Yngwie J. Malmsteen
Yngwie J. Malmsteen

Yngwie J. Malmsteen (born Lars Johan Yngve Lannerback, June 30, 1963) is a guitarist from Sweden who achieved widespread acclaim in the 1980s due to his technical proficiency and fusion of classical music elements with heavy rock guitar.

Born into a musical family in Stockholm on June 30, 1963, Malmsteen was exposed to classical music from an early age, and began playing guitar at the age of eight. Malmsteen was in his teens when he first encountered the music of the 19th-century violin virtuoso Niccolo Paganini, whom he cites as his biggest classical influence. Through his emulation of these pieces on guitar, Malmsteen developed a prodigious technical fluency. Malmsteen also cites Jimi Hendrix, Genesis and Deep Purple as influences.

Yngwie's contributions to the evolution of modern rock guitar remain unique - his understanding of Paganini, Bach, et. al. is probably unparalleled in the rock world. Although initially regarded with respect by the musical fraternity, his technical proficiency led to a both jealousy and bitterness from less-talented performers in the musical world. His technical ability is, by any standard, remarkable.

Note that despite his impressive technique, some find Malmsteen's recordings repetitive or even boring. A review of 1988's Odyssey notes "little difference in approach from his previous output, lending credence to critics' charges that Malmsteen plays with mindless technique at the expense of substance, fire, and emotion."

Aside from...