50 Great Guitarists, All Better Than Slash (In No Particular Order)–Part III


11. John Fahey
In the late nineties, indie rock kids–myself included–started embracing sounds that expanded beyond four white guys playing drums, bass, and guitar. Bands like Tortoise and The Sea and Cake bridged the way to the avant garde stylings of Gastr del Sol and Oval, opening up whole new sound-worlds to young ears. Gastr del Sol’s stunning 1996 record Upgrade and Afterlife featured a cover of Fahey’s “Dry Bones in the Valley” as the most beautiful closing statement imaginable. A whole new generation of listeners were introduced to cult fave Fahey’s cryptic finger-picking style via Gastr’s Jim O’Rourke, along with Table of the Elements records who released Fahey’s Womblife in 1997. Today, followers of Fahey’s sound include Six Organs of Admittance, Jack Rose, Glenn Jones, and James Blackshaw, among many others. Great stuff, all around.

12. Jimi Hendrix

Hendrix is as great as everyone thinks he is.

13. Brian Jones

Brian Jones is often credited as the “second guitarist” for the Rolling Stones, and relegated to a space under the shadow of Keith Richards. He’s more infamous than famous, remembered as the wild man of the Stones who helped define their renegade image. However, Brian Jones was a multi-instrumentalist whose passion for different styles of music from around the world helped infuse the basic rocknroll of the early Stones with a certain eclectic punch. And although his early drowning death (like Dennis Wilson) in 1969 (before Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin) is tragic on some levels (like Keith Moon), it may have preserved him from turning into what the Rolling Stones are today–a decrepit zombie joke that can no longer reasonably retire, already having permanently damaged any patina of mythos to their legacy.

14. Pete Townshend

What Pete Townshend lacked in technical dazzle he more than made up for in bombast, his raw energy and indelicacy summed up best in his propensity to smash his guitars and stab his amps. His work with synthesizers pioneered whole new territories and genres of music, and his penchant for arranging narrative song-suites proved a profound influence on my favorite band, The Fiery Furnaces.

This is one of my favorite things ever:

15. Phil Manzanera

Besides being a founding member of Roxy Music, Manzanera released a series of excellent solo albums of strange new wave music in the late seventies, continuing to work with Brian Eno, as well as guys like Robert Wyatt and John Wetton. Diamond Head is a favorite of mine.

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3 thoughts on “50 Great Guitarists, All Better Than Slash (In No Particular Order)–Part III

  1. very nice work. you know john fahey tops my list. i put up my bass and drums lists as well…let me know what you think. can’t wait to see the rest of the list!


  2. Since this is the Biblioklept and all, your readers should be aware that Fahey also wrote a couple volumes worth of short stories that were later compiled by Jim O’Rourke and published by Drag City. Focus!


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