What, exactly, is a guitar hero? Yes, yes, it’s a video game that vaguely simulates playing a real guitar. What else?
Yes, yes, it means someone who can rock the “expert level” on Guitar Hero
. But I mean before
A guitar hero was a guy–and it was almost always a guy–who had acheived a nearly supernatural mastery of the electric guitar. Guitar heroes are so good that other experts look to them to learn and for inspiration.
We can make a long list of such people: Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Jeff Beck. They were among the first to be declared guitar heroes. They pushed the limits of what could be done with the instrument and its attendant amplifiers, foot pedals and outboard gear.
More followed. Eddie Van Halen. Angus Young. The Edge from U2. Slash. Stevie Ray Vaughn. All excellent players to be sure, but what about guitar heroes from the world of alt-rock? Who achieved guitar hero status from the time things exploded in the early 90s?
They aren’t any better than the first generation of guitar heroes, but they are different. Let’s make a list.
Songs on this program:
Radiohead, House of Cards
The Struts, One Night Only
Queens of the Stone Age, No One Knows
RHCP, Breaking the Girl
White Stripes, Seven Nation Army
Prophets of Rage, Living on the 110
Eric Wilhite has, as usually, created this playlist for us.
The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:
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