Given the realities of ego and such, it’s hardly surprising that most bands have trouble accommodating more than one lead guitarist. A guitar solo, after all, is a precious commodity that’s difficult to share. All of which makes the following albums—each of which boasts spectacular dual lead guitar work—especially worthy of admiration.

Television - Marquee MoonTelevision – Marquee Moon (1977)

Released against the backdrop of the punk explosion, Television’s 1977 debut consisted of New Wave art-rock centered on a jaggedly brilliant twin-guitar approach. Guitarists Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd crafted serpentine leads that soared with clarion-call beauty. Artists from Patti Smith to Sonic Youth owe a heavy debt to Television’s stylistic approach.






Thin Lizzy - JailbreakThin Lizzy – Jailbreak (1976)

One of the first bands to employ dual-guitar harmonies, Thin Lizzy forged a style from which future British heavy metal groups would draw. Unlike their progeny, however, Thin Lizzy were at heart a pop band that favored melodies evocative of the heyday of AM radio. The exultant, working class spirit of “Jailbreak” and “The Boys are Back in Town” had an obvious impact on Bruce Springsteen, a fact that isn’t pointed out often enough.







Sonic YouthSonic Youth – Daydream Nation (1988)

Although they aren’t lead guitarists in the conventional sense, Sonic Youth’s Lee Renaldo and Thurston Moore perfected a style of rhythm playing that simulated a dual lead guitar thrust. On the sprawling, deliberately fractured Daydream Nation, the two employed ringing harmonics, molten distortion, and alternate tunings as they veered between the urgency of punk rock and avant-garde experimentation. Not since the Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat had an album so deftly maneuvered between art and chaos.






Derek and the DominosDerek and the Dominos – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)

Whatever one thinks of Eric Clapton’s work as a whole, there’s no denying that on this album the veteran artist expressed anguish through his guitar in a way he’s rarely done since. Fortunately, in the person of Duane Allman, he had the perfect foil with which to bring his lovesick blues to life. Songs such as “Key to the Highway,” “Bell Bottom Blues,” and the title track are awash in dual-guitar simpatico.






Lynyrd SkynyrdLynyrd Skynyrd – Second Helping (1974)

Released in the spring of 1974, this album boasted not two, but three guitars parlaying swampy Southern blues that’s as beer-soaked and feisty as a crowd in a biker bar. The classic rock staples “Don’t Ask Me No Questions,” “The Ballad of Curtis Loew,” and “Sweet Home Alabama” still sound fresh, thanks in large measure to the greasy tangle of Gary Rossington’s Les Paul and Allen Collins’ Firebird.








Wishbone AshWishbone Ash – Argus (1972)

Championed by Ritchie Blackmore, Wishbone Ash forged an unlikely style that wedded the prog-rock artiness of Yes to the twin-guitar power of the Allman Brothers. On their third album, the group delivered an exquisite blend of pastoral folk fare and meticulously crafted hard rock. Guitarist Andy Powell’s serpentine runs on a Flying V became a trademark for the band.







Iron MaidenIron Maiden – Number of the Beast (1982)

Like their peers Judas Priest, Iron Maiden injected a darker element into the twin-guitar approach pioneered by Thin Lizzy and Wishbone Ash. The band’s masterpiece, Number of the Beast, was propelled by Bruce Dickinson’s operatic vocals and the dynamic, blistering two-guitar swirl of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith. A host of bands, from Metallica to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, were profoundly influenced by the group’s ferocious melodicism.







Neil Young and Crazy HorseNeil Young and Crazy Horse – Zuma (1975)

Neil Young once describe his work with Crazy Horse as mysterious and cosmic. Those qualities are in great abundance on Zuma, an underrated album that saw Young locked in glorious tandem with Crazy Horse guitarist Frank Sampredo. The epics “Danger Bird” and “Cortez the Killer” boasted astral solos that sounded wrung from another dimension, while blurring the lines between lead and rhythm playing.







Lou ReedLou Reed – Rock and Roll Animal (1974)

Powered by a dual lead guitar tapestry crafted by Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter, this 1974 live effort remains the most incendiary album of Reed’s career. On the 3-1/2 minute intro to “Sweet Jane,” Wagner and Hunter weave together a sustained solo duet that sounds borne of telepathy. Rarely has there been as thrilling a guitar moment.








Allman BrothersAllman Brothers – At Fillmore East (1971)

A tour de force of southern-based blues rock, this live set forged a template from which future jam bands could draw. Fresh from a star-making turn as second guitarist for Eric Clapton, Duane Allman teamed with Dickey Betts to craft tangled solos that combined blues rapture with the improvisational ethos of jazz. In a 2001 interview, former Allman Brothers manager Phil Walden rightly proclaimed At Fillmore East “one of the foundation albums of modern music.”