Poll Results: Eddie Van Halen's "Eruption" Tops Readers' List of the 50 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time
Soloist: Martin Barre
Album: Jethro Tull—Aqualung (Chrysalis, 1971)
Original Ranking: 25
“Aqualung was a difficult and very tense album to record, but at the end of the day it was important,” says Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre. “Ian wrote the riff and verses to the song ‘Aqualung,’ but he felt it needed a new section for the guitar break. I said, ‘Why don’t we just play the verse chords in half-time for the first part of the solo, then pick it back up for the rest of the solo?’ It was a simple solution that really worked.”
“While I was playing the solo, which was really going well, Jimmy Page walked into the control room and started waving. I thought, ‘Should I wave back and mess up the solo or should I just grin and carry on?’ Being a professional to the end, I just grinned.”
Soloist: Eric Clapton
Album: Slowhand (Polydor, 1977)
Original Ranking: 58
43. "The Star-Spangled Banner"
Soloist: Jimi Hendrix
Album: The Ultimate Experience (MCA, 1993)
Original Ranking: 52
Jimi Hendrix's legendary performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" still draws "love it or hate it" reactions so many decades later. For its time, it was certainly one of the most controversial renditions of the national anthem.
Hendrix did, after all, make his Strat sound a whole lot like airplanes, bombs and screams. Remember, there was a controversial war going on in August 1969. As always, Hendrix made his guitar sound like something no one had ever heard before, and his performance on the recording still confounds players.