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Top 10 Guitar Riffs of All Time
- Published on Mar 21, 2023 veröffentlicht
- These guitar licks really get under your skin, stick in your head and bring out the guitar hero in everyone. Welcome to www.WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 guitar riffs of all time. Check us out at WatchMojo, watchmojo and www.Facebook.com/WatchMojo
Special thanks to Thomas Gorsuch, CliffPaul07, Martin Acoustics12, Izzyff, theleprechaunman5, Caneathia Watkins and oldguy for submitting the idea for this video on our www.WatchMojo.com/suggest page!
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Comments • 15 168
“Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits
It should be in this list!
Then you saw that it's on the list.
Yeah man its so great harmonics and everything
Actually yes ,. This list is a complete joke
An honorable mention isnt bad for an all-time list
for sure 100% money for nothing cant be left out
4:09 can we just appreciate how badass that transition was?
@꧁Christopher꧂ that’s what cutting is dude lol
@꧁Christopher꧂ he's talking about the music
heck yeah. i like it.
Thunderstruck, Barracuda and Spirit of Radio all deserve at least an honorable mention
@Owen B if we gotta do Rush Riffs other than Spirit of The Radio you Got to mention Limelight!!!!
@Falcon Main whos gonna tell this guy spirit of radio =\= smells like teen spirit
Money for nothing - greatest riff of all time
Guys, Guys!! Come on now….
I can’t believe that no one has said:-
“YES, Owner of a lonely heart”
Why is that not on this list?
Spirit of the radio absolutely
Not a Clapton fan by any means…and definitely a metal head…but Layla gets my vote for best riff of all time. It’s just untouchable.
“Money for Nothing” is a requirement when talking about the best riffs. I can never get that one out of my head.
For real it should. Dire Straits deserves more respect
@MrYo888779 ur opinion
Back in Black more-so
Came to this video because of this song.
After dire straights broke up mark knopfler continued as a solo artist, I recommend listening to 'what it is' and 'boom like that'
I'm glad to see Iron Maiden and The Trooper get any acknowledgement, as they often get far too little, but I think they really should have made the top 10!
Ozzy when he sings you can understand every word perfectly.. When he talks you can't understand a word.
If you’re a brummie he’s easier to understand but having a stroke doesn’t exactly help in that aspect.
@Mystic_Apollo and he’s about 200 years old (human years)
@Chris Pennington oh...
Just like Matt Bellamy
The intervening 40 years and piles of drugs might be part of the problem.
I'm so glad The Kinks finally got the recognition they deserve
That AC/DC riff still makes me happy when I hear it lol! My mom raised me on harder rock from the 70's and 80's. So it has good memories lol
🤟🤟🤟 don't let AC/DCs songs die
I’ve loved Layla for over fifty years!
Smoke on the Water is always the one guitar riff everyone must learn beginning to play, just how is that not #1
Shine on you crazy diamond still gives me goosebumps when gilmour plays that note
I can’t get no satisfaction from this list
@TK-46 no santana at all, no ram jam-black betty or any stevie ray!
for me ,led zep- kashmir, ac/ dc - Highway to hell & Thunderstuck
This lady ain't a fan of rock 😂
Number one in my book 📖
Love the way Keith dealt with the fan who tried to get up onto the stage - and the band didn't miss a beat.
Sweet child "o" mine should've been number 1. When you hear that riff, you either jump for joy or roll your eyes; but EVERYONE knows that one!
@Gord Gray what makes them bad?
@Bob Stalder probably bc u cant play it
The biggest not the best riffs. And what's about smells like teen spirit?
"When you hear that riff, you either jump for joy or roll your eyes". God that's so spot on! I personally loath that song now, because stations play it to death. But you have some people who can just hear the same shit over and over again and be content. Probably the same people who eat McDonalds every day, completely unaware of the dozen other restaurants in their town that can make a burger 10 times better.
Nothing beats the holy wars riffs for me. The raw energy, and the amount of joy I get from listening to that song. I just love megadeth
The honourable mentions make more of a good list than the actual list.
Not having the trooper on the list make this list invalid
Usually how it goes with mojo
Like many of you out there, I also have some favorites that are not included in the list but, for most of the picks I agree. Van Halen's Jump, The Guess Who's American Woman, Jethro Tull's Aqualung, The Hollies' Cool Long Woman; also La Grange by ZZTop or Purple Haze by you know who may have at least been mentioned, but all this is so subjective and depends on taste and favoritism. There will never be a list on which we all concur.
As a guitar player, I have to say that Chuck Berry's "Johnny B Goode" riff (which actually he used variants of in many songs) is ESSENTIAL. So much in rock depends on that riff, that it's inexplicable.
Totally agree with you, burst the list is not the most influential, but rather the greatest, & usually the first attempts at something are not the greatest
I agree with you. The Beatles and the Stones both talked about the influence of Chuck Berry.
Philip Frandsen , for me he’s The Godfather of Rock Guitar,
How did they forget one of the most iconic classic rock songs of all time, stairway to heaven
That transition from paranoid to back in black was smooth af
The fact that stairway to heaven wasn’t on the list or even an honourable mention is a tragedy
Led Zeppelin has better riffs than Stairway. Whole Lotta Love, Kashmir, When the Levee Breaks, to name a few. Stairway is their best solo
@Trey Bailey so true
@Joe Heid true
@TBREEZY Oh I agree! If I gotta pick a Led Zeppelin riff it's stairway. But this channel went a different way
This might be the only watch mojo list where I love and know every single thing on it. Rock and roll forever 🤟
How strange ... Jimmy plays right handed @8:31 to @8:56 and left handed @9:20 to @9:36 ..... Just a legend.
*This is coming from people who have probably never picked up a guitar.*
Yeah of course], but hey man that’s the audience, that’s all that matters…. I play a little guitar and none of these make my top 10, but I don’t have triple platinum records either so….
Not sure….. I’ve been playing for 41 years; relevant for me….
@Riley Selvig Here you think you can play I challenge you to a duel
@Riley Selvig well I think your ok to me since you love pokemon even if your bashing watchmojo
@Christian yes pokémon is very cool
It’s guitar riffs that truly make a rock song memorable. It’s easy to recognize the song just from the opening riff
No way... I can't believe smells like teen spirit wasn't on there... It's the hook that sparked a generation and changed music overnight.
yes, I agree, this list is dog balls
CCR’s ‘Up Around The Bend’ riff deserved at least an honourable mention.
"only Jimi Hendrix was really capable of producing it"
SRV: "am I a joke to you?"
Hendrix was soon over rated! Stevie was awesome!
Jimi Hendrix he's a legend stays at number one
Wow, cant understand your thinking. Look at scuttle buttin and say SRV is a joke.
@Abinav V all I said is Stevie played it a lot better
@Naim's guitar and outdoor adventures No Jimi = No Stevie
Crazy Train is number one, it's by far, the greatest riff ever. Metallic Seek and Destroy should be on the list.
Stevie Ray Vaughn did incredible justice to Jimmy Hendrex’s “Voodoo Child”.
Stevie also did "Superstition" some fantastic justice!
SRV brought Jimi back for too short of time . Incredible talent.
His version of little wing is great
How is Heart not on the list at all? Barracuda and Crazy On You both have great and catchy riffs
I agree. Barracuda's riff is iconic
I would definitely put Satisfaction by the Stones on top of the list....simple incredible riff...but I think an equally simple yet amazing riff would be Pretty Vacant by the Sex Pistols. That riff is as unforgettable as Crazy train.
I think “Ziggy Stardust” by David Bowie should be In this list the opening riff was amazing
Mick Ronson is a legend...
The riff from Freebird really needs to be on this list.
Not even the band drummer could hear anything like jimmy hendrix....He's amazed.
Stairway to heaven, dream on, iron man, thunderstruck, smells like teen spirit all shoulda been on this list
@Evan Cawley I do know what I'm talking about, you was being disrespectful first so I simply replied, I do not abuse people over the internet, all I'm asking is that you stop commenting on things you do not know anything about, that's all
@Evan Cawley I have manners and courtesy but when your being rude about something you know nothing about then I have to comment, my other point, thanks for pointing out you have dyslexia, I apologise sincerely, and my other point is that I do not resort to insults, you brought those in first, I respect your opinion but when you start commenting on things you don't have a clue about then expect somebody else to have a fact about your opinion so yeah...
@Expresso you must of never of payed attention to your parents when they were trying to teach you manners and common courtesy.
@Expresso I'm dyslexic so ni matter what I will allways get some word worng. But at least I'm not a guy that types abuse at people over the internet and results to insults when he doesn't know what he's talking about
@Expresso Well i guess its subjective
Shame about excluding instrumentals, because the “Orion” riff is truly epic
Even though no thunderstruck at least they got acdc riff. Back in black is Malcom Young's finest creation its so awesome
Fade to Black deserves to be on this list, such an underated riff.
They said only one song per band
Wow! For the most part this was actually a good list. Only a few things, one I wouldn't have chosen I Can't Get No satisfaction as number one but the riff does make the top ten. Another: Whole Lotta Love would be one of my last picks for Jimmy Page's greatest riff: I would've chosen Communication Breakdown, No Quarter, The Ocean, How Many More Times, The Lemon Song, Heartbreaker, Moby Dick, Black Dog, Immigrant Song, Out on The Tiles, Rock and Roll, When The Levee Breaks, Misty Mountain Hop, Stairway to Heaven, The Rover, In My Time of Dying, Houses of The Holy, Kashmir, Ten Years Gone, The Wanton Song, Sick Again, Nobody's Fault But Mine, In The Evening, heck even Hot Dog before I chose Whole Lotta Love (sorry for the long list I won't do it again). Also Ain't Talking bout Love is far from Eddie's best riff, I think Unchained, Mean Street, Panama, or 5150 should've made the list (not just the honorable mentions)
I can't believe that Sweet Child O' Mine was only in the Honorable Mentions. I feel like it should've been much higher, its so iconic. That's just my opinion though.
I think sultans of swing should have a place in this top 10. The Alchemy live version is just amazing.
They can't even spell Dire Straits correctly, much less put one of their great riffs in the top 10.
I'm a guitar player and singer, and I'm a fan of everything Beatles to Dokken to current day Metal or Prog rock. I can't believe that Soundgarden - Rusty Cage didn't even make honourable mention. That IS a classic, and very distinctive riff.
Personally, I am in love with the riff from Heartbreaker and Victim of changes
War pigs by Black Sabbath is also really memorable. Also I think the only thing they got right was smoke on the water
The transition between Paranoid and Back in Black was *yes*
Decent list. Smoke on the Water was the first song I learned on guitar...
Yo guys I found this track called Stairway To Heaven, it's not bad lol
If I never hear that fucking song again it'll be too soon
Sweet home Alabama
Stairway is a legendary tune but not really a riff. Personally I think heartbreaker is Zepp‘s best riff. killer
Nah bruh you found the greatest rock song by the greatest rock band in rock history bro bro you gotta go back and listen to their first album to their last man it’s so great so a little research on them too as well bub you’ll grow to love them they’re so nice as people out side of music
The live version is better
Van Halen - Unchained (1981) is the greatest guitar riff of all time. If you know, you know!
Spirit in the sky will always be in my top 3, immediately recognizable
Where is “Money for Nothing”? One of the best riffs of all time, instantly recognizable and iconic.
Bro didn’t watch the video💀💀
No matter what u think, ACDC puts out ANTHEMS
one of the first and only times watchmojo actually got their number 1 pick correct
Barracuda by Heart has one of the most instantly recognizable opening riffs of all time!
I love Barracuda's riff, It's definitely in my top 5 favorite riffs, and Heart is in my top 5 favorite bands.
As does Crazy On You
Omg yess and crazy on you
@greg garey That's another good one.
I’m surprised Walk by Pantera wasn’t even in the Honorable Mentions. I agree with most other parts of the list. It shows a great variety of great riffs throughout rock history!!
Cowboy from Hell has a mean riff in it too!!
I could fill an entire top ten list with iconic riffs from ACDC alone.
I was thinking the same thing. I couldn’t choose just one to be on a list like this…
Or Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath
How isn’t American Jesus by Bad Religion even an honourable mention? That riff is so good probably my all time favourite, but man it’s so underrated so no wonder it wasn’t included on here. Seriously though anyone who hasn’t already heard it, go listen to American Jesus by Bad Religion now it’s so good!
Man, sweet child top number one, nobody can do better than slash's creation
More than a feeling is probably the most recognized intro to any popular song ever
The last few honorable mentions like Sunshine of Your Love, Sweet Child O' Mine, and Seven Nation Army definitely should've been on the list.🎸
(No disrespect to WatchMojo)
Layla rift is just so beautiful. Bad list still though XD
Its riff not rift
Kirk Hetfield and James Hammett's guitar playing is very good
Marty and Dave just ice the cake though they are undeniably talented
"Any Way You Want It" by Journey
That song needs to be on the list
A lot of people won’t agree but for me paranoid by black sabbath is the one for me just purely because of dad, it’s the song I always remember from when I was younger, and to this day it’s the reason I love rock
jimmy made enough songs to make the list for himself.
Cowboys From Hell as an honorable mention would be nice.
Cemetary Gates had a wickedly good chorus riff!
Yeah,I think they didn't put Pantera because is groove metal,not trash / heavy..
With Lead Zeppelin it was the intro of Stair way to Heaven. Can still remember walking in to some guitar stores and seeing a sign saying :Please No Stairway to heaven" lol! It's still a great riff even today!
Very good list. Only complaint is that the Cult have a few riffs that should have at least made honorable mention; She Sells Sanctuary, Fire Woman, Love Removal Machine and probably the best of all Lil' Devil.
Prince- Purple Rain has some of the best guitar riffs Ever!! Of course Mojo wouldn’t mention it
The best-sounding riff in my opinion, has to be that of Still of the Night by Whitesnake
This is a list that can’t be finished with only 10 songs
And that's why they made a top 20
I would give don't fear the reaper at least an honorable mention.
+vgames89 thank you
vgames89 MORE COWBELL!
RIP Randy!!!!! And thank you, for all your gifts to music!!!
I’m glad to know that I can play the #1 riff of all time without breaking a sweat, and I only need one string!
Any riff by JIMI HENDRIX gets my vote.
My top 10:
10. Back in black
9. Day Tripper
7. Can’t get no satisfaction
6. Sweet Child
5. I Feel Fine
4. 7 Nation Army
3. Do I Wanna Know
2. Hey Bulldog
1. She’s So Heavy
I know 4 of these are Beatles riffs, but you gotta say they were great
List would be perfect if it had “ 4:11 dire straits money for nothing “
@E V sultans of swing is a better mark knopfler riff
@E V it’s up there. Also… with a year more of music listening experience, I can say that 4 Beatles riffs don’t belong on that list. I had just recently gotten into them at the time and I thought that everything they did was great. I still do, but none those 4 are in my top 10 anymore. 😂😂
Money for Nothing has the single greatest opening riff of all time imo
I agree with you.
Really, nothing worth arguing over here. I might have switched 3 and 4, but this is the most spot-on list I've seen in a while. I would accord 'Working Man' by Rush an honorable mention, as well as 'Walk This Way' by Aerosmith. Oh, and an edit: 'Holy Diver' by Dio.
That transition between Paranoid and Back in Black. You just got a like WatchMojo.
Hard to do a top 10 of that nature without offending anyone. From a learning guitar player, Smoke on the water should be # 1 because that is probably the first one all guitar player learn when they begin. Based on the understanding of the video, you could probably alternate all songs presented and all of them could be # 1. From a notable riff, you have also missing : Rock You like a Hurricane from Scorpions, which is also one of those riffs guitar players learn early and Judas Preist - You've got another thing coming which present a very wide known classic riff. Nirvana - Smell like teen Spirits - should be in top 10
For the Scorps, it's a tough call between Rock You Like A Hurricane and Winds Of Change - do you want shred or do you want melodic?
Dire Straits ''Money for Nothing" shoulda been at least 3rd and not just a honorable mention
@Richard Walsh wat?
it doesn't even deserve a spot
I feel like that should’ve been number one. That riff is amazing
Can we just take a moment to appreciate the transition from paranoid to back in black
You know you are a guitar god when you appear twice in a Top Guitar Riffs of all times (Eric Clapton -Layla and Sunshine of your love)
"Message in a bottle","Every Breath You Take" and "Roxanne" from The Police should have at least a honarable mention.
Dude I love the police too but your really saying that 'metronome-like' riff from Roxanne is a top of all-time lol? Effective sure.
Smoke On The Water is THE guitar riff. Literally everyone who's ever picked the instrument up has played it.
@Tango Nevada I'm saying Smoke on the Water should have been higher, the list was supposed to be for famous riffs difficulty wasn't involved. I think it should have been higher because a casual listener is more likely to recognize SOTW then the riff from master of puppets.
@eric stoepker First, it was and is considered a great R&R Song. So as a Guitar Teacher, if I can easily teach a new student how to play a really popular all time great guitar riff in the first few lessons, it both gives them confidence that they can play a great R&R riff and they can thus keep playing and become great themselves. So it's inspirational, because of how easy it is. It's a paradox, or conundrum or whatever. But the bottom line is it makes new players feel like they can be great. This is why it's one of the perfect riffs ever. Super Popular, but any newbie can learn it quickly, which gives them confidence that they can also be great.
It's recognition of the riff not difficulty. I'd guess more people that don't really listen to rock know the opening riff from Smoke On The Water then Master of Puppets. Best is a relative term what's best for one ain't best for all, it's all opinion.
Yes, everyone,. because it's so fricken easy to play, not because it's great.
one of the simplest riffs in rock history IMO
Fortunate son - Credence Clearwater Revival
Hotel California - The Eagles
These two deserve some recognition
Scorpions Top of the bill is one of the best imo, I know it's not as popular as these but it goes so hard!!
Totally agree with #1: always count "Comfortably numb" a greatest solo in musician history, especially in
P. U. L. S. E. Live at Earls court 1994.
For me the best. All greats tho. Dave gilmour
This list is bogus. Purple Haze has one of the best guitar riffs ever.
Definitely better than voodoo child imo
Jimi had so many great riffs - even if a couple of them were covers done much better (Watchtower).
@MrYo888779 Wow it's almost as if this list left out one of the most iconic guitar riffs of all time and this person actually had a point
Wow it’s almost as if people have opinions not exactly the same as your own. Grow up.
Deep purple smoke in the water is the best riff ever!! No doubt about
Sorry Octavio, that credit goes to Sunshine of Your Love by Cream. Hands down!
I don't know about you guys but Pink floyd Shine on you crazy diamond was stuck in my head for ages great riff
Nirvana smells like teen spirit or the man who sold the world
***** ahhhh 2 very good points
Faltó La Grange de ZZ Top, ese riff siempre saca a todos a bailar
Totally agree with Ain't Talkin Bout Love VH... Gives me shivers every time.
‘Dammit’ by blink-182 has an incredible beginning riff. Check it out.
If I define rock guitar Riff as just a shortish instrumental piece with a unique signature sound that tells it apart from any other song (and wants to be heard at high volume) then the great intro and riff of Money for Nothing is the GOAT !
I do think that QUEEN had a handful of songs that Could have made their ways through this group. 😁
Honorable mentions are better than the actual list lol
@MikeFraser UK Mojo is better.
In your opinion
Ikr I mean The Trooper by Iron Maiden and Sweet Child of Mine seriously
Master of puppets and crazy train are good
The fact that back in black is above master of puppets really says a lot about watchmojo
Keith Richards dealing with a stage invader in proper style @13 mins no hesitation guitar straight off and wrapped round head legend 💚🤜🤛
Love how ozzy made it two times