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What Is the Greatest Guitar Solo of All Time? There Was a Poll and the Winner Was…

Whilst stuck in an interminable traffic jam, flipping through some satellite radio channels landed me on the solo of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.” Despite hearing David Gilmour’s part a hundred thousand times since The Wall came out, it still has the same shiver-inducing effect on me. I always think “Damn, that’s gotta be one of the greatest guitar solos of all time.” Turns out it is–at least according to this new poll.

A group of UK musicians, music critics and musicologists were polled by Classic Rock magazine to determine once and for all which axeman pulled off the best solo. Here are the results.

  1. Stairway to Heaven – Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)
  2. Comfortably Numb – David Gilmour (Pink Floyd)
  3. Hotel California – Don Felder and Joe Walsh (Eagles)
  4. Freebird – Allen Collins (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
  5. All Along the Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix (Jimi Hendrix Experience)
  6. Eruption – Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen)
  7. Killer Queen – Brian May (Queen)
  8. Sweet Child of Mine – Slash (Guns N’ Roses)
  9. Purple Rain – Prince (Prince and the Revolution)
  10. Paranoid – Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath)

The full top 100 list will appear in an upcoming issue of Classic Rock.

(Via VVN)


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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7 thoughts on “What Is the Greatest Guitar Solo of All Time? There Was a Poll and the Winner Was…

  • I’m Going Home (at Woodstock) – Alvin Lee (Ten Years After)

    • One of the greats (Alvin) and most underrated rock guitarists, IMO.

  • How could anyone possibly pick ? Trying to come up with the best would melt my brain.

    @ grant that’s an amazing solo but i think they were looking at studio solos. live is so much more random.

  • Gilmour for me! Comfortably Numb always sends a shiver down my back and tear to the eye

  • Sleeping in the Fire- Chris Holmes(W.A.S.P.). Short and sweet solo. Not saying it should be in the top ten but maybe find a place amongst the 100. Although his antics in The Decline of Western Civilization II did partially contribute to the fall of the Glam Metal scene giving rise to Grunge. Which might actually make him a hero to some and others not so much.

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