At Pointy Guitar we love a good list. We love to bitch about ill conceived lists by seeming laypeople, that is. And the site history101.com has unleashed a doozy with “The 43 greatest guitarists of all time, ranked”.
Immediately we have trouble, as the article begins:
Here’s a trip through the 38 best guitarists, made famous for having listeners moving and shaking over the years.
Well … is it 43 or 38? And is the criterion for making the list simply “having listeners moving and shaking”? Maybe.
Let’s be clear: This list is not without its merits. There are great, diverse choices like Brian May, Frank Zappa and Willie Nelson. We can even get behind Jimi Hendrix at number one.
But here are some of their greatest guitarists. Of all time.
Coming in at number 43 is … Johnny Ramone. While the writer admits the erstwhile John William Cummings “probably played fewer solos in his career than anyone else on our list,” greatness is not about solos. The Ramones are likely one of the most influential rock bands, and certain iconic, but GOAT? Get out.
A similar argument could be made for the music of Buddy Holly and Kurt Cobain. Why not work that angle? Anyway, they are ranked number 22 (one ahead of Slash) and number 18 (one ahead of Freddie King).
In case you’re wondering, Bobby (sic) Krieger is ranked number 33. Bobby.
I guess go look at the mixed bag yourself.