Listeria – Guitar Gods Edition

23 Aug

As you know from previous posts about important people in history and great places in New Mexico, I am a sucker for lists. Whenever I see a book of lists, an irresistible force draws me toward it. The other day I was killing time at the bookstore when a list jumped out at me. It was Rolling Stone: 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. To paraphrase Julius Caesar – I grabbed. I scanned. I bought.

It is an interesting list and begins with Jimi Hendrix, who most people consider the greatest guitarist of them all. Everyone knows how great he is, but few may know that Hendrix honed his craft in the clubs along Jefferson Street in Nashville. There are a lot of great guitarists, at least 100 according to Rolling Stone, but he is the one that I would have headlining my personal music festival.

As I looked through the list, I realized that I have seen several of them in person, and that gave me an idea for the Listeria series. Of the 100 greatest guitarists of Rolling Stone, these are the ones that I have seen perform live. The number is where they are ranked on the list.

2. Eric Clapton – I saw Clapton a few years ago. Granted, these aren’t his best years, but he can still play better than anyone I have ever seen. Plus, I had awesome seats.

4. Keith Richards – The Rolling Stones concert was where I learned that seats far away may not be a bad thing when seeing older acts.

6. B.B. King – I have seen “Blues Boy” several times. The first time I took a stripper as my date. Don’t ask. The last time he told stories more than he played.

10. Pete Townshend – Actually, I am fudging a bit on this one. The Who are coming to Nashville in December, and the tickets have already been purchased.

14. David Gilmour – I saw Pink Floyd in the 1990s, and the concert remains fresh in my mind. That’s despite the fact that my mind was kind of cloudy that night.

16. Derek Trucks – This one was an accident. A friend and I were trying to find something to do and decided to check out the Exit/In, a music hall in Nashville. Derek Trucks was playing. It was like a spiritual experience.

19. James Burton – He played at the concert honoring the 30th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. The old band played as Elvis sang on-screen. A concert by a dead man was better than most concerts I have seen by living people. I don’t remember it, but I also saw Burton when I saw Elvis as a kid.

23. Buddy Guy – He performed at the Ryman Auditorium and cussed a woman on the front row for requesting a song. He said that he was playing for everyone and not just her. Afterwards, he gave her an autograph and a guitar pick.

24. Angus Young – AC/DC is one of my all time favorite bands, and I have seen them more times than I can remember. Young is what makes them go, and the crowd goes wild when he struts across the stage.

27. Bo Diddley – There used to be a music festival in Nashville called River Stages. Diddley played in front of the courthouse as we sat in the parking lot.

32. Billy Gibbons – How genius are the beards of ZZ Top? It’s just like the makeup of KISS. No one ever sees them age.

33. Prince – When he brought out the purple guitar and played “Purple Rain”, the crowd went bananas.

38. The Edge – U2 played in Nashville last summer. Bono ran around in a leather suit in sweltering heat, but I sensed that The Edge was the heartbeat of the band.

54. Joe Walsh – He has had success with The James Gang and on his own, but I saw him with The Eagles. The dueling guitars of “Hotel California” may be the best thing I have ever heard.

65. Slash – I wish I could see him with Guns n’ Roses, but, apparently, that is never going to happen. Instead, I have seen him with Velvet Revolver and on his own. I keep hearing that his mom is from Tennessee, but I am not certain about that.

77. Willie Nelson – He is one of the greats of country music. Ironically, he had to leave Nashville to make it.

84. Joe Perry – Aerosmith puts on a great show. When thinking about rock pairings, not many rank higher than Perry and Steven Tyler.

87. James Hetfield – Once, I was in front of the stage at a Metallica concert and was ready to rock. Then, one of my students came out to work security and stood right in front of me. I didn’t get to do much, but I got a bunch of guitar picks.

93. Paul Simon – Luckily, Simon and Garfunkel was not a wild concert. Before it started, the new president of our university came in and sat right behind me. It was the calmest I have ever been at a concert, and he is still our president.

100. Lindsey Buckingham – Seeing Fleetwood Mac was on the list of things I needed to do. I was disappointed in Stevie Nicks, who I have always had a crush on, because she was wearing orthopedic shoes. However, Buckingham seemed like he hadn’t missed a beat.

Guitar Gods – I have seen several of them, but I really wish I could play like them.

17 Responses to “Listeria – Guitar Gods Edition”

  1. Andrew Petcher August 23, 2012 at 08:32 #

    Mick Taylor was my favourite Stones guitarist – he bought something to the band that was lost after he left.

    • surroundedbyimbeciles August 23, 2012 at 13:35 #

      I need to get to the list. He may be on it, too.

  2. paintlater August 23, 2012 at 10:49 #

    I was on a roadtrip today, wish I had your list on play. Maybe on the way back, could take a bit of shuffling. Cheers

    • surroundedbyimbeciles August 23, 2012 at 13:36 #

      I stay on shuffle, and it creates some weird combos.

  3. Smaktakula August 23, 2012 at 17:03 #

    That’s a great list. I’m embarrassed to say that I have seen not a one of them in concert. I had tickets to BB King’s 80th birthday show in 2006 (I think that was the year), but due to a scheduling conflict, was halfway across the country the day of the show. I’ve seen a few classic acts (Dylan, Petty, Cash), but none of them have been guitar gods.

    Would love to see U2 and Willie (particularly the latter).

    • surroundedbyimbeciles August 24, 2012 at 01:36 #

      I saw Willie with Dylan. Then, I saw him with Merle. I am a concert junkie. I’ll see anybody. It’s probably too late to see B.B. because he is really too old now.

  4. DyingNote March 30, 2013 at 10:09 #

    James Hetfield and not Kirk Hammett? Strange

    • Rick March 30, 2013 at 14:02 #

      I know. James was the one on the list.

  5. Rick February 10, 2014 at 15:57 #

    Reblogged this on Surrounded By Imbeciles and commented:

    I just learned that Ringo Starr and Joe Walsh are brothers-in-law. In honor of that new knowledge, I decided to reblog this post that includes Walsh.

  6. El Guapo February 10, 2014 at 17:46 #

    5 on your list I haven’t seen. But Hendrix died before I was born.
    (And Keith Richads will probably outlive all of us.)

    I’m high on th gitarist from Vintage Trouble right now. Try this on…

    • Rick February 10, 2014 at 18:05 #

      I saw Vintage Trouble when they opened for The Who. In fact, I liked them better than The Who.

      • El Guapo February 10, 2014 at 18:08 #

        Nice! Didn’t see the opener when I saw the Who. I did see one of Keith Moons last shows though.

        Saw Vintage Trouble in a tiny room. Fantastic show.

      • Rick February 10, 2014 at 20:22 #

        I would like to have seen The Who in their original grouping.

      • El Guapo February 10, 2014 at 20:29 #

        I think it was teh Marshall Tucker band I saw, where there was one original member.
        I think the Allmans are down o two or three.

        And then there’s Guns and Roses. Listen, if you’re too weird for Buckethead to stay in your band, you may want to get professional help…


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