We assembled a panel of top guitarists and other experts to rank their favorites and explain what separates the legends from everyone else. Best known for the gargantuan riff at the heart of Deep Purple 's "Smoke on the Water," Ritchie Blackmore helped define heavy-metal guitar by mixing intricate classical composition with raw-knuckled blues rock. He looked back toward early European music with his next band, Rainbow — even learning cello to write 's stomping "Stargazer" — and now explores Renaissance-style fingerpicking with Blackmore's Night. But it's his Deep Purple work that influenced a generation of handbangers. Muddy was there at the beginning, in the Delta, actually sitting at the feet of Charley Patton and Son House. He was a kid when those guys were in their prime. Then he electrified it. There was a physicality in the way he played the guitar — percussive, like a drum.
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Jeff Beck , original name in full Geoffrey Arnold Beck , born June 24, , Wallington, Surrey , England , English rock guitarist whose fast intricate playing influenced the development of the heavy metal and jazz-rock genres and made him one of the most respected guitarists in rock music. A supporting stint with rock-and-roll eccentric Screaming Lord Sutch brought young guitarist Beck to the attention of blues-rock group the Yardbirds , whose lead guitarist he became in , replacing Eric Clapton. On Truth and Beck-Ola , the band pioneered a fierce, overdriven approach to the blues that lay the groundwork for early heavy metal. Stewart and Wood left in to join the Small Faces later the Faces , and Beck was injured in a car accident later that year, forcing him to put his career on hiatus. After its negative reception the trio disbanded, and Beck embarked on a solo career. He would record largely without vocals for the rest of his career.
While he was as innovative as Jimmy Page , as tasteful as Eric Clapton , and nearly as visionary as Jimi Hendrix , Jeff Beck never achieved the same commercial success as any of those contemporaries, primarily because of the haphazard way he approached his career. After Rod Stewart left the Jeff Beck Group in , Beck never worked with a charismatic lead singer who could have helped sell his music to a wide audience. Furthermore, he was simply too idiosyncratic, moving from heavy metal to jazz fusion within a blink of an eye.
Their innovative approach to heavy-sounding blues , rhythm and blues and rock was a major influence on popular music. The first Jeff Beck Group formed in London in early and included guitarist Jeff Beck , vocalist Rod Stewart , and rhythm guitarist Ronnie Wood , with bass players and drummers changing regularly. The line-up went through months of personnel changes, notably no fewer than four drummers before settling on Aynsley Dunbar and switching Wood to bass. Beck signed a personal management contract with record producer and manager Mickie Most , who had no interest in the group, only in Beck as a solo artist. During the band released three singles in Europe and two in the United States, the first, " Hi Ho Silver Lining ", being the most successful, reaching No. Waller went on to play with the band all through and early , and was their longest-lasting drummer. Peter Grant , a road manager at the time, had been to the US with the New Vaudeville Band , and was aware of the new concert and album-oriented rock FM radio format developing there. It was now possible to break out a band without using the "hit single" formula. Grant realised that Beck's band was ideal for this market and tried several times to buy Beck's contract from Mickie Most, who refused to let Beck go.