Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love' Voted Best Riff of All Time

"Sweet Child O' Mine" reaches No. 2, "Back in Black" rounds up the Big 3, full Top 10 inside.

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Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" was awarded with yet another accolade, as the band's classic 1969 track was voted best riff of all time by BBC Radio 2 listeners.

As BBC reports, the chuggin' guitar piece triumphed over the remaining 99 riffs drawn up by an experts panel consisting of Radio 2 staff, critics and record producers.

Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" reached the No. 2 spot, while AC/DC rounded up the Big 3 with "Back in Black."

"Smoke on the Water," also known as the recently-proclaimed best starter song for guitarists here on UG, made it to No. 4. Some of the other riffs featured in the Top 10 are "Layla" by Derek and the Dominoes, Status Quo's "Down Down," and Pink Floyd's "Money."

So without further ado, check out the full Top 10 below.

Top 10 Greatest Riffs of All Time By BBC Radio 2

1. Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love
2. Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine
3. AC/DC - Back in Black
4. Deep Purple - Smoke on the Water
5. Derek and the Dominoes - Layla
6. The Smiths - How Soon Is Now?
7. Status Quo - Down Down
8. Dire Straits - Money For Nothing9. The Kinks - You Really Got Me10. Pink Floyd - Money

63 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Top 10 riffs and no mention of Sabbath? What is this madness?!
    I could go into lengthy detail as to why I don't care about the list being metal or not, but I've not been awake long. Instead, I'll just tell you to shove a barge pole up your arse.
    Man, i love Zeppelin, and Whole Lotta Love is a great song, but the best riff i've ever heard is from "Stranglehold" by Ted Nugent. It's strong, powerful and worked well, it burns your ears man, just like Rock N' Roll should do:
    I find Ted to be a rather awful person, but yes, Stranglehold kills.
    Well you yourself are probably a douche. So who Carr's what you think of Ted Nugent. I'm actually suprised this vote was not voted down based solely on his name.
    As much as I love Zeppelin I have to note for those of you who are not yet aware that they did steal the entire song (vibe, structure whatever you want to call it) from Muddy Waters' "You Need Love", even parts of the lyrics.
    Page himself has said that if it wasn't for Plant flogging the lyrics of old blues classics, they wouldn't have had half the plagiarism trouble. Especially this Muddy Waters song given as an example above. Apart from the lyrics, the music itself is completely different.
    NIB, Black Sabbath, Evil Woman, Behind the Wall of Sleep, Sweet Leaf, Hand of Doom, Lord of this World, Fairies wear boots, Into the Void, A National Acrobat, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, St Vitus dance. WHERE IS THE SABBATH
    Whole Lotta Love isn't even Zeppelin's best riff. That would be Black Dog.
    This is a list that very few are going to agree with aside from those that wrote it. Hell, most of the bands on here have better riffs than the ones chosen, imo.
    If there isn't a Sabbath riff on there then I'm not sure I can take this list seriously. That's coming from a die hard Zep fan, Iommi is a riff monster.
    I know it's a fairly simple one, but that guitar solo in "Whole Lotta Love" has always been one of my all time favorites. Short. Sweet. Shreds.
    Cowboys from Hell Communication Breakdown living Loving Maid (which I hear WAY more than Whole Lotta Love) Hell, even Black Dog should've been somewhere up there
    You've got to remember these riffs were voted on from a list of (100?) pre-chosen riffs, which is why most of them are just well known rather than the best riff that band has produced.
    wheres unchained by van halen and stranglehold by uncle ted? 2 of my favorite riffs of all time
    I'm British born and now live in Australia and I have never heard of you. I have heard all of these songs at one point or another, though.
    Kinda surprised no one has mentioned seven nation army. Seriously, if I here it then it's stuck in my head all friggin day and I feel totally badass.
    Whole Lotta Love is a great track, but #1 should have been a different Zep riff. Might I suggest When The Levee Breaks, Black Dog, or How Many More Times?
    Bullshit.... sweet child is a shitty riff..... If they were going for Guns.... atleast pick something decent like Rocket Queen or Welcome to the Jungle..... Back in black should be number 1
    'Comfortably Numb' - Pink Floyd ?
    dude, thats more famous for the second solo (which is amazing) but there is no real riff to speak of overtly in that track.
    Song doesnt even have a riff, just amazing solos and a trippy chorus, especially if you're high
    As much as I love Led Zeppelin, I think they wrote a lot of riffs better than "Whole Lotta Love". It doesn't excite me as much as say "Communication Breakdown", "The Lemon Song", "When The Levee Breaks", etc. I think it's safe to say most of us have stumbled upon those 3 notes from messing about on the guitar as well, and it had been used in a few other songs before ("Hey Joe" for example). Still a good song and list though.
    Not going to argue as Whole Lotta Love is amazing and I catch myself humming it from time to time for no reason other than it being great. However to me the greatest riff of all time is Layla. It's so good that you know the song is great 5-10 seconds into it.
    Seven Nation Army from the White Stripes not here. Come on. That song pumps everyone up especially with the power chords. Jack White is probably the best riff maker behind Jimmy Page.