In most cases, the guitar solo is a major component of classic rock and metal songs. Think comfortably Numb, Bohemian Rhapsody, Free Bird. But there have been cases in which classic tunes from rock canon have gone without a solo.
Now, of course, the majority of first wave punk rockers cut guitar solos completely, a trend that started with the Ramones and continues to this day. But for this list, we’re mostly talking about good old-fashioned classic rock and metal from the golden age of the 60s to the 90s.
And, of course, that wasn’t due to the fact that the band’s guitarist wasn’t technically good enough to provide a solo, but rather, it just didn’t fit into the song – or the riff was loud enough to bear the load.
Here we present a countdown to the 20 greatest rock songs that don’t contain a guitar solo.
20. Helmet – unknown
Alternative rock in the early to mid-90s seemed like a time when guitar soloing was an afterthought… at best. And one of the best tracks from Helmet’s 1992 classic, In the meantime, opted for a riff break rather than a traditional solo section.
19. Faith No More – Coming from nowhere
Although Jim Martin was first and foremost a riff master, there are a number of Faith No More classics where he delivered memorable solos – Epic, Anne’s song and Be aggressive to name a few. But on this energetic album about FNM’s worldwide breakthrough, 1989’s The real thing, no solo was required.
18. Mötley Crüe – Wild side
Hair metal is associated with howling / shredded six-string showcases – especially when a guitar was placed in the hands of Warren DeMartini, George Lynch or Vinnie Vincent.
As you might expect, Mick Mars’ solos generally serve as an important ingredient in the tunes of Mötley Crüe. But on one of their most popular tracks, Wild sideMr. Mars chose to focus solely on the fast pace of the song.
17. Billy Squier – The Stroke
The tune that helped usher in the ‘Zep clone’ craze of the ’80s was this swaggering rocker from Billy Squier’s 1981 commercial breakthrough. Don’t say no. But instead of featuring a guitar solo towards the end, what looks like an underwater synth string pattern was used.
16. Stranger – Double vision
The ’70s were full of solo guitar goodies – usually relying heavily on outstanding guitar solos. And for the most part, rock radio favorites Foreigner gave guitarist Mick Jones room to do his thing in the middle of the song. But that wasn’t the case on the hit title song from their second album, 1978’s Double vision – who opts for the brief saxophone solos, instead of!
Metallica has always been known to tear up guitar solos courtesy of Kirk Hammett. But by the time of their sonically controversial 2003 album, Holy Wrath, not a single smelly solo could be detected. For example, this maniac – or perhaps more appropriate, frenzied – thrasher, which also served as the opening of the album.
14. Queen – Pure heart attack
It’s universally believed that few rock guitarists are as adept at building guitar solos as Queen’s Brian May – most are so melodic you can actually sing along to them.
But because this tune served as Queen’s cue to the emerging first wave of punk (especially the Sex Pistols), an extended solo in the middle of the song wouldn’t have had its place. In fact, drummer Roger Taylor – who wrote the song – does most of the guitar work!
13. Nirvana – Lithium
While there is never any confusion between a guitar solo by Kurt Cobain and a solo by Yngwie Malmsteen, you have to give the late / great leader some Nirvana accessories – he came up with some of the best guitar parts of all. the times of rock. But this gem of no matter went entirely without solo.
12. AC / DC – Big balls
Think “AC / DC”, and for many, the images of Angus Young letting his fingers fly over the neck of a Gibson SG immediately spring to mind. But on that dirty little song – in which singer Bon Scott pushes his two-way lyrical style to the max – Angus chose to team up only with rhythm king Malcolm, and left his guitar solo at the door.
11. Soundgarden – Rusty Cage
Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil could certainly provide a much needed wailing solo – just listen Spoon Where Black hole sun. But on the opening of the classic album of the group’s commercial breakthrough, 1991’s Badmotorfinger, delicate time signatures, surprising musical twists and some of Chris Cornell’s best lyrics – but admittedly, quite incomprehensible – left no room for a solo.
10. Jimi Hendrix – Wait until tomorrow
A Jimi Hendrix song without a guitar solo? Unfathomable! But it happened at least once, on this underrated melody from the second effort of the Experience, Axis: Bold as love. However, Jimi’s stellar, loaded rhythm playing (as well as some Mitch Mitchell’s drum fills) makes up for MIA’s lead role.
9. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under the Bridge
That John Frusciante is a talented guitarist – especially considering the wide variety of styles he has tackled both as a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and as a solo artist. But on one of Chili Peppers’ first hit singles, he bypassed a solo and instead focused on those iconic Hendrixian embellishments.
8. Stone Temple Pilots – Interstate Love Song
With one of the best guitar riffs the ’90s had to offer – written by Stone Temple Pilots bassist Robert DeLeo, and no his guitarist brother, Dean – this uptempo rocker helped silence most of the band’s early critics once and for all. And with such a great riff… who needs a solo?
7. Judas Priest – Breaking the law
Glenn Tipton and KK Downing’s guitar tandem is certainly one of the all-time best in metal, especially when you factor in all of the arena-shaking guitar parts they’ve offered over the years. years. But when it came to deciding if a traditional guitar solo was needed for this classic rocker, they chose to let the riff do the talking.
6. Cheap Tip – Give Up
One of the greatest rock’n’roll anthems of all time does not include a solo! Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen has always been more of a rhythm player / songwriter than a shredder, and on the studio version of this track, he chose to play it cautiously and stick only to the agreements. But on the live version higher than Nippon Budokan, he throws a few fillings here and there for your viewing pleasure.
5. Led Zeppelin – Song of the immigrants
Although Jimmy Page has offered some of the best guitar solos of all time in rock, to his credit, he has always put the importance of songwriting above all else. And if a solo weren’t essential for a tune best known for Robert Plant’s Viking War Cry, it would go to the land of ice and snow.
4. Deep Purple – Perfect Strangers
Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar work was such a crucial part of the Deep Purple sound that one might think of the band’s comeback after being apart for years – the glorious title song of the 1984’s. Perfect strangers – they would allocate an adequate section to the Man in Black to play solo on his Strat. You would have been wrong.
3. Kiss – Rock and Roll All Nite
Similar to Brian May, Ace Frehley of Kiss specializes in guitar solos that are so melodic and memorable you hum. And one of Ace’s best solos is the live version of their party hymn, Rock and roll all night. But on the previous version of the track in the studio, a guitar solo was nowhere to be found.
2. Led Zeppelin – Cashmere
On what is possibly Led Zeppelin’s grandest composition, Middle Eastern themes are used with incredible effect. But similar to the above The song of immigrants, Jimmy Page had no problem bypassing a guitar solo if a Zep song was flawless without one.
1. The Rolling Stones – (Can’t get any) Satisfaction
That’s right: it may contain one of the best rock guitar riffs of all time – and the most immediately recognizable – but there’s no solo in sight. The story goes that Keith Richards invented the riff in the middle of the night, recorded it, fell asleep again and has no memory of it when he listened to it again the next morning. So really we should be feeling lucky Satisfaction exists at all – and when the riff is this good, who needs a solo?