Well...of course I am willing to recognize that Clapton and Winwood and some other guitar players were great musicians...and still are.
But I still basically ignored them back then. It was singers and/or songwriters who deeply interested me. I never bought an album or went to a concert in order to hear a guy play the guitar...I went to hear the singing.
I just love both lyrics and singing, that's all. I liked Hendrix, because some of his songs actually were kind of neat on the lyrical and vocal side.