Instant Recognition: 7 of the Most Distinguishable Opening Guitar Riffs

Do you pride yourself on knowing what song is being played right away? One of the ways I know I have ADD is that I constantly flip through playlists and try to name the song as fast as I possibly can. My record is 81.

In the landscape of C minus gameshows of today, I think a gameshow where people battle their music knowledge in a style of my ADD tick would be a thriving success. It’s all in that opening riff guys, so it got me thinking about which opening guitar riffs would be answered the quickest overall on this made up show.

The Smiths – How Soon is Now?

This riff is so ahead of it’s time that it couldn’t even be replicated live for awhile after it was released. This song is the backdrop to a quality scene in The Wedding Singer. I bet one out of five people reading this had their ex donning a can of hairspray/mullet slink back up their driveway in 1985 looking to get back together.

Modest Mouse – Float On

Isaac Brock stated that he wrote “Float On” because 2004 was such a depressing year in society and he wanted to write something super happy. It paid off as it became a mainstream hit, made millions of folks happy, and gave Modest Mouse a ton of money.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – American Girl

I almost put in parenthesis Last Nite by The Strokes because they ripped off this riff (say that 5 times fast). According to Tom it didn’t bother him that they did it, kudos to him for not suing as most folks tend to do in this day and age.

The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army

I don’t care that he’s technically playing a bass in the beginning, leaving this off would be like leaving Road House off a list of the best movies of all time.

Led Zeppelin – Immigrant Song

This riff hits you right away like a one two combo from Sugar Ray Leonard. Cranking this song to 11 and screaming “aahhhyyyaahhhhyyyyahh” should be on WebMD’s top ways to relieve stress.

AC/DC – Thunderstruck

There’s a reason this song is played at most amateur football games across America, from the millisecond it begins it screams pump up song.

Weezer – Say It Ain’t So

You can make a strong case to say that out of a lot of great Weezer songs, this is their most universally loved. This song just fits every situation; karaoke, driving with the windows down, doing your taxes. That casual yet calculated riff gets me every time. Are you Team Blue album or Team Pinkerton?

More from Andy Koval
Comments

One Comment

  1. bob haaga says:

    wow 7 there are a lot missing

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