Wednesday, September 3, 2008

OPINION: The Ten Greatest Guitar Solos

The Ten Greatest Guitar Solos Ever by Ricky Sharples

As with everything else, everybody has an opinion as to who is the greatest guitar solo player and what was their greatest solo. All this is a matter of opinion of course but we can still learn from the opinions of musicians on what makes guitar solos great. Today I thought that I would run through some of the so-called great guitar solos and see what we can learn from such a list. I have decided not to number this list. I just want to bring these classics to your attention.

Stairway To Heaven was recorded in 1971 and never released as a single in the USA but is still among the most requested songs ever. Composed by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, the final version of the song was a result of many hours of work in the studio by Jimmy Page.

Sultans Of Swing by Dire Straits introduced to the world the sparse arrangements and lyrical genius of Mark Knopfler. The version of the song that appeared on the album was voted number 22 on Guitar World magazine's greatest guitar solos.

Another song that was transformed in the studio was All Along The Watchtower. The guitar solo fits the song as though it was made for it but Jimi Hendrix took the original song by Bob Dylan and added layers of electric guitar music until the original could no longer hold up its head. In fact, Bob Dylan now uses Jimi Hendrix' interpretation.

Sunshine Of Your Love is famous for its distinctive riff and Eric Clapton's use of the Rogers and Hart song Blue Moon to start off his guitar solo. The solo is classic Clapton in its tone and phrasing.

Sometimes things work out in the end. Like the day Van Halen's record producer heard Eddie Van Halen fooling around on the guitar and insisted that he include it on their first album. The result was an instrumental track called Eruption.

One of the first songs to feature distortion and feedback, I Heard Her Call My Name is on most lists of top ten solos. Taken from Velvet Underground's second album, I Heard Her Call My Name is Lou Reed's claim to fame as a guitar player and a precurser of heavy metal.

Songs that start slow and work up into a sweat are always popular with audiences, and Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd became the number audiences hung out for. This is another song that is on almost every list of great songs or guitar solos. The transition from ballad to up tempo rock has to be experienced to be believed.

In 1977 The Eagles released an album called Hotel California with the title song being interpreted in many dark and mysterious ways. The song was famously changed to an acoustic number featuring eight guitars but in its original form the lyrics were just there to put in the spaces between the guitar parts.

You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC is a favorite amongst fans of Angus Young, a showman who loves playing the guitar and giving the crowd what it wants.

Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd features two guitar solos. They are a mixture of several solos improvised in the studio and blended together by guitarist David Gilmour. This was supposedly a routine way of working for Gilmour and in this case it resulted in guitar solos that feature on everybody's list of greats.

So that is a list of great guitar solos. Your mission now is to go to YouTube or a music store and seek out the songs you have read about here and give them a listen. Then if you are intersted, go and find some other top ten or top one hundred lists and find bands and music you have never heard of and make them part of your musical background. And keep playing the guitar.

Do you want to learn to play the guitar? Learn How To Play A Guitar For Free is a constantly updated blog which contains all the resources you need for: learning to play solo guitar, how to learn guitar chords, how to learn to read and play easy acoustic guitar tabs, finding a free online guitar tuner, looking for free guitar lessons online, and how to learn guitar scales.

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1 comment:

  1. I never agree with any of the 10 greatest guitar solo polls, but I can't offer better suggestions; give me some time to think about it.