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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


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