Slash’s best solos

As Slash gets ready to rock his next UK tour, we rank his greatest guitar solos. Consider your face melted.

When Slash first arrived – top hat perched on flowing hair, a Gibson Les Paul hung loose around his neck, sunglasses on – it seemed he’d been born to dominate every stage he stepped on. Then you hear him play. 

After a childhood spent flitting between the UK (in Stoke of all places) and the US, Slash’s career took off after he joined scrappy Los Angeles glam rockers Hollywood Rose, a band which would eventually respawn into Guns N’ Roses. 

Though powered by frontman Axl Rose’s incredible vocal range and a dynamite rhythm section, the band, who hit super-stardom with their 1987 debut album, Appetite For Destruction, were indebted to Slash. His riffs are just as catchy as the band’s choruses, his stage presence unmistakable, and his solos are off the charts. 

After conquering the world and selling over 50 million records, Slash and Rose endured a bitter fall-out that would see Slash quit the band in 1996. For the next 20 years, he pursued a solo career, as well as spells in supergroup Velvet Revolver, and as a regular guest artist for everybody from Rihanna to Michael Jackson. 

In 2016, Slash and Rose buried the hatchet and he rejoined Guns N’ Roses. His re-entry halted the band’s downward trajectory and put them back where they belonged (in the biggest stadiums all around the world). 

Slash will release his second solo album, Orgy Of The Damned, in May 2024, teaming up with an array of guest singers to breathe new life into a range of rock ‘n’ roll and blues classics. Among the recruits for the album are Gary Clark Jr., Billy Gibbons, Chris Stapleton, Dorothy, Iggy Pop, Demi Lovato, Chris Robinson and Beth Hart; a list of singers handpicked by Slash, a man who everybody still wants to work with (even Barbie). 

To celebrate his return, we thought we’d chronicle what truly sets him apart from almost every other guitarist on the planet. His solos. Here are the best:

Michael Jackson – ‘Give In To Me’

Michael Jackson - Give In To Me (Official Video)

Michael Jackson’s Dangerous album is better remembered for monster hits ‘Black Or White’ and ‘Remember The Time’, but one of the other highlights is dark rocker ‘Give In To Me’. One of Jackson’s rare ragged moments, its real highlight is a searing solo from a guesting Slash. 

Slash feat. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators – ‘Anastasia’

SLASH - "Anastasia"

Slash’s collaboration with Alter Bridge frontman Myles Kennedy has been a fruitful one, with the pair making four full albums together. Kennedy’s powerhouse vocal range works perfectly alongside Slash’s taste for expansive, sprawling rock ‘n’ roll, and there’s no better example of that than ‘Anastasia’.

Guns N’ Roses – ‘Out Ta Get Me’

Guns N' Roses - Live At The Ritz - 1988 - Out Ta Get Me

The first entry for Guns N’ Roses and the first cut to be featured from their all-conquering Appetite For Destruction LP, ‘Out Ta Get Me’ is a piledriver with a vintage piece of Slash’s solo fretwork. 

Lenny Kravitz feat. Slash – ‘Always On The Run’

Lenny Kravitz - Always On The Run (Official Music Video)

The highlight from Lenny Kravitz’s second LP, Mama Said, ‘Always On The Run’ is a heady brew which combines 70s psychedelia with classic blues, and it’s taken to real heights by Slash’s meaty solo. Which, if you needed help recognising it, starts after Kravitz shouts “Slash!” into his microphone. Thank you, Lenny. 

Guns N’ Roses – Nightrain

Guns N' Roses - Nightrain (Tokyo 1992) HD Remastered

Easily the best song written about flavoured fortified wine, the second instalment from Appetite For Destruction is a groove-laden barnstormer. There are two solos, one belongs to the Gunners’ rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, the other to Slash, and you don’t need telling which one packs a bigger punch. 

Velvet Revolver – ‘Slither’

Velvet Revolver - Slither (VIDEO)

Velvet Revolver, the supergroup which saw Slash, along with Guns N’Roses’ pair Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, team up with Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland, ultimately delivered more hits than misses around their decade or so together. Their highlight is ‘Slither’, a sleazy banger with a killer Slash solo powering the second half. 

Guns N’ Roses – ‘Patience’

Guns N' Roses - Patience

The only single from 1988’s stopgap release G’N’R Lies, ‘Patience’ is an entirely acoustic number with an entirely acoustic guitar solo. And it still slays. 

Guns N’ Roses – ‘Paradise City’

Guns N' Roses - Paradise City (Official Music Video)

There’s probably an argument to be had about which of Slash’s solos in ‘Paradise City’ is the best. Whether it’s the one halfway through which elevates this insanely catchy and unbelievably groovy rocker; the moment where the song speeds up and Slash’s guitar comes to the fore; or the superb outro where his guitar rules the show. Three solos, in a song that still remains glued the playlist in every rock club in the world. 

Guns N’ Roses – ‘Welcome To The Jungle’

Guns N' Roses - Welcome To The Jungle

It’s not as epic as many of the band’s songs, but Slash’s contribution to the classic ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ gives it the perfect extra kick. It has to be on this list. 

Guns N’ Roses – ‘November Rain’

Guns N' Roses - November Rain

No track typifies the indulgence, decadence and gigantic music video budgets of the early 1990s quite like ‘November Rain’. The song is almost nine minutes long, the video cost $1.5 million (the most anyone had ever spent on a music video at the time), and the theatricality is off the charts. The real highlight though is Slash’s solo, which arrives at the four-minute-mark and takes this enormous power ballad to another level. It’s best enjoyed alongside the video. 

Guns N’ Roses – ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’

Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine (Official Music Video)

It’s a very, very competitive field, but there was only really ever going to be one winner. Clocking in at almost one full minute long, a solo that long by anybody else would simply feel like an self-indulgence, but here it just works. Almost a song within itself, the solo is a blistering adventure, skill, speed and pure power. The greatest solo by one of the greatest to ever pick up a guitar. 

Slash ft. Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators tour the UK with The River Is Rising from 30 March. Find tickets here.

Photo credit: Dave Simpson