Don Rich is high on the shortlist of great country guitarists of the 20th century, but even that tends to undersell his importance to the genre. As Buck Owens' right-hand man -- first playing fiddle, then transitioning to lead guitar, singing close harmonies all the while -- Rich was instrumental in the development of the lively, electrified Bakersfield sound that dominated the country charts in the '60s and proved to be pivotal in blurring the boundaries between country and rock & roll. Rich was always happy to play at Owens' side, but he also stepped into the spotlight on his own and with Buck's backing band the Buckaroos, releasing a bunch of LPs in the second half of the '60s and early '70s. As the Buckaroos' individual popularity started to fade, so did Rich's solo career, but he was happy to be at Owens' side on-stage and on Hee Haw, the syndicated variety show that made Buck a superstar. This all ended tragically in 1974, when Rich died in a motorcycle accident, but his legacy has loomed large over country music in the 20th century.