Guitar riffs are all but essential in Rock ‘n’ Roll music. Often times, a guitar riff will be much more memorable than a song’s melody. Take AC/DC’s “Back in Black” for example. The first thing that pops into your mind when you think of that song is definitely not the chorus. It is the riff! There are countless examples of songs like this: “Bad to the Bone” by George Thorogood and the Destroyers, “Enter Sandman” by Metallica, “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, etc. etc. There are also songs with great riffs AND great melodies that go hand-in-hand such as “Day Tripper” by the Beatles, “Life’s Been Good” by Joe Walsh, and “Money” by Pink Floyd. Long story short, guitar riffs can be totally sweet. Here are five that I find especially sweet (of course, in no particular order).
1. “Show Me How to Live” by Audioslave. Riff by guitarist Tom Morello.
I don’t know if there is a more get-psyched riff than this one. Super funky with that nasty Tom Morello distortion. Also a fantastic decision having the bass double the riff. It doesn’t always work, but in this case it is awesome.
2.”I Feel Fine” by the Beatles. Riff by guitarist George Harrison.
This riff is fantastic, and it is often included on “Greatest Riffs of All Time” lists. For as much as I make fun of George Harrison for his oft goofy guitar solos, almost every time I make a “Bla Bla Bla Guitar Something” list, he has a song on it. Good for you, George.
3. “Broken Heart” by Falling Up. Riff by guitarist Jessy C. Ribordy.
I bet you haven’t heard of Falling Up! I think this band was very difficult to market considering their genre was electronic progressive grunge Christian punk metal. This riff and song are sweet. If you want to check them out further listen to the album Crashings.
4. “Everything” by Pillar. Riff by guitarist Noah Henson.
Pillar is… not the best band, but when they are on they are on get-psyched-wise! Oh and this riff… This riff gets you psyched.
5. “Chem 6A” by Switchfoot. Riff by guitarist Jon Foreman.
Switchfoot was one of my favorite bands growing up and I still love most of their music with Oh Gravity and their newest piece of garbage being the exceptions. But this riff always makes me smile. The guitar tone is so 90s. Brings me back to the good old days.
Do you have any favorite riffs? Pop them in the comments section! Any suggestions for blog posts you would like to see? Also pop them in the comments section. Have a great week everybody! Enjoy life and enjoy music!