Sunday, 31 July 2011

The greatest guitar solo ever? Eruption vs Stairway to Heaven

One minor yet hot topic of debate in certain corners of the internet is the greatest guitar solo ever - of course there are hundreds, if not thousands of outstanding solos that rightfully hold their place in the countdowns, but as many have found out, there are two particularly hot contenders.

Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven was released in 1971 and is an 8 minute long song with several clippings of solo material that fit almost perfectly to the song, often regarded as one of the best songs ever.


Van Halen - Eruption however  existed around 1976 - this is a 2 minute, purely instrumental solo that involves impressive almost incomprehensible variations and speeds of two hand tapping from none other than Eddie Van Halen.


Many often say that comparing these two is like comparing Apples and Oranges, they are both incredible songs in their own right yet you just cannot choose a winner. I would like to suggest otherwise, and have come to a suitable conclusion.

First of all, it is important to consider that Stairway to Heaven is one of the most well known songs in the history of music, a title that, generally, Eruption does not hold. As well as this, Stairway to Heaven is a beautifully crafted piece of music that fits so well with the surrounding lyrics, a real piece of music history - whereas Eruption seems more like two minutes of organised chaos improvised by a 15 year old on their guitar.

Eruption will always have a special place in my hear though that Stairway to Heaven just cannot compete with. To this day, as someone who can play the guitar, I watch Eddie Van Halen and his many versions of eruption and I am just astounded, it is an incredible piece of music and the 10-15 seconds of tapping towards the end of the solo mark the greatest 10 seconds produced by a musician ever, in my honest opinion.

It is for this reason that despite my love of both these songs, Eruption is the one that I have to choose over Stairway To Heaven - the tapping (especially when performed live) is something that very few people have been able to replicate as covers on YouTube, and the sound that comes from Eddies guitar during that small time frame is unlike anything I have ever heard, and probably will ever hear again.


  1. There's a lady who's sure ...

  2. Stairway to Heaven in my opinion is the best.

  3. Its sad how they just don't make guitarists like they used to.

  4. I prefer Stairway to Heaven personally, but my favourite solo is from Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd.

  5. one of the best. I also like so much live solos from eric clapton and john mayer.