Friday, July 18, 2014

Johnny Winter, the famous...

...rock 'n' roller, died at age 70. From his obit in the Times:

Mr. Winter has been ranked the 63rd greatest guitar player of all time by Rolling Stone...

And I thought, Wait a minute; are you sure he wasn't the 62nd or 64th greatest guitar player ever?

I guess it's time for one of my periodic rants about the foolishness of ranking things, especially the top 100 of anything. Now, I'll grant you Rolling Stone has assembled a pretty impressive panel of judges, but can anyone really say that Mr. Winter was a better guitarist than Duane Eddy but not quite as good as Robert Fripp? And does it really matter? Can't it just suffice to say that Winter was a really, really good guitarist and leave it at that?

What is it about our fascination with always ranking things? Does it stem from some primal need of ours to impose order on an otherwise chaotic and random universe? Does it really make us more comfortable to think we have definitive answers to impossible questions?

P. S. In case you were wondering -- and you know you were! -- Jimi Hendrix was voted the best guitarist of all time.

P. P. S. And there were three guys with the surname King in the top 15: Freddy (No. 15), Albert (No. 13) and B. B. (No. 6). Go figure.

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