This might sound snootish but Rolling Stone has once again failed at list-making. As they periodically do, they’ve named the top 100 hundred guitarists of all time. There isn’t a jazz-man among them. They did include Frank Zappa and obviously Jimmy Hendrix won, but there’s some serious talent they omitted. I would have no problem if they call their list, “100 Greatest Rock Guitarists of All Time.” But they don’t. They call it, “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” And so they fail. I mean, I love rock music as much as the next suburban white guy, but it’s unconscionable that Rolling Stone panders so vigorously to pop culture that they can’t see the giant old growths hanging just outside their stadium-rock forest. I suppose they know their audience though, and no one wants to be lectured on the merits of harmonic complexity. The blues scale is just fine.
Here’s some guitarists Rolling Stone decided not to include (in no particular order and definitely not exhaustive): Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Paco de Lucia, Grant Green, George Benson, Pat Metheny, Jim Hall, John McLaughlin, Bill Frisell…
Then there are all the classical (Andres Segovia et al.) and other style guitarists Rolling Stone ignores. The sad thing is, the beauty of lists is that they can show you stuff that you otherwise wouldn’t have taken the time to learn about. But instead of unfolding further worlds, Rolling Stone just reinforces the hackneyed idea that speed, power, effects and the number of people in the audience are the ingredients of greatness.
– Thank you ANIGHTWING for restoring actual Django footage.