Top 5 Guitarists Of The 80s


Eddie Van Halen guitar by IncaseAh, 80s rock.  Hair spray, spandex, studs, leather, bandanas, parachute pants… Okay, while we may not necessarily miss the fashion, we do miss the music.  So let’s listen to some of that here courtesy isolated studio tracks from some top guitarists of the era.

Our list is somewhat skewed to those that we can find multitrack masters for, but all the same, these guitar players all belong on any top list.  A larger list would certainly add AC/DC’s Angus Young, alone for the work on seminal 1980 album Back In Black, Reb Beach of Winger, C.C. Deville of Poison, U2’s The Edge, and Stevie Ray Vaughan among others. Anyway, here goes (in no particular order):

5. Kirk Hammett

Artist: MetallicaKirk Hammett by markwainwright

In darker, heavier rock, one of the big names of the decade was certainly Metallica. While not considered the most technically proficient guitarist of the decade, Kirk Hammett produced memorable riffs that helped cement Metallica’s position as a heavy rock powerhouse. Hammett joined the band in 1983 when the group decided to fire original guitarist Dave Mustaine.

Here are some tracks of Hammett’s work from the 80s time period:

Metallica | Master Of Puppets (multitrack)

Metallica | One (multitrack)

4. Alex Lifeson

Artist: Rush

Coming from more of a progressive rock background paved by Rush’s 70s releases, Alex Lifeson was also considered amongst Alex Lifeson by ceedub13the top guitarists by the 80s. His imaginative guitar parts complimented Geddy Lee’s bass and vocal lines as the group moved from longer concept-oriented work to more radio-friendly fare such as these two hits from the 80s:

Editor Note: Rush tracks are not available at the moment.

3. Randy Rhoads

Artist: Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot

Another talented player who burst onto the scene was Ozzy Osbourne band member Randy Rhoads.  Classically trained, Rhoads also played in Quiet Riot in the late 70s before joining Osbourne’s band and was knorandy rhoads flick public domainwn for great technique.  Sadly, he died at age 25 in a plane crash in Florida.  Rhoads had reluctantly agreed to go on a short joyride in a small plane which ended up clipping Osbourne’s parked tour bus and crashed.

Here are some examples of Rhoads’ work:

Ozzy Osbourne | Crazy Train (Randy Rhoads guitar only)

Ozzy Osbourne | Mr. Crowley (Randy Rhoads guitar only)



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