SOME of you -- especially if you are a musician, music writer, or serious listener -- have already taken part in my informal poll of favorite guitarists. This was conceived not exactly as a historically rigorous greatest-of-all-time but the work you'd grab either if your house was burning down, or to take to the proverbial desert island. (I'm aware that these are two slightly different categories, one spurred by an instant craving the other by the opportunity for eternal contemplation. Can some musicians offer both?)
Some generational patterns, of course, are apparent, and while most Boomers voted for Clapton, Page, Beck, Richards, etc. it wasn't enough to launch more than of them into the very top tier. Perhaps appropriately, the very highest vote getting musician is an eclectic and atypical Boomer with a significant Gen X/ alt-rock following. I was also surprised that Hendrix -- perhaps my favorite and certainly the greatest of all time -- did not simply shut down all opposition.
With no further ado, here is the list -- I don't think a difference of a single vote is significant, but this is in order of votes attained. (I have posted a poll on the right margins, using the top six names here as finalists. Sorry, folks, if your hero not on list -- I can only go to six.)
Let me point out that the top four names on this list are all West Coast figures -- though of course Thompson grew up in England while Hendrix made his name there, Young is originally Canadian, etc. But Roger McGuinn is as solidly grounded in LA rock as you can get.
Some others came close -- Johnny Marr, Robert Fripp, Peter Buck, Pat Metheny, Pete Townshend. I'm struck by the huge amount of talent and huge range of styles in just a few names.