Rolling Stone has just unveiled its list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, and, of course, what exactly the word "greatest" implies will be up for debate. The technical-mastery camp, who swear by the digital dexterity of Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and the like, will be disappointed, but it's hard to argue with most on the list, considering they were chosen by a group of voters comprised of Rolling Stone editors and legendary guitarists such as Eddie Van Halen, Joe Walsh, Robby Krieger, Alex Lifeson, Robbie Robertson, and many more.
No surprise with the overall greatest axman in the history of the universe. Even a drunk, tone-deaf monkey could have guessed that Jimi Hendrix would be the guy. As Tom Morello puts it, Hendrix's riffs "were a pre-metal funk bulldozer, and his lead lines were an electric LSD trip down to the crossroads, where he pimp-slapped the devil."
Coming in at number two is "Slowhand" himself, Eric Patrick Clapton, whose blues-based sound is still, says Eddie Van Halen, "the core of modern rock guitar." And rounding out the top three is Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, the second of three ex-Yardbirds to crack the top five. What can you say about Page? He may have dabbled in the occult, but he was no dilettante when it came to crafting indelible guitar licks that still work their sorcery on your defenseless viscera at a time when Robert Plant is singing bluegrass. Rounding out the top ten are Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Eddie Van Halen, Duane Allman, and Pete Townshend. Check out rollingstone.com for the complete list.