back to top
Community

15 Of The Most Iconic Guitar Riffs Of All Time

Even if you don't know this song, you know this song.

Posted on

*This list is in no particular order.*

1. Aerosmith, "Walk This Way"

View this video on YouTube

Via youtube.com

Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry also played his famous riff for the Run-D.M.C. cover of the song, to which Steven Tyler also contributed vocals.

2. Deep Purple, "Smoke On The Water"

View this video on YouTube

Via youtube.com

"Smoke On The Water" ranked fourth on Total Guitar's list of greatest guitar riffs.

3. The White Stripes, "Seven Nation Army"

View this video on YouTube

XL Recordings / Via youtube.com

Contrary to popular belief, the song's distinctive melody is not played on a bass. Instead, guitarist Jack White achieved the bass-like effect by running his guitar through a Whammy pedal that was set at a lower octave.

4. The Rolling Stones, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"

View this video on YouTube

Via youtube.com

Keith Richard originally intended for his three-note riff to be replaced by a horn section, but he was outvoted by his bandmates.

5. Ozzy Osbourne, "Crazy Train"

View this video on YouTube

Via youtube.com

"Crazy Train's" riff encompasses the full minor scale.

6. Nirvana, "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

View this video on YouTube

Geffen Records / Via youtube.com

Many fans, as well as Kurt Cobain himself, pointed out that the riff was significantly similar to the main riff in Boston's "More Than A Feeling."

7. Black Sabbath, "Iron Man"

View this video on YouTube

Via youtube.com

"Iron Man" gets its title from its famous melody: when he heard the riff for the first time, Ozzy Osbourne said that it sounded like "a big iron bloke walking about."

8. Led Zeppelin, "Whole Lotta Love"

View this video on YouTube

Via youtube.com

This year, BBC Radio 2 listeners voted "Whole Lotta Love" as having the greatest guitar riff ever.

9. Guns 'n Roses, "Sweet Child O' Mine"

View this video on YouTube

Guns 'n Roses / Via youtube.com

Slash's legendary riff started out as a warm-up during a jam session.

10. Michael Jackson, "Beat It"

View this video on YouTube

MJJ Productions / Via youtube.com

Though legendary rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen famously contributed the track's guitar solo, Paul Jackson Jr. (who is of no relation to MJ) played the rest of the guitar, including the riff.

11. Heart, "Barracuda"

View this video on YouTube

Via youtube.com

"Barracuda" has become Heart's signature song and is known as one of the best hard rock songs.

12. Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Snow (Hey Oh)"

View this video on YouTube

Warner Bros. Records / Via youtube.com

Another RHCP song, "Under the Bridge," is also known for its distinctive riff.

13. The Kinks, "You Really Got Me"

View this video on YouTube

Via youtube.com

The distorted sound of the guitar was achieved by slicing up part of the speaker of Dave Davies' guitar amp.

14. The Beatles, "Day Tripper"

View this video on YouTube

Via youtube.com

The main riff was written by John Lennon, who drew inspiration from Bobby Parker's "Watch Your Step."

15. AC/DC, "Back in Black"

View this video on YouTube

J. Albert & Sons / Via youtube.com

"Back in Black" has been sampled many times since its release, and several notable times without permission, such as when The Beastie Boys sampled it for their 1984 song "Rock Hard."

This post was created by a member of BuzzFeed Community, where anyone can post awesome lists and creations. Learn more or post your buzz!

Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss