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!

The Stooges played this lick 2 years before in "Loose."

V42 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! ;-)

How did smoke on the water beat sweet child o mine? Smoky water is easy to play but this song took months of practice and I still don't sound like slash. Smoking water is so overplayed

V65 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

The most evil sounding riff I've ever heard..

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 song isn't easy to play - Sabbath

V19 Comments
5Smells 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

In Bloom was better

V30 Comments
6Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin

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

Really? Whole Lotta Love is the most brutal rip off in music history. Give a listen to 'You need love' by Muddy Waters. This song can be number 1 only on the list of Top 10 Rip Offs.

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.

V18 Comments
7Back In Black - AC/DC

The Riff that helped sell approx. 50 million albums, 'enough said.

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

Amazing... Just an amazing song

V14 Comments
8Layla - Derek & The Dominos

Eric Clapton! Enough said! - Nirmal1991USA

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

The best guitar player ever, 2nd best guitar song, but where is stairway to heaven?

V8 Comments
9Iron 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

Awesome song, it's a classic should be 2

V11 Comments
10(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

It has to do with as much to do with when as it does with what it is. It was THE BEGINNING. There will never be another beginning. Those eight notes sparked as much life as any other 8 or 80 notes will ever

This and "Smoke on the Water" are the top 2

V8 Comments

The Newcomers

?Mr. Brightside - The Killers
?Collapse (Post Amerika)

Perfect riff,perfect lyric and great song from great band

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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

I love unholy confessions!

V22 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

Best all time. It's just amazing. Although curiously, they play it faster in concert, not that I'm complaining.

I just seen them live in their latest black ice tour and this song was AMAZING along with the whole show - endlessdream

This should be #1 it's better than Enter Sandman! - ACDCRocks

V6 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 its 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

He is genius, plying like band with an untalented girl only. Living in late sixties he would be among the best Onet.

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

I feel like this should be in the top 5. The Trooper is one of the funnest riffs to play on Guitar and on Guitar Hero

V4 Comments
15Thunderstruck - AC/DC

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

This should be #1.
It's the hardest and the best guitar rift ever - ACDCRocks

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

Why isn't this song higher? - masonkv

V4 Comments
16Sunshine of Your Love - Cream

Clapton doesn't use feedback like this any more, worse the luck. Baker's drums, Bruce's bass/vocals very good, but the guitar lick and the various fills he use still make hairs stand up.

Hard to pick one riff, but this riff is simply amazing enough to get my vote. One of the greatest songs ever on one of the greatest albums ever released. Disraeli Gears!

Great song, and to the guy who commented on Smells like Teen Spirit, Smoke on the Water came out in the Seventies... - raiderfan372

Even if your over 50 its still great

V5 Comments
17Walk 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

This is the best riff ever and no matter what you say people!

18Johnny 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.

This is the father of rock'n roll, must be number one

19Day Tripper - The Beatles

Go ahead, listen to this song, just hear that riff

Should at least be in the top ten. so recognizable.

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 4 Sep 2015

10,000 votes
428 listings
8 years, 98 days old

Top Remixes (44)

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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