We have lost far too many Rockers before their time due to various reasons. It is my intent to talk about their contributions to and what they might have contributed had they lived. Because there are so many, we will focus on four guitarists tonight.
James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was ahead of his time. He took playing to an all new level and combined great stage presence. He was also an innovator in the studio as well, I remember talking to a studio engineer once who told me that one thing the did in the studio for Jimi was to lower his amplifier down an elevator shaft and then suspended a microphone above it to capture a unique sound. I often wonder what direction Jimi would have taken had he lived, and what modern guitarists would sound like. Here are my two favorite Jimi Hendrix tracks:
“Waterfall (May This Be Love)”:
Thomas Richard “Tommy” Bolin (August 1, 1951 – December 4, 1976) remains one of my favorite guitarists to this day. Tommy, in my opinion, is so underrated as a player. How many other guitarists do you know that have replaced both Joe Walsh AND Ritchie Blackmore? Tommy did both, he replaced Joe in the James Gang from 1973 to 1974, and Ritchie in Deep Purple from 1975 to 1976. My favorite remains his solo work. Tommy, like Jimi before him, was ahead of his time in playing style, effects usage, hairstyles, and fashion. There is always the thought in my mind as to what greatness Tommy could have progressed into. Do yourself a favor and check out Tommy’s stuff!
Randall William Rhoads (December 6, 1956 – March 19, 1982) I was fortunate to have seen Randy in concert with Ozzy a few months before his tragic passing. It was awesome to say the least. Randy was so fluid on stage, and his playing, flawless. The style with which he played showed his classical skill. His passing during his stellar rise shocked us all. The influence Randy had on today’s guitarists can still be heard. What more could he have given us? Where would rock guitar be if he was still with us?
Darrell Lance Abbott (August 20, 1966 – December 8, 2004), also known as Diamond Darrell and Dimebag Darrell. When Dime hit the scene EVERYONE noticed. Here was another young guitar player with AWESOME chops. Together with Pantera, his in your face style of playing gave hope to ROCK N’ Rollers everywhere. The onstage murder of Dime shocked the world and left us in awe and disbelief. Although Pantera seemed on the outs, Dime and Damageplan were poised to take over. I know the world will always wonder how much more there was in Dime’s bag of tricks. I feel that as a player he would have continued to grow and influence others. Let’s listen to a couple of tracks from Dime that are not normally heard:
Rebel Meets Rebel “Nothin’ to Lose”
Four guitarists we lost far too soon!! Listen to them and gain influence from them. We will never let them fade away!
Happy Birthday Brother Dime! We love you now, and always!
PART 2: VOCALISTS!