VIDEO: Queen's Brian May picks his favourite riffs

Brian May: in conversation with MusicRadar
Brian May: in conversation with MusicRadar

Earlier this month at the Classic Rock Awards, we caught up with Queen legend Brian May and asked him to nominate his favourite guitar riff of all time. As you might expect, Mr May was every inch the erudite gentleman, and this was his considered response:

"Well The Beatles did some pretty fair riffs, you know. Ticket To Ride is great... I Feel Fine is incredible. That's such an out-of-the-box riff."

We also wondered which of his own he was most proud of: "The one people most want to hear is probably Tie Your Mother Down. Our songs are not very riff-based. Some of them are, there's a few, like One Vision, Tear It Up, We Will Rock You I suppose is a riff of a kind."

May then returned to his favourite riffs by other people: "You know, The Kinks, You Really Got Me. I mean, that's got to be the archetypal riff. I think that's going to be my vote. That's the beginning of all riff-making, isn't it really?

"Ray Davies and Dave Davies planted the seed which grew into riff-based music."

"And of course Tony Iommi has an endless supply of incredible riffs. I do not know how that man does it. Heaven And Hell is something which I think qualifies. You always think, why didn't I think of that? When you hear a great riff because it's always dead simple.

"I mean, You Really Got Me is just two chords, and then there's All Day And All Of The Night and Tired Of Waiting - it's all riff stuff. I think really Ray Davies, and Dave Davies kind of planted the seed which grew into riff-based music."

More from Riff Week on MusicRadar: Find out what Slash thinks are the best riffs of all time.

Chris Vinnicombe worked with us here on the MusicRadar team from the site's initial launch way back in 2007, and also contributed to Guitarist magazine as Features Editor until 2014, as well as Total Guitar magazine, amongst others. These days he can be found at Gibson Guitars, where he is editor-in-chief.