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Top 10 Gibson Guitar Solos: '70s And '80s

I came across this list on and I was kind of surprised at the list that they just managed to list the numbers with the solos from Gibson Les Paul guitars and obviously you wont find any Fender Strat wielding guitar heroes like Jimi Hendrix, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dave Gilmour, Don Felder, Joe Walsh, Brian May, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Ritchie Blackmore, Mark Knopfler, BB King, Billy Gibbons, Robby Krieger, Frank Zappa, Carlos Santana, Jerry Garcia, George Harrison, Eddie Van Halen and many many more (perhaps I should make my own list someday). This is just the classic Rock territory, metal genre is another story altogether. More about that later, some other time.
Obviously it is a padded list just to endorse the Gibson merch, but well, worth a check out...
But I wonder where is Kirk Hammet or Joe Satriani of the 80s? or the dudes from Maiden, Slayer, all those shitload of NWOBHM guitar solos? Oh hell, its a crazy millions of songs and millions of solos and stuff like that, I'll go crazy trying to remember them all. Get on with today's post, shall we?

The definition of metal changes every decade as musicians continually push the genre to new extremes, writes Chris Gill of But several elements have remained consistent throughout the years: distorted guitar, heavy riffs, and lightning-fast solos. Some of the greatest guitar solos ever recorded can be found on metal classics from the '70s and '80s, and many of those solos were recorded using Gibson guitars.

What makes a guitar solo great? While technical precision and speed are certainly important, a good solo should also be inventive and imaginative. The solo should support the song, and the best solos are ones that are so melodically strong that you can sing them while you wail away on your air guitar.

“Whole Lotta Love”
# Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II [Atlantic, 1969]
# Jimmy Page
Although it was released in 1969, “Whole Lotta Love” formed the foundation for hundreds of great heavy metal tunes that followed in the ’70s, ’80s, and beyond. Page’s solo at the climax of the “orgasm” section exploded with primal fury, accentuated by double stomping power chords that defined “heavy” and “metal” with a one-two punch. The entirety of Led Zeppelin’s second album is full of awe-inspiring solos, but with “Whole Lotta Love,” Page made his point loud and clear that the guitar hero for the modern age of rock had arrived.

“War Pigs”
# Black Sabbath, Paranoid [Warner Bros., 1971]
# Tony Iommi
Tony Iommi’s epic solo begins with a majestic symphonic line that would make Tchaikovsky proud before bursting into an impressive display of descending triplets and bluesy howls. Ozzy Osbourne’s lyrics may have painted a brutal depiction of war mongers, but Iommi’s solo made listeners feel like they were in the middle of battle, surviving an onslaught of machine-gun bullets, screaming rockets, and bomb blasts. One of Black Sabbath’s finest moments.

“Rock Bottom”
# UFO, Phenomenon [Chrysalis, 1974]
# Michael Schenker
This tour de force showcase of Schenker’s formidable guitar talents was the metalhead equivalent of “Freebird,” and it became the centerpiece of UFO’s live performances (captured brilliantly on Strangers in the Night). Schenker’s extended solo displays virtuoso skills that left an indelible mark on numerous Euro-centric players like Yngwie Malmsteen and Eddie Van Halen.

# Ted Nugent, Ted Nugent [Epic, 1975]
# Ted Nugent
Another extended guitar solo, Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold” summoned up a barnyard full of squawks, squeals, and howls along with hypnotic melodies that make this song a sort of heavy metal “Bolero.” Nugent’s use of a Gibson Byrdland—a guitar normally associated with jazz—was certainly unorthodox, but thanks to his uncanny ability to tame feedback he used it to great advantage.

“(Don’t Fear) the Reaper”
# Blue Öyster Cult, Agents of Fortune [Columbia, 1976]
# Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser
Buck Dharma’s exotic solo on Blue Öyster Cult’s breakthrough hit takes the song to a dark underworld full of tension and wonder while retaining the tune’s somber, minor-key mood. Dharma’s Middle Eastern, raga-esque lines were unlike anything heard in hard rock before, but they fit perfectly.

“You Shook Me All Night Long”
# AC/DC, Back in Black [Atlantic, 1980]
# Angus Young
Angus Young has always insisted that his main influence was the blues, and here he shows his roots in smashing form. But instead of fiddling about in the pentatonic box, Young delivers a rich, melodic solo that you can sing along with. An AC/DC classic.

“Flying High Again”
# Ozzy Osbourne, Diary of a Madman [Epic, 1981]
# Randy Rhoads
Any of the solos that Randy Rhoads played during his brief time with Ozzy Osbourne could easily make the list, but “Flying High Again” fits just about everything that Rhoads was about as a player into a tidy package. You can hear Rhoads’s classical influences in the melody and his Van Halen inspiration in the tapped flourishes, but, in the end, this solo is all about Rhoads’s impeccable taste and immaculate phrasing, which few players since have matched.

“Stand Up and Shout”
# Dio, Holy Diver [Warner Bros., 1983]
# Vivian Campbell
The year 1983 should go down in history as the period when the new age of shred officially began, and Vivian Campbell deserves recognition for helping to kick-start this trend. No one knew who Campbell was when he joined Dio, but after they heard this blistering, thousand-notes-a-second solo they had to find out more.

“Thunder and Lightning”
# Thin Lizzy, Thunder and Lightning [Warner Bros., 1983]
# John Sykes
John Sykes is another shredder who completely turned the guitar world upside down with his stunning speed and tasteful technique. Like the song’s title, Sykes’ playing was loud and flashy yet mysteriously mesmerizing. Sykes later enjoyed even greater success and fame by helping craft Whitesnake’s breakthrough album, but from a guitar player’s perspective this remains one of his finest moments.

“Welcome to the Jungle”
# Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction [Geffen, 1987]
# Slash
By 1987, every guitarist was shredding like mad and studying exotic scales at GIT. Slash ripped across the grain with his boozy and bluesy playing on “Welcome to the Jungle,” which evoked Joe Perry’s raunchiest moments with Aerosmith. Sure, other players may have had more polished technique, but few of them could match Slash’s sweet emotion.

Five Overlooked Metal Solos You Should Know:

# “Sails of Charon” Scorpions (1978)
Uli Jon Roth’s epic Euro shred masterpiece.

# “Hammerhead” Pat Travers (1979)
The prototype for ’80s speed metal.

# “End of the World” Gary Moore (1982)
The two-minute intro is the NWOBHM answer to Van Halen’s “Eruption.”

# “Far Beyond the Sun” Yngwie Malmsteen (1984)
Still awe-inspiring — many have imitated Malmsteen, but he’s still unequaled.

# “Mr. Scary” Dokken (1987)
George Lynch’s off-kilter instrumental fireworks make ’80s hair metal seem okay after all.

Thanks for the info to

Alright, I am convinced that I should make a list of my own like, All Time Great Guitar Intros, Solos (these will not be restricted to a single genre, that is).


3 Responses to “Top 10 Gibson Guitar Solos: '70s And '80s”

  1. # Blogger Rahul

    great post dude, two of my personal ever favorites are Comfortably Numb and Stairway To Heaven..

    Yeah, I am waiting for your list...  

  2. # Blogger Jxxx

    you know what butthead? Page's solo was recorded on a Fender Telecaster. WAYYY more biting and appropriate in that context than a Gibson Les Paul. But he was a cosmopolitan man, and swung many axes. Just saying.  

  3. # Blogger maxdiamond

    alright beavis, here's a correction for you.

    Page played the loose blues riff for the intro, on a Sunburst 1958 Les Paul Standard through a 100W Marshall "Plexi" head amp with distortion from the EL34 output valves, which ascends into the first chorus. Then, beginning at 1:24 (and lasting until 3:02) the song dissolves to a free jazz-like break involving a theremin solo and the moans of Robert Plant (sometimes called the "orgasm section").


    thanks for dropping by.  

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