One of favorite guitarist is Adrian Vandenberg. The first reaction from most people is "Who?" My reply is normally the blond guitar player in the Whitesnake videos. Most of the time that works. The fact that he is known as the 2nd best guitar player in someone else's band is a shame because he is so much more.
The 80's were the time to be a lead guitarist. They were the gods of the age. There were many of the gods on MTV and shredding the stages with their mighty axes. Unfortunately with so many gods on the scene some really notable guitarists got lost.
Okay the fact that I knew of Vandenberg before Whitesnake was thanks to Mark "Blender" Benson. Mark was just able to find some real gems and the band Vandenberg was an outstanding discovery. The band had three albums in the early 80's and unfortunately other than Mark they never found a large audience. I only own the Greatest Hits CD but I have listened to every album from many road trips with Mark.
What I find great about Adrian Vandenberg's style of guitar play is that unlike many other guitar gods of that time, is that guitar playing fits with the song instead of please suffer through this until my guitar solo comes in. On the track Different Worlds he switches from classical guitar to electric naturally and it fits within the frame of the song. The rest of their greatest hits CD is an perfect example of early 80's hard rock.
I saw Whitesnake on tour where Adrian Vandenberg and Steve Vai were both playing guitar. This is where my admiration for Vandenberg's guitar playing was cemented. I am not taking anything away from Steve Vai, He is a technical genius on the guitar, but compared to Vandenberg he seemed like a little boy trying to show off. In Vai's defense this was the style of the age and maybe this is why Vandenberg got lost in the mix. When Adrian came to play his solo it was more like a master working on his art. There was a passion and soul built into his playing along with the technical brilliance. All I can say is that my date at the time swooned when he played.
This was the highest point of Adrian Vandenberg's career. He faded away with the guitar gods of the age. If you are looking for the best of early 80's hard rock I would give them a listen.
Til next time: listen to the best - your ears deserve it.