By Amanda Wicks
A panel of critics, bands and readers voted on the best guitar solos of all time. And their number one choice? Jimmy Page’s solo in Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.”
The 1971 track came in at the top spot, even though Page doesn’t think it’s his best work. “Is ‘Stairway To Heaven’ my best Zeppelin guitar solo?” he said in an interview with Classic Rock magazine. “No, but it’s pretty damn good. The solo was done very quickly – in actual fact there were already layers underneath, the bottleneck you can hear was on before the solo. Anyway, I just said, ‘Roll it,’ took a deep breath, that’s what I usually do, and then go. I had a couple of cracks at it because you didn’t have as many options as you would have now. Back then you had 16 tracks and could only put guitar solos down where the vocal wasn’t.”
Page is glad people appreciate the solo, but he prefers others. He didn’t elaborate on which songs, though.
Members of Led Zeppelin have been embroiled in a copyright lawsuit surrounding “Stairway to Heaven.” Even though Led Zeppelin won the initial trial in June, Spirit guitarist Randy California has appealed the judge’s decision and continues to claim that a 1968 track his band wrote informed Led Zeppelin’s later song.
Besides Led Zeppelin, the Classic Rock panel named solos from Pink Floyd, The Eagle and Lynyrd Skynyrd as among the best. Check out the top five below.
- Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin – “Stairway To Heaven”
- David Gilmour/ Pink Floyd – “Comfortably Numb”
- Don Felder and Joe Walsh/Eagles – “Hotel California”
- Allen Collins/Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Freebird”
- Jimi Hendrix/The Jimi Hendrix Experience – “All Along The Watchtower”