I guess you could say this about any recent year, but 2012 often felt a lot like the late '70s.
We got high-profile studio releases by Van Halen, ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Neil Young, Carlos Santana, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Rush, Kiss, Joe Walsh, Asia, Ringo Starr, Alvin Lee, Jeff Lynne and two members of The Jam, plus a live Led Zeppelin album and a pair of new songs by The Rolling Stones.
But, notwithstanding the throwback angle, it was a solid, exciting year for new music, chock full of stellar guitar music in every genre, including gypsy jazz (It didn't make my list, but be sure to check out the very cool Origins album by gypsy jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel).
Anyway, here are some of my favorite albums of the year. Note that I kept this list to studio albums only. If I were to include a live album, Led Zeppelin's Celebration Day would be in the top five for sure. The band set out to impress that fateful night in December 2007, and that's exactly what they did.
One last thing: If I were to extend this list to a top 20, I'd include albums by two former members of The Jam — frontman Paul Weller (Sonik Kicks) and bassist Bruce Foxton (Back in the Room). Foxton's album, which was recorded with Weller's assistance and at his studio, sounds like a Sound Affects-era Jam album packed with Foxton's easily identifiable bass playing.
Anyway, as fake director Marty DiBergi says in This Is Spinal Tap, "Enough of my yakkin'. Whaddaya say? Let's boogie!"
Damian Fanelli is the online managing editor at Guitar World in New York City.