The story goes that Jimi Hendrix (or Eric Clapton, or maybe it was Eddie van Halen) was asked during an interview, “How does it feel to be the greatest guitarist ever?” To which Hendrix (or Clapton, or maybe it was van Halen) responded, “I don’t know. You’d have to ask Phil Keaggy.”
That story has been debunked by Snopes, but it continues to be repeated, in part because while none of those musicians may have actually said so, Phil Keaggy just may be the greatest guitarist ever. My guess is that he certainly ranks in the top 10, probably top 5.
Phil was born on March 23, 1951 in Youngstown, OH. He started playing the guitar on his 10th birthday, when he received a guitar as gift. He played with several local bands before forming Glass Harp with a couple of childhood friends in 1970. They recorded several albums and opened for groups like Yes and the Kinks.
On Valentine’s Day 1970 Phil’s mother was in a car wreck and died from her injuries a week later. Shortly thereafter Phil became a Christian. His new found faith began influencing his song writing, and Glass Harp included several of Phil’s faith based songs on its albums.
Phil left Glass Harp in 1972 and struck out on a solo career recording Christian songs. Since then he has released over 60 solo albums, both vocal and instrumental. He continues to record and tour and is still in demand as a session player on other peoples’ projects.
In 1993 Phil released the EP “Revelator” as a promo piece for the full-length album “Crimson & Blue.” A mainstream version of that album was also released under the title “Blue” with several different songs on it. The song “Everywhere I Look” was on all three versions. The song had a decidedly Beatles sound, including Phil’s vocals which sound a good deal like Paul McCartney.
Here’s one of the fan generated videos of “Everywhere I Look.”
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