Gibson picked the top 50 guitar solos of all time, and boy did they ever blow it

Geez, even Jimi knew Johnny ruled.

By Steve Newton

Back in September of 2010 Gibson.com posted what it felt were the 50 greatest guitar solos of all time, and boy did they ever blow it.

Most conspicuous by his absence is Texas blues-rock legend Johnny Winter. I for one am getting sick and tired of so-called experts ignoring the huge cache of stunning solos the albino picker has layed down over the years.

They got all sidetracked giving four picks each to Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix, and three each to Eric Clapton and Eddie Van Halen, and didn’t bother doling even one out to Winter. Have they not heard him rip it up on “Still Alive and Well”, “Rock Me Baby”, or “Can’t You Feel It”?

Other highly regarded guitar heroes who got undeservedly shut out include: Carlos Santana, Mick Ronson, Peter Green, Steve Marriott, Gary Moore, Robin Trower, Joe Satriani, John Fogerty, Tony Iommi, Brian Setzer, Michael Schenker, Steve Howe, Alvin Lee, Buck Dharma, Buddy Guy, and Billy Gibbons.

Here’s Gibson.com’s complete list, followed by further analysis and a few picks of my own.

1. “Stairway to Heaven”, Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page)

2. “Eruption”, Van Halen (Eddie Van Halen)

3. “All Along the Watchtower”, The Jimi Hendrix Experience

4. “Hotel California”, Eagles (Don Felder, Joe Walsh)

5. “Comfortably Numb”, Pink Floyd (David Gilmour)

6. “Free Bird”, Lynyrd Skynyrd (Gary Rossington, Allen Collins)

7. “Layla”, Derek and the Dominos (Eric Clapton, Duane Allman)

8. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, The Beatles (Eric Clapton)

9. “Johnny B. Goode”, Chuck Berry

10. “Bohemian Rhapsody”, Queen (Brian May)

11. “Crazy Train”, Ozzy Osbourne (Randy Rhoads)

12. “Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers”, Jeff Beck

13. “Sweet Child o’ Mine”, Guns N’ Roses (Slash)

14. “Hot for Teacher”, Van Halen (Eddie Van Halen)

15. “Since I’ve Been Loving You”, Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page)

16. “November Rain”, Guns N’ Roses (Slash)

17. “Mr. Crowley”, Ozzy Osbourne (Randy Rhoads)

18. “Whole Lotta Rosie”, AC/DC (Angus Young)

19. “Like a Hurricane”, Neil Young and Crazy Horse

20. “Sultans of Swing”, Dire Straits (Mark Knopfler)

21. “Texas Flood”, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

22. “One”, Metallica (Kirk Hammett)

23. “Cortez the Killer”, Neil Young and Crazy Horse

24. “Rock Around the Clock”, Bill Haley and His Comets (Danny Cedrone)

25. “Sweet Jane” (live), Lou Reed (Steve Hunter, Dick Wagner)

26. “Purple Rain”, Prince and the Revolution (Prince)

27. “Heartbreaker”, Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page)

28. “Jessica”, Allman Brothers Band (Dickey Betts)

29. “Machine Gun”, Jimi Hendrix

30. “Crossroads”, Cream (Eric Clapton)

31. “Time”, Pink Floyd (David Gilmour)

32. “Are You Experienced”, The Jimi Hendrix Experience

33. “Race with the Devil”, Gene Vincent (Cliff Gallup)

34. “Don’t Believe a Word”, Thin Lizzy (Brian Robertson)

35. “Purple Haze”, The Jimi Hendrix Experience

36. “Besame Mucho”, Wes Montgomery

37. “Sympathy for the Devil”, The Rolling Stones (Keith Richards)

38. “Blue Sky”, Allman Brothers Band (Duane Allman, Dickey Betts)

39. “My Sharona”, The Knack (Berton Averre)

40. “Marquee Moon”, Television (Tom Verlaine)

41. “Hitch a Ride”, Boston (Tom Scholz)

42. “The End”, The Beatles (Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon)

43. “Whole Lotta Love”, Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page)

44. “Train Kept A-Rollin’” (live), Aerosmith (Joe Perry)

45. “Highway Star”, Deep Purple (Ritchie Blackmore)

46. “Dirt”, The Stooges (Ron Asheton)

47. “Off the Handle”, Rory Gallagher

48. “The Great Curve”, Talking Heads (Adrian Belew)

49. “The Messiah Will Come Again”, Roy Buchanan

50. “Beat It”, Michael Jackson (Eddie Van Halen)

It was great to see Jeff Beck‘s version of Stevie Wonder’s “Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers” up there, as well as the tune that inspired it, Roy Buchanan‘s “The Messiah Will Come Again”. I’m also glad that Rory Gallagher snuck in there at number 47 with “Off the Handle”, although his “Tattooed Lady” might have been a better choice.

Skynyrd‘s “Free Bird” was an obvious pick, but its companion piece by the Outlaws, “Green Grass & High Tides”, should have also made the cut. And Eddie Van Halen definitely kicks it on “Hot For Teacher”, but I’ll take his impassioned solos on “I’ll Wait” and “Little Dreamer” any day.

Brian Robertson’s solo on Thin Lizzy‘s “Don’t Believe a Word” is killer, but there’s twice as many wicked guitar wipeouts on Lizzy’s “Cowboy Song”. And what’s up with Boston’s “Hitch a Ride”? Isn’t Tom Scholz’s solo on “More than a Feeling” that band’s ultimate six-string statement?

Anyway, it’s easy to criticize a survey like this, so let’s keep doing it.

Here’s 10 guitar solos from some fairly well-known songs that should have been on the Top 50.

1. “Once Bitten Twice Shy“, Ian Hunter (Mick Ronson)

2. “Get Outta Denver,” Bob Seger (Jim McCarty)

3. “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers”, ZZ Top (Billy Gibbons)

4. “Burnin’ For You“, Blue Oyster Cult (Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser)

5. “Hurry Sundown,” the Outlaws (Hughie Thomasson)

6. “Handle Me With Care”, the Traveling Wilburys (George Harrison)

7. “Hocus Pocus”, Focus (Jan Akkerman)

8. “Stone Cold Sober“, Rod Stewart (Steve Cropper)

9 “Romeo and the Lonely Girl“, Thin Lizzy (Scott Gorham)

10. “I Won’t Back Down”, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (Mike Campbell)

 

To hear my interviews with some of the world’s greatest guitarists subscribe to my Patreon page, where you can eavesdrop on over 300 of my uncut, one-on-one conversations with such primo pickers as:

Ty Tabor of King’s X, 2001
Steve Morse of Deep Purple, 1998
Joe Perry of Aerosmith, 2010
Slash of Guns N’ Roses and Slash’s Snakepit, 1995
Mick Ronson, 1989
Tom Morello, 2011
Luther Allison, 1995
J. Geils from the J. Geils Band, 2006
Sean Costello, 2006
Dave Murray of Iron Maiden, 2012
Joe Perry of Aerosmith, 1993
Derek Trucks of Tedeschi Trucks, 2012
Fernando von Arb of Krokus, 1984
Gary Holt of Exodus, 1985
Rudolf Schenker of Scorpions, 1992
Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, 2001
Doyle Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton of Arc Angels, 1992
Marc Bonilla, 1992
Robert Randolph of the Family Band, 2003
Keith Strickland of the B-52s, 2008
Robbin Crosby of Ratt, 1989
Billy Duffy of the Cult, 1989
Dave Martone, 2020
Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest, 2005
Vivian Campbell of Def Leppard, 1992
Colin James, 1995
Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown, 1998
Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, 2003
David Lindley, 2002
Marty Friedman of Megadeth, 1991
Jeff Golub, 1989
Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars, 2001
Steve Hackett from Genesis, 1993
Buddy Guy, 1993
Steve Lynch of Autograph, 1985
Don Wilson of the Ventures, 1997
Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar, 1998
Trevor Rabin of Yes, 1984
Albert Lee, 1986
Yngwie Malmsteen, 1985
Robert Cray, 1996
David Gilmour from Pink Floyd, 1984
Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, 1993
Colin Linden, 1993
Kenny Wayne Shepherd, 1995
Elliot Easton from the Cars, 1996
Wayne Kramer from the MC5, 2004
Roy Buchanan, 1988
Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash, 2003
Randy Hansen, 2001
Davy Knowles of Back Door Slam, 2007
Steve Stevens of Atomic Playboys, 1989
Stuart Adamson of Big Country, 1993
Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule, 1998
Robben Ford, 1993
Joe Satriani, 1990
John Sykes of Blue Murder, 1989
Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, 1998
Myles Goodwyn of April Wine, 2001
Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 1999
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1992
Little Steven, 1987
Stevie Salas, 1990
Joe Bonamassa, 2011
Tommy Emmanuel, 1994
John Petrucci of Dream Theater, 2010
Eric Johnson, 2001
Ace Frehley from Kiss, 2008
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
Steve Vai, 1990
Tony Iommi of Heaven and Hell, 2007
James Hetfield of Metallica, 1986
Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1990
Rick Richards of the Georgia Satellites, 1988
Steve Morse, 1991
Slash of Guns N’ Roses, 1994
Brian May from Queen, 1993
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1991
Jake E. Lee of Badlands, 1992
Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1997
John Fogerty, 1997
Joe Perry of Aerosmith, 1987
Rick Derringer, 1999
Robin Trower, 1990
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, 1994
Mick Ronson, 1988
Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult, 1997
Michael Schenker, 1992
Joan Jett, 1992
Guthrie Govan of the Aristocrats, 2015
Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe, 1985
Carlos Santana, 2011
Walter Trout, 2003
Mark Farner of Grand Funk, 1991
Jennifer Batten, 2002
Leo Kottke, 2002
Link Wray, 1997
Mike Rutherford of Genesis, 1983
Buddy Guy, 1991
Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1986
Gaye Delorme, 1990
Dave Murray of Iron Maiden, 1984
Rik Emmett of Triumph, 1985
Sonny Landreth, 2016
Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders, 2016
Jeff Beck, 2001
Albert King, 1990
Johnny Ramone of the Ramones, 1992
Peter Frampton, 1987
Otis Rush, 1997
Leslie West of Mountain, 2002
Steve Howe of Yes, 2017
Uli Jon Roth, 2016
Poison Ivy of the Cramps, 1990
Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson of AC/DC, 1983
Steve Clark of Def Leppard, 1988
Roy Buchanan, 1986
Gary Moore, 1984
Ronnie Montrose, 1994
Danny Gatton, 1993
Alex Lifeson of Rush, 1992
Yngwie Malmsteen, 2014
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
Kim Mitchell, 1984
Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers, 1994
Derek Trucks, 1998
Susan Tedeschi, 1998
Joe Satriani, 2018
B.B. King, 1984
Albert Collins, 1985
Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, 1984
Dick Dale, 2000
Dickey Betts, 2001
…with hundreds more to come

 

One thought on “Gibson picked the top 50 guitar solos of all time, and boy did they ever blow it

  1. I would add Blackfoot’s “Highway Song” and “Flirtin’ With Disaster” by Molly Hatchet and possibly “The Price” by Twisted Sister.

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