This weekend, the SIRIUS and XM channel Classic Rewind is showcasing the best of guitar-driven classic rock. To mark the occasion they’ve released a list of the top five “Guitar Greats” from the ’70s and ’80s. Here it is…
1. Eddie Van Halen – Van Halen
2. Alex Lifeson – Rush
3. Mark Knopfler – Dire Straits
4. Mike Campbell – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
5. Joe Perry – Aerosmith
I actually quite like the mix of the predictable—Van Halen, Joe Perry—and the slightly more off the wall. Mike Campbell, in particular, tends to get overlooked when such lists are compiled, probably due to his mostly flash-free style (though maybe compilers are put off by his unsightly penchant for sporting dreads). Mark Knopfler is another often underrated axeman who seems to be operating in slow motion when compared to the Van Halens of this world (and who would probably shudder at being described as an “axeman” at all). Personally, I would have liked the list even more had it the cojones to include British folk legend Richard Thompson, though I appreciate his oeuvre is hardly awash with classic rock standards.
On the other hand, can you really have a credible top five list that doesn’t feature Jimmy Page? Or Keith Richards? What about Neil Young? Or Duane Allman, who arguably contributed as much to classic ’70s rock as anyone, even though he died in 1971? Or, for that matter, Allman’s Layla guitar partner Eric Clapton? Or Angus Young? Or Dave Gilmour? Or Prince? Or Jeff Beck? Or Brian May? Or… Well, we could do this all day. So, let’s do exactly that! Which fretmeisters from the ’70s and ’80s would you have put in the top 5? And which of Messrs. Van Halen, Lifeson, Knopfler, Campbell, and Perry deserve to be there?
After the jump I’ve posted a clip from each of the five to remind you of their credentials—or lack of them.