Jump to content

50 Greatest Guitar Solos (Guitar World)


Recommended Posts

Here's the link to Guitar World's "50 greatest guitar solos":


Alas, nothing from Wally.

Here's the list without the write-ups (click on the link to see the writer's tidbits with each selection):

50) "Shock Me" (Ace Frehley) - Kiss Alive II, 1977

49) "Europa" (Carlos Santana) - Carlos Santana Amigos, 1976

48) "Sympathy for the Devil" (Keith Richards) - Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet, 1968

47) "Jessica" (Dickey Betts) - Allman Brothers Band Brothers and Sisters, 1974

46) "Hot For Teacher" (Edward Van Halen) - Van Halen 1984, 1984

45) "Light My Fire" (Robby Krieger) - The Doors The Doors, 1967

44) "Alive" (Mike McCready) - Pearl Jam Ten, 1991

43) "Sharp Dressed Man" (Billy Gibbons) - ZZ Top Eliminator, 1983

42) "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (Eric Clapton) - The Beatles The Beatles (White Album), 1968

41) "Brighton Rock" (Brian May) - Queen Sheer Heart Attack, 1974

40) "Reelin' in the Years" (Elliot Randall) - Steely Dan Can't Buy a Thrill, 1972

39) "Cortez the Killer" (Neil Young) - Neil Young and Crazy Horse Zuma, 1975

38) "Whole Lotta Love" (Jimmy Page) - Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II, 1967

37) "Sweet Child O' Mine" (Slash) - Guns N' Roses Appetite for Destruction, 1987

36) "Black Star" (Yngwie Malmsteen) - Yngwie Malmsteen Rising Force, 1984

35) "Cemetary Gates" (Dimebag Darrell) - Pantera Cowboys from Hell, 1990

34) "Paranoid Android" (Johnny Greenwood) - Radiohead OK Computer, 1997

33) "The Thrill is Gone" (B.B. King) - B.B. King Completely Well, 1969

32) "Machine Gun" (Jimi Hendrix) - Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsys, 1970

31) "Stranglehold" (Ted Nugent) - Ted Nugent Ted Nugent, 1975

30) "Surfing with the Alien" (Joe Satriani) - Joe Satriani Surfing with the Alien, 1987

29) "For the Love of God" (Steve Vai) - Steve Vai Passion and Warfare, 1991

28) "Mr. Crowley" (Randy Rhoads) - Ozzy Osbourne Blizzard of Ozz, 1981

27) "Pride and Joy" (Stevie Ray Vaughan) - Stevie Ray Vaughan Texas Flood, 1983

26) "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (Kurt Cobain) - Nirvana Nevermind, 1991

25) "Aqualung" (Martin Barre) - Jethro Tull Aqualung, 1979

24) "Fade to Black" (Kirk Hammett) - Metallica Ride the Lightning, 1984

23) "Bulls on Parade" (Tom Morello) - Rage Against the Machine Evil Empire, 1996

22) "Sultans of Swing" (Mark Knopfler) - Dire Straits Dire Straits, 1978

21) "Time" (David Gilmour) - Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon, 1973

20) "Bohemian Rhapsody" (Brian May) - Queen Night at the Opera, 1975

19) "Floods" (Dimebag Darrell) - Pantera The Great Southern Trendkill, 1996

18) "Little Wing" (Jimi Hendrix) - The Jimi Hendrix Experience Axis: Bold as Love, 1968

17) "Cliffs of Dover" (Eric Johnson) - Eric Johnson Ah Via Musicom, 1990

16) "Heartbreaker" (Jimmy Page) - Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II, 1967

15) "Highway Star" (Ritchie Blackmore) - Deep Purple Machine Head, 1972

14) "Layla" (Eric Clapton, Duane Allman) - Derek and the Dominos Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, 1970

13) "Texas Flood" (Stevie Ray Vaughan) - Stevie Ray Vaughan Texas Flood, 1983

12) "Johnny B. Goode" (Chuck Berry) - Chuck Berry His Best, Volume One, 1997

11) "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" (Jimi Hendrix) - Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric Ladyland, 1968

10) "Crossroads" (Eric Clapton) - Cream Wheels of Fire, 1968

9) "Crazy Train" (Randy Rhoads) - Ozzy Osbourne Blizzard of Ozz, 1981

8) "Hotel California" (Ben Felder, Joe Walsh) - The Eagles Hotel California, 1976

7) "One" (Kirk Hammett) - Metallica ...And Justice for All, 1988

6) "November Rain" (Slash) - Guns N' Roses Use Your Illusion I, 1991

5) "All Along the Watchtower" (Jimi Hendrix) - The Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric Ladyland, 1968

4) "Comfortably Numb" (David Gilmour) - Pink Floyd The Wall, 1979

3) "Free Bird" (Allen Collins, Gary Rossington) - Lynyrd Skynyrd pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd, 1973

2) "Eruption" (Eddie Van Halen) - Van Halen Van Halen, 1978

1) "Stairway to Heaven" (Jimmy Page) - Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IV, 1971

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Diane put up a similar list a few months ago, and like that list, it's hard to give any value to this one when guitarists like Steve Cropper, James Burton, and Chet Atkins (to name 3) are not mentioned. Ok they didn't do any 10 minute solos, but the brevity of their solos spoke volumes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chill.... The writer had the name correct in the text.... He was probably thinking of Ben Folds or something (we all make mistakes, no?) when he punched in the header info, which I cut-and-pasted.

The passage on "HC" is pretty interesting, if you don't know the story:


Credit for the guitar majesty of “Hotel California†is often given to Joe Walsh, who toughened up the Eagles’ laid-back California sound when he joined the band just prior to the Hotel California album’s recording. Actually, the primary guitar heard throughout the solo belongs to Don Felder, who wrote the music for the track and actually conceived and played the solo’s intricate harmonies on his initial, instrumental demo.

“Every once in a while it seems like the cosmos part and something great plops into your lap,†says Felder. “That’s how it was with ‘Hotel California.’ I had just leased this beach house in Malibu and was sitting in the living room with all the doors wide open on a spectacular July day, probably in ’75. I was soaking wet in a bathing suit, sitting on the couch, thinking the world is a wonderful place to be and tinkling around with this acoustic 12-string when those ‘Hotel California’ chords just oozed out. I had a TEAC four-track set up in a back bedroom, and I ran back there to put this idea down before I forgot it.

“I set this old rhythm ace to play a cha-cha beat, set the right tempo and played the 12-string on top of it. A few days later, I went back and listened to it and it sounded pretty unique, so I came up with a bass line. A few days after that, I added some electric guitars. Everything was mixed down to mono, ping-ponging back and forth on this little four-track. Finally, I wound up with a cassette that had virtually the entire arrangement that appeared on the record, verbatim, with the exception of a few Joe Walsh licks on the end. All the harmony guitar stuff was there, as was my solo.

“Then I gave it to Don Henley on a tape with eight or 10 ideas, and he came back and said, ‘I really love the one that sounds like a Matador…like you’re in Mexico.’ We worked it all up and went into the studio and recorded it as I wrote it—in E minor, just regular, open chords in standard tuning—and made this killer track. All the electric guitars were big and fat and the 12-string was nice and full. Then Henley came back and said, ‘It’s in the wrong key.’ So I said, ‘What do you need? D? F sharp?’…hoping that we could varispeed the tape. But he said no, that wouldn’t work, and we sat down and started trying to figure out the key—and it turned out to be B minor! So out comes the capo, way up on the seventh fret. We re-recorded the song in B minor and all of a sudden the guitar sounds really small and the whole track just shrinks! It was horrible, so we went back and tried it again. Luckily, we came up with a better version in B minor.

“I kept the capo on and recorded the acoustic guitar through a Leslie. They took a D.I. out of the console and a stereo Leslie, and this got this swirly effect. Then I went back and did most of the guitars, except for the stuff where Joe and I set up on two stools and ran the harmony parts down. I play the first solo, then it’s Joe. Then we trade lines and then we go into the lead harmonies.

“Now that I’ve heard it for 20 years, the 12-string part sounds right to me, but it’s still not as nice as the E minor version we did. And even when we’d finished the song and made it the title track, I wasn’t convinced that it should be our single. I thought it was way too long—twice the normal radio length—and sort of weird because it started out quiet and had this quiet breakdown section in the middle. I was very skeptical, but I yielded to the wisdom of Henley.â€

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've always been fairly indifferent to The Eagles. What I did like about them was Don Felder. The manner that Henley and Frey treated him was inexcusable.

Where can I find the demo for "Hotel California"?

People love lists but at the end of the day they're pretty meaningless. There are a lot of Raspberries solos I love but my favorite solo from Wally is on "Come Back" by Fotomaker. The Beatles' "Something" and the end solo on Badfinger's "Meanwhile Back at The Ranch/Should I Smoke" are also favorites.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

quote from Highwayangel

I cant believe Randy Bachman is not on the list ! This guy can play any style of music ! What about the solos in American Woman and Roll on down the Highway AND listen to the end of Gimme your money please AND ! The ending of Blue Collar and Welcome Home They are incredible Jazz licks ! C MON !
I agree...He was awesome...I love BTO
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Gman undun is a jazz rock masterpiece When Randy showed Burton the chords for the song Burton said What ! how can i put lyrics to this ? There are to many chord changes But somehow he wrote the lyric and what a nimble vocal performance to go together with Randys super jazzy riff They found the perfect balance Its one of my favorites thanks Gman i am so uptight he is not on that list son of a gun !

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Umm......Does the name Jeff Beck ring a bell? How can you possibly compile a list of great guitar solos and leave out Jeff Beck??????

Oh, wait, I know how. The dolts who compiled the list are 23 years old, that's how.

These lists are so ridiculous. What was the criteria? Fastest solo? Most notes crammed into 8 bars? Loudest amp? Technical difficulty?

Or was it something like "Most awesome, after I copped a buzz, dude!"

How about solos that are "memorable". Jeff Beck did more with four notes on "People Get Ready" than most of these guys will ever do. There are so many great players who've done WAYYYY better solos than a lot of these it's just silly. How about Albert Lee? And Dave Edmunds, George Harrison, Paul Kossoff, Pete Townshend, Jeff Baxter, Lenny Kaye and Les Paul?

Steve Lukather could shred most of these guys in his sleep. So could Mike Landau. And how about Mike Campbell and Wally Bryson?

Clapton is a fine technician, but he's never played a single bar that's "moved" me.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jeff Beck did more with four notes on "People Get Ready" than most of these guys will ever do.

I Totally agree with that statement.

Another great example of "taste", not speed, nor level of difficulty, one solo that always moved me was The Late Hiram Bullock, on Sting's version of Little Wing (Nothing Like The Sun Album)..Tone, texture,FLAVOR...

listen:at 2:06...very "Beck-ish"


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not to defend Guitar World (no connection to them whatsoever), but this kind of list is meant to do just what it's doing: get people talking, stir up the pot, and have a little fun... oh, and sell a few magazines (or Web ads) too. But we all know it's subjective as heck. Every one of us could come up with our own list, and none of our lists would match -- although... I bet our lists would be better. smile

Personally, I thought it was a crime to omit George Harrison.... The only Beatles entry was a Clapton solo? That's sinful, considering George's impact. The list-makers obviously gravitate toward volume and speed rather than style.

So yeah, my list would have Harrison. I've always liked those short but powerful solos in "All My Lovin'," "Nowhere Man" (as H-65 noted), and "Something." And how about Paul McCartney's solos in "Taxman" and "Ticket to Ride," or John Lennon's on the single release on "Let It Be," or the Harrison/Lennon/McCartney solos on "The End"?

I know I'd have a Lindsey Buckingham solo on my list (maybe even "Go Your Own Way," or something like "I'm So Afraid"). And definitely some Wally licks. And I'd have Jeff Beck and Terry Kath too (I love early Chicago), among others. And how can you leave out Pete Townsend? Also, if I had done the list, I'd have said: Make a separate list for blues guitarists, because you can't just sample a couple of 'em within a mainly rock'n'roll list. It's not fair to blues players, or to the omitted rock'n'rollers.

So... yeah, the list is just a list.... But isn't it fun to dissect it?

Speaking of fun, check out this collage of Beatles guitar solos, all played in one video by Mateus Schaffer. It's very entertaining...


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ten great guitar solos

'Baby's On Fire'...Robert Fripp [brian Eno]

'Hurricane'...Neil Young

'Nowhere Man'...George Harrison

'Reelin In The Year' Jeff Baxter, and a great player whose name eludes me right now.

'Another Girl, Another Planet'...The Only Ones

'Somebody Loan Me A Dime' Boz Scaggs [Duane Allman]

'Countdown'...Lindsey Buckingham

'Jack The Ripper'...Link Wray'

'Train Kept A Rolling'...Yardbirds [Jeff Beck]

'Green Onions'...Booker T MGs..[steve Cropper]

Any James Burton, Tony Hicks, Wally Bryson, Glen Campbell, Mick Taylor...[i'll take Keefs riffing and fills over his solos].

These are not the 10 greatest...but I'd take em over what's on Guitar Players list. Anyday.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...