Born on July 12th, 1967, in New York City, Petrucci attended Berklee College of Music in Boston with his childhood friend John Myung. The pair met Mike Portnoy, and together with another friend Kevin Moore, the four created Dream Theater. In a group full of some of the best musicians in the world, Petrucci’s playing stands out.
His high-speed alternate picking requires mastery of the instrument, and his speed while playing some of Dream Theater’s faster songs puts most other axemen to shame. He’s also been lauded for his slower, emotive playing. Influenced by some of the best, he is now one of the best.
As the first hard rock band fronted by women, Nancy Wilson certainly deserves a spot on this list. The American musician rose to prominence alongside her older sister, singer Ann Wilson in the band Heart. Wilson was playing as a teen and, by college, in 1974, followed her sister into the iconic band. The group started with fellow members Steve Fossen, Roger Fisher, David Belzer, and Jeff Johnson.
One of the band's fundamental attributes is its versatile set of musical styles, which has covered genres including everything from heavy metal to easy listening and more. The band has sold over 35 million records worldwide to date and has been ranked as one of the greatest hard rock bands of all time. Also, in 2013, Heart was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Best known for his incredible guitar work in the two bands Journey and Bad English, Neal Schon Schon has made two of the most prestigious lists in the world of rock music; the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as part of the band Journey.) His guitar contribution in Journey was particularly great. The San Francisco band was during the early '70s by former Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch members.
The band's style is viewed as a mixture of progressive rock and jazz, and arena rock. The journey is often heard references in media, films, theatre, games, and even theater. USA Today ranked the band as the 5th best rock band in history. "Don't Stop Believin'" is a perfect gateway into the band's iconic melodies. While Schon's guitar stylings are integral to Journey's greatness, his best solo can be heard in Straight to Your Heart (1991) by Bad English.
If you want to talk about being fast, Michael Romeo is the man to speak to. His shredding has been melting face since 1994, when he formed the progressive metal band Symphony X. Whether he's building the chords of a ballad underneath singer Russell Allen's singing or running through the mind-bending solo of a half-hour long song about Plato's “The Odyssey,” Romeo displays an incredible mastery of his chosen instrument.
If you like fast playing, you're probably a fan of Romeo, whether or not you know it. He also loves to put classical touches from Mozart or Beethoven into his playing. A man of culture.
As a co-founder and guitarist for the heavy metal band Quiet Riot, Rhoads set the stage for the hard-pounding music that plenty of us love even to this day. He joined frontman Ozzy Osbourne, delivering some of the most hair-raising solos yet on songs such as “Crazy Train” and “Mr. Crowley.” “Crazy Train” in particular, has one of the most recognizable riffs in heavy metal.
Rhoads popularized numerous now-commonplace techniques, such as two-hand tapping and dive bombs (rapidly lowering the pitch of a note using the whammy bar). Sadly, Rhoads passed away in 1982 at the age of 25 during an ill-planned flight.