Guitar shop owners across Britain have banned it in fear of losing their sanity, but Led Zeppelin's eight minute 1971 epic, Stairway to Heaven, refuses to go away. Jimmy Page's solo, in a song which has led generations of music fans to sing "ooh, and it makes me wonder", is voted the best air guitar moment of all time.
In a survey that reveals just how frustrating those No Stairway signs must be for guitar shoppers, almost 2,000 readers of Total Guitar magazine voted Page's solo better than a list axe-hero moments by Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Queen's Brian May.
In keeping with the genre's reputation, every single solo in the air guitar top 10 was played by a man imagining a Fender Stratocaster in their hands, most with longer than shoulder-length hair, often permed, and none were recorded after 1991 after which time the popularity of the brazen rock guitar solo waned, derided as pompous and an all-too crass display of self-gratification.
Described as "incredibly ballsy and a little bit flash" by the magazine's editor Stephen Lawson, Page's solo has the ideal attributes for an air guitarist accompaniment. As any guitar afficianado knows, Page produced his masterwork on a 1958 Fender Telecaster but the beauty of his creation for the nation's air guitarists is it can be enjoyed with nothing more than a mirror for equipment, as long as the thought of a cover by Dolly Parton doesn't break their concentration.
US rockers Van Halen came second, and the solos in Guns 'N Roses' Paradise City, The Eagles' Hotel California, and Metallica's Enter Sandman were next. The remaining four were Eric Clapton's Crossroads as a member of Cream, Jimi Hendrix's Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Ozzy Osbourne's Crazy Train, and Free's All Right Now.
From today's Guardian
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