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My List of Ten Best Guitar Solos

Updated on October 3, 2017
UnnamedHarald profile image

I've been around long enough to have appreciated each of these when they were first released.

David Gilmour Performing a Solo

David Gilmour at the United Center, Chicago 4/8/2016
David Gilmour at the United Center, Chicago 4/8/2016 | Source

Top 10

This is my list of what I consider to be the ten best guitar solos of all time in order of greatness. I take full responsibility for all inclusions and exclusions and the order they are in. Your mileage may differ, but this is mine.

The Wall Album

The Wall (Pink Floyd)
The Wall (Pink Floyd) | Source

1. Comfortably Numb

Guitarist: David Gilmour

Band: Pink Floyd

Album: The Wall (1979)

After all this time, Gilmour's solo still sends chills up and down my spine and round the back of my skull. I will drive around the block if it's not finished by the time I get home. And, though perhaps a bit heretical to die-hard Floydians, I consider the best version is their performance at Earls Court in London during the 1994 Division Bell Tour with the shimmering sphere hanging over the audience opening up into something like an extra-terrestrial visitor.

Led Zeppelin IV Album

Led Zeppelin IV (Led Zeppelin)
Led Zeppelin IV (Led Zeppelin) | Source

2. Stairway to Heaven

Guitarist: Jimmy Page

Band: Led Zeppelin

Album: Led Zeppelin IV (1971)

Almost played to death but Page's solo always stands up. Only David Gilmour could keep this from being number 1.

Hotel California Album

Hotel California (Eagles)
Hotel California (Eagles) | Source

3. Hotel California

Guitarists: Don Felder and Joe Walsh

Band: The Eagles

Album: Hotel California (1976)

I'm embarrassed to admit this but I air guitar this one if no one else is around. It's not a pretty sight.

Dark Side of the Moon Album

Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd)
Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd) | Source

4. Time

Guitarist: David Gilmour

Band: Pink Floyd

Album: Dark Side of the Moon (1973)

Gilmour simply soars on this one. How could four guys in their twenties nail the passage of time in our lives? “Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.”

Wheels of Fire Album

Wheels of Fire (Cream)
Wheels of Fire (Cream) | Source

5. White Room

Guitarist: Eric Clapton

Band: Cream

Album: Wheels of Fire (1968)

The solo isn't till the end, but definitely worth the wait. If only it was longer. “Wheels of Fire” was the first double album to go platinum.

Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs Album

Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (Derek and the Dominoes)
Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (Derek and the Dominoes) | Source

6. Layla

Guitarist: Eric Clapton and Duane Allman

Band: Derek and the Dominoes

Album: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)

Although the album was released in 1970, Layla received most of its airplay in the US in 1972, a year of incredible highs and lows for me. My biggest complaint is that Clapton only ever seems to play the “bluesy” acoustic version anymore, which can't hold a candle to the original.

Goodbye Album

Goodbye (Cream)
Goodbye (Cream) | Source

7. Badge

Guitarist: Eric Clapton and George Harrison

Band: Cream

Album: Goodbye (1969)

The pause before the solo is almost excruciating. Badge originally had no title, but George Harrison scribbled the word “bridge” on the lyrics, either in reference to a link between sets of lyrics or to a guitar bridge. Clapton, misreading it asked what the hell “Badge” meant and that's where the name came from-- it means nothing. Ring Starr, drunk at the time, contributed the bit about “the swans, that they live in the park”.

OK Computer Album

OK Computer (Radiohead)
OK Computer (Radiohead) | Source

8. Paranoid Android

Guitarist: Jonny Greenwood

Band: Radiohead

Album: OK Computer (1997)

If you are not paranoid after listening to Jonny Greenwood's explosive guitar solo, you might consider a career defusing unexploded munitions.

White Album

White Album (Beatles)
White Album (Beatles) | Source

9. While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Guitarist: Eric Clapton

Band: The Beatles

Album: The White Album (1968)

For years I had no idea Eric Clapton played the solo on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. Indeed he does make it cry and sing.

A Night at the Opera Album

A Night at the Opera (Queen)
A Night at the Opera (Queen) | Source

10. Bohemian Rhapsody

Guitarist: Brian May

Band: Queen

Album: A Night at the Opera (1975)

Perhaps a guilty pleasure and, despite massive airplay, I say it's still one of the great guitar solos.

What do YOU think?

Which solo is your favorite?

See results

© 2012 David Hunt

Comments

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    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      3 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Thanks, Stazjia... great minds and all that :)

    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      3 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Thanks, Stazjia... great minds and all that :)

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 

      3 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      That's a great selection, probably the ones I would have chosen too.

    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      4 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Sundeep, despite my challenge in my opening paragraph, Shine On should be in my list.

    • profile image

      Sundeep 

      4 years ago

      Wonderful list, UH!

      I think you could've stretched the list to 12 and included the heartachingly beautiful solo from Shine On You Crazy Diamond and the one from Mother. Those two solos along with Comfortably Numb complete a perfect Pink Floyd trio. Staple stuff on long night drives.

    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      5 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Kosmo, thanks for your input, but I'm sticking with my choices. I know it's sacrilegious and Hendrix did some great stuff, but he just never made my list. But what do I know? Janis Joplin never tripped my trigger either.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley Marks 

      5 years ago from California

      I can think of many guitar solos you missed. What about the solo at the end of "Free Bird"? Hendrix had many great solos as well. You have to include at least one on this list. How about the solo in "The Stars that Play with Lauging Sam's Dice." Hendrix also played "Red House" for 11 minutes without repeating a lick. Hey, being a Gilmour fan, I guess you missed those. Also, don't forget Jeff Beck's work in "Diamond Dust" and "Scatterbrain." Later!

    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      5 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Thanks for commenting, Rocknroll. Chills is right-- no matter how many times I hear it or see a video.

    • profile image

      Rocknroll 

      5 years ago

      "Comfortably Numb" is the best solo ever, followed by "Stairway To Heaven." I totally agree with you. David Gilmour's solos send chills down my spine. He is just an expert with the guitar; he does magic with it. Him an Jimmy Page.

    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Hi marcoujor. I find myself going UH... quite a bit, so it is fitting. I can tell you have exquisite taste in music. I hate to sound... like... old... but the 60s and part of the 70s were great. Thanks for a great comment.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      With you, sir, UH...is a wonderful abbreviation.

      I first heard your name with the funny effer... And I am seeing that you have much to teach in the area of history.

      Yet I had to start with my first love of music... OK, except for your #10 being my #1... I love each and every one of your selections. Nothing like growing up in the 60s for exposure to the very best of the best music.

      Voted UP and UABI and I look forward to getting to know your work.

    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Thanks for commenting, sparkster. Yep, I never get tired of hearing it-- or watching videos of it.

    • sparkster profile image

      Sparkster Publishing 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great list, David Gilmour's guitar work definitely does it for me. Time and Comfortably Numb are two of my favourite tracks.

    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Thanks for commenting, trish. On some songs, Plant is too over the top for me-- not on Stairway, though.

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 

      6 years ago from The English Midlands

      Hi :)

      'Stairway to Heaven' ~ that takes me back.

      My husband ~ then my boyfriend ~ used to play it a lot :)

      I wasn't a Led Zeppelin fan, but I did like that track.

    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Thanks for the comment, Ardie. Obviously my tastes favor British bands, but I grew up under the British Invasion and it stuck. Enjoy your morning.

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 

      6 years ago from Neverland

      Aah, this list leaves me with some great listening to start my work day. I am all alone for the next hour so I'm going to YouTube some videos, turn the computer speakers way up, and do some paperwork to the best guitar solos ;)

    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Hey, Wesman, thanks for your comment. I agree, there are a lot of Jimmy Page solos that are great.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      I've always loved the solo from "Badge."

      So far as Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin goes - the guitar solo on "Ten Years Gone" is so mournful and lyrical, that I've a hard time thinking of a better one ever.

      Another good one is post Led Zeppelin - with Robert Plant and the "Honeydrippers" the song "Sea Of Love."

    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Thanks for commenting, Hxprof. I agree about Eddie, but (exposing my ignorance) didn't know anything about Satriani, so I googled him and will listen to some of his work. Thanks for the tip.

    • profile image

      Hxprof 

      6 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

      I think Eddie Van Halen has done some hellacious guitar solos, and I'm quite the Satriani fan, but I like this list.

    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Thank you, Vinaya, for your comment and compliment.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      6 years ago from Nepal

      I feel so excited to read this because I see my best musician features here. Good work my dear fellow hubber.

    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Horatio, thanks for your comment. Your suggestions are definitely worthy of consideration. Judging from the two comments already, standing firm will be difficult.

    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Theeyeballkid, you did a great job of finding the chink in my armor. I struggled with diamond, but, alas, did not want to overload my list with PF. Thanks for your comment.

    • Horatio Plot profile image

      Horatio Plot 

      6 years ago from Bedfordshire, England.

      I love most of your choices. But you left out the best of all - Martin Barre of Jethro Tull on Aqualung.

      And Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple on Highway Star.

      And Neil Young on Cortez The Killer.

      Good hub list, got me thinking (and listening).

    • Theeyeballkid profile image

      Theeyeballkid 

      6 years ago

      Great list UnnamedHarald! Theres nothing wrong with a little bit of air guitar playing to hotel california.

      The solo at the beginning of shine on you crazy diamond is pretty epic, but you seem a man of conviction so I wont try to argue for its inclusion!

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