9. Kid Charlemagne - Steely Dan
As the '70s rock movement got underway, the old school of rock and roll from the likes of Chuck Berry was starting to look more and more cliche. This was the era of prog rock, and every other guitar player was turning songs into long 20 minute exercises, where you could jam and find different parts of your playing that weren't confined to the traditional pop single. Some guitarists can jam all they want, but it takes a special breed to turn that genius into a pop song.
While you typically need a musical doctorate to even come close to understanding a Steely Dan song, Kid Charlemagne is much more straightforward, putting together a sick tale of a drug dealer over some of the most mellow rock and roll ever created. The attitude might be rock, but what Larry Carlton lays down on the solo is a lot closer to the world of fusion, being raised in the world of jazz and following the changes perfectly, weaving in and out of different exotic scales until he hits on something that works.
Before Eddie Van Halen had come into the picture, the end of the solo also features Carlton tapping on the neck of the guitar (if only for one second) to get the right coda to get us back into the final verse of the song. All of the notes here sound closer to what you would have heard coming out of a horn section from the likes of Miles Davis, but the attitude behind the solo almost feels more in tune with Jimmy Page in some spots.