Top Ten: Opening Guitar Riffs
We are counting down the top ten songs with the best opening guitar riffs. I’ll be honest, there are a lot of really great songs that could make this list so I’m sure jimmies are surely to be rustled but I can’t help that. Let’s get started.
10. The Kinks – You Really Got Me
All of these songs you’ll know as soon as the riff begins but you might not know how old this song actually is. It was released in 1964 and was NOT a Van Halen original!
“Girl, you really got me goin’ You got me so I don’t know what I’m doin’ now”
9. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama
I realize the vast majority of readers have never been to an Alabama Crimson Tide home game but if you have and you are an opposing fan you likely hate this song with a passion but all that aside, that riff is LIT!
“Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers. And they’ve been known to pick a song or two”
8. Alice In Chains – Man In The Box
AIC already has the GOAT MTV Unplugged session and they didn’t even include Man In The Box! This riff screams Grunge.
“Feed my eyes, can you sew them shut?”
7. Deep Purple – Smoke On The Water
You may not know very many Deep Purple songs and you may not have even known this is a Deep Purple song but everyone will know the tune as soon as it starts.
“Smoke on the water, a fire in the sky”
6. Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love
You knew this one was coming. You might not like that it’s number 6 and not higher but you should just deal with it!
“You’ve been learning. Um baby I been learning”
5. AC/DC – Back In Black
When you hear Angus Young hit this riff you bob your head minimum. Most will give a good toe tap as well.
“I’ve been too long I’m glad to be back”
4. Jimi Hendrix – Voodoo Child
Now when I hear this riff all I can think about is Hollywood Hogan and the NWO wreaking havoc on the WCW! But before that I thought of the left handed Jimi rocking!
“Well, I stand up next to a mountain. And I chop it down with the edge of my hand”
3. Dire Straits – Money For Nothing
Now you might be saying the guitar doesn’t really “open” this song but it is close enough for hand grenades. When it hits though, you think of 80’s music videos when MTV actually played music. If you are interested in how the lyrics were written it is a pretty cool story: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_for_Nothing_(song)
“Now look at them yo-yo’s that’s the way you do it. You play the guitar on the MTV.”
2. Ozzy Osbourne – Crazy Train
Ozzy was pretty crazy himself but this song will also get you crazy. This was Chipper Jones’ walk up song during his tenure with the Atlanta Braves. No charge for that tidbit.
“I’m goin’ off the rails on a crazy train”
1. Guns-N-Roses – Sweet Child O Mine
Slash was just warming up his fingers before a session and the rest of the band loved the sound and came up with the chords. Axl was upstairs and started writing the lyrics. By the next day this classic was born. Inspiration can strike at any time.
“Now and then when I see her face. She takes me away to that special place”
Another indulgent addition but this FAM writer. This riff wouldn’t be in the top 100 but I’m a big fan of Houndmouth, so…