69. Richard Thompson
Richard Thompson has been one of rock's most dazzling stylists since his days with Fairport Convention, a British folk-rock band that veered into English traditional music. Shooting out life-affirming riffs amid lyrics that made you want to jump off a bridge, he combined a rock flatpick attack with speedy fingerpicking. His electric-guitar solos, rooted less in blues than in Celtic music, can be breathtaking, but his acoustic picking is just as killer; no one knows how many tears have been shed by players trying to nail "1952 Vincent Black Lightning."
Key Tracks: "Shoot Out the Lights," "1952 Vincent Black Lightning"