I've been playing guitar for 45 years. Here are the solos that, in my opinion, are the greatest in rock history, in no particular order, except there is no question that Clapton's second solo from Crossroads is the greatest ever.
#1 Eric Clapton: Cream, Crossroads, from Wheels of Fire, 1968
#2 Jeff Beck, Jeff Beck Group, Blues De Luxe, from Truth, 1968
I want to add a comment here: Beck does something in this solo no one else has ever done as far as I know - he plays the first 20 notes or so deliberately in a WRONG KEY - C# -- (the song is in C) -- but he somehow makes it work - slides it back to C and thusly creates a solo for the ages.
#3, James Burton, Hello Mary Lou (Ricky Nelson), 1961
#4 Jimmy Page, Think About It, Yardbirds, 1968
#5 Pete Townshend, I Can't Explain, The Who, 1964
#6 Mark Knopfler Sultans of Swing, Dire Straits, 1982
#7 Eric Clapton, Have you Heard, Bluesbreakers, 1965
#8 Jimi Hendrix, Manic Depression, Are you Experienced, 1967
#9 Jeff Beck, Rock My Plimsoul, Jeff Beck Group, Truth, 1968
#10 Terry Kath, 25 or 6 to 4, Chicago, 1970
6:07 PM PT: Thanks for the contributions! I plan to listen to every one - just might take some time, though. So I may rec you for the contribution ahead of when I hear it; but I plan to comment as much as I can too.
8:10 PM PT: Thank you so much for all of the contributions. Even the ones I didn't care for - that't obviously just my opinion. But I can't keep up with the listening and my opinions. I will do my best to hear and comment on as many as I can.
Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 1:37 PM PT: Fantastic response! I'm going to have to cut some corners for now and answer some posts that don't call for listening to the video. But I will still plan to get back to the videos.
Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 1:55 PM PT: Okay, uncle! You guys showed me that there are many out there that are great challengers to the ones I put up. I will do another, updated diary as soon as I can.