The '80s were known as a real golden age for the world of hard rock. While the pop sphere was going through its own period of huge sounding tracks, the huge riffs of the '70s had exploded with new bands popping up at every corner. Though there were plenty of rock stars to go around, there was something slightly mysterious about the one with the guitar in their hands.
The guitarist is always the coveted spot in a rock act, getting the maximum amount of attention while still being able to shy away from the spotlight when you get the chance. Once the '80s started though, the guitarist became a fully fledged rock god, with some even outshining the spotlight of the singer. Instead of carrying on with long jams or playing poppy songs, you could just as easily be entertained with these guys shredding away for five minutes. However, it's not only what you play but also how you play it.
Aside from just being tremendous musicians, these guitarists also knew how to put just the right amount of emotion into their performances to keep the audience engaged every time they hit the stage. From technicians to steady rhythmic titans, these are the artists that helped shape the finesse of guitarists going forward.
10. Glenn Tipton - Judas Priest
Anyone who considers themselves a metalhead has journeyed through the halls of Judas Priest countless times. From the relentless percussion attack to the feral shriek of Rob Halford, the band had practically everything you could ask for from a metal outfit. Though they were one of the first to employ a two-guitar attack, Glenn Tipton was the real technician of the group.
Whenever you hear a Judas Priest riff, the massive sound of the guitars hits you like a jackhammer, as Tipton and his partner in crime KK Downing chug away. For the most part, KK is known as the madman on stage, using solos as an opportunity to squeeze the life out of his guitar. While spectacle is one facet of rock and roll, Tipton’s strengths lie in his ability to blow you away with pure music.
Regardless of what decade the Priest found themselves in, Tipton could tear your head off with some of his solos, as he weaved in and out of the song while staying incredibly melodic. For as frenetic as the playing could be, there was a calculated nature to it, with Tipton going on melodic runs much like an opera singer would. Rob Halford may have been the Metal God, but the amount of kickass Tipton had with a six-string was what really captured the hearts of millions.