Premier Guitar

February 2012 Staff Picks

January 10, 2012

PG Editors’ Top Solos of All Time
We could never really just pick one, but PG editors, along with Guest Picker Robert Randolph, ponder some of the most pivotal guitar solos ever performed.

Rebecca Dirks -- Web Content Editor
What am I listening to?
Band of Horses, Cease to Begin. I’ve only just started listening to the band via their second album, but bouncy, twang-infused tracks like “The General Specific” and “Ode to LRC” have me hooked.
What’s my favorite guitar solo and why?
Chuck Berry’s blazing solo in “Johnny B. Goode” is a classic, but I have to admit it’s one of my favorites due in part to Marty McFly’s “rendition” in Back to the Future.


Andy Ellis -- Senior Editor
Matt Resnicoff, The History of Now. Resnicoff slices and recombines guitar riffs, vocals, and ensemble grooves to create kaleidoscopic compositions that defy description.
What’s my favorite guitar solo and why?
Leslie West’s two solos in Mountain’s “Theme for an Imaginary Western,” from Climbing! Searing P-90 tone, incredible sustain, stuttering attack, soaring bends, and quick, quivering vibrato—a wailing, melodic masterpiece.


Shawn Hammond -- Editor in Chief
What am I listening to?
The Glorious, Stories from a Fractured Youth. Christopher Wicks and Michael Rossi channel the greatest bits of early Brit rock—including Village Green Preservation Society-era Kinks and Ziggy Stardust Bowie vibes—and nail a bittersweet version of “Help” that feels truer to the lyrics than the Fab Four’s original.
What’s my favorite guitar solo and why?
EVH’s “Eruption” convinced me guitar was in my future. More recently, Setzer’s “Hell Bent” scalds my eardrums incomparably.


Tessa Jeffers -- Managing Editor
What am I listening to?
The ever-eclectic Wild Beasts, Smother. Singer Hayden Thorpe sounds like an intoxicated opera singer from outer space.
What’s my favorite guitar solo and why?
Mike McCready’s solo in “Yellow Ledbetter” has that one-in-a-million spark where it truly elevates the song and captures an essence—not to mention it’s hauntingly slow and complex. The first time I heard it, it hit me square in the gut and stayed there.


Chris Kies -- Associate Editor
What am I listening to?
The Black Keys’ El Camino reinforces the notion that bass players are way overrated, thanks to the melodic, raunchy power and gritty doo-wop grooves the duo provides on 11 delicious, Danger Mouse-approved cuts.
What’s my favorite guitar solo and why?
The Misfits’ “Some Kinda Hate,” because it’s the first solo I ever mastered, and also Pantera’s “Floods” is one of the most soulful, evocative pieces of music recorded by my favorite guitarist.


Rich Osweiler -- Associate Editor
What am I listening to?
The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Their Last Time Out. My folks introduced me to jazz through Brubeck, and I’m a sucker for “previously unreleased” material. This live recording from 1967 is particularly cool, because it captures the last time Brubeck, Desmond, Morello, and Wright played together live.
What’s my favorite guitar solo and why?
Ritchie Blackmore’s solo from “Highway Star.” Why? It was the first thing to come to mind, so I guess that makes it a favorite!


Robert Randolph -- Guest Picker
What am I listening to?
The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ I’m with You, and secret, unreleased demos of Jimi Hendrix.
What’s my favorite guitar solo and why?
The best solo of all time is Eddie Van Halen’s in Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”— it revolutionized pop and rock! And he totally nailed it. I’m still blown away every time I hear it.


Charles Saufley -- Gear Editor
What am I listening to?
Sic Alps new 7" single, “Vedley,” is a basementgrim, slasher-flick edit nightmare—like a cross between the Beatles’ “Revolution No. 9” and “You Know My Name (Look up the Number),” only performed by Jandek and White Light/White Heat-era Velvets.
What’s my favorite guitar solo and why?
Neil Young’s “Like a Hurricane” changed my life. I don’t think I experienced lead guitar as absolute freedom and pure, unfettered emotional expression until I heard it.


Jason Shadrick -- Associate Editor
What am I listening to?
Howlin’ Wolf, The Rockin’ Chair Album. The combination of Wolf and the late Hubert Sumlin creates a primal sound that establishes the true spirit of Chicago blues.
What’s my favorite guitar solo and why?
The intro solo on Eric Clapton’s “Someday After a While” on From the Cradle. The first screaming bend made me want to play blues guitar. Not only is this Clapton’s best work since Cream, it’s a modern blues masterpiece.