Posted by: hannah jo | April 20, 2008

Greatest guitar riffs – Oh, really?

I found this article in Reuters via Glorious Noise. Apparently, Smoke on the Water is the greatest guitar riff of all time (if you poll the students at the London Tech Music School). It came in #1 on a list of the 25 top guitar riffs ever. From Reuters:

The majority of the 25 songs selected by current students of the London Tech Music School, were recorded in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Only seven were recorded in the last 20 years.

I’ve included the list below, but only so you can pick it apart mercilessly, as I have. I know, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. But, it’s still so fun.

1. Smoke on the Water – Deep Purple 1973

2. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana 1991

3. Walk This Way– Aerosmith 1975

4. Purple Haze– Jimi Hendrix 1967

5. Sweet Child O Mine – Guns N’ Roses 1987

6. Paradise City – Guns N’ Roses 1987

7. Ace of Spades– Motorhead 1980

8. Enter Sandman– Metallica 1991

9. Under the Bridge – Red Hot Chili Peppers 1992

10. Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N’ Roses 1987

11. Run to the Hills – Iron Maiden 1982

12. Walk– Pantera 1992

13. Johnny Be Goode – Chuck Berry 1958

14. Back in Black – AC/DC 1980

15. Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin 1970

16. Wake Up – Rage Against The Machine 1992

17. Highway to Hell – AC/DC 1979

18. My Generation – The Who 1965

19. 7 Nation Army – The White Stripes 2003

20. Born to Be Wild– Steppenwolf 1968

21. Give It Away – Red Hot Chili Peppers 1991

22. Paranoid – Black Sabbath 1970

23. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)– Jimi Hendrix 1967

24. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor 1982

25. Money for Nothing – Dire Straits 1984

It appears that the kids in London have never heard of a little group called The Rolling Stones.



  1. When I was in jr. high (so, late 70’s) our next door neighbor’s had a band that played Smoke on the Water all weekend long.

  2. Yeah, I covered this too. And no Satisfaction either! Not nice!

  3. Eye of the Tiger? Can anyone even name the twerp that played ‘lead’ in Survivor? Somewhere Robert Quinne chuckles ruefully …

    Attempting to list Great Rock Riffs is a dubious task, doomed to failure from the get go (or at least endless second guessing). That said, the recent Rolling Stone (magazine) list did an ok job of capturing some good examples of memorable rock guitar moments.

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