Our Top 10 Orianthi Songs list presents a rundown of some of the most exciting songs released by the talented guitarist Orianthi. She was fifteen years old at the time of signing up with her first record label in 2006. Prior to the signing, Orianthi was already making a name for herself as she already independently released her first studio album in 2005.
Although Orianthi Panagaris was born in Australia, her parents were of Greek origin. She grew up in Adelaide, taking an early interest in music as she began playing the piano at three years old. Three years later, she switched to the acoustic guitar. By fifteen years old, instead of finishing school, she chose to focus more on her career as a musician. It was also during this time she was honing in on her songwriting skills. This quickly paid off as it first lead her to perform on stage with Steve Vai. Three years after this, she was in a jam session with Carlos Santana. Impressed with her talent, it was Santana who brought her to a record producer named Paul Reed Smith. By this time, Orianthi already recorded and released her debut album, Violet Journey, as an independent label. After Orianthi signed up with Geffen Records in 2006, she began to appear in commercials, as well as perform in concert festivals and tours.
Breakthroughs and Impressions
2009 marked the year of Orianthi’s big breakthrough. This was the year her second studio album, Believe, was released, along with her debut single, “According to You.” It was also in 2009 she was also serving as Carrie Underwood’s lead guitarist. On July 7, 2009, Orianthi performed at Michael Jackson’s televised memorial service. Prior to his death, she was also a guitarist for him. When the hit song, “Monster” was released in 2010 as a collaborated single performed by Michael Jackson, 50 Cent, and Orianthi, this met with controversy from Jackson’s family and some of his most devout fans. As popular as the song was, there was an argument about the authenticity of Michael Jackson’s part as a vocalist. It was later suggested impersonator Jason Malachi was the actual singer who teamed up with 50 Cent, not Jackson. As for Orianthi’s role, she was credited as the guitarist behind the song, as well as Joe Corcoran.
In 2013, Orianthi recorded and released her third studio album, Heaven in This Hell. This would be her final album recording until making her comeback as a solo artist in 2020. O featured three songs that were released as singles, starting with “Sinners Hymn.” “Impulsive” and “Sorry” were the next two. None of them appeared on any official music charts as hits but it did further reveal bits about Orianthi as a person and as a recording artist. This was followed by a fifth studio album, Rock Candy, which was released in March 2022. This came a few months before releasing her first DVD, Live from Hollywood. Although there was a seven-year gap between Orianthi’s Heaven in This Hell and O, this talented musician was busy working with several other recording artists as a collaborator. In 2011, she replaced Damon Johnson as Alice Cooper’s new lead guitarist, becoming the first woman in the legendary rocker’s lineup as a performer. Until 2014, she performed with him until deciding it was time to move on. As solid as Orianthi was as a solo artist, she developed a strong fan following as a star guitarist. Since her breakthrough in 2009, Orianthi became an important role model for the female population who were paying attention to her every move as a music star.
Top 10 Orianthi Songs
#10 – Don’t Waste the Pretty (featuring Allison Iraheta)
Allison Iraheta’s 2010 single, “Don’t Waste the Pretty,” included Orianthi as a featured artist. These two ladies were more than just colleagues in the music industry. They were also good friends, making it easy for the two to bring forth what became one of Iraheta’s more popular hits. Between her original version as a solo artist and the one that featured Orianthi, it was the second of these two that earned critical acclaim, along with stronger fan interest. Orianthi’s edgier performance turned “Don’t Waste the Pretty into a glammed-up rocker to what was otherwise a country-style tune. It added the needed drama to a song that offered the listener encouragement to stop taking verbal abuse from people closest to them. As a song, this is a great tune to lift a person up from a darkened reality brought on by someone who should be treating them with more respect.
#9 – Frozen
From Heaven in This Hell, “Frozen” was an Orianthi song that featured Jimmy Zavala and his amazing harmonica performance. As a musician, the influence of the blues has strummed its way by the fingers of Orianthi had always made its presence felt. After producing two studio albums that were heavier than rockin’ albums, Heaven in This Hell leaned further into the bluesy roots that sparked Orianthi’s interest to become a musician herself. Although bluesy, it is by no means mellow. Orianthi’s “Frozen” is nothing like Madonna’s as it’s much faster and much edgier. “Frozen” was a song that started off as an acoustic number before Orianthi cranked it up to feature her classic electric guitar sound. This added even more drama to a song that featured a woman fed up with a toxic relationship that clearly wasn’t going anywhere. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, the desire to break out of the “Frozen” state was made loud and clear in a song designed to serve as an ideal icebreaker.
#8 – Fire
“Fire’ started off as a song for an EP, also titled Fire, that was released in 2011. It was later recorded for Orianthi’s third studio album, Heaven in This Hell. This bluesy tune focused on a spiritual battle that felt like there was no escaping the fiery pit laid out by Satan himself. “Fire” was a bluesy heavy rocker performed by the incredibly gifted Orianthi as she tapped into that harder-edged guitar solo that made her famous, to begin with. Among some members of the Christian community, “Fire” was an inspirational song that found its way on the tracklist among congregations that make good use of workable rock music as part of their revival campaign. As a song designed to climb out of the depths of depression, the urgency behind “Fire” was enough to get the blood pumping, regardless if you’re a bible believer or not.
#7 – Heaven in This Hell
Released in 2013, Heaven in This Hell was Orianthi’s third studio album. It, along with “Heaven in This Hell,” was co-produced by former Eurythmics star, Dave Stewart. The two met after meeting at a benefit concert and began a working relationship that would bring forth a recording that came across as a blues meets rock production. The song itself dealt with the complications of a relationship that felt like heaven and hell at the same time. “Heaven in This Hell,” as a song and as an album, had Orianthi explore new musical territory as a recording artist but continues as a hard-rockin’ guitarist. The riffs, plus the solo, prove yet again why Orianthi is already a guitar hero that will join the likes of Janis Joplin as an all-time great.
#6 – Believe
“Believe” was a song originally performed as “Believe Again” by Brinck as his entry to the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. He was representing his nation, Denmark, as the singer behind the song that won the contest by public vote. Orianthi covered this song as “Believe,” which served as the title track for her second studio album. The song itself was written by the combined talent of Lars Halvor Jenson, Martin Michael Larsson, and Ron Keating. Orianthi’s tweak to “Believe” was enough to turn an already awesome song into something extraordinary. “Believe” was dealing with the reality of a relationship that wasn’t as perfect as it seemed. Sung as wanting to believe in hope instead of fear was Orianthi’s powerful performance as she took “Believe” into a rockin’ direction that easily won over an audience all over the world.
#5 – Shut Up and Kiss Me
Released in 2010, “Shut Up and Kiss Me” was the follow-up single after “According to You” made its global impact as Orianthi’s big debut as a solo artist. As good as this song was, it didn’t quite earn the same amount of attention. On the US Billboard Adult Top 40 chart, it peaked as high as number thirty-eight. In Canada, it peaked as high as number forty. It was a minor hit at number eighty-five in Australia. The Japan Hot 100 was the official music chart “Shut Up and Kiss Me” performed at its best as it peaked as high as number eleven there. While “According to You” featured the awesome influence of hard rock, “Shut Up and Kiss Me” held its ground as a pop number. Even Orianthi admitted in 2013 that it was a song that leaned too much as a pop song. In Japan, along with its surrounding nations such as China, Korea, and Vietnam, the music culture has a strong love affair with pop-rock that seems neverending. Speaking on behalf of many fans who favor pop rock, “Shut Up and Kiss Me’ is one of their favorites as a number to get caught up in the moment.
#4 – Suffocated (featuring Steve Vai)
From Believe, “Suffocated” was a song that would find itself on Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock as a playable tune for people interested in the video game that doubles as a music teacher. The coverage of this song by the combined talent of Orianthi and guitarist Steve Vai came from “Suffocating,” a song recorded and released by Sound the Alarm in 2007. The American-based rock group shared the same record label as Orianthi at the time, Geffen Records. Orianthi’s approach to “Suffocated” was simply amazing with the clear lyrics about a personal prison that was jazzed up with the fiery guitar performance only Orianthi could pull off.
#3 – Sadda Haq (featuring Mohit Chauhan)
A.R. Rahman was the genius behind “Sadda Haq” as a composer. Orianthi and Mohit Chauhan were the talents that turned this song on the 2011 Rockstar soundtrack into one of the most popular tunes of its time. Neither the media nor the fans seemed to get enough of a Bollywood-style song that remains a cult favorite worldwide. Chauhan was the lead vocalist while Orianthi was the lead guitarist, together turning “Sadda Haq” into a global phenomenon. The song was sung in Punjabi, which in English was demanding what was rightfully owed to the hero of the story to be paid up immediately.
#2 – Highly Strung (featuring Steve Vai)
“Highly Strung” was a song performed by Orianthi, along with fellow guitarist, Steve Vai. This was one of the most popular songs coming from Orianthi’s studio album, Believe. Released in late 2009, both the album and “Highly Strung” quickly earned a loyal fan following that would serve as the Australian musician’s breakthrough as a solo artist. You won’t find any singing here as this was an instrumental song. What you will find is why Orianthi rightfully earned her place as one of the best guitarists ever to pick up the instrument. There was a reason why she was recognized by Guitar International as the 2010 Breakthrough Guitarist of the Year. “Highly Strung” has become one of her signature songs as the fans can’t seem to get enough of it. On YouTube, it has received millions of views. It remains popular as the count of viewers continues to rise.
#1 – According to You
“According to You” was released as Orianthi’s debut single from her second studio album, Believe. The song wasted no time becoming a major fan favorite as it peaked as high as number three on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart and on Japan’s Hot 100. It was in Japan, Believe was certified gold as an album. As a single, “According to You” was certified platinum with the Australian Recording Industry Association, as well as the Recording Industry Association of America. On the US Billboard Hot 100, “According to You” peaked as high as number seventeen and it remains her best hit on that chart so far. In Australia and Canada, it peaked as high as number eight on their official music charts. This was a mix of pop and hard rock that featured a soft riff by the keyboard before switching to Orianthi’s powerful guitar and vocal performance. “According to You” was a song about finding a new love who saw everything in Orianthi that her previous lover failed to notice.
Top 10 Orianthi Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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