We recently asked some of the guitar world’s best-known players to name their favorite lesser-known guitar solos. Here are Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens’ top five choices…
1) George Benson with the Brother Jack McDuff Quartet | 1964 live performance
GUITARIST: George Benson
“Just Google ‘1964 – Brother Jack McDuff Quartet (live video).’ A 21-year-old George Benson playing a Gibson Les Paul has to be seen to be believed. He’s trading solos at breakneck speed. At one turn, George starts imitating a chicken, never forgetting to be entertaining as well as virtuosic.”
2) Yes | “Yours Is No Disgrace” (live) from the ‘Sounding Out’ TV special (1971)
GUITARIST: Steve Howe
“It’s on YouTube. This live version is the best I’ve ever heard. No one was soloing like this in a rock band context in 1971. Blinding alternate picking. It’s as if he were channeling Joe Pass and Chet Atkins.”
3) Guthrie Govan | “Fives” from ‘Erotic Cakes’ (2006)
GUITARIST: Guthrie Govan
“He’s the best guitar soloist I’ve heard in 20 years. Even if this piece didn’t include a solo, I’d put it on this list. It’s a killer composition. Like Eddie Van Halen before him, he’s damn good fun to listen to.”
4) The New Tony Williams Lifetime | “Red Alert” from ‘Believe It’ (1975)
GUITARIST: Allan Holdsworth
“Allan Holdsworth gets such tone. A masterwork in how to build tension and melody to finally stun you with fury and speed. It’s like Coltrane on electric guitar.”
5) Scorpions | “Catch Your Train” from ‘Virgin Killer’ (1976)
GUITARIST: Uli Jon Roth
“Uli Jon Roth is the forerunner to neoclassical metal guitar. Beautifully recorded. The use of reverb to complement the solo is artful in the way it enhances the long, sustained notes.”
Pick up a copy of Billy Idol’s latest release – The Roadside – here.
Get The Pick Newsletter
All the latest guitar news, interviews, lessons, reviews, deals and more, direct to your inbox!
Guitar Player is the world’s most comprehensive, trusted and insightful guitar publication for passionate guitarists and active musicians of all ages. Guitar Player magazine is published 13 times a year in print and digital formats. The magazine was established in 1967 and is the world's oldest guitar magazine.
When "Guitar Player Staff" is credited as the author, it's usually because more than one author on the team has created the story.
"I was playing the wrong key and everything, but it didn't seem to matter": Watch George Harrison play a Little Richard classic with Deep Purple in 1984
“It was a way to kind of memorialize the folks that I lost”: Grieving the death of his grandparents and close friend Joey DeFrancesco, jazz guitar ace Dan Wilson found solace in creating his beautiful new album, Things Eternal