LED ZEPPELIN's 'Whole Lotta Love' Named 'Greatest Riff Of All Time'
June 4, 2021
Jimmy Page's riff from LED ZEPPELIN's "Whole Lotta Love"has been named the greatest riff of all time by the readers of Total Guitar and Guitar World magazines.
The ZEPPELIN classic placed ahead of Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train", AC/DC's "Back In Black" and DEEP PURPLE's "Smoke On The Water".
Total Guitar wrote in its July 2021 issue, which is out today (June 4): "In 1969, the year Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon, Jimmy Page launched his own giant leap for mankind.
"'Whole Lotta Love''s guitar figure took just 2.7 seconds to play, but it immediately projected music into another decade. While everyone else was still playing the '60s, ZEPPELIN were now playing the '70s.
"It wasn't the first great riff, but it is the defining one. It's why riffs became central to guitar music, the reason bands search for the guitar hook that can propel a whole song — or even a whole career."
Top 10 greatest riffs of all time, as chosen by the readers of Total Guitar and Guitar World magazines:
01. Whole Lotta Love (LED ZEPPELIN) 02. Crazy Train (OZZY OSBOURNE) 03. Back In Black (AC/DC) 04. Smoke On The Water (DEEP PURPLE) 05. Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love (VAN HALEN) 06. Enter Sandman (METALLICA) 07. Iron Man (BLACK SABBATH) 08. Walk (PANTERA) 09. La Grange (ZZ TOP) 10. Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix)
Other riffs featured in the list include NIRVANA's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE's "Killing In The Name" and SLIPKNOT's "Psychosocial".
Page spoke about the "Whole Lotta Love" song creation in a 2014 interview with The Wall Street Journal. He said: "I came up with the guitar riff for 'Whole Lotta Love' in the summer of '68, on my houseboat along the Thames in Pangbourne, England. I suppose my early love for big intros by rockabilly guitarists was an inspiration, but as soon as I developed the riff, I knew it was strong enough to drive the entire song, not just open it. When I played the riff for the band in my living room several weeks later during rehearsals for our first album, the excitement was immediate and collective. We felt the riff was addictive, like a forbidden thing."
Last year, Jimmy told Total Guitar that the "Whole Lotta Love" riff "was so fresh and it still is. If somebody plays that riff, it brings a smile to people’s faces. It's a really positive thing."