musicNEWS: Top Guitar Solos and Riffs of All Time

05-02-04 Keavin
Just how much difference does an ocean make in the taste of rock fans? We get a glimpse of that with two recent readers polls from magazines geared towards musicians. In the U.S. Guitar World polled their readers to create a list of The Top 100 Guitar Solos Of All Time. In the U.K. Total Guitar magazine asked their readers to pick the Top 100 Guitar Riffs of all time. 

What’s in a solo? That was the question posed to Guitar World readers. Their verdict, “Stairway to Heaven,” “Eruption,” “Freebird,” “Comfortably Numb,” and “All Along The Watchtower” came out on top. 

But what about the core of any good rock song—the riff? UK fans decided their favorites in a poll for Total Guitar magazine that put “Sweet Child of Mine,” "Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Whole Lotta Love," "Smoke On The Water," and "Enter Sandman" at the top. 

Below are the Top 20 of each list. 

Guitar World’s Top 20 Solos of All Time:

01. ‘Stairway To Heaven’ - Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)
02. ‘Eruption’ - Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen)
03. ‘Freebird’ - Collins/Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
04. ‘Comfortably Numb’ - David Gilmour (Pink Floyd)
05. ‘All Along The Watchtower’ - Jimi Hendrix
06. ‘November Rain’ - Slash (Guns N’ Roses)
07. ‘One’ - Kirk Hammett (Metallica)
08. ‘Hotel California’ - Don Felder/Joe Walsh (Eagles)
09. ‘Crazy Train’ - Randy Rhads (Ozzy Osbourne)
10. ‘Crossroads’ - Eric Clapton (Cream)
11. ‘Voodoo Chile’ - Jimi Hendrix
12. ‘Johnny B. Goode’ - Chuck Berry
13. ‘Texas Flood’ - Stevie Ray Vaughan
14. ‘Layla’ - Clapton/Allman (Derek and the Dominos)
15. ‘Floods’ - Dimebag Darrel (Pantera)
16. ‘Heartbreaker’ - Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)
17. ‘Cliffs Of Dover’ - Eric Johnson
18. ‘Little Wing’ - Jimi Hendrix
19. ‘Highway Star’ - Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple)
20. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ - Brian May (Queen)

Total Guitar’s Top 20 Riffs Of All Time:

01. Guns N' Roses – "Sweet Child O' Mine"
02. Nirvana – "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
03. Led Zeppelin – "Whole Lotta Love" 
04. Deep Purple – "Smoke On The Water"
05. Metallica – "Enter Sandman"
06. Derek & The Dominoes - "Layla"
07. Metallica - "Master Of Puppets"
08. AC/DC – "Back In Black"
09. Jimi Hendrix – "Voodoo Child"
10. Black Sabbath – "Paranoid"
11. Ozzy Osbourne – "Crazy Train"
12. Free – "All Right Now"
13. Muse – "Plug In Baby"
14. Led Zeppelin – "Black Dog"
15. Van Halen – "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love"
16. Aerosmith – "Walk This Way"
17. Cream – "Sunshine Of Your Love"
18. Queens Of The Stone Age – "No One Knows"
19. Guns N' Roses – "Paradise City"
20. Rage Against The Machine – "Killing In The Name"




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