Pedal to the Metal: The 25 Greatest Wah Solos of All Time
We pick the 25 greatest rock and roll wah solos of all time.
20. "Stop" — Jane's Addiction (Ritual de lo habitual, 1990)
Soloist: Dave Navarro
Written all the way back in 1986, it would take four years for this Ritual de lo habitual cut to be unleashed upon the music world as large, climbing to No. 1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks behind the strength of a high-energy performance from vocalist Perry Farrell and a muscular, wah-driven lead from Dave Navarro.
19. "The Needle and the Spoon" — Lynyrd Skynyrd (Second Helping, 1974)
Soloist: Allen Collins
A clear tip of the hat to Eric Clapton's solo from "White Room," Allen Collins pulls out the wah to blend Sixties psychedelia seamlessly into a bona-fide Southern-rock classic.
18. "If You Have to Ask" — Red Hot Chili Peppers (Blood Sugar Sex Magik, 1991)
Soloist: John Frusciante
On this cut from 1991's mega-selling Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante turns in a sparse, stop-start wah solo fitting for the song's funk-rock minimalism. Fun fact: On the studio version, you can hear the band and production crew applauding Frusciante's guitar work as the song comes to an end.
17. "Whole Lotta Love" — Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin II, 1969)
While much of the bizzare, alien soundscape in the middle section of "Whole Lotta Love" is directly attributable to Jimmy Page's groundbreaking use of backwards tape echo and Page and engineer Eddie Kramer "twiddling every knob known to man," the wah pedal does make an appearance, adding a valuable, extra dimension to Page's most otherworldly guitar work this side of the Lucifer Rising soundtrack.
16. "The Joker" — Steve Miller Band (The Joker, 1973)
Soloist: Steve Miller
Perfect for all those midnight tokers out there, Steve Miller's laid-back lead work on "The Joker" doesn't go overboard on the wah, opting instead for the tasteful, restrained approach. Fun fact: This song shot back to the top of the charts in 1990, thanks to a popular ad for Levi's jeans.
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