Greatest Guitar Riffs of All Time

02/07/2011
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Gibson.com recently called upon its editors, writers and – most importantly – readers, to weigh in on the greatest riffs in music history. After all the votes were tallied, we were left with the Top 50 Guitar Riffs of All Time, and we're revealing the first 10 riffs today. Check back each day this week as Gibson.com unveils 10 more famous riffs, with the Top 10 coming on Friday.

49. "School's Out," Alice Cooper (1972): Few riffs have been as instantly memorable as the one that powers Alice Cooper's "School's Out." According to original Cooper bassist Dennis Dunaway, lead guitarist Glen Buxton came up with the part during the band's early years, while jamming with songwriter-guitarist Reggie Vincent. Coupled with Cooper's serrated vocals, the part became ferocious. "Glen's playing was all about feel, and was edgy and loose," Dunaway says. "His playing was like an angry hornet." –Russell Hall

48. "Louie Louie," The Kingsmen (1963): The Kingsmen's 1963 version of this Richard Berry track is a hormone-charged, keg-party-soundtrackin' classic, a reputation enhanced but certainly not defined by its appearance in National Lampoon's Animal House. The simple I-IV-V-IV riff is hypnotic and raucous, and best of all – it's dead simple to play, even for beginner guitarists. Meanwhile, the vocal hook practically demands that you and your pals gather around and holler it at full volume. – Peter Hodgson The rest of today's list here

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