‘He literally blew me away’: Steve Cropper’s surprising choice for favorite electric guitarist

Steve Cropper has claimed his share of accolades as a guitarist, finishing at No. 35 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest and while ending up at No. 2 on the Mojo list. But who’s his favorite?

“Well, you know — it varies,” the Rock and Roll hall of Famer tells Down Home Radio. “I can’t really answer the question, because I don’t think there is ‘the best.’ It just depends on what style of music you’re talking about, and what genre they’re in — and what they’re doing. I mean, there are so many great ones.”

Pressed for an answer on his top choice in the smaller electric-guitar category, Cropper eventually narrows it down — and the answer might surprise even Cropper’s most ardent fans. It’s not an early pioneer like Les Paul or Scotty Moore. Not Skunk Baxter or Steve Lukather, who were recognized a few years ago by Gibson with Cropper as some of the best-ever sessions guys. Not next-gen legends of the electric like Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton, either.

Instead, it’s someone most famous this time of year for his rendition of “Feliz Navidad.”

“I’m probably one of the few people who have an answer for that question,” Cropper says, “and his name would be Jose Feliciano. People say: ‘Well, he doesn’t play electric guitar.’ And I say: He did in the studio. He literally blew me away. Fantastic.”

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  • Dirk Noel Theriault

    While I’m also a fan of Jose Feliciano, I’m surprised that Steve Cropper never heard of (or didn’t think of) Lenny Breau. Everybody from Randy Bachman and George Benson to Tal Farlow and Chet Atkins were in awe of this incredible guitarist. See for yourself…http://youtu.be/plRlU1eDLRg

    • 61Tbird

      Is Lenny Breau also Blind?

  • Marc

    We have no doubt about that, Jose Feliciano is the MOST INCREDIBLE AND WIDE RANGE GUITARIST of the planet! And thanks to Steve Cropper to remember this to the press (hope RS magazine and their stupid “top100 guitarist chart” without Jose in top100!! read it)… and btw Steve Cropper and Jose Feliciano co-produced album Memphis Menu, Compartments and For My Love by early70s were simply wonderful