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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Richard Thompson
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19. Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson is the greatest guitarist in British folk rock — and that's only one of the genres he has mastered. He was eighteen when he co-founded the English folk band Fairport Convention in 1967. By the time he left, in '71, Thompson had created a seamless world music for acoustic and electric guitar drawn from Celtic minstrelsy, psychedelia, Cajun dance tunes and Arabic scales. He is also one of Britain's finest singer-songwriters. His records with his former wife Linda, made between 1974 and 1982, are marvels of hair-raising musicianship and emotional candor. Try to see him live, with an electric band: The solos run long and wild.

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