Thursday, 16 August 2012

Rolling Stone Reacts and Revises

A while back Rolling Stone published senior editor/writer David Fricke's version of the 100 Greatest Guitarists (DF version). With all due respect to Mr. Fricke, I know I had lots of issues with the list. I wonder if others did too, because Rolling Stone assembled a panel of experts and came up with a new list, 100 Greatest Guitarists (panel version).

The fun with lists is that you get to disagree, but I must say the 2nd list defies the camel-is-a-horse-designed-by-a-committee business. I mean I like it better.

Let's compare the top 25:
     DF Version                       Panel Version
 1. Jimi Hendrix                     Jimi Hendrix
 2. Duanne Allman                Eric Clapton
 3. B.B. King                         Jimmy Page
 4. Eric Clapton                     Keith Richards
 5. Robert Johnson               Jeff Beck
 6. Chuck Berry                     B.B. King
 7. Stevie Ray Vaughan        Chuck Berry
 8. Ry Cooder                        Eddie Van Halen
 9. Jimmy Page                     Duanne Allman
10. Keith Richards                Pete Townshend
11. Kirk Hammett                  George Harrison
12. Kurt Colbain                    Stevie Ray Vaughan
13. Jerry Garcia                    Albert King
14. Jeff Beck                         David Gilmour
15. Santana                          Freddy King
16. Johnny Ramone             Derek Trucks
17. Jack White                      Neil Young
18. John Frusciante              Les Paul
19. Richard Thomson           James Burton
20. James Burton                 Santana
21. George Harrison             Chet Atkins
22. Mike Bloomfield              Frank Zappa
23. Warren Haynes               Buddy Guy
24. The Edge                        Angus Young
25. Freddy King                    Tony Iommi

I definitely prefer the content and the sequence of the 2nd list.

David Fricke did have some cool inclusions, like Robert Johnson, Ry Cooder, Jack White and John Frusciante. But those inclusions came at the expense of Albert King, David Gilmour and Angus Young. Nice to see Derek Trucks on the panel's list too.

You could argue that panel version is safer. I mean with the exception of Keef, who seems to gain more respect with each passing decade, the panel list looks a lot like the list has looked for over 40 years: Clapton, Page, Beck, Hendrix ... all at the top.

So hats off to David Fricke for maybe stimulating some controversy. Like I said, the fun with lists is that you get to disagree.

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