100 Greatest Guitarists: David Fricke's Picks

From Jerry Garcia and Joan Jett to B.B. King and Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stone critic chooses the best and most influential guitarists in rock

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Eddie Hazel
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43. Eddie Hazel

Hazel was the guitar visionary of George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic empire. Born in Brooklyn in 1950, Hazel grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey, where he fell in with Clinton's funk mob. For the title track to Funkadelic's 1971 album Maggot Brain, Clinton famously asked Hazel to imagine the saddest possible thing. Thinking of his mother's death, Hazel unleashed ten minutes of sad acid-rock guitar moans. "Maggot Brain" became a landmark, and Hazel inspired disciples from Sonic Youth to the Chili Peppers with a Strat full of cosmic slop. Hazel died in 1992. They played "Maggot Brain" at his funeral. You can still hear his soulfully twisted freakouts in P-Funk gems such as "I'll Bet You," "Music for My Mother" and "Standing on the Verge of Getting It On."

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