Clarence “Leo” Fender was an American inventor who founded Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company, or “Fender.” Born in Anaheim on Aug. 10, 1909, Fender designed guitars, bass guitars and amplifiers that dominated rock and roll. He was the genius behind the first mass-produced, solid-body electric guitar, Fender Telecaster (1950); one of the world's most iconic guitars, Fender Stratocaster (1954); Fender Precision Bass and the Fender Bassman amplifier. He passed away in 1991 in Fullerton.
Bruce Springsteen’s guitar of choice is the Fender Telecaster, created by Anaheim-born Leo Fender. Legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix was famous for playing the Fender Stratocaster.
Grammy Award-winning musician Gwen Stefani, a solo artist and band member of No Doubt, grew up in Anaheim and graduated from Loara High. No Doubt’s 1995 album, Tragic Kingdom, sold more than 16 million copies. Stefani has won three Grammy Award, including a solo Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” in 2002. Her song, “Hollaback Girl” peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2006.
No Doubt is an American rock band that formed in 1986 in Anaheim and famed for its musical style that ‘s a fusion of ska punk, reggae, punk, pop and alternative styles. With lead singer Gwen Stefani, No Doubt released hits such as "Don't Speak" and "Simple Kind of Life" and Grammy-winning singles, "Hey Baby" and "Underneath It All.” In 2002 No Doubt received the Key to the City of Anaheim.
Michael James "Mike" Ness is an American guitarist, vocalist and chief songwriter for the California punk rock band Social Distortion, which was formed in 1978. He grew up in Fullerton. Social Distortion’s 1990 self-titled album brought the group its first hits, with a cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" and the songs "Story of My Life" and "Ball and Chain."
Jonny 2 Bags Wickersham
Jonny “2 Bags” Wickersham is a solo artist and a guitarist for the California punk rock band Social Distortion. Born in Costa Mesa, he replaced founding member and longtime friend, Dennis Danell, in the band in Feb. 2000. He still resides in Orange County.
Mumford & Sons
Marcus Oliver Johnstone Mumford is a British-American singer, songwriter, musician and producer best known as the lead singer of the band Mumford & Sons. Mumford was born in Orange. Mumford & Sons won a 2013 Grammy Award for Album of the Year for Babel, which featured “I Will Wait” and “Below My Feed.”
Scott Holiday was a member of the rock band Black Summer Crush before joining the Long Beach-based band Rival Sons as their guitarist. He is from Huntington Beach.
They hail from just across the Orange County line in Long Beach. Rival Sons released their second full-length album Pressure & Time in June 2011, reaching No. 1 in the Amazon best sellers, No. 19 in the Billboard charts.
The late Scott Weiland was an American musician, singer and songwriter best known as the lead singer for Stone Temple Pilots from 1989 to 2013 and Velvet Revolver from 2003 to 2008. He grew up in Huntington Beach and attended Orange Coast College. STP’s first album, Core, featured hit singled “Wicked Garden,” “Creep,” and “Plush.” Their second album, Purple, featured “Big Empty,” “Vasoline,” and “Interstate Love Song.”
The King performed at the Anaheim Arena adjacent to the Anaheim Convention Center several times during his 1973 and 1976 tours.
Sugar Ray is an American rock band formed in 1986. The band grew up in Orange County. Frontman Mark McGrath grew up in Newport Beach. The band’s hits include "Every Morning" and "Someday" from 14:59 and "When It's Over" from its self-titled album.
Just three nights after the Anaheim Arena opened, The Doors (above) and Jefferson Airplane took the stage on July 15, 1967. Robby Krieger, second from left, was The Doors' guitarist and performed in the Gibson booth at the 2016 NAMM Show at the Anaheim Convention Center. Pamela Courson, the long-time companion of The Doors' lead singer Jim Morrison (right), is interred in Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana.
The Hannover, Germany-based brand of string instruments and guitars known for high quality, superb craftsmanship and classic designs opened a branch in Fullerton in 2004. Its most popular guitar is the Starplayer TV, with a semi-hollow flat spruce top construction, a maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, two pickups, one humbucker and Art Deco-style applications. Above is an Outlaw model.
Joe Walsh of The Eagles plays a Duesenberg Outlaw, one of the more stylized electric guitars made by the German company with an American office in Fullerton.
Rickenbacker International Corporation is an electric string instrument manufacturer based in Santa Ana. In 1932 the company became the world’s first to produce electric guitars and went on to produce a variety of electric guitars, bass guitars, electric mandolins, electric banjos and amplifiers.
George Harrison and John Lennon of The Beatles played Rickenbacker guitars.
Legendary KISS rockers Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley own the LA KISS, an Arena Football League team founded in 2014. The KISS play home games at Honda Center, a premier sports and entertainment venue in Anaheim.
Ranked No. 1 on Guitar World’s list of “10 Female Guitar Players You Should Know,” the Los Angeles-born Strauss signed on in 2014 as the official in-house guitarist for the LA KISS, the Anaheim-based Arena Football League team owned by KISS rockers Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. She’s currently in the band lineup for hard rock legend Alice Cooper.
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