I was listening to the radio yesterday afternoon and happened to catch Led Zeppelin's The Ocean. If you're familiar with the song at all, you know that it features a particularly brilliant main riff: it's a little asymmetrical, the almost-in-time-but-not-quite that is typical of a lot of Jimmy Page's rhythm writing (i.e. Black Dog), and in the hands of a lesser player or a lesser band it might have sounded awkward. In the hands of the mighty Zep, it moves more air than a 747 taking off.
Anyway, it got me pondering on what other immortal riffs might be worthy of echoing through the hallowed halls of rock, and I thought it might be a topic worthy of offering up at GWJ. I'm talking about straight-up bare-bones rock/metal riffs, the sort of thing that makes you want to pick something up and break the f*ck out of it. None of this froo-froo artsy fartsy intellectual sh*t.
Here's a couple to get started:
Black Sabbath: hell, probably 80% of the Ozzy-era stuff. Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Iron Man, Sweet Leaf, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, etc. I can only imagine the way that stuff must've blown minds when it was new.
Led Zeppelin: Kashmir, The Ocean, Black Dog, The Immigrant Song
Deep Purple: Smoke on the Water (obligatory on a list like this, I guess)
Rush: Bastille Day, A Passage to Bangkok, Limelight
Van Halen: Panama, Jamie's Crying, Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
AC/DC: Back In Black, For Those About To Rock
Scorpions: Rock You Like a Hurricane
Metallica: Seek and Destroy, Master of Puppets, Enter Sandman, Sad But True
Megadeth: Holy Wars, Symphony of Destruction
Helmet: Unsung, Milquetoast
Prong: Snap Your Fingers Snap Your Neck
Alice In Chains: Man in the Box
Nirvana: Smells Like Teen Spirit
Killing Joke: Millennium
Pantera: Mouth For War
Rage Against the Machine: Killing in the Name
King's X: Dogman