100 Worst Guitar Solos
41 MÖTLEY CRÜE
“Looks That Kill”
Shout at the Devil (1983)
GUITARIST: Mick Mars
Mick Mars intended to shock and awe listeners, but the only thing shocking about his solo is how awful it sounds. His tinny, threadbare riff sounds like it was played on a child’s plastic toy guitar. By a child. Forget Saddam Hussein—the U.S. should punish Mars and C.C. DeVille for the horrific atrocities they committed on the guitar.
42 THE WHO
It’s Hard (1982)
GUITARIST: Pete Townshend
It’s hard, all right—hard to believe that the most exciting rock band in the world was reduced to churning out monotonous electro-pop, and harder still to swallow Townshend’s willingness to sound like nothing more than a third-rate Eighties Clapton. At least the video, in which Roger Daltrey appears in grave danger of being dwarfed by his Telecaster, is good for a few bitter chuckles.
“At War with Satan”
At War with Satan (1983)
GUITARIST: Jeff “Mantas” Dunn
Only the devil knows what possessed this novice English trio to tackle a 20-minute conceptual opus about the battle of Armageddon, but they were in way over their horned heads. The sloppy guitar, bass and drums clash so badly that the band members sound like they’re at war with one another.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Noodles got his name from his most unpunklike tendency to imitate hair metal guitarists. While he doesn’t play a traditional solo on this song, he does make thousands of dollars’ worth of guitar equipment sound like a 50-cent kazoo. That may be his greatest accomplishment.
45 JIMI HENDRIX
Blue Wild Angel (Digipak) (2003)
GUITARIST: Jimi Hendrix
About everything that could possibly go wrong did go wrong with Jimi Hendrix’s final festival performance at the Isle of Wight. But the reason this song sounds so bad has nothing to do with a drug-addled purple haze, overindulgence in red house wine or even the interruptions of security radio transmissions through Jimi’s Marshall stacks. The culprit was the dreaded “wardrobe malfunction.” Apparently, Jimi ripped the seam of his pants and popped the fly open after doing the splits, and his wild thing was threatening to burst stone free at any second. How would you play if you knew 600,000 people could be looking at your exposed willy?
GUITARIST: Peter Klett
This song was the second breakthrough hit for these grunge-lite rockers from Seattle, but we think someone should have broken the legs of the radio programmer who decided to force-feed this crap to the masses. The endlessly repeated guitar riff is the closest thing to a hook in this song, but it’s so dull that you couldn’t catch a sardine with it. How these idiots didn’t receive ritual beatings from total strangers is the greatest unsolved mystery of the 20th century.
47 MARILYN MANSON
Portrait of an American Family (1994)
This song’s unimaginative half-step riff makes you wish there was a 20-year ban on playing the “evil interval.” Daisy Berkowitz’s tone sounds as heavy as a flower petal, and his bombastic guitar solo is as explosive as a toy grenade.
Payable on Death (2003)
GUITARIST: Jason Truby
To prove himself as a player and good Christian, guitarist Jason Truby invited born-again guitar hero Phil Keaggy to record this overbearing instrumental duet, which should have remained in the musicians’ private collections. This performance makes you wish God had given Moses an 11th commandment: “Thou shalt not irritate your neighbor with mindless New Age drivel.”
GUITARIST: Tony Rombola
Featuring a drop-D riff so simple you could play it with a strap-on dildo, this song is as predictable as J. Lo and Marc Anthony’s impending divorce.
50 ALBERT KING
“Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight”
Red House (1991)
GUITARIST: Albert King
No longer challenged by the task of decimating the Hendrix legacy, producer Alan Douglas got busy destroying Albert King’s career before the blues legend died. The second strike against this misguided effort was Douglas’ decision to have King cover this James Taylor snoozer with the accompaniment of smooth-jazz synth strings, Kenny G–style soprano sax and cooing background vocals. Throw in booze-drenched accompaniment by Joe Walsh and King strikes out before he even approaches the plate to play his first note.
GUITARIST: Michael Angelo
Listening to Michael Angelo’s shrill, hyperspeed shredding is more torturous than hot dog night at Abu Ghraib. You’ll want to throw yourself in front of a freight train before his solo ends.
52 JEFFERSON STARSHIP
“By My Lady”
Winds of Change (1982)
GUITARIST: Craig Chaquico
Craig Chaquico thought it was a good idea to make his triple-harmonized guitar solo sound like a pan flute, but no one else did. Guitarist Pete Sears and his wife, Jeannette, penned this drippy ballad, but to us it sounds like they stole it from Sears & Roebuck.
53 LOU REED
Metal Machine Music (1975)
GUITARIST: Lou Reed
This entire double album offers nothing but atonal, meandering distortion, feedback and guitar noise layered into a numbing, deafening, rhythmless racket for 64 minutes. Reed once said, “Anyone who gets to side four is dumber than I am.” That may be the most honest summary imaginable for this musical abortion.
54 BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978)
GUITARISTS: Bruce Springsteen,
Steve Van Zandt Powerful vocals. Huge arrangement. Bombastic production. Thin lead guitar tone.
“Lay It on the Line”
Just a Game (1979)
GUITARIST: Rik Emmett
This is a good song…for me to poop on! Canada should apologize to America for foisting this comic dog of a band on us during the Seventies. Rik Emmett plods through vapid power chords before blasting into his solo with all the panache and finesse of a bulldog mounting a poodle. At best, Triumph were a B-grade version of Rush—Limbaugh, that is.
“Walk This Way”
Live! Bootleg (1978)
GUITARISTS: Joe Perry and Brad Whitford
Aerosmith rip through their funkiest hit at almost twice the speed of the studio original, completely losing the groove in the process. One of the roadies must’ve been waving an eightball at them from the side of the stage.
57 THE CRAMPS
Songs the Lord Taught Us (1980)
GUITARIST: Bryan Gregory
The maxed-out fuzz box can’t disguise the fact that Gregory can’t play. Remarkably, he fails to play even one note in key. To make matters worse, his band mate, Poison Ivy— a girl—humiliates him by playing a primitive but noteperfect rockabilly solo a few bars later. No wonder the kids in Gregory’s Brooklyn neighborhood used to mock this ghoul-faced girlie-boy by singing Nick Gilder’s “Hot Child in the City” whenever he walked past.
GUITARIST: Neal Schon
It’s too easy to diss anything Neal Schon has done. After all, he’s the idiot who allegedly tried to kick Carlos Santana out of Santana. But the solo on “Faithfully” sums up everything that was wrong with Eighties rock guitar, and then some. The wimpy wankfest that ends this song is so overplayed, overblown and overextended that you wish it was over now.
59 THE CULT
“Born to Be Wild”
GUITARIST: Billy Duffy
Apparently, no one told Billy Duffy that a Bigsby tremolo will knock your guitar out of tune. Like the hillbillies in Deliverance, Duffy made his Gretsch White Falcon squeal like a pig, and the final passage of his solo may be the most unintentionally out-of-tune noise ever released by a major label. Duffy deserves to be sodomized by the entire Hells Angels for the disgrace he made of this biker anthem.
“Spit It Out”
GUITARISTS: Jim Root, Mick Thomson
Even Jenna Jameson would have trouble swallowing the soggy wad of a riff on this limp attempt to fuse hip-hop and metal. The eerie guitar sounds in the midsection are supposed to complement the samples, but they just suck.
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