This was followed by Guns N’ Roses “Sweet Child of Mine”, AC/DCs “Back in Black”, Deep Purple‘s “Smoke on the Water” and Derek & the Dominos‘ “Layla“.
Led Zeppelin’s guitarist Jimmy Page said “I’m knocked out ……there have been so many great riffs. I wanted a riff that really moved; that people would get and that would bring a smile to their faces”.
He described it as “menacing yet quite caressing“.
Music producer Steve Levine said the song, which was the theme tune for Top of the Pops, was one of the most important guitar riffs of the 20th century and you would know it after hearing the first two notes. And here it is on YouTube.
The riff was chosen from a list of 100 drawn up by music experts as part of Radio 2′ s Guitar Season. Listeners then voted on their favourites from the list. For the purpose of this vote a guitar riff was defined as ‘the main hook of a song and had to be played principally by a guitar. It often begins the song, but is repeated throughout it, giving the song its distinctive voice.‘
Personally I would have chosen “Smoke on the Water” over the winner but I was never a big Led Zeppelin fan.
“How soon is now” by the Smiths achieved 6th place then “Down Down” by Status Quo, “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits, “You really got me” by the Kinks and “Money” by Pink Floyd in 10th place.