Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Famous Guitar Riffs

When the stage musical The Who's Tommy opened on Broadway, I remember seeing an interview with someone involved in the show, who talked about how difficult it was to put "Pinball Wizard" on a stage.  Not so much the actual staging of the number, but the idea that "Pinball Wizard" was such a well-known song, you risked trouble by messing with it.

And what that person said was that "Pinball Wizard" starts with what has got to be one of the three most famous guitar riffs in the history of rock music.

And I thought, "Yeah."

And then I thought, "What are the other two?" 

I am certain one of them is the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction."

Any thoughts on the other?

I have been wondering about this (on and off) for years.

The other night, I went to the Simon & Garfunkel concert, and was surprised at how distinct and recognizable the riff for "Hazy Shade of Winter" was -- even more recognizable than "Sound of Silence," which is obviously the much more successful song.  But as strong as the opening riff for "Hazy Shade of Winter" is, I just can't rank it up there with "Pinball Wizard" and "Satisfaction" because the song wasn't that huge.

So, what's the obvious guitar riff I'm missing?

7 comments:

rinakatay21 said...

How about the opening to Sweet Home Alabama? Or Stairway to Heaven? Or Hotel California?

nzforme said...

Ooo. I like. And (answering my own question) how about "Come Together"?

rinakatay21 said...

That's good too! We'll never know the answer to this, huh?

hempenhomespun said...

"Sweet Home Alabama" was my thought too. Three notes into that song you know what you're hearing.

mlraminiak said...

A couple of suggestions: The intro to the Beatles' Daytripper was my first thought. And for those of you who aren't QUITE as old as I am, how about Stairway to Heaven?

mlraminiak said...

My husband insisted I "re-comment" and add Derek and the Dominoes "Layla" to the list. Think he's probably right on that one...

olddog299 said...

Methinks you have to go back even earlier to either "Louie, Louii" or "Ain't nothing but a hound dog". < I admit I am over the hill and twice as moldy. Crawling back under my toadstool now >