I love rock music. It's been a staple part of my musical diet for many years (even when I was in the wilderness of the dreaded Eminem-fever!), but I eventually came back to it full-time and, alongside my love of 80's synth-pop (OMD, Depeche Mode), 70's Glam Rock (T-Rex, Sweet) and KISS, and I even found new bands to rock out to and pretend to play air guitar to, all the while looking like I was having some sort of either a) seizure, or b) going completely mental. But, one of the most important parts to me, is the solo. The solo can say a lot about a song, especially if the song is fast (Danger Danger's Horny SOB from Screw It!) or if it's slow (Aerosmith's Hole In My Soul).
But, here's my top 5, and also, why I think the song is just brilliant in it's own right.
5: Journey - Still They Ride (Escape)
It's hard to choose a particular Journey song with an excellent solo, as they are al so damned good. Neal Schon is a definite underdog, when stood up along side Slash, Richie Sambora and Joe Perry, but that doesn't make him bad. I think he's quite the opposite. He can put a solo in any song, and makes it sound good. Take this song for instance. He starts off slow, then builds into a hefty finger extravaganza, then goes back to slow, then back to fast for the finish, and it works so well on so many levels.
4: Aerosmith - Crazy (Get A Grip)
Again, it's hard to choose, as there are so many good songs, but this one just about (only by a very small margin) beats Dude (Looks Like A Lady), which is also a classic track, but the addition of an acoustic guitar solo is just genius, and again, it works.
3: Danger Danger - Crazy Nites (Screw It!)
I was introduced to this band 2 years ago, and this was the very first album of theirs I listened to. Nearly every track is pure gold (save for two tracks, one of which isn't sure what it wants to be). I could have picked the ballad I Still Think About You, or Monkey Business, both of which are great songs. But, it was the solo in this one that made my mind up for me. It's just well written, and fits in perfectly.
2: Andy Taylor - When The Rain Comes Down (Thunder: Remastered Edition)
Ex-Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor did this song for the tv show Miami Vice, but you wouldn't have thought that someone who plays guitar in a new romantic/rock-pop group could play guitar like that. You can just about tell, though, that under the plucking in New Moon on Monday and The Reflex, was a rock guitarist waiting to burst out. And this song certainly doesn't disappoint. The solo is also cool, as it mixes the 80's with a bit of something extra. But what, I still can't put my finger on.
1: Rainbow - A Light in the Black (Rising)
Not only another excellent solo, but an 8 1/4 minute odyssey, especially when the solo gets into its very heart. The late, great Ronnie James Dio puts in a powerful performance, and it's just as equal to Ritchie Blackmore's 4 minute solo, which really puts you in the mood.