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Rolling Stone Announces 100 Greatest Guitar Songs Of All Time

Photo of Led Zeppelin

Band Photo: Led Zeppelin (?)

The June 12th 2008 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine features the cover story 'The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs Of All Time'. Explaining the feature is the blurb:

This is what makes a great rock & roll guitar sound: an irresistible riff; a solo or jam that takes you higher every time you hear it; the final power chord that pins you to the wall and makes you hit "play" again and again. Every song here has those thrills. But these are rock's greatest guitar moments because of what's inside the notes: hunger, fury, despair and joy, often all at once. You hear the blues, gospel and rockabilly that came before, transormed by the need to say something new and loud, right away. Rock & roll has been the sound of independence for half a century. The guitar is still its essential, liberating voice. These are the 100 reasons why.

The top 10 guitar songs according to the article are:

1. "Johnny B. Goode" - Chuck Berry
2. "Purple Haze" - Jimi Hendrix
3. "Crossroads" - Cream
4. "You Really Got Me" - The Kinks
5. "Brown Sugar" - The Rolling Stones
6. "Eruption" - Van Halen
7. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" - The Beatles
8. "Stairway To Heaven" - Led Zeppelin
9. "Statesboro Blues" - The Allman Brothers Band
10. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" - Nirvana

Source: Rolling Stone

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32 Comments on "Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitar Songs"

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Anonymous Reader
1. jon writes:

why is nirvana on here?
sure their good but ... wtf

# May 31, 2008 @ 11:04 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BoltThrower's avatar

Supporter

2. BoltThrower writes:

This is just a popularity contest so more people who are flipping through the worthless mag will hit something that the like and possibly purchase said worthless mag.

Yngwie Malmsteen's "Far Beyond The Sun" should be on any guitar list.

# May 31, 2008 @ 11:32 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
3. Westfallen writes:

Rolling Stone has been horsesh1t for years.

# May 31, 2008 @ 2:34 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Kalis_wrath's avatar

Supporter

4. Kalis_wrath writes:

Could not agree more West.

# May 31, 2008 @ 5:55 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
5. CrawfordTexasJingoJango writes:

I want to know who the hell on the face of the Earth, aside from Rolling Stone, thinks that Smells Like Teen Spirit and Stairway to Heaven belong that close to each other on any fxckin' list anywhere.

# May 31, 2008 @ 6:22 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

6. Cynic writes:

BoltThrower and Westfallen - agreed.

Now Playing: Earth - "Hung From The Moon"

# May 31, 2008 @ 6:35 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
7. ChiefStubbs writes:

That was honestly the sloppiest list I have ever seen. It's not as if I think that because of too little metal, I actually think it because some dumbass sat there for two minutes snorting crack and came up with this list.

# May 31, 2008 @ 7:25 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
8. Jaaago writes:

what the f*** is nirvana doing on this list with hendrix and zeppelin and cream?!! smells like teen spirit is bullsh** and doesn't deserve to be ranked in the same catagory as the other bands.

# Jun 2, 2008 @ 1:56 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
9. Txmetalhead writes:

So damn true - no 2.

# Jun 2, 2008 @ 4:00 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
xSlipknotxMaggotx's avatar

Member

10. xSlipknotxMaggotx writes:

Nirvana is really a great band, but not that great. They deffinately don't belong here. I strongly agree with post 2, and 7. Whoever made this list must have just smoked a lot of crack, probably way to much. This is deffinately a wicked sloppy list. I think they guy should be smacked in the head, with a shovel.

Now playing: Korn - "Mr.Rogers"

# Jun 6, 2008 @ 10:03 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
xSlipknotxMaggotx's avatar

Member

11. xSlipknotxMaggotx writes:

this guy*

# Jun 6, 2008 @ 10:04 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
12. AlliedFront676 writes:

For what it is the list insnt bad, its a mainstream magazine covering mainstream music. Pantera would be considered underground to Rolling Stone Magazine. I do agree if Nirvana was on the list they should of been last at least, and Stairway higher. Now this website is true to its name, Metalunderground, dude it covers bands like Papa Roach and Avenged Sevenfold!!YEA

# Jun 6, 2008 @ 1:47 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
13. coldiem writes:

Metal Underground covers plenty of underground bands. It's just that the people who criticize the site for covering mainstream bands don't notice or read the news from the underground bands because, well, they are "underground" and fairly unheard of. So when a headline for an underground band pops up, most people don't pay any attention to it because they haven't heard of the band, and then come on the posts with familiar names and criticize the site for not having enough underground coverage.

# Jun 6, 2008 @ 3:25 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
14. AlliedFront676 writes:

I know they cover a certain amount of underground bands but seriously PAPA ROACH, i think everyone can agree they dont play METAL.

# Jun 6, 2008 @ 8:39 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
15. darkest1 writes:

some of the songs on this" list" is a joke. prince? u2? john f***ing mayer???? tool @#100 for vicarious? who does rolling stone think they are ? they should stick to covering stories on hip hop,ONE HIT WONDERS ,politics,& overpaid jack asses

# Jun 7, 2008 @ 12:32 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
16. AlliedFront676 writes:

Dude Prince can shred! Havent u ever heard of When Doves cry? He's probally not as good as he used to be, but he kicked a$$ at the superbowl couple of years ago.

# Jun 7, 2008 @ 3:50 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
17. Biedrik writes:

As usual, Rolling Stones really doesn't know what it's doing.

# Jun 7, 2008 @ 4:05 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
xSlipknotxMaggotx's avatar

Member

18. xSlipknotxMaggotx writes:

I agree with post 14, Papa Roach is most certainly not metal.

# Jun 10, 2008 @ 9:21 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
19. Cr4wf0rdT3x45J1ng0J4ngo writes:

The only thing metal about Mama Roach is the tin in their ears.

# Jun 10, 2008 @ 2:09 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
20. A scene kids Nightmare writes:

This is joke just like everything that Rolling Stone releases.

I completely agree with the 2nd post in that this is nothing more than a popularity contest. Rolling Stone wouldn't know a good song if they were listening to it because they're still too caught up in 60's. I mean, don't get me wrong... A lot of great things came from the 60's, but Rolling Stone is fairly biased towards that time frame.

Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd are the absolute best bands that started in the 60's. Don't give me the Rolling Stones. I'll take Pink Floyd any day.

Nirvana was absolutely awesome and would smash just about any rock band going today, but I know that Smells Like Teen Spirit just doesn't belong here. It's not even the most guitar oriented Nirvana song! Definitely not the hardest to play either! ... It pisses me off that that song gets an incredible of coverage and it's not even in the top 3 on Nevermind. At least it's not in my opinion.

I love Jimi Hendrix and don't have a problem with Purple Haze being somewhere in the top 10. Great song in my opinion.

There are a few songs that have no place on this list. But what can I say? It's Rolling Stone and the only thing they give 2 sh**s about is pop music.

f*** Fall out Boy and f*** Pop Punk. It's an absolute abomination that there are kids today (my age) that seriously believe that the best bands ever are Fall Out Boy, Papa Roach, Limp Bizkit. Raising a generation of musically illiterate if you ask me.

# Jun 13, 2008 @ 2:49 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
21. darkest1 writes:

damn straight nightmare

# Jun 13, 2008 @ 9:56 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
22. ...Just Another Number... writes:

By the look of the list it isn't so much what songs dispalyed the most guitar skill, rather the ones that revolutionized or otherwise added some new tweaks and ideas to guitar playing. That is why Teen Spirit is on ther (Personally I am not a Nirvana fan in the least btu I give the band their props where they are due) I mean cmon man, #1 is "Johnny B. Goode" - Chuck Berry" Any of you who know anything about the history of rock certainly see why that is on the list... the man was certainly skilled for the time he played but it is on there more as that song pushed music a little heavier and closer to the beggining of the genre of metal.

And yeah, post 16 is right. Someone told me Prince learned from Slash... I don't know that for sure though. And the guy who told me that is a bit on the "hur dur" side of the genepool so yeah. All in all Prince can play some guitar.

# Jun 13, 2008 @ 10:16 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
23. darkest1 writes:

you have proved me wrong . I do remember watching prince play @ the super bowl & he was not bad at all. my complaint that i was trying to make was greatest guiatar songs ever should have had more metal bands. carcass,metallica,megadeth,& opeth not U2 and john f***ing mayer

# Jun 13, 2008 @ 10:39 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
24. A scene kids Nightmare writes:

I am more than willing to give Nirvana credit where it is due, and in giving that credit, I am not going to over hype a song and put it somewhere that it doesn't belong.

We can speak of many things that revolutionized music... The Beatles revolutionized music, but that by no means certifies that 6 out of their hundreds of songs deserve a spot in the top ten simply because they tweaked something in music.

Sorry, I may respect the musicianship of a band and like them in Nirvana, but I can most definitely recognize when they don't deserve the spot they've been given on this list.

# Jun 14, 2008 @ 1:26 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
25. Pudlicious writes:

Absolutely the biggest joke I've seen in years. But then again.. I guess Zeppeling couldn't have 70 of the 100, that wouldn't be very fair to the other bands:(.

Smarten up Rollingstone!

# Jun 15, 2008 @ 3:14 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
26. Pudlicious writes:

And for everyone thats standing up for Nirvana, blow yourselves, blow each other, and blow me. Nirvana sucks. I don't even play guitar. Haven't played an instrument since band in 9th grade. But son of a b****, I can play 2 different Nirvana songs!

Greatest guitar songs of all time, man. What next.. Mary had a little lamb?

# Jun 15, 2008 @ 3:19 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
27. HuTcH_616 writes:

All I gotta say about Nirvana is, Kurt should have shot himself sooner.

# Jun 18, 2008 @ 3:23 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
28. Txmetalhead writes:

To post 23 - The Edge, guitarist for U2, is an awesome musician...yes, u2 is not metal..not really rock any longer, but back in the early days - the Edge was one of the best guitarists in music. He is extremely talented...just go listen to THE FLY solo from Achtung Baby...you will hear for yourself.

# Jun 18, 2008 @ 9:35 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
29. Txmetalhead writes:

Soundgarden definitely needs to be somewhere on the list..and Alice in Chains, too.
But like you said - Rolling Stones does not know what they are doing..and only pull names from the very well know bands.

# Jun 18, 2008 @ 9:37 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
30. thasword writes:

there are some extremely questioable choices on this list, nirvana was a groundbreaking band but
.."teen spirit " should've been no higher than 50 (and that might be a little gracious) i hope that was sarcasm about slash being prince' guitar teacher anyone who questions prince as a guitar player don't know their history slash teaching him would be like bruce d***inson getting voice lessons from fred durst as far as this list goes this is better than i would expect from a group of people who gives negative reviews of cds they haven't listened to there are some hits and misses but it covers general history somewhat

# Jun 25, 2008 @ 9:27 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
31. Firebomb writes:

Why the f*** are "Hanger 18" and "Tornado of Souls" by Megadeth not on there? Those songs kicks ass. And Nirvana should not have been in the Top 10. That's f***ing blasphemy!

# Jun 26, 2008 @ 3:02 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
32. Txmetalhead writes:

I agree with you POST 30 - Prince can play the axe. He has always been pretty good on guitar.

# Jun 26, 2008 @ 2:07 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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