76 "American Girl"
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1976)
The supercharged riff set the template for decades of Petty hits, but it was also a homage to the Byrds: Petty and Mike Campbell's twin guitars mirrored Roger McGuinn's 12-string, infusing the folk-rock sounds of the Sixties with New Wave energy.
"American Girl" from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (Warner Bros.)
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performing "American Girl" live
77 "Even Flow"
Pearl Jam (1958)
While most Seattle guitarists descended from Black Flag and Sabbath, Stone Gossard and Mike McCready updated the Stones' arena blues for a darker age. Grumbling riffs, frenetic runs and evil-laugh wah-wah created what McCready later cracked was a "tribute rip-off" to Stevie Ray Vaughan.
"Even Flow" from Ten (Epic)
Pearl Jam performing "Even Flow" live in 1991
78 "Stone Crazy"
Buddy Guy (1970)
Cut in 1961 for Chess, the full seven minutes of this blinding blues went unreleased for nearly a decade. Guy solos with a steel-needle tone, answering his own barking vocal with dizzying pinpoint stabs. "I don't know how to bend the string," he told RS. "Let me break it."
"Stone Crazy" from I Was Walking Through the Woods (Chess)