Personal Favourites /
Recommended listening

Over the years I have been continually asked to name my ‘Top Ten’ guitarists, bassists, guitar solos, guitar albums etc. so I’ve attempted to do so here.
Narrowing each category down to only ten has been an impossible task, but I have at least listed ten of those among my favourites in each of the sixteen categories below.

I don’t mean to imply that everybody regards those listed as ‘The Greatest’ and it’s certainly not my intention to insult any great names by excluding them from my lists. I am simply concentrating on my own personal favourites, in no particular order, as these are the people whom I admire the most and by whom I have been influenced to the greatest degree.

Some of my choices may seem unusual compared to most people’s idea of ‘the best’ and hence it has been suggested to me that I only say some of these artists are so good because I like them. In fact, the truth is exactly the opposite – I like them because I think they’re so good.

I have not named a number one favourite in any category, as this would be almost impossible - with exception of the ‘Lead Vocalists’ category.
I think it was Bing Crosby who once remarked that “Man, woman, or child, Ella Fitzgerald is the greatest singer of them all”.
I have to agree, as to my personal taste, I have never heard any singer (man, woman, or child) who can challenge that statement, but apart from the great Ella, I couldn’t name a ‘very’ best in any other category.

The only rule I’ve followed is that I’ve avoided naming the same artist twice in any category (such as with several guitar solos), even though I sometimes felt like doing so.

I also feel more comfortable rating somebody as one of my favourites if I have seen them perform live, as well as hearing their recordings.
Therefore in each category talking about individuals, I have marked anybody I have not seen perform live with an *.


Bands:

AC/DC.
Aerosmith.
The Beach Boys (pre 1970).
The Beatles.
Eagles.
Led Zeppelin.
Pink Floyd (1972 –1984).
Queen (pre 1982).
The Who.
Van Halen (with David Lee Roth).


Guitarists (Recorded) :

Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac).
Larry Carlton (Steely Dan etc.etc.).
David Gilmour (Pink Floyd).
Brian May (Queen).
Gary Moore.
Slash (Guns ‘n’ Roses / Velvet Revolver).
Captain Sensible (The Damned).
Edward Van Halen (Van Halen).
Stevie Ray Vaughan*.
Angus Young (AC/DC).

Guitarists (Live):

Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme).
Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac).
Larry Carlton (Steely Dan etc.etc.).
Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top).
Albert Lee.
Brian May (Queen).
Gary Moore.
Brian Setzer (Stray Cats).
Stevie Ray Vaughan*.
Angus Young (AC/DC).

Bass Guitarists:

Jean-Jacques Burnel (The Stranglers).
John Deacon (Queen).
John Entwistle (The Who).
Roger Glover (Deep Purple / Rainbow).
Rutger Gunnarsson (Abba)*.
John ‘Segs’ Jennings (The Ruts).
John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin / Them Crooked Vultures).
Paul McCartney (The Beatles).
John McVie (Fleetwood Mac).
Norman Watt Roy (Ian Dury & The Blockheads).


Drummers:

Clem Burke (Blondie).
John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)*.
Chris Cester (Jet).
Brian Downey (Thin Lizzy)*.
Dave Grohl (Nirvana / Them Crooked Vultures).
Taylor Hawkins (Alanis Morissette / Foo Fighters).
Don Henley (Eagles).
Gilson Lavis (Squeeze / Jools Holland).
Keith Moon (The Who)*.
Ian Paice (Deep Purple / Whitesnake etc).

Lead Vocalists:

Male:
Bryan Adams.
Michael Buble.
David Coverdale (Deep Purple/Whitesnake).
Don Henley (Eagles).
John Lennon*.
Paul McCartney.
Freddie Mercury (Queen).
Bon Scott (early AC/DC)*.
Frank Sinatra.
Steven Tyler (Aerosmith).

Female:
Hannah Blaylock (Edens Edge)*.
Karen Carpenter*.
Ella Fitzgerald*.
Judy Garland*.
Janis Joplin*.
Taylor Momsen (The Pretty Reckless).
Alanis Morissette.
Kimberly Perry (The Band Perry).
P!nk.
Shania Twain.

Harmony Vocal Bands:

Abba.
The Beach Boys.
The Beatles.
Eagles.
E.L.O.
Fleetwood Mac.
Little Big Town.
The Mamas & The Papas.
The Manhattan Transfer.
Queen.


Songwriters
:

Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaeus.
George & Ira Gershwin.
Lennon & McCartney.
Freddie Mercury.
Cole Porter.
Rodgers & Hart.
Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman.
Paul Simon.
Pete Townshend.
Brian Wilson.

Guitar Solos:

And Then There Was The Blues’ – Larry Carlton.
Appeared on ‘Those Southern Knights’ – The Crusaders (1976).

Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2’ – David Gilmour.
Appeared on ‘The Wall’ – Pink Floyd (1979).

Dancing In The Moonlight’ – Scott Gorham.
Appeared on ‘Bad Reputation’ – Thin Lizzy (1977).

Here I Go Again’ (Whitesnake - US Remix version only) – Dann Huff.
Appeared on ‘Purple Rainbows’ (1991) and various other compilation albums.
The song originally appeared on ‘Whitesnake - 1987’ with a solo by John Sykes, but I’m referring to the solo dubbed onto the ‘US Remix’ version, after Sykes had left the band.

I’m The One’ – Edward Van Halen.
Appeared on ‘Van Halen’ – Van Halen (1978).

‘In Bloom’ – Kurt Cobain.
Appeared on ‘Never Mind’ – Nirvana (1991).

Killer Queen’ – Brian May.
Appeared on ‘Sheer Heart Attack’ - Queen (1974).

Lipstick Sunset’ – Ry Cooder
Appeared on ‘Bring The Family’ – John Hiatt (1987).

One Of These Nights’ – Don Felder.
Appeared on ‘One Of These Nights’ – Eagles (1975).

Setting Me Up’ – Mark Knopfler.
Appeared on ‘Dire Straits’ – Dire Straits (1978).


A few others that came very close were the solo from The Cars’ ‘Best Friend’s Girl’, Ed King’s first solo from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, Chaz Jankel's solo from Ian Dury & The Blockheads' 'Clevor Trever', Nuno Bettencourt's from Extreme's 'Get The Funk Out!', Richie Blackmore’s from Rainbow’s ‘Since You Been Gone’, Angus Young's from AC/DC's 'You Shook Me All Night Long', Slash’s from Guns ‘n’ Roses’‘Outta Get Me’, Tom Morello's from Rage Against The Machine's 'Killing In The Name', Eric Shenkman’s from The Spin Doctors’ ‘Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong’, Eric Bell’s from Thin Lizzy’s ‘Whiskey In The Jar’, Lyndsey Buckingham’s from Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Don’t Stop’, Keith Scott’s from Bryan Adams’ ‘Can’t Stop This Thing We Started’, Steve Lukather’s from Toto’s ‘Rosanna’, Jeff Cease’s from The Black Crowes’ version of ‘Hard To Handle’, Albert Lee’s from Eric Clapton’s live version of ‘Further On Up The Road’(on the ‘Just One Night’ album), George Harrison's from The Beatles' 'All My Loving', the solo from Little Feat’s ‘Perfect Imperfection’ (either Paul Barrere or Lowell George?), Graham Coxon's crazy but great solo from Blur's 'Coffee and TV' and the short solo from Shania Twain’s ‘From This Moment On’ (probably Dann Huff again, but maybe Brent Mason?), as well as several others by the guitarists named in my Top Ten Guitar Solos above.


Guitar Riffs:

‘Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love’ – Van Halen (Edward Van Halen).
'Back in Black’ – AC/DC (Angus Young).
‘Black Dog’ – Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page/John Paul Jones).
'E.M.I.’ – The Sex Pistols (Steve Jones).
'Ghost of Floyd Collins' - Black Stone Cherry (Chris Robertson & Ben Wells).
'Killing In The Name' - Rage Against the Machine (Tom Morello).
‘Now I’m Here’ – Queen (Brian May).
‘Setting Me Up’ – Dire Straits (Mark Knopfler).
‘Steal Away The Night’ – Ozzy Osbourne (Randy Rhoads).
‘The Rocker’ – Thin Lizzy (Eric Bell).


Albums for Guitar:

‘Appetite For Destruction’ – Guns ‘n’ Roses.
'Dire Strais' - Dire Straits.
‘Hotel California’ – Eagles.
‘If You Want Blood, You’ve Got It’ – AC/DC.
‘Larry Carlton’ – Larry Carlton.
‘Rumours’ – Fleetwood Mac .
‘The Royal Scam’ – Steely Dan.
‘Sheer Heart Attack’ – Queen.
‘Van Halen’ – Van Halen.
‘The Wall’ – Pink Floyd.

Albums for Bass Guitar:

‘A Day At The Races ’ - Queen.
‘Deepest Purple’ - Deep Purple.
‘Feel The Noize’ – Slade.
‘Grin and Bear It’ – The Ruts.
‘Jukebox Dury’ – Ian Dury & The Blockheads.
‘Led Zeppelin II’ – Led Zeppelin.
‘Magical Mystery Tour’ – The Beatles.
‘Pet Sounds’ – The Beach Boys.
‘Quadrophenia’ – The Who.
‘Rattus Norvegicus’ - The Stranglers.


Albums for Drums:

‘Aja’ – Steely Dan.
‘Contraband’ – Velvet Revolver.
‘Dedication’ – Thin Lizzy.
‘Deepest Purple’ - Deep Purple.
'Get Born' - Jet.
‘Grin and Beat It’ – The Ruts.
‘Hotel California’ – Eagles.
‘Let It Roll’ – Little Feat.
‘Never Mind’ – Nirvana.
‘Who’s Next’ - The Who.

Albums for Lead Vocals:

‘A Night At The Opera’ – Queen.
‘Edens Edge' - Edens Edge.
'Ella Fitzgerald
Sings The Rodgers & Hart Songbook’.
‘Hotel California’ - Eagles.
‘Highway To Hell’ – AC/DC.
‘I'm Not Dead ’ – P!nk
‘Jagged Little Pill’ – Alanis Morissette (preferably the acoustic re-issue, but I love them both) .
‘Nine Lives’ – Aerosmith.
‘Past Masters: Volume One’ - The Beatles.
‘The Frank Sinatra Collection’.


Albums for Harmony Vocals:

‘A Day At The Races’ – Queen.
‘A Hard Day’s Night’ – The Beatles.
‘Arrival’ – Abba.
‘California Dreamin’ - The Mamas & The Papas.
‘Hotel California’ – Eagles.
‘Live At The Roxy Theatre’ – Brian Wilson.
‘Out Of The Blue’ – E.L.O.
‘Rumours’ – Fleetwood Mac.
‘The Air That I Breathe’ - The Hollies.
‘Tornado' - Little Big Town.


Desert Island Discs:

‘Blizzard Of Ozz’ – Ozzy Osbourne.
'Bridge Over Troubled Water' - Simon & Garfunkel.
‘Hotel California’ – Eagles.
'Machine Gun Etiquette' - The Damned.
‘Never Mind The Bollocks here’s The Sex Pistols’.
‘Regular Urban Survivors’ – Terrorvision.
'The Band Perry' - The Band Perry
'The Bends' - Radiohead.
'The Glitterati' - The Glitterati.
'Tonic for the Troops' - The Boomtown Rats.

Also, there often seems to be an album I have discovered, which seems to be up there, but could be simply because it still feels 'new' to listen to, having not had it for that long.
For me at the moment, that album is the debut CD from 'Edens Edge'.

This was the most difficult category to narrow down to only ten. The list has ended up as ten albums that are clearly my favourite by that artist, meaning that some of my favourite artists are not represented, as I could not decide which of their several great albums to include.

Others could have been:

AC/DC -
'
Highway To Hell', or 'If You want blood...You Got It'

Aerosmith -
'Toys in the Attic', 'Nine Lives', 'Just Push Play', or 'Get A Grip'

Ella Fitzgerald -
Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Rodgers & Hart Songbook’, or 'Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George & Ira Gershwin Songbook'.

Fleetwood Mac -
'Fleetwood Mac', or 'Rumours'

Foo Fighters -
'
The Colour And The Shape', or 'One By One'

Led Zeppelin -
'Led Zeppelin', 'Led Zeppelin II', or 'Physical Graffiti'


Paul Simon -
'
One Trick Pony', or 'Still Crazy After All These Years'

Pink Floyd -
'The Wall', 'Wish You Were Here', or 'Dark Side Of The Moon'

Queen -
'Jazz', 'Sheer Heart Attack', or 'A Day At The Races'

Steely Dan -
'Aja', or 'The Royal Scam'

The Beatles -
'Rubber Soul', 'Abbey Road', or 'A Hard Day's Night'

Van Halen -
'Van Halen', or 'Fair Warning'.

 

Without any question, my favourite 'Live' album is AC/DC's 'If You want blood...You Got It'.

 




 



Nick Brown - Guitar Tuition, Newport, South Wales.