Starting in 2012, GP unified all of its various tributes and awards under the Guitar Player Hall of Fame banner, and established an annual issue to announce the honorees. Here is the “Class of 2014.” Congrats to all….
GALLERY OF THE GREATS
Celebrating the guitarist who has most captured the ears of the GP staff the past year. The winner joins a community of transcendent players such as B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Les Paul, and Bonnie Raitt, who have attained membership since the Gallery’s debut in 1974.
Dr. May is having a busy year with a Queen+Adam Lambert tour, the Queen Extravaganza production, and a book about his iconic Red Special guitar. He also happens to be one of the most recognized and innovative guitarists in rock.
So it has taken this year’s 50th anniversary of the Beatles world-changing appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show to remind us of all the wonder, awe, and thrills of George Harrison’s contributions to rock guitar. Mission accomplished. Thanks, George!
CERTIFIED LEGEND AWARD
Inspired by Chet Atkins’ phrase “Certified Guitar Player”—and typically bestowed at NAMM during Muriel Anderson’s All-Star Guitar Night— this award debuted in 2003 with Les Paul as the first recipient.
Aerosmith’s Joe Perry is a triple-threat as one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time, an inductee to the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame (just slightly more prestigious than our HOF, right?), and a member of ASCAP’s Songwriters Hall of Fame. He can definitely launch a mean and catchy riff, and he’s still rocking in a band that continues to remain vital and relevant.
As a member of the Runaways at just 16 years old, Lita Ford kicked the “jail bait on the run” promo gimmick of the mid- ’70s girl group to the curb by playing some fiery and raw lead guitar. Moving on to a solo career in the ’80s, Ford continued to inspire players with her “no prisoners” approach to hard rock. She continues to make records and tour today, and, trust us, she is as badass as ever.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Since 1983, this award has recognized and celebrated the pioneers of guitarcraft.
It was a huge shock when Johnny Winter passed away in the midst of a tour—and just before the release of his latest album, Step Back— on July 16 of this year. Obviously, this was a massive loss for blues, blues-rock, and all things Texas guitar. His own transcendent skills notwithstanding, Winter also “paid it forward” by producing three Grammy-winning albums for the late blues legend Muddy Waters.