Jul 042012

A friend of mine posted this on his FB page (his band was included!):


I found this to be a highly entertaining trip through the last 40 years. I had a little difficulty with numbers 89-92 or so, but was happy to wear my RTH Badge of Rock Knowledge and was able to recognize and name most of the riffs included.

But I’m a guitar neophyte (still at a very avid Beginner level on Guitar Hero) and can’t really comment on 1. the dude’s skill and 2. whether he played the licks in the keys they were originally written.

What do you think of this of medley of 100 guitar licks? Is it sufficiently inclusive? Are their any that really don’t belong or any songs that unfairly missed the cut?

Previously: Songs You Play in Music Stores…


  20 Responses to “How Many Licks Does It Take?”

  1. That was pretty good in a a showy kind of way. I’m pretty sure he’s playing all of this on the level, although it sounds like he has more effects pedals then he lets on. I thought the 2 that sounded most off were both Santana riffs (“Black Magic Woman” and “Smooth”) because I think Carlos plays in some non-standard mode.
    Nitpick: CVB only covered “Pictures of Matchstick Men” from Status Quo and they play the riff entirely on violin.

  2. I don’t think Prince made the cut. Maybe the opening riff from “When Doves Cry” or a bit of “Purple Rain” would be appropriate.

  3. ladymisskirroyale

    True, that.

  4. ladymisskirroyale

    I’m kind of wondering where were The Clash, Elvis Costello, PJ Harvey, Sex Pistols, Blur, Bowie, Heart (Barracuda, for goodness sake!) and many others that seemed more iconic than some of included.

  5. Wasn’t “Barracuda” in there?

  6. As someone who gets total “music store fright,” I was highly impressed by this. I thought his playing was good, and he covered a good range of styles without being too mainstream or too rock snobby about his choices. I am tempted to see if I can play along with a few of these excerpts and learn at least 5 licks to play in a music store.

  7. It was also light on country/folk rock. Certainly the riff from the Byrd’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” is a pretty strong contender for inclusion.

    And yeah, Barracuda was in there.

  8. cliff sovinsanity

    Although there was a good dose of surf, I would have included Walk Don’t Run. Also, where the heck was Frankenstein??? That song is riffulific.

  9. As good as this guy is, I guarantee he has 100 riffs Part II that would satisfy everyone’s requests. The fact that he was able to manage the guitar effects, play the riffs, and fiddle with the slide in a split second……..solid work.

  10. ladymisskirroyale

    If so, I’m too old or too deaf to recall.

  11. Well said, and welcome aboard!

  12. trigmogigmo

    He’s good, but some of the riffs seemed a little textbook to me. “Sultans of Swing” stuck out as not swinging, if you know what I mean. Of course, switching from riff to riff for a bar a time doesn’t lend itself to getting in the groove any one in particular.

  13. pudman13

    Very impressive and well done. It’s always easy to quibble with this kind of list of course. The obvious problem with it is that it’s so modern-centric. There’s nowhere near enough 50s and 60s on it (the one most significant missing riff, IMO, is “Oh Pretty Woman”) and not enough 70s either. Punk gets just one Ramones hook, no Clash, no Sex Pistols, etc… No power pop at all (“Twilley’s “I’m On Fire” and the Raspberries “Go All The Way” should be on any list of all time great riffs, just to name two), way too many modern songs I’ve never even heard, why Muse but no Radiohead, etc? The most noticeable thing to me—that Stone Temple Pilots song is something I’ve never heard before but they completely stole that riff from the Dictators’ “Minnesota Strip!” Regardless, he’s pretty slick.

  14. pudman13

    RE: Heart. “Barracuda” was in there, but “Crazy On You,” which is the greatest guitar hook in rock and roll history, was not. Also, where’s the funk and R&B????

  15. It was an impressive effort. I thought he choose a few too many grunge and post grunge songs but no one is going to be 100% happy with the song selection. I agree with Hammertime that his ability to switch to a slide (and tune on the fly) was impressive. I think that he had someone switching the effects for him (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

  16. Hmm, in the time it took me to write the post above, I notice that Pudman addressed all of the same issues, only more eloquently.

  17. schneids

    not a bad sampling of staple riffs, but was there any prog beside rush? did i miss the intro to “roundabout”?

  18. cherguevara

    That’s a big pitch you’re throwing out there! “The greatest guitar hook in rock and roll history.”

  19. An early Kinks song would’ve been nice.

  20. bostonhistorian

    Meh. There’s a version Bill Kirchen version of Hot Rod Lincoln where he does a similar schtick: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77Rl1zNIpzg

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