Favourite Guitar Solos

There aren’t enough decent guitar solos in rock nowadays – the ‘guitar hero’ has gone right out of fashion, it seems. To many people, especially the cloth-eared British music press scribblers, and those that read them, think solos of any kind are somehow politically incorrect, so we end up with bands endlessly repeating the chorus or putting in inane ‘la-la-la’ sections where the guitar solo is supposed to go.

I’ve listed six of my favourite solos. All of them are from the prog-rock or heavy metal genres, and looking at the list I realise all but one of them are from the 1970s; perhaps I’m showing my age.

Buck Dharma – Revenge of Vera Gemini
From Blue Öyster Cult’s Agents of Fortune. Buck is one of the great underrated lead guitarists of rock. While his extended solo on the live version of Astronomy from Some Enchanted Evening is wonderful stuff, I really love this solo. Short (I think it’s only eight bars long), and simple, but perfect for the song. Not one note is wasted!

Dave Gilmour – Comfortably Numb
From Pink Floyd’s The Wall. This is one of those solos everyone lists, but that’s no excuse for me not to list it as well. A great example of feel and emotion as opposed to pure technique.

Steve Hackett – The Lamia
From Genesis’s Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. While Firth of Fifth was always his live showcase in Genesis days, this emotional solo always causes a tingle down the back of my spine whenever I hear it.

Steve Rothery – This Time of the Night
From Marillion’s Clutching at Straws. Another understated and evocative solo; a truly beautiful piece of playing. One of the rare cases of a solo right at the beginning of a song.

Richie Blackmore – Stargazer
From Rainbow Rising. Richie Blackmore was at his peak in the early 70s, both with Deep Purple and with his own band Rainbow. While much of the time his studio playing lacked the fire of his blistering 70′s live work on albums like California Jam and Rainbow On Stage, the evocative eastern-sounding solo on the epic Stargazer was a notable exception.

Michael Schenker – Rock Bottom
From UFO’s Phenomenon. And Michael Schenker was the phenomenon here. An early example of ‘shredding’, but with a sense of melody that most shredders lack.

What are your favourite solos? Use the handy comments facility!

This entry was posted in Music. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Favourite Guitar Solos

  1. NatalieLowe says:

    I think guitars are really great , i have played the guitar for five years now and i am performing in my school concert in march which im really looking forward to. I have always loved music and am a great fan of every kind of music if you arealso aged 15 andare intersted in the guitar please email me as i wud love to discuss are skills and exchange tips

  2. I think the best punk solo has to be “Digital love” by “Daft Punk” BEST GUITAR SOLO EVER!

  3. Dying to Live says:

    The best guitar solo has to be “Crazy Train” by “Black Sabath”. I’ve been trying to learn that solo for a month now and i still dont have it down!

  4. geoff says:

    Favourite solo? It’s got to be by the greatest of them all (who else is called God!) ERIC CLAPTON – I would choose “Spoonful” for it’s awesome symphony like imagination & power.

  5. I agree with you on Comfortably Numb totally.

    My favourite heavy metal solos right now.

    Firsty purely for the blisters I get on my fingers when I try to imitate has to be Am I Evil by Diamond Head. The Metallica cover is also good, but I prefer the sound of the Diamind Head version.

    Secondly, for the awesome effect and chugging background has to be the rather lesser known Temple of Skin by Runemagick. I wish I could find tab for that.

  6. Andy says:

    its gotta be the solo in “sweet child o’ mine’ its awesome slash is one of those in the upper class of guitarists

  7. deadskinmask says:

    metal solos
    jeff hanamen -angel of death
    yingwei malmsteen- black star

    p.s. crazy train isnt black sabbath, its off ozzys first solo album blizzard of ozz

  8. doug says:

    One Foot Out the Door.

    Van Halen.

    Actually too many early Van Halen solos to mention.

    OK one more….Hot for Teacher

  9. Will says:

    I agree Angel Of Death solo totally…

    Best – Metallica – Whiplash
    Metallica – Call Of Ktulu
    Morbid Angel – Maze Of Torment
    Megadeth – Hanger 18 – just so many to comprehend in one song.
    Opeth – Deliverance
    Arch Enemy – Snowbound
    Unearth – Bloodlust Of The Human Condition
    Trivium – Like Light To Flies
    Machine Head – In The Presence Of My Enemies
    Children Of Bodom – Silent Night, Bodom Night

    Pure Metal!!

  10. Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd should be on the list as well! Great song and a great solo!

  11. Tim Hall says:

    Freebird technically isn’t a solo – there are three guitars swapping leads and playing in unison at some points.