Monday, 21 July 2003

Hendrix tops guitar album poll

Jimi Hendrix's pioneering classic Are You Experienced has been named the greatest guitar album of all time more than 30 years since its release. The 1967 release, which spawned classics such as Foxy Lady and Fire, was chosen by a panel of music writers and experts.

The Beatles failed to make even the top 20 although the writers thought their 1966 effort Revolver, with its backward guitar snatches on Tomorrow Never Knows, deserved a place in the list of the 100 greatest guitar albums. The Who were runners-up with 1965's My Generation and a self-titled 1962 compilation by bluesman Howlin' Wolf completed the top three.

Left-handed musician Hendrix made it to number two in the UK charts with his debut album Are You Experienced, continuing the promise shown on earlier singles Hey Joe and Purple Haze. He had perfected his incendiary style in the clubs of Greenwich village in New York, but found fame after being brought to the UK by former Animals bass player Chas Chandler.

Are You Experienced showcased his incredible talent as well as his range of innovative guitar sounds using an array of electronic boxes. Music writer Ritchie Unterberger said: "It's impossible to cram all the innovative ways of playing an electric guitar that Hendrix pioneered on his first album into one paragraph.

"Foremost among them were his use of controlled feedback coaxing both oceanic waves and subtle flutters; his mastery of a huge range of high volume distorted tones and his piercing, clear lightning-quick blues runs."

Two albums from the Nineties make it into the top ten - Loveless by My Bloody Valentine and Radiohead's The Bends. Only one album since Radiohead's 1995 release is thought to be worthy of the top 100 - Elephant by The White Stripes which was released this year.

Although hardly high on technical merit The Ramones debut album with its straightforward three-chord romps is included for its primitive excitement.

The top ten are:

1. Are You Experienced - Jimi Hendrix Experience.

2. My Generation - The Who.

3. Howlin' Wolf - Howlin' Wolf.

4. Maggot Brain - Funkadelic.

5. Loveless - My Bloody Valentine.

6. The Bends - Radiohead.

7. Ramones - Ramones.

8. Genius Of The Electric Guitar - Charlie Christian.

9. New Orleans Street Singer - Snooks Eaglin.

10. The Rock'N'Roll Trio - Johnny Burnette And The Rock'N'Roll Trio.

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