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So what the hell is a riff anyway? There are numerous definitions out there, but most are along these lines: “a short rhythmic musical phrase which may be repeated often during a piece.”
Through the decades as folk begat blues, blues got rhythm then spawned rock ‘n’ roll and its many bastard offspring, the guitar riff became king, sometimes even usurping the vocal melody as a song’s main calling card.
Whole careers have been built on killer guitar riffs, so it’s fitting that as another decade winds down we here at MusicRadar celebrate the most unforgettable air guitar anthems of all time.
And you voted in your droves in response to our Ask MusicRadar search for the Top Guitar Riff Of All Time. So here’s part one of the Top 50, part two featuring numbers 25-1 is now live here. But who better to kick off our countdown than the biggest pop group in history…
Ticket To Ride was recorded in February 1965 and is astonishing for its time. Huge drums and droning A notes frame George Harrison’s chiming arpeggiated riff, further cementing the Rickenbacker 12-string in the sonic vocabulary of the sixties and – in combination with Lennon’s newfound lyrical weight – paving the way for folk rock.