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A Left Handers Day Salute to the Greatest Southpaws in Rock History

Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images

If you are among the estimated 10% of Americans who are left handed, today is your day.  As we celebrate National Left Handers Day, here’s a tribute to some of the hardest rocking southpaws of all time.

There is a long list of legendary left handed guitarists.  Jimi Hendrix is the most famous lefty axe-slinger, although he actually played a conventional right handed guitar upside down.  Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi is also left handed, but if it weren’t for an accidental injury to his right hand, heavy metal may have never been born.   Iommi was working in a sheet metal factory when his right hand got stuck in one of the machines and his fingertips were severed. He later created false fingertips, which would help produce the signature sound that helped inspire thousands of headbangers.

Not only is a southpaw responsible for the birth of heave metal, we can also credit the left handers for inventing the grunge genre.  Like his fellow left handed Seattle area native Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain also learned to play on a right handed guitar.  However, unlike Jimi, Cobain restrung his guitar instead of playing upside down.

Aside from guitarist, other left handed musicians have also have a profound industry on rock history.  Did you know that half of the Beatles were left handed? Paul McCartney is the kind of southpaw bassists and his former band mate Ringo Starr is also a lefty.

Several left handed drummers have bashed the skins over the years, including Phil Collins, Bun E. Carlos from Cheap Trick and Mike Bordin from Faith No More and Ozzy Osbourne’s band.

There are also a few lefties who learned to play right handed.  Most notably, Paul Simon writes left handed, but learned to play on a conventional guitar.  And, of course, what would rock ‘n’ roll be without left handed cigarettes?


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