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The Top 40 Greatest Guitar Solos Ever

Randy Rhoads, David Gilmour and Slash © Getty

After thousands of votes were cast by Planet Rock listeners over recent weeks, we can now reveal The Top 40 Greatest Guitar Solos of all time – as voted for by you!

Picking up a massive 15% of the total votes, Pink Floyd’s timeless 1979 anthem ‘Comfortably Numb’ comfortably came in at Number 1 thanks to that David Gilmour solo.

‘Comfortably Numb’ was previously voted the fifth Greatest Rock Song Ever by Planet Rock listeners, and there’s little denying that Gilmour’s iconic guitar solo is one of the defining musical moments in rock history.

In fact, such is its magnificence, Gilmour’s fabled Black Strat he played on the ‘Comfortably Numb’ solo amongst many other Pink Floyd classics recently set the world record for the most expensive guitar ever sold at auction fetching $3,975,000.

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1973 masterpiece ‘Free Bird’ is Number 2. Allen Collins and Gary Rossington's guitar solos that form the unforgettable second half of the track are, like ‘Comfortably Numb’, truly entrenched in rock history.

Allen Collins and Gary Rossington © Getty

Taking us to more recent times, Alter Bridge’s 2007 tour-de-force ‘Blackbird’ is in third spot. Centring on Mark Tremonti and Myles Kennedy’s rousing solos, the track is arguably the band’s signature tune and life-affirmingly brilliant in the live arena.

Michael Schenker’s phenomenal solo on UFO’s ‘Rock Bottom’ earns the track fourth spot, and, perfectly showcasing Slash’s mercurial talents, Guns N’ Roses’ epic power ballad ‘November Rain’ is at No.5.

Completing the Top 10 are Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway To Heaven’ (6), Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’ (7), Van Halen’s ‘Eruption’ (8), Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ (9) and Queen’s ‘Brighton Rock’ (10).  

Songs from the 1970s dominated the guitar solos poll with seven of the Top 10 and a massive 21 tracks from the entire Top 40 being released in the decade.

Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page © Getty

The 1980s and 1990s are both represented by six guitar solos, while there are three from the 2000s, and two apiece from the 1960s and 2010s.

Slash has a total of four guitar solos on the list - Guns N’ Roses' ‘November Rain’ (5) ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ (9) and ‘Estranged’ (35) plus Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators’ ‘Anastasia’ (33).

Elsewhere, Ritchie Blackmore’s searing solos appear three times on the countdown - Rainbow’s magnum opus ‘Stargazer’ is at 21, with Deep Purple’s ‘Child In Time’ and ‘Highway Star’ at 11 and 14 respectively. 

The late-great Gary Moore has also fared extremely well with solo songs ‘Parisienne Walkways’ and ‘Still Got The Blues’ at 17 and 25, and Thin Lizzy’s ‘Still in Love with You’ at 27. 

Gary Moore © Getty

The Top 40 Greatest Guitar Solos, as voted for by Planet Rock listeners, are as follows:

40. Jimi Hendrix - ‘All Along the Watchtower’ (1968)

39. AC/DC – ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ (1977)

38. Y&T – ‘I Believe In You’ (1981)

37. Metallica - ‘Fade To Black’ (1984)

36. Wishbone Ash - ‘Everybody Needs A Friend’ (1973)

35. Guns N’ Roses - ‘Estranged’ (1991)

34. Judas Priest - ‘Beyond The Realms of Death’ (1978)

33. Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators - ‘Anastasia’ (2012)

32. Thin Lizzy - ‘The Rocker’ (1973)

31. Dire Straits – ‘Telegraph Road’ (1982)

30. Dire Straits – ‘Sultans of Swing’ (1978)

29. Alice Cooper – ‘I Am Made Of You’ (2011)

28. Cream - ‘Crossroads’ (1968)

27. Thin Lizzy - ‘Still In Love With You’ (1974)

26. Marillion – ‘Easter’ (1989)

25. Gary Moore – ‘Still Got The Blues’ (1990)

24. Pink Floyd – ‘Time’ (1973)

23. Joe Bonamassa – ‘India/Mountain Time’ (2002/2007)

22. Extreme – ‘Get The Funk Out’ (1990)

21. Rainbow – ‘Stargazer’ (1976)

20. Jethro Tull – ‘Aqualung’ (1971)

19. Megadeth – ‘Tornado of Souls’ (1990)

18. Rush – ‘La Villa Strangiato’ (1978)

17. Gary Moore - ‘Parisienne Walkways’ (1978)

16. Peter Frampton - ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ (2003)

15. Led Zeppelin – ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ (1970)

14. Deep Purple - ‘Highway Star’ (1972)

13. Ozzy Osbourne - ‘Mr Crowley’ (1980)

12. Bon Jovi – ‘Dry County’ (1992)

11. Deep Purple - ‘Child In Time’ (1970)

10. Queen – ‘Brighton Rock’ (1974)

9. Guns N’ Roses – ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ (1987)

8. Van Halen – ‘Eruption’ (1978)

7. Eagles - ‘Hotel California’ (1976)

6. Led Zeppelin - ‘Stairway To Heaven’ (1971)

5. Guns N’ Roses – ‘November Rain’ (1991)

4. UFO – ‘Rock Bottom’ (1974)


3. Alter Bridge - ‘Blackbird’ (2007)

2. Lynyrd Skynyrd - ‘Free Bird’ (1973)

1. Pink Floyd – ‘Comfortably Numb’ (1979)

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