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Top 10 Incredible Guitar Riffs & Solos

Keith Richards

In music a riff is a repeated chord progression performed by a solo instrument.  In rock
music the guitar riff can make a single.  A high-powered and incredibly talented guitarist
can impact a song like no other.   A strong written guitar progression can bring energy
and rhythm to any lyric.  All of the legendary rock, grunge, and ska bands have had one
thing in common.  They all had a great lead guitarist.  Here is a collection of 10 songs
with incredible guitar riffs.

10. Scorpions - No One Like You
Guitarist - Rudolf Schenker, Matthias Jabs

Scorpions are a hard rock band from Hanover, Germany.  The group has sold over 75
million records worldwide.  The three longest lasting members of the band are Klaus
(lead vocal), Matthias Jabs (guitar),
Rudolf Schenker (rhythm lead guitar).
No One Like You is a song that was released on the bands 1982 album Blackout.  It
was written by Meine and Schenker.  The song was an international hit, but did not top
any charts.  In most Scorpions songs, guitar solos and riffs are performed by Matthias
Jabs, while Schenker handles the rhythm.

9. Heart - Crazy On You
Guitarist - Nancy Wilson, Roger Fisher

Heart is a rock band that was formed in the early 1970’s in Seattle, Washington.  The only
constant members of the group are sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, although the original band
Steve Fossen, Roger Fisher, and Mike Fisher.  Heart has sold over 30 million records
worldwide. Crazy on You was the debut single for the band after the Wilson sisters joined.  The
song is known for its guitar driven intro and pace.  It has a mix of acoustic and electric guitar, and
is noted for the fact that the acoustic guitarist was a female, Nancy Wilson, which was a rarity in
rock music during that time
.  The song was written in response to the stress caused by the
Vietnam War and social unrest in the United States in the early 70’s.

8. Faith No More - Epic
Guitarist - Jim Martin, Billy Gould (Bass)

Faith No More is a rock band that was formed in San Francisco, California. Epic is a
song that was released on the bands third album in 1990.  This song features a
combination of heavy metal with rap and heavy guitar driven riffs.  Mike Patton is on
lyrics, Billy Gould on bass, and Jim Martin does an incredible job on lead guitar.  Epic
has become a staple in Faith No More concerts and is considered their most successful
single.  The song has a great video, which I have included.

7. Guns N' Roses - November Rain
Guitarist - Slash

Guns N' Roses is a rock band that was formed in Los Angeles, California in 1985.  The band has
had numerous line-up changes over the years, but the one main stay is lead singer Axl Rose.
Tracii Guns was the original lead guitarist with Ole Beich on bass, but they were soon replaced
with Slash and Duff McKagan, who performed with the band during their prime years.  November
Rain is a song that appears on the band 1992 release Use Your Illusion I.  The song is a rock
ballad and features a sweeping orchestral backing.  It is one of Guns N' Roses longest songs.  It
also features some incredible guitar solos by Slash.  Slash is truly one of the greatest electric
guitar players of all time.  His debut solo album, Slash & Friends is due to be released in 2010.
Fast-forward to the 4:10 mark in the video to see Slash make it happen.

6. Sublime - Santeria
Guitarist - Bradley Nowell

Sublime is an American ska punk band from Long Beach, California.  The band originally
consisted of lead singer and guitarist Bradley Nowell, Eric Wilson, and Bud Gaugh.  Santeria is a
song released on the bands multi-platinum third album.  It features great lyrics and incredible
guitar riffs performed by Nowell.  Bradley Nowell was a natural on the guitar, but sadly he died
from a heroin overdose at the age of 28 in 1996.  Sublime did not reach true international success
until after the death of Bradley Nowell.  There is no doubt that Nowell was the driving force
behind the band.

5. Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love
Guitarist - Jimmy Page

Led Zeppelin is an English rock band formed in 1968 by Jimmy Page (guitar), Robert
Plant (vocals), John Paul Jones (bass, keyboards) and John Bonham (drums).  Led
Zeppelin is regarded as one of the first heavy metal bands, helping to pioneer the genre.
The band has sold an estimated 200 million records worldwide.  Whole Lotta Love is a
song that was featured as the opening track on the band's second album, Led Zeppelin II.
The U.S. release became the bands first hit single.  No Zeppelin singles were released in
the UK.  Every member of the band was on the top of their game during the recording of
this song, led by the amazing guitar riffs and solo of Jimmy Page.

4. Derek and the Dominos - Layla
Guitarist - Eric Clapton, Duane Allman

Derek and the Dominos was a blues-rock band formed in the spring of 1970 by guitarist
and singer Eric Clapton with keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle, and
drummer Jim Gordon.  The band released only one  studio album, Layla and Other
Assorted Love Songs, which featured prominent contributions from guest guitarist
Duane Allman from the Allman Brothers Band.  The song Layla was released in 1970 as
the 13th track on the album.  It is often hailed as being among the greatest rock songs of
all-time. Layla is defined by two movements, each marked by a riff.  The guitar presence
by both Eric Clapton and Duane Allman is incredible.  In a recent list comprised of the
greatest guitarists of all time, both Clapton and Allman were in the top ten.

3. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
Guitarist - David Gilmour

Pink Floyd is an English band formed in 1965 by Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger
Waters, Richard Wright and Bob Klose.  The group became a popular fixture on
London's underground music scene.  Syd Barrett’s erratic behavior prompted the band to
add David Gilmour to their lineup.  Barrett soon left Pink Floyd and Roger Waters
became the lyricist and dominant figure in the band. Pink Floyd’s progressive rock style
and amazing instrument play has made the band one of the most critically acclaimed and
successful of all time.  To date they have sold over 200 million records worldwide.
Wish You Were Here was the title song off of Pink Floyd’s 1975 album with the same
name.  Roger Waters’ and David Gilmour collaborated to write the song as a tribute to
former band member Syd Barrett.  The main riff was written by Gilmour and the entire
collaboration is wonderful.

2. Ozzy Osbourne - Crazy Train
Guitarist - Randy Rhoads

In 1980 Ozzy Osbourne left the group Black Sabbath to start a solo career with
the help of Randy Rhoads and Bob Daisley
.  The group’s first single was Crazy
Train, which was released on the 1980 album Blizzard of Ozz. 
Crazy Train
was a major hit in both the UK and the U.S.  The guitar riff and Randy Rhoads'
guitar solo are highly regarded as one of the best ever.  Just watch the video.
Rhoads’ is truly amazing.  Randy Rhoads’ was a devoted student of the
classical guitar.  He often combined his classical music influences with his own
heavy metal style.  Rhoads’ had a relatively short, but extremely explosive and
influential career with Quiet Riot and Ozzy.  Sadly, on March 18, 1982 Randy
Rhoads’ died in a small plane crash, which was ultimately the result of poor
judgment by the pilot.  He attempted to buzz the bands tour bus and clipped the
side of it causing a massive crash.

1. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - All Along the Watchtower
Guitarist - Jimi Hendrix

The Jimi Hendrix Experience was an English–American rock band, formed in London in
1966.  The band originally included American guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Jimi
Hendrix, bassist and backing vocalist Noel Redding, and drummer Mitch Mitchell, the
band was active until 1969.  They released three successful studio albums.  After the
band split up, Hendrix and Mitchell teamed up with bassist Billy Cox and other
musicians to form the short-lived Gypsy Sun and Rainbows.  The Jimi Hendrix
Experience is the only band with all their albums on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest
Albums of All Time.

All the original members of the group are now deceased.  Jimi Hendrix died in 1971
after asphyxiating on his own vomit.  Doctors reported that red wine filled his airways
and swamped his lungs while he slept.  A large amount of sleeping pills were found in
his system.  All Along the Watchtower is a song that was originally written and
performed by Bob Dylan, but the Jimi Hendrix Experience made it their own.  The song
was released on the album Electric Ladyland in September 1968.  Jimi Hendrix spent
countless days redubbing and changing the song to fit his guitar style. 

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Terry - October 16, 2009 at 9:17 PM
A great list...You left one of the greatest of all time though.  Jimi Hendrix at the
Montery 1967 pop festival...

Alex - January 29, 2010
Jimi Hendrix is at the right spot at number one but it should've been for Purple
Haze.  And what about Smoke On the Water? That's easily one of the most
recognizable guitar riffs of all time.

Anonymous - May 31, 2010

Really, Wish You Were Here instead of the solo in Comfortably Numb?  No Stones
Satisfaction?  Sweet Home Alabama?  Stairway to Heaven?   Louie Louie?  Walk
This Way?  This list is "10 more or less random songs with some good guitar.”

Marshall - July 19, 2010
Alex, just because that’s the only two Hendrix songs you know, doesn't mean they
should be first.  Go learn some music then make a comment, also it’s not a top ten
for most recognized, it’s for the best.

Copyright The List Blog - Top 10, All Rights Reserved, Posted October 3, 2009