AXS TV premiered its exciting new original countdown series, “The Top Ten Revealed,” on Feb. 11. Series host and executive producer Katie Daryl led viewers on a ranking of some of the greatest Guitar Rock Intros of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s while a panel of iconic artists and music industry experts offered commentary on each of the social-media-voted picks.
The final countdown is sure to have sparked debate among classic rock fans everywhere. But, there’s no denying the explosive intros that made the final list represent some of the greatest intros rock music has ever heard. SPOILER ALERT: The ranking is revealed below.
Fans might be surprised to learn that Eddie Van Halen originally intended the No. 10 ranking, “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love” to be a punk rock parody. But, the infectious track from the band’s eponymous 1978 album caught on with fans and is notably one of Van Halen’s most covered songs. TV and SiriusXM Radio host Matt Pinfield described the intro well in calling it, “In your face, like it’s gonna rip your head off.”
The indelible, haunting intro for The Eagles’ Grammy-winning signature song “Hotel California” followed at No. 9 and Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” followed at No. 8. Ozzy and guitarist Randy Rhoads felt like the mind-bending intro mimic the chugging of a train – and they’re right.
The First Lady of Rock Guitar, Lita Ford weighed in on intro No. 7, “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, noting it’s all about the “southern rock feel.” Guitarist and co-writer Ed King said the music came to him in a dream. It remains one of the most memorable intros of all time.
The acoustic and electric blend in Heart’s “Crazy on You” intro are incredible. Yahoo Music Editor-and-Chief Lyndsey Parker called it “raw and real.” Nancy Wilson is arguably on of the greatest female guitarists of all time. Some fans may argue this unique intro should have ranked higher than No. 6 on the list.
The glittering intro to Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” came in at the halfway point in the countdown, claiming the No. 5 spot. The progressive rock track has often been named one of the best rock songs of all time. Jimmy Page slays the mystical intro. This is another song that could have arguably been ranked higher on the list.
The No. 4 pick was “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple. It deserves its high ranking because probably anyone who has ever learned to play guitar has played this instantly recognizable intro. Programming pioneer and SiriusXM host Jose Mangin offered up a perfect description of the song by dubbing it “a pick me up song for all generations.”
Excitement was building as “The Top Ten Revealed’s” countdown climbed closer to the top. Guns N’ Roses No. 1 Billboard single “Sweet Child O’ Mine” came in at No. 3 with GNR drummer Steven Adler noting no one could ever play it like Slash. Some fun Bonus Tracks were featured (being songs that would have made the cut if the list was longer, like The Rolling Stones smash hit “Start Me Up.”)
Matt Pinfield noted that the “interplay between brothers” is what makes the No. 2 entry, “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC so special and the late, great Malcolm Young is called a “secret rhythm guitar weapon” on the Billboard U.S. Mainstream Rock and Rock Digital Songs Top 5 track.
The crowning glory of this countdown went to “Layla” by Derek and the Dominos. Eric Clapton’s stripped-down solo acoustic version of the song for MTV Unplugged is also massively popular. Clapton wrote the song about his unrequited love for George Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd, who he eventually married and divorced.
Follow @AXSTV on Twitter and Facebook to cast your votes and weigh in on “The Top Ten Revealed” ranking. Episodes air Sundays at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT. The Feb. 18 episode will feature Songs Named After Women. Find AXS TV on your TV and stay tuned to AXS for programming news and updates.