The Axemen Cometh



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This week’s theme: Guitar solo.

What is the greatest guitar break in popular music?

To enter, please complete this sentence:

‘To my mind the finest example of a guitar solo would have to be________________________by_________________’

Lines MUST close at 2.45pm

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55 thoughts on “The Axemen Cometh

    1. Neilo

      Jay Graydon on Peg by Steely Dan. An exemplar of tone, melody and, most importantly, brevity. When you learn that jazzbo God, Larry Carlton, couldn’t nail it down on tape, you appreciate what a sublime player Graydon is. Majestic, as Whispering Bob probably never said.

  1. DominoDub

    ‘To my mind the finest example of a guitar solo would have to be “Impossible Germany” by Wilco (1st a experimental Nels Cline Solo into a Thin Lizzy style Duel Guitar Solo – listen to any live version for that extra pure life affirming joy)

  2. Kevin

    To my mind the finest example of a guitar solo would have to be Prince’s 3 minute masterclass on ‘While my Guitar Gently Weeps’ when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because it is the perfect example of just how disgustingly good the man was. It’s not like they couldn’t have asked Clapton. Seriously, watch it, from 3:15 on is pure filth. Not a note out of place.

    1. Kieran NYC

      It really is a pity we didn’t get to see all of the Beatles grow old and just have the craic together like that on stage

  3. ivan

    To my mind the finest example of a guitar solo would have to be Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones. The riff is there all the way thru, but at 2:17 or so, there’s two snare whacks from Charie, suddenly Keef’s up front, sounding effortless and malevolent. And then, just when that dies down, it gives way to Merry Clayton singing like her life depends on it, and Jagger gives a bit of a ‘yeah’…

    it actually *doesn’t* get better than that.

  4. Penfold

    ‘To my mind the finest example of a guitar solo would have to be on “Sultans of Swing” by Mark Knoffler of Dire Straits.
    The opening song lyrics, brilliant too, but it serves as an opening to the excellent solo.
    Brilliant version with Clapton playing rhythm guitar to it.

  5. Spud1

    Slash in November Rain.

    Yeah, I know there’s lots and lots better, but when I was a young wee lad watching that on MTV and saw a ciggy handing from a mop of mad hair with that flyover camera angle, that guy oozed a coolness any kid wanted to be back in 1991.

    Whenever I hear that song these days, it brings me right back to being that little carefree fellow, spending my summers down the country with my cousins and enjoying every minute.

  6. Nicorigo

    To my mind the finest example of a guitar solo would have to be “Beat it” by Eddie Van Halen (in the
    Mickael Jackson classic)

  7. Kolmo

    To my mind the finest example of a guitar solo would have to be Always With Me, Always With You by Joe Satriani – and there is a logical and reasoned motive for this choice. I was born in the late 70’s, I grew up in the 80’s where the film output of Hollywood was a steady stream of Buddy-cop films, Sports-achievements against all the odds type films, generally achieving things against-all-the odds i.e. greedy developer wants to pull down the local youth club for a new 1980’s style residential and office complex, with sexy gym, but a multi-racial group plucky youngsters save the situation for the community, or the rookie fighter pilot becomes an ace fighter pilot, against the odds – due to an industrial accident in his youth that robbed him of his head, arms and a good part of his torso -Chad Bradman wasn’t afraid of a challenge, he was going to try land his 1980’s F16 fighter jet onto a moving Concorde while trying to seduce the Navy aircraft carrier Captains crimp-haired daughter – that kind of thing. All of the above examples have one thing in common – to beat the odds for success – there is always a lengthy preparation-for-the-chalange-ahead Montage – with accompanying inspirational guitar-led rock – I think my choice (see below) would fit comfortably into all of the scenarios previously described, alternatively, you could stick in your earphones and the mundane task of getting the bus home from the office, or walking the dog could become your own personal montage. A montage for success. Yeah! (jump in the air fist-pump combo)

  8. Steve

    To my mind the finest example of a guitar solo would have to be Eruption by Eddie Van Halen.
    All others are mere pretenders

  9. Barter

    To my mind the finest example of a guitar solo would have to be the second solo in Pink Floyds Comfortably Numb by Dave Gilmour.

  10. The Walsh

    To my mind the finest example of a guitar solo would have to be In Bloom by Nirvana, it’s bleedin mental

  11. Dermot

    To my mind the finest example of a guitar solo would have to be Freebird (live version ) by Lynyrd Skynyrd to give your Air Guitar a work out

  12. Nicorigo

    BS, it would be great to have an option to edit the comments. It would be very handy for the keyboard-typing-challenged people like me.

  13. Pat Walsh

    To my mind, the finest example of a guitar solo would be anything by Hendrix, but in particular the riffs & solo in his definitive version of All Along the Watchtower by a future Nobel Prize winner for Literature. Take it away, Jimi

  14. Specific Gravity

    To my mind the finest example of a guitar solo would have to be a dead heat between the following three (it would be easy to list a dozen strong contenders from my favourites, but that would be an injustice to what are the finest examples of what the solo can and should be – perfectly suited to the timbre and tone of the song, while simultaneously taking you out of it onto another plane then dropping you seamlessly back in…(went a bit pseuds corner there, sorry))

    Still in love with you – Brian Robertson, Thin Lizzy – no explanation needed, still brings a shiver

    Comfortably numb – David Gilmour, Pink Floyd – two epic pieces in the one song on a flawless album

    Easter  – Steve Rothery, Marillion – unfairly overlooked master, and while I would normally automatically go for one of his from Clutching at Straws in the golden era of the Fish days, I think this remains his finest and most powerful piece. 

  15. Harry Molloy

    I nearly always prefer live solos, hence my aforementioned Rory Gallagher one.

    But the one that has been playing in my mind since is the solo in Black in Pearl Jam’s Live on Two Legs. Not widely heard, and a far superior version to fairly sterile studio version, and the solo in it feels so saw and heartfelt as a follow on from the emotion in kid lyrics that it still makes the hairs stand on the back of my neck after almost 20 years of listening to that same cd.

  16. Joe Cool

    To my mind the greatest guitar solo has to be lynard skynards free bird. Long and majestic the way a solo should be

  17. Niallo

    To my mind the greatest guitar solo would have to be villanova junction by jimi hendrix.
    Reason being, not only is the entire piece itself a barely accompanied solo and played in one take flawlessly even though he had enough “substances” in him to tranquilise an elephant.
    But its a sugue from one other greatest guitar solo in voodoo child to another the star spangled banner.
    Thats gotta be worth a pony.

  18. Liam

    To my mind the finest example of a guitar solo would have to be Marquee Moon by Television – I’m talking about the second solo in the song by Tom Verlaine, rather than the earlier (still excellent) solo by Richard Lloyd. 3 minutes+ of meandering melodic soloing that is stunningly technical without being flashy or fast for the sake of showing off. Starts at 4:50

  19. Liam

    I’m also going to nominate Steve Hackett’s soaring solo on Genesis’s “Firth of Fifth” – an early example of the “tapping” technique later made famous by every fast-fingered hair-metal merchant in the 80s (particularly Eddie Van Halen) but Hackett uses it to beautifully melodic effect here (5:45 onwards):

  20. TC

    All fine examples, well done folks. For me I’m going to put forward the breath-taking acoustic guitar solo on Paul Brady’s “the Island”, as performed by one of the finest scarcely known guitarists out there, Phil Palmer. One I’ve tried to replicate many times, but never as well as the original. :-)

  21. Baron Von Botter III

    McCartney, Harrison and Lennon’s rotating sequence of three, two-bar licks in the The End from side 2 of Abbey Road. All prefixed by a terrific Starr drum solo. A fitting finish to the band’s carrer and a bookend to the sixties in general, or so I’ve read.

      1. bertie blenkinsop

        On a similar theme….Saw a lad wearing headphones walking along North Strand doing magnificent air drumming the other evening, like the ghost of Keith Moon.

  22. scottser

    To my mind the finest example of a guitar solo would have to be Still In Love With You by Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson of Thin Lizzy from the Live and Dangerous album. now, strictly speaking a solo implies that there is no accompaniment. what we incorrectly refer to as a guitar solo is in fact a lead break. my nomination not only has 2, but also features the best lead outro to a song ever.
    AND you can play along with only 4 chords – Am Dm G C – what’s not to love eh? eh?

      1. Neilo

        I only accept the original recording of ‘Still In Love With You’. That Frankie Miller vocal? Knocks the wind right out of you,

          1. scottser

            my grandad’s funeral was the one before philo’s in sutton. we arrived at st fintans to thousands of lizzy fans and us all going ‘jays me granda’s a fukn legend’..

          2. Lord Commander Frill Snow

            Brillo. That made me laugh

            And Scottie,
            Great call on that Lizzy track

            Love it, I’ll have to plug in the record player later on now just to stop it starting and stopping in me head

            I would’a gone for sum’ting from Rory meself
            But you nailed it beautifully there

            Think it was Christmas ’82 they did the City Hall
            What a night, and I don’t think t’was more than a fiver

            Btw. Nice to see a few Paddies in the running up there with Jimi Hendrix and ( probably) Allen Collins since he was the original Skynard.

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