The Top 20 Guitar Riffs in Rock

The current issue of Total Guitar Magazine has a cover story on what they consider to be the “Top 100 Guitar Licks” of all time (well until something cool and new comes out next week I suppose). Here are the top 20:

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 Child – 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. Aint Talkin’ ‘Bout Love – Van Halen
16. Walk This Way – Aerosmith
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.

I must admit that I am kind of shocked that “Satisfaction” isn’t in the top 20 and that both Metallica and Guns N’ Roses have two songs in there but I think that Total Guitar probably has a heavy metal/hard rock slant so that is no surprise. Wadda ya think? Another list, another debate.


  1. Satisfaction has the worlds most recognizable lick on the planet. If it ain’t on the list and Guns gets two mentions then said list is totally bogus.

  2. I am quite disturbed by the lack of Jimi Hendrix in the top twenty. Has it just slipped their mind that he produced some of the most distinct and electric riffs ever?

  3. Bad to the Bone? Purple Haze? Iron Man? Satisfaction? Heartbreaker? I think those deserve a spot up there at least.

  4. There is an old saying that say’s you are a product of your surroundings.
    This list shows a very small surrounding of really good rock guitar masters and does not cover a list that would be legitimate.

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