Sep 082010

Great guitarist, natural blonde.

Blondes may have more fun, but brunettes play more guitar solos. Beside Duane Allman and Johnny Winter how many blonde guitar greats come to mind?

Let’s not confuse this thread with a future thread on rock’s hottest blonde guitarists. And let’s rule out rock’s obvious bottle blonde guitarists. Some guitarists’ natural hair color may be open to debate. Clearly Billy Zoom bleached his hair, but is it possible his natural hair color was a shade of blonde? Does his bleached collar more or less match his cuffs?

Most likely I’m overlooking a dozen obvious blonde guitar greats, but 10 minutes of research and reflection tell me I’m onto something.


  41 Responses to “Rock’s Best Blonde Guitarists”

  1. Is Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures) a blonde, or more of a sandy redhead? It seems to vary based on what picture I’m looking at.

  2. Mr. Moderator

    I’d call him a strawberry blonde.

    Now, do we count strawberry blondes as blondes or redheads? I usually categorize them as redheads, but “blonde” is key to the hair color.

    He’s actually a good guitarist, right, a real lead guitarist in his bands? If so, let’s count him. I think blonde guitarist greats will need all the help they can get. Thanks.

  3. Mick Ronson

  4. Yes, Mr. Mod: Josh Homme is an awesome guitarist. He’s a worthy addition to the list.

  5. Mr. Moderator

    I was certain that Ronson was a bottle blonde, shawnkilroy, and thereby ineligible, but I couldn’t quite make out the “cuffs” in this shot:

    I did find some images of him in his ’60s band, The Rats, and he’s got blonde hair then, so unless proven otherwise, he’s IN!

  6. mockcarr

    Does James Honeyman-Scott qualify or is his hair more light brown?

  7. Mr. Moderator

    I think Honeyman-Scott qualifies. His hair color was my hair color when I got my first driver’s license, at 16. The license said my hair color was “blonde.” For years I considered myself a “dirty blonde,” and my updated licenses continued to read “blonde.” At 25, when I was dating my wife-to-be, she took a look at my license and said, “YOU’RE NOT BLONDE!” By that time my hair had darkened to what I was told was unmistakably brown. What did I know? These days it’s getting progressively lighter.

  8. bostonhistorian

    Ronnie Dawson, the “Blonde Bomber”:

  9. Mr. Moderator

    THAT’S some hairdo on Dawson!

  10. mockcarr

    Is Brian Setzer’s hair a blondesque color below those hightlighty things?

  11. mockcarr

    James Gang era Joe Walsh was pretty good. He always looked like he should be a heel wrestler such as Greg the Hammer Valentine.

  12. Mr. Moderator

    I found a cool interview with Honeyman-Scott:

    I think Setzer’s a bottle blonde. He’s got a lot of dark streaks in that mane. This old photo of Bloodless Pharoahs is dark, but the third guy on the right seems to have no blonde in his hair.

    Good description of Joe Walsh!

  13. Glen Buxton from Alice Cooper

  14. I know that Springsteen and Springsteen acolytes have been deemed most “uncool” by the RTH cognoscenti, but that’s not gonna stop me from nominating Tad Kubler of The Hold Steady. Dude can play… and bonus points, keeps his solos to a minimum.

  15. Mr. Moderator

    Way to stand by your men, teek! The so-called RTH cognoscenti is a shifting mass that’s open to new opinions. As I’m sure you know, just because I’m always cutting on The Boss and His acolytes doesn’t mean what needs to be said about that scene doesn’t need to be said…right here.

    Keep those blonde axe slingers coming!

  16. hrrundivbakshi

    Mod will roll his eyes, but Jason Falkner is a pretty killer — and very tasteful — guitar player. He’s responsible for fellow Prock God Dave Gregory’s favorite solo ever!

  17. Mr. Moderator

    Falkner is an excellent musician (no joke) – and a true blonde, from what I can tell – but the answers so far speak to my observation. Look at any Top 100 Guitarists of All-Time list and few of these blonde guitarists appear. Weird, isn’t it? Is there something about the role of lead guitarist that favors brunettes? Should aspiring blonde lead guitarists begin dying their hair brown?

  18. alexmagic

    You may want to reconsider this whole line of thought once you realize that you’ve forgotten the dual blonde guitar attack of James “J.Y.” Young and Tommy Shaw that Styx was able to roll out.

    Also, Janice from The Electric Mayhem.

    I do believe you’re right, Mod, and the blondes have zero depth or bench strength, but I am surprised at the talent and variety present in a Ronson/Homme/Walsh/Falkner front. I rate them all very highly.

  19. good guitarists are like Han Solo (hence the name) and should not seek glory. They are the “serious” ones of the bunch.
    Preening blonde Luke Skywalker types are usually frontmen like Plant, Daultry, Roth, Halford and Harry.

  20. ladymisskirroyale

    How about Robin Zander from Cheap Trick?

    I keep thinking of female guitarists like Tonya Donnelly and Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses, but I don’t know if they are bottle blondes? Courtney Love?

    Kurt Cobain?

  21. ladymisskirroyale

    There must be some attractive, Scandinavian guitarists…

  22. Jonny Lang.

  23. ladymisskirroyale

    David St. Hubbins.

  24. BigSteve

    Lita Ford. She rocks.

  25. 2000 Man

    Lita Ford.

  26. Mr. Moderator

    Lita’s out. She’s on the top row, far right in this Runaways photo:

    Bottle blonde. Kurt Cobain’s also a bottle blonde, no? Courtney Love just sucks on all levels.

    Jonny Lang is a good one. Whatever happened to that guy?

    David St. Hubbins is an excellent suggestion!

  27. Mr. Moderator

    alexmagic wrote:

    You may want to reconsider this whole line of thought once you realize that you’ve forgotten the dual blonde guitar attack of James “J.Y.” Young and Tommy Shaw that Styx was able to roll out.

    Oh, I did not forget those two!

  28. BigSteve

    C.C. DeVille. He rocks.

  29. BigSteve

    Oo I thought of a good one … Derek Trucks.

  30. BigSteve

    And I don’t know the members of Mott the Hoople that well, but wasn’t pretty much everyone in that band blond?

  31. trigmogigmo

    Oh, now look what you’ve gone and done. The other thread about previously unseen photos had me web surfing for something with Warren Zevon, and inexplicably somewhere in the search results was this photo of a blonde, um, “guitarist”. Shield your eyes….

    That’s not a dance choreography prop you’re holding, Madge. But nice guns.

  32. mockcarr

    I thought Penthouse disproved she was blonde.

  33. mockcarr

    How does Peter Frampton rate as a guitarist now?

  34. You can’t make the Wilson choice here. Nancy Wilson!

  35. Mr. Moderator

    trigmo, I was afraid you were going to confirm Lita Ford’s cuffs. Didn’t she pose for Playboy at some point? On that subject, good point, mockcarr.

    Frampton was a very good guitarist – and a blonde, right? Good one.

    chick, we’ll glady accept Nancy Wilson to this scant list of blonde guitar greats.

  36. Andy Gill of The Gang of 4 and Keith Levine (formerly) of PiL are both blonde.

  37. Charlotte Caffey from The Go-Go’s is blonde.

  38. Mr. Moderator

    This is one of the many times I wish we had more Townswomen taking part in threads. Caffey seems to have dark roots to go with her dark eyebrows. Does this signify “bottle blonde?” If nothing else I’ll see if I can get my wife to verify some of these questionable blonde guitarists: Caffey, Zoom, et al. For the sake of the rock ‘n roll record this list needs to be composed of natural blondes.

  39. trigmogigmo

    Waddy Wachtel contributed memorable guitar work to lots of the early Zevon catalog, among his other credits.

  40. Kerry Livgren, Alex Lifeson, John 5, K.K. Downing, Robbin Crosby, & Tom Petty just to name a few.

  41. H. Munster

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned Brian Jones.

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