Uli Jon Roth's 5 Essential Guitar Albums

Uli Jon Roth
Uli Jon Roth (Image credit: Larry Hulst \/ Getty Images)

As a member of The Scorpions during the 1970’s, Uli Jon Roth’s stellar guitar playing (which included elements of heavy metal, classical, and psychedelia) proved to be incredibly influential - especially with such renowned shredders as Yngwie Malmsteen and Kirk Hammett. And his playing is still extraordinary, as heard/seen on his latest release, the CD/DVD set Tokyo Tapes Revisited - Live in Japan.

As for selecting his Essential Guitar Albums, the man himself explains, “These are the albums that I studied when I was a kid. They had a huge impact on me.”

Cream - Disraeli Gears (1967)

I would say Disraeli Gears. But then again, all three Cream albums - I would pick certain songs rather than an album, so it’s kind of difficult. But if I have to pick one defining album, it would be Disraeli Gears, because it had some outstanding guitar playing on it and stuff that had never been done before. But there was equally outstanding playing on Fresh Cream. It’s just that as an album, I prefer Disraeli Gears.

John Mayall & the Blues Breakers - Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton aka The Beano Album

Eric Clapton did another album before the first Cream album, which wasn’t a rock album, but it contains some phenomenal guitar playing. It was basically an Englishman playing American blues, with an English flavour, and I really liked that. When I was a kid, I really studied all that stuff, and I remember it to this day.

Jimi Hendrix - Axis: Bold as Love (1967)

Then, of course, you had Hendrix. And with Hendrix, again, I don’t know where to start, because every single album - to me - was a masterpiece. I would have to pick Axis: Bold as Love as my personal favourite. But then you also have Band of Gypsys with Machine Gun and you have Electric Ladyland with Watchtower, Gypsy Eyes, and House Burning Down. It’s kind of like a loaded question. [Laughs] I can tell you five tracks probably, but five albums I can’t, because with every album, there’s ups and downs - I have yet to see the perfect album.

Jeff Beck - Blow by Blow (1975)

Jeff Beck had an album called Blow by Blow, which I found very exceptional. I listened to that quite a lot. And of course, he’s always recorded fantastic albums ever since - each one of them different. But that is the one that resonated with me when I was a kid. I’m not so aware of what came later.

The Beatles - Revolver (1966)

I would say Revolver, which I rate probably higher than Sgt. Pepper’s for some strange reason. Eleanor Rigby is just a great masterpiece - when I heard it for the first time, I was just a kid, and it totally blew my mind. To this day. What a composition and what an arrangement. What a band. Rock music would never have been the same without The Beatles.

Greg Prato

Contributing writer at Classic Rock magazine since 2004. He has written for other outlets over the years, and has interviewed some of his favourite rock artists: Black Sabbath, Rush, Kiss, The Police, Devo, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Soundgarden, Meat Puppets, Blind Melon, Primus, King’s X… heck, even William Shatner! He is also the author of quite a few books, including Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music, A Devil on One Shoulder And An Angel on the Other: The Story of Shannon Hoon And Blind Melon, and MTV Ruled the World: The Early Years of Music Video, among others.