10 Greatest Rock Music Guitar Solos Of The 1980s

Some incredible shredding from a golden age of rock.

AC/DC Back In Black

A lot of things go into making a great rock song - the lyrics, the beat, the incomprehensible screaming - but nothing elevates something from great to godly quite like an out-of-this-world guitar solo.

Guitarists have been going ham on their favourite toys since the early days of the blues, but you'd be hard-pushed to find a better time for the instrumental break than the 1980s. After all, this was the decade of thrash metal, hard rock, hair metal, and so many other great subgenres that relied heavily on axe-wielders doing their thing. Choosing an arbitrary number of great solos from the period (let's just say ten, for example) would surely be impossible.

Well, not anymore!

There are plenty of ways to judge whether a solo is good, be it the technical skill required to pull it off, the catchiness of the finished product, or the impact it has had on music as a whole. This list is an attempt to bring together as many of those points as possible to give the best overview of a really special time to be a rock fan.

10. Caught Somewhere In Time - Iron Maiden

In late 1986, British history enthusiasts (and occasional metal band) Iron Maiden released their sixth studio record; the wistfully-titled Somewhere in Time.

Though not as successful an outing as some of their other '80s releases, Somewhere in Time still holds a firm place in the hearts of many Maiden fans, thanks to tracks like Strangers in a Strange Land, Wasted Years, and the song that opens the record, Caught Somewhere in Time.

A near-seven-and-a-half minute-long gallop, the tune not only showcases Bruce Dickinson's wailing vocals, but also the excellent work of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith, one of the greatest guitar pairings in metal history.

The solo is a particularly grandiose affair, stretching on for ages as both men take turns to flex their muscles. The fact that each guitar has a different tone to it adds another layer to this technically proficient display, which enters shredding territory without ever getting silly.

Maiden put out some top quality work in the '80s, but if you're after an example of Murray and Smith at their collaborative best, you need to get yourself Caught.


Jacob Simmons has a great many passions, including rock music, giving acclaimed films three-and-a-half stars, watching random clips from The Simpsons on YouTube at 3am, and writing about himself in the third person.