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View Full Version : Top 20 guitar riffs of all time



kaylae
11-27-2009, 05:19 PM
musicradar.com has produced a list voted for by their readers of the top guitar riffs of all time. There are actually 50 but here is a list of the top 20

Seriously, this has got to be a load of bollocks, I mean there are some stinkers in here!

Top 20 Best Riffs
1. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
2. Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine
3. Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love
4. Deep Purple - Smoke On The Water
5. Derek and the Dominos - Layla
6. AC/DC - Back In Black
7. Metallica - Enter Sandman
8. The Beatles - Day Tripper
9. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
10. The Rolling Stones - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
11. Black Sabbath - Paranoid
12. Muse - Plug In Baby
13. Eddie Van Halen - Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
14. The Kinks - You Really Got Me
15. The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army
16. AC/DC - Highway to Hell
17. Led Zeppelin - Heartbreaker
18. Black Sabbath - Iron Man
19. Led Zeppelin - Black Dog
20. Michael Jackson - Beat It


See the full list at MusicRadar.com

Free?
11-27-2009, 05:34 PM
Another poll in the wall... I mean Internet.

dexter12296566
11-27-2009, 05:53 PM
Beat it... great song. I love all of thriller but billie jean, beat it, thriller, and ypu wanna be startin' somethin are my favs!

The Talking Pie
11-27-2009, 06:24 PM
What explicitly is wrong with those selections? I agree with the vast majority of that Top 20.

T-6005
11-27-2009, 06:26 PM
I suppose I agree with the hate. Not even with the choice of guitar parts but that things like Nirvana's Teen Spirit are considered 'riffs'. Seriously? Are you hearing yourself? Beat it certainly is a riff, as are most of the ones on the list, but that just discredits it for me.

Teen Spirit... a riff. Seriously.

_Lost_
11-27-2009, 06:40 PM
Perhaps most memorable? I wouldn't really consider them the greatest though. I almost didn't notice Nirvana on there... I don't think that counts... 4 powerchords... I for one was blown away.

dexter12296566
11-27-2009, 07:57 PM
So I just spent quite a while doing Smoke on the Water over and over again!

Free?
11-28-2009, 03:44 AM
Oh, riiiight, is this The Offspring bbs or what...


15. The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army

This riff is so hopeless (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLgeUPeOi1c). So no one ever forget.

mrconeman
11-28-2009, 03:59 AM
Fucking, fuck. I hate these stupid fucking polls. FUCK.

You cannot put into a numeric list the best *anything* in terms of music. A Subjective musical art form, and the next time someone does my blood will fucking boil over. Not only can you not do it, but this list is a fucking horrible attempt. Teen Spirit..a riff? Seven Nation Army..good? I think fucking not.

Right. You've all seen these Rolling Stone magazine top 100 guitarists/drummers/bassists/vocalists lists too, right?
The kind of list that puts Kurt Cobain in the top 10, because he played with Nirvana, when a guy like Jeff Beck, arguably one of the greatest guitarists of all time, and easily one of the most influential musicians in any music from of our generation gets left behind in the 50 somethings.

The kind of list that puts Jimi Hendrix in the number one spot. Every. Single. Fucking. Time. And not because anyone truly believes that he was the best, it's because that mindset has been handed down. From when? The fucking Sixties. Jimi Hendrix was a wonderful guitar player, I'm a huge fan, his rhythm was great, he was the original guitar hero, and his influence on the instrument is absolutely un-surpassed. But the fact is, the guitar has moved on, into way more complex and even more emotive places, the guitar did NOT begin and end with Jimi Hendrix. If you put Jimi Hendrix in todays musical spectrum, he wouldn't know what he was doing beside someone like Joe Satriani (who by the way, was in the 30 odds in these stupid lists), and you know what? even back in Jimi's day he wasn't the greatest around...in my opinion anyway. He had competition, there was David Gilmour, Rory Gallagher, Jeff Beck, Jimi Page, all sorts of other guys. And that's not to say they are even ultimately better players, I just simply want to show...and I'll emphasize. JIMI HENDRIX IS NOT, WAS NOT, AND NEVER WILL BE, THE BE ALL AND END ALL OF ELECTRIC GUITAR. Thanks.

These lists are pathetic, and completely based on popularity and common misconception and who is popular at the time. Rather than what it should be based upon, musical understanding or technical skill. Oh, and seriously, trying to figure out who's the 'best' in music, a subjective art form, is completely anti-productive, impossible, and moreover, really fucking stupid. Who the hell cares? You like what you like and move on.

I wish they would stop with these lists. Especially because the less well informed take them as golden shiny beacons of truth, I swear to God, the next person to tell me Jack White is a more talented guitarist than someone like Jeff Beck, or Randy Rhoads because Rolling Stone or whatever said so is going to be greeted with a good hard back handing.

So if you took the time to read this, please, don't be one of the uninformed, make your own decisions, and try not to get roped into to this bullshit "music is a competition" mentality. Like what you like, and screw anyone that tells you other wise.
Fuck.

Rooster
11-28-2009, 04:08 AM
^^Agreed. It's fucking stupid. Probably Nirvana is on the list because Teen Spirit is one of the most memorable ones (it's simple riff or whatever you call it, catchy and works very well, sometimes the most simple things seem the best, everyone has his own taste), but Kurt Cobain was never one of the greatest guitar players, never claimed to be one. Nirvana's my favorite band, but i wouldn't go as far and say Cobain was one of the greatest guitar players.

People just have nothing else to do, so they create pointless lists

drummerbecca
11-28-2009, 04:37 AM
[Rant.]

I couldn't agree more, and certainly couldn't have said it any better.

Superdope
11-28-2009, 08:08 AM
I couldn't agree more, and certainly couldn't have said it any better.

I agree with what she said, and what she agreed with.

kaylae
11-28-2009, 04:51 PM
What explicitly is wrong with those selections? I agree with the vast majority of that Top 20.


What explicitly is wrong with these selections? They’re a joke. I know these things are meant to be a bit of fun but most of these are ridiculous.

Jimi Hendrix at number 1 is unimaginative and predictable

A 6 year old could pick up a guitar and master smoke on the water

Day tripper? Seriously!

Teen spirit, seven nation army, satisfaction - great riffs? I think not.

Enter sandman - Metallica have produced some mind blowing guitar riffs. Enter sandman is not one of them.

Most of the others are lazy and predictable choices with the exception of about 3 or 4 songs

_Lost_ Perhaps most memorable? I wouldn't really consider them the greatest though. I almost didn't notice Nirvana on there... I don't think that counts... 4 powerchords... I for one was blown away.


Exactly, many of these riffs are memorable but that certainly doesn't make them great.

mrconeman - So if you took the time to read this, please, don't be one of the uninformed, make your own decisions, and try not to get roped into to this bullshit "music is a competition" mentality. Like what you like, and screw anyone that tells you other wise.


Music is a competition, that's why they give out awards for it.

nieh
11-28-2009, 05:02 PM
So because they're predictable choices that means the riffs suck? And just because a riff is easy to play that doesn't mean it's not great. And Day Tripper has an awesome riff and Satisfaction is one of the most baddest assedest songs by anyone, ever.

kaylae
11-28-2009, 05:10 PM
So because they're predictable choices that means the riffs suck? And just because a riff is easy to play that doesn't mean it's not great. And Day Tripper has an awesome riff and Satisfaction is one of the most baddest assedest songs by anyone, ever.

No, the fact they are predictable means not a lot of thought went into them. Smoke on the water is not a great riff, it's boring and repetitive. Completely dissagree with Day tripper and yes, satisfaction is a bad ass song, but it doesn't have one of the greatest riffs

Rooster
11-28-2009, 05:41 PM
Fuckdammit (is this a new swear word?), stop arguing about what is great riff and what's not. Some people prefer riffs that are extremely complex and show how much the guitarist is skilled, and then they bitch about who's better guitarist. Others prefer simple riffs that easilly get in your head and you keep thinking about them for the rest of the day, and then think the guitarist is a god for creating that riff. And then these two kinds of people meet on some internet board and hell breaks loose.

And then we have the third kind of people, who don't give a rat's shit about who is a great guitarist and who would pwn whose ass. They just listen to the music they enjoy, and don't give a fuck if the riffs are complex or simple. They enjoy both music with great, complex riffs that are a proof of the guitarist's skills, and they can also enjoy simple riffs, which can still be great and can create an amazing atmosphere to the song (and they think of "damn, this riff is so damn simple but great, how the fuck didn't i come up with this?").

Not every song has to have bat-fuck-insane melodic riffs. Just imagine Ramones throwing an Iron-Maiden like solo in one of their simple songs, it would fit into it just as much as Borat in the role of British Queen. But their songs can still be pretty damn great.

Now stop bitching over a thing that is A MATTER OF A SUBJECTIVE OPINION ANYWAY.

The Talking Pie
11-28-2009, 06:05 PM
I don't listen to The Black Album anymore because, you know, it's too commercial. Seriously, I don't. Same with Americana, Hysteria and Nevermind. But when songs from those albums come on the radio, I remember just why those albums were so beloved that they became commercial and overkilled; it's because they rock; because the riffs are awesome.

Best chorus ever? Lithium. One word screamed over and over at varying pitches by a guitarist who was moderate at best. The guitar part follows much of the same pattern. Sometimes, simple chord progressions really are the best.

Less is more. Keep it simple, stupid. Etc., etc. Get off your high horse and take the time to let a song make you smile. Rock is not Mendelssohn or Bach. Modern music is catchy. If you have to think about it or sit yourself down to appreciate it properly, it's probably not good music.

I agree with nieh entirely.

Rock on!

http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/4827/hatguy.jpg

_Lost_
11-28-2009, 08:00 PM
Smoke on the Water bores me to death. Especially when played on Guitar Hero.

That_Guy91
11-29-2009, 12:39 AM
I like how most rants about how more complex isn't always better turn into rants about how simpler is always better.

And by I like, I mean I don't like.

Jesus
11-29-2009, 03:55 AM
So because they're predictable choices that means the riffs suck? And just because a riff is easy to play that doesn't mean it's not great. And Day Tripper has an awesome riff and Satisfaction is one of the most baddest assedest songs by anyone, ever.

.

This has a lot in common with modern art vs old skool art where the criticism in regard to modern art is that it's too easy and that everyone could do it. As if technique is the only thing that matters.

A great guitar riff is just simply something that gets stuck in your head easily, when you hear it on the radio you immediately know what it is and it had a big impact on the music scene. And that's it, I don't give a crap about how many hours the guy had to waste in his bedroom pulling it off.
Anyway what matters most in those lists is not the song writing abilities, let alone guitar skills, but having lived most of your life in an English speaking country anyway... ;).

Rooster
11-29-2009, 03:56 AM
Proof that a simple riff (actually in this case it's entire song that's simple and repetitive) can be completely amazing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYBI7zrbJXQ. Notice how the rhytm guitar is THE SAME through the whole damn song. But the song is still amazing. And the main riff is freaking simple to play, anybody who knows how to hold a guitar would be practically able to play the song (solo is an exception, but it doesn't take much time to learn either, even without tabs).

Some people just love more simple stuff, what the fuck is wrong with that? NOTHING, just like nothing is wrong with liking uber-complex riffs. To each their own.

So again, stop fucking bitching, and just listen to the music.

edit: Also


Best chorus ever? Lithium. One word screamed over and over at varying pitches by a guitarist who was moderate at best.

Hmm, this sounds to me more like a description of You Know You're Right chorus than Lithium chorus...

edit2: after thinking a bit more, i agree with the most of the list. The best riffs are the ones that had most impact on the listeners.