The best guitar solos can cause amateur musicians to put down their instruments and find a new hobby. Listen to just a few notes and you’ll realize how much natural talent is necessary to create such a truly innovative composition. Full of mind-boggling speed and blistering fret-play, these guitar solos have become legendary in the music world.
- “Eruption” – Van Halen. Without the rest of the band surrounding him, it’s easy to see how good Eddie Van Halen is during this guitar solo. Released on the band’s self-titled 1978 album, it’s a hammering musical epic, with notes flying by almost too quickly to catch on the first listen.
- “Stairway To Heaven” – Led Zeppelin. As part of the band’s most recognizable song, this influential work has appeared on many lists of the best guitar solos ever since its release in 1971. Master guitarist Jimmy Page made his presence known on the album “Led Zeppelin IV,” carrying the song with a consummating solo that seems to float on air.
- “November Rain” – Guns N’ Roses. Proving that a good guitar solo has many facets, this 1992 composition shows real personality. “November Rain” is the best song on the album “Use Your Illusion I,” and guitar god Slash is a big reason why. His ambitious solo brings an amiably relatable tone to the song, and it fits naturally within its sonic boundaries.
- “Free Bird” – Lynard Skynard. Sometimes, the best guitar solos come as a result of two musicians who work perfectly together. Such is the case in this 1974 song from the album “Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd.” Guitarists Allen Collins and Gary Rossington’s twin solos dominate the second half of the song, beginning with a relatively subdued musical accent that graduates to a rip-roaring exploration of the fret board.
- “All Along The Watchtower” – The Jimi Hendrix Experience. When this song was released on the 1968 album “Electric Ladyland,” Jimi Hendrix turned a Bob Dylan cover into something uniquely his own. Hendrix’s guitar solo transforms itself from spaced-out to boisterous within the space of a few bars, bending the song to his will as he injects life into the speakers.
- “Crazy Train” – Ozzy Osbourne. The most iconic of Ozzy’s songs wouldn’t have been that way without guitar legend Randy Rhodes. His riffs on Osbourne’s 1980 debut solo album “Blizzard Of Ozz” were full of classical influence injected with modern style. The guitar solo on this song is one of his most well-remembered. Rhodes covers the entire fret board with a speed and grace not seen since his premature death in a 1982 plane crash.
- “Johnny B. Goode” – Chuck Berry. All of the best guitar solos owe a debt to this 1958 song. Berry’s massive success helped bridge racial gaps in music, setting an influential standard for all who would follow. Released on the album “Chuck Berry Is On Top,” the guitar solo in this song is an upbeat, blues-influenced free-for-all, recognizable by even the most casual music fan.
- “Texas Flood” – Stevie Ray Vaughan. After the release of Vaughan’s 1983 album “Texas Flood,” blues rock would never be the same. The title track is one of the many notable songs on the record, and its guitar solo is one of Vaughan’s best. He mimics Jimi Hendrix’s flow and cadence during this scorching and impressive solo.
- “The Thrill Is Gone” – B.B. King. As the artist that all guitarists aspire to emulate, B.B. King is one of America’s musical legends. The 1969 album “Completely Well” contains this blues standard, and its guitar solo is a sultry performance that borders on tactile emotion.
- “Alive” – Pearl Jam. With their breakout 1991 album “Ten,” Pearl Jam became the kings of the grunge genre. Their massive popularity was justified by the band members’ musicianship, which is evident during this song’s guitar solo. Mike McCready brings urgency to his instrument, pounding out notes with a ferocity that showcases Pearl Jam’s palpable intensity.
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