What's your favorite guitar solo?

The NYC blog CityRag linked this week to Guitar World‘s 100 Greatest Guitar Solos, and offered links to videos of each of the top 20. For classic rock junkies, there is no better way to procrastinate at work. Their top pick, Jimmy Page on "Stairway to Heaven," is a given. For some reason I’ve always had a soft spot for No. 19, Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple on "Highway Star." When I hear solos like this I completely check out and go into a zone. A lot of times I have to close my eyes and imagine I’m sprinting determinedly or otherwise physically exerting myself, so I can sort of (pretend to) match the intensity of the sound, even though I’m deluding myself and nothing ever could. If I opened my eyes, looked down at pizza, and continued to yap inane things about reality television, I wouldn’t be doing the song justice. Just me? What’s your music-reverence ritual?

I wish someone had thought to cut a single mp3 of the top 20 (or all 100, yikes) guitar solos back-to-back, so I could just lie there cloaked in headphones and then ultimately start convulsing. (Thanks for nothing!) Instead, I’ll let you start your day with a high-octane dose of Blackmore’s "Highway Star" shredding. (He goes to work about four minutes into this live clip.)


Comments (37 total) Add your comment
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  • Slammy

    Guitar solos are lame.

  • Jack Sprat

    Hendrix’s “Machine Gun” at Number 32? This list is lame.

  • Dan

    I can’t believe there is no John Frusciante. I know the Chili Peppers aren’t a heavy guitar solo band. But as brief as the solo bits are in songs like Give it Away and Californication I think there’s far more creativity than a lot of solos on this list.
    Also, I wish they’d included the final solo on Abbey Road. To me a great solo is about capturing the moment and Lennon, Mcartney and Harrison trading licks on what would be their last recording EVER is quite the moment.

  • NineDaves

    i’m a big fan of slash’s guitar solo in “november rain.” especially in the video. man that brings back memories.

  • Uncle_Rico

    I always like Nuno Bettencourt’s solo on “Play with Me”. It was on the extremely popular album Porgograffiti and the apex of the movie that started it all “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”. Nuno is better know as the guy getting sung to on the “More Than Words” video, but he is actually a very good guitar player.

  • Wire

    Was Tom Verlaine’s solo from “Marquee Moon” REALLY not on that list, or did I just miss seeing it? I can’t imagine it not being on there. And Lou Reed’s completely insane fireworks from the Velvet Underground’s “I Heard Her Call My Name” also seemed to be missing.

  • Galley

    Tom Scholz in Boston’s “A Man I’ll Never Be”

  • Howard

    Jeff Healey on either “See the Light” or “If You Can’t Feel Anything Else” (he’s got other great ones, but these two come to mind immediately). The way he holds the guitar gives him unbelievable range.

  • babs

    for rock guitars, there’s nothing better than “Surfing with the Alien” but I also loved the guitar solo at the end of the Carpenters (yes the Carpenter) “Goodbye to Love”, very fuzzy and very cool!
    ooh, and “Long Time” by Boston

  • Eggs

    This is kind of lame but the two I can always pump my fist to are the guitar solos in Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believeing” and ACDC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.”

  • Marie-Claire

    IMHO, Lindsey Buckingham is one of the most underrated guitarists around, yet his versatility, intricacy and precision are undeniable. Two of my favorites among his guitar solos are his final ‘whirling’ coda to Stevie Nicks’ “Gypsy” and the layered finale to his own “Eyes of the World”. Oh, and his varied solos in live versions of “Go Your Own Way” and “The Chain” are always exciting.

  • Jakeem

    I would have to say the guitar work in Steely Dan’s “Reelin’ in the Years” is sensational. I’m not sure if it is all Jeff “Skunk” Baxter or not, but it is definitely noteworthy.

  • furry_tom

    I’ll second Marquee Moon, its omission automatically makes their list invalid.

  • marykate

    Love Lindsay Buckingham!
    His playing on Big Love is AMAZING!!

  • Stephanie Travitsky

    1. Oliver K. Reich- Main guitar solo/introduction to the chorus on “More Than a Feeling”- Boston
    2. Jeff “Skunk” Baxter- “Reeling In the Years”- Steely Dan
    3. Angus Young- “Thunder Struck”- AC/DC
    4. David Gilmore- “Brain Damage/Eclipse”- Pink Floyd
    5. Brain May- “Stone Cold Crazy”- Queen
    6. Dave Davies- “You Really Got Me”/ “All Day and all of the night (to be honest they are the same chords but the arrangement is different)”- Kinks

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