Rolling Stone can piss right off: here’s the 100 Greatest Guitarists (that I’ve interviewed) and 50 that I haven’t (yet)

By Steve Newton

Google “100 greatest guitarists” these days and what shows up at the top is a total joke. It’s the high ‘n’ mighty Rolling Stone‘s list of the so-called finest, posted from 2015.

And man does it suck.

But what do you expect from the same bozos who oversee the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

“We assembled a panel of top guitarists and other experts to rank their favorites and explain what separates the legends from everyone else,” reads the intro to the list, but they aren’t foolin’ anyone. What kind of “top guitarists” and “experts” would dare compile a list of the world’s best pickers and put the godlike Rory Gallagher way down at number 57? They dumped him two spots behind axe master John Lennon, fer chrissakes.

What the fvck!?

They made Jimi Hendrix number one–which I don’t have a problem with–but then they screwed up royally again when they put Jeff Beck at number 5, behind Eric Clapton (2), Jimmy Page (3), and Keith Richards (4). Come on! Keith Richards? I love Keef‘s playing as much as the next guy, but he doesn’t hold a candle to Beck. Nobody who’s still breathing does.

It was great to see Duane Allman take the number 8 spot, but there’s no way Stevie Ray Vaughan (12) should have been kept out of the Top 10. Even though Quadrophenia is my fave album of all time, I believe Pete Townshend (10) should have been bumped to make way for Stevie.

Other amazing players who should have ranked much higher than they did were Peter Green (58), Johnny Winter (63), and Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson, who only snuck in at number 98.

Equally shocking is the number of deserving guitarists who got left off the Top 100 entirely, people like Roy Buchanan, Danny Gatton, Michael Schenker, Alvin Lee, Warren Haynes, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Sonny Landreth, Robin Trower, Gary Moore, Rick Derringer, Steve Howe, Eric Johnson, John Fogerty, Joe Bonamassa, Steve Morse, Steve Lukather, Jorma Kaukonen, Guthrie Govan, Brian Setzer, Tommy Emmanuel, Lenny Breau, and Hank Marvin.

And speaking as a proud Canadian, how about Jeff Healey?

The brainiacs at Rolling Stone could have easily made room for at least a few of those instead of wasting valuable space on the likes of Lou Reed (81), Joni Mitchell (75), Roger McGuinn (95), Bruce Springsteen (96), and Paul Simon (93).

Paul Simon’s a “greater” guitarist than Gary freakin’ Moore? Piss off, Rolling Stone.

On the bright side, I was happy to see that a few of my faves who sometimes fly under the guitar-hero radar got chosen, in particular Dick Dale (74), Link Wray (45), Duane Eddy (64), Hubert Sumlin (43), Mike Campbell (79), Otis Rush (53), and the mighty Mick Ronson (41).

Here’s my list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists (that I’ve interviewed), followed by the 50 greatest ones I wished I had interviewed. Please keep in mind that I’m not a jazz expert, so I didn’t include obvious picks like Chet Atkins, Les Paul, Lenny Breau, and Django Reinhardt. I’m a rock and blues guy, so that’s what my lists reflect.

Bring on the nasty, mean-spirited comments!


Jeff Beck

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Danny Gatton

Albert King

Buddy Guy

Carlos Santana

B.B. King

Roy Buchanan

Dickey Betts

10 Link Wray

11 Mick Ronson

12 Gary Moore

13 Derek Trucks

14 J.J. Cale

15 Tommy Emmanuel

16 Albert Collins

17 Warren Haynes

18 Billy Gibbons

19 David Gilmour

20 Tony Iommi

21 Joe Satriani

22 Slash

23 Ronnie Montrose

24 Robin Trower

25 Michael Schenker

26 Uli Jon Roth

27 Brian May

28 Leslie West

29 Alex Lifeson

30 Eric Johnson

31 Sonny Landreth

32 Steve Vai

33 Joe Bonamassa

34 Joe Perry

35 Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser

36 Yngwie Malmsteen

37 Guthrie Govan

38 Steve Morse

39 Mike Campbell

40 Dick Dale

41 Rick Derringer

42 Johnny Ramone

43 Otis Rush

44 Jennifer Batten

45 Ronnie Earl

46 Robben Ford

47 Peter Frampton

48 Jeff Healey

49 Allan Holdsworth

50 Steve Howe

51 Albert Lee

52 Jake E. Lee

53 Tony MacAlpine

54 Doyle Bramhall II

55 Marty Friedman

56 Paul Gilbert

57 Steve Hackett

58 Robert Randolph

59 Tosin Abasi

60 Gary Rossington

61 Blues Saraceno

62 Wayne Kramer

63 Ace Frehley

64 Jonny Lang

65 Vivian Campbell

66 “Fast” Eddie Clarke

67 Walter Trout

68 Elliot Easton

69 Robert Cray

70 John Petrucci

71 Steve Stevens

72 John Sykes

73 Tommy Tedesco

74 Andy Powell

75 Luther Dickinson

76 “Poison” Ivy Rorschach

77 Will Bernard

78 Rick Nielsen

79 Rick Richards

80 Malcolm Young

81 Kim Simmonds

82 Don Wilson

83 Zakk Wylde

84 Mike McCready

85 Kenny Wayne Shepherd

86 Dave Mustaine

87 Glenn Tipton

88 Steve Clark

89 Jerry Cantrell

90 Marc Bonilla

91 Don Ross

92 Jimmy Thackery

93 Kim Mitchell

94 J. Mascis

95 Dave Murray

96 Leo Kottke

97 Dave Alvin

98 Buddy Cage

99 Randy Bachman

100 Jack Semple



1 Jimi Hendrix

2 Rory Gallagher

3 Johnny Winter

4 Duane Allman

5 Eddie Van Halen

6 Jimmy Page

7 Keith Richards

8 Peter Green

9 Eric Clapton

10 Randy Rhoads

11 Chuck Berry

12 Freddy King

13 Ritchie Blackmore

14 Steve Cropper

15 Mike Bloomfield

16 Angus Young

17 Neil Young

18 Prince

19 Alvin Lee

20 Frank Zappa

21 John McLaughlin

22 Ry Cooder

23 Duane Eddy

24 George Harrison

25 Pete Townshend

26 Elmore James

27 Robert Johnson

28 Mark Knopfler

29 Paul Kossoff

30 Scotty Moore

31 Jerry Garcia

32 Ronnie Wood

33 Terry Kath

34 Jorma Kaukonen

35 Bill Nelson

36 T-Bone Walker

37 Hank Marvin

38 Steve Lukather

39 Jan Akkerman

40 Tommy Bolin

41 Lonnie Mack

42 Brian Setzer

43 Hubert Sumlin

44 Mick Taylor

45 Dimebag Darrell

46 Joe Walsh

47 Martin Barre

48 Robbie Robertson

49 Kirk Hammett

50 James Burton

DISCLAIMER: I do realize that there are no “greatest guitarists”. I mean, the whole idea of ranking musicians according to who’s “best” is idiotic. But still, it’s fun readin’ this shit, right?

61 responses to “Rolling Stone can piss right off: here’s the 100 Greatest Guitarists (that I’ve interviewed) and 50 that I haven’t (yet)

  1. Your second list of not interviewed is better list. I don’t see what relevance having interviewed has to do with anything. Anyway I didn’t come up with any WTF’S on either list! F’ck Rolling Stone

  2. Steve Newton, your list is not better than The Rolling Stones. It’s a subjective matter. You’re being a douche bag about the whole thing.

  3. Your list would indicate that you either aren’t a guitar player or aren’t a very good one. Ask any of the fellas in your top 25 who should be ahead of them? It would be James Burton. And it would be nearly unanimous. And you have him at number 50 on your “not interviewed” list. And to have Johnny Lang anywhere close to being on your list is an insult to every best blues player in every city pop. over 100,000 in America. If you ever saw “the kid” live you’d know that it was Paul Diethelm, not the young lad playing those blistering solos. And where in the HE-DOUBLE-HOCKEY-STICKS is Tommy Tedesco? 73rd? Behind the aforementioned child phenom turned average adult? And you want to bump Pete Townshend why? Because he doesn’t noodle around the fretboard in copycat fashion like most of the axemasters on your list and instead played some of the tastiest rhythm guitar parts in the history of rock n roll? Rhythm guitar doesn’t count? Maybe not in your one-dimensional world. I’d be inclined to agree with Jeff Beck at number one but Dickie Betts at #9 and Robben Ford at #46? Invest in a good pair of headphones and a CD player and go back to school dude. Rolling Stone’s list is bad. But your’s is worse. By a long shot.

  4. No, it’s not fun readin’ this shit, because you’re every bit the fucking idiot that the Rolling Stone writers are. Neil Young is a better guitar player than Steve Howe? Angus Young better than Frank Zappa? There are dozens more ludicrous suggestions here. How much strychnine-laced crack do you consume on a daily basis? Do you have any idea what makes for a great player?

  5. Lindsey Buckingham and Neil Geraldo belong on the list. Alex Lifeson does not. (Although being the 101st best guitarist, or even the 1001st best guitarist in the world is still pretty awesome.) Nice to see Randy Bachman get some recognition.

  6. Clearly you love Jeff Beck. And that’s cool.. I personally think #1 is insanity.. Nor am I a Clapton worshipper either.. And generally think he’s overrated as well. All in all though.. solid list.. Love seeing Doyle Bramhall 2 getting props.. Eric Johnson too.. Would have liked to see Ty Tabor get a nod..

  7. Glad to see Jeff Beck at number one. Because he is. Also glad to see JJ Cale at 14. Clapton’s favorite guitarist. Also Ry Cooder on the not interviewed list. But I would have placed him higher.

  8. Better than the Rolling Stone 100, but at the end of the day, any list is going to be subjective depending on the weighting given to technical ability, stage presence/image, commercial success, sound, songwriting ability and personal preference/exposure respectively. I personally would have put Johnny Thunders in place of Johnny Ramone-he was far more technically proficient and a better songwriter. Danny Gatton deserved to be in the top 100, but 3rd a bit high.

  9. It’s all just opinion which is fine, but whether or not you interviewed someone is SO completely irrelevant to this list that I have to disregard anything you say. Is this a list of guitar players or a way for you to brag about all the guitar players you interviewed???????

  10. interviewing 100 amazing guitar players is nothing to brag about, is it? also: didn’t you see the list at the bottom of 50 amazing guitar players that I haven’t interviewed? yet.

  11. How about interviewing Mike Romeo of Symphany X, that man can play a guitar. He is a phenomenal guitarist and an amazing musician. I think your list by far is more accurate and true than that “FVCKING Rolling Stone bullshit”.

  12. your list is a little more accurate…..but if it is a list of GREATEST guitarists then where is angel vivaldi? andy james? nita strauss? sarah longfield? What about the guitarists for iron maiden and transiberian railroad?

  13. Agreed, ranking guitar players is a matter of taste and is just fun to do, but the man Jimmy Hendrix said was better than him is nowhere to be found, unless i missed Terry Kath of Chicago. The man was also amazing.

  14. Double checked……Triple checked…………
    Otherwise a great list.
    Still…..NO FRANK MARINO ! ! ! ! !

  15. Nice to see Paul Kossoff and Peter Green and Hubert Dublin on your non interviewed list. My list would have to include Mike Bloomfield in three someplace as well.

  16. Have to agree it’s good to see the legendary Paul Kossoff did get a mention, although not in the RS list, now i didn’t mean rat shit? I would never say that about Rolling Stone as we all know it’s well respected “cough” magazine.

  17. I agree that Rolling Stone’s list is idiotic, and Jeff Beck is not only #1 of all time, he probably always will be.
    But where are Kenny Burrell, Lenny Breau, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, Chet Atkins, Mark Knopfler, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, etc.
    Seriously, no one can come close to Jeff Beck. But they can’t come close to Burrell, Breau or Pass either.
    In my mind, Beck is head and shoulders above everyone else, then Burrell is easily #2, then everyone can debate #3 on down, with about a dozen guys like Hendrix, Van Halen and Santana easily tied for #3. Meanwhile, I’ve been playing for over 45 years and I still wouldn’t make a top 10,000 list, but I’ll keep plucking away.

  18. ok, So you thinking Chet Atkins was a jazz musician (actually I’d have said Country Picker) and one would have thought you’d have listen to Chet & Mark Knopfler’s Neck & Neck offering. Or maybe just take a moment to listen to – Now tell me which one is better? (Not that either are).

  19. How about Terry Kath? I’ve been listening to Chicago lately and watched the documentary and believe he has been overlooked by so many.

  20. Roy Clark. I think he’s #1 over Jeff/Stevie/Page/Clapton/Jimi. But that is my own preference. But the fact he is not even on here means this list is as invalid as the Rolling Stones list.

  21. In the name of all that is sacred and holy, Glen Campbell was the best guitar player in history. Look it up.

  22. Rory at number 2? WTF… Jimmy Page was a complete Monster player around 1973 before the drugs took over… should be in the top 5 just for that never mind his mastermind and ridiculaous rock influence with Led Zepplin song writing and production…. Rory at number 2… you can’t be Irish as you have him above Gary… wierd

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