Thursday, October 9, 2008

OPINION: Heroes of the Electric Guitar

Famous (And Infamous) Artists of the Electric Guitar by Victor Epand

Does the artist make the electric guitar, or the electric guitar make the artist? I suspect the answer to that question would vary significantly depending on who you asked. A manufacturer such as Gibson, Fender, or Yamaha would probably reply that an artist can only be as good as his instrument. But a guitarist, while likely to acknowledge the importance of a good guitar, would probably want to take the lion's share of the credit for himself. This is the "chicken and the egg" question of the musical world and one to which we will probably never know the answer. Fortunately, even without knowing it, we can still enjoy the outrageous talent that electric guitarists have displayed over the decades.

Keith Richards. My favorite quote about this gentleman comes from comic Robin Williams's 2002 Live on Broadway performance: "I know there is a cure for whatever bioterrorism they send at us. I know that there is one, and it lies within Keith Richards, I know that. He's the only man on the planet who can go 'Anthrax? (sniff) Alriiiight!'" Sums it up, don't you think? Mr. Richard, guitarist for The Rolling Stones, is a wonderful example of the rock and roll electric guitar player. He's rebellious, scandalous, filthy rich and still going strong.

Eddie Van Halen. A poster child for the big hair era of the 80s, this man is still recognized thirty years after the release of his band's first album, which was entitled "Van Halen." Hey, if both the band and the album are named after you, that kind of says it all. Van Halen didn't confine his talents to his own band, either, and he contributed a guitar solo to the song of another 80s icon. The icon was Michael Jackson and the song was Beat It. No wonder this guy is still (in)famous.

Carlos Augusto Santana Alves. No, I didn't know he had four names either, to me he'll always be "Santana." This gentleman first became famous over forty years ago and he's showing no sign of slowing down. His genres include rock, blues, salsa and jazz fusion. His music has experienced a resurgence in popularity over the last decade or so and in 2003, Rolling Stone named Santana number 15 on their list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time. Talk about getting the industry's stamp of approval.

Jimi Hendrix. There has possibly never been an electric guitarist who more strongly influenced the industry or who more perfectly embodied a generation. He has, posthumously, been inducted into both the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the UK Music Hall of Fame. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a statue on the streets of his hometown, Seattle, Wash., and an eternal place in the annals of not only American music, but American history as well. A tremendous performer and a brilliant innovator, Rolling Stone named him number one on its 2003 list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. He remains one of the most famous artists ever to have lived.

Victor Epand is an expert consultant for guitars, drums, keyboards, sheet music, guitar tab, and home theater audio. You can find the best marketplace at these sites for guitars, electric guitar, guitarists, Hendrix, Van Halen, Keith Richards, Santana, sheet music, guitar tabs.

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