Rolling Stones – The Rolling Stones came to the U.S. a few years after The Beatles, but they are still around today, over 50 years later. With a prolific lead singer in Mick Jagger and one of the best guitarists in the world in Keith Richards, the Stones have stood the test of time as one of London’s greatest exports.
A tallied and organized countdown of the best and most influential songs of Classic Rock history. From The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Pink Floyd to Bad Company, Jethro Tull and Elton John. Now you be saying, those are all well known bands and everyone loves them, but we’re not forgetting the lesser known guys. Check it out.
The Eagles – One of the biggest bands to cross from rock to country and back again, The Eagles were another band who splintered after their biggest success. Interestingly, Don Henley said that their reunion was easier because classic rock radio played them continuously after they broke up, always keeping them in the public eye.
The classic rock format evolved from AOR radio stations that were attempting to appeal to an older audience by including familiar songs of the past with current hits. In 1980, AOR radio station M105 in Cleveland began billing itself as “Cleveland’s Classic Rock,” playing a mix of rock music from the mid-1960s to the present. Similarly, WMET called itself “Chicago’s Classic Rock” in 1981. In 1982, radio consultant Lee Abrams developed the “Timeless Rock” format which combined contemporary AOR with rock hits from the 1960s and 1970s.
A Grateful Dead concert is unlike any other. I saw then in the form of Dead & Company, and it was awesome! Every song is complimented by a long, improvised jam while the deadheads with dreadlocks dance. I’ve seen more dudes on acid that night than I will ever see again – ryanrimmel
Queen and Skynyrd were the runners up with their own trademark epics, while bands such as AC/DC and Rush largely missed out in the upper echelons of the charts because votes were split over an enormous number of songs rather than focused on a handful of individual tracks.
During the mid-1980s, the classic rock format was mainly tailored to the adult male demographic ages 25–34, which remained its largest demographic through the mid-1990s. As the format’s audience aged, its demographics skewed toward older age groups. By 2006, the 35–44 age group was the format’s largest audience and by 2014 the 45–54 year-old demographic was the largest.
Played by masters of metal AC/DC, “Back in Black” has an incredibly infectious beat nobody can resist. (Listen to it right now and see if you can keep from gleefully jumping up and down.) Appearing on an album of the same name, the album sold 50 million copies – the second highest selling album ever – while “Back in Black” the song peaked at #37 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. A tribute to former lead singer Bon Scott, who died young at 33, Brian Johnson, Scott’s replacement, was asked to write the song and then the band created one of the most memorable hard-rock tunes of all time.
In the mid-1980s, the format’s widespread proliferation came on the heels of Jacobs Media’s (Fred Jacobs) success at WCXR, in Washington, D.C., and Edinborough Rand’s (Gary Guthrie) success at WZLX in Boston. Between Guthrie and Jacobs, they converted more than 40 major market radio stations to their individual brand of classic rock over the next several years.
This list tries to include some of the greatest rock tunes ever, all of which are classics; that is, songs released before the year 2000. Also keep in mind it only includes mainstream rock and roll (and we all know what that is, right?) whether soft or hard rock, but certainly not pop, R&B, soul, funk, blues, hip-hop, disco, jazz, country, bluegrass or classical – just good ol’ rock and roll, period, okay?
Uniting Fans And Bands Across The Lands – An hour of X-rated music and mayhem from The Heart of Sherwood Forest featuring tracks you’ve never heard before, expressions you’ve never heard before and jokes you’ll never want to hear again – all hosted by…
6 The Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in 1962. The first settled line-up consisted of Brian Jones (guitar, harmonica), Ian Stewart (piano), Mick Jagger (lead vocals, harmonica), Keith Richards (guitar), Bill Wyman (bass) and Charlie Watts (drums). …read more.
^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Hickey, Walt (7 Jul 2014). “Why Classic Rock Isn’t What It Used To Be”. FiveThirtyEight (ESPN Internet Ventures). Retrieved 18 January 2016. “To see what the current state of classic rock in the United States looks like, I monitored 25 classic rock radio stations1 operating in 30 of the country’s largest metropolitan areas for a week in June.2 The result, after some substantial data cleaning, was a list of 2,230 unique songs by 475 unique artists, with a total record of 37,665 coded song plays across the stations.” 2,230 song list (WebCite archive)
30 Fleetwood Mac Fleetwood Mac are a British-American rock band formed in July 1967, in London. The band have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling bands of all time.
Rock rocks with The Rock!! The Friday Rock Show hosted by the Rockmeister is 4 hours of Classic Rock with lots of great features, including “Classic Album” & “Battle of the Bands” as well as as many listener’s requests we can squeeze in!!!
I suppose it’s just a generation gap speaking, but I wouldn’t have included most of the 80s songs that you did. I’d have included songs like My Generation, Respect, What I’d Say, and Like A Rolling Stone. This list just goes to show that rock has a lot of classics.
Easily in the top 10 of all time. Probably the best collection of musicians playing challenging rock music we’ll ever see or hear. Although the music is difficult to play, it is a joy to behold. If you aren’t familiar with Yes do yourself a favor, sit back and enjoy Close to the Edge, Fragile, the Yes album, Relayer or Big Generator…Easily one of the finest bands ever.
^ Jump up to: a b Strong, Catherine (2015). “Shaping the Past of Popular Music: Memory, Forgetting and Documenting”. In Bennett, Andy; Waksman, Steve. The SAGE Handbook of Popular Music. SAGE. p. 423. ISBN 1473910994.
Van Halen has some of the most infamous songs in rock history out there, but we do have to remember, this is one of those rare bands that have more than one hit. In fact, they have a good handful of songs that you can call your favorite, definitely not a one hit wonder!
They were highly regarded by very positioned and prestigious musicians 40 years ago and now they are revered as the greatest musicians of all time by not their fans but by the most credible critic’s… Real iconic musicians that do not have one small complaint. Who dare would cast doubt on the greatest musicians of all time hand’s down. Rush humbly continues to be even better after 47 years… No other act on the entire list can lay claim to that longevity of commercial success… No one… Not even close no matter how l9ng you try to explain… Rush is still there turning out new and full studio albums then backing them up with sold out shows at the highest dollar around the world… Beatles never done that… Stones never done that… U2 never done that… Acdc never done that… Aerosmith never done that… Metallic never done that… Maiden never done that… Hendrix never done that cream never done that the who never done that… Only one I would consider close would be Neil …more
The mindset underlying classic rock was regarded by Christgau as politically regressive; he said the music eschewed ironic sensibilities in favor of unintellectual, conventional aesthetics rooted in Victorian era Romanticism, while downplaying the more radical aspects of 1960s counterculture, such as race, African-American music, politics, and pop in the art sense. “Though classic rock draws its inspiration and most of its heroes from the ’60s, it is, of course, a construction of the ’70s”, he wrote in 1991 for Details magazine. “It was invented by prepunk/predisco radio programmers who knew that before they could totally commodify ’60s culture they’d have to rework it—that is, selectively distort it till it threatened no one … In the official rock pantheon the Doors and Led Zeppelin are Great Artists while Chuck Berry and Little Richard are Primitive Forefathers and James Brown and Sly Stone are Something Else.” Regarding the development of classic rock, Christgau points to the compromised socioeconomic security and diminishing collective consciousness of a new generation of listeners in the 1970s and on, who succeeded rock’s early years during baby-boomer economic prosperity in the United States. “Not for nothing did classic rock crown the Doors’ mystagogic middlebrow escapism and Led Zep’s chest-thumping megalomaniac grandeur. Rhetorical self-aggrandizement that made no demands on everyday life was exactly what the times called for.” Shuker attributed the rise of classic-rock radio in part to “the consumer power of the aging post-war ‘baby boomers’ and the appeal of this group to radio advertisers”. In his opinion, classic rock also produced a rock music ideology and discussion of the music that was “heavily gendered”, celebrating “a male homosocial paradigm of musicianship” that “continued to dominate subsequent discourse, not just around rock music, but of popular music more generally.”
3 Queen Queen are an English rock band formed in 1970. Members were Freddie Mercury (Vocals and Piano), Brian May (Guitar, Vocals), Roger Taylor (Drums, Vocals), and John Deacon (Bass Guitar, Vocals). Before forming into Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor had played together in a band named Smile. Freddie Mercury …read more.
If you missed it, no problem! Catch where all your favorite Classic Rock tunes fell on our countdown with the full Top 500 playlist below. We’d love to hear from you in the Facebook comments at the bottom of each list segment.
35? You’re joking right? This band is one of and will always be one of the greatest Rock bands out there. I literally cringed when I saw this at 35. This band is better than most that are higher up in this chart. With songs like For Whom The Bell Tolls, The Unforgiven, Wnter Sandman, whiskey in the jar and covers such as Am I evil? And Tuesdays Gone this band seems to be FAR MORE UNDERRATED than it should be. Outstanding vocals, Bass, guitar and drums I see no reason why this band isn’t a great one. Metallica!
14 Rush Rush is a Canadian progressive rock band that was formed in 1968. Even though the only founding member still in the band is Alex Lifeson (Guitar), the band is most well-known for their current members Neil Peart (Drums) and Geddy Lee (Bass, Vocals). …read more.
The closest thing to a pop song that Zeppelin ever did – three and a half minutes of raw rock fire-power which does exactly what it says on the tin. It also has the greatest drum intro to any song EVER.
One of the most influential acts of the 20th century. This band left its brutal mark on the music industry and metal as a whole and it is still there today. Without a doubt one of the greatest bands to have ever existed.
I have seen them forgotten for the most part in the new generation. They are a great band to listen to because they can rock hard like led zepplin or play soft relaxing songs like pink floyd based on which of they’r 3 singers is singing. They are a top 25 band and hope they won’t be forgotten in this generation
Perhaps the first great acid rock tune, “Purple Haze” was written by guitar god Jimi Hendrix and performed by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Hendrix, a blues and R&B guitarist by trade, quickly learned to play psychedelic blues, essentially inventing the style as he produced the album, Are You Experienced, on which “Purple Haze” appears. The words for the song, seemingly about a man tripping on acid, are simply about a young man going crazy for this foxy lady. No drugs required for that, right?
The Rolling Stones are pure genius! Why are they after Queen and AC/DC? Have you heard Wild Horses? Sympathy for the Devil? Gimme Shelter? Paint It Black? These are some of the best songs ever! Doesn’t get any better guys
39 U2 U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. U2’s early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music. Throughout the group’s musical pursuits, they have …read more.
Jump up ^ Leigh, Frederic A. (2011). “Classic Rock Format”. In Sterling, Christopher H.; O’Dell, Cary. The Concise Encyclopedia of American Radio. Routledge. p. 153. ISBN 1135176841. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
One of many Aerosmith hit singles in the 1970s, “Walk This Way” is a hard rock tune appearing on the band’s third studio album, Toys in the Attic, which is their highest selling album to date. “Walk This Way” jumped to #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Then, during the 1980s, when Aerosmith hit a lull in popularity, the rap group Run-D.M.C re-made the song, with Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry making guest appearances in the tune and on the video. Surprisingly, this version of the song did even better on the Billboard Hot 100, climbing to #5, and also helped spawn a new genre – rap rock.
Performed by the Rolling Stones and written and sang by Mick Jagger, who narrates the song as if he were the devil himself, declaring that he’d wreaked havoc on humanity over the centuries. Interestingly, Jagger’s inspiration for the song came from the books of Baudelaire and Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita. Jagger’s intention was that it would be a kind of Bob Dylan song. But it was guitarist Keith Richards’ idea to increase the tempo of the song, add percussion, and give it a samba-like feel. The result – a ballistic rock classic!
You could win a getaway vacation to one of the world’s music capitals in AccuRadio’s “Workday Getaway Ten-Day Giveaway!” Each weekday through February 24th, we’ll offer three fantastic music-oriented destinations. Pick the getaway you’d prefer to win and you’re automatically entered for that day’s drawing!
Although classic rock has mostly appealed to adult listeners, music associated with this format received more exposure with younger generations of listeners with the presence of the Internet and digital downloading. Some classic rock stations also play a limited number of current releases which are stylistically consistent with the station’s sound, or by heritage acts that are still active and producing new music.
Beach Boys – While The Beatles broke boundaries with their version of British rock, The Beach Boys were hitting it big at the same time with music labeled as Americana. The songs were about surfing, cars and girls and the band remains one of the most popular in the history of music over 50 years later, as they still tour the country.
Rob Berg is a self-proclaimed classic Rock “lifer”. What does that mean exactly? It means we built the station around him. And the Led Zeppelin tees he sports are all originals.Every weekday at 3pm K-97’s Rob Berg hosts AC/D3… 3 back-to-back-to-back…
The Doors – While The Beatles and Beach Boys were all about fun, upbeat rock and roll, The Doors ushered in something very different. Jim Morrison brought the world a very dark and sensual rock and roll music that bordered on lewd and disturbingly controversial. They burned very bright but only lasted eight years before Morrison died at the age of 27.
One of the greatest artists of the 20th century. the only artist to be honoured in both the Jazz and Rock and Roll hall of fame. Deep in a mess of dissonant Avant Garde notes, biting satire and a cynical sneer existed of the greatest rock guitarists of all time with a timeless classical sensibility.
Sometimes the best songs have the simplest licks. Guitarist Keith Richards created the main guitar lick in “Satisfaction,” a three-note riff played with a Gibson fuzzbox, which made the guitar sound like a saxophone, with which Richards hoped to replace it at some point – but the producers said no way Jose. Anyway, the song was performed live for the first time on Shindig!, an American TV show on which everything was performed live. You gotta love it! Many Boomers probably remember watching this memorable show. Not surprisingly, Rolling Stone magazine picked “Satisfaction” #2 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
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