BBC Radio 2 Listeners Pick the All-Time Greatest Guitar Riffs

by Music-News.com Newsdesk

Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love has been revealed as the Greatest Guitar Riff of all time in BBC Radio 2's countdown of the Top 100 Greatest Guitar Riffs.

Whole Lotta Love beat rock legend contenders such as Metallica, Nirvana and The White Stripes to the top spot. The Top Five Guitar Riffs are completed by Guns 'N' Roses' Sweet Child O' Mine (2nd), AC/DC's Back in Black (3rd), Deep Purple's Smoke On The Water (4th) and Derek And The Dominoes' Layla (5th).

Radio 2 listeners cast their votes from a list of 100 riffs selected by a panel of music industry experts including Radio 2 and 6 Music DJs, music critics and record producers. The Top 100 Guitar riffs vote, opened on Monday, July 14 in Simon Mayo's show (5-7pm) and closed on Monday, August 4.

Throughout the day, BBC Radio 2 listeners were treated to the complete top 100 countdown of guitar riff greatness. The big reveal began with Will Gompertz's midnight show (midnight-3am) and continued throughout the day culminating in Zoe Ball exclusively announcing numbers 30 to 1 in her special Bank Holiday show Radio 2's Top 30 Greatest Guitar Riffs with Zoe Ball (2pm-5pm).

On being voted number one, Jimmy Page said "I'm knocked out by this, because I didn't expect that to happen, there's been so many wonderful riffs along the way. I wanted a riff that really moved, that people would really get, and would bring a smile to their faces. but when I played it with the band, it really went into overdrive.There was this intent to have this riff and the movement of it, so it was menacing as well as quite sort of caressing."

The Top 100 Guitar Riffs of all Time, as voted for by BBC Radio 2 listeners:
  1. Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin
  2. Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns 'N' Roses
  3. Back In Black - AC/DC
  4. Smoke On The Water - Deep Purple
  5. Layla - Derek And The Dominoes
  6. How Soon Is Now? - The Smiths
  7. Down Down - Status Quo
  8. Money For Nothing - Dire Straits
  9. You Really Got Me - The Kinks
  10. Money - Pink Floyd
  11. Ziggy Stardust - David Bowie
  12. Purple Haze - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  13. Motorcycle Emptiness - Manic Street Preachers
  14. 20th Century Boy - T. Rex
  15. Do I Wanna Know? - Arctic Monkeys
  16. Enter Sandman - Metallica
  17. Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry
  18. The Spirit Of Radio - Rush
  19. Livin' On A Prayer - Bon Jovi
  20. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
  21. All Right Now - Free
  22. Oh Well - Fleetwood Mac
  23. Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
  24. Sunshine Of Your Love - Cream
  25. Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes
  26. Paranoid - Black Sabbath
  27. I Can't Get No (Satisfaction) - The Rolling Stones
  28. Day Tripper - The Beatles
  29. The Riverboat Song - Ocean Colour Scene
  30. Alive - Pearl Jam
  31. One Vision - Queen
  32. She Sells Sanctuary - The Cult
  33. Pretty Vacant - Sex Pistols
  34. Don't Fear The Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult
  35. No Surprises - Radiohead
  36. Hocus Pocus - Focus
  37. Cigarettes & Alcohol - Oasis
  38. No One Knows - Queens of The Stone Age
  39. I Can't Explain - The Who
  40. Under The Bridge - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  41. Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love - Van Halen
  42. Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen
  43. Fools Gold - The Stone Roses
  44. Apache - The Shadows
  45. Run To You - Bryan Adams
  46. Stay With Me - Faces
  47. Atomic - Blondie
  48. Life In The Fast Lane - Eagles
  49. Milk & Alcohol - Dr. Feelgood
  50. Spoonman - Soundgarden
  51. Should I Stay Or Should I Go - The Clash
  52. Killing in The Name - Rage Against The Machine
  53. Beat It - Michael Jackson
  54. Don't Believe A Word - Thin Lizzy
  55. Walk This Way - Aerosmith / Aerosmith & RUN-D.M.C.
  56. Sharp Dressed Man - ZZ Top
  57. Mannish Boy - Muddy Waters
  58. Peter Gunn - Duane Eddy
  59. Good Times - Chic
  60. Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand
  61. Misirlou - Dick Dale
  62. Song 2 - Blur
  63. Marquee Moon - Television
  64. Are You Gonna Go My Way - Lenny Kravitz
  65. Need You Tonight - INXS
  66. Pride (In The Name Of Love) - U2
  67. Shakin' All Over - Johnny Kidd & The Pirates
  68. Theme From Shaft - Isaac Hayes
  69. There She Goes - The La's
  70. Boys Don't Cry - The Cure
  71. Oh, Pretty Woman - Roy Orbison
  72. Every Breath You Take - The Police
  73. Rumble Link - Wray
  74. Block Buster! - Sweet
  75. My Sharona - The Knack
  76. A Girl Like You - Edwyn Collins
  77. Runnin' Down A Dream - Tom Petty
  78. Cannonball - The Breeders
  79. Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf
  80. I Love Rock 'n' Roll - Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
  81. Boom Boom - John Lee Hooker
  82. Long Live Rock 'n' Roll - Rainbow
  83. Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley
  84. Words of Love - Buddy Holly
  85. Mr Tambourine Man - The Byrds
  86. That Lady - The Isley Brothers
  87. Eye Of The Tiger - Survivor
  88. Ma-Ma-Ma Belle - Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)
  89. C'mon Everybody - Eddie Cochran
  90. Wheels - Foo Fighters
  91. The One I Love - R.E.M.
  92. September - Earth, Wind & Fire
  93. Lonely Boy - The Black Keys
  94. Jack & Diane - John Mellencamp
  95. Bohemian Like You - The Dandy Warhols
  96. Rocks - Primal Scream
  97. Are You Gonna Be My Girl - Jet
  98. Loser - Beck
  99. Unbelievable - EMF
  100. Get Lucky - Daft Punk




3 comments

calijerry said...

Coming from the other side of the pond- while this list is pretty good to to say the least, here are a few of my faves that did not make the cut: Ted Nugent's Stranglehold, Neil Giraldo's riff on Pat Benatar's Heartbreaker, and Jeff Beck's Freeway Jam. Naturally it's very hard to limit this list to just 100, perhaps a 200 list would include many additional memorable riffs.
Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Two missing absolute riff monsters are Pinball wizard (WHO) and Black Betty (Ram Jam). Impossible they were not in the top 20,much less the top 100.

Anonymous said...

Bon Jovi's living on a prayer doesnt even have a riff but it manages to get to number 19.The list seems to be peoples favourite song rather than the riff it contains.

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