No, you're wrong - These are the Five Best Guitar Solos of the 80's

Since we have a podcast doing the 80’s crime fiction story Fiero over the sounds of electric guitar it seemed a good time to bust out our sporadic 5 cool things column and name the 5 best rock guitar solos from the 1980’s.


1 - The outro to Mr. Crowley - Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Osbourne). The first solo made the Rolling Stone top 100 solos and it is killer without a doubt, but the second one is one of the all time metal monster solos. Starting with a string of arpeggios and then going into some inspired D harmonic minor madness the under appreciated Randy Rhoads expands on what the even more under appreciated Ritchie Blackmore started doing with rock guitar in the 1970’s.
2 - Rainbow in the Dark -Vivian Campbell (Dio). Jimmy Page showed how great Am, G, and F * (I, VI, bVII if anyone cares) are to solo over (sorry that one was in the 70’s so it doesn’t make the list) and while the even more underrated than Rhoads and Blackmore Irish man Viv Campbell doesn’t match Page (Who does?) he gives you everything you would want in hard rock metal solo.
3 - Eugene's Trick Bag - Steve Vai. After the success of the Karate Kid it seems somebody got the idea to do a version only with guitars instead of crescent kicks. They got the Karate Kid himself Ralph Macchio to be the blues loving kid with a beat up Tele, Eugene Martone (worst blues name ever**), and got Walter Fucking Hill (The Warriors and 48 hours) to direct. Pat Morita did not play the old mentor in this one (Joe Seneca takes the role of Willie Brown aging harmonica player). After a lot of nonsense Ralph finds himself in a ‘head chopping contest’*** with the devil’s champion guitarist, Jack Butler played by Steve Vai, for his soul (Kind of a guitar ‘Devil went down to Georgia’ only instead of one verse it takes about two hours to get there). Spoiler alert, Eugene wins with a Paganini inspired bit of tricky guitar work. Steve Vai played all the parts during the battle including the awesome bit of ‘soul saving’ guitar. I recommend learning it just in case you are ever in a guitar battle for your soul. Like the Boy Scouts say: Be Prepared.


4 -Black Star - Yngwie Malmsteen -  If this dude could have put his ego aside and recognized he was not the best songwriter (best hell, he wasn’t even mediocre) or riff miester and added his lead guitar talents to a band who could write catchy riffs and good songs he would be the guitar god of guitar gods. He took what guys like Blackmore, Rhoads, and Schenker were doing to the next level. He made every rock guitarist have to up their game. Tapping ala Van Halen? Who gives a fuck. Show me some sweep picking. His ability to shred probably led to the young future grunge guitarists who grew up listening to metal (if everyone in the 90’s who claimed to love Black Flag and The Melvins growing up were telling the truth who bought all those Motley Crue records?) to give up and just play four chords really loud and then the same four chords really soft while complaining about stuff.**** This instrumental is everything great about  ‘Neo-Classical’ metal guitar and probably everything bad about it as well.
5 - Sweet Child of Mine - Slash (Guns N’ Roses) - Sure none of the multiple leads on this one rise to the technical level of Rhoads, Campbell, Vai, or Malmsteen but it kicks ass in all the right ways. Slash may not be a ‘metal shredder’ but he has chops galore and he shows them all here while perfectly complementing the song. A tough trick few can pull off but Slash nails it showing once again chicks dig the Mixolydian Mode ( sure they don’t always know they dig it, but they still do).*****

Again, dig the 80's, guitar and Crime Fiction? We have it for it ya in podcast and book form.


*Stairway to Heaven if you didn’t figure it out.
** Todd Morr is probably a worse blues name.
*** Has anyone ever been to one of these? Does anyone actually do this?
**** Grunge and bands like Nirvana are awesome. Normal people can enjoy more than one thing.
***** All genders dig the Mixolydian mode.

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