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.
Classic Rock was owned by British bands and a band doesn’t get more British than The Who. With amazing songs such as ‘Pinball Wizard’, ‘My Generation’ and ‘Baba O’Riley’ The Who are one of the best in the genre. Due to death in the band they didn’t make they greatest impact but showing that they can still rock they are still amazing now as they were in the 70s and 80s.
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 greatest classic rock bands of all time embody the spirit of a generation of people who just wanted to rock. These top classic rock bands include some of the best live acts of all time and man, did they rock hard. For those who got to see these amazing classic rock bands live, you’ll surely understand how they earned the title of best classic rock band; for those who missed out, they’ll simply remain the bands you wish you could have seen live.
Roger Waters is one of the few true musical geniuses. Acompanied by a great guitarist in David Gilmour, along with Richard Wright and Nick Mason. Pink Floyd ruled the sound waves of the 70’s with top notch albums and unforgettable live performances. –
The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time Must-Hear New Male Artists Must-Hear New Female Artists Modern Voices You Wish You Had Songwriters We Would Bring Back from the Dead The Absolute Worst Bands Ever Greatest Artists Without Grammys History’s Worst Grammy Winners
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?
A staple of rock radio since the moment it was released in 1970, All Right Now is an unceremoniously joyous record that simply screams sunshine and happier times. Not to mention that pretty much every human on the planet can probably sing the chorus, even if they have never heard of Free.
“Freebird,” a power ballad by Lynyrd Skynyrd, quickly became a rock and roll classic, particularly its long three-part guitar solo at the end of the tune. Released as a single and also as a longer version on the album, “Freebird” has become the band’s signature song and is generally played at the end of each concert appearance, lasting as long as 14 minutes, give or take. The group solo itself rose to #3 on Guitar World’s 100 Greatest Guitar Solos. Interestingly, the song is dedicated to Duane Allman and Berry Oakley, members of the Allman Brothers who died in motor cycle accidents in the early 1970s, and then became “freebirds.”
The song which put Rush into the UK singles might have been a loveletter to great radio but it was also a prophetic warning about the commercialism creeping into the medium. While the song is the band’s biggest single, it’s no less complex or arresting than the rest of their work – musically prodigious and melodically profound, it’s everything that rock should be.
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.
Absolute Classic Rock plays the greatest classic rock songs of all time. If you love the likes of Led Zep, Queen, The Beatles, Rolling Stones then you’ll love this. Loads of artists come through our doors for interviews and we podcast them.
There are bands that don’t have a single other band to even come close to them. Led Zeppelin had some of the greatest guitar solos the world has ever seen. Jimmy Page re-defined the way people play the guitar. Robert Plant is the greatest screamer ever. He actually sounds good. John Paul Jones was the fastest bassist trying to keep up with Jimmy when he did a guitar solo. Not many people could do that. And then you’ve got the greatest drummer ever who sat behind a drum kit. His solo in Rock and Roll is one of the greatest I’ve ever heard. And that brings me o my final quote: LED ZEPPELIN RULE!
27 Metallica Metallica is an American Thrash Metal band formed in 1981 . The original lineup was James Hetfield (Vocalist and Rhythm guitarist), Dave Mustaine (Lead Guitar), Lars Ulrich (Drums), Ron McGovney (Bassist). The group came into mainstream from their Self-Titled album and the hit single “Enter Sandman”. …read more.
I get it they are not everyone’s cup of tea and people get tired of hearing their names mentioned. But when people mention old music and everyone thinks of The Beatles, doesn’t that say something? Let’s give John, Paul, George and Ringo some credit.
Beatles-A-Rama!!! The Show! with host Pat Matthews takes you on an incredible journey through the better known Fab 4 classics to their most obscure musical works, along with some great interviews and studio sessions making this show a must for any…
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.
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!
Boston I think in my opinion is a great classic rock band because Boston isn’t too hard rock but just enough classic rock and rock and roll to create the perfect combo. Plus their first and second album were definitely the best. After that it was ok, with the exception of Amanda, that was a great song!
Brad Delp is right there with Freddie Mercury in his vocal abilities, and their sound is perfect with the rest of everything else. I have more than a feeling that Boston is ranked too low on this list.
Who would have thought that the story of a burning casino would have become the most recognisable rock song in history? Undeniably iconic, and a brilliant song to boot. That opening riff will be inspiring wannabe guitarists for the rest of time.
Typically, classic rock stations play rock songs from the mid-1960s through the 1980s. Some of the songs overlap with those played on oldies stations, but classic rock also focuses on hard rock and heavy metal bands and artists that are less radio friendly and therefore are usually not played on oldies stations. Classic rock stations have historically been hesitant to add 1990s rock such as alternative rock and grunge to their playlists, due in part to the drastic difference in style, but (mirroring a similar trend in classic country, where a similar 1990-era divide also exists) a small number of classic rock stations began adding 1990s music in the early 2010s. Unlike AOR radio stations, which played all tracks from albums, classic rock plays a much more limited playlist of charting singles and popular album tracks from artists and bands.
21 Motley Crue Mötley Crüe was an American metal band formed in Los Angeles, California on January 17, 1981. The group was founded by bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee, lead vocalist Vince Neil and lead guitarist Mick Mars.
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.”
42 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are an American rock band from Gainesville, Florida. In 1976, the band’s original lineup was Tom Petty as the lead singer and guitar player, Mike Campbell as the lead guitarist, Ron Blair on bass, Stan Lynch on drums, and Benmont Tench on keyboards.
“Ideologically, ‘classic rock’ serves to confirm the dominant status of a particular period of music history – the emergence of rock in the mid-1960s – with its associated values and set of practices: live performance, self-expression, and authenticity; the group as the creative unit, with the charismatic lead singer playing a key role, and the guitar as the primary instrument. This was a version of classic Romanticism, an ideology with its origins in art and aesthetics.”
“Johnny B. Goode” is a song about a country boy who makes it big by playing rock and roll; of course, that boy was Chuck Berry himself, whose guitar work on this twangy tune comprises rock guitar 101. Just about every guitarist in the business has studied Berry’s riffs in this quintessential rock classic. Incidentally, “Johnny B. Goode” hit #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and Rolling Stone magazine named it #7 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Not bad for a song that has been called “the first rock star origin story.”
Lead vocalist Jon Bon Jovi admired the heroes of the Old West, even the anti-heroes or outlaws, which he likened to rockers who traveled about the country, living the wild life in all the towns and cities where they performed. So he and Richie Sambora wrote the song “Wanted Dead or Alive,” which became Bon Jovi’s anthem. Released on the album, Slippery When Wet, “Wanted Dead or Alive” along with “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Never Say Goodbye” all soared to the Top Ten of Billboard’s Hot 100, the first hard rock album to have three top singles. Not bad for Bon Jovi, a so-called Hair Metal band!
They were a very talented band. However, they had the potential to be SO much more. Seriously, they only had six studio albums, and one of them was a cover album. Instead of producing albums once or twice a year, they just partied their minds out, and ended up having only a few great songs.
WMGK’s internationally recognized Beatles expert, Andre Gardner (weekdays 2p-7p) rocks you with the perfect classic rock soundtrack for your work day and the trek home. He plays 3 songs in a row from one of his favorite artists at 3p in the 3 for 3. …
Kick back to some magic mix Jones, in his beer and cigarette haze, concocted to feed our Sinatra and 80s technopop…jones. And we turn it waayyy up during the mics, just to see the Drone fume at the banter between Glen and the Shakespearean wise…
Alice should be in the top 5 at least. I mean, he’s a badass. He’s got a great voice, killer music, and he’s a showman, which makes his concerts all the more enjoyable/interesting. Guy deserves so much more credit. I LOVE you, ALICE COOPER!
Musicians better than most of their peers, one of the best front man ever and lyrics socially relevant on a higher intellectual level than the dungeons and dragons fantasy lyrics of groups like Led Zeppelin. The doors are the greatest band of all times!
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.
Pink Floyd is like that one band that if you show someone the logo for Dark Side, they’ll say “Oh yeah that band, Pink Floyd right? ” Everybody knows it. For example take The Wall, listen to “Another Brick In The Wall Part One, Two and Three.” All three in a row. They blend seamlessly. Listen to the whole album, nonstop. Each song blends perfectly into the next. Pink Floyd brought the famous “If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding”. I’m sorry but who the heck hasn’t heard that at least once in their life? For most, it’s avoided with an exception for Dark Side. I hate to say this but… Pink Floyd should take the number one spot, as should The Wall compared to Dark Side. “Mother do you think they’ll the drop the bomb? Mother do you think they’ll like this song? ” -Pink Floyd, Mother, The Wall.