Tuesday, July 26, 2011


This is part 2 of my "adjustments" to Guitar World's list of 100 Greatest Classic Rock Guitar Songs. Part 1 is here.

26. The Stooges - "1969" I just inserted it here. The Stooges kick the shit out of most bands that "classic rock" radio plays.  I could have chosen lots of Stooges songs, but "1969," leading off their self-titled debut from that same year, was a roaring counterpoint to lots of the hippie Woodstock stuff going on at the time. More people need to check out The Stooges.  I'm glad they finally got into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  R.I.P guitarist Ron Asheton.

27. KISS - "Detroit Rock City (live)" I moved this up a few notches, GW had it at 33. And I replaced the studio version with the one from Alive II. "You wanted the best, you GOT the best! The hottest band in the world..."

28. Neil Young & Crazy Horse - "Cinnamon Girl" Neil and the late Danny Whitten were a great team. This song is really simple, but if it was easy, everyone would write songs like this. Incredible riff. GW had this at 31, I bumped it up.

29. Led Zeppelin - "Whole Lotta Love" which shows off Jimmy Page's godly power, not just as a guitarist but as a producer. Moved up from 35.

30. Yes - "Starship Trooper" Well, I may come off as a bit of a snob sometimes, but on the other hand I am a huge Yes fan. I'm glad GW choose this song instead of one of the more obvious ones. From their third LP, but their first with guitarist Steve Howe, The Yes Album. I never get tired of this song.

31. Derek & The Dominoes - "I Looked Away." Of course GW went with "Layla," but "classic rock" radio has kind of driven that one into the ground for me also. It's a great riff, a great anthem (and a great piano song as well as a great guitar song). To me, Derek is Eric Clapton's best period ever. Putting Eric and Duane Allman on the same record, it's still incredible to hear them together. I think "I Looked Away" is one of the most underrated songs in the Clapton cannon.

32. Bill Haley & The Comets - "(We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock" It sounds quaint now, but in 1954, I'm sure it was pretty radical.  And the guitar is tasty as hell, props to Danny Cedrone who played guitar on the track.

33. Iron Maiden - "Iron Maiden" GW had "Run To The Hills" at #37, but I replaced it with this song, because I prefer the Paul Di'Anno era to the Bruce Dickinson era. Iron Maiden is creepy and evil sounding.  At the same time, "Run To The Hills" was the first Maiden song I'd ever heard, and really turned me on to them, so lets call it a tie, OK? I knew Maiden's imagery was very horror-film-like, and I was surprised to hear them do such a political song. Anyway, guitarist Dave Murray rocks on both songs.  On "Iron Maiden," he plays with co-guitarist Dennis Stratton, and on "Run..." with Adrian Smith.

34. The MC5 - "Kick Out The Jams" in the place of "Carry On Wayward Son." It's just a matter of opinion, but I think "classic rock" radio would actually rock more with more Stooges and MC5.

35. Cheap Trick - "Surrender" They always seem a bit underrated. GW had it at 39, I moved it up four spots.

36. Alice Cooper - "School's Out" Glen Buxton and Michael Bruce were a great guitar team, and Alice Cooper was a great BAND. This song is also a bit overdone, but it's timeless (at least as long as there are schools and summer break).

37.  Michael Jackson - "Beat It" I was glad to see GW include this song, even though no rock stations would ever play a Michael Jackson song.  The fact that he used Eddie Van Halen on this song was pretty radical at the time.  Michael often choose cool guitarists to work with, including Steve Stevens and Slash, but this was his best rock moment.  The fact that you couldn't hear this song on rock radio made rock radio, to me, seem old and out of touch (their very limited playlists didn't help either).

38. The New York Dolls - "Personality Crisis" I used this song to replace a Motley Crue song that was included by GW.  I don't like GW, but I respect that Nikki Sixx has always given a lot of credit to the Dolls for their influence, and even gave them the opening slot on their summer tour (which I think is still going on). But the Dolls are another great, underrated band. They deserve to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and they deserve to be on the radio also. Sylvain Sylvain and the late Johnny Thunders: great guitar team.

39. Bob Dylan - "Subterranean Homesick Blues" I'm not sure who the guitar players were on this song, but it's got great playing. Also, it marks one of the most radical artistic departures from a major popular music artist.  Going from folk to rock (or funk) like this... these days, everyone plays electric and acoustic music, but it was a radical idea back then.

40. The Rolling Stones - "Jumpin' Jack Flash" I moved this up from #46. Yes, it's a bit overplayed, but what a classic.  Undeniable riff. Keith Richards and Brian Jones on guitars.

41. AC/DC - "Hells Bells" Obviously "You Shook Me All Night Long" and "Back In Black" are bigger songs from the Back In Black album, but I love how this song opens the album. It's their sendoff to Bon Scott, and the first time we hear his replacement, Brian Johnson. As always, Angus and Malcolm Young are devastating.

42. Dick Dale & The Del-Tones "Miserlou" I moved this up from 50.  It's truly an iconic piece of music, and bless Quentin Tarantino (one of the greatest soundtrack curators) for putting it in Pulp Fiction.

43. Crosby Stills Nash & Young "Carry On" I used this to replace CSN's "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes." I think this is better, and, plus, Neil Young is on it (I think: I know all four guys were on every song together on Deja Vu). When you see it live, it's cool to watch Stephen Stills and Neil go back and forth on lead guitars. David Crosby is a good rhythm guitarist, and Graham Nash is just a great musician. It's a great song to open a concert with.

44. The Grateful Dead - "Bertha (live)" I replaced "Truckin'" with this, I don't need to hear "Truckin'" anymore. This live version opens the "Skull Fuck" album, and they opened with this the first time I ever saw them. I'm not always into the hippie/jam band thing, but Jerry Garcia was a cool guitar player.

45. Link Wray & His Wray Men - "Rumble" Another badass instrumental used in Pulp Fiction, but not included on the soundtrack. I moved this up from 62.

46. The Beatles - "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" Another great George Harrison composition, and in this one, the Fab Four gets an assist from Eric Clapton. I moved this up from 63.

47. Heart - "Barracuda" Yes, also driven into the ground by radio, but what the hell, it's  great riff.  Nancy Wilson is an underrated guitarist, and in the interest of fairness, it's worth mentioning that Roger Fisher was the other guitarist in the band at this point. I moved this up from 64.

48. Pearl Jam - "Corduroy" GW choose "Evenflow," which is a great (and has a monster riff that I think Stone Gossard came up with), but "Corduroy" is probably my favorite Pearl Jam song. When they play it live, it just raises the entire arena. People don't talk about Mike McCready enough when they talk about the best lead guitarists around today, but he is one of the best.

49. Van Halen - "Hot For Teacher" You just can't deny how huge Van Halen were in their day, and how great they were. I used to sort of "blame"them for hair metal, but I realized that was ridiculous.  This song is one of Eddie Van Halen's coolest moments.

50. The Yardbirds - "Over Under Sideways Down" This is from the Jeff Beck era, which is my favorite.

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