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

41 & 42. Jonathan Donahue and Grasshopper.

Mercury Rev released three perfect albums–Yerself Is Steam, Bocces, and See You on the Other Side–before releasing Deserter’s Song, a beautiful last gasp from a dying band. They should’ve stopped there, but Jonathan Donahue and Grasshopper kept the dream alive for two more albums, the less said about which the better (hopefully they’ve quit for good). Mercury Rev’s guitars flirted furiously with the thin line between dream and nightmare, evoking beauty and terror and sheer joy. What great stuff.

43. Martin Carr.

The Boo Radleys also released a number of great albums, notably Giant Steps and Wake Up! before eventually exhausting their Beatlesque bag of tricks. Carr’s songs are gorgeous and hold up better than most other bands from the Brit shoegaze era.

44. Christian Fennesz.

Fennesz’s Endless Summer is really a guitar album, a beautiful layering of textures and rhythms with melodies that stick in your head years later. I thought his follow up Venice was just as good, and, if you can find it, his live, improvised collaboration with Sparklehorse is sheer sonic brilliance.

45. Robbie Robertson.

Robbie Robertson was in The Band. So. Yeah.

46. Jeff Lynne.

Man, ELO are, like, too good. How’s that for a review? My favorite liner notes ever are on the back of ELO’s Greatest Hits, where Jeff Lynne makes it unequivocally clear that, yes, he is the mastermind behind the whole damn ship and shebang.

47. John Frusciante.

I don’t really like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but I love a few of their songs. Frusciante’s got a lovely, lyrical style, the perfect counterpoint to Flea’s melodic and funky bass lines.

48. Adrian Belew.

It’s almost unfair that King Crimson should have Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew. I actually like Belew’s solo stuff more than Fripp’s. It’s all good.

49. George Harrison.

It’s probably a good idea to put at least one of the Beatles on this list.

50. Izzy Stradlin.

Why not? Fuck Slash.


6 thoughts on “50 Great Guitarists, All Better Than Slash (In No Particular Order)–Part IX”

  1. This you will find an annoying question I’m sure, but thought I’d ask…

    Are there any women guitarists on your list? Not that I’m a crazed feminist or anything, but for some reason it is striking that there are little to no women greats in a field that doesn’t systematically segregate (thinking team sports).

    I haven’t gone through the archives to look at the old lists, but I don’t recall seeing any off the top of my head…


  2. I would argue that the rock and roll business actually *implicitly* systematically segregates–right down to the alterna-band formula of the four piece with “girl bass player.”
    No, there are no women guitarists on this list, although I could’ve added, I guess, Brownstein and Tucker (Sleater-Kinney), Mary Timony (Helium), Marnie Stern, Jonie Mitchell…et al. They’re all better than Slash, of course. I never really thought of it, I just thought of guitarists that I love/admire, and I guess they all ended up being men. I’m guess I’m just a big sexist.


  3. No, you’re not a big sexist. If I put together such a list, I would probably not have any women either.


  4. Bonnie Raitt plays a pretty mean slide. Her old strat thru that deluxe sounds like butta…and, better than Slash. Combine that with her writing and vocal ability and she’s not even in Slash’s league.


  5. “I don’t really like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but I love a few of their songs.”

    lol, you write for pitchfork don’t you?



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