While My Guitar Gently Squeekz – Top # 5 – Guitar Solos

Since this is my blog, my king-dom, I can pretty much mess it up in such a manner that’ll please me. You know, those extrovert, convention breaking posts are making their coming.

And this is the logic behind a list of the best guitar solos. Although, now that you’ve give it a thought, it’s not really that kind of a topic, isn’t it? Actually, in paper, it sounds pretty lame – almost as lame as muzaak-related posts probably ever come. So I guess I have to exceed this mental abyss I’m taking my creations to, somehow at least, by taking the concept of guitar solo not that seriously – or, indeed, more seriously than ever. Becuz for me, living in several realities simultaneously, a good guitar solo can mean a whole spectrum of styles all the way from orthodox to postmodern, from state-of-the-art technical and production-wise output to simple and rebellious.

Now, then, here they are, in reverse order to keep the tension on. [and of course, here they weren’t? Make it explicit via comments, what’s your fav solos?]


No.5 Manic Street Preachers – Archives of Pain / Guitarist: James Dean Bradfield / Duration: 3:49 – 5:20

So here we start with a stellar classic. Manic Street Preachers were in a killer form during those days, both in the studio and in the stage. James Dean Bradfield established himself as one of the best of bussiness already in their debut album, notably in the sublime Motorcycle Emptiness, which was basicly design around the solo. But for me it is the raw energy and bleak expression of the Holy Bible era that really makes it for me. As the longest of the coming solos in this listing (sorry for spoiling it already), this is probably the most intricate and technically gifted piece of art here.


No.4 Buzzcocks – Boredom / Guitarist: Pete Shelley / Duration: 1:25 – 1:45 & 2:29 – 2:52

In my opinion, the 67 th note of the solo, one of the third of them allowed to appear and the first of it’s kind, is possibly the most important single note in the music history. Nuff’ said?

And as a bonus, what do you think of this retake of the idea in Boredom (tracking between 5:33 – 6:06). I’m pretty sure Mr. Murphy made this to equal Buzzcocks three note solo genius.


No.3 Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California / Guitarist: John Frusciante / Duration: 3:49 – end

Okay. I admit it. This is probably something you would not expect after the likes of Buzzcocks three note, musical version of the occam’s razor.

But I love it! The sheer quality of John Frusciante picking, the presence of the sound within the production (I wouldn’t be surprised if Rick Rubin, THE producer, and John would have masterminded at least four similar takes on top of each other to create a perfect stereo effect), distortion, lenght, and, most of all, that little trick it makes to the whole song. I mean, the song exists really for the solo to emerge, and that includes those massive power-riffs Frusciante builds the chorus on.

And, let’s be fair, we need some orthodox style to counter the alien. And, as it seams after including two of these in the top 5, I’ve got a some sort of weak spot for epic, song-ending guitar twagging, aren’t I? Well, anyway, here it is (love the Lennon imitation in the video, especially during the wah-part of the solo)


No.2 Yo La Tengo – Stockholm Syndrome / Guitarist: Ira Kaplan / Duration: 1:23 – 1:53

Like somebody says in the Youtube-comments below, ”perfect distorted but melodic solo.” That’s what really says it all. It’s so orthodox but oh so melodic and sweet, making perfect sense with the mellowness of the rest of the song. YLT hasn’t ever been one of my favourite bands – I guess their pop/rock style is sometimes carried too far away in the numb deserts of indieness -, and still, this it is, YLT probably as typical as they’ll get. And that means it’s the prefect thing, almost.


No.1 Talking Heads – Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On) / Guitarist: Adrian Belew (isn’t it?) / Duration: 2:46 – 3:20

And finally, in the end, the surprise nominee gets it all. Talking Heads, one of the new wave giants, here, at their best, messing things up seriously (drastically and in a professional manner, that is). The no. 1 pick here is the ”guitar solo” from the opening track ”Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)” of their seminal fourth album, Remain in Light. It could’ve easily been also the solos in The Great Curve”, ”Crosseyed and Painless” or even the one in ”Houses in Motion”.

Though I’m quite not sure if it is Mr. Eno himself or Belew who nails the solo here. Could be Byrne too, but I doubt it – Byrnes eccentricity was there, but more in the overall mood of the song and in the lyrics. These absolute gem of a live captures (”The Great Curve”, from 1:59 onwards probably proving the point even more effectively here) from their Remain in Light tour in Rome illustrates that Belew had that kind of plib-plob-wouuum-wouuum -guitar solo thing going on around that time. But he could’ve learned it from Eno during the sessions of Remain in Light, eh?

Anyway. It’s the experimental, innovative, even disruptive yet rythimaclly syncronized feel that makes this solo the best guitar solo that’s ever made. And yes, the thing about it is that the first time you listen it you don’t even realise your listening an instrument called guitar. nuff’ said, pnce again.



The allmighty Red Hot Chili Peppers yesterday & Ratina Stadium, Tampere. Best song of the night: By the Way.


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