Top Ten Greatest Guitar Riffs

DeathToMayo

The Top Ten

1 Smoke 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!

Definitely the best riff ever... And the best and quite underestimated guitarist in rock!

V 50 Comments
2 Sweet 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! ;-)

If you want to hear the riff's
You better put the volume to
TEN THOUSAND...

V 82 Comments
3 Enter 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

It's a good riff

V 32 Comments
4 Crazy 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

RANDY RHOADS = PURE GUITAR RIFFS

V 24 Comments
5 Whole 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

Whole lotta Love should be higher on this list. It's so powerful, electric, catchy and wellplayed, as a guitar riff should be. One of my favourite riffs, with Layla, Sweet Child o Mine and Smoke on the Water.

V 21 Comments
6 Iron 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,

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

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!

Why? should be best.

V 11 Comments
7 Smells 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 riff defines what the 90s rock was like

V 32 Comments
8 (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.

Great guitar riff'! People sing this out LOUD at concerts; every word is CLEAR!

V 8 Comments
9 Back 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

Best riff ever

V 18 Comments
10 Layla - 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.

What do you mean whether or not you like him as a man? He's always been a decent person. Worst thing you could ever say was he once had a drug problem. Oh Gee, him, me, and everyone else our age. He went into seclusion after Layla, resurfaced 2 years later for the Rainbow concert but he was never as good as before. He was smart or lucky enough the stuff didn't kill him like others.

Amazing riff

V 12 Comments

The Newcomers

? All Right Now - Free
? Crossroads - Cream

The Contenders

11 Seven 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 love this, but may I remind you this is mostly the bass? - GGiant1921

V 10 Comments
12 Black Dog - Led Zeppelin

Killer, I love playing this riff, it never gets old. This should be way up in the top 10! Smells like teen spirit is in the top 10? I don't get it, it sounds good, but talk about easy to play. Cool technical riffs belong in the top

I thought everybody thought this was the greatest riff ever? I mean... Slash labelled it the sexiest riff of all time, and it was incredibly complex when written for the studio version

Can you think of a cooler, bad-ass riff to listen to. Nope, and even slash agrees. The ultimate Led Zeppelin riff, much better than whole lotta love. Smoke on the water was everyone's first riff, but this was everyone's favourite - Ledjam17

How on earth is smoke on the water number 1?! Sure it may be iconic, but Black Dog is probably just as iconic and a much better overall riff!

V 8 Comments
13 Thunderstruck - AC/DC

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

Why isn't this song higher? - masonkv

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

One of the the best. Love it. Makes me really smile when l hear it. And also the best band ever.

V 6 Comments
14 Kashmir - Led Zeppelin

Seriously what!?!? This has to be number 1! Smoke on the water is overplayed... Arguably zeppelin's best riff... Page is just amazing

I thought this was the most recognized one, maybe not the best but come on, make anybody listen to the riff on this track, and they'll be like: "Hey I know this song! "

Hey the most addictive solo in rock n' roll history hey this has to be at the top

This should be number 2 and rest should be lowered by one step except Crazy Train!

V 13 Comments
15 Sunshine of Your Love - Cream

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!

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.

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

WOW

V 6 Comments
16 Day Tripper - The Beatles

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

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

This one is epic!

17 Paranoid - 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

18 You 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.

19 Can't Stop - Red Hot Chili Peppers

Can't stop the spirits when they need you, this life is more than just a read-through - Psykosauron

No guitar riff can be better than this... Just too good

John Frusciante Is A Beast In This Song - Dglass23

The best song ever!

V 6 Comments
20 Holy Wars... The Punishment Due - Megadeth

Wow. Just wow. You people who voted must not know what a guitar riff even is if Holy Wars is all the way down here. The fact that Enter Sandman is at number 3 shows how ignorant and simple minded everyone is. That is a total joke. Enter Sandman should be on the worst riffs list. I know I sound like a fanboy, but any Megadeth song would beat the riffs ranked higher than this. The entire top ten list is nothing but simplistic rubbish that happens to be popular. Just because they are iconic does not mena that they are by any means the best riffs. In fact, a list of "best guitar riffs" should consist of songs by Megadeth, 80's era Metallica, Slayer, Exodus, Testament, Anthrax, Nuclear Assault, Death, Death Angel, Sacred Reich, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and newer bands like Havok, Evile, Warbringer, etc. But as usual, I get to see a list containing Guns N' Roses, Avenged sevenfold, System of a Down, and slipknot. Yay... -_-

Go to hell this is one of the best riffs ever written and it deserves at least a top 5 place. Don't believe me? Go and listen to the song. It will blow your brains out!

Only 45...wow, seriously I get the classic ness or whatever of smoke on the water but seriously that riff is SO simplistic, holy wars is complex, thrashy, fast, intense and just awesome

Underrated, Megadeth OWNS RIFFS!

V 14 Comments
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List StatsUpdated 21 Sep 2017

12,000 votes
497 listings
10 years, 116 days old

Top Remixes (54)

1. Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N' Roses
2. Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne
3. Smoke On the Water - Deep Purple
DaRealXgen
1. Smoke On the Water - Deep Purple
2. Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N' Roses
3. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
himanshu22
1. Smoke On the Water - Deep Purple
2. Iron Man - Black Sabbath
3. Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne
ryanrimmel

WRemix
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