According to the readers of both Total Guitar and Guitar World, Led Zeppelin's 1969 track "Whole Lotta Love" has the greatest guitar riff of all time. The riff beat others like "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne and "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" by Van Halen in the poll.
"In 1969, the year Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon, Jimmy Page launched his own giant leap for mankind," said publication Total Guitar.
"'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."
The Top 10 riffs can be found below. It's probably worth noting the most recent riff on there is "Walk" by Pantera from 1992, and the second is "Enter Sandman" by Metallica from 1991. Apparently nobody's written a good riff in nearly 30 years.
- "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin
- "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne
- "Back In Black" by AC/DC
- "Smoke On The Water" by Deep Purple
- "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" by Van Halen
- "Enter Sandman" by Metallica
- "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath
- "Walk" by Pantera
- "La Grange" by ZZ Top
- "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix