Music, My Stories

June 1991, Guitar World – 25 Greatest Rock Guitar Recordings

In this issue they had a list of 25 Greatest Rock Guitar Recordings.

The editors of the magazine worked out a criteria and tried to find albums that met the criteria.

  1. The players technical brilliance
  2. The originality of the performance
  3. The magnitude of the works influence on subsequent artists

So here is there list. I will list the first 10 with my summary of what they wrote.

  1. Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Interested (1967)

Everything that Rock and Metal would become is here on this album. And it’s all influenced by Jimi Hendrix’s deep knowledge of Blues and R&B, acquired during his years on the club circuit.

  1. Van Halen – Van Halen (1978)

Another game changer album for originality in sound and experimentation with equipment plus pushing forward the techniques of guitarists in lead playing and riff structures.

  1. Derek And The Dominos – Layla (1970)

This is the outcome of when Eric Clapton and Duane Allman got together. Get into a studio, play live and get the tape rolling. You get a lot of blues rock and some celestial slide playing.

  1. Chuck Berry – The Cheese Box (1989)

When you get a blues player, rocking out with string skipping, chicken picking and a primitive two hand tap approach, then this album is seen as the next progression from the blues music that came before.

This box set released in the late 80s is from previously released recordings made between 1955 and 1973.

  1. Led Zeppelin – IV (1971)

This is Jimmy Page pushing his abilities as a composer, orchestrator and studio wizard. It’s got all the styles in here that would be known as hard rock, heavy metal, acoustic folk rock and blues rock.

  1. Jimi Hendrix – Band Of Gypsies (1970)

This album showcased the two different sides of Hendrix. For all of his pursuits of relentless perfection in the studio, Hendrix liked to jam when it came to playing live and throw caution to the wind. This album captures that live spirit.

  1. The Allman Brothers – Live At The Filmore (1971)

Duane Allman reinvented electric slide guitar. Dicky Betts introduced melodic Western swing and country-tinged lines. Together they gave The Allman Brothers a twin firepower not seen in other bands at this point in time.

  1. Elvis Presley – The Sun Sessions (1976)

Scotty Moore contributed greatly to improving Rock and Roll playing by combining jazz and blues and playing the songs with a pick or his fingers or moving in between both during a song.

  1. Jeff Beck – Blow By Blow (1975)

Pushed the boundaries of what instrumental guitar albums should sound like.

  1. Steve Vai – Passion And Warfare (1990)

A fusion of styles and techniques into a psychedelic hard rock instrumental album.

The rest of the list is made up of the following albums;

  1. The Beatles – Meet The Beatles (1964)
  2. Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard Of Ozz (1981)
  3. Bo Diddley – The Bo Diddley Box (1990)
  4. Metallica – Ride The Lightning (1984)
  5. Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble – In Step (1989)
  6. Black Sabbath – Paranoid (1970)
  7. Yngwie Malmsteen – Rising Force (1985)
  8. The Velvet Underground And Nico (1967)
  9. Joe Satriani – Surfing With The Alien (1987)
  10. The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street (1972)
  11. The Mahavishnu Orchestra – Birds Of Prey (1973)
  12. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Chronicle (1976)
  13. Yes – Fragile (1971)
  14. AC/DC – Back In Black (1980)
  15. Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)

I didn’t see the point in having two Jimi Hendrix albums in the Top 10.

And I was confused to see Steve Vai in the list as I don’t think his “Passion And Warfare” album met the third criteria within 2 years.

And being a rock and Metal fan, I would definitely have AC/DC, Blizzard Of Ozz and Malmsteen further up the list.

So what’s your view?


12 thoughts on “June 1991, Guitar World – 25 Greatest Rock Guitar Recordings

  1. RUSH,UFO even a KISS Frehley record should be in there as well. I’m thinking along the lines of impact and those 3 are impact guitarists in my world.

  2. Bubba says:

    Lol, Jimi Hendrix album = Are You Experienced, not “Interested”, did Guitar World make that mistake?
    It’s an interesting question, to weigh technicality, originality & then influence/impact aftewards.
    For influence & impact I think something by Richie Blackmore needed to be in there whether Deep Purple or Rainbow. I definitely agree, something by Rush showing Alex Lifeson, probably 2112.
    Also in the southern rock explosion Lynyrd Skynyrd…and when thinking about harmony guitars, how ’bout some Thin Lizzy.
    I would’ve gone with an earlier Stevie Ray Vaughn album but anything by him is alright by me. There’s definitely a couple of albums on that list that I think could be replaced by some of the suggestions above…Fun stuff to think about on a Thurs morning…Take care

  3. Henrik says:

    Deep Purple – In Rock
    Ritchie was an innovator, the album had a huge impact on musicians, fans, critics, actually it reshaped the genre.

    I don’t get this as much as I love the album and its successor. is it down to James’ picking and rhythm playing skills?
    Metallica – Ride The Lightning (1984)

    • In Rock, good choice. I remember reading how a young Bruce Dickinson heard the vocals on Child In Time and thought “holy hell” he’s gotta practice. He didn’t even know that Gillan layered his vocals using multiple takes. And he was one of many that did that.

  4. I’m a huge Hendrix fan, but twice is a little overkill. The list is Duane Allman heavy as well if you think about it. Some people already mentioned RUSH and Deep Purple. If they’re going to go as far back as Chuck Berry and Bo Diddly, then I think you’d have to include Elmore James for his influence on the slide. But that is the point of these lists. To be picked apart!

    • I agree, lists are subjective. They did a similar list in the late 90s and by then Black Sabbath (plus you had a lot of bands that played the Sabbath sludge grooves) and Kiss were huge (they played to big crowds after the original reformed) , Rush just played their biggest show in Rio and suddenly the list was changed.

      Then you had artists like Dimebag who is selling a lot of product and charting high talking about his love of Kiss and Ace.

      Josh Homme was talking about his love of Sabbath while Ozzy dragged the band back to arenas by including them on his bills.

      And Rush just kept on going in the background a d got bigger and bigger, it’s that old saying, longevity wins in the end.

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