Metallica's Kirk Hammett on timeless Unforgiven guitar solo

Kirk Hammett
Kirk Hammett (Image credit: Getty)

Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett has described why his guitar solo on 1991 song The Unforgiven has such a timeless appeal for him.

The guitar work on the Black Album track was voted no.30 on Classic Rock’s 100 Greatest Guitar Solos by a panel of critics – with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page clinching the top spot with his work on Stairway To Heaven.

Hammett tells Classic Rock: “I enjoy playing the solo on The Unforgiven because it’s such a dynamic solo. And a lot of times live, I’ll change around my guitar solo because I end up not liking what I recorded, or I get bored with what was recorded – or I just want to play something completely different.

“But with The Unforgiven, as a guitar solo it has changed very little over the years. It’s probably one of the only guitar solos that I play just like the album.”

Other solos to feature in the list include Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb, Eagles classic Hotel California, Black Sabbath’s Paranoid and Prince’s Purple Rain. See the top 10 below.

The full list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos features in the new issue of Classic Rock magazine, which is in-store on Saturday and available via TeamRock+ now.

Hammett is one of the guest stars lined up for next month’s Classic Rock Roll Of Honour being held in Tokyo.

Classic Rock’s 100 Greatest Guitar Solos Top 10

  1. Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven
  2. David Gilmour/ Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb
  3. Don Felder and Joe Walsh/Eagles – Hotel California
  4. Allen Collins/Lynyrd Skynyrd – Freebird
  5. Jimi Hendrix/The Jimi Hendrix Experience – All Along The Watchtower
  6. Eddie Van Halen/Van Halen – Eruption
  7. Brian May/Queen – Killer Queen
  8. Slash/GN’R – Sweet Child Of Mine
  9. Prince/Prince And The Revolution – Purple Rain
  10. Tony Iommi/Black Sabbath – Paranoid

Metallica: the epic story behind the Black album

Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.