100 Famous Rock Guitar Riffs Offers Concise History of Rock N' Roll

Posted by Billyjam, July 17, 2012 10:00am | Post a Comment

Rock music has way too many incredibly memorable guitar riffs to limit a best of list to just one hundred, but the 100 riffs that guitarist Alex Chadwick of The Chicago Music Exchange came up with for the above video performance ain't half bad, and it is a nice informal overview of the history of rock n' roll. Sure it's a subjective selection that includes a lot of mega hits of the genre, and no doubt every rock fan could come up with their own unique list of a hundred best guitar riffs. But I like what Alex has done: from his playing to his choices of riffs, and from how he segues from song to song, to how he plays it on his 1958 Fender Strat all in chronological order. Below is that list of songs and artists in order with the artist names that are blue highlighted linking back to the Amoeba Online Store. where you can find their respective music (CDs, LPs, DVDs) including (in near all cases) the song played by Alex.


1 "Mr. Sandman"  Chet Atkins
2 "Folsom Prison Blues" Johnny Cash
3 "Words of Love"  Buddy Holly
4 "Johnny B Goode"  Chuck Berry
5 "Rumble"  Link Wray

6 "Summertime Blues" Eddie Cochran
7 "Pipeline" The Chantays
8 "Miserlou" Dick Dale
9 "Wipeout" Surfaris
10 "Daytripper"  The Beatles

11 "Can't Explain" The Who
12 "Satisfaction" The Rolling Stones
13 "Purple Haze" Jimi Hendrix
14 "Black Magic Woman" Santana
15 "Helter Skelter" The Beatles 

16 "Oh Well" Fleetwood Mac
17 "Crossroads" Cream
18 "Communication Breakdown" Led Zeppelin
19 "Paranoid" Black Sabbath
20 "Fortunate Sun" Creedence Clearwater Revival

21 "Funk 49" James Gang
22 "Immigrant Song" Led Zeppelin
23 "Bitch" The Rolling Stones
24 "Layla" Derek and the Dominos
25 "School's Out" Alice Cooper

26 "Smoke on the Water" Deep Purple
27 "Money" Pink Floyd
28 "Jessica" Allman Brothers
29 "La Grange" ZZ Top
30 "20th Century Boy" T. Rex

31 "Scarlet Begonias" Grateful Dead
32 "Sweet Home Alabama" Lynyrd Skynyrd
33 "Walk This Way" Aerosmith
34 "Bohemian Rhapsody" Queen
35 "Stranglehold" Ted Nugent

36 "Boys Are Back in Town" Thin Lizzy
37 "Don't Fear the Reaper" Blue Oyster Cult
38 "Carry on My Wayward Son" Kansas
39 "Blitzkreig Bop" The Ramones
40 "Barracuda" Heart

41 "Runnin' with the Devil" Van Halen
42 "Sultans of Swing" Dire Straits
43 "Message in a Bottle" The Police
44 "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)" Neil Young
45 "Back in Black" AC/DC

46 "Crazy Train" Ozzy Osbourne
47 "Spirit of Radio" Rush
48 "Pride and Joy" Stevie Ray Vaughan
49 "Owner of a Lonely Heart" Yes
50 "Holy Diver" Dio

51 "Beat It" Michael Jackson
52 "Hot For Teacher" Van Halen
53 "What Difference Does It Make" The Smiths
54 "Glory Days" Bruce Springsteen
55 "Money For Nothing" Dire Straits

56 "You Give Love a Bad Name" Bon Jovi
57 "The One I Love" R.E.M.
58 "Where the Streets Have No Name" U2
59 "Welcome to the Jungle" Guns N' Roses
60 "Sweet Child 'O Mine"  Guns N' Roses

61 "Girls, Girls, Girls" Motley Crue
62 "Cult of Personality" Living Colour
63 "Kickstart My Heart"  Motley Crue
64 "Running Down a Dream" Tom Petty
65 "Pictures of Matchstick Men" Camper Van Beethoven

66 "Thunderstruck" AC/DC
67 "Twice as Hard" The Black Crowes
68 "Cliffs of Dover" Eric Johnson
69 "Enter Sandman" Metallica
70 "Man in the Box" Alice in Chains

71 "Smells Like Teen Spirit" Nirvana
72 "Give it Away" Red Hot Chili Peppers
73 "Even Flow" Pearl Jam
74 "Outshined" Soundgarden
75 "Killing in the Name" Rage Against the Machine

76 "Sex Type Thing" Stone Temple Pilots
77 "Are You Gonna Go My Way" Lenny Kravitz
78 "Welcome to Paradise" Green Day
79 "Possum Kingdom" Toadies
80 "Say it Ain't So" Weezer

81 "Zero" Smashing Pumpkins
82 "Monkey Wrench" The Foo Fighters
83 "Sex and Candy" Marcy Playground
84 "Smooth" Santana
85 "Scar Tissue" Red Hot Chili Peppers

86 "Short Skirt, Long Jacket" Cake
87 "Turn a Square" The Shins
88 "Seven Nation Army" The White Stripes
89 "Hysteria" Muse
90 "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" The Darkness

91 "Blood and Thunder" Mastodon
92 "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" Jet
93 "Reptilia" The Strokes
94 "Take Me Out" Franz Ferdinand
95 "Float On" Modest Mouse

96 "Blue Orchid" The White Stripes
97 "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" Green Day
98 "Steady As She Goes" The Raconteurs
99 "I Got Mine" The Black Keys
100 "Cruel" St. Vincent

Relevant Tags

Black Keys (6), The Raconteurs (5), St. Vincent (15), Rem (6), Bon Jovi (3), Dire Straits (2), Bruce Springsteen (24), Van Halen (10), The Smiths (41), Michael Jackson (57), Dio (2), Metallica (27), Eric Johnson (1), Ac/dc (9), Black Crowes (2), Es (1), Aerosmith (5), Lynyrd Skynyrd (2), Queen (20), Grateful Dead (20), T. Rex (5), Zz Top (6), Allman Brothers (5), Pink Floyd (29), Deep Purple (5), Alice Cooper (7), Led Zeppelin (28), Derek And The Dominos (1), James Gang (2), Creedence Clearwater Revival (4), Black Sabbath (24), Cream (6), Fleetwood Mac (33), Led Zeppelin (28), Santana (10), Jimi Hendrix (21), The Rolling Stones (15), The Who (13), The Beatles (50), Surfaris (1), Dick Dale (3), The Chantays (2), Eddie Cochran (1), Link Wray (2), Chuck Berry (7), Buddy Holly (3), Johnny Cash (25), Marcy Playground (1), Chet Atkins (4), Foo Fighters (9), Smashing Pumpkins (17), Ted Nugent (4), Thin Lizzy (24), Blue Oyster Cult (4), Kansas (2), Heart (8), The Ramones (7), Van Halen (10), The Police (7), Ac/dc (9), Dire Straits (2), Neil Young (36), Ozzy Osbourne (10), Stevie Ray Vaughan (1), Rush (12), Santana (10), White Stripes (24), Red Hot Chili Peppers (12), Cake (3), The Shins (7), Muse (5), Jet (2), Mastadon (2), The Darkness (4), Soundgarden (7), The Strokes (8), Stone Temple Pilots (1), Rage Against The Machine (8), Lenny Kravitz (1), Green Day (12), Guns N' Roses Motley Crue (1), Living Colour (1), Motley Crue (7), Tom Petty (9), Camper Van Beethoven (3), U2 (13), Alice In Chains (5), Nirvana (35), Red Hot Chili Peppers (12), Toadies (1), Pearl Jam (13), Weezer (6), Franz Ferdinand (9), Modest Mouse (8), Green Day (12), White Stripes (24), Mastodon (14)