Chuck Berry – Another one of the pioneers of rock and roll was the exciting Chuck Berry, who got started in his career in 1953. He got his big break in 1955 with “Maybellene” and “Ida Red”, but his biggest hits came in 1956 with “Roll Over Beethoven” and then later with a series of top 10 hits including the iconic “Johnny B. Goode.”
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.
Critical relief efforts are still going on in Florida, Texas, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere to recover from September’s series of hurricanes and earthquakes — and this week there’s a way for you to support those efforts just by listening to music!
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.
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.
Performed by The Doors, a quartet from Los Angeles, “Light My Fire” has a jazzy verse and impressive keyboard riffs at the beginning and end of this tune, which was played throughout that wonderful, peace-and-love summer of 1967. In July of that year, “Light My Fire” ascended to #1 for three weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. Interestingly, when playing the song live, The Doors performed a much longer version of the song with solos for guitar and keyboard. Of course, frontman/singer/poet Jim Morrison, aka the Lizard King, always put on a show with his powerful voice and offbeat stage antics.
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 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.
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!
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.
As you take a glance at the list below you’ll probably notice that size DEFINITELY counts, with not one of the Top Ten boasting a running time of less than five minutes (in the original – i.e. best – form). In fact the average running time for the top ten is a massive SEVEN MINUTES NINE SECONDS.
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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.
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.”
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.
With an ominous mood set from the first notes, we know for certain that “the storm is threatening” on the Rolling Stones’ haunting and powerful ‘Gimme Shelter.’ It’s ‘Apocalypse Now,’ in just over four minutes.
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
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…
^ 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.”
Should be #1. Not only Ozzy but also the Heaven and Hell days with Dio and even the Martin era wasn’t bad. Nobody has this longevity and still making great music. What other band here put out an album as recently as Devil You Know that is near that quality?
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.
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.
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.
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.
47 Judas Priest Judas Priest are a British heavy metal band that formed in Birmingham, England, in 1969. They are often referred to as one of the greatest metal bands of all time, and are even commonly called “The Metal Gods”, after one of the songs on their 1980 album “British Steel”. …read more.
Yes deserves to be on this list because, like Queen, they were totally unique and very talented musically. Hard to believe bands like Motley Crue are above them. Any decent cover band can play a Motley Crue song as well as the original, but no one even attempts Yes songs because you have to be great musically.
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.
“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.”
4 Pink Floyd Pink Floyd were an English progressive rock band formed in London. They achieved international acclaim with their progressive and psychedelic music. The band consisted of 5 members – David Gilmour (Vocals and Guitar), Syd Barrett (Vocals and Guitarist), Nick Mason (Drums), Roger Waters (Vocals and Bass), …read more.
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. –
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.
Manic Street Preachers release lyric video for their single Liverpool Revisited – taken from new album Resistance Is Futile: https://www.loudersound.com/news/manic-street-preachers-share-lyric-video-for-liverpool-revisited …pic.twitter.com/P5dJzcIQvy
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.