Some songs are ear-worms, some have profound lyrics, and some have points where it is physically impossible not to break out the air-axe and rock out like you're headlining Wembley Stadium. Here for your headbanging pleasure are some of the greatest air guitar moments ever...
Radiohead - Creep
Grannies. Toddlers. Amazon tribespeople. There’s literally nobody on the planet who doesn’t don a phantom Telecaster and do the pre-chorus crunches at 0:57 and 2:00.
Not bad, given that Jonny Greenwood had included them as an act of self-sabotage. “That’s the sound of Jonny trying to f*** the song up,” explains Ed O’Brien. “He tried spoiling it... and it made the song.”
You’ll try to fight it, but that stuttering riff contains a subliminal message that forces your mouth into a leery pout, your crotch to buck and your hand to thrash an imaginary Les Paul. In your mind, you’re the lost Toxic Twin. To everyone else, you look like a bank clerk swatting a wasp in rush-hour traffic.
Trickier than it sounds to actually play, The Knack’s staccato über-riff is the perfect choice for the bachelor with the cricket bat, the full-length mirror and the drawn curtains. Just thinking about it is making TG bob our heads like demented pigeons.
Gawd bless her and all that, but Steve Jones’ palace-storming powerchord intro riff fills us with so much anti-establishment venom that we have to channel it into air guitar to stop us from assaulting a Beefeater. 35 years later, it’s still the sound of anarchy spilling bedlam’s pint.
Specifically, that deathless moment at 0:25, when Pete Townshend’s flamenco-ish acoustic strumathon is interrupted by that hairy-chested electric stab. Disclaimer: do not attempt the windmill in enclosed spaces or china shops.
Be honest: who among us hasn’t shoehorned themselves into a leotard, star-jumped off the washing machine and mimed that thrilling light- speed pull-off section at the 3:00 mark? Yeah, you have. We were watching you through the letterbox.
Even Graham Coxon admitting in TG227 that it’s mainly the bass “going through one of those little plastic Marshall amps” can’t ruin our scissor- kicking theatrics when that brittle ascending riff kicks in. The delusion is so complete that we even stamp on an imaginary RAT pedal at 0:15.
As invigorating as a bucket of water over a sleeping drunk, the moment at 0:25 when Grant Nicholas’s guitar almost literally explodes would make your great uncle Reginald flail at thin air. And he’s been dead for five years.
Once the Mexican restaurant intro is out of the way and the galloping section drops at 1:10, Battery takes a battering, with each of us baring our teeth à la Hetfield, growling the lyrics, and down- picking furiously like a dog with a case of fleas. You look ridiculous, of course. But it feels so damn good.
“No Stairway!” screamed the semi- ironic signs in 70s guitar shops, and it’s a cry echoed by your partner when that glorious first phrase of Page’s fruity solo kicks in on the Homebase Tannoy and you start plank-spanking like you’re onstage at Madison Square Garden. Great to hear and play. Arguably even better to mime.