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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 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.
Absolutely bursting with attitude and power, Stargazer was born to be played VERY loud. It turned Dio into a legend, and reminded everyone that with a guitar in his hand, Ritchie Blackmore was unbeatable.
No track more perfectly represents the sum of Zep’s parts than Kashmir – every member working in absolute harmony, with no solos, no vocal histrionics, no showboating from any member. It’s dramatic, beautiful and just as startling every time you hear it.
This is the Real School of Rock! The Original Rock and Roll Podcast. Interviews, music and more from a Rock and Roll Geek. All done with a Metal Sludge, Blabbermouth sense of humor for fans of Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, Wildhearts, Metallica, AC/DC,…
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.[18] 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.
Of all the acts on our countdown of the Top 100 Classic Rock Songs, none gave us a bigger challenge than the Beatles. Although the decision to only include one song per act allowed for a greater range of bands, it also meant that the entire catalog of the Beatles, the greatest and most diverse in al…
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.
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.

First played by Richard Berry and the Pharaohs, “Louie Louie” is one of the most played rock tunes of all time. In the old days, this was usually the first tune learned by rock guitarists (the chords A, D, Em,D). Often considered a dirty song, though it isn’t – but you know how inventive kids can be – a seemingly endless number of bands have covered this song, often adding a guitar or saxophone solo, but The Kingsmen in 1963 may have produced the most popular version, though the lyrics are barely intelligible, as they often are in rock songs.
Buddy Holly – There are some people who claim that Buddy Holly created rock and roll. The singer started performing in 1949, but he really hit it big in 1957 with “That’ll Be the Day”, which hit number one in the U.S. charts. Holly died two years later in a tragic plane crash, which also killed Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.
I just saw Alice Cooper in concert (August 2016) in Huntsville AL and he was absolutely awesome! If you ever have a chance to see him, DO NOT MISS OUT! It will be the experience of a lifetime. What a show!
These guys were basically the first to introduce synthsisers, something that most everyone else has relied on in their music. This band has tested rock time and time again and they have revolutionized it, creating some of the best and most favorite Classic Rock songs of all time. It is even said that Led Zepplin and many other British originated groups and singers, including U2, were influenced by these guys. The band includes one of the greatest guitarist, greatest drummer, and greatest bassist of all time. There is a reason they have been around for nearly fifty years and continue to perform.
Yes is my all time favorite band-and I started listening to the Beatles in 1964, so I’ve heard most of the great groups. Yes is to me where progressive rock ended. There has not been anything better since Yes. Every time I play their music, it makes me so happy and joyous. If every one listened to them the world would be a much more happier and peaceful planet.
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.
11 Black Sabbath Black Sabbath were a Heavy Metal band formed in Birmingham, England in 1968 by guitarist and songwriter Tony Iommi, Singer Ozzy Osbourne, Bassist and Main Lyricist Geezer Butler and Drummer Bill Ward. The band got into mainstream after improving after their debut album got negative feedback. In 1978, …read more.
Many forget about this band, Eddie Van Halen Is One Of The Greatest Guitarists Ever, When They had David Lee Roth, They Were Unbeatable…. Many #1 Hits, Inducted Into the Rock N’ Roll Hall Of fame… Greatest Band Ever – VanHalen88
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.[3] 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.[4]
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.
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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.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is a prime example of 1970s’ progressive rock. Written by vocalist/pianist Freddy Mercury and performed by Queen, the song is a six-minute suite, including an operatic passage, of all things, and multiple key and tempo changes, and may be the most original of all songs on this stellar list. Not surprisingly, after released, “Bohemian Rhapsody” hit the top of the UK Singles Chart, selling more than nine million copies and kicked butt in the US as well. Astonishingly, the song was re-released in 1992, after the death of Mercury, and did almost as well then. Then in 2004, “Bohemian Rhapsody” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. This awesome song is a prime example of the astonishing range of expression in rock and roll!
^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah Cardillo, Mike (22 Jul 2015). “30+ Classic Rock Songs I Never Want to Hear Again”. The Big Lead (USA Today). Retrieved 26 January 2016. “The ‘Classic Rock’ genre is the most tired in all of music. Often the only purpose it serves is to prove you’re getting older and that you no longer drive the cool car you used to drive when you were in high school, or something. Part of me dies inside when I hear a Nirvana tune — and I don’t even really like Nirvana’s music all that much — sandwiched between Foreigner and Steve Miller Band on the local classic rock station. … The following is but a sample of some of the songs that could be stricken from the airwaves and we’d all be better off for it.”
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.[11]
7 The Who The Who is an English rock band formed in London, England in 1964 . The members are Roger Daltrey (lead singer), Pete Townshend (guitarist), John Entwistle (bassist), and Keith Moon (drums). They are best known for their live performances and hit songs Baba O’Riley, My Generation, and Won’t Get Fooled …read more.
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Originally recorded by the Arrows in 1975, “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” was catapulted to the level of rock anthem by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts the following decade. Eventually climbing to number one for seven weeks on the US Billboard Hot 100, The Blackheart’s version of the tune has received many accolades, one of which a ranking of #56 on Billboard’s list of the 100 Greatest Songs of All Time; also, in 2016, it was inducted into the Grammy’s Hall of Fame.
Sound Opinions, the World’s only rock and roll talk show; now to go. Hosted by Jim DeRogatis of the Vocalo.org and Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune. Each week Jim and Greg bring you the latest music news and reviews. Plus tune in to hear exclusive…
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