Since the 1980s the guitar has really taken a backseat to the synthesizer. Guitars are still really important for pop music, but they aren’t the central focus of the band to the same extent that they were in the 1960s and 1970s. But today we’re taking a look back at some of the most famous guitar songs of all time, the songs that prove that the guitar is still make a song a classic.
Though Eric Clapton’s acoustic version of “Layla” might be superior to the original, that electric guitar lick is one of the best ever fretted. “Layla” solidifies Slowhand’s title as God. The fast and in-your-face tune blurs the line between rock and blues, making it accessible for guitarists and housewives alike.
Check out this guitar lesson and learn how to play Layla´s riff
3. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
Let’s go with another Slowhand lead for the next song. You might not know it, but that’s not George Harrison playing lead on the Beatles’ classic “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” That’s Eric Clapton. The solo has been rated as one of the greatest solos of all time, but Clapton never received formal credit for playing the solo on “The White Album.”
If you love this song, take a look at the 2004 performance of the song at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Dhani Harrison and other rock stars covered the song, but it was Prince’s surprise solo that brought the crowd to its feet.
2. “Purple Rain”
Though many people wouldn’t put Prince on a list of the greatest rock guitar players ever, but he definitely deserves to be there. If you’re not convinced by his solo on the Beatles’ classic “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” take a listen to “Purple Rain.” No, not the radio’s edit; listen to the full song. It’s a sweeping tour de force, one of the greatest in all of rock history. The solo takes the song from a good ‘80s ballad to one of the greatest rock classics ever. If you open your mind (and listen closely), you can hear Jimi Hendrix’s influence on Prince’s guitar playing. Prince doesn’t wear it on his sleeve, but he embraces it.
1. “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”
The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s classic track “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” is a staple of classic rock guitar. Hendrix isn’t called the greatest rock guitarist of all time for nothing; this is a great rock song that shows Hendrix at the very height of his career. “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” is a record of the fast and furious guitar slinging that Hendrix is remembered for. If you’re not familiar with this tune, give it a listen.
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