The last podcast in this Top9 series is about Per’s favourite guitar riffs. Per and Sven say that a good riff is often in the intro of a song, but it can also come back inside the song. Per collected 70-80 hits with great riffs and then narrowed down his list to 9. Listen to the podcast or download it from HERE!
Mr. G’s Top9 guitar riffs:
9. Black Sabbath – Paranoid
8. The Rolling Stones – The Last Time
7. Led Zeppelin – Kashmir
6. The Who – I Can’t Explain
5. AC/DC – Back In Black
4. Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen
3. The Kinks – You Really Got Me
2. David Bowie – Rebel Rebel
1. Norman Greenbaum – Spirit In The Sky
Black Sabbath’s Paranoid has a fantastic guitar riff. Per thinks the song itself is a little too pop for being a Black Sabbath track. The Rolling Stones is a gigantic riff band, Keith Richards is called The Human Riff. The Last Time has a very catchy riff which goes on in a loop in the verses. The hook was played by Brian Jones, not by Keith and so it’s assumed to be composed by Brian. When the guys start talking about Led Zeppelin it turns out that Sven had a weak moment in the ’80s and got a ZoSo tattoo, which symbolizes Jimmy Page. Jimmy is also a fantastic, tricky guitarist.
Pete Townshend from The Who is another riff king, having a great archive of incomparable guitar riffs. Pete has a completely unique style. After I Can’t Explain got played, Sven asks Per which he thinks the coolest guitar riff is written by Mr. G himself. Per says it’s Sleeping In My Car. PG tells the story of how he wrote the song. When they recorded the album Crash! Boom! Bang!, the record company missed a very strong song to have a lead single. So Per went home and wrote SIMC. He says he thought about Paul McCartney’s album, Ram which includes the song The Back Seat Of My Car. He found it catchy and included it in the lyrics of SIMC. Mr. G played the demo for the song at EMI with Anders Herrlin and Clarence Öfwerman and they liked the song from the beginning and thought it had a real power pop title.
AC/DC make damn good pop music. Per remembers he saw them live as the support act to Black Sabbath at Olympen in Lund, 1977. AC/DC were an unknown band back then, but they actually became much better than Black Sabbath. Their song Back In Black has an awesome guitar riff. Sex Pistols with God Save The Queen is at No. 4 on Per’s list. It has a deadly guitar riff, awesome lyrics and it’s a fab pop song. Per says he missed Sex Pistols playing live in Halmstad 1977. Mr. G already talked about this memory in a previous podcast episode, why he and MP didn’t go in and see the show. They thought it was a bit too dangerous there. Sven and Per talk about Mr. G’s Sex Pistols single collection and that there was a most expensive single in England ”Pretty Vacant” which was worth 13,000 GBP. But that’s not the copy Per has in his library.
No. 3 is You Really Got Me by The Kinks. It has a legendary guitar riff, a very sexy groove. The first guitar riff Per heard from The Kinks was however another one, in Till The End Of The Day. The funny thing about YRGM is that it was written by Ray Davies on piano, but he then thought it would work better on guitar. It’s a super cool production.
Here comes David Bowie at No. 2 with Rebel Rebel. It’s a wonderful song and has a fantastic, intelligent guitar riff. The hit sounds a bit outside of the album, Diamond Dogs. Per loves DD. There were no lyrics to the album and there was no Google at those times. Per finds it important to have the lyrics to be able to follow the text. He bought a kind of sheet music where he could follow the chords and got the lyrics as well. The songs on the album have very sophisticated texts. Rebel Rebel feels like it’s the end of Bowie’s glam period and it’s David himself who played the guitar in it. Per says it was an incredible shock when Bowie died, but his music lives on. He is Per’s biggest hero, he was a fantastic artist and he changed PG’s life.
Mr. G’s No. 1 guitar riff is in a one hit wonder song, Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit In The Sky. Per thinks it’s the coolest riff one has ever written. The song is a tribute to Jesus or something like that. The guitar sound and the whole production are fantastic. The producer of the song is Erik Jacobsen, who also produced e.g. Tim Hardin, The Lovin’ Spoonful and even Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game.
Is it really the last podcast in this series? Can’t be! This should go on and on for the rest of our lives! The good thing in the podcast is that you can listen to it again and again anytime. In case you want to listen to all episodes again, check our article including the link to each of the 10 parts. Enjoy!
Thanx Per and Sven for your enthusiasm and sharing it with us and thanx to Swedish Radio for the opportunity! Keep up the good thing!