Many believe the art of the guitar solo had faded into oblivion. True, most of today’s rock music focuses on vocals and video aspects, while guitarists have become supporting cast members of rock bands. That’s why most of the songs on this list with great guitar solos fall into the classic rock realm. But that’s okay, it’s not like any of us are getting younger anyway.
"Welcome Innervision," Novo Combo (Animation Generation)
This is one of those instances where you hear a song and long for the glory days of the guitar solo as an art form. Carlos Rios played the lead in this song, and twenty-five years later it’s one of the tastiest, raunchiest, beautifully played solos I’ve ever heard.
"Rapture," Blondie (Autoamerican)
The song may or may not have influenced early hip-hop artists, but this list is about guitar solos, and "Rapture" has a short one toward the end of the track that absolutely screams.
"Since I’ve Been Loving You," Led Zeppelin
(Led Zeppelin III)
A classic, bluesy, epic Zep track that is a great example of how Robert Plant and Jimmy Page could intertwine lead vocals and lead guitar in a way that few bands ever could. With no disrespect to the rest of the band’s catalog, Page’s work in this song is his best work ever as a guitarist. I mean, he makes that baby sing.
"Hurry Sundown," The Outlaws (Hurry
It’s almost redundant to put an Outlaws song on here, because they were called "The Florida Guitar Army." But still, the way they harmonized their instruments, especially on this song, was amazing.
"Heart In Pieces," Chicago (Chicago
This track has a cheesy 80’s feel, especially with the ridiculous amount of echo on the snare drum. But with a band known for its horns, you won’t find a more ripping guitar solo in any of their music.
"Don’t Take Me Alive," Steely Dan (The
There’s so many guitarists listed on this album, so I’m not sure who played the lead on it. But that doesn’t matter. There is melodic, distorted beauty in the bits that are played at the start and throughout this song.
"Magic Man," Heart (Dreamboat Annie)
Who says men have to dominate this list? Nancy Wilson is hot AND can play the guitar as good as any dude. And the way she does this question and answer thing with the parts in this classic track is as recognizable as any guitar sequence in rock history.
"Stranger," Jefferson Starship (Modern
Somewhere between the Jefferson Airplane and Starship was a time when this band was called Jefferson Starship. And while this track may not be their biggest hit, it sure features some wailing guitars courtesy of Craig Chaquico.
"End of The Line," TNT (Intuition)
This Norwegian band may have been lost among the Poisons and Warrants of its day, but the spastically wonderful guitar work of Ronni Le Tekro, especially on this ballad of sorts, still rivals anything those other hair bands could offer.
"Night Owls," Little River Band (Time
When you think Little River Band, certainly you think about soft rock radio hits like "Reminiscing" or "Lonesome Loser." But for them, this was an edgy diversion featuring some smoking guitar work. The harmonies alone are worth the price of admission.
"Now That The Magic Has Gone," Joe Cocker
A melancholy, angst-filled bluesy rocker that features some nifty guitar work which is a nice counterpoint to Cocker’s signature growl.
"Hold The Line," Toto (Toto)
Toto was a group of studio musicians that formed a band, so it should be no surprise that their musicianship was at another level than most rock bands. And Steve Lukather’s solo in this song is pretty much on another planet.
"Light Up The Sky," Van Halen (Van
Yeah, it’s redundant to put Eddie Van Halen on a list like this. But the blazing guitar work in this song is even god-like by his standards.
"I Was Made For Lovin’ You," KISS (Dynasty)
People tend to picture these guys in their makeup and forget that they are damn good musicians. This song had, dare I say, disco flavors to it. But it still rocked, and Ace Frehley’s solo, albeit short, is one of the best he’s ever put on tape.
"That Smell," Lynyrd Skynyrd (Street
Sadly, this was the album Lynyrd Skynyrd released just before the plane crash that killed singer Ronnie Van Zandt and lead guitarist Steve Gaines. But we can still appreciate Gaines’ remarkable work on this album, and in particular on this classic Skynyrd track.