“Rolling Stone” gave us a day off from their uniquely inspired brand of political “journalism” to deliver a countdown of “The 250 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” You’d think if anyone knew who the 250 greatest guitarists of all time were, it’d be “Rolling Stone” — but you’d be wrong.
The list has sparked controversy since its mid-October release, drawing perplexed and concerned responses from music critics and commentators. Perhaps the best response came from music critic Rick Beato on YouTube, whose opinion, unlike mine, is qualified and informed by a lifetime of work in the music industry. He believes the issue isn’t about who is on the list but, rather, who isn’t. I agree.
The article suffers from some recency bias, with younger musicians making the cut while others, like Glen Campbell, didn’t, despite playing guitar longer than some of the picks have been alive. I’m not going to name-drop anyone who I don’t think should be on the list, but I will name a few rockers who certainly should have made it.
Before becoming the Rhinestone Cowboy, Glen Campbell was a legendary session musician with The Wrecking Crew, perhaps the best studio band of all time. In his time, he laid track for the Beach Boys, Bobby Darin, Frank Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Elvis Presley, the Righteous Brothers, and the Monkees, among others. Songwriter Jimmy Webb called him “a secret weapon in the armory of Sixties record producers,” adding that Campbell “was to American music what the Beatles were to British music.” Ironically enough, those quotes are from Glen Campbell’s obituary in “Rolling Stone.”
If you need more convincing, THE Eddie Van Halen asked Campbell’s friend, Alice Cooper, if he could get him a guitar lesson with Glen. Not like Van Halen knows anything.
You’re telling me there are 250 guitarists better than this guy?
I know I said I wouldn’t drop any names in this article, but … #242 on the list is Lindsey Jordan, lead guitarist of popular indie-rock band Snail Mail. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Nick, you’re not seriously suggesting that we drop Lindsey Jordan!” Well, dear friend, I certainly am.
It’s nothing against Jordan; I’m sure she’s an excellent guitarist. She just happened to be the first person down the line I was entirely unfamiliar with. She’s also just 24 years old. Give her another 20 years or so, then put her on the list of the 500 greatest guitarists.
Don Felder is missing, which is a crime. You may not know his name, but you’ve certainly heard his work – he’s best known for playing the guitar solo on a little ditty called “Hotel California.” Maybe you’ve heard of it? “Rolling Stone” clearly hasn’t.
Journey guitarist Neal Schon didn’t make the list either. The lead guitarist of one of the most popular rock bands of all time, with some of the most recognizable guitar solos of all time, can’t make the cut? Ok. All I can say is, don’t stop believing, Neal. One day, you’ll get the respect you deserve.
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Allen Collins also wasn’t named. What would drunk idiots do if they couldn’t yell for “Free Bird”?
Tom Scholtz, of the innovative rock band Boston, also couldn’t make the cut. His guitar sound was so in demand that he manufactured and sold equipment so others could match his tone. I got a speeding ticket listening to the guitar solo from “More Than a Feeling.’” Need I say more?
Finally, Les Paul, the man who helped invent the Gibson Les Paul solid body electric guitar and popularized many recording and playing techniques, didn’t make it either.
Again, this isn’t a criticism of who is on the list but, rather, a survey of a few all-time greats who were left off. Frankly, those who didn’t make it are in great company; no one in his right mind would want to be associated with “Rolling Stone.”
Nick Treglia is a student at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to [email protected].
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