Published On: Wed, Jul 16th, 2014

BBC Radio 2 Opens Audience Vote to Find Best Riffs

BBC Radio 2’s fantastic guitar season continues this month, Simon Mayo has opened an audience vote to find the best riffs.



The 100 riffs were selected by a panel of music experts including Radio 2 and 6music DJs, music critics and record producers. The ultimate Top 100 countdown, which is being produced by Wise Buddah and as chosen by listeners, will be revealed in the Guitar Season finale on Bank Holiday Monday (25 August) from midnight to 5pm – across a whole host of shows including Will Gompertz (sitting in for Janice Long), Alex Lester, Ken Bruce, Jeremy Vine and Jo Whiley (sitting in for Steve Wright).

Read on for more details…

Press Release:

BBC Radio 2 presenter Simon Mayo (Monday-Friday, 5pm-7pm) on Monday 14 July launched an audience vote to find the Radio 2 Top 100 Greatest Guitar Riffs of all time.

Since May this year, Radio 2’s Guitar Season has been celebrating this incredible instrument and now it’s time to stop those guitars from gently weeping and get them wailing as listeners vote for their favourite axe riffs at bbc.co.uk/radio2.

The 100 riffs have been selected by a panel of music experts including Radio 2 and 6music DJs, music critics and record producers. The ultimate Top 100 countdown, which is being produced by Wise Buddah and as chosen by listeners, will be revealed in the Guitar Season finale on Bank Holiday Monday (25 August) from midnight to 5pm – across a whole host of shows including Will Gompertz (sitting in for Janice Long), Alex Lester, Ken Bruce, Jeremy Vine and Jo Whiley (sitting in for Steve Wright).

Jeff Smith, Head of Music Radio 2, and also on the expert panel, said: “We’ve all been brought up with the most amazing guitar riffs throughout the history of pop music, but our trusty panel have drawn up a strong and eclectic mix we know our Radio 2 listeners are going to love.”

So, finger tapping, hammer-ons and whammy bars at the ready, let the shredding commence as the 100 riffs to vote for are revealed:

20th Century Boy – T. Rex
A Girl Like You – Edwyn Collins
Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love – Van Halen
Alive – Pearl Jam
All Right Now – Free
Apache – The Shadows
Are You Gonna Be My Girl – Jet
Are You Gonna Go My Way – Lenny Kravitz
Atomic – Blondie
Back In Black – AC/DC
Beat It – Michael Jackson
Block Buster! – Sweet
Bo Diddley – Bo Diddley
Bohemian Like You – The Dandy Warhols
Boom Boom – John Lee Hooker
Born To Be Wild – Steppenwolf
Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen
Boys Don’t Cry – The Cure
C’mon Everybody – Eddie Cochran
Cannonball – The Breeders
Cigarettes & Alcohol – Oasis
Day Tripper – The Beatles
Do I Wanna Know? – Arctic Monkeys
Don’t Fear The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
Don’t Believe A Word – Thin Lizzy
Down Down – Status Quo
Enter Sandman – Metallica
Every Breath You Take – The Police
Eye Of The Tiger – Survivor
Fools Gold – The Stone Roses
Get Lucky – Daft Punk
Good Times – Chic
Hocus Pocus – Focus
How Soon Is Now? – The Smiths
I Can’t Explain – The Who
I Can’t Get No Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones
I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Jack & Diane – John Mellencamp
Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry
Killing in The Name – Rage Against The Machine
Layla – Derek And The Dominoes
Life In The Fast Lane – Eagles
Livin’ On A Prayer – Bon Jovi
Lonely Boy – The Black Keys
Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll – Rainbow
Loser – Beck
Ma-Ma-Ma Belle – Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)
Mannish Boy – Muddy Waters
Marquee Moon – Television
Milk and Alcohol – Dr. Feelgood
Misirlou – Dick Dale
Money – Pink Floyd
Money For Nothing – Dire Straits
Motorcycle Emptiness – Manic Street Preachers
Mr Tambourine Man – The Byrds
My Sharona – The Knack
Need You Tonight – INXS
No One Knows – Queens of The Stone Age
No Surprises – Radiohead
Oh, Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison
Oh Well – Fleetwood Mac
One Vision – Queen
Paranoid – Black Sabbath
Peter Gunn – Duane Eddy
Pretty Vacant – Sex Pistols
Pride (In The Name Of Love) – U2
Purple Haze – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Rocks – Primal Scream
Rumble – Link Wray
Run To You – Bryan Adams
Running Down A Dream – Tom Petty
September – Earth, Wind & Fire
Seven Nation Army – White Stripes
Shakin’ All Over – Johnny Kidd & The Pirates
Sharp Dressed Man – ZZ Top
She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult
Should I Stay Or Should I Go – The Clash
Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple
Song 2 – Blur
Spoonman – Soundgarden
Stay With Me – Faces
Sunshine of Your Love – Cream
Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses
Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Take Me Out – Franz Ferdinand
That Lady – The Isley Brothers
The One I Love – R.E.M.
The Riverboat Song – Ocean Colour Scene
The Spirit Of Radio – Rush
Theme From Shaft – Isaac Hayes
There She Goes – The La’s
Unbelievable – EMF
Under The Bridge – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Walk This Way – Aerosmith / Aerosmith & RUN-D.M.C.
Wheel – Foo Fighters
Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin
Words of Love – Buddy Holly
You Really Got Me – The Kinks
Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie

The Guitar Season has featured a range of in-depth documentaries, features and live music performances across the Radio 2 schedule, all celebrating the fascinating history of the guitar, its impact on popular culture and its importance to all music genres – from folk to country, rock to classical and beyond.

Also as part of the season, Radio 2 wants to give listeners a chance to have a go at playing the guitar themselves so have created The Radio 2 Guitar Pick-Up – six weekly lessons that launch atbbc.co.uk/radio2 this weekend. Comedian John Bishop will be learning to play too and listeners can hear his first lesson on Saturday 19 July (10am-1pm) in his second show standing in for Graham Norton.

The Guitar Season continues through July and August on Radio 2 with:

Harold Bradley – The World’s Biggest Unknown Guitarist (Monday 14 July, 10-11pm), tells the story of a session guitarist who’s played on over 13000 recordings. But he’s a name that listeners probably aren’t familiar with and that’s exactly how he likes it! A Nashville native, he’s played on every record Patsy Cline ever made, and with Elvis, the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, Don Gibson, Brenda Lee, Jerry Lee Lewis, Willie Nelson, JJ Cale, Buddy Holly and literally thousands more. The programme features Harold telling his story, alongside contributions from his famous clients. And he recreates some of his well-known sessions in the studio where they were created.

Gary Kemp presents Mick Ronson – The Man with The Golden Guitar (Monday 28 July, 10-11pm). Originally broadcast in April 2013, the show features archive footage of Mick and David Bowie, as Gary explores why Mick is such an important figure in British rock ‘n’ roll.

Peggy Sue – The £1 Guitar that is worth a Million (Monday 11 August, 10-11pm) will see Alvin Stardust talk listeners through his incredible experiences jamming with Buddy Holly and being on stage with Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent.

And Anatomy of a Guitar (Monday 18 August, 10-11pm), uncovers the battle of the guitar as it evolved to become the dominant beast in the world of music. The programme explores the versatility of the instrument and dissects some classic models to learn how it makes its unique sound.

BBC Four will also be celebrating all things guitar riff. From Chuck Berry through to the White Stripes, The Joy of the Guitar Riff (Friday 18 July, 9pm-10pm) traces the ebb and flow of the guitar riff over the last 60 years of popular music. With riffs and stories from an all-star cast including Brian May, Dave Davies, Hank Marvin, Joan Jett, Nile Rodgers, Tony Iommi, Robert Fripp, Johnny Marr, Nancy Wilson, Kevin Shields, Ryan Jarman, Tom Morello and many more.

And Great Guitar Riffs at the BBC (Friday 18 July, 10pm-11pm) will bring viewers some of the best axe men and women in rock n roll. From Hendrix to The Kinks, Cream to AC/DC, The Smiths to Rage Against The Machine. Whether it’s The Shadows playing FBI on Crackerjack, Jeff Beck with The Yardbirds, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream’s Sunshine of Your Love from their final gig, The Pixies on the Late Show or Fools Gold from The Stone Roses – this compilation is a celebration of rock n roll guitar complete with riffs, fingerstylin’, wah-wah pedals and Marshall amps!

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