Ahhh. The guitar riff. Doesn’t matter what kind of music you like or what kind folks hate. Everyone loves the guitar riff. It has the power to make girls take off their clothes and guys beat the shit out of each other. It has been said that God may have created man but Sam Colt made them equal…well, the ability to play signature guitar riffs made them cool.

So today, post your Top 5 favorite guitar riffs.

Here are mine:

Black Sabbath – Sweat Leaf: For me, this riff embodies heavy metal guitar.

Dire Straits – Money For Nothing: There have been plenty of rock gods over the years but none were ever so godly as the 12 year old version of me playing air guitar on my mother’s broom to the opening riffs of this song.

Metallica – Seek and Destroy: Unarguably my favorite guitar riff of all time. I damned near joy juiced my trousers the day I learned how to play it.

Guns and Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine: Remember up above when I said the guitar riff, on occasion, had the power to make women take their clothes off? I present “Sweet Child O’ Mine”. Go to any town where there is a large collection of rednecks and beer and a body of water. Crank “Sweet Child O’ Mine”….I guaran-fucking-tee someone will have their titties out by the second chorus. It’s as reliable as beads in New Orleans. Also, if you were gonna assign hair metal a “signature riff” would there even be another option?

Pantera – Walk: Remember up above when I said the guitar riff, on occasion, had the power to make men beat the shit outta one another? I present “Walk” (or any other Pantera riff). I bet you could play “Walk” over the PA at a Phish concert and a mosh pit would form.

23 thoughts on “TOP 5: GUITAR RIFFS”

  1. Strange Ways- Ace Frehley (Kiss)
    Black Dog-Zep
    Jumpin Jack Flash-Stones
    Iron Man-Sabbath
    Rock Candy-Montrose

  2. The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again
    The Kinks – You Really Got Me Now
    Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love
    Neil Young – Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World
    AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long

  3. UFO – Rock Bottom (best guitar riff ever hands down)
    Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green) – Oh Well
    ZZ Top – Just Got Paid
    Lynyrd Skynyrd – Needle and The Spoon
    Black Sabbath – Paranoid

  4. The Pixies – Here Comes Your Man

    Derek and the Dominos – Layla (lick by Duane Allman)

    Ted Nugent – Cat Scratch Fever

    Ozzy Osbourne – Crazy Train (Randy Rhoads)

    Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet home Alabama

  5. Figured I would include some from the genre of music that gets played/discussed here along with a couple from the mainstream:

    Drivin N Cryin – Fly Me Courageous
    Drive-by Truckers – Lookout Mountain
    Two Cow Garage – 135
    Deep Purple – Smoke on the Water
    Metallica – Leper Messiah

  6. Heartbreaker-Led Zeppelin

    Stranglehold-Ted Nugent

    Pinball Wizard-The WHO

    Bulls on Parade-Rage Against the Machine

    Pride and Joy-Stevie Ray Vaughn

    I figured Smoke on the Water will prob be the popular pick since thats all Ive heard about since I was a kid.. but it def deserves the praise.

  7. North Twin- The Good Guy (should have been on my side one, track one list also)
    DBT-Marry Me (I love it when Cooly is wailing’ away and his voice cracks)
    Ryan Bingham- Bread and Water (Pure Country riff)
    I can Lick any SOB in the House- Walk on (pretty simple but a killer way to start the song)
    The Hold Steady- How A Resurrection Really Feels (the song that really made me fall in love with them)

  8. My only argument would be that I don’t consider GNR hair metal…They were a punk rock n’ roll band and I hate that they are lumped in with Poison, Warrant, etc….GNR was on a different level; direct descendants of the Stones, NYDoll & Aerosmith. Death be to hair metal. Otherwise, great list.

  9. “Honeysuckle Blue,” Drivin’ & Cryin’
    “Wasted Years,” Iron Maiden
    “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” Guns N’ Roses
    “La Grange,” ZZ Top
    “War Pigs,” Black Sabbath

  10. “Train Kept a-Rollin” The Yardbirds and a million other bands – In my mind, especially starting with The Yardbirds, this is the riff that gave birth to all other riffs.

    “Beatin’ Around the Bush” AC/DC – Just the most badass riff ever. I love how Angus starts it off by himself, and then Malcolm dives in with his Gretsch and takes it to the next level.

    “Bad Reputation” Thin Lizzy – So simple, yet so perfect. The “turn yourself around” riff is almost as great as the main riff too.

    “Rock-N-Roll Records (Ain’t Selling This Year)” Supersuckers – I love how this riff just announces from the start that this song is going to kick your ass.

    “Garbageman” The Cramps – Another simple one that just drives through the entire song, and Bryan Gregory’s single E chord super fuzz distortion response to the main riff just rules.

  11. “have love, will travel” The Sonics

    “Johnny hit and run pauline” X

    “stranglehold” Ted Nugent

    “odd fellows local 151” REM

    “metal militia” Metallica

  12. Off the top of my head and in no particular order:
    Running Down a Dream- Mike Campbell
    Riff Raff- Angus Young
    Bo Diddley- Bo Diddley
    Fortunate Son- John Fogerty
    Mississippi Queen- Leslie West

    This list, as most music lists, could go on for days…

  13. Jail Break-Thin Lizzy
    Radar Gun-The Bottle Rockets
    Bad Fun-The Cult
    Timebomb-Old 97’s

  14. Satisfaction – Rolling Stones
    Black Dog – Led Zeppelin
    Unchained – Van Halen
    Money for Nothing – Dire Straits (yeah, that opening riff gives me chills. I was so stoked when I learned how to play it!)
    Whole Lotta Rosie – AC/DC

  15. I think at least someone should mention Kansas “carry on my wayward son”. I know I neglected it but later on I rethought my choices and realized that it needed to be done. I know many folks hate Kansas but that shot is seriously off the hinge.

  16. Well if none of you are gonna list it here goes.

    ZZ TOP – La Grange

    Spiderbait – Black Betty

    Judas Priest – Johnny B Good

    Led Zeppelin – Babe I’m gonna leave you

    Guns N Roses – Knockin’ On Heavens Door

    However the ones you folks already listed are also up there in the top.

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