RS Is At It Again
When I saw Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 100 Guitarists (RS 1145), I thought ‘cool!’ These lists are always slightly off, but it oughta be a good read. Right?
WRONG! I had to hold back my bile as I saw their rankings. When I looked at who had voted, there were some great names there. But who chose the order? How did this abomination even happen?
I prepared a great big rant in my head, all about how wrong the list was, how the ordering was askew and disproportionate, and how I just hate RS magazine in general. And then, in the middle of the brewing tirade, I had a moment of clarity. The sun broke through the cumulous storm clouds and I understood. The list is idiotic. Most of what passes for music journalism in that magazine is idiotic. So it was my fault, really, for expecting better of them. For hoping that they might (for once) do something of interest and value. And after that, I felt so much better, though I still had a zillion questions…
One might not argue with Hendrix at #1. Or you might, I dunno. That’s a getting-high late-night debate. But really, for the top 15, they’re all interchangeable. It’s lower in the list that the weirdness begins.
How is it that Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell are the only two women (out of the 100 players) in the list? (Though they let four other women vote).
How is it they can include James Hetfield and not Kirk Hammett (though he got a vote)?
How is it they can leave the (surely deserving) Mike McCready off the list (though he too got a vote)? Or, for that matter, Brian May! A vote, but no place on the list!
How is it that Jack White can rank one place higher than Robert Johnson? All deference to Jack, but C’MON! Even if you were to argue that this is a matter of personal taste, or that modern readers would better identify with White’s playing, it is still true that Johnson would play circles around White.
Dimebag Darrell is #92 out of 100? Joe Perry is #84? Hell, Muddy Waters is buried way back at #49?!?! And WTF is Alex Lifeson doing totally insulted way down at #98? Have you people even heard any Rush songs other than Tom Sawyer?
Where is Django Reinhardt? Buddy Guy? Steve Vai? Or Jeff Healey (don’t forget, he could play WAY better than you, and he was blind!)?. Why is Kurt Cobain #73 while Joe Perry is #84? To whom does this make even a twisted sort of sense?
I could go on. And on.
Again, I just have to shake my head and tell myself not to get so worked up about this. Very little in this magazine pleases me. I don’t even know why I continue to read it. But honestly, people, if you’re gonna go to all the work of making a cover story for a national music magazine about the Top 100 Guitarists Of All Time, could you not at least try to have it make some sense?
Even knowing it’s an idiotic list, it still makes me tired. And mad. Screw you, RS.