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Dickey Betts

NEW YORK - MARCH 16: Dickey Betts and Jon Gutwillig perform at the 4th Annual JAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on March 16, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Roberto Rabanne/Getty Images)

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From 1969 to 1971, Duane Allman swooped and soared while Betts kept
the music moving with lyrical boogie. After Duane's death, Betts
handled both roles. He also wrote many of the Allmans' best-known
songs, including "Ramblin' Man" and the instrumental "Jessica."

58

Dickey Betts

From 1969 to 1971, Duane Allman swooped and soared while Betts kept
the music moving with lyrical boogie. After Duane's death, Betts
handled both roles. He also wrote many of the Allmans' best-known
songs, including "Ramblin' Man" and the instrumental "Jessica."

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.

56

Tom Verlaine

There was punk energy propelling Television, but guitarist Tom
Verlaine was no angry primitive hacking at the strings. He used a
crisp, needling attack and favored long, carefully developed
exchanges with guitarist Richard Lloyd. The result was music of
Coltrane-like depth at a time when the spastic outburst was the
norm.

55

Ritchie Blackmore

The Deep Purple and Rainbow leader is a master of both bottom-line
riffs and jaw-dropping virtuoso flights. It's ironic that despite
his classical leanings, this master technician is best-known for
one of the most simplest riffs of all time: Purple's "Smoke on the
Water."

54

Jorma Kaukonen

Jefferson Airplane's and Hot Tuna's Kaukonen is a gifted
fingerpicker and bluesman who developed a raga-inflected style as
the Airplane's folk rock grew increasingly psychedelic. His
acid-rock peak may be "Spare Chaynge," nine minutes of jamming on
After Bathing at Baxter's that grew out of his admiration
for Cream.

53

Mickey Baker

Baker may have been the busiest session guitarist of the Fifties
— it's his brittle playing that underpins R&B classics
such as Joe Turner's "Shake, Rattle and Roll" and the Drifters'
"Money Honey." But it's his million-selling 1956 duet with Sylvia
Vanderpool, "Love Is Strange," that's his crowning achievement.
Those keening licks and hectic chords sound as unearthly today as
they did five decades ago.

52

Lou Reed

Reed's ramrod stroke makes him one of the all-time great rhythm
players, and he brought a thrilling sense of anarchy to his leads.
With the Velvet Underground, he established a sound that owed as
much to free-jazz maverick Ornette Coleman as to "Louie Louie."

51

Paul Kossoff

Kossoff's solos for British hard-rock pioneers Free —
particularly in the radio classic "All Right Now" — are
better-known than his name, but he is admired by guitarists for the
economy of his lines and the purity of his tone. He made his
presence felt by what he did not play, and the exquisite way he
sculpted what he did.

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