Your Favourite {But Lesser-Known} Riffs

Flamin’ Groovies, Teenage Head. Scowling snarling strutting horny menace from a criminally under-rated band. The perfect rock riff. Followed closely by The Stranglers’ Peaches, and that filthy filthy bass riff. What are your favourite lesser-known riffs?

Love that Stranglers riff.

First one that came to mind: Chris Isaak, Wrong to Love You:

Lord I love this riff. Sultry rockabilly twang.

Jack Casady’s bassline in Funky #7.

Two recent ones: “Moth Wings” by Pond…

and “Skulldiggin” by Black Joe Lewis. Both are simple, effective, hard, and bluesy.

OK, now that is a good one.

I’ve always found the guitarwork in Axel Bauer’s Cargo de Nuit extremely sexy, notably the dirty, obsessive riff heard first between 1:20 and 1:26.

The solo (2:38-3:19) is one of my all-time favourites. A very natural, flowing use of some exotic scales.

Original video, definitely NSFW and poor sound but it may still be of interest because it fits the theme of the song.

Here are two lesser-known songs from very well known bands. Each has a great riff. (The Beatles one is by George Harrison. Jimi Hendrix like it enough that he played the riff a few times in concerts.)

Stones, “Citadel”

Beatles, “I Want to Tell You”

What am I, chopped liver?! :wink:

You want more heavy riffs?

What about - Godsmack, Keep Away: (I recently posted this in a thread looking for songs a stripper could work with because the groove is so good).

Or, the ultimate relentless riff, Ministry, Just One Fix - never stops. Known to anyone interested in heavy riffs and metal, but not well known these days I suspect: Amazing to drive long stretches of highway with this blaring hard.

ETA: A last heavy riff that is known to fans of 70’s metal and was hugely influential: UFO, Rock Bottom, featuring Michael Schenker on lead guitar.

Here are two more well-known acts but lesser-known songs:

Jethro Tull, “To Cry You a Song”

R.E.M., “Boxcars” (riff starts at 0:20)

WordMan, I love both that Chris Isaak riff AND the heavier stuff you cited.

I’ll offer just three more – these might not quite qualify as “lesser known,” but maybe they do:

Simon and Garfunkel, “Fakin’ It”

Rush, “A Farewell to Kings” (riff starts at 1:08)

Band of Gypsys (sic) feat. Jimi Hendrix, “Who Knows?”

The last one might have you boppin’ for the rest of the day.

The bass groove here: Air - La femme d’argent

Redd Kross - What They Say. I’ve trashed more than one set of car speakers with that bass riff.

I’ve always loved the bass riff that drives through Radiohead’s The National Anthem, while everything else goes mental around it:

I love the bass intro to The Electric Confectionaires’ Late Night Shopping Spree, and the way it’s picked up by the guitar is wonderful. The Scavenger’s Mysterex has the perfect punk riff {as well as Brendan Perry from Dead Can Dance}. And Howard Devoto liked his riff for The Buzzcocks’ Lipstick so much he used it again with Magazine for Shot By Both Sides: this time round he had John McGeoch for guitar firepower, and Barry Adamson for prowling bass menace.

Another song driven by a bass riff: The 77s’ God Sends Quails

OK, I love this.

Used to be a Cop- Drive-By Truckers

This version has the bottom kinda washed out, but you should hear this live. Unreal!

Lighten Up McGraw by Crack The Sky

So many to choose from. I’ll put On a Rope by Rocket From the Crypt.