Yngwie Malmsteen made an impact right off the bat, performing on albums with Steeler and Graham Bonnet’s Alcatrazz in 1983 when he was only 20 years of age. He released Rising Force the following year launching a solo career based around his neoclassical metal style of guitar playing. His playing has influenced many others since, but his own influences include Queen’s Brian May and 19th century composer Paganini.
Stevie Ray Vaughan, with his band Double Trouble, reinvigorated the blues rock scene in the eighties. His style was unique and heavily influential on his peers. He was much sought after as a session musician appearing on material by David Bowie, Jennifer Warnes and James Brown. He was also one of the few guitarists he could successfully cover Jimi Hendrix without sounding like a pale imitation.
Choice Pick: “Cold Shot” from 1984’s Couldn’t Stand The Weather
Guns ‘N’ Roses seemed to come out of nowhere in 1987. You can thank Saul Hudson, aka Slash, for the large part he played in their success. The sublime riff from “Sweet Child o’ Mine” contributed to high-rotation airplay on radios and televisions all around the world. The fact he has also had success with Slash’s Snakepit, Velvet Revolver and with his solo material, is testament to his talents.
Choice Pick: The aforementioned “Sweet Child o’ Mine” from Appetite For Destruction
Never one to rest on his laurels, Irish guitarist The Edge, has kept himself busy outside of his work with U2 by contributing to various human rights and philanthropic causes, collaborating with other musicians and contributing to the soundtracks of theatre musicals. Despite all the musical style changes U2 has gone through over the years, The Edge’s playing has been continually at the core of their sound.
Choice Pick: “Sunday Bloody Sunday” from U2’s 1983 album, War