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Hendrix hits top note again as best guitarist in history

Jimi Hendrix has been named by Rolling Stone magazine as the greatest guitarist in rock history.

Pete Townshend, the Who guitarist, says in an interview with the magazine that Hendrix "made the electric guitar beautiful". He recalls that he was so overwhelmed with emotion at one of the American's "profoundly powerful" concerts that he found himself holding hands with fellow musician Eric Clapton.

Townshend himself was ranked 50th in the poll, which was drawn up by a panel of experts appointed by the magazine. Clapton, who was placed fourth, was the highest-rated British guitarist in the table.

But the magazine, often referred to as the rock Bible, has no time for rock chicks. Only two women made it into the top 100, Joni Mitchell at 72 and Joan Jett at 87.

The findings follow a poll by Total Guitar earlier this month, in which Tracy Chapman was the only female among 440 guitarists nominated by readers. Chapman did not rank in the top 100, which was also topped by Hendrix.

Seattle-born Hendrix, who had hits such as "Purple Haze", "Voodoo Chile" and "Hey Joe", died in London in 1970 at the age of 27. Rolling Stone named him ahead of Duane Allman of the 1970s Florida-based rock group the Allman Brothers Band, in its guitarists hall of fame. BB King, the blues guitarist who was one of Hendrix's greatest influences, was placed at number three. The magazine said King, 77, was rated so highly because "his string bending and vibrato made his famous guitar, Lucille, weep like a woman".

In fifth place was Robert Johnson, who died aged 27 in 1938 and is credited with being one of the most influential blues musicians.

Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards, Chuck Berry, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Ry Cooder also made it into the top 10.

Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, Noel Gallagher of Oasis and Joe Strummer of the Clash were among the British guitar heroes to fail to make the top 100.


1 Jimi Hendrix

2 Duane Allman

3 B.B.King

4 Eric Clapton

5 Robert Johnson

6 Chuck Berry

7 Stevie Ray Vaughan

8 Ry Cooder

9 Jimmy Page

10 Keith Richards