No More Heroes Any More

By the time I was Dylan’s age, I had already gone through several heroes – Best, Presley, Nelson, Scott, Cook, Richard the Lionheart. By hero, I mean someone to look up to, to dream of being, to emulate, to inspire. As far as I know, my son has never had one (apart from me).

I was also heavily into music at an early age. I knew all the words to my Englebert Humperdink album when I was 4, was totally in love with Suzi Quatro at 9 and a big fan of Queen for a big chunk of my early life. My son is just now starting to get into music. Led Zep is an early favourite (Finally available on Rhapsody today! Hooray!).

I’d like to try a little parental manipulation and, Dear Readers, I’d like your help. I am going to give my offspring a list of 10-ish guitarists and 3 songs from each and have him rank them. I hope to encourage a little critical thinking and maybe one of them will inspire him to great things with that ax of his.

Here’s what I have so far (in no particular order). Help me out. Who am I missing?

  • Mark Knopfler
    • Slow Train
    • Brothers in Arms
    • Private Investigations
  • Jimi Hendrix
    • All Along the Watchtower
    • Voodoo Child
    • Hey Joe
    • Purple Haze
  • Dave Gilmour
    • Wish You Were Here
    • Another Brick in the Wall (pt2)
    • Shine on your Crazy Diamond (pt1)
  • Carlos Santana
    • Smooth
    • Black Magic Woman
    • Maria Maria
  • Pete Townsend
    • Pinball Wizard
    • My Generation
    • The Real Me
  • Eddie Van Halen
  • Axel Rose
  • Eric Clapton
    • Layla
    • Crossroads
    • Badge
  • Jimmy Page
    • Stairway to Heaven
    • Babe, I’m gonna leave you
    • Battle of Evermore
    • Dazed and Confused
  • Keith Richards
    • Honky Tonk Women
    • Brown Sugar
    • Satisfaction
  • George Harrison
    • Something
    • Here Comes The Sun
  • The Gypsy Kings
    • Djiobi Djioba
    • Baila me
    • Bem, Bem, Maria

I am not necessarily looking for the greatest guitarists or the greatest songs. They don’t even have to be guitarists I like (there are a few on the list already that I don’t like). I want variety more than anything.

When I have a list, I’ll put together a playlist for his mp3 player [you can listen to it here]. I’ll let you know how the rest goes.

Feel free to contribute your own rankings.

Published by

Ragged Clown

Based in San Jose, California

11 thoughts on “No More Heroes Any More”

  1. Seems like just rock guitarists on this list (other than the Gypsy Kings). I personally like a lot of latin guitar music. Some of it is really intense, musical stuff. I’ll work up a list.

  2. I was biasing the list towards what a 12 year old might be familiar with and enjoy. I want to take him a littl eout of his comfort zone but not to far!

    Turns out that Gypsy kings was too far. He hates them:-(

    FWIW I already have latin guitar music covered with Santana:-) Post it anyway for my benefit!

  3. Well, I can see how the Gypsy Kings might not suit a 12 year old. They are a bit on the Radío Romantica side. So, here’s a list, not just of Latin stuff, but of great guitar stuff. Be warned, I’ve been meaning to make this list for along time, so it got pretty long (future me says).

    Paco de Lucia — Killer nuevo flamenco
    anything on Cositas Buenas

    Paco Peña — The best traditional flamenco player in the world
    The Art of Paco Peña album is a good survey

    John McLaughlin — Very progressive guitar from the 70’s. He played with Miles Davis on Bitches Brew. He also had a band called the Mahavishnu Orchestra.
    The Dance of Maya on The Inner Mounting by Mahavishnu Orchestra is insane. Really.
    Friday Night in San Francisco with him, Paco de Lucia, and Al DiMeola is an amazing album. I can’t froth enough. Particularly, Short Tales of the Black Forest

    John Williams — Amazing Classical Guitarist
    I am particularly enjoying his album The Great Paraguayan songs by Barrios
    Vals No. 4 rocks

    Andres Segovia’s Bach Recordings are superb, and very intricate stuff, might get a kid interested due to the technical complexity

    AC/DC — Back in Black, Hells Bells, Highway to Hell

    Sonic Youth — Alternate tunings inspired by PCP
    Titanium Expose on Goo

    The Allman Brothers Band — Duane Allman and Dickie Betts — dude
    Blue Sky
    In Memory of Elizabeth Reed
    Hot Lanta
    Les Brers in A Minor

    Yes – Steve Howe rocks
    Mood for a Day
    The Clap

    B.B. King — have him listen to how he phrases and uses slides between notes.

    John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters — Easy to play, but the soul of all rock
    Boom Boom Boom

    Howling Wolf
    Little Red Rooster, Killing Floor

    Stevie Ray Vaughn
    Lenny
    Cold Shot

    Built to Spill — emo rock, but good stuff
    The Plan

    Charlie Hunter Quartet — Great guitarist, plays an 8 string: 3 bass 5 treble strings
    Come as you are is a good intro

    Cream — Eric Clapton
    Anything

    Django reinhardt — might be too far out for him, Great Gypsy Jazz from early last century

    Enrique Coria — Superbly played latin music, many different south american and central american folk styles. He lives in San Rafael too.
    Nevando Esta on The Guitar Artistry of Enrique Coria

    Jane’s Addiction
    Idiots Rule on Nothing’s Shocking

    Jimi Hendrix
    Add Crosstown Traffic to the list

    Larry Coryell — Intense Jazz solo guitarist
    Giant Steps on Dragon’s Gate

    Steely Dan
    Kid Charlemagne
    Boddisattva

    Led Zeppelin
    Add, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Celebration Day — OK, all of III, In my Time of Dying form Physical Graffiti

    Smashing Pumpkins
    SilverFuck on Siamese Dreams

    Metallica
    Battery, Master of Puppets on Master of Puppets

    Clapton
    Add Sunshine of Your Love,

    Neil Young
    Down by the River

    Piglet — Math Rock, A little repetitive, but fun and intricate cycles,
    Little Bubble, Where You Going? on Lava Land

    The Police
    Synchronicity 2

    The Raconteurs — Jack White from the White Stripes
    Steady as She Goes, Level from Broken Boy Soldiers

    The SilverSun Pickups new Song, Lazy Eye has some decent guitar

    Queens of the Stone Age
    Little Sister, Go with the Flow

    Robert Cray
    Smoking Gun

    Robert Johnson
    Cross Road Blues

    Roy Rogers
    Spanish blues

    Santana,
    I would pick Guajira, and Jungle Strut in addition to Black Magic Woman, and Soul Sacrifice because it is one of the best songs ever

    Sugar
    Gift on File Under Easy Listening

    U2 —
    11′ O Clock tick tock, Bullet the Blue Sky, Sunday Bloody Sunday

    Unwound
    Hexenzsene on New Plastic Ideas

    Tortoise
    Swung from the Gutters on TNT

    Stray Cats
    Stray Cat Strut

    Well, there’s a start 😀

  4. Oh, important stuff on the punk side:

    PJ Harvey
    Sheela-Na-Gig on Dry — Note, this has pretty mature lyrics, but it’s tough music, and there is some great guitar in there as well.

    Circle Jerks
    When the Shit Hits the Fan, or Coup D’etat on Golden Shower of Hits — Punk Rock!

    Dead Kennedys — East Bay Ray makes the guitar do his bidding, and besides everybody should enjoy the sarcasm of the Dead Kennedys
    Holiday in Cambodia, California Uber Alles — Punk Rock!

    Bad Brains — Bad Ass Rasta Punks from D.C.
    Fearless Vampire Killers, Banned in D.C. on Rock for Light — produced by Ric Ocasek

    Fugazi
    Waiting Room on 13 Songs

    OK, not punk, but also

    Heart – Barracuda

    Alright, I’m quitting now. I feel like John Cusack’s character in Hi Fidelity.

  5. For Eddie van Halen: “Ain’t talking ’bout love”
    You said Axl Rose, you mean Slash.
    Johnny Marr (Smiths) – Cemetry(sic) Gates
    Stiff Little Fingers – Gotta Get Away (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aV5eKr4uorg)
    Clapton (Cream): Badge
    Rush have been known for their virtuosity, dunno which song to pick tho.
    Joe Strummer (Clash): white riot (3 chords?), Safe European Home, Rock the Casbah
    Randy Rhodes (ozzy) Crazy Train
    For Knopfler add Sultans of Swing, Romeo and Juliet
    Nirvana (Colbain?) Teen Spirit
    For Keith Richards add: Tears gone by, Waiting for a friend
    Black Sabbath: war pigs
    Jerry Garcia (gr dead): Terrapin Station
    Eagles – hotel california

  6. Bob’s list is pretty comprehensive.

    “Eruption” would probably be the prototypical Eddie Van Halen song.
    “YYZ” by Rush is always referenced because of its drum solo, but Alex Lifeson has a good solo in there, too. Else try “La Villa Strangiato”
    A spoonful of Ted Nugent wouldn’t hurt him.
    Some samplings from the Richie Blackmore platter — Deep Purple and Rainbow
    A shot of Ronnie Montrose — the eponymous Montrose album is a good choice, then maybe some Gamma.
    Cheap Trick “at Budhokan”
    Ozzy’s albums with Randy Rhodes are always listened to with reverence by my guitar obsessed friends.

    A few comments in reference to Bob’s list:
    – Definitely throw in some punk. Bad Brains and Fugazi were great choices. Some earlier Suicidal Tendencies wouldn’t be a bad choice either.
    – Sugar (or Husker Du or Bob Mould’s “Workbook” album) is another stellar choice by Bob.
    – As far as jazz and jazz-fusion guitarists are concerned — Charlie Hunter might be a little outside compared the rest of the things you’re thinking of, I’d start with *the* guitarist you must have Dylan listen to, and that’s Allan Holdsworth. If he likes stuff like that, then Al DiMeola (Friday Night in San Francisco is another awesome choice by Bob), then ease him into guitarists like Mike Stern and Eric Johnson. Careful! This path often leads to the eschewing of most of the guitarists previously mentioned, a degree at Berkley School of Music, and a lifetime of finding sessions between working small gigs in the band you started with Branford Marsalis’ second cousin.

    Now I’ll quit. I’ve apparently become the Jack Black character in Hi Fidelity.

  7. I would have to agree with Bob on the Gypsie Kings. I don’t think they are a good representation of a genre for one thing. Paco de Lucia would be a better choice, and an excellent choice for the list overall. Probably choose a Bulerias, a Tientos and something else. Maybe that one from the Life Aquatic soundtrack.

    The choice of Axel Rose would not be my top for guitarists in the metal Genre as I don’t think he plays guitar much. Slash on the other hand might be a good choice. I would put Diamond “Dimebag” Darrell above him though. There is a live version of Pantera’s “Cemetary Gates” where the guitar work is done almost entirely with harmonics and in the solo he hits the highest pitched note I have ever heard on a guitar.

    If you are trying to highlight the guitar work, you might try “Orion”, “One” and “Unforgiven” by Metallica (Kirk Hammett)

  8. Thanks for all the suggestions! Keep ’em coming! I want to keep Dylan’s list fairly short (so he is not intimidated) and fairly mainstream but I guarantee that every suggestion will make it into my playlist!

    Gypsy Kings have already been voted off the island.

    I’ll definitely add some blues. I am a huge Muddy Waters fan but I think Howling Wolf’s guitar is more accessible and distinctive so I think I’ll go with him. (John Lee Hooker is a bit too accessible for my tastes and I like Robert Johnson only in the ‘pioneers are intrinsically interesting’ sense). Never was a BB King fan but, since I appreciate his greatness – he’s in.

    Been meaning to add some Allman Brothers to my own listening. Will make it so. Brian was raving about Steely Dan last week so I have been listening to them a lot this week. I rate them ‘quite pleasant’.

    I kinda skipped the whole hair band thing and the heavy rock thing and never really got the point – I am willing to put one in the mix for fairness sake – sonarrow it down to just one please with 3 songs to support your case. I would lean towards AC/DC since they are one of the few that I am familiar with.

    I had a hard time getting Jimi down to 3 songs and Crosstown traffic just missed the cut.

    I have limited Santana experience and will try to experience more – especially if he made the best song ever. I also have limited Led Zep experience (BTW they are current favourite for The Twelve Year Old’s choice) but that will change now that I have access to their whole collection.

    I am reluctant to add too much punk. I used to love a lot of punk but when I have gone back to it recently, it all sounds a bit meh. Except the Boomtown Rats (which Junior has been playing on a loop for the last three days)

  9. I guess metal was my guitar era. My friend Adam and I played guitars in our bedrooms to the tunes of Metallica, Slayer, Megadeath, Pantera, etc… After about four years playing metal he started into the flamenco scene and never looked back. I have moved away from the harsh sounding songs within that group but still fondly remember the softer ballads with the more clever tunes and vocals, which is what I listed. If I were to choose one song from what I suggested I would say “Cemetery Gates” by Pantera. The live version if it is available to you.

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