BBC Rock Riff Poll Results - GNR Tops

Discussion in 'The ChitChat Lounge' started by jayanth, May 5, 2004.

  1. jayanth

    jayanth <.: : Call Quits : :.>

    Guns N' Roses top rock riff poll

    Top of the poll: Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose
    Guns N' Roses' anthem Sweet Child O' Mine has the greatest guitar riff ever, according to a poll in a music monthly.
    Total Guitar magazine's readers put it in top place, ahead of Nirvana's grunge anthem Smells Like Teen Spirit.

    Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love came third, followed by Deep Purple's Smoke On The Water.

    Total Guitar editor Scott Rowley said: "To a new generation of guitarists, Guns N' Roses are more thrilling than the Sex Pistols."

    He added: "This poll shows the so-called canon of classic rock - the Led Zeppelins, Eric Claptons, Jimi Hendrix - is as popular as ever, but being added to all the time.

    "Riffs are an interesting measure of people's tastes because they're usually easy to play and very catchy - they're the hook of the song."

    The magazine's last poll, conducted five years ago, saw Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love top the list, followed by Smoke On The Water and Layla, recorded by Eric Clapton as Derek and the Dominoes.

    More than 2,000 readers took part in the poll.

    The top 20 riffs:

    1. Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N' Roses
    2. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
    3. Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin
    4. Smoke On The Water - Deep Purple
    5. Enter Sandman - Metallica
    6. Layla - Derek & The Dominoes/Eric Clapton
    7. Master Of Puppets - Metallica
    8. Back In Black - AC/DC
    9. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) - Jimi Hendrix
    10. Paranoid - Black Sabbath
    11. Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne
    12. All Right Now - Free
    13. Plug In Baby - Muse
    14. Black Dog - Led Zeppelin
    15. Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love - Van Halen
    16. Walk This Way - Aerosmith w Run DMC
    17. Sunshine Of Your Love - Cream
    18. No-One Knows - Queens Of The Stone Age
    19. Paradise City - Guns N' Roses
    20. Killing In The Name - Rage Against The Machine
  2. jayanth

    jayanth <.: : Call Quits : :.>

    User Views 1

    What is your favourite rock riff? What makes a great riff? BBC News Online users sent us their views.

    My favourites are Plug In Baby by Muse and Requisition by Clandestine....both fast moving, energy raising, sweat inducing, heart thumping guitar riffs!
    Woody, Bracknell

    My favourite riff as got to be by Pearl Jam. Namely, Rearviewmirror, a classic piece of guitar playing by one of the best bands of all time. Although not released, this album track stands out for its brilliant melody and searing lyrics. If you haven't heard it and want to lose yourself in a hard rock classic, then look no further.
    Mike Traylen, Guildford, UK

    Whole Lotta Love does it for me - extrememly simple, catchy and impossible to ever forget. It's a shame that it's used as the theme tune for a programme that often showcases the worst in manufactured pop!
    Jon, UK

    Keith Richards' guitar in Satisfaction
    Franco Nero, Middelburg Holland

    Frank Zappa - Watermelon in Easterhay. How can any serious commpendium of classic guitar work not included one of the greatest virtuoso's of all time.
    Damien Byrne, Ireland

    Whilst I appreciate that Dire Straits are regarded as naff by most rock fans, I would still argue that the main riff from Money For Nothing (from the 1985 Brothers In Arms album) deserves an entry.
    Max Wurr, Stanmore, UK

    The Byrds: 8 miles High. The start of real rock and psychodelica, McGuinn's 12 string guitar inspred by George Harrison, The Byrds were the band that never quite made it although their music still lives on.
    howard , Seoul S. Korea

    Plug in Baby by Muse. its the way it comes out of the intro. excellent stuff.
    Dan Phillips, Sheffield, England

    Bombtrack-Rage Against The Machine!! There are three parts to this song and all of them are excellent powerful riffs. Its the reason why I picked a guitar in the first place!!
    Simon, Birmingham

    Lionel Ritchie's 'Running With the Night' - the guitar solo at the end of this track is absolutely stunning
    Findlay Houliston, Glasgow, UK

    Paradise City - Guns N' Roses
    Juan, Southsea

    (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones without a doubt! Apart from being supreme to the others mentioned, it must surely be one of the most recognizable riffs ever. When Richards decided to run his guitar through a Gibson Fuzz Box to create the distortion effect the result was a masterpiece!
    Kevin, Essex

    I would vote for the Human League's "Lebanon" track. It was a great riff and a departure from their usual electronic sound.
    Vincent De Mello, London

    "Frame by Frame" by King Crimson because of the insane difficulty.
    Greg Smith, Lawrenceville, USA

    A great riff is - simple and straightforward to play - instantly appealing - one that gets people off their seat in the concert hall. All Right Now is my favourite of those in the list, ticks all the boxes!
    Arthur, Colchester, UK

    A good riff should be made from a short segment of notes or chords, repeated enough to create a great hook but not overplayed so as to be repetative and annoying.
    RJ, Exeter England

    Down here, we have a different standard for great guitar riffs, set by the legendary garage band "Last Tango" and their incendiary tribute to Captain Oates, "Country Life", or the more thoughtful but unforgettable "Before I read Rorty". A great riff must have a philosophy of self.
    Peter Weekes, Auckland New Zealand

    Down here, we have a different standard for great guitar riffs, set by the legendary garage band "Last Tango" and their incendiary tribute to Captain Oates, "Country Life", or the more thoughtful but unforgettable "Before I read Rorty". A great riff must have a philosophy of self.
    Peter Weekes, Auckland, New Zealand

    Status Quo "Whatever you want." Is great because it gives a feeling of freedom and the open road and it just keeps on going.
    Ian, Wroclaw, Poland Ex UK

    How can Smells Like Teen Spirit - which doesn't even have a riff! - make number 2 and nothing by the Rolling Stones get into the list? Has nobody heard Honky Tonk Women or Brown Sugar? Criminal.
    Frank, Cambridge, UK

    I think Voodoo Chili by Jimi Hendrix is the best riff of all time. Not only the music, but the presentation, especially at Woodstock, was incredible. How can you beat a song where the artist plays it with his teeth?
    Ben, Fairfield, CT, USA

    I think R.E.M.'s "Chronic Town (Box Cars)" has the best guitar riffs ever!
    Clifford Speck, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

    One riff stands above all others: "Satisfaction" by the Stones. After 40 years it still has the power to move one.
    Mike Williams, Corpus Christi, Texas

    Smells like teen spirit at number 2? It's a joke to pretend they can compare to what the 70s gave us. And have none of these idiots heard of Comfortably Numb? Jeez...
    Joshua, Kenilworth, England

    More people ask me to teach them the riff to Sweet Child O' Mine than any other song, which is impressive when you consider Slash (GNR guitarist) was only joking around when he first composed it. Although I think riffs can be overplayed in terms of importance, and run the risk of creating novelty music with something to latch onto, it follows on from thematic use in historical music throughout the ages so it's good to see its survival in modern, popular music.
    Andy, Nottm., UK
  3. jayanth

    jayanth <.: : Call Quits : :.>

    User Views 2

    There is no doubt that the top 20 here is really special. I was surprised, however, not to find Freebird - Lynyrd Skynyrd in the list.. the longer version is just awesome. And its popular too. Cheers.
    Manish Mohan, Madras, India

    Superb list, and this is one Top 20 that should indeed be based on popularity, not on critics' sentiments. Hon'ble mention goes to Teenage Kicks by The Undertones.
    Miranda, Toronto, Canada

    When it comes to great riffs that grab you by the short and curlies then there is no better than Toccatta by the legendary Sky. This obviously influenced many apprentice 'axemen' as Plug in Baby by Muse is a note for note copy.
    Paul Armatage, London, UK

    What about the searing guitar work of Joe Walsh in Hotel California or that of Mark Knopfler in Sultans of Swing - would these not qualify as good riffs? A few more that come to mind are those that happened in The Doors' Light My Fire, Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven and Badge by Cream. I guess I am old fashoned!
    S. Lahiri, Gaithersburg, MD

    Good range in the list,and nice to see Plug in Baby as a modern classic, but where was 20th Century Boy by T Rex? Surely that deserves a mention?
    Kate, London

    Well, as good as Sweet Child o Mine is, i think the most memorable riff that has lasted the test of time has got to be Paranoid by Black Sabbath. As soon as those two notes are hit, you instantly know what song it is,incredible. As a huge Muse fan I'm pleased to see Plug in Baby in the top 20, however, Muse have done better, namely New Born. But good choices all round in my opinion.

    Keith Richards on Satisfaction, Honky Tonk Women, Shattered, Dancing with Mr D, Beast of Burden, When the whip Comes Down, Gimme Shelter, Jumpin Jack Flash, Street Fighting Man, You can't always get...., Sympathy for the Devil, heck, Keith on just about anything and everything. Kudos to Pete Townsend for the best two note riff of all time on My Generation.
    Bill, Gulf Breeze, FL USA

    Top 20 riffs without Iron Maiden?? Where were they?
    Robert G Eggleston, Dronfield, Derbyshire, England

    I'd have like to have seen 'My Mamma Said' by Lenny Kravitz and aggree entirly with Damien Byrne that 'Watermellon in easter hay' and 'I am the slime' by God Zappa and are sadly missing.
    Jim Gardner, Stockton on Tees UK

    Plug In Baby is the best. It's amazing..
    Hayley, England

    What no Boston? Anything from 'Third Stage' make me want to get the air guitar out in the street!
    Simon, UK

    Is it too recent for 'Hysteria' by Muse...Or for that matter all of 'Absolution'?...That album is something not often achieved - well done Muse, maybe next time. But hey, for now Kurt would be turning in his grave if he saw SLTS at no. 2 - #1 surely!
    Row Bell, Sheffield, UK

    I agree with most of the list, but to choose Rage Against the Machine's Killing in the Name instead of Satisfaction by the Stones, Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers or Even Flow by Pearl Jam is in my opinion a big mistake.
    Carlos Kuriyama, New York, USA

    While I am utterly sick of it, Sweet Child O' Mine is worthy of topping that list. Layla should've been a bit higher up I think, and Tom Morello's Rage Against the Machine riffery could do with a bit more coverage in the overall chart. Pity that G n' R lost their touch, eh...
    Gareth, Nottingham, UK

    Not many people outside of Ireland, but Dearg Doom by Horselips. Stompin' good riff!
    Aisling Tracy, Bristol UK

    Deep Purple's classic Smoke on the Water is memorable for many reasons but the riff of all riffs I think is Burn for the pure adrenalin rush that kicks in when it starts. Magic!!
    Kevin, Cardiff, Wales

    I can't believe Iron Maiden haven't been mentioned yet, of whom I vote for '2 Minutes To Midnight' - it has such an unbelievable, unforgettable charge up.
    Ben Brown, Chester-le-street, UK

    Eric Clapton's 'Layla', beyond a shadow of a doubt - & I'll see/hear him play it next Saturday at the Albert Hall!!
    Carolyn Middleton, Aberdeen, Scotland

    The entirety of the album Cypher from ...And Oceans is my favourite guitar riff. :)
    Alex S, Edison, NJ, USA

    Detroit Rock City by KISS is memorable, as is their Rock n Roll All Night, but the best riff ever...? Like asking to choose which child you would like to save from a fire... IMPOSSIBLE!!!
    BigDek, Birmingham, Englands

    I guess "Satisfaction" is the most famous riff ever, but I prefer "Honky Tonk Women". It couldn't be simpler; just tune your Telecaster to open G and play with one hand!
    Michael Idoyaga, New Orleans, LA, USA

    Why isn't Can't Stop there or even Under The Bridge by the Red Hot Chilis? They both have amazing riffs, John Fruscianti (RHCP guitarist)is a genius, especially in Under The Bridge.
    mike dean, London, UK

    There are so many good ones but "The Last Time" by Jagger / Richards is outstanding. Neat, easy, powerful lick. An inspired piece of riff writing!
    Chris Hunter, Bedford, UK

    Sweet Child of mine deserves to be number 1. My personal favorite would be Metallica's Master of Puppets, it made to number 7 . Another good one would be Iron Man by Black Sabbath, awesome riff!
    Rami El-Akabawi, Cairo, Egypt

    Where's "Rebel Rebel" by David Bowie? An absolute classic riff.
    Ben Cottam, Coventry, England

    I cant believe no-one mentioned Cream - Sunshine of your Love! An amazing riff that many people would recognise, but far fewer would be able to name the song.
    Mike Parker, Sheffield, UK

    British metal legends, Iron Maiden, with "Fear of the Dark", or The Sweet's "Alexander Graham Bell" both really do it for me. But, from the list, how can anyone go past "Satisfaction" by the Stones? Truly awe-inspiring.
    Timothy Clifford, Ex-pat

    A great riff lets the rest of the song fade into memory while leaving the hook dangling in mind forever. As the list is missing both Dire Straits' "Money for Nothin'" AND the Cult's "Love Removal Machine" I personally can't take it too seriously. To omit one is folly, but to leave out both is blasphemy!
    Robert Bickers, Arlington, Texas, USA

    How total guitar could list the top 20 riffs of all time and not include any Andrew Ridgley has to be a crime. I mean, Club Tropicana, need I say more...!
    daz, texas usa

    The fact that Metallica is the only band that has two songs in the top 10 really says something about this incredibly influential band.
    Vasco Burgos, Chile - lives in US

    Joshua, the "Idiots" who voted for 'Smells like Teen Spirit' above 'Comfortably Numb' are probably the kind of idiots who know the difference between a guitar riff and a guitar solo. Both are great songs. But only one of them contains a riff.
    Iggy, Glasgow

    Agree about the Rolling Stones, adding 'The Last Time' 'Jumping Jack Flash' to the others mentioned
    Peter , London UK

    'Are you gonna go my way' by Lenny Kravitz and 'London Calling' by The Clash - two songs perfectly matched with their simple riffs. In my opinion simplicity is the key. Also - why no Pink Floyd?! Is it only me that thinks 'Money' has there the world's greatest riff? It's not even in the top 20!
    Jim Doyle, Bristol, UK

    Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits has the best riff I can think of.
    Tom, London, UK

    Nothing by Queen, Stones or Stairway to Heaven. Go back to school!
    RH, Hong Kong

    Nothing by the Who in the list? How about Substitute for starters - fantastic use of variants of one chord. Simple, catchy and instantly recognisable.
    Steve Haywood, Wooburn Green, UK

    AC/DC - Back in Black or Bad Boy Boogie. Angus is just a guitar God. His on-stage antics are a riot. How he can keep his playing so great while jumping all over the shop beggers belief.
    Hugh, Tipton, UK

    Just thinking about "Bad" by U2. The entire song is a riff. Constant, Timeless. Yet not mentioned. Killerwatt output seems to rule (sadly).

    "Rifles" by Black Rebel Motorcycle club, it sounds really puny on the recording, but when played live it turns into something amazing. Some of the choices in this list are pretty weird, but its nice to see QOTSA in there.
    Dan, Leeds

    Is it just me or do people not appreciate the difference between a riff and a solo. Definition Riff - A melodic phrase repeated throughout a song. Freebird is a brilliant piece of guitar playing, however it does not have a riff. For what it's worth my vote would be for Paranoid by Black Sabbath.
    Dave Edwards, Yorkshire

    I think 'Hot for Teacher' by Van Halen should be on the list somewhere, just because the style is groundbreaking..and it sounds awesome.
    James Hingston, Springfield America

    Hey! "You really got me" started the whole thing! Dave Davies is such a neglected talent in the axe-business... (Even though the classic riff originally were written on - piano...)
    Jan Baeckman, Orsa, Sweden

    The greatest guitar riffs of all time are missing of that list. They are the riff by Joe Walsh in Life in the Fast Lane by the eagles, and the riff in Kashmir by Led Zepplin. but maybe it is Hotel California by the Eagles and the greatest end to a song ever. what a riff at the end.
    Alex Skander, Leeds, UK

    Hard to argue with Guns'n'Roses at number one for their riff, but for me Gary Moore in Still Got The Blues has to up there too.
    Steve Wroblewski, Brit. Expat - Malaysia

    Some fair points made here about 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'. But as any fule kno - and Cobain admitted - it's actually a rip-off of the riff from Boston's 'More Than a Feeling'
    Pete, London

    Wow! So many great riffs to choose from. Two faves that weren't on the list would be Queen's "We Are The Champions" and The Eagles' "Hotel California". To me, a great riff sends a chill through you when you hear it (and you want to hear it again and again!).
    Lisa, Timmins, Canada
  4. rabi_sultan

    rabi_sultan <Bulla Ki Jana>

    i can't believe that money for nothing didn't make that list that is a totally kick ass riff! especially to play !

    as for my personal Fav is Eric Clapton's Layla.
  5. esgallindeion

    esgallindeion Minstrel Knight

    Well, there are so many great songs which deserve to be in top lists but you cant expect each one of them to make it there.

    I don't believe in any of these ratings or poll systems... they rarely succeed in getting a completely comprehensive result. I know which riffs are my fav and i dont need any poll to tell me that.

    But its a good way to find out about quality music u haven't heard... so its best to just take it that way.
  6. jayanth

    jayanth &lt;.: : Call Quits : :.&gt;

    These were results of a Poll.. What ever people said they liked went on the list... And Van Halen being up on the list , Nirvan and Sweet child show that there are good licks there... Point is some musicians may like Money For Nothing (Like Me) or lots of others .. But we did nt get an opurtunity to vote and If we voted also we need people to back it up..
  7. prash_rocks

    prash_rocks Over the Hills &amp; Far Away

    i agree fully with essi.

    but sure they are one of the best ways to discover new music.

    incidentally a friend gave me the link to a site conducting several such polls together on the all-time best rock guitarists, riffs, solos, vocalists, drummers, bassists and several other criteria... check out

    the best thing is u can even have a say on these lists and post and affect the rankings to your liking.
  8. jayanth

    jayanth &lt;.: : Call Quits : :.&gt;

    If you took a poll and then asked the girl next to me in class(She's Cute) She would say KK is the best guitarist.. I would Say VAN HALEN.. Maybe someone else says Kirk Hammet.. So its people's opinion...

    And Essi .. How can people decide which licks you like.. Your post sounds Kiddish.. A poll is a Poll My dear understand that. I posted it so that people could get to know what other people think.. Not for you to decide which lick you like the best..
  9. esgallindeion

    esgallindeion Minstrel Knight

    And yet again you misuderstand my post... :annoyed:

    What I mean is that just because I see a song rated as the best in a poll doesn't mean that it is the best. Or that I should undergo a complete brainwash and feel that it is the best no matter what others I prefer to it.

    Just because the BBC poll says GnR's lick is the best doesn't mean that I have to agree with it. What if I say Iron Maiden's Trooper or Steve Vai's For The Love of God are much better? You might not agree with me but does that change anything for either me or you?

    And if you reread my post, I didn't say people should vote for what I like but that I don't need people to tell me which song is the best. If I have heard it then I can judge for myself. Polls are a fun way to waste your time.
  10. jayanth

    jayanth &lt;.: : Call Quits : :.&gt;

    My point is who is askiung you to think that "Og Gnr Topped the poll", They are the best.??

    All i said was it just shows the kind of music these specific set of people love..

    It is the best Song in that FRAMESET of people.. Am i right. So why should you get brainwashed?? YOu are being real kiddish i must say.. A poll does not tell you which song is the best.. It just says that the people who voted in this poll felt that this was the best..

    "Just because the BBC poll says GnR's lick is the best doesn't mean that I have to agree with it."

    Who is forcing you to agree with it.. You made a KID of yourself by publicly disagreeing with in and being stubborn about that..

    "If I have heard it then I can judge for myself. " -- Everybody do that. But do not public tell it out..

    "Polls are a fun way to waste your time." - you created one.. And you made a huge mistake there too??
  11. esgallindeion

    esgallindeion Minstrel Knight

    My first post was in reply to rabi sultan. If you go back and read each and every post carefully, you might see that i was addressing to him why the fact that his fav songs didn't reach the polls doesnt make much difference... I was giving him my opinion of polls and how it affects me or doesn't affect me and not to the results of the poll. If you find that kiddish, so be it.

    I have nothing more to say except that some people should read more carefully before bashing others.

  12. jayanth

    jayanth &lt;.: : Call Quits : :.&gt;

    i did read all the posts.. Its like going to Dominoes and Shouting I Love Pizza Hut.. THats what you just did??
  13. esgallindeion

    esgallindeion Minstrel Knight

    Thats a matter of interpretation..I cant help it if u interpret my words in a negative sense.
  14. jayanth

    jayanth &lt;.: : Call Quits : :.&gt;

    oh K

  15. rabi_sultan

    rabi_sultan <Bulla Ki Jana>

    HAHA HAHA HAHA thats just tooo funny.

    esg i know wot ur saying and i agree, not my fault that the rest of the country has no taste ;)
  16. jayanth

    jayanth &lt;.: : Call Quits : :.&gt;

    What the heck do you mean??
  17. rabi_sultan

    rabi_sultan <Bulla Ki Jana>

  18. jayanth

    jayanth &lt;.: : Call Quits : :.&gt;

    What do yo u mean by Our Countrymen having Bad Taste???
  19. rabi_sultan

    rabi_sultan <Bulla Ki Jana>

    Not India, this poll was done by the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and that means that it would have taken place in the country where i live, which is ENGLAND :lol:
  20. jayanth

    jayanth &lt;.: : Call Quits : :.&gt;

    Oops .. I dedicate a song to you its called "All Apologies - Nirvana" ;)

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