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Top 10 Underrated 80s Metal Guitarists

Updated on November 18, 2009

Great 80s Metal Guitarists that Put The Focus On Their Bands

When Metal Guitarists of today cite their influences, many times they either list the most prominent players or their favorite bands. When these bands are mentioned, they usually were guitarists that instead of trying to gain the spotlight for themselves helped place the entire band in the spotlight with their contributions. There were also a lot of great guitarists that backed great metal front men like Ozzy and Dio that provided invaluable musical backing to these legends without trying to outshine them.

This lens is a tribute to 10 such guitarists, even though their names aren't on the tips of many players tongues, played and invaluable part in making the music that many people have really enjoyed, and will continue to for years to come...

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#10 Craig Goldy

The man behind the guitars for Ronnie James Dio

Craig Goldy has to be one of my favorite guitarists of all times. His work during the 80s with Dio is outstanding. His playing on the albums "Intermission" and "Dream Evil" was some of the finest in the DIo catalog.

My Favorite Album: "Dream Evil" - Dio

My Favorite Song: "Sunset Superman" -Dio

My Favorite Solo: "I Could Have Been A Dreamer" -Dio

Craig Goldy Links:

Craig Goldy | Destiny Bridge: A service to help new musicians get into the music industry and get recording contracts.

Craig Goldy's Myspace Page

#9 Reb Beach

The Metal Guitarist who not only was part of Winger, but filled some pretty big shoes...

Reb Beach should be counted up there with the likes of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani when it comes to his technical ability. The thing is that he has naver tried to steal the spotlight from the bands he has played with.

His shining moment was with Winger, but he has also played with Alice Cooper, Dokken, and most recently, Whitesnake. He has also been a session artists on albums by Roger Daltrey, Bob Dylan, Chaka Kahn, and Twisted Sister.

My Favorite Album: "Winger" -Winger

My Favorite Song: "17" - Winger

My Favorite Solo: "Magdelene" -Winger

Reb Beach Links:

Reb Beach's Myspace

The Official Reb Beach Website

Reb Beach MP3 Downloads

#8 Vito Bratta

The Amazing Lead Guitarist fo White Lion

Vito Bratta is another one of my favorite guitarists, who played throughout the 80s with White Lion. Their songs were really well written and when it came time for a solo, Vito never failed to deliver some absolutely amazing solo work. During the early 90s Vito left the music industry almost altogether...

My Favorite Album: "Pride" -White Lion

My Favorite Song: "Wait" -White Lion

My Favorite Solo: "Little Fighter" -White Lion

Vito Bratta Links:

Vito Bratta Tribute Myspace

Vito Bratta.com

Vito Bratta

#7 Janick Gers

The "Third Guitarist" of Iron Maiden

When Adrian Smith left Iron Maiden, Janick Gers stepped in to continue the dual lead guitar sound this band had always been known for. He added his own style to several albums and remained with the band when Smith returned several years later.

My Favorite Album: "Fear of the Dark" -Iron Maiden

My Favorite Song: "Brave New World" -Iron Maiden

My Favorite Solo: "Ghost Of the Navigator" -Iron Maiden

Janick Gers Links:

Janick Gers | Iron Maiden Official

#6 Rudolf Schenker

Player of the worlds most memorable riffs...

Rudolf Schenker, the Rhythm Guitarist for the Scorpions came up for some of the catchiest riffs in all of Rock history. I don't care how many times I hear the Intro to "Rock You Like A Hurricaine" It always gets me pumped.

My Favorite Album: "Love at First Sting" -Scorpions

My Favorite Songs: "Rock You Like a Hurricane" "No One Like You"&"Blackout" -Scorpions

Rudolf Schenker Links:

Scorpions Official

#5 Jeff Young

A Short but Brilliant Metal Career

Jeff Young enjoyed a relatively short but brilliant time with Megadeth, helping to produce, in my opinion, their finest album, "So Far, So Good, So What" and played on the tour for that album. The songs on that album captured the raw emotion that subsequent albums lacked.

My Favorite Songs: "Mary Jane" "Liar" & "In My Darkest Hour"(probably one of my all time favorite songs) -Megadeth

Jeff Young Links:

Jeff Young's Myspace

Jeff Young MP3 Downloads

#4 Vivian Campbell

Guitarist for many 80s Heavy Metal Bands

Vivian Campbell rose to prominence as the guitarist for Dio, Whitesnake, Riverdogs, and is now with Def Leppard. His Latest recording is a solo effort consisting of blues standards.

My Favorite Album: "Riverdogs" -Riverdogs

My Favorite Song: "Last In Line" -Dio

My Favorite Solo: "Holy Diver" -Dio

Vivian Campbell Links:

Vivian Campbell | Official

#3 Jake E. Lee

Filling the Shoes of a Legend

Jake E. Lee had the seemingly impossible task of replacing Randy Rhoades after his untimely death. Jake E. Lee was able to pull this off with excellence, and his stint with Ozzy produced two albums, "Bark at The Moon" & "The Ultimate Sin" where he was able to demonstrate his own unique style. He then formed Badlands which went for a more bluesy sound.

My Favorite Album: "The Ultimate Sin" -Ozzy

My Favorite Song: "Killer of Giants" -Ozzy

My Favorite Solo: "Bark at the Moon" -Ozzy

Jake E Lee links:

Jake E. Lee's Myspace

#2 John Sykes

No one else can make a les paul sound like that...

John Sykes is One of my Absolute favorite players. I wish I could get the sound that he gets. He played with Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, and then formed his own band, Blue Murder. No one can sustain a single note with that slow vibrato sound it gets, and it always sounds beautiful.

My Favorite Album: "Whitesnake" -Whitesnake

My Favorite Song: "Jelly Roll" -Blue Murder

My Favorite Solo: "Don't Turn Away" -Whitesnake

John Sykes Links:

Jon Sykes Myspace

#1 Mick Mars

Man for his band...

While his bandmates personalities have taken on a crazy life of their own, Mick Mars has always been there providing a solid musical foundation for Motley Crue without seeking out the spotlight like the rest of the band. Everything he does fits the songs perfectly. You can tell by his playing and attitude that the band comes first, and I think he is the true unsung hero in Motley Crue.

My Favorite Album: "Shout at the Devi" -Motley Crue

My Favorite Song: "Looks that Kill" -Motley Crue

My Favorite Solo: "Danger" -Motley Crue

Mick Mars Links:

Mick mars Myspace

There are a lot of bands from the 80s that people consider to be Metal...

Although I tried to give all styles of metal a fair shake, some people say that some of the bands mentioned are just hard rock dressed up like metal.

What 80s groups should be considered Metal?

Groups that should be included...

Groups that should be included...

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    • Wafer 2 years ago

      Gary Moore / Thin Lizzy and solo

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      Dokken

      George Lynch is definitely should have been added to this list, replace Mick Mars with Lynch.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Pete willis form def leppard, Oz fox and Michale Sweet of stryper.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Savatage. Criss Olivia was a bad-ass axe slinger.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      steve stevens,he is mighty good with 6 strings

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Skid Row

    • glmarcum 5 years ago

      Two Dio guitar players.... Doug Aldrich isn't shabby either. Cool list.

    • finalfantasyxvi 5 years ago

      Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, Motley Crue, and Poison.

    • anonymous 7 years ago

      Vinnie Moore

    • anonymous 7 years ago

      Ronni Le tekrø from TNT

    Groups that should be kicked to the curb...

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      • madmike1 lm 4 years ago

        Any of the hair bands that had 85% chicks at their shows !!! Not that chicks are a bad thing....Just that, I don't know any real metal bands that pull that many chicks to their shows !! Is that fair enough ???

      • PlayGuitarToday 8 years ago

        Bon Jovi