Guns N’ Roses began their career with a big bang. Their first single, “Welcome to the Jungle,” arrived on their debut album, Appetite for Destruction, and both kicked some serious tail. “Welcome to the Jungle,” a tune about the mean streets of Los Angeles, soon catapulted to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100, while Appetite for Destruction eventually sold 30 million copies, the eleventh best-selling album in the US. And, in 2009, VH1 picked “Welcome to the Jungle” as the number one hard rock song of all time.
Music scholar Jon Stratton traced classic rock’s origins to the emergence of a classic-rock canon. This canon arose in part from music journalism and superlative lists ranking certain albums and songs that are consequently reinforced to the collective and public memory. Robert Christgau said the classic-rock concept transmogrified rock music into a “myth of rock as art-that-stands-the-test-of-time”, and believed the canonizing of certain rock artists by critics, major media, and music establishment entities such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was inevitable. Media academic Roy Shuker said classic-rock radio programmers largely play “tried and proven” hit songs from the past based on their “high listener recognition and identification”; he identified white male rock acts from the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper era through the end of the 1970s as the focus of their playlists. As Catherine Strong observed, classic rock songs are generally performed by white male acts from either the United States or the United Kingdom, “have a four-four time, very rarely exceed the time limit of four minutes, were composed by the musicians themselves, are sung in English, played by a ‘classical’ rock formation (drums, bass, guitar, keyboard instruments) and were released on a major label after 1964.”
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.
Producing great music from the first minute, these guys took it to the limit! Made many legendary songs like Hotel California, Take It Easy, One Of These Nights etc. Etc. One of the best bands ever in rock, true legends!
Should easily be in the top twenty probably the top 10 of all time. Tom Petty’s career and the people he played with and who lived him and mourned his death is a whose who of the greatest in Rock of all time. Plus the Heartbreakers are all fantastic musicians and band. RIP legend.
I belonged in the green and blue column This is a ranked list of the 100 best artists in “Classic Rock.” The term “classic rock” is mostly used as a radio format to describe popular rock music of the mid 1960’s through the early 1980’s. I also refer to that era in music as the “Classic Rock” era. To me it begins with the Beatles’ arrival in America in early 1964 and goes up til about the debut of MTV in 1981. Although some artists emerged after 1981 that defined the classic rock sound like John Mellencamp, Billy Squier, Loverboy, the Georgia Satellites, and the Black Crowes. With that said, this list will mostly highlight artists you hear on Classic Rock stations. I’m pretty strict on what I consider to be classic rock, so artists such as the Police, the Pretenders, and Talking Heads whom are occasionally played on classic rock radio will not be on the list as I consider them to be apart of the next era in music (new wave). So here are the 100 greatest artists of classic rock.
The critics say AC/DC songs sound the same. Tell me, does BACK IN BLACK (1980), For Those About to Rock (1981) sound like Rock and Roll Train (2009) and Rock Or Bust(2014)? Their sound is theirs. It’s that AC/DC sound that only the Young brothers can produce. It’s actually a subset of rock n roll. You have metal, blues, Rock, Pop, and AC/DC. Plus, they have never made music for the critics. They make it for their Fans. Put it this way: if AC/DC ever listened to their critics at least ONE TIME, I believe they wouldn’t be where they are today. Still making music for soundtracks. Still selling out stadiums at world record pace. I get a kick out of those who say “oh they’re losing a step. They’re getting old”. Haha! Of course! They’re human! But losing a step? I disagree. If they lose a step then they’re hiding it very well. Not bad for guys in their 60’s pushing 70! I can barely get out of bed at 40 sometimes but here they are rocking still. Numbers don’t lie and neither do the …more
5 AC/DC AC/DC are a Australian hard rock band, formed in November 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, who continued as members until Malcolm’s illness and departure in 2014. They were fronted by Bon Scott until his untimely death due to alcohol poisoning in 1980, after which they hired Brian Johnson to …read more.
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The sound of a band who have nothing left to prove. Apparently written in minutes on a tour bus, this remains one of the all time great driving songs. It is also pretty notable for containing not only an enormous keyboard solo but also an outrageous guitar solo from Ritchie Blackmore.
Anyone can cover another artist’s song, but few are able to take that song and truly make it their own. In the case of ‘All Along The Watchtower,’ there is no doubt that Jimi Hendrix most certainly turned the Bob Dylan composition into not only a Hendrix song, but into a true classic.
Best band Ever. Some of the other bands are okay. Some I’ve never heard of. Their music creates the most unique and amazing sound ever that no band could ever recreated. First 2 seconds I hear them, I know for a fact its them. I could literally listen to their music all day everyday without ever getting sick of it. That’s when you know a band is good. When you don’t get tired of hearing them. Sib Hashian, greatest afro in history. Rest in peace Brad Delp. Any true Boston fan will remember you forever.
Classic rock was originally conceived as a radio station programming format which evolved from the album oriented rock (AOR) format in the early-1980s. In the United States, this rock music format now features a large playlist of songs ranging from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, with some stations including a limited number of current releases.
“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.”
Just listen to Sharp dressed man, trust me it might even be the greatest Song ever put to paper, let alone the greatest rock song. Add to that Billy Gibbons was Jimi Hendrix’s favorite guitarist, his sound is utterly epic and his vocal range immense! Dusty Hill is a great bassist and Frank Beard’s drumwork is masterful. Add to that the sheer longevity and range of their music, they formed in 1969 and are still going! Every album is an evolution and a masterpiece! Enough said…
Emerging from an event so catastrophic that it would have destroyed lesser bands, AC/DC’s highest placing song in this poll is the greatest tribute they could have paid to their former singer, Bon Scott – celebratory, wild and a killer riff that never gets old
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.
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.”
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
1 Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of Robert Plant (Vocal), Jimmy Page (Guitar), John Paul Jones (Bass, Keyboard) and John Bonham (Drums). The band’s heavy, guitar-driven sound, rooted in blues and psychedelia on their early albums, has earned them recognition …read more.
The Doors should definitely be higher on this list. Morrison gets all the hype, but Ray Manzarek is one of the greatest musicians to play rock and roll to this date. Just listen to there last song ever recorded (Riders on the Storm) and tell me they should still be #12.
“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.”
Led Zeppelin earn the penultimate spot on our Top 100 Classic Rock Songs list with ‘Kashmir,’ a stately, epic masterpiece that refuses to acknowledge that rock music should have any uncrossable boundaries.
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U2 is one of the best bands ever! With or Without You, One, Where the Streets Have No Name… Really guys. Lots of the higher-ranked bands are mildly painful to listen to. U2 has way more good songs than some of those bands. Bono is the best, the Edge is fabulous on guitar. If you really listen to some of their songs, not just their most recent album, you would agree with me.
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!
Written in minutes and with a riff born out of a guitar warm up exercise, this song most definitely had inauspicious beginnings. It remains the greatest example of why rock ballads don’t have to suck.
Easily the most subversively ingenious song to ever reach number 1 in the UK charts. The fact that it did it TWICE nearly 20 years apart was just showing off. This song, above all others, summed up exactly what Queen were whilst changing rock music forever
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.
^ Jump up to: a b Danbury (26 May 2015). “CLASSIC ROCK’S TOP SONGS – HERE’S THE I95 MEMORIAL DAY 500 PLAYLIST”. i95 Rock. Retrieved 25 January 2018. “While you partied all weekend, i95 was playing Classic Rock’s top 500 songs. In case you missed it, here’s is our Memorial Day 500 Playlist.”
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.
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.
18 Deep Purple Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. They are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a progressive rock band, the band shifted to a heavier sound in 1970. Deep Purple, …read more.
Most songs on this list were singles but, at least at first, this one wasn’t. Hey, the Zep didn’t do singles! Yet Atlantic Records released it as a promotional single in 1972. Appearing on Led Zeppelin’s fourth album, “Stairway to Heaven” is a song in three parts, each one increasing in tempo and volume, until the thunderous crescendo, punctuated by guitarist Jimmy Page’s orgasmic trills, and then the tune slowly fades away with an acoustic coda. This breathtaking tune was picked as #3 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Rock Songs compiled in 2000. Incidentally, the rock band Spirit claimed it had created the song’s signature riff, but Spirit lost the copyright infringement lawsuit in 2017.
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.
Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and Roger Waters are almost as famous for their feuding as they are for their music — and although they were bandmates for nearly two decades, their personality conflicts precluded true collaboration for many of those years. One notable exception: the No. 9 song on o…
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.
Wonderful 1970’s rock, soul and country; Tom Johnstone’s wonderful vocals gave the Doobies their unique sound. They lost it a bit when Johnstone left in 1976 and was replaced as vocalist by Michael MacDonald, a great singer, but he just didn’t fit the sound.
Bon Jovi is my favourite band of all time. I have not found a single Bon Jovi song that I don’t like, loads of their songs have got me hooked and its mainly the reason I got into rock. They are the reason rock is my favourite genre of all time and I’m into a lot of 80’s and 90’s hard rock. They have had me hooked for over a year and I can’t get enough. Jon Bon Jovi is one of the nicest guys you could meet. They are a talented group of gentlemen that have given us the greatest music for 30 years and I hope to see them around for many years to come.
36 Foreigner Foreigner is a British-American hard rock band, originally formed in New York City in 1976 by veteran English musician Mick Jones and fellow Briton and ex-King Crimson member Ian McDonald along with American vocalist Lou Gramm.