Zakk Wylde is one of the most renowned and influential guitarists in the world of heavy metal. He gained his best-known reputation for his work with Ozzy Osbourne and his own band, Black Label Society. But who are the guitar heroes that inspired and shaped his style and sound? In this article, we will explore the top 10 greatest guitarists that Zakk Wylde has named in various interviews and publications.
1. Randy Rhoads
Randy Rhoads was the original lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, and a major influence on Zakk Wylde. Rhoads combined classical music elements with heavy metal, creating a unique and innovative style that revolutionized the genre. He was also a master of composing memorable solos and riffs, such as in Crazy Train, Mr. Crowley, and Diary of a Madman.
Rhoads died tragically in a plane crash in 1982, at the age of 25. Zakk Wylde has paid also tribute to him many times, by covering his songs, using his signature polka-dot guitar, and naming his son Hendrix Halen Rhoads Wylde.
2. Tony Iommi
Tony Iommi is the legendary guitarist and founder of Black Sabbath. The band pioneered heavy metal in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Iommi is widely regarded as the godfather of metal, inventor of the power chord, the downtuning, and the heavy riff.
Iommi also overcame a serious injury to his fingers, which forced him to use plastic tips and lighter strings. Some of his most iconic songs include Iron Man, Paranoid, War Pigs, and Children of the Grave. Zakk Wylde has cited Iommi as one of his main influences, and has collaborated with him on several occasions.
3. Jimmy Page
Jimmy Page is the guitarist and leader of Led Zeppelin. They are also one of the most influential and successful rock bands of all time. Page‘s versatility, creativity, and mastery span various genres, including blues, folk, rock, and hard rock, earning him renown.
Page is also a prolific songwriter and producer. He had crafted many classic albums and songs, such as Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Kashmir, and Black Dog. Page has influenced countless guitarists, including Zakk Wylde, who has praised his skills and vision as one of the greatest guitarists.
4. Eddie Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen was the guitarist and co-founder of Van Halen. They were also one of the most popular and innovative rock bands of the 1970s and 1980s. Van Halen revolutionized the guitar playing with his technique, speed, and invention of the tapping method.
Van Halen also created some of the most memorable solos and riffs in rock history, such as in Eruption, Jump, Panama, and Hot for Teacher. He died in 2020 after a long battle with cancer. Zakk Wylde has expressed his admiration and respect for him many times.
5. Frank Marino
Frank Marino is the guitarist and singer of Mahogany Rush. They are a Canadian hard rock band that emerged in the early 1970s. Marino is also known for his virtuosic and improvisational style, influenced by Jimi Hendrix, jazz fusion, and psychedelic rock.
Marino is also a prolific songwriter and performer, who has released over 20 albums with Mahogany Rush or as a solo artist. Zakk Wylde has named Marino as one of his top three greatest guitarists ever. He has covered some of his songs live.
6. John McLaughlin
John McLaughlin is a British guitarist who has explored various genres and styles throughout his career. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he became best known for his work with Miles Davis, contributing to the development of jazz fusion. He is also the founder and leader of Mahavishnu Orchestra, one of the most influential fusion bands ever.
McLaughlin is also regarded as one of the fastest and most technical guitarists in history. Zakk Wylde has mentioned him as one of his top three greatest guitarists ever, and has praised his technique and feel.
7. Al Di Meola
Al Di Meola is an American guitarist who specializes in jazz fusion, Latin jazz, world music, and acoustic music. He rose to fame in the mid-1970s as a member of Return to Forever. They were also one of the most acclaimed fusion bands led by Chick Corea.
Di Meola then embarked on a successful solo career, where he collaborated with other guitar legends, such as Paco de Lucia, John McLaughlin, and Steve Vai. Di Meola is known for his speed, precision, and complex compositions. Zakk Wylde has listed him as one of his top 10 greatest guitarists who changed his life, and has expressed his admiration for his skills.
8. Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix is widely considered as the greatest guitarist of all time. He is one of the most influential musicians in history. He revolutionized the electric guitar playing with his use of distortion, feedback, wah-wah, and other effects. Hendrix also combined blues, rock, soul, funk, and psychedelic music, creating a unique and powerful sound.
Hendrix was also a prolific songwriter and performer, who recorded many classic songs and albums, such as Purple Haze, Voodoo Child, All Along the Watchtower, and Are You Experienced. He died in 1970 at the age of 27. Zakk Wylde has named Hendrix as one of his top 10 greatest guitarists who changed his life, and has paid tribute to him by covering his songs and using his signature guitar.
9. Robin Trower
Robin Trower is a British guitarist who started his career in the late 1960s as a member of Procol Harum. They were a progressive rock band known for their hit A Whiter Shade of Pale. He then launched a successful solo career in the early 1970s, where he developed his own style of blues rock, influenced by Jimi Hendrix and B.B. King.
Trower is known for his expressive and emotional playing, as well as his use of vibrato and wah-wah pedals. Some of his most popular songs include Bridge of Sighs, Day of the Eagle, and Too Rolling Stoned. Zakk Wylde has cited Trower as one of his top 10 greatest guitarists who changed his life, and has praised his tone and feel.
10. Dimebag Darrell
Dimebag Darrell was the guitarist and co-founder of Pantera. They were one of the most influential and successful metal bands of the 1990s. He was also a member of Damageplan, a band he formed with his brother Vinnie Paul after Pantera’s breakup in 2003.
Darrell‘s aggressive and powerful style, which combined thrash metal, groove metal, and southern rock influences, was well-known. He was also a master of riffs, solos, harmonics, and whammy bar tricks. Some of his most iconic songs include Cowboys from Hell, Cemetery Gates, Walk, and I’m Broken. In 2004, a deranged fan shot and killed Darrell on stage. Zakk Wylde has named Darrell as one of his top 10 greatest guitarists who changed his life, and has honored him by playing his guitar on stage.
The Bottom Line
These are the top 10 greatest guitarists that Zakk Wylde has named in various interviews and publications. They are all legends in their own right. They have influenced generations of guitar players with their skills, styles, and sounds.
Zakk Wylde himself is also one of them, as he has proven himself to be one of the most respected and admired guitarists in the world of heavy metal. He has also shown his appreciation and reverence for his heroes by covering their songs, using their guitars, and collaborating with them. Zakk Wylde is truly a guitarist who loves guitarists.