Slash Turns 50

Posted by Michael Mueller on July 23, 2015 at 5:54 PM

SlashRock guitar hero Slash, the guitarist responsible for such memorable riffs as "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "Paradise City," as well as for bringing that crucial element of grit and raw energy back to rock guitar in the late 1980s, turns 50 today.

Here are 10 of our favorite highlights from the top-hatted picker's distinguished career.

10. Beggars and Hangers On Slash's Snakepit 
We love the swampy country-blues influence heard in the open-tuned slide riff here. The whole song has a 1970s Southern rock vibe, which Slash and the Snakepit crew meld seamlessly with their modern heavy rock sound.

9.  Fall to Pieces Velvet Revolver
The arpeggio-driven riff and soaring melodic solo make this one of the top power ballads in Slash's canon.

8.  Patience Guns N' Roses
Slash may be forever known as the top-hatted guitarist wielding a Les Paul, but his work with the ol' Guild acoustic on this track is equally memorable, showing off some of his tastiest lines.

7.  Black or White Michael Jackson 
Contrary to popular belief, Slash did not record "Black or White"; he was just a guest guitarist for Michael Jackson's performance of "Black or White" on the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards. He did, however, play on "Give In to Me," also from the Dangerous album.

6.  Mr. Brownstone Guns N' Roses
As our friend Greg Koch once wrote, the main riff here "is so savage it makes even the most wholesome individual contemplate tattoos or piercing."

5.  Anastasia Slash 
Neoclassical Slash? That opening riff may be inspired by Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor," but the rest of the track is FM radio rock at its finest. Working with Myles Kennedy—arguably the best vocalist Slash has ever worked with—certainly seems to have reinvigorated the guitarist.

4.  Slither Velvet Revolver 
Possibly the best representation of the Stone Temple Pilots/Guns N' Roses hybrid that was Velvet Revolver, the main riff offers a sinister street vibe, and Slash's solo is blistering wah-drenched classic rock at its best.

3.  November Rain Guns N' Roses
Widely considered one of the greatest rock guitar solo extravaganzas of all time, Slash cranks out not one, not two, but three solos. Epic—in the truest sense of the word.

2.  Sweet Child O' Mine Guns N' Roses
The riff that launched a million guitar store headaches. But seriously, who'd have thought a warm-up picking exercise could become one of the greatest hard rock riffs of all time? Furthermore, who'd have thought you could incorporate the harmonic minor scale into a classic rock solo without sounding pretentious?

1.  Paradise City Guns N' Roses
This song is nearly 30 years old, and still, whenever it comes on, the volume knob immediately goes up. "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "Welcome to the Jungle" get more attention, but this track is the balls-out rocker that will most assuredly stand the test of time—and it's Slash's favorite!

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