Jimmy Page’s instantly recognisable intro riff to Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love, the opening track on the English band’s second album, has been voted the Greatest Riff Of All Time by the readers of Total Guitar and Guitar Wold.
Based in part upon Muddy Waters’ 1962 version of Willie Dixon’s You Need Love, Page’s iconic riff secured the honorary title on Saturday, holding off the challenges provided by the late, great Randy Rhoads, on Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train, and Malcolm and Angus Young’s breezeblock introduction to AC/DC classic Back In Black.
In their introduction to the list, which is published in full in the June 4 issue of Total Guitar (opens in new tab), the magazine team hail the seismic impact of Page’s riff, and, referencing the 1969 moon landings, describe it as “his own giant leap for mankind.’
‘Whole Lotta Love's guitar figure took just 2.7 seconds to play, but it immediately projected music into another decade. While everyone else was still playing the '60s, Zeppelin were now playing the '70s.”
“It wasn't the first great riff, but it is the defining one," the magazine's continues. "It's why riffs became central to guitar music, the reason bands search for the guitar hook that can propel a whole song – or even a whole career.”
The remainder of the top 10 entries in the Total Guitar list are Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water in fourth, Van Halen's Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love in fifth, Metallica's Enter Sandman in sixth, Black Sabbath's Iron Man in seventh, Pantera's Walk in eighth, ZZ Top's La Grange in ninth, and Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze in 10th.
To see the remainder of the list, pick up the new issue of Total Guitar. (opens in new tab)