Music History

Published on January 13th, 2019 | by Alan Cross


The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 841: Modern Guitar Heroes 1–The Men

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 all that.

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

Tool, Stinkfist

White Stripes, Seven Nation Army

Muse, Starlight

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:

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.

If you ever miss a show, you can always get the podcast edition available through iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your on-demand audio.

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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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2 Responses to The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 841: Modern Guitar Heroes 1–The Men

  1. Michael Murphy says:

    Where is Mike Mcready?

  2. Tom says:

    No Randy Rhoads?

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