I thought about what would be the most recognizable riffs in rock music. This doesn’t mean I like these the best… I’m sure I missed many more. They are in no particular order.
- Smoke On The Water – Probably the most well-known riff of Rock and Roll. I’ve heard so many beginning guitar players butcher this one… and I was one of them at one time.
- Satisfaction – This helped start Keith Richards on his way to becoming The Human Riff. The intro is immediately recognizable.
- Daytripper – John Lennon was no slouch creating memorable riffs. I Feel Fine, Yer Blues and Daytripper…My personal favourite is And Your Bird Can See
- Black Dog – To my surprise, this riff was not Jimmy Page…it was written by the very underrated John Paul Jones
- You Really Got Me – As soon as that early raw distorted guitar starts you know the very English Ray Davies is about to sing.
- Another One Bites the Dust – It’s a Bass intro that won’t leave your head. When it came out I could not go anywhere without hearing someone hum, whistle, or sing it…it is infectious
- Purple Haze – Jimi’s intro that shot him in the stratosphere.
- Wild Thing and Louie Louie – Same three-chord pattern but you know what they are right away.
- Baba O’ Riley – As soon as you hear the first 2 seconds…you know what it is.
- Back in Black – AC/DC using the same chords over and over to great effect.
Honourable Mention… Hard Days Night, Can’t Explain, Sunshine of Your Love, Sweet Home Alabama.