Top Ten Songs with the Greatest Guitar Riffs

The Top Ten
1 Smoke On the Water - Deep Purple

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.

This is obviously the easy yet fun riff to play, but the simplicity itself is the advantage... That makes people from any range of age will absolutely love it. Although simple but ritchie plays it soulfully.. You can play the riff but ritchie could make it different.

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.

2 Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N' Roses

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.

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!

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

This is a masterpeice on of the greatest riffs ever made even more awesome by the way slash, izzy and duff compliment each other. This gives the songs such a good tone and sets up one of the best solo's ever.
Genius and awe inspiring (at least for me).

3 Enter Sandman - Metallica

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.

4 Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne

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?

5 Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin

I don't usually leave comments on the top tens but here's my good sided strike to Whole Lotta love, the greatest Guitar riff of all times.

I'm sorry but for the sake that I love DP - Led Zeppelin takes the cash overview here, this poll woulda' been into nothing without this riff.

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.

6 (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones

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.

7 Iron Man - Black Sabbath

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!

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!

8 Layla - Derek & The Dominos

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.

9 Back In Black - AC/DC

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.

Acdc according to me is the best band ever... Angus, Phil, cliff, Malcolm and Brian are just pure talent
So I feel that acdc should number 1 in all the charts!

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?

10 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

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

Just when you thought rock was dead, this riff brought it roaring back to life. Kurt celebrated by killing himself.

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?

The Contenders
11 Day Tripper - The Beatles

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.

Unforgettable. As a little kid, my jaw dropped open when I heard this. The goodness of The Beatles intimidated me.

This one is epic!

Best riff ever!

12 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".

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.

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

13 Kashmir - Led Zeppelin

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.

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

Why is this only 13? This song is a staple in Led Zeppelin's musical career and overall an awesome song.

14 Paranoid - Black Sabbath

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

15 Thunderstruck - AC/DC

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.

Best fast guitar playing ever!

The tapping! It blows me away

16 You Really Got Me - The Kinks

This blew everything of the radio in 1964. The best guitarist of all time (Jimi Hendrix) called it a 'landmark song', it predates "Satisfaction" one year, Pete Townsend said himself that "I Can't Explain" 'can't be beat for straightforward Kinks-copying' and at that time The Beatles were still singing that they want to hold your hand...

I was 7 in 1964, sitting the back seat of a '62 Chevy II station wagon, and the music my older sisters gushed over seemed pointless to me. The radio was on WBBF, sister's choice 'cause she always took the front seat. Then BBF played YRGM and I leapt up to lean over the bench seat (no seatbelts) into the front to ask "What's this?" Been hooked ever since.

"Wild and chaotic, nothing like this had been heard before. It blew a hole in the wall of polite boy-meets-girl pop and strutted its two minutes plus of lust laden riffing into history"

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.

17 Black Dog - Led Zeppelin

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

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!

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

18 The Trooper - Iron Maiden

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.

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

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

19 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, 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

20 Voodoo Child (Slight Return) - Jimi Hendrix

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

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

I can play this one on guitar.

Eddie is a one of kind

23 Money for Nothing - Dire Straits

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.

I love my music like everyone else but this is the riff that springs to mind for number 1. This is only my opinion but mid 30s is way too low.

24 Sunshine of Your Love - Cream

I don't know what you all think but this is the most badass riff I have ever heard. If you don't feel like smoking a puff in a broad daylight in the middle of nowhere while listening to this are you really living?

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...

25 Whole Lotta Rosie - AC/DC
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