10 Rock Songs with Unforgettable Guitar Riffs

10 Rock Songs with Unforgettable Guitar Riffs | Society Of Rock Videos

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Guitar riffs have the remarkable power to captivate our ears and inspire countless musicians and music enthusiasts around the world. These iconic licks are etched into the annals of music history, and they continue to resonate with us.

10 of these timeless riffs have become an integral part of pop culture and have encouraged countless guitarists to pick up their instruments and jam.

“Sunshine of Your Love” – Cream

The unforgettable bassline for “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream, a 1967 hit, was inspired by Jack Bruce’s experience watching Jimi Hendrix perform in concert. When Eric Clapton joins in with the iconic riff, it transforms into an ultra-catchy masterpiece. Clapton cherished this song so much that he continued to perform it in his solo shows. Even Jimi Hendrix himself covered it, unaware that he was the original source of inspiration.


“Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” – Jimi Hendrix Experience

While “Purple Haze” gave us the famous Hendrix chord, it’s the last song on Electric Ladyland, “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” that showcases Jimi Hendrix at his finest. This killer riff, complete with his signature wah-wah pedal and a mind-blowing solo, exemplifies Hendrix’s electric guitar genius.


“Whole Lotta Love” – Led Zeppelin

Jimmy Page, a master of guitar riffs, delivered one of his best in “Whole Lotta Love” on Led Zeppelin II in 1969. With its bluesy and incredibly heavy main phrase and a jaw-dropping solo, this song stands as the Holy Grail of riffs for Zeppelin fans.


“Smoke on the Water” – Deep Purple

Raise your hand if this riff inspired you to pick up a guitar. “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple, dating back to 1972, boasts one of the world’s most famous guitar riffs. Ritchie Blackmore conjured this unforgettable four-note blues scale melody in G minor, harmonized in parallel fourths, using his famous 1968 black Stratocaster in Montreaux, Switzerland, while working on the seminal album “Machine Head.”

“Back in Black” – AC/DC

“Back in Black” is another riff of epic proportions, with Angus Young’s airtight guitar work, including the powerful opening E chord. Its distinctive sound makes it instantly recognizable, setting the stage for a rock classic.


“Iron Man” – Black Sabbath

Tony Iommi, the left-handed guitarist for Black Sabbath, is a true icon in the world of heavy metal and rock music. His influence is immeasurable, and he’s responsible for crafting numerous classic riffs that have left an indelible mark on the music industry. One of the standout examples of his riff mastery can be found in “Iron Man.” This legendary track features a collection of unforgettable riffs, but it’s the slow, doomy blues of the main riff that truly captivates listeners.


“Layla” – Derek & the Dominos

Derek & the Domino’s “Layla” released in 1970, features a distinguished guitar riff that remains iconic to this day. This riff is as classic now as it was upon release, epitomizing an epic rock song with an unforgettable guitar riff.


“La Grange” – ZZ Top

ZZ Top’s hit “La Grange” from the album Tres Hombres is a true classic. With its lowdown and dirty riff, Billy Gibbons harnessed the bluesy magic of John Lee Hooker. The song’s distinctive tone comes from Gibbons’ 1955 Fender Strat and a 2×10 Fender Tremolux amp.


“Money for Nothing” – Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler’s hit “Money for Nothing” showcases his distinctive guitar riff. Knopfler aimed for a tone reminiscent of Billy Gibbons, using a Les Paul Jr into a Laney 2×12 amp and a Morley wah pedal to achieve the unique sound. An accidental microphone placement contributed to the unforgettable tone.


“Johnny B. Goode” – Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry’s intro to “Johnny B. Goode” borrowed from Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five’s “Ain’t That Just Like A Woman.” However, Berry’s passionate rendition, complete with sliding double-stops and ferocity, transformed it into a unique rock ‘n’ roll sound. Berry revolutionized jump blues into rock ‘n’ roll, setting the stage for the genre’s explosion into mainstream music.

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