There are all kinds of these silly lists of the “greatest guitar solo’s of all time.” Blah blah…here’s my take of them, in no order, because I’m a lazy dude:
Top 10 Guitar Solos of All Time.
“Answer to the Master”, Def Leppard: From the almost forgotten Leppard debut classic On Through the Night, “Answer to the Master” has an incredible guitar solo from founding member Pete Wills. The first time I heard this song, I was really into the guitar workings of Eddie Van Halen, but this song had me saying “Eddie Van Whonow?” The solo starts out with some fancy tapping and then turns to a sweeping scream that makes one shiver in sheer delight. This is a solo not to miss.
“Cult of Personality”, Living Colour: Although this song charted fairly well and the video saw high rotation on MTV, this solo by founder Vernon Reid is never mentioned as a great solo, which I don’t understand. It has a sense of being frantic while at the same time Reid maintains control throughout the whole thing. What’s a bit odd to me; however is the rhythm section sounds a bit slow compared to the solo until near the end. Reid takes a metal solo and twists and shapes it around a blues/jazz sound, then it’s spit out in an angry way the matches the entire angst of the song. From the album Vivid.
“La Villa Strangiato”, Rush: As with many other guitarists on this list, Alex Lifeson is much underappreciated as guitar player in the rock industry. It was hard to pinpoint a favorite guitar solo by him, but “Strangiato”, which rounds out the album Hemispheres, has some amazing riffs and the big solo starts out rather soft with an effect pedal making an almost weeping sound. But as it continues, it builds in intensity and Lifeson tears through a flurry of notes on the fret board that build higher and higher, then he smooth’s it out gently, before the band goes back to the main theme of the song.
“Always With Me, Always With You”, Joe Satriani: This gentle instrumental off of the Surfing with the Alien album is in many ways a solo in and of itself. Satriani has always been a favorite of those who love their axe men, but this piece has some of his most effortlessly sounding solos in his career. The sounds of the main part of the solo are like drops of gentle rain in a passing spring storm, yet it is a vastly complex sound that makes Satriani one of the great rock guitar kings.
“Bat Out of Hell”, Meatloaf: Are you kidding? Do I even need to say why this is on the list? Yes of course I do as Todd Rundgren is another over looked guitarist which is a terrible shame. The guitar in this song is beyond furious throughout, but then you get Rundgren making the effect of a huge bike rumbling to life and then screaming down the “highway faster than any other boy has ever gone”, and then the finger tapping is relentless in its passion and fury, then when the sudden curve comes up, Rundgren makes a sound of the bike losing control and crashing. Next time you hear this song, listen to what comes after the bike part which is cool in and of itself, but the solo demands attention.
“Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, Iron Maiden: This epic piece off the Powerslave album has one of the greatest dual guitar solos of all time. As with Alex Lifeson, there are many, many great solos by Dave Murray and Adrien Smith, but after the eerie narration part and then the scene where the Mariner blesses all of the living things, Murray and Smith wrap note after note of sweetness and angst which to me makes you feel the powerful mood of the Mariner in his grief.
“Flesh and Blood”, Deliverance: from the second album Weapons of Our Warfare comes this song that has a guitar solo “duel”, for lack of a better word. It starts out with an almost soft solo from Guitarist/Vocalist Jimmy P. Brown II, but then George Ochoa slams into your ears with a huge wall of finger tapping and string bends that blast you into next week. Although the album has some amazing songs with good guitar solos, this solo is beyond amazing in its complexity and its virtuosity and will leave you wanting more.
“The Warrior”, Orphaned Land: I discovered OL almost by accident quite a few years ago when My Space suggested them for me to listen to. Co-founding member, Sossi Yassi blends many different Middle Eastern sounds in with some amazing doom/death sounds and plays a wide variety of exotic instruments. But the guitar is his best instrument and the solo from the album The Never Ending Way of OrWarriOr is gentle, yet very complex. It starts out with an orchestra accompaniment, which fades away to leave Yassi to express the feelings of the hero of the album; gently weeping in his struggles, but then as he finds his courage and resolves to continue on, the solo is again accompanied by the orchestra and the rest of the band and rounds the song off with a feeling of determination of overcoming the darkness the hero is fighting against.
“Black Sabbath”, Black Sabbath: The pioneers of heavy metal started out their debut album with this eerie sounding song. Tony Iommi plugged his guitar into a bass amp for the album, but the sound of this song is chillingly scary and the solo in it wraps the song in a nightmare (it’s actually based on a nightmare of bassist “Geezer” Butler), that makes the horrifying scene very vivid. It starts out with a creepy whammy bar effect, then leads into a hauntingly complex sound of horror and grief. As with others in this list, it’s difficult to pinpoint a great solo of Iommi’s, but this solo gives the best overall feeling of melancholy the entire song conveys and is one that should never be overlooked.
“Money”, Pink Floyd: I know, I know, everybody and his dog says the solo in “Comfortably Numb” is one of the all-time best guitar solos in history, but “Money” from Dark Side of the Moon, overshadows that solo because it perfectly captures the feeling of insanity the character of the album is slowly sinking into. But despite this notion, this solo to me is a lot of fun to listen to. The album came out before the band started having internal struggles and David Gilmour just sounds like he’s having a lot of fun playing this song and performing the solo.
And I would be a slacker/jerk if I didn’t mention this amazing dude: