Friday, April 14, 2006

The Greatest Year for Rock Lead Guitar?

In my opinion there are only 2 possible years that could earn this distinction. 1969 or 1978. Now, I can't equivocate in terms of importance or influence - 1969 would win hands down. Especially if you add in 1968 (even adding 1979 to balance it out). But I have to say, in terms of QUANTITY and QUALITY - I have to give the nod to 1978. Your thoughts?

Led Zep I AND Led Zep II
Santana (debut)
Jeff Beck Group - Beck-Ola
Cream - Goodbye
Fleetwood Mac - Then Play On
Frank Zappa - Uncle Meat AND Hot Rats

OK, I may be on thin ground, but I'm holding out for 1978. Here's what just missed the cut - they came out in 1968.

Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland
Cream - Wheels of Fire
Jeff Beck Group - Truth (if this record had come out in '69, I would have to give the nod to that year, but alas it didn't).

Now, before I get to my main argument for 1978, here's what bookends it.

Steely Dan - Aja
Santana - Moonflower
UFO - Light Out

Pat Travers - Live-Go For What You Know
AC/DC - Highway to Hell
Scorpions - Lovedrive
Thin Lizzy - Black Rose

OK, now for the core list. Remember, we're just talking LEAD GUITAR. Just guitar, nothing else.

UK - with Holdsworth
The Who - Who Are You (surely Pete's finest hour in terms of lead guitar, no?)
AC/DC - Powerage
Dire Straits (not a favorite of mine, but...)
Journey - Infinity
REO Speedwagon - You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish
Rainbow - Long Live Rock and Roll
Gary Moore - Back on the Streets
Thin Lizzy - Live and Dangerous
UFO - Obsession AND Strangers In The Night (this is, to me, the lead guitar One-Two punch that balances out LZ I & II)
Van Halen

Have I made my point? Any years I'm missing that might contend? Anything I've missed? You can check here: