Top Ten Songs with the Greatest Guitar Riffs

The Top Ten
1 Smoke On the Water - Deep Purple Smoke On the Water - Deep Purple Cover Art

Not gonna lie, this riff is super overrated. There are so many riffs out there that are much cooler. It's still a good riff, but not even close to being the best.

Are you serious? This has GOT to be a joke. THIS as the best riff ever? HAH! I can name hundreds of riffs that are far cooler, more badass, creative, original and memorable than this overly simplistic riff that would bore an absolute beginner to death. Literally anything by Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, Pantera, Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, Iron Maiden, Guns N Roses, ACDC, and Black Sabbath has this beaten by a mile.

All good riffs on this list but come on, this is the one most iconic riff. What other riff has been compared to Beethoven's 5th symphony "riff" for it's sheer brilliance and simplicity. This isn't the top ten "hardest to play riff" or "haunting" riff (Slash, Metallica, etc) list, it's the Greatest riff list. Winner: Blackmore.

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.

2 Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N' Roses Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N' Roses Cover Art

Just one word to describe Slash - Extraordinary. I love Paradise City And Sweet Child Of Mine. These are The Best Guitar Songs I have ever heard. I heard the song Smoke On The Water but in comparison, Sweet Child Of Mine is far beyond it. Its Guitar is so prettier than Smoke On The Water.
For Me, Sweet Child Of Mine is the best.
This Song Is Old, But In Terms Of Guitar, It Is Gold.

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!

This should be number 1 in my view. Its one of the most catchiest riffs ever made, and the whole song is just great the riff so good amount of experience in playing guitar to master the time and tone of the riff takes a long time but still pleased to see slash riff made second

I don't see how a song that most people can play with one finger could possibly be above a song such as this I mean, I had to play for a good few months before I could play sweet child of mine correctly whereas I have taught smoke on the water to my 5 year old nephew!

3 Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne Cover Art

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.

What? Master Of Puppets is better than Enter Sandman, and Sweet Child o Mine is so overrated. This is the first song I ever learned on the guitar and I'd have to say this is at least the second best riff of all time.

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!

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?

4 Enter Sandman - Metallica Enter Sandman - Metallica Cover Art

Woh, why not number 2? You kinda have to give deep purple that credit for smoke but ENTER SANDMAN rocks! Metallica is EASILY my favorite band! Keep on rocking Kirk, Lars, (R.I.P. ), James, and the other bassists!

This riff has become the most famous of any metal song ever for its sheer badassery. I like the riffs in Master of Puppets and Creeping Death better but I'll vote for this since it's in the top 10.

People who think this is a deathly riff or a great song clearly are deaf and have no idea what they are talking about it's the most overrated song in history.

Nice riff. I just love it. It should be the 1st riff. It has some nice and great finger riffing. Many bands around the world covering it like spelled.

5 Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin Cover Art

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.

This riff is so reconized; and its been sampled so many times! Even by his former band mate Robert Plant in "Tall Cool One" that speaks volumes about Jimmy's riffs! This should be #1proud on this list.

Whole Lotta Love can't be topped! The guitar riff draws you in right from the start and you just can't stop listening to it!

If you don't know, or have heard this riff, you can't call yourself a guitarist.

6 Layla - Derek & The Dominos Layla - Derek & The Dominos Cover Art

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.

If we're talking about only guitar riffs here. This one has to be number one. Highway to Hell - No. 2 Even a 7 year old kid can recognize that song by the intro.
But this riff is out of the world. Definitely The best. Eric Clapton.

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.

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.

7 Iron Man - Black Sabbath Iron Man - Black Sabbath Cover Art

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 is this so low, this is a great classic. If you don't know about this... Then you don't watch the Iron Man movie or listen real rock songs.

It is the best riff ever. I don't believe that people put it 7th!
Why di people put it only there. It should be number4 not more than that!

The most catchy tune for a Heavy Metal riff since this was the birth of metal anyways..

Great Job Geezer & Toni for putting this up

8 (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones Cover Art

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.

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

Number 1 surely! I mean, smoke on the water is iconic but doesn't even come close to I can't get no satisfaction.

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

9 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana Cover Art

Nirvana... Guns and roses can't win nirvana because nirvana is a real super ultra rock star.. Probably the best... And their song's madness and their blue soul touches me. All apologies

Easily number 2-4. This riff is ridicoulusly famous and influencial, inspirering a big movement, and being the riff a band which at some point was the worlds most popular, is most famous for.

This is easily the best song of the nineties. Can Smoke on the Water say that about the eighties?

On this list smells like teen spirit is the best with enter sandman and iron man not far behind

10 Back In Black - AC/DC Back In Black - AC/DC Cover Art

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

AC/DC, Led Zepplin, Metallica, Black Sabbath/Ozzy just beat every one else however back in black steals the show!

Well, this list is kind of screwed up. no van halen or jimi in the top 10? Couldn't squeeze those guys in somewhere?

The Newcomers

? Purify - Metallica Purify - Metallica Cover Art
The Contenders
11 The Trooper - Iron Maiden The Trooper - Iron Maiden Cover Art

Not in the top 10? This list is bs this riff just blows people away when played honestly better than smoke on the water. You know it's good when it takes 3 guitarists to play it THAT good.

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

14th just doesn't do this justice. especially with smells like teen spirit so high, I know it's a good song but come on, its not that good a riff

Trooper should take sweet child's place. The only riff that sent me flying away off my chair.

12 Day Tripper - The Beatles Day Tripper - The Beatles Cover Art

This guitar riff is so memorable and catchy, really shows the Beatles’ ability to constantly make catchy songs. Imagine if they stuck together longer, they probably would have stormed through the 70s and 80s with a bunch of hits. Although, they made a conderable amount of hits as solo artists, most notably “Imagine,” which was probably a bigger hit than any Beatles song.

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

Without doubt one of the iconic riff of all time

This one is epic!

13 Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes Cover Art

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".

This was one of those riffs that everyone sang to at parties and night clubs in the noughties. Deserves to be in the top ten.

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

14 Kashmir - Led Zeppelin Kashmir - Led Zeppelin Cover Art

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! "

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

Whole Lotta Love and Black Dog are amazing, but there’s no reason for them to be above Kashmir. Kashmir has to be the most iconic riff Led Zeppelin has ever written.

So different from anything anyone was, is or ever will do musically. Simply masterful.

15 Paranoid - Black Sabbath Paranoid - Black Sabbath Cover Art

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

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

Better riff than all the others on this list, it was also written in like 30 minutes

16 Black Dog - Led Zeppelin Black Dog - Led Zeppelin Cover Art

Everything above this is REALLY easy to play. Black Dog, on the other hand, is much more challenging and has multiple different riffs, each as awesome as the last one

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

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

Riff was actually written by John Paul Jones, but played so brilliantly of course by Jimmy Page. And Robert Plant's opening line "Hey hey Mama said the way you move..." is the best sung line in all rock!

17 You Really Got Me - The Kinks You Really Got Me - The Kinks Cover Art

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.

The Best! Dave Davies the greatest of all time!

I love the the guitar work ihope tobe that good someday

18 Holy Wars... The Punishment Due - Megadeth Holy Wars... The Punishment Due - Megadeth Cover Art

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

The blinding alternate picking and constant tempo changes is what makes this my choice. It's a perfect song in general

19 Thunderstruck - AC/DC Thunderstruck - AC/DC Cover Art

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

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

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

I can't believe this isn't #2 sweet child o mine should be one

20 Voodoo Child (Slight Return) - Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child (Slight Return) - Jimi Hendrix Cover Art

This is one of the most iconic guitar riffs EVER. It hurts me to think about how many of the first 65 songs don't deserve to be on this list.

This is a disgrace. Voodoo Child at number 42? Wow, this lists needs some serious contemplation.

This at 37? And Avenged Sevenfold at 11? Avenged Sevenfold wouldn't even exist without Hendrix.

Clearly more people need to take The Jimi Hendrix Experience!

21 Rock You Like a Hurricane - Scorpions Rock You Like a Hurricane - Scorpions Cover Art

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.

Rudulf Schenker is brilliant songwriter and musician this song is an anthem. I grew up with this. Rock on guys.

This song completely rocks! The Scorps have so many GREAT guitar riffing songs, it makes your head spin. Women also love the Scorps.

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

22 Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love - Van Halen Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love - Van Halen Cover Art

I can play this one on guitar.

Eddie is a one of kind

This is 118th. what. it's so sick

why is this not on the list?
the best intro of all time

23 Money for Nothing - Dire Straits Money for Nothing - Dire Straits Cover Art

Knopfler and the Straits deserve at least top 20. But all this $h! #y metal (not Metallica, Megadeath, Iron Maiden or Pantera) I mean Avenged Sevenfold and the other songs that all sound the same and had no effort put into them, it's all just screaming.

It even sounds great on acoustic, but when distorted it becomes as iconic as anything. Sure, some of the higher-rated riffs come from great songs, but taking just the riff alone, it's clearly top-ten material.

This is one of those that you just can't prevent yourself from playing the air guitar to. Mark Knopfler's tone with this song, as well as the overall beat make for one of the best songs of the 1980's.

Nothing compares, easily the greatest riff. Sure, there are more universally known riffs, but none of them come close to the beauty of this

24 Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd Cover Art

Should be at number 1

Sweet Home Alabama! ROLL TIDE ROLL!

25 Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath Cover Art

One of the evilest Riff and should be way towards the top. Iommi is king of Riffs.

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