A few years ago, the editors of Guitar World magazine compiled what we feel is the ultimate guide to the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time.
The list, which has been quoted by countless artists, websites and publications around the world, starts with Richie Sambora's work on Bon Jovi's “Wanted Dead or Alive” (Number 100) and builds to a truly epic finish with Jimmy Page's solo on "Stairway to Heaven" (Number 1).
To quote our "Stairway to Heaven" story that ran with the list, "If Jimmy Page is the Steven Spielberg of guitarists, then 'Stairway' is his Close Encounters."
We've kicked off a summer blockbuster of our own — a no-holds-barred six-string shootout. We're pitting Guitar World's top 64 guitar solos against each other in an NCAA-style, 64-team single-elimination tournament. Every day, we will ask you to cast your vote in a different guitar-solo matchup as dictated by the 64-team-style bracket.
You can vote only once per matchup. The voting for each matchup ends as soon as the next matchup is posted (Basically, that's one poll per day during the first round of elimination, including weekends and holidays).
In some cases, genre will clash against genre; a thrash solo might compete against a Southern rock solo, for instance. But let's get real: They're all guitar solos, played on guitars, by guitarists, most of them in some subset of the umbrella genre of rock. When choosing, it might have to come down to, "Which solo is more original and creative? Which is more iconic? or Which one kicks a larger, more impressive assemblage of asses?"
Winner: "Cliffs of Dover" (74.66 percent)
Loser: "Sympathy for the Devil" (25.34 percent)
Today: The Final Round 1 Matchup (Day 32)
"One" Vs. "Cocaine"
Round 1 of Guitar World's Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time readers poll is almost complete! There's just "one" more matchup. How fitting that today, Metallica's "One" (07) — featuring a solo by Kirk Hammett — is going head to head with Eric Clapton's "Cocaine" (58). Once again, remember that the Round 2 matchups will make a lot more sense! Check out the bracket in the photo gallery below to see what's coming up next week.
By the way, Hammett has already lost to Brian May ("Brighton Rock") and David Gilmour ("Comfortably Numb"), so he needs to win this one to move into the second round. Although Clapton has lost several Round 1 matchups ("Layla," for instance, took a beating earlier this week), he has already advanced to the second round courtesy of his solo on the Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."
Get busy! You'll find the poll at the very bottom of the story.
Soloist: Kirk Hammett
Album: Metallica—…And Justice for All (Elektra, 1988)
Soloist: Eric Clapton
Album: Slowhand (Polydor, 1977)
[[ When you're done voting, start learning every guitar solo in this poll — and more! Check out a new TAB book from Guitar World and Hal Leonard: 'The 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time: A Treasure Trove of Guitar Leads Transcribed Note-for-Note, Plus Song Notes for More Than 40 of the Best Solos.' It's available now at the Guitar World Online Store for $29.99. ]]
Winner: "One" (59.12 percent)
Loser: "Cocaine" (40.88 percent)