Some of you are probably saying.."Well, you're just a snobby, eliteist hipster. These bands have sold millions and millions of records. Somebody must like it." Yeah well that might be true, but the last time I checked, nobody went broke underestimating the intelligence of the general public. Overall, people don't care to know better, and generally don't consider music any further than audio wallpaper or a soundtrack for getting wasted or laid. Trust me, if you're a musician, or enjoy music on any kind of deeper level than that you'll agree that these are some of THE WORST GUITAR SOLOS EVER RECORDED!
(Click on the yellow links to hear each one of these travesties in all it's glory.)
James Gurley - Big Brother and the Holding Company/Janis Joplin "Piece of My Heart"
This has to be some of the most obnoxious, hippy-dippy bullshit guitar playing ever committed to tape. Back in the 60's, before the days of digital anything, a lot of the time it was either the producer or ONE GUY in the band that actually knew how to tune a stringed instrument. That guy must've either not shown up that day or was too high to give a fuck when this turd was recorded. I'm as much of a fan of experimental, in-the-moment, "out" playing as the next guy..But this is just noise. The perfect accompaniment to the overrated Janis Joplin's drunk-alley-cat-in-heat screeching. (Seriously, every middle-aged biker chick who's halfway through a bottle of Southern Comfort and gets a hold of a karaoke mic sounds exactly like this.) Gurley's solo is so teeth-gnashingly awful, it sounds as if somebody's trying to rip his guitar out of his hands while he's playing....If only.
Mick Jones - Foreginer "Hot Blooded"
Before jumping on the schmaltzy ballad bandwagon like most big American rock acts did in the 80s, Foreginer were a kick ass rock and roll party band, known and loved by the non-ironic moustache wearing, beer coozie holding, jet-ski riding good time crew from here to Fontana. Their more rockin' tunes would go on to be performed by every piece of shit cover band at every dive bar and state fair in the country. I doubt, however that even a hack in one of those bands would bother to try and cop the "solo" in this song note-for-note. It's a fumbling wreck of pinched-off bends, sloppy pull-offs and wankery. Honestly Mick, you couldn't have put down the coke mirror for a second to make a few more passes at this thing? Not only do I blame him, but what about the producer on this session (most likely also face down in a pile of blow) who said.."Yeah, nice one...I think we got it."
Some Dutch Guy - Golden Earring "Radar Love"
All guitarists at one time or another "noodle". Noodling means you're absently playing without really paying attention to what you're doing...Most of the time you do it at home, in front of the TV, or between songs to pass the time. There's nothing wrong with it, unless you record 8 1/2 minutes of it, stick it in the middle of a song, release it as a single, and try to pass it off as a guitar solo. This has like three tracks worth of this dude blundering around the fretboard like he can't figure out what to play...all recorded at irritating, just-shy-of-bothering-the-neighbors volume levels. Then, just when you think it couldn't get any more annoying, after the breakdown he decides he's going to get all "down home and bloozy", lays down three more tracks of junky slide playing and really starts stinking things up. Every time I'm forced to sit through this song, I can't help but picture this dunderhead in my mind, eyes closed, making the "Oooo" face, and acting like he's really, really "feeling it". Gahhh!
Jimi Hendrix - The Jimi Hendrix Experience "Little Miss Strange"
Yes, that's right, Jimi Hendrix...But not for the same reason as all the other entries on this list. This little known tune is a two minute throwaway off of Electric Ladyland, written and sung by frustrated-guitarist-stuck-playing-bass-alongside-a-motherfucking-virtuoso Noel Redding. What puts it on this list is Jimi, knowing how god awfully lame the song is, sounds like he's making fun of it the whole time, ripping it to pieces with silly little fuzz licks, cartoon chicken pickin' and goofy-ass wha-wha. I'm sure Noel went to his grave being pissed off at Jimi for taking a dump all over his tune...once he figured out he was being screwed with, that is.
Kirk Hammett - Metallica "One / Unforgiven / Enter Sandman" any one of their songs, really.
If you're 15 years old and have just discovered Metallica, or you're 45 years old and still listen to Metallica, you're probably going to launch into a profanity-laden diatribe about how I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about, but here it is: Kirk Hammett sucks shit... He's like the James Gurley of heavy metal...Crappy phrasing, flat bends, and shitty vibrato (In case you're wondering what vibrato is, Mozart...it's when you vary a fretted note's pitch, trying to make it "sing"). This clown took lessons from Joe freakin' Satriani for God's sake (and if you don't know who that is, let's just say he's a guy who's WAY FUCKING BETTER)..... Listen to one of his guitar tracks isolated from everything else....Let's say that if instead of being in Metallica, he was your next door neighbor chopping away like that in his garage. Tell me you wouldn't throw open your back door after about ten minutes and yell "YOU SUCK!!! SHUT UP!!"
Steve Miller - Steve Miller Band "Abracadabra"
Steve Miller's music has been pool hall jukebox fodder for generations, and the majority of his tunes are generic, mid-tempo, safe-for-white-people, blues based rock music. But this one is an especially cloying pile of garbage. Not only are we treated to lyrics straight out of a 6th grader's creative writing journal ("Abra, abracadabra...I wanna reach out and grab ya."....Genius.) in an attempt to stay relevant in the mid 80s, Steve added some cheesy synths and bought a brand new delay/echo pedal which he's apparently trying to figure out how to operate while the tape is rolling.
Pete Townshend - The Who "Baba O'Riley" (...not "Teenage Wasteland")
Ol' Pete was never really known for being a strong lead player, but is not like he never tried. One listen to the bludgeoning "Young Man Blues" off of 1970's Live at Leeds will give you an idea of what he's capable of....but that was back when he was a young, pill popping hooligan. By the time this song was released, The Who had degenerated into bloated arena rock silliness. "Baba O'Riley" is arena rock at it's finest, though. After the trippy keyboard intro, a lone piano majestically introduces the main riff and then the song explodes in your face while 20,000 watts flap Pete's bellbottoms. The song bashes and chugs along pretty well when suddenly it gets punched in the balls by a candy-ass little melody that sounds like it's being played by a midget cowboy who's missing two fingers on his left hand. After that the song gets dumber and dumber and more and more overblown until it finally climaxes with, of all things, an ELECTRIC VIOLIN solo....Good Lord.