Cliffs of Dover (4:52)

Cover of Ah Via Musicom

From Ah Via Musicom and 5 other releases

“Cliffs of Dover” is an instrumental song by guitarist Eric Johnson which appeared on his 1990 Ah Via Musicom album. Composed in the key of G major, the song was recorded on a Gibson ES-335. The song takes its name from the white Cliffs of Dover along the British shoreline. It also features on the video game Guitar Hero III. “Cliffs of Dover” was voted number 17 in Guitar World magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Guitar Solos.

Cliffs of Dover begins the song with an ad-libbed electric guitar solo, using techniques such as string skipping and hybrid picking. In the solo intro, Johnson does not adhere to any distinct time signature. Drums are then added as the song settles into a 4/4 rhythmic shuffle verse accompanied by a very accessible set of melodies that, throughout the song intro, feature variations (octavations for example) on the main chorus. The outro or coda then recalls freestyle mood and timing of the ad-libbed intro.

While he did indeed compose “Cliffs of Dover”, Johnson does not take full credit, saying “I don’t even know if I can take credit for writing ‘Cliffs of Dover’ … it was just there for me one day … literally wrote in five minutes … kind of a gift from a higher place that all of us are eligible for. We just have to listen for it and be available to receive it.”

Guitar World

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