Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Guitar Solos

A couple of months ago, I posted about my Top Five Rock Guitar Riffs.

Today, it’s my top five solos.

And what’s the difference between a riff and a solo?

A riff is a recurring sequence of notes that forms the song’s signature, while a solo is longer and more improvisational. It occurs only once in a song.

So here’s my list. I’ve stayed away from some that may well be your favorites but that simply go on too long to interest me much. So: my apologies to all you Southern Rock fans, but neither the Allman Brothers nor Lyrnyrd Skynyrd appear below.

5. While My Guitar Gently Weeps, by the Beatles with Eric Clapton. While this may be George Harrison’s creation, Clapton’s guitar work gives it a life full of mournful soul.

4. Long Time, by Boston. There are actually three solos in this one. Long Time gets such heavy airplay on classic rock stations and sounds so much like a product of its time that you can forget how good it really is.

3. Badge, by Cream. Eric Clapton again in this little gem of a song with incomprehesible lyrics and unforgettable guitar.

2. Heartbreaker, by Led Zeppelin. How great was it to be 15, get my brand new cassette tape of Led Zeppelin II, put it in the new player my mother bought me as a surprise gift, and take the whole setup to tennis tournaments around the country? Well, pretty great. Especially when I’d get to Jimmy Page’s solo in the middle of Heartbreaker and wonder, “how in the world does he make it sound like that?”

1. Hotel California, by the Eagles. The Eagles weren’t and aren’t really a guitar solo band. Yet I never tire of listening to Don Felder and Joe Walsh duel it out at the end of Hotel California. It’s almost like “who’s going to win the race between these two guitars?” They both do.