Remembering better days with 21 guitar gods—and their Gibsons.
Terry O'Neill/Getty Images
Published May 2, 2018
Published 3 months ago
Chuck Berry, Keith Richards, and Carlos Santana—and who knows how many more, dreaming of stardom—have slung a Gibson guitar over their shoulders since the company was founded more than 100 years ago. But on May 1, 2018, none of them could stand between Gibson Brands, Inc. and Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Don't cue up the power ballads just yet, though: Gibson is restructuring, not shutting down, and the company says it will move forward with a renewed focus on instrument manufacturing, its core business. With luck, the brand should be around for a while. Here, a few guitar heroes who are no doubt wishing Gibson the best.
Gijsbert Hanekroot/RedfernsPICK SOLD SEPARATELYJimmy Page drags a violin bow across his Gibson Les Paul on stage in Amsterdam on May 27, 1972.
Waring Abbott/Getty ImagesSHE LOVES ROCK AND ROLLJoan Jett plays her Gibson at Shea Stadium on August 18, 1983.Chris Morphet/RedfernsDOUBLE TROUBLEPete Townshend with a double-necked Gibson in October 1967.Mick Hutson/RedfernsSTRETCHSlash of Guns N' Roses performs, with his Gibson Les Paul, at Wembley Stadium in 1992.
Paul Natkin/Getty ImagesBOOM BOOMDelta bluesman John Lee Hooker plays his Gibson ES in Chicago on October 12, 1990.Roberta Bayley/RedfernsNEW YORK CALLINGMick Jones of the Clash performs at the Palladium in New York in February 1979.Clayton Call/RedfernsTO 11Christopher Guest, as Spinal Tap's Nigel Tufnel, plays a Gibson Les Paul at Wolfgang's in San Francisco on June 25, 1984.
Clayton Call/RedfernsMAGIC HANDSNancy Wilson of Heart plays a Gibson Flying V at the Oakland Coliseum on July 4, 1981.Shinko Music/Getty ImagesSTEP INTO THE SPOTLIGHTCarlos Santana shreds at the Fukuoaka Kyudenkinen Gymnasium on June 27, 1973.Baron Wolman/Getty ImagesTHE SKY IS CRYINGAlbert King plays his Gibson Flying V at the Memphis Blues in June 1969.
Waring Abbott/Getty ImagesTHE MAN HIMSELFLes Paul plays his namesake guitar at Fat Tuesday's in New York on January 25, 1993.Michael Ochs ArchivesLISTEN CLOSELYEric Clapton, in his Cream days, plucks a Gibson SG backstage at the RKO Theatre in New York in March 1975.David Redfern/RedfernsCLEAN CUTA young Keith Richards plays his Les Paul with the Rolling Stones on the British TV show "Thank Your Lucky Stars" in 1965.
Jan Persson/RedfernsJUST LIKE A-RINGIN' A BELLChuck Berry plays a Gibson ES circa 1975.Steve Schapiro/Corbis via Getty ImagesBEFORE ROSEBUDJerry Garcia plays a Gibson Les Paul in this undated photo.Jan Persson/RedfernsTHE GODMOTHERSister Rosetta Tharpe, aka the Godmother of Rock and Roll, plays a Gibson Barney Kessel in Denmark, circa 1970.
Michael Putland/Getty ImagesWE SALUTE YOUAngus Young of AC/DC rocking his Gibson in 1981.David Redfern/RedfernsPRETTY GIBSONRoy Orbison and his Gibson perform on "Thank Your Lucky Stars" in 1965.Pete Cronin/RedfernsV FORMATIONJames Hetfield and Kirk Hammett of Metallica play matching Gibson Flying Vs in 1984.
Estate Of Keith Morris/RedfernsHOW BLUE CAN YOU GETB.B. King and his Gibson, both smoking in the studio, 1971.Jan Persson/RedfernsSAVE IT FOR LATERFrank Zappa sticks a cigarette in the strings of his Gibson circa 1970.