“When I heard the Rolling Stones, they sounded like a bad high school band to me. I didn't get it”: Tommy Emmanuel explains how a love of Chet Atkins meant he initially struggled to understand The Rolling Stones and Beatles hype

Tommy Emmanuel performs on stage at Arena Nord during Bluesheaven Festival 2023 on November 11, 2023 in Frederikshavn, Denmark
(Image credit: Per Ole Hagen/Getty Images)

Famed acoustic guitar virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel has been a longtime Chet Atkins fan – ever since he heard his music on the radio at the age of six, to be exact. 

However, having Atkins as his guitar hero apparently came with some downsides, such as struggling to understand the hype surrounding The Rolling Stones and The Beatles when they first came onto the scene.

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Janelle Borg

Janelle is a staff writer at GuitarWorld.com. After a long stint in classical music, Janelle discovered the joys of playing guitar in dingy venues at the age of 13 and has never looked back. Janelle has written extensively about the intersection of music and technology, and how this is shaping the future of the music industry. She also had the pleasure of interviewing Dream Wife, K.Flay, Yīn Yīn, and Black Honey, among others. When she's not writing, you'll find her creating layers of delicious audio lasagna with her art-rock/psych-punk band ĠENN.