10Pink Floyd - 'Shine On you Crazy Diamond'
David Gilmour slows it right down to stoner-pleasing BPMs during the Floyd’s extended epic. As far removed from the intricate, manic shredding of some of these other solos, this is more introspective, more lethargic, a little self-indulgent, and utterly compelling for all those reasons.
9Radiohead - 'Paranoid Android'
"It's like the 'anti-solo'. Greenwood's choice of texture and tonality is unlike anything else of its time. This solo was created in the mid 90's when Radiohead's nearest peers were still playing guitar solos using the same blues pentatonic scales that have dominated guitar solos since the start of rock music."
8Chuck Berry - 'Johnny B. Goode'
"As far as guitar solos go, this song brought it all together for me. The myth is that he stole this guitar phrase from his piano player without giving him credit for years. All my favorite guitar players - Keith Richards, Johnny Thunders, Link Wray, Wilko Johnson, Nicke Royale - play this simple, catchy, and memorable guitar phrase in one form or another. It is easy to play, but of course no one can play it with the feeling Chuck Berry had. So all the young guitar players out there, before trying to tackle that Dragonforce song, make sure you can play this guitar solo and do the duck walk. Why do you think Marty McFly played this song at the 'Enchanment Under the Sea Dance Party' when he time travelled back to 1955?"
7Radiohead - 'The Bends'
A steaming juggernaut of 90s grungey guitar goodness. Producer John Leckie stacked Jonny Greenwood’s guitars 100 feet high. Greenwood saved his best chops for the solo however, which soared like the spirit of hope which was hovering above Thom Yorke’s outsider anthem.
6Nirvana - 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'
Although '...Teen Spirit' is remembered for its chunky power chords, it's actually Kurt's skeletal solo that rubs together with his disaffected lyrics the best. A sour retread of the melody of the verses, Kurt makes his guitar sound as anguished as his lyrics were.
5Muse - 'Knights Of Cydonia'
Muse's entire histrionic rock opera schtick might an exercise in more is more, but at the heart of some of their most bombastic moments lies Matt Bellamy's fretwork. On 'Knights...', Bellamy uses his solo slot to unleash a rumbling piece of riffery, a frenetic solo that works as well in the spotlight as it does under his high pitched vocals, a kind of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ rock out they extend brilliantly live.
4Rage Against The Machine - 'Killing In The Name'
"Out of a list of greatest guitar solos ever, one of the most unique guitarists to be part of it would have to be Tom Morello. The solo in 'Killing In The Name' is a classic, it's one of those pieces of music that will be stuck in my brain forever. Loads of trilling and whammy pedal make up the bulk of it and give it that uniqueness compared to a lot of other rock solos. Live he's got loads of style and energy and yet he's still so solid. Tom Morello is without a doubt one of my favourite guitarists of all time."
3Jimi Hendrix - 'All Along The Watchtower'
Any number of Hendrix’s tracks could have hit the top ten, but the guitar work on his cover of the Dylan classic wins out for its sheer shape-shifting inventiveness. We all know Jimi could play a burning guitar behind his head with his eyes closed after enough spliffs to sedate a hardened stoner or whatever, but ‘Watchtower’ shows that even without any whistles and bells, Hendrix could pull out the kind of mind-altering melodies that others could barely dream of.
2Led Zeppelin - 'Stairway To Heaven'
So good, so monumentally epic and in-its-own-league briliant, it took a double necked guitar and one of history's greatest axeman to execute it, Zeppelin's calling card defines the solo. It should be a set text for budding guitarists, and in fact, it is. 'Stairway' is the highest selling piece of sheet music of all time. The key thing is, though, no-one in history has bettered the original.
1Guns N' Roses - 'Sweet Child O' Mine'
Slash's solo is a masterclass in build-up, managing to get progressively more exciting with each pitch-perfect Les Paul squeal - the perfect foil for Axl Rose's high pitched rawk squall. Not bad for a song that started life as a rehearsal room piss-about.