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It's official: Led Zeppelin's Stairway is the greatest guitar solo ever

We deliberated at length, but ultimately the champion was obvious. Yes, the winner of our epic guitar solo coundown is that man Mr James Patrick Page

1) Stairway To Heaven

JIMMY PAGE

From: Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV, 1971

CHARLIE STARR (BLACKBERRY SMOKE): “I’ve thought a lot about this and you could definitely say the Stairway To Heaven solo is the greatest ever. That solo is put together almost like a piece of classical music. It has all of these twists and turns with it, much like the Free Bird solo does as well. Stairway is a very singable solo, which is very important to a songwriter. You shouldn’t just play mindlessly in a solo, you should also think about the melody. If you can look out and see people singing your solos then that is very powerful. I became familiar with this solo when I first started to learn to play the electric guitar. It was a piece of music that was so impressive on first listen. It was inspiring and I wanted to play it correctly. Me and all of my friends couldn’t play Eruption so we had to figure out how to play the Stairway To Heaven solo instead.” CS

Jimmy Page on that solo

We presume that Stairway To Heaven’s guitar solo came very near the end of recording?

I would invariably do guitar solos at the end, once the finished vocals and any overdubs were already on. Under the circumstances here, there’s a bass, an electric, 12-strings, recorders, a whole manner of things. I always put the solo on at the end because you’re really living the track by then, and being the producer you’ve already supervised all the overdubs that have already gone on.

I basically got my [Fender] Telecaster out to do that solo. Even though I’d been playing [Gibson] Les Pauls, I wanted to get that bite of the Telecaster on it. It was the same Telecaster that I’d played on the first album, the one Jeff Beck had given me that I’d used in The Yardbirds, a bit of a magical guitar, really. [Latterly, the so-called ‘Dragon’ ’59 Telecaster was rendered unplayable during an unauthorised, if well-intentioned, paint job. Its neck was salvaged and attached to another Telecaster – much played during the eighties – but its body was ultimately lost.]

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