One thing I often wonder about is what – in the reckoning of musicians – separates good, but second-tier, rock guitarists from guitar legends like Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton? As I am not a musician, I can only evaluate rock guitar playing in terms of whether or not I enjoy the piece … and frankly, that’s pretty darn subjective. So I’m interested in what objective observations the Dope’s guitarniks can offer about folks like the following players (names followed by favorite guitar performance, IMHO):
Joe Walsh - “Funk #49”, “Walk Away”
Brian May - “We Are the Champions”, “Stone Cold Crazy”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
Martin Barre - “Locomotive Breath”, “Cross Eyed Mary”, “Teacher”
Tommy Shaw - “Renegade”, “Blue Collar Man”, “Come Sail Away”, “Suite Madame Blue”
Mark Knopfler - “Skateaway”, “Sultans of Swing”
What particularly, in the opinions of the musically knowledgeable, keeps these guys from being mentioned alongside the Hendrixes and Claptons? Is it raw skill? Opportunity – could any of these guys have been legends in another situation? Perhaps overshadowing by a bandmate in the cases of Barre and May?