Every guitarist and fan has an opinion on what the greatest guitar solos in the world are and all of them have their own reasons for their choices. There are thousands of wonderfully composed solos and each is spectacular and unparalleled in its own way. This article tries to narrow them down to the five greatest solos ever made that remain will remain iconic and revered for all time.
1: “STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN” (Jimmy Page) – Led Zeppelin IV, 1971:
Stairway to Heaven can be considered the greatest guitar solo of all time. The song was built around the central theme of “the quest of salvation”; the melancholy guitar riff gains and rushes with a forward momentum resulting in an epic solo.
The solo was the child of guitar god Jimmy Page. The song was featured in Led Zeppelins’ album, LED ZEPPELIN IV. What made the iconic solo the greatest were the underlying harmonic functions that led the main section of the song to the uplifting hard rock solo. The outro-guitar lead connected the dots of the song by leading back to the song’s first melancholic impression. Using melodious lead lines and improvised notes (during the recordings), Jimmy Page made what can only be called “The greatest solo in the history of rock.”
2: “FREE BIRD” (Allen Collins, Gary Rossington) – Lynyrd Skynyrd:
The best melodies come from small, short moments of inspiration. Free Bird, maybe one of the best solos that came out of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s whole career. What was a product of endless jamming and noodling resulted in a 9-minute long track that broke every concept of a classic rock tune? The song features some killer riffs, some extremely technical guitar licks, and melodies. Allen Collins and Gary Rossington did justice to the chords they soloed over. The song became one of the longest songs in the history of rock and roll. Even though the bands’ record labels plead them to shorten the song, they did not. This resulted in the iconic 9-minute track that was a free bird.
3: “COMFORTABLY NUMB” (David Gilmour) – Pink Floyd the Wall, 1979:
Comfortably numb is one of the best songs on the Pink Floyd playlist. The song is a joint effort between David Gilmour’s music, Roger Waters’s lyrics and Bob Ezrin’s orchestral chart. The song is minimalistic but it resonates strongly with its theme. The solo reflects and accentuates the story of the song. Gilmour’s effortless playing which prefers simplicity to complexity and the subtle musicality makes this solo one of the best guitar solos ever to have been conceptualized.
4: “HOTEL CALIFORNIA” (Don Felder, Joe Walsh) – The Eagles Hotel California, 1976:
One of the most iconic songs in the repertoire of Eagles, Don Fender, and Joe Walsh, played one of their greatest solos on the song that would define the Eagles careers. The song, though starts off slow-paced, as the end of the verse, both guitarists leap into a dual guitar solo where one plays the lead line and the other plays the harmony. The song permanently set Joe Walsh and Don Felder into forces to be reckoned with.