There’s no mention of Satch, Yngwie’s notable by his absence and as for Bonamassa? Maybe he’s a bit young.
So who is the best guitarist on the planet? Well, according to Rolling Stone magazine, we now have the definitive answer.
And I don’t think there will be too many complaints at a top three of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and in third place Jimmy Page. Safe, predictable and a trio which would probably be included high up in the vast majority of lists.
But then the poll of the top 100 guitarists gets interesting, controversial and in this humble opinion, badly awry.
Keith Richards was a fine guitarist and along with Tony Iommi, will go down in rock history as the most prolific composer of riffs that ever lived.
But to put Richards ahead of Jeff Beck, Eddie Van Halen and Duane Allman when he’s as much the Rolling Stones’ rhythm guiarist as its lead, is surely wrong.
The magazine, to its credit, boasts an esteemed voting panel including Ritchie Blackmore, Joe Perry, Alex Lifeson, Kirk Hammett, Nils Lofgren, Brian May, Jerry Cantrell and Don Felder as well as some of the top music journalists.
But they produce some strange results. Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour comes in at No. 14 three places below George Harrison, someone for all his qualities, not particularly renowned for his fretting skills.
Blackmore just about makes the halfway cut at No. 50 with Mark Knopfler just six places above him and Paul Kossoff one place below.
Lindsey Buckingham squeezes into the list at No. 100 as does Lifeson, who, bizarrely, finds himself one place below the Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones at No. 97.
And what about the omissions? No Michael Schenker, no Gary Moore, no Joe Satriani. Obviously, not in the same class as John Lennon, Joni Mitchell or Willie Nelson!!
The truth is this grandiose poll, despite having an electorate of the great and good, is no more definitive than any music poll that has ever been released.
I remember back in my schooldays, the heated debates that would precede the publication of Sounds’ end-of-year poll. When Blackmore pipped Page for guitarist of the year or when John Bonham edged Neil Peart in the drum category, we took it as gospel. The truth was out.
But it wasn’t and it still isn’t. For we are all prisoners to our own musical tastes. I admire the guitar work of Johnny Marr but because I dislike the music of The Smiths, he wouldn’t figure too highly in my own list.
At the opposite end of the scale, of course, Schenker would figure prominently in my list because UFO are one of my favourite bands.
Indeed, I would hazard a guess that for most of us, drawing up a list of our top 50 guitarists that list would roughly correlate with a list of our top 50 bands or solo artists with only the running order different.
Eclecticism is indeed worthy but it can produce a concoction. In its efforts to produce a once-and-for-all, settle-all-arguments, list of the greatest guitarists, Rolling Stone magazine has served only to re-open the debate.
And I Iove them for it because there’s nothing like a good argument about who’s hot and who’s not!!
Just for the record, here’s the “official” top ten.
01. Jimi Hendrix