While Steve Jones will never be mistaken for a shredding soloist, he has influenced and inspired countless guitarists over the years - penning the classic chord progressions to the Sex Pistols’ Anarchy in the UK and God Save the Queen, which continue to reverberate from generation to generation. Earlier this year, his entire life and career was recounted with the arrival of his autobiography, Lonely Boy: Tales of a Sex Pistol.
Below, Steve selects his five essential guitar albums.
Roxy Music - Roxy Music (1972) & For Your Pleasure (1973)
It’s hard to say which one. Phil Manzanera is a good guitar player and did some good stuff. He does some good soloing, but on In Every Dream Home a Heartache, on the second album, it’s kind of like a slow, eerie song, but near the end it goes into this whole big psychedelic lead solo - kind of like Hendrix. That’s a fantastic piece of guitaring. He was an interesting guitar player. I think he was more like a hippie, that joined a band that wasn’t hippies - especially in a fashion sense, I don’t think he really want to wear all the stuff that Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno were wearing. But his guitar playing worked with Roxy Music - it wouldn’t have been the same if they’d have got some weird guitar player in.
The Faces - A Nod Is as Good as a Wink…to a Blind Horse (1971)
As far as guitar goes, I loved the Faces’ A Nod Is as Good as a Wink… to a Blind Horse, with Ronnie Wood. I loved his sound when he was in the Faces. He had a certain sound - I think he used an Ampeg set-up with a Zemaitis guitar. I was just a massive fan of that band, and they were great live. It was a nice, full sound that he had.
Iggy & the Stooges - Raw Power (1973)
I learned to play guitar to that album. That was a big one for me. James Williamson is such a beautiful guitar player, man. Really unique riffs that he had. Way different than Ron Asheton. Ron Asheton, technically, is not the best guitar player - but fantastic, still great. I’m not taking nothing away from him - his riffs, his soloing, and his spirit and what he did play is really good. But James Williamson is a way technically better guitar player. He was doing a lot of stuff, but it didn’t take away the drive. It still had a big drive in it. He’s an underrated guitar player, for sure.
- Lonely Boy by Steve Jones review
- The Sex Pistols' Glen Matlock: the 10 records that made me play bass
- What happened when the Sex Pistols appeared on the Bill Grundy show
- Read Classic Rock, Metal Hammer & Prog for free with TeamRock+
New York Dolls - New York Dolls (1973)
The first New York Dolls album was another one where I learned to play guitar. I used to take speed and play for hours to them records. I didn’t know what I was doing, but them two albums - Raw Power and the first Dolls album - they were the two that kind of helped me play guitar.
Queen - Queen (1973)
I love the first Queen album. Talking about guitar albums, the first Queen album was very important. It was just so well produced and great, great songs. I couldn’t stop playing that album when I first got it. And I liked the fact that on the album, it said “There were no synthesizers used on this record.” For some reason, that stuck out in my head.