Bon Jovi might have sold the first of their 120,000,000 albums while the fashion for shredding was at its peak, but the band’s lead guitarist always had a more restrained approach to his instrument. “I wanted to play the right things for the songs,” he says.
This attitude is common amongst musicians who grew up in thrall to The Beatles, but it was the blues that truly informed his playing. “I started with guys like Johnny Winter, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jimi Hendrix of course,” says Sambora. “And then went backwards to Albert King, B.B., and Muddy, and then all the way back to Charley Patton.”
So it’s no surprise to find that Richie Sambora’s 5 Essential Guitar Albums run thick with the blues. They’re featured below.
Richie will perform alongside Orianthi at this year’s Classic Rock Awards show in Tokyo.
Jimi Hendrix - Band Of Gypsies (1970)
If you’re getting juiced to play live, Band Of Gypsies is pretty damn good to listen to. The producer Eddie Kramer visited me a while back, and had a couple of recordings from the other nights at the Fillmore East, and it just sounded insane.
Johnny Winter - Johnny Winter Live And… (1971)
This just the meanest-ass Texan blues you could possibly get. There’s just a bunch of great blues songs on this record.
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Live At The El Mocambo (1991)
I know this isn’t an album. It’s a DVD. But you have to see it. It’s the greatest guitar performance I have ever seen. It’s just insane. We never met, no. He passed before we had the chance.
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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV (1970)
Anything, anything at all by Jimmy Page. I can’t choose one. But, yeah, this has Stairway To Heaven on. When I started playing in clubs I played that, I’d start off the solo the right way, but then go off on my own tangent.
Jeff Beck - Blow By Blow (1974)
It could be any Jeff Beck, including his new album [Loud Hailer]. I love that record. But, OK, you’ve got to go with Blow By Blow. But I also love all that stuff he did with [keyboard player] Jan Hammer [1977’s Jeff Beck With The Jan Hammer Group Live]. People have forgotten how good that stuff is.