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Rock's Greatest Guitar Players :: Blog

Stories behind the Guitars of Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones

Tuesday, August 20: 12:21 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Picture of Keith Richards' 1959 Gibson ES-355 electric guitar

In 1975, Ronnie Wood replaced Mick Taylor as guitarist for the Rolling Stones. It was another turning point for the band: “Ronnie was damn good glue for the band. He was a breath of fresh air,” said Richards. He and Richards went back to the band’s default rhythmic style, playing together to create the sound of a single intricate guitar. This compositional style had not been played consistently since Brian Jones’ tenure in the band. Wood helped to revitalize the band’s music and spirit, and it proved to be exactly what the Stones needed.

“’Beast of Burden’ is a good example of the two of us twinkling felicitously together,” said Richards. Wood’s slide guitar and pedal steel work made a big impact when recording and also on stage, and the chemistry between Wood and Richards can be heard when listening to Rolling Stones songs such as "It's Only Rock and Roll," "Hey Negrita," "Miss You," "Far Away Eyes" and "Start Me Up." 

These two Rolling Stones video clips go behind the scenes, highlighting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's latest major exhibit Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction, on view through March ...


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Gallery Talk: Duane Allman's 1959 Gibson Les Paul Guitars

Thursday, September 19: 11:30 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Duane Allman's highly prized 1959 Gibson Les Paul guitar, on exhibit at the Rock Hall

Please note that these guitars are no longer on exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

Few guitarists made as lasting an impression in such short order as Duane Allman. Beyond his work with the his namesake group and principal architects of Southern rock, the Allman Brothers Band, Duane was an in-demand session musician. A fixture at Muscle Shoals, Duane's playing can be heard on records by Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett, among others, and he famously traded licks with Eric Clapton on Derek and the Dominos' 1970 release Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.

This 1959 cherry sunburst Gibson Les Paul was acquired by Duane in the fall of 1970, after he fell in love with the instrument jamming with a band called the Stone Balloon in Daytona Beach, Florida. The guitar can be heard on the seminal Allman Brothers Band live concert recording At Fillmore East. Recorded at the famed NYC concert hall on March 12 and 13, 1971, sprawling jams such as "Whipping Post," inspired blues including a cover of "Statesboro Blues" and fiery, jazz-inspired epics like "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" showcased Allman's near-singular dexterity and versatility ...


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The Byrds' Eulogy for John F. Kennedy: "He Was a Friend of Mine"

Friday, November 22: 4 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Folk rock pioneers and 1991 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees the Byrds

In the early Sixties, Roger McGuinn had been playing with David Crosby and Gene Clark, billing themselves as the Beefeaters. When Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke joined that group in December 1964, they changed their name to the Byrds. Folk rock pioneers, the Byrds were once described by McGuinn as "Dylan meets the Beatles.” Fittingly, the group's first single, “Mr. Tambourine Man,” was written by Bob Dylan and reached Number One. They'd score another Number One hit in 1966 with "Turn! Turn! Turn!," based on a Bible passage set to music by Pete Seeger, but it was McGuinn's inspired reframing of a traditional folk song that made a poignant statement on 1965's Turn! Turn! Turn! album, transforming "He Was a Friend of Mine" into a eulogy for John F. Kennedy, two years after he was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

In 1965, the Byrds were charging forward, building their sound around the three-part harmonies of McGuinn, Clark and Crosby, and McGuinn's shimmering, jangling 12-string Rickenbacker guitar. Their album Turn! Turn! Turn! was released at the end of the year and its title track would go to Number One, but “He Was a Friend of Mine ...


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.38 Special Founding Member Jeff Carlisi Recalls Hearing Jimi Hendrix for the First Time

Wednesday, November 27: 3 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Jimi Hendrix live in 1968 / photo by Jeff Carlisi

 

In this exclusive interview with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, author, musician and .38 Special founding member and guitarist Jeff Carlisi shares his thoughts on legendary guitarist and Hall of Fame inductee Jimi Hendrix, including seeing Jimi Hendrix live in 1968.

"I actually saw Jimi Hendrix, and I still have photographs, I was a school photographer. I guess it was 1968 in Jacksonville, Florida. I don't remember anything about it. I look at the pictures, and I don't even remember being there, but I remember I had to see this guy because I remember sitting next to my grandmother's radio in Boston, Massachusetts, waiting all night long to hear this song that my cousin told me about, "Purple Haze." He couldn't describe it to me. I said, 'What does it sound like?' I had been playing guitar for a while and he said 'it was like nothing you've ever heard.' Finally it comes on and it was like, 'Oh my God -- you're kidding me.'

"Hendrix was a brilliant guitar player in the sense that he didn't play guitar -- guitar was his paintbrush. It was an extension of his mind. You could ...


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Graham Nash Gets High with Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones at a Frank Zappa Concert

Wednesday, November 27: 2:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Exclusive interview with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Graham Nash

 

In this exclusive Rock and Roll Hall of Fame interview with Hall of Fame Inductee Graham Nash, the musician talks about his experience getting high with Jimi Hendrix at a Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention concert, looking for Rolling Stones member Brian Jones.

"Jimi Hendrix and I once went to the Royal Albert Hall to see Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention. During the intermission, we spotted Brian Jones up in one of the boxes, and we wanted to go and get high with Brian. So, we got up from our seats, and we started to move along the seats and a spotlight found us. Now, quite frankly we were both on acid, so this bright light hitting us in the face when we thought that we were invisible was quite shocking to us, but we managed to make it all the way to Brian, to the box that Brian was in, and we managed to get higher than we were."

 


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40 Years Later: Guitarist Gary Rossington and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird"

Wednesday, December 4: 3 p.m.
Posted by Alexandra Fagan
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Gary Rossington

On December 4, 1951, Gary Rossington was born. One of the founding members and guitarist of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rossington played his way into Southern rock history.

This year marks Rossington’s 63rd birthday and also the 40-year anniversary of Lynyrd Skynyrd's debut album, (Pronounced 'leh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd), featuring the hit song “Free Bird.” The original 1973 version of "Free Bird" was truly wrenching: a nine-minute salute to a departed Southern brother Duane Allman, highlighted by Ronnie Van Zant's mournful vocals and relentless soloing from Allen Collins and Gary Rossington. (Skynyrd's trademark three-lead guitar lineup hadn't crystallized yet.) Rossington’s instrument of choice was his 1959 Gibson Les Paul guitar that is now on display in the Museum’s Architects of Rock exhibit. Fifties-era Gibson Les Paul guitars are among the most sought-after and costly guitars in the rock world, and when Rossington was finally able to purchase a 1959 model, he named it after his beloved mother Berneice. Rossington played slide guitar on “Free Bird.” (pictured below: Gary Rossington 1959 Gibson Les Paul, on exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum)

Despite saturation radio play since its first appearance ...


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Exclusive Interview with Robby Krieger of the Doors: Remembering Ray Manzarek, reconnecting with John Densmore and the Doors' Greatest Moments

Saturday, December 7: 9 a.m.
Posted by Jim Henke
Robby Krieger

Over the course of a short career that only lasted a little more than five years, the Doors had a tremendous impact on rock and roll. They were a truly unique group, with a singer, Jim Morrison, who was a genuine poet with an almost mythical persona. Unlike most bands at the time, the Doors did not have a bass player. Ray Manzarek played the bass lines on his keyboards. John Densmore was a solid, steady drummer. And Robby Krieger was an elegant guitarist with a distinctive style unlike the blues-based guitar leanings favored by most his six-string peers. 20 years after being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, Robby Krieger sits down for an exclusive interview with the Rock Hall, reflecting on the passing of friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek, patching up differences with John Densmore, the Doors' greatest moments, where the Doors would've gone had Jim Morrison lived, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, what he's listening to now and more.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: First, let’s talk about Ray Manzarek’s death…. Did you see that coming? Had he been sick for a while?

Doors guitarist Robby Krieger with Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarak

Robby Krieger: Not really ...


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Top 5 Keith Richards Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Moments

Wednesday, December 18: 3 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Keith Richards inducting the Ronettes in 2007

He’s a Rolling Stone, one of rock and roll's greatest guitarists, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and so much more. He’s Keith Richards. Born on December 18, 1943, in Dartford, England, Richards celebrates his 70th birthday in 2013, so we're taking a look back on some of his most memorable moments at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Richards inducted a handful of talented artists and always made his appearances memorable – as only Keith Richards could.

Keith Richards Inducts Chuck Berry at 1986 Induction Ceremony: “It’s very difficult for me to talk about Chuck because I lifted every lick he ever played.”

 

Keith Richards Inducts Johnnie Johnson and James Burton at 2001 Induction Ceremony: “It’s only rock ‘n’ roll. You’ve got to laugh. A sideman needs humor, incredible patience and usually more money than he ever gets.”

 

what guitars does Keith Richards play?GET A BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK AT SOME OF KEITH RICHARDS' AND RONNIE WOOD'S MOST FAMOUS GUITARS!

 

Keith Richards Inducts ZZ Top at 2004 Induction Ceremony: “When I first saw them I thought, I hope these guys are not on the run because that disguise is not going to work, man. You’re ...


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