It's propulsive. It churns. It's full of muscle. If there was an aural dictionary entry for "rock 'n' roll," Led Zeppelin's 1969 hit "Whole Lotta Love" could stand in for the entire genre. And as it turns out, a whole lotta love is exactly what British fans gave the classic tune when they cast their votes for the greatest guitar riff of all time.
A panel of 100 British DJs, critics and record producers pulled together a list of 100 possible riffs, then let the listeners of BBC Radio 2 vote, with results released Monday. The riff from "Whole Lotta Love" came out on top.
The next four tunes in the top five were "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns 'N' Roses, "Back in Black" by AC/DC, "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple, and "Layla" by Derek and the Dominoes.
"By the way, none of them possible without Chuck Berry," noted TODAY's Al Roker on the show Wednesday.
"I wanted a riff that really moved, that people would really get, and would bring a smile to their faces," Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page told the BBC. "But when I played it with the band, it really went into overdrive."
He added, "There was this intent to have this riff and the movement of it, so it was menacing as well as quite sort of caressing."
And now, nearly 45 years later, it still stands up among rock fans.