As much the butt of jokes as an icon — and deservedly so on both counts — Yngwie Malmsteen burst into the world of international music in 1984 with Rising Force. At the age of seven, Malmsteen says, he saw a documentary about the death of Jimi Hendrix and was so taken in by the guitar god's musical power and prowess that he set about forging an undeniable virtuosity on electric guitar. Although his playing often seems more about mechanical technique than artistry, the guy consistently puts to rest any doubts about his ability to play technically challenging compositions, rock and otherwise, with each album. In 2007, he was awarded a singular honor by having his name attached to a level of achievement in Guitar Hero II, securing his place among a new generation of fans.
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