Sunday, June 8, 2008


Rolling Stone magazine came out with it's list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of all time. You might disagree with some of the placings, but it's a good conversation starter for all your list-making, "High Fidelity" friends. We've played some of these on the blog already, and just hit the Kinks a couple days ago, but I figured we'd play a few more.

As you would expect, the list is weighted to the past. Guitars are a rarity in much contemprary music, dance and hip hop. Alternative and indie-rock, with it's Pro-Tooled textures and deliberately naive playing, places low priority on musical virtuosity, so riffage is kept at a minimum. For maximum riffage, we turn to classic rock, and as you can see there is an abundance of rock dinosaurs crowding the list. Among dinosaurs, Eric Clapton is Rex. Even though he only placed as high as #3, I had to play this clip of "Layla." This is not the clean-cut and questionable acoustic version, what you might call "Layla for Lawyers," but the fiery Jurassic jam of heartbreak and hot molten lava. The original, if you recall, had twin guitar leads between Clapton and the late, great Duane Allman.

25 The Rolling Stones - "Can't You Hear Me Knocking"
24 Rage Against the Machine- "Killing in the Name"
23 The Yardbirds - "Over Under Sideways Down"
22 The Beatles - "A Hard Day's Night"
21 The White Stripes - "Seven Nation Army"
20 The Impressions - "People Get Ready"
19 Prince and the Revolution - "Purple Rain"
18 Ramones - "Blitzkrieg Bop"
17 Black Sabbath - "Black Sabbath"
16 Neil Young with Crazy Horse - "Cowgirl in the Sand"
15 The Who - "My Generation"
14 Bruce Springsteen - "Born to Run"
13 Derek and the Dominos - "Layla"
12 The Jimi Hendrix Experience - "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"
11 Led Zeppelin - "Whole Lotta Love"
10 Nirvana - "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
09 The Allman Brothers Band - "Statesboro Blues"
08 Led Zeppelin - "Stairway to Heaven"
07 The Beatles - "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
06 Van Halen - "Eruption"
05 Rolling Stones - "Brown Sugar"
04 The Kinks - "You Really Got Me"
03 Cream - "Crossroads"
02 Jimi Hendrix - "Purple Haze"
01 Chuck Berry - "Johnny B. Goode


Suedecurtis said...

I am a big guitar fan and have read your post. Its a good list from rolling stone. I can say that I agree with most on it. Position on the list is not that relevant to me. I can say they are all numer 1. lol.
Take a look at for more guitar info and fun.

Bob Rini said...

Thanks for the post. Yeah, there are so many great guitar songs -- and guitar players. I learned long ago I'd be a halfway decent player at best, and I'm always amazed by how many people are brilliant, even in small clubs, anywhere.