The Kids are All. . . Well

For many of us, “Smoke on the Water” is the sort of song that one can imagine being big in a Will Farrell movie. But apparently, students at the London Tech Music School take it far more seriously because, according to a story from Reuters, they picked it as the #1 guitar riff of all time. That’s right, a song from ’73. The only reasonably contemporary cut that makes the list of 25—and it is at 19—is “7 Nation Army” by the White Stripes. Between Deep Purple and the White Stripes are several shades of industrial gray, with the likes of Motorhead, Metallica, and Iron Maiden all making the cut. Well this is the “Tech” music school, after all.


Here’s the list:

1. Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple (1973)

2. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana (1991)

3. Walk This Way – Aerosmith (1975)

4. Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix (1967)

5. Sweet Child O Mine – Guns N’ Roses (1987)

6. Paradise City – Guns N’ Roses (1987)

7. Ace Of Spades – Motorhead (1980)

8. Enter Sandman – Metallica (1991)

9. Under The Bridge – Red Hot Chili Peppers (1992)

10. Welcome To The Jungle – Guns N’ Roses (1987)

11. Run To The Hills – Iron Maiden (1982)

12. Walk – Pantera (1992)

13. Johnny Be Goode – Chuck Berry (1958)

14. Back In Black – AC/DC (1980)

15. Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin (1970)

16. Wake Up – Rage Against The Machine (1992)

17. Highway to Hell – AC/DC (1979)

18. My Generation – The Who (1965)

19. 7 Nation Army – The White Stripes (2003)

20. Born To Be Wild – Steppenwolf (1968)

21. Give It Away – Red Hot Chilli Peppers (1991)

22. Paranoid – Black Sabbath (1970)

23. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) – Jimi Hendrix (1967)

24. Eye Of The Tiger – Survivor (1982)

25. Money For Nothing – Dire Straits (1984)

10 thoughts on “The Kids are All. . . Well”

  1. there are a lot of guitar riffs that are better than those

    ‘tv eye’ made me want to learn electric guitar…where is that one on the list?

  2. Yeah, Mac! Mr. Lee was on fire. Definitely one of the more memorable performances from the movie.

    Speaking of way back, wasn’t “You Really Got Me” the second rock riff gtr players used to learn how to play? (After “Smoke on the Water”, of course.)

  3. aside from the white stripes being late to the wake, it looks like we have the death of rock and roll pegged somewhere around 1992.

  4. ‘Highway To Hell’ should have been No. 1. That is a riff that will never fail.

    Greatest. Opening riff. Ever.

  5. Most of these great guitar riffs are based on great blues riffs, so any discussion of the “death” of rock and roll is not only silly, but pointless. “Smells like teen spirit” was based on a Jefferson Airplane riff (Volunteers)! There’s still plenty of great riffs around, listen to the Black Angels, listen to Built to Spill, listen to Black Keys, hell, that’s just the B’s. These tech school tools just listen to too much classic rock. They’ve probably never even heard of Helmet, for fucks sake.

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