100 Worst Guitar Solos
“Hair of the Dog”
Hair of the Dog (1975)
GUITARIST: Manny Charlton
Really, has there ever been a better hard rock chorus than “Now you’re messin’ with [stomp! stomp!] a son of a bitch”? And has there ever been a more idiotic concept for a hard rock guitar solo than Manny Charlton’s interminable Talk Box excursion? The damn thing sounds like they let that duck from the Afflac commercial into the studio.
82 THE REPLACEMENTS
Let It Be (1984)
GUITARIST: Bob Stinson
What should have been a tongue-in-cheek Kiss cover ended up as a nose-in-ass tribute. From his heavily chorused intro to his leaden power chords, Stinson stomps through this song as if he’s wearing 12-inch platform heels. Whatever punk credibility the Replacements may have once possessed was destroyed for good by this misstep.
83 JOE SATRIANI
The Extremist (1992)
GUITARIST: Joe Satriani
Satriani got a lot of flack from critics who claimed his playing lacked emotion, so to prove he could play with feeling he called this song “Cryin’.” But with its insipid melody and excessive, harsh bends, the tune really deserves the title “Whinin’.” The album was mistitled, too—he should have named it The Excrement.
“Ride My Rocket”
Metal Magic (1983)
GUITARIST: Diamond Darrell
A blatant ripoff of Kiss’ “Detroit Rock City,” “Ride My Rocket” is typical of the fluffy hair metal Pantera churned out before undergoing an extreme makeover in 1990 with Cowboys from Hell. Diamond (yes, Dimebag went by the oh-so-glam name Diamond back then) Darrell’s lead work sounds like a warmup exercise from one of Doug Marks’ Metal Method instructional videos.
85 BLUES TRAVELER
“Closing Down the Park”
Live from the Fall (1996)
GUITARIST: Chan Kinchla
For 13 minutes, guitarist Chan Kinchla and harmonicat John Popper spray sloppy notes all over each other like Ebola victims with diarrhea. This park shouldn’t have been closed down; it should have been permanently quarantined.
86 THE BEATLES
“If You’ve Got Troubles”
Anthology 2 (1996)
GUITARIST: George Harrison
If you’ve got troubles, get Ringo to sing so you can blame the entire mess on him. George Harrison meanders on a meaningless riff that sounds like he’s trying to remember how to play “Taxman” (except that “Taxman” was written in 1966, one year after this Lennon/McCartney-penned outtake). Just before the instrumental break, Ringo pleads, “Ah, rock on, anybody!” and Harrison phones in a solo. Unfortunately, the operator failed to tell him his line was disconnected.
“Turn Up the Radio”
Sign in Please (1984)
GUITARIST: Steve Lynch
We bet radios were turned off whenever anyone broadcast this piece of corporate metal crap. Steve Lynch, a bizarre-looking man who apparently bathed in bronzer, is one of the clowns who turned Eddie Van Halen’s two-handed tapping technique into an overused cliché during the Eighties. It sounds like Lynch was playing with one hand down his pants.
88 DEAD BOYS
Young, Loud & Snotty (1977)
GUITARIST: Cheetah Chrome
This song must have gotten its title from the pedal Cheetah Chrome used to get his scratchy, piercing tone on this song’s solo. Chrome’s guitar sounds as small as a certain Green Day member’s member (check groupiedirt.com) and as whiny as Paris Hilton being forced to shop at Wal-Mart.
89 WHITE STRIPES
“Offend in Every Way”
White Blood Cells (2001)
GUITARIST: Jack White
Slipshod playing is a big part of Jack White’s shtick and garagerock appeal, but it can’t hide the fact that White is struggling with this song’s simplistic riff. His phrasing meanders as if he’s trying to remember the riff, and the botched G chord roughly two minutes into the song is one of the most painful mistakes ever recorded. Only an attempt at a solo could have made this recording more offensive.
Kilroy Was Here (1983)
GUITARIST: Tommy Shaw
Any number of Styx tunes belong on this list, from the creepy ballad “Babe” to the pompous rocker “Come Sail Away,” but here Tommy Shaw’s playing is so stiff, lifeless and predictable that you wish the band had replaced him with a robot.
“Need You Tonight”
GUITARISTS: Andrew Farriss, Tim Farriss, Kirk Pengilly
It wasn’t bad enough these Aussies built this song around an incredibly annoying cod-funk lick that would bore into your skull and stay there for days; they also used variations of the same lick in most of their other hits.
Filth Pig (1995)
GUITARISTS: Al Jourgensen, Mike Scaccia
This song’s main riff is so bogged down and soporific that it makes “Iron Man” sound like “Flight of the Bumblebee.” The beefy bass line and wailing harmonica evoke Zep’s “When the Levee Breaks,” but the swampy, stinky guitars ooze like a stream of fresh manure seeping from a Wisconsin dairy farm.
93 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND
Peakin’ at the Beacon (2000)
GUITARIST: Dickey Betts
Why Gregg Allman fired legendary guitarist and founding band member Dickey Betts is anyone’s guess, but the answer probably lies in this 27-minute instrumental jam, which is featured on a live album documenting Betts’ final shows with the group. The guitarist delivers tasteful, jazzy solos between extended acid house percussion jams, but like a bad LSD trip, this song seems to go on with no end in sight.
94 ERIC CLAPTON
“I’ve Got a Rock N’ Roll Heart”
Money and Cigarettes (1983)
A profoundly mediocre song from Clapton’s bad career patch (i.e., everything after Layla), this drab little toe-tapper finds the Armani bluesman bragging about how he gets off on, among other things, “a screaming guitar.” Then, on cue, he meekly tosses off clichéd blues lick #478, which only screams “has-been,” if anything at all.
95 SPIN DOCTORS
Pocket Full of Kryptonite (1991)
GUITARIST: Eric Schenkman
Back when the only danger New Yorkers had to worry about was being overrun by dippy jam bands, these idiots were the kings of the local scene. Listening to “Two Princes” now, it’s hard to imagine why—the vocalist’s attempts at scat singing are bad enough, but the draggy, patchouliscented, fake-funk riff that’s repeated through the entire song takes artlessness to a whole new level.
96 ROSIE & THE ORIGINALS
“Give Me Love”
The Best of Rosie & the Originals (1960)
GUITARIST: Noah Tafolla
“Angel Baby” remains one of the most charming ballads of the doo-wop era, but the real treat for guitar fans lies on the single’s flipside. Having used most of their studio time nailing the A-side, the Originals had just a few minutes in which to write and record this r&b stomper. The results sound like blues night at the brain injuries ward, and the unbelievably half-assed guitar solo is worth the price of admission alone.
“Down with the Sickness”
The Sickness (2000)
GUITARIST: Dan Donegan
Donegan pummels a repetitive alternating half-step pattern while singer David Draiman practices tropical birdcalls, and then the band falls into a mindnumbing one-chord groove. The only thing disturbing about this song is the fact that a major label thought anyone would like it.
The Other Side (2004)
GUITARIST: Tony Rombola
You have to appreciate the honesty of this song’s title. Tony Rombola’s painful solo sounds like he played it after someone poked his eyes out with a sharp stick.
99 THE REPLACEMENTS
GUITARISTS: Chris Mars, Tommy Stinson
Okay, this was supposed to suck in the first place—all four ’Mats traded instruments and attempted a blues jam to achieve the desired effect—but this appalling orgy of drunken cacophony is still a total chore to listen to, even if you’re already in on the joke.
100 MICHAEL JACKSON
“Black or White”
Shooting for another rock-crossover coup along the lines of Eddie Van Halen’s “Beat It” solo, Wacko Jacko placed a call to Slash, the hottest guitarist of the moment. Lightning failed to strike twice, however, and Eddie no doubt lost little sleep over Slash’s plodding contributions.
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