Top 10 80′s Guitarists

It’s a real pleasure to be able to bring you another Top 10 from one of my first guests, Jenna Cosgrove.  You can find out more about Jenna at her blog ‘Jenna Cosgrove’ and at her excellent ‘Pop Eighties Blog’

Follow Jenna on Twitter @JennalsWriting

Jenna’s Top 10 80′s Guitarists

10.  The Edge

Also known as David Howell Evans, the Edge is the lead guitarist for U2. At one stage there was no bigger band in the world and they had stacks of hits in the 80s. They had a distinctive pop sound, partially due to Edge’s very capable playing style.


9. Brian May

Another massive, powerhouse band – Queen. I am sure Queen will live on in musical history due to the epic quality of their songs, especially Bohemian Rhapsody. You only have to listen to the guitar work on that song to realize how talented Brian May really was.


8. Angus Young

Angus is the long-suffering lead guitarist from AC/DC (or AccaDacca where I’m from!). He’s been there since the start and his hard-rocking guitar work has blazed across such hits as You Shook Me All Night Long, Highway to Hell and Long Way to the Top.


7. Joe Perry

Alright, Aerosmith are probably more of a 70s band than an 80s band, but they were still making music and producing hits in the 80s, so I’m claiming him as ours! Joe Perry is the type of guitarists who inspires other guitarists – he has a long list of fans and with good reason, when you listen to his contribution to Aerosmith’s biggest hits!


6. Kirk Hammett

Metallica!!! Easily one of the best metal bands of all time. Hammett has been a fixture in the band since the early 80s and wrote most of their best riffs, such as the amazing one that helped make Enter Sandman such a rocking, monster song. Hammett even has his own brand of wah-wah pedal, the guitar pedal that has defined his sound.


5. Mark Knopfler

The guitarist for Dire Straits, and also their vocalist. Dire Straits were an enduring pop band with hits such as Romeo and Juliet and Sultans of Swing. Knopfler has played with Bob Dylan, Bryan Ferry and Eric Clapton, but I think the coolest thing he has ever done is score one of the best ever 80s movies, the Princess Bride!


4. Eddie Van Halen

Van Halen is surely one of the best recognized names in the music biz. The band were huge in the 80s, pumping out hard rock songs like Jump and Why Can’t This Be Love. The name Van Halen is also synonymous with great guitar playing. Eddie has influenced a heck of a lot of guitarists then and since.


3. Marc Moreland

The guitarist for 80s new wave band, Wall of Voodoo. They are a cult band and you might not have heard of them – if not, you should get yourself to iTunes immediately! Moreland is one of the most innovative players of all time, incorporating lots of different styles into one, including Spaghetti Western themes and bursts of well-placed feedback. If you want to hear a truly mind-blowing guitar solo, listen to the end of Wall of Voodoo’s cover of Ring of Fire. Amazing stuff!


2. Joe Satriani

Satriani is the guitarist’s guitarist. He has worked as an instrumentalist, a session player and a guitar teacher. You can find his name alongside names like Metallica, Mick Jagger, Deep Purple and Robert Fripp. He has a very accomplished, clean playing style and it’s not hard to see why he’s one of the most respected players of all time.


1. Slash

Choosing who should take out the #1 spot was certainly difficult! But I believe that no one personifies 80s guitarists quite like Slash from Guns n Roses. GnR were a revelation when they hit the airwaves in the mid-80s and they changed the face of the biz, both with their music and their antics. No one lived hard rock quite like these boys! Their music was fast, hard and dangerous and Slash’s unbelievable playing tipped it over the edge. His playing has such a distinctive style it’s almost like a voice – instantly recognizable and someone no one else is able to emulate. Pivotal moments include the solos in Sweet Child o’ Mine and November Rain – but every GnR song showcases the natural (or is that unnatural?) talent of this true guitar genius.

Many thanks Jenna, you have revived a few memories there! Let us know if there is anyone that think Jenna should have included.

  • Dragon

    Great List!
    I would have landed Eddie Van Halen in at least the top 5 if not THE top spot.
    Still a good list though!

  • Usfutbol07

    Where’s Prince? I wouldn’t be suprised if Prince could outplay everyone on your list.

    And where’s SRV? No doubt he could outplay everyone on this list.

    • Zachary

      And also Yngwie Malmsteen, where’s he?

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  • Rking

    prince is good but you over looked cc. deville

  • http://www.v-picks.com/ guitar picks

    These are very recognizable guitar players that even the generation of today can identify, probably even to those who are not die hard rock fans but aware of various music genre. Guitar playing can surely help a band become the best in the world, thanks of course to the best guitar players like those in the list.

  • bob

    I agree about Prince, he was/is an incredible musician, showman, composer and very capable guitarist (he probably can play most rock band instruments at a very high level). Check out the George Harrison tribute concert, his guitar weeps alright! also, what about Rhoads? Wylde? Lifesome? Vai? Mustaine/Friedman? Lifeson? Jack E. Lee? Lynch? Gilbert? DeMartini? Beach? Steve Stevens is underrated. It’s too hard to make a top 10 list because all these guys are/were good and all contributed to that “80′s” sound.

  • strev

    a good joke, sir…
    you forgot Prince, Johnny Marr, Peter Buck etc&

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