Jimmy Page. Jack White. Jimi Hendrix: some of the music world's greatest ever axe-shredders (and that's only the Js). Fundamental to a band's sound, the guitarist can make or break a record and - if they're really something special - they can deliver a solo that elevates it to heights previously unimagined. Here, we celebrate those in the latter camp, who only needed six strings to change the world.

20Stone Roses - 'I Am The Resurrection'

Memorably described as "more like the eternal crucifix" in the pages of NME, John Squire's solo tunnelled into the eight minute plus '...Resurection' like a massive rave-guitar lighthouse of sheer power.

19Muse - 'Stockholm Syndrome'

We could try and take Matt Bellamy’s guitar masterclass but we still wouldn’t have a clue how he does it. ‘SS’ is a case in point; he makes his guitar sound like a rocket ship, cruising and crushing into a million different shapes at once.

18Queen - 'Bohemian Rhapsody'

"It's just the best thing. I don't think it could ever be duplicated quite as perfectly because Brian May has such a unique style of playing. And he does it all with a sixpence coin!"

17Michael Jackson - 'Beat It'

Smoother than a moonwalk, Eddie Van Halen ripped ‘Beat It’ a new one, giving it all the bawdy street anger that MJ’s vocal didn’t have.

16The Eagles - 'Hotel California'

"I love this guitar solo. It's an eyes closed, eyebrows up classic. Like duelling banjos but with guitars, laid back Californians and less congenital deformity. It gets overlooked because it's not part of a 'rock' track but that only enhances its effect, replacing pomposity with glorious loops of finger picking cool. Eat that grebos."

15Led Zeppelin - 'Communication Breakdown'

Yet another Jimmy Page face-melter makes our top 50. A fine example of a solo that builds in intensity as it progresses - right up until the dizzying widdly-widdly-WAAARGH climax.

14Oasis - 'Live Forever'

Inspired by The Rolling Stones' 'Shine A Light', Noel's optimistic ode to youthful joie de vivre punched a ray of light into Britpop. His guitar solo was appropriately uplifting, popping up as it did after brother Liam's immortal "You and I, we're gonna live forever," line.

13The Rolling Stones - 'Sympathy For The Devil'

Jagger’s indie disco staple gets made umpteen times more awesome two and a half minutes in when Richards seemingly strangles his instrument around the neck. Less a solo than a series of notes wrung out of a squealing victim, this one is short, sharp and a sensual shock to the system.

12Neil Young - 'Hey Hey My My'

Neil Young’s another of those guitar torturers, and the screeches he coaxes out of his long-suffering musical companion sound delivered straight from hell. Think of it as guitar waterboarding: bad for the instrument, great for the local guitar shop, and wonderful for us listening at home.

11Deep Purple - 'Highway Star'

"As an eager 11-year-old classic rock fan I skipped school to go down to London and see Deep Purple an the Albert Hall. Throughout the performance an old Scottish man was being a total creep to my friend's mum, and the band were about a thousand years old. Needless to say, I was disappointed, but the solo to this track has a life unto itself and it bends in all the right places."

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