Tag Archives: guitarists

Eighties Guitar Masters

Yep. Another blog post requiring difficult decisions. Please note there is no order of merit in this list.

thorogood

The man in front of the Delaware Destroyers – the inimitable George Thorogood

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”

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Virtuoso guitarist and one-time guitar tutor, Joe Satriani

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” 

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Canberra export, Frank Gambale

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

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Fingerstyle guitarist, film composer and songwriter extraordinaire, Mark Knopfler

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

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Influential guitarist, Johnny Marr

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

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Guitarist with a penchant for playing barefoot, Ian Moss

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

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Swedish metal guitarist, Yngwie Malmsteen

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.

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The late Stevie Ray Vaughan

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

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Lead guitarist with Guns ‘N’ Roses, Slash

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

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U2 guitarist, The Edge, aka David Evans

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

Sixties Guitar Masters

Welcome once more to my on-again off-again blog. Despite my best intentions to post more regularly, sometimes, sadly, life gets in the way. This post follows on from my post on Fifties Guitar Masters as we move on to the next decade.

The 1960s was a decade of unprecedented development in terms of recorded popular music and an era of constant change. Naturally this was a fertile breeding ground that created a whole new generation of innovative guitarists.

hank-marvin

Hank Marvin

Kicking off the 60s it would be hard to go past the legendary Hank Marvin. With The Shadows he virtually defined the sound of the guitar in the early part of the decade and was an inspiration to many who came after him.

Choice Pick: check out the international chart-topper “Apache” released in July 1960

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Jimi Hendrix

You couldn’t have a list of guitarists from the 1960s without including Jimi. Renowned for being so extraordinarily gifted that the guitar was considered an extension of his body, his recordings are as exemplary as they are limited. For a career so brief he certainly shone brightly.

Choice Pick: Hard to go past his cover version of  Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower”  originally released in September 1968. Even Mr Zimmerman considered it the definitive version of his tune.

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Eric Clapton

The first of three incredible guitarists to have a stint in The Yardbirds, Eric Clapton’s career has been like no other. The amount of different genres he’s covered during his career combined with his longevity can only lead one to conclude that he is peerless. Just list the bands he’s been in and any one of them would look good on a guitarist’s c.v. The Yardbirds, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Cream, Derek and the Dominos and his solo stuff too!

Choice Pick: For me his finest hour was the Derek and the Dominos period, but his solo on Cream’s live version of “Crossroads”, from 1968’s Wheels Of Fire, is one of the finest ever.

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Jeff Beck

The second Yardbirds guitarist to feature in this list and one who has a very unique playing style. From his faux-slide playing using only his hands and a whammy bar, to doing away with a pick sometime during the 1980s, he has certainly developed his own “signature sound” on more than one occasion.

Choice Pick: “Beck’s Bolero”, the B-side to his 1967 single “Hi Ho Silver Lining”, displays his talents exceptionally well. The recording featured the Who’s Keith Moon on drums and future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones.It was during the sessions for the tracks that would form Beck’s first solo album, Truth, that Page first heard the term “lead zeppelin”.

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Jimmy Page

Which brings us to Jimmy Page, the third of the guitarists from The Yardbirds to feature in this post. Page formed Led Zeppelin from the debris of The Yardbirds, even to the point of going out on their first tour as The New Yardbirds, to meet some outstanding contractual obligations.

Choice Pick: Hard to go past the blistering “Whole Lotta Love” from Led Zeppelin II, released in 1969.

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Peter Green

Clapton’s replacement in John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers came with a unique sound and style all his own. He also founded Fleetwood Mac by convincing first Mick Fleetwood, then John McVie, to join him. Sadly, his drug use caused many years of decline during the 70s and 80s, before returning in the 90s better, yet not quite what he was in his youth.

Choice Pick: His work on the John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers track, “The Super-Natural”, released on A Hard Road in 1968, is nothing short of spine-tingling.

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Frank Zappa

Q: Has their ever been a guitarist like Frank Zappa?

A: Yes, his name is Dweezil.

Choice Pick: Hard to go past the 1969 Mothers Of Invention single “My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama”.

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Keith Richards

Keith earns the nickname Keef Riffhard for a reason. His riffs are second to none. He’s been known to wake in the middle of the night, strum a riff into a tape recorder by the side of his bed, then roll over and go back to sleep. He then listens the next day to decide if the riff is a keeper or not. Its where the riff for “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” came from and many more.

Choice Pick: “Sympathy For The Devil” from 1968’s Beggars Banquet, the beginning of a four-album golden period, in my humble opinion.

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Carlos Santana

Carlos built a reputation for himself after his blistering performance with Santana at Woodstock in 1969. The unheard-of band were included as a favour to promoter Bill Graham, who insisted after being called in to help with logistics and planning for the event.

Choice Pick: “Soul Sacrifice” from debut album, Santana, released in 1969, is an excellent example of his work, although the studio version doesn’t capture the wild majesty of the Woodstock performance.

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Albert King

Albert King was blessed with two things. Precocious talent and the Stax house band, Booker T & the MGs. Recording together on his second studio album, his first for Stax, saw the creation of one of the definitive blues albums of the decade.

Choice Pick: “Born Under A Bad Sign”, the title track from the aforesaid album, released in 1967.