Sure, you know all about David Bowie, but what about the musician behind the man? Mick Ronson and David Bowie – during the latter’s Ziggy Stardust years – made magic together. They started working together before that period, in 1970, and Ronson’s blues-inspired style was the perfect compliment for many singers.
Ronson loved the simple things of guitar work, saying that if you dazzle them, you’re not making much music; you’re just confusing them. David Bowie made a lot of great music, but by his own admission, it wouldn’t have been half as good without Ronson.
If someone like Keith Richards says he's in awe of your playing, chances are you're pretty good. Such is the case for Mick Taylor, who was only twenty when the Rolling Stones added him to their lineup to replace Brian Jones. The effects were immediate, with many of the Stone's tunes becoming enduring classics that music fans still enjoy.
He left the band a mere five years later, but many students of rock call this era of the Rolling Stones their most consistent and accomplished. Just give albums like “Exile on Main Street” or “Sticky Fingers” a spin to hear what he could do.
Solos might not have been his trademark, but Steve Cropper could still play with the best of them. He was the secret ingredient in many of the early great rock and soul songs. However, Cropper was fine not taking center stage. He liked being a band member, he liked making music with other people.
He can be heard on Sam and Dave's “Soul Man,” Booker T's “Green Onions,” and Otis Redding's “(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay.” He had his first hit as a teenager with “Last Night,” playing alongside the Mar-Keys, and his soulful additions can be heard in many other places, too.
Deep Purple is one of the most important bands in the history of rock and roll, and Ritchie Blackmore is the guitarist who helped forge them. If you know music even a little bit, you've heard the unforgettable riff from “Smoke on the Water,” which gave us the heavy, bluesy, classical-inspired music that eventually dominated the airwaves.
He gave his music an element of danger, something that bands like Metallica or Black Sabbath took even further and really started the metal scene. If you want to see where metal started, listen to a little more of Ritchie Blackmore.
From blues to progressive metal to singer-songwriter, the man can do it all, and he often does it with a guitar in his hands. That's not to say that's the only thing he can do – he excels on the keyboard, sings with the best of them, and can do much more, too.
He was the frontman for the genre-reviving progressive rock outfit Spock's Beard before he went his own way. He's constantly brought out stellar music in numerous groups and his solo band. He can play something beautiful on the acoustic during one song, then shred a minute-long solo on an electric the next.