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Top 5 Rock and Roll Lefties
By: Kathryn Summers
8/9/2013

August 13 marks National Left-Handers Day, which allows lefties everywhere to celebrate their ‘right’ to be left! While the amount of people who are left-handed is smaller than those who are dominate with their right, it is known that the right side of the brain, containing the creative thought, is responsible for controlling the left side of the body.  Could it be that these lefty rockers were instilled with a little extra creativity?

Check out our list of the Top 5 Rock and Roll Lefties and tell us what you think!

1.   Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix, who was naturally right-handed but felt more comfortable of playing as a lefty, but his dad encourage the opposite. Jimi re-strung the first guitar he owned but would flip the guitar around when his father wasn’t around, teaching himself to play both right and left-handed. Adapting to play with both hands comfortably, he produced the unique sound that we've all come know and love. 

Perhaps this explains why Jimi could play just about anything on the guitar?

2.  Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney was not the only lefty in the Beatles, but he was the only one to rock a stringed instrument. 

Sir Paul started out by attempting to play guitar right-handed, but it was difficult for him. Later, he saw a photo of country musician Slim Whitman playing left-handed and realized it was much easier for him to play the guitar in reverse, picking with his left hand.

The rest, as they say, is history!

3.  Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr was born a lefty, but his grandmother made him use his right hand when doing activities like writing. Later, when Ringo taught himself to play drums, he developed a signature style that was due in part to his left-handed dominance mixed with his ability to play on a right-handed drum set. 

His ambidextrous skillset allowed him to become one of the most distinct backbeats in rock history when he rose to fame as a member of the Beatles.

4.  Tony Iommi

Tony Iommi, lead guitarist and founding member of Black Sabbath, is a known left-handed player. 

Learning to play as a teenager he joined several blues-based rock bands and formed his own group shortly after high school.  However, his days of Rock and Roll almost ended prematurely when he had an accident while working at a sheet metal factory and a machine sliced off the tips of the fingers on his right hand.

Tony almost put the guitar down for good when his boss turned him on to guitarist Django Reinhardt who lost use of two fingers after a fire. Reinhardt inspired Iommi to keep on trucking, and he began using soft plastic tips attached to the ends of his fingers to enable himself to play without it being painful.

5.  Joe Perry

Joe Perry, co-founding member and guitarist for Aerosmith, is one lefty who surely knows how to rock. 

Unlike the others on this list, Perry actually plays right-handed, though he was known throughout the late 70s and 80s to use upside-down, left-handed Fender Stratocasters that had been restrung.

Perry still sometimes uses this unique style of guitar when he plays “Sweet Emotion” during Aerosmith concerts.


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