Considered to be his last foray into Glam Rock, ‘Rebel Rebel’ opens with Bowie playing a riff which is known and loved for its overdrive and arpeggiated chord sequence. Bowie himself has said of the riff “It’s a fabulous riff! Just fabulous! When I stumbled onto it, it was ‘Oh, thank you!”. ‘Rebel Rebel’ has become Bowie’s most covered track, with versions released by artists ranging from Bryan Adams to The Smashing Pumpkins.

Buy this song at iTunes or Amazon. The official band site is here.

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‘Purple Haze’ set the rock scene on fire, thanks to Hendrix’s marvellous guitar manipulation. Central to the all-round amazingness of ‘Purple Haze’ is a chord made so famous by Jimi that pundits even refer to it as ‘the Hendrix chord’ to this day. Many musicians have covered the song but Hendrix’s original version will always be sensational.

Buy this song at iTunes or Amazon. The official band site is here.

A slower, smoother pace of melody for Ed Sheeran’s 2011 hit ‘Lego House’ than some of the other riffs featured, but that should not detract from his subtle musicianship.   The third single from Sheeran’s critically acclaimed debut album + (pronounced ‘Plus’), ‘Lego House’ demonstrates his knack for a gripping tune, and the ability to incorporate winning melodies and plangent guitar tones.

Buy this song at iTunes or Amazon. The official band site is here.

Not every rock band is all sound and no substance, Green Day break the mould when it comes to modern day musicians.  ‘American Idiot’, taken from the 2004 album of the same name, was a much needed savior to the slump that the band was experiencing prior to this, especially after such successes of the nineties.  The song with its classic four-chord punk riff, delivers a merciless rant against the US administration of the day, the controlling media and America’s self-perception as a global police force.

Buy this song at iTunes or Amazon. The official band site is here.

The opening track of their second album, ‘In the Morning’ highlighted Razorlight’s shift towards a more commercial sound. With its clean, sixteenth’s based riff, this is a catchy hum-under-your-breath kinda song which became a huge hit and a solid fan favourite at live gigs. The riff’s downstrokes punctuate the kick drum in a way that has been likened to Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Take Me Out’.

Buy this song at iTunes or Amazon. The official band site is here.

A more ‘cheerful’ alternative to previous metal music, the release of the Permission to Land album by The Darkness could not have been better timed. In ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ the band flawlessly combined solid rock influences with a sense of humour and slinky catsuits. With an opening riff which begins as a whisper and explodes into an energetic and invigorating beast of a tune, this song gave glam metal a whole new name.

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Written after the 7/7 bombings and the terrorist attacks of September 11th, the lyrics of this song make a statement about the media’s ability to control the public through scare-mongering tactics. Opening with an electronic introduction, ‘Hunting for Witches’ showcases a high-register riff and a catchy post-punk vibe. Shaking up the Indie Rock scene at the time of its release, this track earned Bloc Party a spell as NME’s favourite new band.

Buy this song at iTunes or Amazon. The official band site is here.