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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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Roy Buchanan
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Michael Ochs Archive/Getty57/100

57. Roy Buchanan

In 1971, a documentary about Roy Buchanan aired on public TV; it was called The Best Unknown Guitarist in the World. The title remains apt today. Buchanan's gritty blues-rock playing entranced other guitarists such as Jeff Beck. But the Washington, D.C., virtuoso never caught the break he deserved, and in 1988, at age forty-eight, he took his own life while in jail for public drunkenness.

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