Today, I came across an article entitled 7 of the worst guitar solos of all time. The article was posted on metro.co.uk way back in the day. In February 2016 to be precise by someone called “Metro Music Reporter”.
I’ll be honest, the title worked. It immediately caught my eye and I clicked the article and read through it from start to finish. Very well done to whoever wrote the piece. Your mission was successful.
The writer may have achieved their goal which I assume is to generate traffic but was the reporter right? Were the guitar solos listed in this “worst guitar solos of all time” article actually the worst guitar solos of all time? Were they even bad? Let’s go through the list 1 guitar solo at a time and find out.
7 of the worst guitar solos of all time by a music reporter at Metro
When I first saw the heading, I was initially quite excited. I thought “wow, I get to listen to some complete **** and bury it on Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat for fun”. Then, as the article loaded, my thoughts turned to what may be included in the list (I think very quickly don’t I?)
Then it dawned on me that I couldn’t actually think of any recordings with particularly dreadful guitar solos. Mundane? Yes. Boring? Absolutely. But bad? The worst of all time? Nothing came to mind.
My anticipation was slowly turning to concern as I tried to navigate past the banner ad that was glued in place, seemingly by the freeze panes button in Microsoft Excel. I started to think “is this going to really annoy me?”
My worry soon disappeared though as I concluded that the writer probably has some form of criteria for the “worst guitar solos of all time” and that everything will be explained, and I can at that point either agree or disagree.
Yep, that few seconds was a whirlwind of emotion for me, so I decided to reserve judgement until I’d read the article in full. Let’s dissect it together.
Worst guitar solos of all time #1 the Beatles – Get Back
The first thing that alarmed me about Get Back being included in a list of the worst guitar solos of all time was the fact that it was here in the first place. My alarmedness (I know it’s not, but it is now) increased when I saw the caption below the photo that was used. The caption inferred that John Lennon was told that the solo was good so that everyone could go home. This clearly wasn’t meant to be taken literally, but it set the tone.
The article goes on to comment on the title of the song and how it should refer to how the producer should have said “get back in and try again” but instead, they got it in one take.
The blame for the Get Back solo ending up on this worst guitar solos of all time list is given to John Lennon. The article states that Lennon’s solo was executed badly and even suggested that Lennon performed a poor solo on purpose as a screw you to Paul.
Lame conspiracies aside, is the Get Back solo even that bad? My assumption is that the writer is referring to the final seconds of the first guitar solo. Everything prior to this is perfectly fine and actually fits the track nicely and gels into the groove pretty well. The last few seconds can be perceived as “out” but I think that’s too simplistic of a view. Is it the best Beatles solo ever? No. Does it deserve a spot on a list of worst guitar solos of all time? I don’t see how.
The Get Back solo is hardly memorable, but it’s not exactly offensive to the ears either. The tone of the guitar, I thought was actually quite nice. As for the solo itself, it wasn’t remarkable but it did a job.
Bad start. Get back to the drawing board is the feedback for this one. Oh, by the way. On the subject of Beatles guitar solos, be sure to check out this article that I wrote which discusses 9 of the best Beatles guitar solos ever. Oh and if you’re a guitarist, be sure to check out my latest lesson which will show you how to play a Beatles classic in just a couple of minutes.
Worst guitar solos of all time #2 the Beastie Boys – (You Gotta Fight) For Your Right (To Party)
I think it would be fair to say that the writer dislikes the guitar solo from this track. The writer switches from the idea that the solo is so bad that it must be a parody, to the complete opposite end of the spectrum suggesting that heart went into every single note of this “dog turd”.
Firstly, congrats on incorporating the phrase dog turd into a review piece. I think I’ll try to get that into my next article somehow. Secondly, excrement aside, if a music reporter is unsure whether something is a parody, it must be bad right?
Okay I get why this is here. This solo is rather clunky and awkward. The writer makes a point that this recording sounds like a band who has had one practice session and I kind of get where he’s coming from. This guitar solo takes me all the way back to when I studied music at college, trying to pull a performance out of guys that had no business being there.
I’d cringe whilst listening to them improvising over some chord progression and at the end I’d say “yeah that was good dude”. My real feelings for what was going on at that time match my feelings toward this guitar solo. MUST DO BETTER.
Worst guitar solos of all time #3 Rihanna – California King Bed
Let’s break the 4th wall. I can’t remember this song. I read through the article, taking in how the writer describes the track and the production of it but I just can’t remember it. The name rings a bell so I’m going to listen now.
Is the guitar “weak, fizzy and harsh” as described by the writer? Are the notes “static and lifeless?” Does the solo sound like someone is trying to pull the guitar out of the performer’s hands as he’s playing it?
Give me a few minutes, I’ll go find out.
Oh yes I remember it now. Yeah, our writer was correct. The rhythm guitars are fizzy and harsh. Frankly, they’re poorly mixed when you consider we’re at the top of the music tree here. This isn’t a basement recording yet the guitars do sound like mum is above having a cup of coffee and it’s even more noticeable when you get to the solo.
The concept of performing the main melody on the lead guitar for the solo isn’t exactly unique. It isn’t unique because it works. This approach can be very effective indeed and if it wasn’t, this list would be at least a hundred thousand entries long. There’s no way that our writer included this solo for that reason.
I do see why it was included though because it does feel a little flat and the mix really isn’t great. It has one of those “that’ll do” feels about it. With a little effort, this could have been a really good lead guitar part but the lack of respect shown to my instrument here is a little irritating. 2 out of 10 for effort. The concept was fine and it was played in key. Everything else was missing.
I expect more. It’s like sitting down to watch a new Jurassic Park film and finding that the plot is good and you like the acting, but you can see the zippers on the dinosaur costumes. You’d expect that from a low budget Netflix rip off but not from whoever makes Jurassic Park.. I don’t know films.
Worst guitar solos of all time #4 Arctic Monkeys – I Bet That You Look Good on the Dance Floor
Harsh words are thrown Alex Turner’s way here as, according to the writer, Turner’s performance of the lead guitar from I Bet That You Look Good on the Dance Floor sounds like a beginner improvising with the minor pentatonic scale.
I get where the writer is coming from but I’d say that the criticism is a little over the top. A spot on a worst guitar solos of all time list is certainly overkill.
The first lead guitar part is for me, more of an introduction intended to take us to the first verse. A screaming Satriani style pie in the sky affair wouldn’t really work here. What was served up did the job in a perfectly acceptable way.
There’s more of a case for criticising the second guitar solo but what exactly were you hoping for here? It’s so dam short that there isn’t really time to do much else with it. The solo isn’t performed to virtuoso guitarist levels, but one of the worst guitar solos of all time? Come on.
Is this the best guitar playing I’ve ever heard? No, but I can say that about a lot of guitar music. It dam sure isn’t the worst though. On the subject of best, be sure to check out my article on the best Arctic Monkeys songs ever. Spoiler, this song is on the list.
Worst guitar solos of all time #5 Van Halen – Jump
It really doesn’t sit well with me to be using the name Van Halen in this context. Does one of the greatest guitar players ever to walk the earth deserve a place on a worst guitar solos of all time list? The writer of this article seems to think that his solo work in Jump is enough to earn that spot.
In the article, the guitar solo from Jump is described as meaningless and boring. The article goes on to say that the solo has nothing to do with the song, that it’s technically good, but nothing more. The phrase “a cacophonous wreck” was also used.
The above is way over the top in my opinion. Yes, it’s very technical, but to basically label it as mindless shredding is cheap and to include it on a list such as this is ridiculous. I thought that the variation in sound in Jump provided by this guitar solo was very welcome actually and also necessary to the song. Imagine Jump without it?
It’s true that many guitarists focus on the “hey look at me” factor too much but to cast this solo into that category is puzzling to me. Not everything fast and flashy is and I quote “wankery”.
To say that the solo doesn’t fit the mood of the song is one thing (I happen to disagree) but effectively saying that this is one of the worst guitar solos of all time, partly because of how sensationally impressive it is technically boggles the mind.
Worst guitar solos of all time #6 Kirk Hammett – most songs?
Yeah f*** that. You can’t just say Kirk Hammett, most songs really. The topic of whether Kirk Hammett is a good lead guitarist or not is a subject on its own. I’m not really sure where to go with this so I’m just going to move on. If you have such an issue with the guy’s solos, why not just pick 1 and explain the reasoning. I genuinely don’t understand why this is even a part of the list.
Worst guitar solos of all time #7 Poison – Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Ouch. This is a brutal assassination. It went on for some time but my favourite part was that DeVille shows us how to murder a song and play guitar like a 7 year old with an innate fear of strings.
The musical side to this atomic bomb suggests that the solo sounds as if DeVille only knows 4 licks and just played them one after the other with no thought.
Is this the most exciting guitar solo in the world? No. Is it the most expressive? No. Does the crucifixion that I just read reflect what I heard? No. For these reasons, I’d argue that this guitar solo doesn’t warrant a place on this list.
This is a guitar solo that’s serviceable, it’s alright, and it’s adequate. To say that the performer just played a few licks without any thought is a confusing assessment. You can clearly hear that there’s more to it than that. Plenty of thought was given to this composition.
Plenty of thought may have been given to the composition of the final guitar solo on this list of the worst guitar solos of all time by Metro but I can’t say the same for the article you’re reading now. I just write the first thing that comes to mind.
In contrast, our friend at Metro clearly puts some effort into their writing and I applaud them for that. I also applaud them for creating an extremely interesting and gripping piece. I certainly haven’t agreed with everything but I certainly enjoyed reading the opinions of this writer.
The truth is, I was probably never going to agree with everything I read. Music is very subjective and the phrase “worst guitar solos” is undefined because even that phrase could mean different things to different people. As I mentioned earlier, I thought that the writer would put forward their definition of what they meant by the phrase but they didn’t (unless I missed it but I’ve closed the tab now so I guess I will never know).
I don’t have a problem with the lack of definition because to be honest, I don’t think I could define it either. It catches the eye though doesn’t it?
Overall this was a very interesting read on a rather vague topic.
Hello. My name is Ryan J Mellor and I play the guitar. I’m also the creator of Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. I’ve ben a guitarist for many years and my guitar playing has been described as “above average”. My guitar and music knowledge is somewhat impressive but most importantly, I have a passion for creating great guitar and music related content.