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The lyrics relate to a real event experienced by members of Deep Purple, while staying at an entertainment complex near the Montreux Casino. Suddenly a fire broke out in the theatre where The Mothers of Invention were playing and the casino was soon destroyed. But while watching smoke drift across a nearby lake, Deep Purple created the words to a classic rock tune, “Smoke on the Water.” Released in 1973, it reached #4 on Billboard’s pop singles chart. Also SOTW is often considered one of the best metal songs of all time, highlighted as it is by its iconic, though simple, opening riff.
Music scholar Jon Stratton traced classic rock’s origins to the emergence of a classic-rock canon.[20] 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.[21] 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.[22] 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.[19] 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.”[21]
As far as classic rock bands go Rush is very very very very very very good. I mean it is very impossible to play like them and their music is more than music I know this stuff because my dad learned off the internet how to get songs on your ipod playlist on your car radio so I hear a lot of old songs even though I am only turning 13 in a week and a half.
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.
For instance, the song “Going For The One” was a good song and had moderate success on the radio during that time. YES had a whole host of songs with similar recognition, which is more than most of the bands on this list.
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.
40 Years of Rock’s Greatest Underdogs… Def Leppard is on the cover of Classic Rock’s April issue, with a new 12 page interview featuring all band members → http://bit.ly/2GZMWbm pic.twitter.com/QiY3ijTY8D
Billboard magazine’s Kim Freeman posits that “while classic rock’s origin’s can be traced back earlier, 1986 is generally cited as the year of its birth”.[12] By 1986, the success of the format resulted in oldies accounting for 60–80% of the music played on album rock stations.[13] Although it began as a niche format spun off from AOR, by 2001 classic rock had surpassed album rock in market share nationally.[14]
Jimi Hendrix – From Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin to Brian Jones and Jimi Hendrix, it seemed that the most interesting musicians were all dying young in the 70s. Hendrix was best known for his guitar work and many of today’s best guitarists owe their careers to Hendrix, who died at the age of 27, the exact same age that Morrison, Joplin and Jones all died at.
^ 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)
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.
If you look at a list of songs that specifically define each rock band, most like Queen, Rush, Pearl Jam, U2 or Nirvana have roughly ten notable songs that fans or non fans recognize. Beyond those ten songs the list drops off considerably.
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.
When you consider that this song is made up of a simple riff repeated many times over, a pretty non-existent chorus and a drum solo which lasts for half the song, it really is spectacularly brilliant.
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.
This is a list of classic rock songs from the 1960s through the 1990s that are heard on classic rock radio stations.[1][2] Classic rock emerged as a programming format on American FM radio in the mid-1980s—over time, the format evolved to accommodate the shifting demographics of its audience, with programmers including more recent releases to supplement the original songs from the 1960s and 1970s.[3]
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.
Led Zeppelin – Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Bonham and John Paul Jones were the biggest rock band in the U.S. at one time, and were really the biggest classic rock band on 80s radio. They started their career in 1968, and in a moment of shock to their fans, chose to break up after Bonham died.
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
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!
As the story goes, The Beatles movie needed a title, something other than Beatlemania, so the Beatles suggested a comment made by Ringo might work. Ringo had said they’ve worked so hard night and day that it’s been a hard . . . day’s night, kind of a malapropism. Eureka! Then, once the producers had a title for the movie, they also needed a theme song. So John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote it and the Beatles recorded it the next day. In July 1964, “A Hard Day’s Night,” the single and album, soared to #1 on the charts in both the US and UK, the first time a musical group had achieved such a feat.
This is another song with a true story behind it. The name Layla relates to a book entitled The Story of Layla and Majnun, which tells the tale of Majnun, who falls in love with a beautiful young woman; but her father rejects Majnun and he goes crazy with desire. In real life, guitarist Eric Clapton, the co-writer of “Layla,” fell in love with Patty Boyd, who had married George Harrison. Eventually, though, Boyd and Harrison got a divorce and Clapton then married Boyd. How sweet! Anyway, over the years “Layla” has garnered great popular and critical acclaim. Interestingly, Both Clapton and Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers wrote and played the famous guitar licks throughout the song.

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!
Introducing the world to hardcore southern rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd was at the top of the mountain until a plane crash in 1977 prominently influenced the band to break up. Ten years later the band reformed with the former lead singer, Ronnie Van Zant’s brothers taking over the vocal duties. –
Rare Collections is for crate diggers and aficionados, showcasing untold stories from Australian music history, driven by a passion for vinyl recordings. Jordie and David Kilby have long been fascinated with the diversity of what was released on vinyl…
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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