This is the first in a series; bass lines, drum beats, piano… will follow.
Before you start yelling at me for this list, I invite you to take a deep breath and re-read the headline.
It says “Most Recognizable.” It does not say “Best” or “Most Epic” or “Most Influential.” It says “Most Recognizable,” as in “The majority of the people in your car, bar or party instantly know what song it is by the first note of the song.”
That first note part is key; “Back in Black” wouldn’t work in the guitar category because it starts with drums.
Important to understand that I took women into account, here. For instance, my AC/DC vote would’ve gone to “Highway to Hell,” but I realize infinitely more Sheilas know “Shook Me All Night Long.”
First, here are the runners up:
Livewire – Motley Crue
American Girl – Tom Petty
Blister in The Sun – Violent Femmes
Lonely Is The Night – Billy Squier
Suite Judy Blue Eyes – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Under The Bridge – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Message in a Bottle – The Police
Take It Easy – Eagles
Wicked Game – Chris Isaak
Photograph – Def Leppard
Now, for the Top 10 Most Recognizable Opening Guitar Chords of All-Time.
I will go in descending order:
10. Pride and Joy – Stevie Ray Vaughn
9. Unchained – Van Halen
8. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
7. Layla – Derek and the Dominoes (a.k.a Eric Clapton)
6. Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin
5. Smoke on The Water – Deep Purple
4. Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns-n-Roses
3. Hard Days Night – Beatles
2. Satisfaction – Rolling Stone
1. Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC
Agree? Disagree? What song did I miss?
Editor’s note: The original title of this article was “Top 10 Most Recognizable Opening Guitar Chords of All-time” – Thankfully, a helpful commenter pointed out that what I am actually referring to are “riffs” – not chords. Thanks for the correction!
Photo by: Don Wrigh