2. Talking Heads - "Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)" (2:40) Without picking the brains of those involved in Talking Heads' masterwork Remain In Light album, here's how I imagine the opening track went down: Adrian Belew prepped for his guest solo and started plugging in his effects. Brian Eno, sitting behind the mixing board, felt some competition by Belew's sounds and started plugging in HIS effects. This, in turn, inspired Belew to modify his tone even further, which led Eno to try to top him, and this pattern continued until the guitar sounded like a malfunctioning room-sized computer (this was 1980, mind you). As many times as I hear "Born Under Punches," I still only know the solo is made by a guitar because the liner notes tell me so, and my internal reaction is still "Does not compute. Does not compute..."
1. Smashing Pumpkins - "Cherub Rock" (2:55) There are elements of every other solo on this list in "Cherub Rock." There's the caution-to-the-wind experimentation of "Bat Macumba," the rock-god embracing of "Paranoid Android" and "Voodoo Child," and the head-scratching howdtheydothat of "Born Under Punches" and "Square King." Billy Corgan took these principles, added a bit of My Bloody Valentine and Sabbath, and created the best effect-enhanced guitar solo of all time. In the years since, Corgan has become such a parody of his former self that it can be difficult to remember the time when he was even relevant. But "Cherub Rock" is one of only a handful of Smashing Pumpkins cuts that has transcended Corgan's persona. The kids today likely know the song as a level in Guitar Hero, but let us never forget that its unprecedented solo was made by an actual guitar hero.