This list is NOT my top 10 solos, it is neither definitive nor exhaustive. It may give somehwat of an insight into on my playing style and influences though. I am also aware that a number of the guitarists mentioned could have individually populated this entire list by themselves, some a few times over. But fuck all that – with no further ado:
Bad Brains – Soul Craft
(Guitarist: Dr Know. Solo starts at 1.22)
Wild, Frenetic, Racous – yes that’s Dr Know (guitarist) all over! He’s one of those players that let you know when you hear him that you’re doing something right. One thing that’s interesting to note is that the best lead players are also awesome rhythm players – you need to be to know where and how to play the notes you pick (that works both ways) and the good Doctor is a great example o that. CRIMINIALLY underrated on every level this song epitomises what Bad Brains have brought to the game and includes a FUCKING AWESOME solo from the aforemenitoned axeman! WOW!
Megadeth – Wake Up Dead
(Guitarist: Dave Mustaine. Solo starts at 3.10)
Before MegaDave started talking shit – sorry – there was no before that, I was gonna say he was (and is) a great guitarist! This song is FULL of shredding from both Dave and the late Chris Poland – but the solo I like the most here is by Dave and starts at 3.10. Fun Fact: Dave cites another guitarist from a band further down the list as a ‘good buddy’ – a Mr Vernon Reid. I do wonder whether they both stand in the same place over the election of Trump though – ignore me, my mind wanders.
Metallica – End Of The Line
(Guitarist: Kirk Hammett. Solo starts at 4.38)
I guess you can say this solo is what kicked off the idea for this list in my head. Metallica’s lead guitarist Kirk Hammett has many, many solos I love from more famous and lauded tunes but this one is still a doozy and since it’s more recent probably gets overlooked. A big Hendrix fan you can hear a lot of the legend in Hammett’s playing – he actually gets regular criticism for using a wah-wah pedal. Not all the time, but often enough, he does a solo like this that explodes out of nowhere and is as much about stirring vibes and emotions in the listener as it is about notes – to me that’s what a solo is meant to do.
Living Colour – Cult Of Personality
(Guitarist: Vernon Reid. Solo start at 3.00)
Before AfroPunk existed there was this thing called the Black Rock Coalition – co-founded by Vernon Reid, guitarist and leader of the group Living Colour, who were discovered by Mick Jagger. All of that has absolutely nothing to do with this choice – except that maybe it reflects the influence of both the band and the man. Super disorted, super fast, super wild. but also narrative – this solo switches up it’s flow halfway through as the backing changes – I do like shit like that!
ACDC – Guns For Hire
(Guitarist: Angus Young. Solo starts at 1min59)
I mentioned above the ‘narrative’ solo. Great solos often have a begin, middle and end – just like a good story. Young is a master of these. For like the first 10 ACDC albums every solo in every song told it’s own small tale. Of course, like all the guitarists in this list and many others not on it, Young has a very strong style, so his solos may have similarities at times. This one however is a little different – a little more jagged than usual which gives it my thumbs up!
Funkadelic – Maggot Brain
(Guitarist: Eddie Hazel . Solo starts at 1min41)
Never underestimate the power of influence in music. Many musicians are vocal about their infleunces – or some of them. On the ther hand many more leave crucial people out or donlt cite any at all. It’s also worth noting that we all pick up pieces of others art as if by osmosis without really even noticing and thus the lines between inspiration, infulence, interpolation and direct homage get blurred. Take for instance this song Maggot Brain – I remember I was playing the song on a radio show I used to host when it dawned on me – Maggot Brain’s riff is the same as Metallica’s Nohting Else Matters, or rather Nothing Else Matters is the same as Maggot Brain (which was recorded predates some years earlier). Is it possible that ‘Maters’ wroters Ulrich and Hetfeild heard Maggot Brain – quite possibel, is it just one of those riffs/patterns peopel play – again quite possible. Regardless of that Funkadelic’s guitarist Eddie Hazel provides us with a slow, evocative shwo of guitar playing – sometimes laconic someitmes urgent, always captivating. Proof at last that speed is not everything
Thin Lizzy – Opium Trail (live)
(Guitarist: Brian Roberston. Solo starts at 3min27)
As well as the undisputed rock icon that was their frontman Phil Lynott, Thin Lizzy will also forever be associated wiht a slew of amazing guitarists, all capable of pulling up a killer solo at the drop of a mop of hair. Fiery Scot Brian Roberston is responsible for this one. During his tenure it what many call the classic Lizzy line up he made his Les Paul sing and also a fan of the wah-wah made it cry too. I have chosen this particualr solo at the very end of the song becuase it illustrates to me the power of the solo to transport you. It’s moving and in keeping with the melancholy yet defiant tone of the song and it’s lyrics. Like an Irish boxer that refuses to go down.
Bob Marley and the Wailers – Concrete Jungle
(Guitarist: Wayne Perkins. Solo starts at 2min50)
Chirs Blackwell the label owner of Island Records is credited with bringing both Bob Marley and Reggae Music to the masses. On one the ways he is siad to have did this is by injecting a does of rock into the bloodstream of the The Wailers’ music. However one feels about that this song and the solo on it prove one thing very well – Reggae can Rock!!
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Spanish Castle Magic
(Guitarist: Jimi Hendrix. Solo starts at 2min30)
What can I say that hasn’t already been said about this dude already. I was going to post ‘The stars that play with laughing sam’s dice’ but it’s not available. However this video is an even better example cos its live. Sheeet it’s Jimi – nuff said.
Prince – Sexy MF
(Guitarist: Levi Seacer, Jr. Solo starts at 4.41)
See all music videos Prince
Again Prince is a guy who’s music is hard to find online on sharing platforms. There are plenty examples but I chose this song and solo (whch is actually not played by Prince) because it’s not loud or crazy – it’s quite smooth, jazzy and discreet – but very fluid and has a nice littel flourish in it too!