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 (opens in new tab).
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