10 diehard rock and blues guitarists who boarded the pop train

Eddie Van Halen and Michael Jackson
(Image credit: Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

The melding of genres is always a tricky bit of fun. And when it comes to rock and pop, no two genres seem to pair better. To that end, ever since Michael Jackson solicited Eddie Van Halen and Steve Lukather’s services for Thriller (1982), blazing axe-slingers stepping into the world of bubbly pop has become nothing short of commonplace.

While the idea is no longer novel, in the present day, many six-string heroes continue to lend their licks to various icons of pop music. Be it the G.O.A.T. Eddie Van Halen, eternal M.V.P. Nuno Bettencourt, perpetual hurricane in motion Nita Strauss or the effervescent new kid on the block Sophie Lloyd, it seems these two worlds shall continue to collide. With that in mind, here’s a rundown of 10 rock guitarists who went pop.

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Andrew Daly

Andrew Daly is an iced-coffee-addicted, oddball Telecaster-playing, alfredo pasta-loving journalist from Long Island, NY, who, in addition to being a contributing writer for Guitar World, scribes for Rock Candy, Bass Player, Total Guitar, and Classic Rock History. Andrew has interviewed favorites like Ace Frehley, Johnny Marr, Vito Bratta, Bruce Kulick, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Rich Robinson, and Paul Stanley, while his all-time favorite (rhythm player), Keith Richards, continues to elude him.