When you think of great guitar players many individuals will spring to mind so the definitive list of best guitar solos is really so subjective as to be unattainable. However its fun to play around with the idea of making such a list so lets take a look at some of the candidates for such an honor.
The Great Rockstars
Without a doubt one of the most iconic rock bands of all times has to be Led Zeppelin and guitarist, as well as founder, Jimmy Paige ranks among the most accomplished guitarists of all time. The album Led Zeppelin 1V ranks as one of the best selling albums in music history and even if you are not a big fan of the group you have no doubt heard of the track Stairway To Heaven. One can easily argue the merits of the song as a whole and debate back and forth about whether or not this is their greatest song but without a doubt the Paige solo is incredible!
Similarly iconic and recognizable to many is the track Freebird from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s debut album of 1973. In live performances the solo from that song is variously played by both guitarist Gary Rossington and Allen Collins, but it is Collins who’s solo is featured on the studio recording so I guess he gets the credit here. Suffice to say the music itself speaks volumes and that is one awesome solo!
From the same decade comes the next choice, that of guitarist Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd. Without a doubt this British rock band ranks up there with the rock elite and Dave Gilmour is amazing at his craft. There are numerous tracts that feature his incredible skills but Comfortably Numb from The Wall album takes top honors on this list. Played live, his rendition of the track sounds amazing but it’s interesting to note that Gilmour, ever the perfectionist, played the solo several times in the studio and took different bits from each take in order to achieve what he felt was the absolute best rendition for the album.
His band mates no doubt had to be patient to put up with him going over the song so many times, it has been rumored that the band often liked to hit the casino while on tour. If only they’d had the internet back then, they could of spent their time online practicing their skills on a game like GuitarHero or passing the time playing on PokerStarcasino or preparing for their next tour stop with ideas from TripAdvisor. They no doubt enjoyed their time together regardless.
No list would be complete without a nod to a guitar legend, Jimmy Hendrix. Even if you are not a fan of his style you will no doubt still be impressed by his incredible skills on the guitar, as he performed the seemingly impossible. Another perfectionist in the studio Hendrix notoriously drove his band mates to the brink in his quest for the perfect take. All Along The Watchtower, the only one of his songs to reach the top 40 in the US, shows this master at his best.
Something more melodic
Look no further than The Eagles. Renowned for their easy listening but no less musically gifted they have produced some of the most well know rock music around, as their album sales bear testimony to, especially Hotel California. From this album the title track stands out and the guitar solo written and played by Don Felder is etched in many a memory. Reportedly the group went back and forth before they agreed on the key the song should be recorded in but the painstaking efforts to get it right have resulted in an amazing track that resonates with a whole generation and The Eagles, and that album in particular, remains one of the most popular of all time.
Another band with a loyal and appreciative following is Dire Straits. Front man and writer Mark Knopfler is also the guitarist with an amazing style and any number of his songs feature his incredible dexterity. Sultans of Swing, their first really big hit, is best remembered for the amazing guitar solo but equally memorable is Tunnel of Love from a later album that show cases Knopflers’s incredible finger work, that makes what is clearly a very intricate skill look remarkably effortless.
Whilst Dire Straits seem almost understated in their approach, Queen on the other hand had a flamboyant style like no other, due in no small part to the late, great Freddy Mercury. Each of the band members was extremely talented and guitarist Brian May has become famously renowned for his unmistakable solos on many of the bands best known tracks. Their first really big break came with the famously long and wholly unique sound of Bohemian Rhapsody and once again May left his mark with a phenomenal solo that consistently helps put this song on the top best song lists.
A guitarist with absolute pedigree who’s work spans several decades is the superb Eric Clapton. Both as a band member with the likes of Cream and as a solo artist Clapton epitomizes what it is to be a classic legend in the musical world. Fans and peers alike recognize the genius of this quiet man and his endurance is testimony to that fact. Who doesn’t know the soulfulness of Layla, recorded when he was with Derek and the Dominoes, a shining example of this great guitarist, as demonstrated in the classic solo.