Today is the 46th anniversary of Keith Richards rolling over in his sleep in a Florida hotel, humming the main riff of "Satisfaction" into a bedside tape recorder and going back to slumber, or nodding off. The Rolling Stones would record the song months later and make it their calling card, their magnum single.
The main riff of "Satisfaction," that cool, almost Middle Eastern sound, would go down in history as one of the best riffs to ever drip out of a guitarist's brain - asleep or awake - and into their fingers to make magic. Listening to it now is like looking at priceless paintings in the halls of the Louvre, except this work of art wants to take your panties off.
Now, to make a list of the best riffs, you have to make a number of concessions as we see it. The Beatles made plenty of great sounds, with their best riff-based songs being, in our opinion, "Revolution,", "Helter Skelter," and the Chuck Berry-biting "Come Together." No seriously, Lennon had to pay Berry royalties.
Let's set the Beatles aside for this list, though. That's like listing your favorite drink as water. No shit, it's the Beatles. Same goes for Berry, even though we have listed "Johnny B. Goode" as a starting point.
Don't get us started on the wizardry of Angus Young from AC/DC. Just listen to everything he has ever recorded, even the recent stuff.
Led Zeppelin and Metallica are our other two favorite riff-based bands, but since their music can't be embedded into this list, like AC/DC, we suggest you all go and listen to or download Led Zeppelin's I,II,III, IV, Houses Of The Holy, and Physical Graffiti, as well as any and all live bootlegs, legal or otherwise. As for Metallica, do what you feel.
It's all good. All right, not St. Anger.
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In keeping with the Mother's Day theme, we created this list, which no doubt has glaring omissions in it that you will soon inflame the comments board with. Why is Pantera's "Walk" on here? Because the ghost of Dimebag Darrell is standing over us, always.