Jimmy Page Reveals His Favorite Guitar Solo

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When it comes to discussing the greatest guitar solos in music history, few individuals are as qualified to share their opinion as Jimmy Page, the visionary behind Led Zeppelin. With his iconic compositions, including the legendary guitar solo in “Stairway to Heaven” and the captivating riff in “Immigrant Song,” Page has solidified his status as a master of rock guitar.

His innovative techniques, such as using a bow to play the guitar strings, have further showcased his exceptional talent. Page’s immense contributions to the world of guitar rock have earned him widespread recognition, including two Grammy Awards and induction into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on two occasions.

Reflecting on his career, Jimmy Page revealed to Rolling Stone that his preferred Led Zeppelin riff is “Kashmir.” However, when considering guitar solos beyond Led Zeppelin and his own repertoire, the renowned guitarist identified Elliott Randall’s riff in Steely Dan’s “Reelin’ In The Years” as his all-time favorite during a 1999 interview with Classic Rock.

In a 2016 interview with Oliver Patrick Loughnan, Page expressed his continued admiration for the riff, rating the guitar playing a perfect 12/10. When Loughnan played the track, Page immediately recognized it and confirmed his affinity for it.

“Oh I know this, yeah, that’s cool. I really like that. Steely Dan. Yeah I really like that. That’s gotta be a 12 hasn’t it?”

He expresses his ongoing love for the instrument, stating:

“The thing is, I really love all guitar playing. Hearing guitarists when I was a kid, and just really appreciating even then. It’s six strings and it’s an electric guitar but everyone’s whole take on it and their character is totally different. And that’s what’s so cool about it.”

In 1973, jazz-rock band Steely Dan released their biggest hit, “Reelin’ In The Years,” as the second single from their debut album, Can’t Buy a Thrill. However, founders Donald Fagen and Walter Becker struggled to create the perfect guitar solo for the track. Seeking a solution, they enlisted Elliott Randall from Jay & The Americans to contribute a guitar riff. Randall later recounted the experience in an interview with Produce Like A Pro, sharing:

“I thought they were really special, and they must have thought I was special too.”

Randall quickly found the perfect guitar solo “flavor” for the track in a single take, using a vintage 1965 Stratocaster, an Ampeg SVT amp, and a single AKG 414 microphone. He revealed,

“The whole solo just came to me, and I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to play it.”

Page regards “Reelin’ In The Years” as his favorite guitar solo of all time. However, Steely Dan has a different perspective on the song. In a 2009 Rolling Stone interview, Donald Fagen described it as “dumb but effective,” and Walter Becker stated, “It’s no fun.” Despite their mixed opinions, the track achieved chart success and became Steely Dan’s most renowned single. Page’s admiration only strengthens its artistic brilliance.