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ON Saturday night I tuned into my favourite radio station, ‘Planet Rock’ to listen to the results of an eagerly awaited listener’s poll they had been conducting over the past weeks. Just what is the greatest classic rock song intro of all time?

An hour later I had the answer, and I kind of knew what it would be after applying the good old process of elimination.

Deep Purple’s 1972 classic ‘Smoke on the Water’ took the top prize. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore’s opening riff is known the world over, and has been played countless times by all rock lovers on every variation of guitar.

The winning intro.

The same can probably be said for the intro which finished second, the 1988 US chart topper ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ by Guns N’ Roses.

Pink Floyd’s ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ came home in third. Surprisingly that was Floyd’s only entry in the whole top 40 (which you can see below).

Fourth to tenth was: ‘Hells Bells’ (AC/DC), ‘Layla’ (Derek & The Dominoes), ‘Thunderstruck’ (AC/DC), ‘Voodoo Child (Slight Return)’ (The Jimi Hendrix Experience), ‘Baba O’Riley’ (The Who), ‘Stairway To Heaven’ (Led Zeppelin) and ‘Speed King’ (Deep Purple).

My vote as ever went to a Pink Floyd song, but it wasn’t ‘Shine On…’. I voted for ‘Echoes’. Whenever I hear the opening keyboards and then the guitar it feels as if somebody has filled my head with Helium and it wants to leave my shoulders.


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