Top Ten Greatest Guitar Riffs

DeathToMayo

The Top TenXW

1Smoke On the Water - Deep Purple

Simply the greatest and most memorable guitar riff ever, written by Ritchie Blackmore, the greatest, most all-round talented guitarist ever. He had a gift for great riffs, amongst many other things, and this riff will forever ensure he has a spot in history.

This is the most recognised riffs in rock n' roll history.. Ritchie blackmore has down an excellent job in this song.. I even like his riffs in his "rainbow" band too - amitcornelius1

What a great riff from a great band! I love how Richie Blackmore plays this riff, even though it is very simple he makes it sound brilliant! And a top album to boot!

What the hell happened to the legendary riffs from stairway to heaven and bohemian rhapsody? Those should be way higher up.

V48 Comments
2Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N' Roses

"I don't understand why people compare Slash to God. I'm mean God is good but he's not Slash. "
-somebody on YouTube

Hell no this can't be! Smoke on the water is easy to play and even I can play it on my guitar but sweet child of mine I can't even imagine how slash plays the riffs without a hinge whereas I can even play the first chord of the song. This should be number 1!

Ask someone if he knows that. He will recognize it! It' the most famous of all! And to be so famous. it's to be absolutely great! ;-)

One of the most epic and influential riffs EVER

V69 Comments
3Enter Sandman - Metallica

This one blows all of the options away! Hands down the best rock song and riff ever to hit the airwaves to this day. - suthrnbell0105

SINISTER! LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOLOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT... You get the idea - MasterThrasher

never heared such a 'deathly' riff... - sumitgd3

THIS IS MY FAVOURITE RIFF OF ALL TIME... It's honestly so Amazing, I can't cope with the sheer power of this song! INCREDIBLE

V27 Comments
4Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne

Really? This far down in the list? Crazy Train must have the best riff ever. Randy Rhoads left this piece of music for us and it's so far down the list. what is the world getting to? - 2440080345

Did you listen to the riff before giving it a score. Randy Rhoads is awesome. Most of his riffs come from his classical guitar studies, and I have heard comments from other band members like "while some of the band was doing drugs and getting laid, Randy was practicing, and you would have to to be that good. I would like to know what the scores are based on.

Without doubt, this song ought to be among the top three greatest riffs ever... Randy rhoads for the win

This is a great hardcore riff and I agree at what position, but where is Layla, I can't get no satisfaction, paranoid, iron man and sunshine of your love? Some people miss out key riffs!

V19 Comments
5Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin

this should so be #1! smoke on the water is good but too over rated and over played. - dltafrc21

In response to the guy who's talking about the song's use of Muddy Waters' lyrics, that isn't really relevant here! We're talking about riffs, and Whole Lotta Love's riff is 100% Jimmy Page! Not to mention 100% rocking' hard. - higgsboson2142

Jimmy page is the best... The horny sound in the middle of the song is sexy;)... Other bands like Guns N' Roses had copied this idea - Joyrider

The best of th best! long live led zep! although RIP for john bohnam! - Jedi99

Nothing comes close to jimmy page.

V17 Comments
6Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

Yup has to be in the 10 lists because the riffs by Cobain were so amazing and that he provided undeniable vocals make this still a contender for a the greatest song ever

smells like teen spirit is one of the best songs of all time, and it's refreshing to see a list where HEART isn't in the top ten - pauler94

Some of the best riffs are not even on the top 10 come on people by the way SLTS is one of the easiest riffs to learn but it makes you go crazy when the guitar goes into overdrive

This is better than the crap Metallica puts out

V27 Comments
7(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones

It's the tone that sounds like a foghorn blasting you from a deep sleep.

If this isn't number one, it's time to go back to the drawing board. There is just no comparison. - chris.cg.102

This riff literally is so unique. Keith Richards apparently woke up in the middle of the night with the riff in his head, recorded it, and went back too bed. He said he had no memory of doing this and woke up in the morning with this sick riff on the tapes.

Can't imagine this is in here. Sounds like someone us farting

V6 Comments
8Iron Man - Black Sabbath

Its to hard to pick just one riff, I don't c in the list you really got me from the kinks,

This is definitively number 1! I can't believe they put Sweet Child O' Mine before this AMAZING song! What is wrong with you people! Tony Iommi is the riff master!

How Is This Number Nine?!
Number 2 For Sure! - Neosantana

So simple, but so effective. Gets stuck in my head all the time, and for a good reason. This is the greatest guitar riff ever!

V10 Comments
9Back In Black - AC/DC

Yeah definitely it should be in the top ten it has a great riff

back in balck is the best album, best song, and best riff by acdc. its the best riff ever fun to play or listen to. - lezakattack

This was hard to say for me becauseso many of these riffs are bad ass, but let's face it. Back in Black is one of the most memorable, and easily the catchiest riff. As for smoke on the water, I've never really liked that one, it's slow and boring. And smells like teen spirit is just a song, not so much a riff.

There's no way this could be at number 9 really? Smoke on the water is memorable but not number 1

V13 Comments
10Layla - Derek & The Dominos

Everyone can sing this riff, and whether or not you like him as a man, Eric Clapton is an incredibly talented guitarist. This riff is a classic and always will be.

Just want to clarigy, Clapton didn't write the riff. Also, you only hear him play it for the first 15 seconds or so of the song - then it's all Duane - he makes the song and the solo, heck he makes most of the album. - megatron12

This and Sweet Child as a close second. Classic, unforgettable riff.

Best riff ever.

V8 Comments

The Contenders

11Unholy Confession - Avenged Sevenfold

The riff is just amazing! synyster gates is one of the best! unholy confessions was the first song I heard by avenged sevenfold, and thats what got me to like them.

This riff just wanna let you jump through your whole room because of its coolness. - NightAntilli

the best song I've ever heard. this is the greatest, the guitar is just outstanding. I love it. - bruceee15

The first rock song I ever heard. It's what got me into rock. I listened to them and then my collection of bands got more broad and now I love it all. I wish they would put out a new album... I would be the first to buy it.

V20 Comments
12Hells Bells - AC/DC

I think it has a very unique and recognizable sound! Like many AC/DC songs it is a short riff that is repeated. It also makes their songs easy to learn! This my personal favorite riff to play

Just saying, the music videos 4 this and back in black are almost the same, but the song "hells bells" is still excellent! I love the soft, creepy riff!

It's not the hardest to play, or the fastest, but this is the most memorable and my personal favorite AC/DC song in large part to the opening riff.

First riff I ever learned

V5 Comments
13Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes

When people sing this song at a football game without even knowing who wrote it, you when you know it's a memorable riff.

Gosh, I love The White stripes. If I could play guitar, I'd learn all their songs! Especially "little cream soda".

Sick riff! This is one of those songs you can't get out of your head! Definitely in the top 10

I was born to the stripes.

V6 Comments
14The Trooper - Iron Maiden

What! How is this not in the top 5. Heavy metal was basically create around the GALLOPING riffs of THE TROOPER

I was blown away the first time I heard "The Trooper. " Really a great song.

This is the perfect melodic guitar riff. Amazing. Can't believe it's not in top 5 - TheoDR

Why isn't this in the top 10? It should be in the top 3! - cwoodkiter

V5 Comments
15Thunderstruck - AC/DC

Honestly this riff is extremely easy. But that being said its still one of the best song riffs ever.

Seriously amazing. You need to be REALLY good to beat this one. Epic, difficult, and AWERSOME.

V7 Comments
16Walk This Way - Aerosmith

The guitar groove in the verse (not the main chorus riff) is next to impossible to play. I can barely do it an I've been playing for 20 years! - waex

V1 Comment
17Paranoid - Black Sabbath

First song I ever learned on guitar, and the opening riff is still my favorite riff of all time.

This is one easy song and still it rocks, and think how many covers this song has, so if you don't like the original, there somewere would one you would like. Vote for the best song ever

18Rock You Like a Hurricane - Scorpions

Scorpions are definitely underrated I see. Rock you like a hurricane, Believe in love and some handful other of their songs have the greatest of riffs in rock history.

I would also vote for boston... These two songs made me want to play the guitar

The Scorpions invented shredding... This song epitomizes this technique

V3 Comments
19Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry

Should be higher up, probably lacks popularity because it's so hard to play but it is an awesome song.

The Father of them all, this Riff gave rise to half of the other riffs on this page so there's no way it should be this low down.

V2 Comments
20You Really Got Me - The Kinks

I love the the guitar work ihope tobe that good someday

Wonder to see it down here. Undoubtedly, "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks is one the best riffs ever. Just check it out, it's awesome. So upvote, come on.

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List StatsUpdated 28 Sep 2016

11,000 votes
465 listings
9 years, 123 days old

Top Remixes (50)

1. Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N' Roses
2. Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne
3. Smoke On the Water - Deep Purple
DaRealXgen
1. Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne
2. Back In Black - AC/DC
3. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones
Toraqi
1. Smoke On the Water - Deep Purple
2. Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne
3. Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
GaylaTwtson

WRemix
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