Rolling Stone Magazine's "100 Greatest Guitarists"

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1.
Jimi Hendrix
Soundtrack, Almost Famous
Jimi Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942 in Seattle, Washington, to African-American parents Lucille (Jeter) and James Allen Hendrix. His mother named him John Allen Hendrix and raised him alone while his father, Al Hendrix, was off fighting in World War II. When his mother became sick from alcoholism...
 
2.
Eric Clapton
Soundtrack, Back to the Future
Eric Clapton was born in Ripley, Surrey, England, on March 30, 1945. His real father was a Canadian pilot but he didn't find that out until he was 53. When he was 2 his mother felt she was unable to look after him, so Eric then went to live with his grandparents. When he was 14 he took up the guitar...
 
3.
Jimmy Page
Soundtrack, Godzilla
 
4.
Keith Richards
Keith Richards is an internationally recognized iconic figure in contemporary culture and popular music as a singer, guitar player, songwriter, film actor, and public figure. He was voted 10th greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine, and was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989...
 
5.
Jeff Beck
Jeff Beck was born in Surrey in 1944. He grew up in a suburban street in Carshalton. When he was about 10, he wanted to play the guitar. His mum, however, wanted him to play the piano because she didn't approve of the guitar. When he was in his late teens, he joined "The Tridents" on lead guitar. In 1965...
 
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9.
Duane Allman
Duane Allman was born in Nashville, Tennessee in November 1946. On Christmas Day in 1960, Duane was given a motorcycle as a gift while his younger brother, Gregg Allman, got a guitar. A few months later, Duane wrecked his motorcycle in an accident, but traded in the spare parts for a guitar of his own...
 
10.
Pete Townshend
Born in Chiswick, London just ten days after the German surrender in 1945, Townshend grows up in a typical middle-class home. His parents, Cliff and Betty Townshend, are both musicians, and as a child he accompanies them on dance band tours. Townshend starts playing guitar at 12. He goes to art school and...
 
11.
George Harrison
A master musician, a film producer and actor, best known as the lead guitarist and occasionally lead vocalist of The Beatles, George Harrison was born February 25, 1943, in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. He was also the youngest of four children, born to Harold Harrison and Louise Harrison. Like his future band mates...
 
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14.
David Gilmour
Soundtrack, The Departed
David Jon Gilmour was born on 6th March, 1946, in Grantchester Meadows, Cambridge. As the lead guitarist of Pink Floyd, he is by many considered one of the most influential guitarists on the rock stage. Right up to "The Dark Side of The Moon", Dave wrote his own songs, but from then up to "The Final Cut"...
 
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17.
Neil Young
Soundtrack, Philadelphia
Neil Young is one of the most respected and prolific rock/folk guitarists of the late 20th century. Raised in Canada, he first became well-known as a guitarist and occasional vocalist for the band Buffalo Springfield. After the band's breakup, Young became a solo performer. However, he also has spent more than 30 years performing with the super-group Crosby Stills Nash & Young...
 
19.
James Burton
Born in Minden, Louisiana, on August 21, 1939, James Burton began playing guitar at the age of thirteen, and turned professional the following year. His first recorded track was the Dale Hawkins hit, "Susie Q", in 1957. His dynamic rockabilly style of playing brought him to the attention of television star-turned-singer Ricky Nelson...
 
20.
Carlos Santana
Soundtrack, Desperado
Carlos Santana is a guitarist, composer, singer and band-leader who helped to shape the concept of "world music" by his experiments with blending many styles of music from a multitude of ethnic sources. He was born Carlos Augusto Alves Santana on July 20, 1947, in Autlán de Navarro, Jalisco, Mexico...
 
21.
Chet Atkins
Soundtrack, Michael
Chet Atkins was an A&R (artist and repertoire) executive for RCA Victor Records from 1958 until 1974, producing recordings for such artists as Elvis Presley, Bobby Bare, Eddy Arnold, Jim Reeves, Skeeter Davis, Waylon Jennings, Duane Eddy, The Browns, Charley Pride, Hank Snow and The Everly Brothers...
 
22.
Frank Zappa
Composer, Baby Snakes
Of all the qualities that typified Frank Zappa, perhaps the most striking is that he was a paradox. A workaholic perfectionist rock star who eschewed the hippie culture of the 1960s, deploring its conformism, spurious ideals and drug use, Zappa was not only a brilliant rock guitarist but an orchestral composer...
 
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24.
Angus Young
Soundtrack, The Avengers
Angus Young was born on March 31, 1955 in Glasgow, Scotland. At school, Angus was an unenthusiastic student. His only real academic interest was art wich allowed him some freedom of expression. He gave up school at 15 and went to work for a soft porn magazine called Ribald as a printer. But his ambitions laid elsewhere anyway...
 
25.
Tony Iommi
Soundtrack, Iron Man
 
26.
Brian May
Soundtrack, Spider-Man 2
Brian May is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential, innovative, technically gifted and recognisable guitarists in the history of rock. He is also a prolific songwriter, responsible for writing or co-writing many international hits with Queen. He was educated at Hampton Grammar School in London...
 
27.
Bo Diddley
Ever heard "I Want Candy" or "Not Fade Away" or "Willie & The Hand Jive", Shirley & Company's "Shame, Shame, Shame" or U2's "Desire" or George Michael's "Faith"? If you have, then you've heard the "Bo Diddley beat", the most famous beat in the world! One of the founding fathers of rock 'n' roll...
 
28.
Johnny Ramone
Johnny Ramone was born John William Cummings in Queens, New York. He went to be the guitar player for the Ramones, alongside Jeffrey Hyman and Douglas Colvin (later Joey Ramone and Dee Dee Ramone). They also hired Thomas Erdelyi (later Tommy Ramone) as drummer. Tommy disbanded in 1978 and asked Marc Steven Bell (later Marky Ramone) if he would like to become the drum player...
 
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30.
Elmore James
Mississippi-born Elmore Leonard was a blues musician known as "The King of the Slide Guitar". He played on various radio shows throughout the South and built up a following. In 1951, he recorded his first record, "Dust My Broom", for the small Trumpet Records label out of Jackson, MS. It became a "sleeper" hit...
 
31.
Ry Cooder
Music Department, Dead Man Walking
Born in Santa Monica, Ca., Ry Cooder, at the age of four had an accident which left him blind in one eye. He became a bit secluded and began playing the guitar. His biggest influences include Blind Willie Johnson, Arthur "Blind" Blake, Joseph Spence and Curtis Mayfield. Cooder has played on several albums from the Rolling Stones...
 
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33.
Prince
Soundtrack, Batman
Prince Rogers Nelson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Mattie Shaw, a jazz singer and social worker, and John L. Nelson, a lyricist and pianist. His father's stage name was "Prince Rogers". His parents were both from African-American families from Louisiana. They separated during his youth...
 
34.
Curtis Mayfield
Soundtrack, Superbad
Rhythm and blues performer/songwriter credited with defining 1960's Chicago sound in hits like "It's All Right" and "Gypsy Woman." His style influenced other artists from pop to hip hop. Has been a quadriplegic ever since he was struck by lighting rig during outdoor concert in New York, 1990. Member of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame whose 1968 hit "We're A Winner...
 
36.
Randy Rhoads
Soundtrack, Neighbors
 
38.
The Edge
Soundtrack, Gangs of New York
The Edge was born David Howell Evans, in Barking, Essex in 1961. When he was 2 the family moved to Dublin. During his childhood he learnt how to play the guitar and the piano. In 1978 the Edge became the guitarist and keyboardist of U2. The Edge is still in the group, who have conquered the world for nearly 30 years.
 
39.
Steve Cropper
Soundtrack, The Big Lebowski
If not the most influential guitarist in the Memphis soul music scene, Steve Cropper is definitely near the top. He was a member of 'Booker T & the M.G.s', wrote songs for and performed with Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin and Sam & Dave (he's the Steve referred to when they say "Play it, Steve!" in "Soul Man")...
 
40.
Tom Morello
Soundtrack, The Matrix
Tom Morello was born on May 30, 1964 in New York city. He has become an influential guitarist due to his work with Rage Against The Machine in the 1990s. Tom got his Social Studies degree from Harvard and went to L.A to start a band. He briefly played guitarist for a band named Lock Up with fellow Rage member Zack De La Rocha.
 
41.
Mick Ronson
Michael "Mick" Ronson was an English guitarist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and producer. He achieved critical and commercial success while working with David Bowie as the lead guitarist and band leader for Bowie's backing band, the Spiders From Mars. Ronson was also a session musician who recorded and performed with singers Morrissey, Van Morrison and Bob Dylan...
 
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44.
Mark Knopfler
Soundtrack, Twister
Mark Knopfler recorded his first single at age 16, but it was never released, He started the band Dire Straits in 1977, they were signed to Vertigo Records in 1978 and recorded the album "Dire Straits", which featured their first major hit single, "Sultans of Swing". Their follow-up albums include "Communique" (1979)...
 
45.
Link Wray
Soundtrack, Pulp Fiction
Rock'n'roll musician Link Wray reigns supreme as one of the best, most important, influential, and innovative guitarists to emerge from the 1950's. Wray was the creator of the power-chord and was one of the first musicians to experiment with both distortion and the burning fuzz-tone guitar sound in his instrumental recordings; his harsh and raw...
 
46.
Jerry Garcia
Soundtrack, Foxcatcher
One of the most prolific and iconic guitarists of the second half of the 20th Century, Jerome John Garcia was born in San Francisco, California, USA on August 1st 1942. Garcia, whose mother was a registered nurse and whose father, Jose, was a small time jazz musician, had a troubled childhood. At the age of 4...
 
47.
Stephen Stills
Soundtrack, Forrest Gump
Stephen Stills was born on January 3, 1945, in Dallas, Texas. He dropped out of college to play music professionally. He formed Buffalo Springfield ("For What It's Worth") with Neil Young and later became part of Crosby Stills & Nash. After they broke up, Stills joined Manassas, then helped to form Crosby Stills Nash & Young...
 
49.
Muddy Waters
Soundtrack, Goodfellas
Muddy Waters (born McKinley Morganfield) was one of the major forces in contemporary blues. He was instrumental in bringing the sound of the Mississippi Delta to Chicago in the 1940s, where his recordings for the Chess label exerted an enormous influence on both blues and rock musicians from the mid-'50s to the present day...
 
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51.
Johnny Marr
Soundtrack, Shaun of the Dead
Johnny Marr made his name as lead guitarist with the cult British rock band, The Smiths, regarded by some as one of the most influential bands of the 1980s. Along with Morrissey, Marr created some of the most memorable and acclaimed songs of that decade, with Morrissey's witty, satirical lyrics and plaintive vocals perfectly complemented by Marr's distinctive jangly guitar style...
 
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55.
John Lennon
John Winston (later Ono) Lennon was born on October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, England, to Julia (Stanley) and Alfred Lennon, a merchant seaman. He was of Irish, and some Welsh and English, ancestry. In the mid-1950s, he formed his first band, The Quarrymen (after Quarry Bank High School, which he attended) who, with the addition of Paul McCartney and George Harrison, later became The Beatles...
 
56.
Albert Collins
Soundtrack, Casino
Blues Guitarist who won a Grammy in 1987.
 
57.
Rory Gallagher
Blues guitarist Rory Gallagher was born in Ballyshannon, Ireland, in 1959 (his brother Donal Gallagher is also a blues musician). He began his career in the 1960s in Ireland, playing in a variety of show bands. In 1965 he formed his own band, Taste, a blues-based rock trio. They had some success and released a few albums...
 
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61.
Dickey Betts
Soundtrack, Big Fish
Dickey Betts, born in West Palm Beach, Florida in 1943, was the oldest member of the Allman Brothers Band when they formed in 1969. He shared lead guitar duties with band founder and leader Duane Allman, also playing alongside bassist Berry Oakley, drummers Jaimoe and Butch Trucks, and Allman's younger brother...
 
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Duane Eddy
Soundtrack, Forrest Gump
 
65.
Slash
Self, Brüno
Saul Hudson, mainly known as Slash, was born on July 23, 1965, and was raised in Stoke-on-Trent. Both his parents worked in the entertainment business, his mother being a clothing designer (she did some of David Bowie's costumes) and his father being an art director for a record company. When Slash was 11 he moved with his mother to Los Angeles...
 
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67.
T-Bone Walker
Soundtrack, The Firm
 
70.
Jack White
Soundtrack, Quantum of Solace
Jack played guitar and sang in the band The White Stripes. They released six albums: their self-titled debut -- "The White Stripes", "De Stijl", "White Blood Cells", "Elephant", "Get Behind Me Satan", and "Icky Thump", before breaking up in 2011. White also sings and plays guitar in the band The Raconteurs (alternatively known as "the Saboteurs" in Australia)...
 
72.
John Frusciante
Soundtrack, The Fighter
John Anthony Frusciante was born on March 5, 1970, in New York. He became interested in rock music at an early age. After his parents divorced, John and his mother moved to California when he was seven. When he was nine, his stepfather offered him his first acoustic guitar. John taught himself how to play guitar...
 
73.
Kurt Cobain
Soundtrack, Moulin Rouge!
Kurt Cobain was born on February 20 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington. Kurt and his family lived in Hoquiam for the first few months of his life then later moved back to Aberdeen, where he had a happy childhood until his parents divorced. The divorce left Kurt's outlook on the world forever scarred. He became withdrawn and anti-social...
 
74.
Dick Dale
Soundtrack, Pulp Fiction
Hailed as the "King of Surf Guitar, " Dick Dale virtually galvanized the surf rock sound in the 1950s. An avid surfer and accomplished musician, Dale and his band, 'Dick Dale and the Del-Tones', appeared in several of the ever-popular "Beach Party" teen flicks starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon during the 1960s...
 
75.
Joni Mitchell
Soundtrack, Love Actually
Joni Mitchell is one of the most highly regarded and influential songwriters of the 20th century. Her melodious tunes support her poetic and often very personal lyrics to make her one of the most authentic artists of her time. As a performer she is widely hailed for her unique style of playing guitar...
 
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77.
Willie Nelson
Soundtrack, Forrest Gump
This versatile, eclectic, rather wanderlust country crossover star known for his classic ballads ("Always On My Mind"), autobiographical road songs ("On the Road Again") and catchy rhythms ("Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys") started out life as Willie Hugh Nelson on April 30, 1933...
 
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80.
Buddy Holly
Soundtrack, Big Fish
 
81.
Lou Reed
Soundtrack, Trainspotting
He formed the group The Velvet Underground with Welsh multi-instrumentalist John Cale, second guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Maureen Tucker in New York in 1965. The group soon became a part of Andy Warhol's Factory scene, which housed a great number of the most freaked and experimental artists at the time...
 
82.
Nels Cline
Music Department, Boyhood
 
83.
Eddie Hazel
Soundtrack, Lords of Dogtown
Eddie Hazel was born April 10, 1950 in Brooklyn, New York. He died December 23, 1992 in Plainfield, New Jersey. When he was eight years old, his older brother, Sonny, gave him a guitar for Christmas. Self-taught, by age twelve, he was winning guitar contests in Plainfield. Most of the guitarists played R&B music...
 
84.
Joe Perry
Soundtrack, Charlie's Angels
As co-founding member, principal co-songwriter, electrifying lead guitarist and co-producer of Aerosmith--America's Greatest Rock & Roll Band--Joe has achieved permanent iconic stature in the pantheon of rock. He has helped to drive his band, over the course of three decades, to sales of more than 150 million albums...
 
86.
J. Mascis
Soundtrack, Yes Man
 
87.
James Hetfield
Soundtrack, Zombieland
His parents were divorced, and at a young age, he lost his mother to cancer. He grew up hunting, playing guitar, and was an ordinary quiet kid. Lars Ulrich put out an ad in 1981 in a newspaper asking somebody to jam out and listen to rock music with him and he replied. Lars and James hooked up, and started the band, Metallica.
 
88.
Carl Perkins
Soundtrack, Battleship
 
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Dane A. Davis
Sound Department, The Matrix
 
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93.
Paul Simon
Soundtrack, Forrest Gump
Born on October 13, 1941 in Newark New Jersey, Paul Simon is one of the greatest singer/songwriters ever. In 1957, he and high school pal, Art Garfunkel, wrote and recorded the single, "Hey Schoolgirl", under the name "Tom and Jerry". After some failures, they broke up. Simon still wrote and recorded music as "Tico and The Triumps" and "Jerry Landis"...
 
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96.
Bruce Springsteen
Soundtrack, Jerry Maguire
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen was born September 23, 1949 in New Jersey, USA. His father, Douglas Frederick Springsteen, worked as a bus driver, and was of Irish and Dutch ancestry. His mother, Adele Ann (Zerilli), worked as a legal secretary, and was of Italian ancestry. He has an older sister...
 
97.
Steve Jones
Soundtrack, Goodfellas
Stephen Philip Jones, was born on September 3rd, 1955 in West London. His real father, an amateur boxer, named Don Jarvis left Steve and his mother when he was just two years old. Sometime later his Step-father arrived on the scene, for a time, Steve lived in a house with his parents and grandparents...
 
98.
Alex Lifeson
Music Department, Andromeda
Alex Lifeson is best known as the broadly-skilled guitarist for the rock group Rush, which also features drummer Neil Peart and bassist Geddy Lee. Rush is the most successful Canadian music group in history, and is the third most prolific seller of consecutive (American) Gold and Platinum Records and videos...
 
99.
Thurston Moore
In 1980, Thurston Moore formed the band Sonic Youth as a lead guitarist and singer with Kim Gordon (bass guitars/vocals) and Lee Ranaldo (lead guitars/vocals). In 1981, they released their debut album "Sonic Youth", which attracted lots of attention for using feedback in music. They later released the highly acclaimed albums "Sister"...