Led Zep riff tops BBC poll

The riff from Led Zeppelin classic Whole Lotta Love has been named the best of all time by BBC listeners.

Jimmy Page’s lick came ahead of Guns n’ Roses’ Sweet Child O’ Mine, AC/DC’s Back In Black and Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water in a poll of Radio 2 audiences.

They were asked to choose between 100 riffs selected by a panel of DJs. Also among the top 10 are works by Derek And The Dominos, Status Quo, Dire Straits, The Kinks and Pink Floyd.

Page tells the BBC he’s “knocked out” by the result. He describes Whole Lotta Love, from 1969’s Led Zeppelin II, as “menacing as well as caressing.”

The guitarist adds: “I wanted a riff that really moved, that people would really get, and would bring a smile to their faces. But when I played it with the band it really went into overdrive.”

The poll is part of a BBC multichannel season celebrating the guitar.

BBC listeners’ top riffs

  1. Led Zeppelin: Whole Lotta Love

  2. Guns n’ Roses: Sweet Child O’ Mine

  3. AC/DC: Back In Black

  4. Deep Purple: Smoke On The Water

  5. Derek And The Dominos: Layla

  6. The Smiths: How Soon Is Now?

  7. Status Quo: Down Down

  8. Dire Straits: Money For Nothing

  9. The Kinks: You Really Got Me

  10. Pink Floyd: Money

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.