10 terrible solos by great guitarists
11th Oct 2011 | 16:07
Blur - Country House
A baffling act of self-sabotage from Graham Coxon, who lumbers Blur’s 1995 chart-topper with a lead break so twee you’ll swear it’s being played by a garden gnome.
At 2:16, following a genuinely painful top fret squeak, he finally knocks this bleak farce on the head, apparently satisfied that he’s done enough to wreck the entire song.
Listen: Blur - Country House (offending solo at 1.53)
Warrant - Cherry Pie
It’s bad enough regular Warrant guitarists Joey Allen and Erik Turner had to make room for ‘guest star’ CC DeVille.
Worse still is that the Poison hairball’s atonal run up the neck has all the grace of a drunk man climbing a ladder to unblock a gutter.
Listen: Warrant - Cherry Pie (offending solo at 2.25)
The Libertines - Vertigo
Hats off to Pete Doherty and Carl Barât for having a go, but on an album that’s a great advert for tuners and metronomes, the breakdown in Vertigo takes the biscuit, sounding like two barrow boys rolling a dustbin full of guitars through Dagenham Market.
Listen: The Libertines - Vertigo (offending solo at 1.49)
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication
Returning not quite match-fit from drugs hell, John Frusciante described the Californication album as “someone trying the best they can at that time”.
He coped, except on the title track, where he sounds positively scared of his guitar, gingerly fretting notes like there’s a scale book open on his lap.
Listen: RHCP - Californication (offending solo at 3.20)
Audioslave - Doesn't Remind Me
A lovely little sun-kissed strummer, this – until Tom Morello steams into a solo that’s weirdly sloppy by his godlike standards.
Following a few alarming note choices, he tries to turn things around by just playing really, really fast… but it’s too late.
Listen: Audioslave - Doesn't Remind Me (offending solo at 2.50)
Metallica - 2x4
Kirk Hammett dunks his hands in treacle for a solo that manages the seemingly impossible and makes the wah pedal sound sexless.
Slow, sad and desperate, you’d be forgiven for concluding Kirk sent his mum to the studio while he stayed in bed.
Listen: Metallica - 2x4 (offending solo at 3.20)
The Beatles - All You Need Is Love
George Martin’s lush orchestral arrangement only manages to highlight the shrill twang of George Harrison’s fumbled effort after the first chorus.
It’s only about three seconds long, but enough to set your teeth on edge at every wedding disco ever.
Listen: The Beatles - All You Need Is Love (offending solo at 1.19)
Smashing Pumpkins - Zero
Nul points for this effort from Mellon Collie…, complete with a shrieking whammy pedal tone that recreates the sensation of being trapped in a jam jar with a castrated wasp - twice.
Listen: Smashing Pumpkins - Zero (offending solo at 1.48)
Van Halen - Jump (live)
Not the original from 1984, we’re talking about the notorious, near-mythical live performance at the 2007 reunion show in Greensboro.
It saw a cheerful EVH play his heart out, unaware that his guitar was in an entirely different key to the rest of the band.
Listen: Van Halen - Jump (Live in Greensboro)
Derek And The Dominos - Layla
Specifically, the ‘legendary’ outro duel, in which Eric Clapton and Duane Allman compete to see who can do the best impression of a kitten being put through a mangle.
Mewling, schmaltzy and unforgivably long, by the time it’s finished, you’ll come to realise that 10 years have passed, you’ve grown a beard and your family have all died.