My Top Ten – Air Guitar Classics

A new series, something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while.  I’m hardly the first to indulge in lists, top tens or otherwise, but I think it will be fun, and maybe spark some rival choices.

Thought I’d start with something that is just pure fun: the air guitar playlist. Those songs that make you want to imagine you are there on lead guitar, or playing a very rocking riff.  An indulgence that is usually associated with consumption of beer. It can be pure air guitar, or maybe the use of a nearby implement: a tennis racket, broom handle, hockey stick, frying pan… the possibilities are endless. But all are worshipping the god of Rock.  With a knowing smile.  It is absurd, you know it is absurd, it is the whole point.  Celebration, laughter, rock’n’roll.

Metal lends itself best to the practice, the concept.  The riffs are huge and the sense of humour strong.  But there are outliers, not quite metal, but essential guitar. This, below, is my Top Ten. If I did it tomorrow it would be different – there are so many candidates. But the songs that made the Ten, well, they ROCK!

So, in ascending order…

10. 12 XU by Wire

I love this one because it’s so simple. Art punk. Off Wire’s brilliant album, “Pink Flag”.  A choppy, tense rhythm – saw you in a mag, kissing a man – builds up to a frenzy and then explodes – 12 XU! At which point you leap in the air, and if you happen to have a broom handle in your possession at the time, you are at risk of sweeping a few glasses off the table! Yes, it has happened.  A long, long, time ago…

9. Whiskey In The Jar by Thin Lizzy

This has been one of my favourite tunes ever since I first heard it in the early 70s.  It’s the lead guitar that makes you want to play.  Its roots are in an Irish folk song, but Lizzy added some searing solos and Phil Lynott sang like an angel, or maybe the devil.

8. Brighton Rock by Queen

“We Will Rock You”was obviously a candidate, but this song, off “Sheer Heart Attack”, is Brian May’s finest hour.  He gets to wig out like he’s Hendrix, and you want to do the same.

7. Cortez The Killer by Neil Young

Some may call this song a dirge, but the opening minutes of yearning, grungy lead guitar, are some of the greatest in rock history. There’s real emotion in the playing – you can lose yourself in this one. For me, this is Neil Young’s finest moment.

6. Given To Fly by Pearl Jam

This is one of those tunes that builds slowly and then just erupts into a humungus riff.  The build up, strangely, reminds me of the melody to Led Zep’s “Going to California”. Then it explodes and you just want to punch the sky!

5. Rock and Roll – Led Zeppelin

You could fill the whole chart with Zep tunes.  This one has a relentless, driving riff, and some fancy lead, and some great vocal posturing by Robert Plant… because you have to sing, too, when you are playing the air guitar.

4. Planet of Sound by The Pixies

This is another one of those slow build and explosion tunes.  And when it explodes, it does it better than just about anything else I know. If you could smash an air guitar, you probably would by the end of this one.

3. The Day That Never Comes by Metallica

What a song this is! Saw them play it at the O2 in London, with shooting flames, the works. A two part air guitar special.  First the soaring lead guitars laying down their own melody and then half way through some heavy riffing.  It’s the singing guitars at the beginning that make it really special.

2. More Than A Feeling by Boston

This is metal at its most over the top. And all the better for it. The original air guitar song. Almost as if it was designed for the purpose. The slow build, the straining vocals, getting higher and higher, the chorus of guitars, the triumphant, punching riff.  A hymn to Rock.

1. Enter Sandman by Metallica

The greatest metal track ever?  I think so.  All those things that I’ve said about the other songs – the slow build and explosion, the searing lead, the driving riff – they are all present in “Enter Sandman”.  It takes you higher and higher and then… blows everything apart with a piledriver riff.  And all before the singing starts! The song then goes on its volcanic way. Exit light, enter night! There is no respite. The guitar is pounding, soaring, cutting, thrusting, the choruses resounding.  Relentless and intense. Only the strongest of air guitarists will survive the full five and a half minutes!

What did I leave out?

So many, but to illustrate the competition: “Black Dog’ and “Custard Pie” by Led Zep, “Freebird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Rock The Nation” by Montrose, “Silver Machine” by Hawkwind, “Ace Of Spades” by Motorhead, “Killer On The Loose” and “The Rocker” by Thin Lizzy, “Sweet Child Of Mine” by Guns’n’Roses, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, “Breaking The Law” by Judas Priest. To mention just a few. Let us rock!

You can listen to this Top Ten on Spotify at TFW510 – Air Guitar

About John S

I'm blogging about the things I love outside work: music, sport, culture, London, with some photos to illustrate aspects of our wonderful city. And anything else that I happen to think is worth writing about!
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289 Responses to My Top Ten – Air Guitar Classics

  1. I love Enter Sandman, I scrolled down hoping to see it here and it was Number 1 haha

  2. nr92openmic says:

    Reblogged this on nr92openmic and commented:
    NR92 also plays the best air guitar songs!!

  3. susielindau says:

    I am an air guitar player from way back, so these songs really scored with me!
    Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  4. Eruption by Eddie Van Halen. It usually precedes their cover of You Really Got Me. Cool post!

  5. Good list, but where’s Bowie’s ‘Rebel Rebel’. OK, I’m biased, but that’s air guitar heaven straight from the garage next door.

    • John S says:

      I love “Rebel, Rebel”. I’ll be doing a Bowie top ten soon. How hard is that going to be – narrowing Bowie’s tunes to ten? I think “Station to Station” will be my No1, but I may change my mind!

      • Definitely “Rebel Rebel” and also Mick Ralphs guitar solo on Mott the Hoople’s version “Sweet Jane” – I think that’s how I got started. Also Clapton’s “Let It Rain”….

  6. lennymaysay says:

    Sweet selection dude…

  7. I’ve been doing this air guitar thing since I discovered Nirvana and Bon Jovi in my teens. I’m in my early 30′s now, and I don’t think I’ll stop doing it even when I reach 40 :-)

  8. Whiskey in the Jar is aweeeeeeesooooomeeeeeee! :)

  9. internetfavs says:

    Great stuff!
    internetfavs.com

  10. Scott says:

    Those are some good choices! You left out “The End” by the Doors, “No More Tears” and “Perry Mason” by Ozzie Osbourne, and “Dazed and Confused” by Led Zeppelin (especially the extended version from the film, “The Song Remains the Same”. And one of the best guitar licks I’ve ever heard comes from–of all people–The Carpenters! It’s in the middle, and especially at the end of their song, “Goodbye to Love”. It is so complex, so intricate, so strangely cool–it even has a touch of classical in it, reminiscent of Bach!

    • John S says:

      Love “The End” and these days it always makes me think of “Apocalypse Now”. Never quite got into Ozzie, though I loved the first few Sabbath albums. Now “Dazed and Confused” is something else. Can you play air violin-bow-on-guitar? Carpenters – now that is left field! I must check that one on Spotify.

  11. What about some Deep Purple (Smoke On The Water & Hiway Star)?

  12. John S says:

    See the alt.selection. Highway Star in there.

  13. TJ Johnston says:

    Out of Control by U2.

  14. Here’s a couple over looked: “God Gave Rock-N-Roll To You,” by Petra or KISS and “Eruption,” by Van Halen. :)

    • John S says:

      Must check “Eruption” as it has been mentioned before. I’ll probably know t when I here it. Don’t know Petra, but the song title suggests it may be the old Argent tune from the 70s.

      • It is from the ’70s. Petra is CCM and often overlooked as a result. Their ’70s to early ’80s music was very “Zeppelin/Boston” in sound and their late ’80s-’90s era music was very “Firehouse/Metallica” in sound. I think you’d enjoy their stuff.

      • John S says:

        see my Top ten alt. selection. Eruption is in there. Amazing guitar.

  15. Great list! So happy to see Given to Fly in there, although for jumping around air guitar i absoutely love ‘Alive’. Pearl Jam are my absolute favourite band in the world though so i’m a bit biased there.

    Alter Bridge are pretty damn good too and perfect for a good bit of air guitar.

  16. John S says:

    Pressed a wrong button somewhere. Not used to so many comments!

  17. 4myskin says:

    Awesome list! I will have to think of my own list now. :D

  18. I wish I could play guitar.

    • John S says:

      Well, air guitar is easy.

      Real guitar, get a how-to guide to learn the chords and some songbooks. i taught myself back in the mid-90s, using the Beatles and Oasis songbooks. Soon followed by Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. Obviously depends on what you want to play, but if you are happy just to strum, these four will tell you pretty much all you need to know.

      If you cam play G, C, D, E minor, A minor, B minor, F and A7, the world is your oyster.

  19. andy1076 says:

    Awesome choices John! :D

  20. liv4music says:

    “Seek and Destroy,” or “The Four Horsemen” perhaps? “Whole Lotta Love” “Lateralus” These are just off the top of my head.

  21. John S says:

    I’m not sure who played these except for the Led Zep, which of course is brilliant. Is the first Iggy and the Stooges?

  22. Great selection! I’m glad to see that you choose to include Cortez The Killer, that has a beautiful guitar melody and is one of my fav of all times, not only in the Neil Young’s discography. Didi you ever heard the Built To Spill version of this beautiful song? In the “Live” album they stretch it to 20 minutes! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abve2atHs68

  23. Saman says:

    have a great day..good blog:X

  24. John says:

    Been meaning to pickup my air guitar again. Thanks for the list, even though I have to look up a lot of these from the post and comments. Good stuff.

  25. pixelogist says:

    sweet list! haha. obviously there’s no way to put in every rocking song into a top ten list, but this is a good one! :)

  26. Lesbian Interrupted says:

    I think you did a decent job….a few songs I don’t know but I will be checking out thanks to this blog. I look forward to more top tens from you!

  27. Loving your post – Congrats on being FP – I am now going to play air guitar and bang my head!!!

  28. John S says:

    Thanks for your interest. Lots of lists to come!

  29. caseykayb says:

    I must admit I don’t know any of the songs other than numbers 1 & 2, which are definitely in my top air guitar songs. Along with Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Foo Fighters’ “M.I.A,” and Offspring’s “Want You Bad,” but I did grow up in the nineties so that’s probably to be expected.

  30. Nice list. Forgot about Brighton Rock, although I think Tie your Mother Down would be my choice. Love Whiskey in a Jar! That and Cowboy Song are my fav Thin Lizzy songs. I think I’d add Radiohead’s My Iron Lung, though…

  31. My husband is a (wannabe) Air Guitar Legend, I sing in a pub cover band and last night, he Air Guitared to Summer of 69…. not quite the best IMO. My choice for a great Air Guitar is Sweet Child GNR…. I like your list, and yes, Enter Sandman is def a good choice!! It’s also a good headbanging song :)

  32. katkasia says:

    My partner assures me that “Riff Raff” by ACDC is easily the best air guitar song in history. From the album Powerage. Give it a listen. :)

  33. th3btiam says:

    Back in Black- AC/DC. Even Hells Bells is good for airing, save the 50 second opening.

  34. dbontheweb says:

    I love Enter Sandman, but my favorite Air Guitar Metallica song is still Roam. Keep ‘em comin.

  35. Sarah Harris says:

    #2 and #1 totally perfect! I had no idea what a huge thing Air Guitar was until a previous co-worker was just NUTS over it and did regional and national competitions, and his parents would come out for them – like serious!!

  36. Tim Mushey says:

    Just an awesome awesome list! Thanks for sharing!

  37. mammyjane says:

    Well I’m talking about music today too – what was the first record / CD you remember playing or buying? http://wp.me/p2mpjj-1v
    for me you’d need to add some Rockabilly so perhaps the Stray Cats – see my page a couple of days ago.
    Wonderful list you have there though! For me Whisky in the Jar and Enter Sandman ROCK! \m/

    • John S says:

      Thanks! My first single (seven inch vinyl – we are talking early seventies) was a very un-rocking thing called “Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dum” by Middle of the Road. But I did buy Whiskey in the Jar quite soon after. First album was “Slayed” by Slade. Now that rocks!

  38. dreamz infra says:

    sweet collection…like it very much

  39. 80smetalman says:

    John, you have some truly great songs on your list and some surprises as well. You’re absolutely right though, you could go on for years compiling this list and it would never be the same twice. Two songs that I would have to include are “A.I.R.” by Anthrax and “Ramblin’ Man” by the Allman Brothers, but there are so many songs out there.
    If you got a minute, check out my blog 80smetalman, I think you might like it.

  40. Cool videos i enjoyed alot

  41. Pingback: My Top Ten – Air Guitar Classics | Thoughtsfromwestfive | COBB : Confessions Of a Bored Bomb

  42. You left out – Kick Start My Heart by Motley Crue.

    Steve.

  43. Great post, I must borrow the idea and make a list of my own. They almost go hand in hand- air guitar and head-banging- my vote for best headbanging song is Paradise City- not bad for air guitar too, especially that ending!

  44. Just cant over “Given to fly”. This list is going to serve as my entry into the genre!

  45. Pop Ooh Yeah F.C. says:

    Great read! There are so many air guitar classics, it’s almost impossible to narrow them down to a top 10. You can’t go wrong with Iron Maiden, Kiss, Joe Satriani, and Slayer. I even air guitar to Prince!

    • John S says:

      Thanks! Mention of Prince makes me ask myself why I didn’t have “Purple Rain” in there. In the Top Eleven!

      • Pop Ooh Yeah F.C. says:

        Too many great Prince guitar solos, but If I had to pick one, I’d go with ”Let’s Go Crazy”. It’s has a cracker of a solo mid way through and the finale is just fantastic. Another one, and I’m sure there are loads coming in to people’s minds all the time reading your top 10, is ”Freebird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. It just seems to go on forever. Top class.

  46. Its always difficult to put a top ten list. But I would have put one of Iron Maiden’s there- The Trooper, Phantom of the Opera, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, Wasted Years, Fear of the Dark and many more.

    Keep rocking!

  47. jactherat says:

    Like you, I do lists of 10 from time to time – pleased to see Queen and Led Zep there. I’ll be posting a top 10 of Oz (Australian) songs soon – for Anzac Day. Hope you’ll drop in.
    Well done on being FP.
    http://jactherat.wordpress.com/
    Cheers
    Jactherat

  48. Excellent choices! Made up to see Lizzy at number 2 YAY!!!
    Brilliant post – you cheered up my day :)

  49. ukmsunbeam says:

    …………..\m/…………..

    • John S says:

      You learn something new everyday. I wondered what it meant so googled it of course. It’s that metal hand sign, I think. I’ll have to start using it!

  50. I prefer air-drums myself, but I think the lists of songs are interchangeable. The only down side of air drums is the solos can take someone’s eye out. Well done for the freshly pressed.
    Air piano can be fun, as long as its to Ben folds…
    http://andrewauthor.com/2012/03/10/soundtrack-to-my-life/

    • John S says:

      Thanks Andrew. Just had a quick look at your blog. Really like the Ben Folds Five and pub etiquette blogs. I have been known to drink ale rather than lager during a football match, but would agree that at the rugby it must be ale (or Guinness). Will return for more!

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  52. The Day That Never Comes by Metallica is my favorite.

  53. I’m not familiar with all your choices, but I DEFINITELY agree with your top two. Definitely makes me want to listen and rock out.

  54. songtothesirens says:

    Great list, but where is Angus Young? He had some downright solid jams….. but I can see how narrowing it down would be hard… I am an air drummer so I know the quandry you were in to pick just ten!

    • John S says:

      I’ve neglected AC/DC a bit. probably should go back to them. Have a look at earlier comment from a fellow air drummer, Andrew Thomas. I’ve been known to tap out a rocking rhythm with a knife on the teabag tin!

  55. I entered the Air Guitar championships one year, drunk, broke an arm (fretting) after staggering and falling off the stage

  56. John S says:

    Excellent! We are not worthy…

  57. I love Brighton Rock! You’re right: Brian May gets a chance to play guitarist and when he does, he’s exceptional. I also agree with the Neil Young choice, if not the song; he is an expert at hitting the same note repeatedly without having it sound monotonous. Obviously these lists are subjective, but 2 for ten is not bad!

  58. Millie Ho says:

    Great list, John! Have you heard “Dancing In The Moonlight” by Thin Lizzy? A great feel-good song.

    • John S says:

      Sure have heard Dancing In The Moonllght. Wonderful song. My theory is that Phil Lynott could have been the Irish Bruce Springsteen if he hadn’t died so tragically early.

      • Millie Ho says:

        Phil also would’ve made a name for bassists everywhere for being more than just “that dude plucking away on four strings in the back of the band”.

  59. Ancient says:

    You.Nailed.It.Sir.
    Absolutely incredible list :D

  60. akinbobola says:

    insightful

  61. lighthunter says:

    Exquisite choice , i’m a rock fan myself

  62. edgeledge says:

    Glad you put Enter Sandman at 1, I have a sit down stand up desk, and always have headphones on when I stand up. Was air guitaring to Enter Sandman the other day and one of my co-workers caught me…and yes you do continue doing it into your 40′s :). It is even better if you can play them for real too..thanks for an awesome list.

    • John S says:

      Thanks John. The WordPress software, which I guess is what “Standard Theme” is, is fantastically easy to use and the layout is great. I’d recommend it to any blogger.

  63. starlaschat says:

    Congratulations on being freshly Pressed! This post was so good “You just want to punch the sky!”

  64. nice list! Currently my air guitar list consists of Purple Rain – Prince, We are the Champions – Queen …that’s all for now…some what new to the air guitar game..lol.

  65. xuantian says:

    Thanks for sharing the list! Love the Pixies the best! Keep up the good work. :)

  66. Catastrophic Levels of Preparation says:

    Anyone who puts Brighton Rock by Queen on ANY list get 92 points just for the mention. To my ears, one of those tunes that defines rock guitar and way, way underplayed. To include this on your list speaks to your urbane and distinctive taste in AG genre…well played!

  67. Rica M Yulo says:

    I’m more into metal and I say bands like Pantera, Testament, Megadeth, and Slayer have awesome solos fit for air guitar :) And if you like The Day That Never Comes, check out Metallica’s “And Justice For All” album and the song “One”. Unfortunately, Metallica’s Black Album (which includes Enter Sandman) doesn’t really represent the greatness of Metallica, nor does it represent “heavy metal” in its purest form. I respect your preference (really I do), but here’s a tip: Listen to the old Metallica (pre-Black Album days), and you’ll hear the difference :)

    • John S says:

      I certainly agree with you on Slayer. I have one album of their’s and especially like “Angel of Death” But I have to admit that after listening for about 15 minutes my brain starts to hurt! I’m not a true metallist, I guess. I do have a few of the early Metallica albums, though I discovered them quite late.

  68. CubicleViews says:

    Awesome list and got me listening to some songs I haven’t heard in a long time.
    I’d add – Van Halen’s Unchained as well.

  69. 1stpeaksteve says:

    Great responses! I thought of a metal anthem record and I came up with The Cult’s Electric album. I guess I will go with Wild Flower. I like the suggestion for Highway Star for Deep Purple. For AC/DC, I am going with Highway to Hell. My last suggestion is from two grunge greats…Spoonman from Soundgarden and Suck You Dry from Mudhoney. If those don’t get the arms a flailin’…nothing will!

  70. 1stpeaksteve says:

    Great list! I really liked the Deep Purple for Highway Star!

    I settled on one classic rock power chord fest and that was Electric from the Cult. The opening of Wild Flower is pure power. Can’t leave out AC/DC of course, so I went with Highway to Hell. Finally, my choices go to two grunge era bands. First is Spoonman from Soundgarden and the last is Suck You Dry from Mudhoney. If these don’t get your limbs flailin in a frenzy…nothing will!

  71. John S says:

    Think you might have forgotten you’d just commented! Or maybe you edited it. Anyway, thanks for the comments, much appreciated.

  72. All these songs are masterworks, but there are a million more, to say so, it comes to my mind a Scottish band, you like Gun?, their songs are a perfect pop/rock blend, “Better Days”, “Inside Out”, “Steal Your Fire”, or Cameo´s “Word Up” cover are perfect for paying air guitar, so catchy and cool. Thanks for the post!

    • John S says:

      Think I bought a Gun cassette once. Lost in the depths of my collection. “Word Up” a top record, along with “She’s Strange”.

      • Andrés Erre Dos says:

        I got them on vinyl and on cd, a bunch of rocky catchy songs, they will be opening for The Cult in Madrid next July, if I´m not wrong.

  73. rp71 says:

    Truely agree on Enter Sandman…apart from air guitar, the best song to verbally play the riffs.

    You are missing a few Judas Priest numbers though

  74. Ham says:

    More than a Feeling – ftw. Im going to bust it out right now.

  75. Money for Nothing – Dire Straits

  76. John S says:

    Good pop song, but… aaah, hate to say this, but nearly fell asleep at a Dire Straits concert once! Do like “Sultans of Swing” and “Romeo and Juliet” though.

  77. Great list! Bold move not putting Freebird in the top 10, but a great list all the same. The sleeper I would’ve added: Mississippi Queen!

  78. What a great idea for a post. And, picked up fresh pressed. We all have our favorites. I’d add “All Right Now” by Free among others.
    For anyone interested in learning a few real guitar licks, I’m posting some video licks/riffs and songs with guitar tablature included by: the Beatles, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Peter Frampton, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Brian Setzer and more. Just started in January, and so far, I’ve posted fifty-two. Good start at converting from air-guitar to guitar.
    Once again, great post.

    • John S says:

      Paul Kossoff was a great guitarist. Really sad he died so early. And Paul Rodgers was a magnificent vocalist in Free and Bad Company. can’t help feeling though, that he never fulfilled his potential. Have followed your site because I think I could learn some useful stuff from it!

      • Paul Rodgers has been fortunate to have a long and varied career in a field he loves. I think he performed wonderfully in a tough spot for Queen. That had to be fun.

        Congrats on making the fresh-pressed! That makes for a pretty good day. And thank you for checking out my posts. I’m recovering from a couple of near life-ending strokes, so my playing isn’t what it once was, but that gave me the incentive to rehab with guitar, and no longer worry about whether it’s perfect or not. I won’t live long enough for perfect. Ha.

      • John S says:

        Thanks Richard and, what can I say, hang on in there! Rock’n’roll gives us all a massive lift.

  79. Have just listened to all 10 and can see my older brother doing air-guitar to all 10, especially No.1 — good work, look forward to the next post

  80. thenotwriter says:

    Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourn! Randy Rhoads was a guitar god! I also love the guitar solo for Wasted Years by Iron Maiden.

  81. gilshalev says:

    Awesome list :-) I just might try my own soon!

  82. What do you think of these – completely off the wall but my favorites….http://wp.me/p2asCz-7s

  83. skyraincloud says:

    Finally! Someone who sees it my way! I, myself, am a terrible air guitarist. However, despite my lack of talent in the air performing arts, I love the feeling of rocking out to my favorite songs!

  84. lshultin says:

    Love the list. I actually love some of your honorable mentions at the bottom like Montrose Rock the Nation even more! Just to add a couple: Rock Bottom, UFO; Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love, Van Halen, Train Kept A Rollin’, Aerosmith. Made a top ten albums list (of a different sort) on my blog today because I love music and I love lists and therefore, lists about music…well, you get the idea!

  85. I especially like to “air-guitar-sing” to “Enter Sandman.” (“nuh nuhhhhh NUHHHH! nuh nuh nuh nUHHHHHHHH”!) I love Nirvana. Here we all are on the internet, so easily amused :/.

    While I enjoy “Sweet Child of Mine,” for air guitar, I like “Welcome to the Jungle” (best accompanied with hairbrush vocalizing ;).

  86. Kyley says:

    Real nice list here! Hard to not jump on my desk at work and give a little show!

  87. angelique523 says:

    I feel bad for Paul Rodgers every time I hear that song. Great blogging.

  88. wrands says:

    Number 1 Enter Sandman, 100% agree.

  89. 0blackrose says:

    Hello! You have a beautiful and inspiring blog in terms of music! Be sure to follow my blog too, I am already following yours and I hope you have some time and go to my place on wordpress, it’s a personal blog I have and there I write literally about EVERYTHING that comes to my mind… Enjoy yourself and keep the great blogging! :)

  90. matthewhyde says:

    Well, my favourite air guitar song is Sweet Child of Mine, but I love More Than a Feeling. It was great to begin with, but then I saw the Scrubs air band version and I feel in love with it…

  91. Scott says:

    All great choices, John. It’s hard to pick just 10. I’m glad that others have mentioned AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” and Metallica’s “One”. Here’s a few of my other favourites:

    “Little Wing” and “Crossfire” by SRV
    “Guerrilla Radio” and “Testify” by Rage Against the Machine. Tom Morello’s riffs are a real workout!
    Keep swingin’ the Axe!

  92. One of my all time fav guitar(short) riffs is in Comfortably Numb-Pink Floyd. The other is All Along the Watch Tower w/ Jimi Hendrix

  93. joehoover says:

    I bet on the Grand National on Planet of Sound purely because of the Pixies, he led for a bit aswell before dropping off into obscurity.

    • John S says:

      Me too! Unfortunately I also went for Deep Purple and West End Rocker. No sign of them in the top four! My wife managed to get Sunnyhillboy on an each way.

      • joehoover says:

        I did get 4th (£5) Cappa Bleu, and only picked that as it sounded like Copper Blue, the album by Sugar.

        I don’t think I’ll trust vague music references next year

  94. aFrankAngle says:

    Great post … I can recall air guitaring to The Beatles.

  95. Where’s Hotel California?? hah, that’s my #1. I play a mean air guitar to that song. Great list though!

  96. Reblogged this on Nights on Venus and commented:
    I like this one… reblogging. Thanx.

  97. rmnvr says:

    Reblogged this on rmnvr.

  98. 1st song I thought about was one of your Honorable mentions, Breakin’ the Law, because of all the long held-out chords in the verse. I would pick out Thin Lizzy’s “Boys are back…” for the same reason. Gotta have some space to do those pinwheel arms… speaking of…did anybody mention ‘Baba O’Riley’ and ‘Teenage Wasteland (Dont’ Get Fooled Again)’ by the Who?

  99. ribbie says:

    Great list, and I would add a few from way back in the day….Jeff Beck, Diamond Dust, Frank Zappa’s Watermelon in Easter Hay and Pink Floyd’s, Us and Them. Cheers!

  100. Such good choices. I would put Sweet Child of Mine and Breaking the Law on my top 10 replacing the Thin Lizzy and Pixies selection and I ALMOST want to quibble with TWO Metallica songs, but it is your list. Congrats on FP!

  101. dc says:

    http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/meet-wolfgang/pucks-playlist

    john- amazing feedback on your blog – truly global. was thinking about you last night as was sitting in a restaurant munching away in maui when the strains of led zep “when the levee breaks” swept me away. not really what you expect in this sleepy paradise. very trendy chef stateside is a bit of a closet air guitarist and has some v hip joints. rock music is staple backdrop and he even has his own playlist:http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/meet-wolfgang/pucks-playlist

    surprised you went for rock and roll over the levee… but so many hard choices in life…

    dc

    • John S says:

      Dude, sounds like you are having a great holiday. Love the fact that you’ve made the time to check my blog! Yer man Wolfgang is definitely rocking. Shine On You Crazy Diamond is one of the greatest.

  102. I love November Rain by GNR. When Slash comes out and plays the guitar outside of the church, is my ALL time favorite Guitar riff moment.

  103. I love this list. I would, though, add “Teenage Wasteland” by The Who. That way you can do his spin move. :)

  104. jemilp says:

    Nice selection!

  105. Eva says:

    I know I’m way down on the list of comments, but I just had to say that I LOVED your list. I am a guitar instructor that builds social media for my studio (director’s picture is default), and I love to refer my students to interesting tidbits of guitar news. I also love the relative obscurity of some of these jams, too. Nothing says air guitar than hanging in your room while the scotch-tape repair on your Memorex mix-tape holds on for dear life as you show the “front row” your most awesome fingerboard tapping on a Louisville slugger during “Enter Sandman”.

  106. John S says:

    Thanks Eva, love your description there! Thankfully the iPod playlist rescues those mix tracks, though the fine art of squeezing songs onto a 45 minute side is lost. Our car is so old though that we still have a cassette radio in it!

  107. Lexi Balla says:

    You clearly get it. Nicely done.

  108. Pingback: My Top Ten Air Guitar Classics | My Creative Writing Outlet

  109. Peabea says:

    Enjoyed the songs…brought back memories of a younger day and the band era. Hubby is a musician (Tenor Sax) but has since retired except for a sentimental journey with the sons once in a while out in the rec room. Great site you have…keep sharing. ~smiles~

  110. Hmmm it escapes me how Bohemian Rhapsody is not on this list.
    Still a great list however.

    • John S says:

      Love Bohemian Rhapsody but not sure how you’d play the air guitar except for the rocking bit towards the end. Maybe air piano?

      • I would agree. great song but more like air piano…and air vocals (is that what you would call it? its not really lip syncing unless you’re onstage and getting paid for it)

  111. ediblecolors says:

    veryvery good list…glad to see neil in there…hurricane always did it for me, and i always liked air strumming the solos from steely dans my old school, outlaws green grass and high tides and the cowboy song…thin lizzy….ahhhh the memories

  112. John S says:

    “Like A Hurricane” is a great tune, I agree. And Steely Dan are one of my favourite bands. “My Gold Teeth” from “Countdown To Ecstasy” has some brilliant jazzy guitar. there will be a Dan top ten at some stage!

  113. miquiprince says:

    I think that some bands like Megadeth, Bon Jovi or Scorpions should be at this top. Anyway, this is a good top :) I love Queen, Metallica and Pearl Jam ^^

  114. 0205ameliab says:

    I’m surprised Stairway to Heaven isn’t up there. The solo is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

  115. John S says:

    Can’t argue with that!

  116. ADE_Aurelija says:

    Wow! Some really great tunes. I am not as fond of air guitar as of singing along or nodding (or headbanging when it is the explosion time). And I haven’t heard couple of the track from your list, so I know what I am going to listen next. :) What a great post!

  117. John S says:

    Thank you very much! If you discover something new that you like as a result of my post, mission accomplished for me. Sharing favourites.

  118. thespianharry says:

    Hi John – a mutual friend put me onto this – sorry it’s so late but the list is fab (at least those I know – can’t check them out at work!) Particularly pleased to see Cortez honoured in this way – it would be be a very tricky choice between that and Powderfinger for me. Brighton Rock too – far too many memories from my youth of forcing people to admire that track while I wigged out on almost-perfect AG! Feels like there might need to be some Muse or Foo Fighters in a longer list, or even something like ‘Can’t you hear me knocking?’ by the Stones…? It’s making me wonder if there shouldn’t be a top ten shoutalong anthems (All Surface No Feeling by Manics?), top ten faves on Guitar Hero…. (Do It Again by Steely Dan near top of my personal list) or top ten Air Bass (almost anything from Stranglers’ first album..)?? thanks for the inspiration!!

  119. John S says:

    Thanks Harry, great comment! And mention of “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” tells me we must have a lot of music in common. Love that track, especially the dirty rock’n’roll buzzsaw riffing at the start. One of Keef’s finest moments.

  120. Seance says:

    What about AC/DC!?!?

  121. iviedawn says:

    I so love playing air guitar to More Than A Feeling but my all time favorite to play air guitar to is 18 And Life by Skid Row. Everytime I hear that song my hands invoulntarily get into position.

  122. great list! I am doing a “bill and ted” style guitar salute to you and your list… rock on

  123. Reblogged this on livelovelaughmusic and commented:
    Great post from “Thoughtsfromwestfive” on his top ten Air Guitar Classics. Check it out!

  124. Great choices! Love this so much! :)

    • John S says:

      Thank you!. I really am pleased that this blog has connected with so many people. All with at least one thing in common… the desire to rock!

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