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They’re not all ’60s-era legacy bands either. As rock ‘n’ roll moved into the next decades, it diversified into a number of notable offshoots – from singer-songwriters and punk to hard rock and pop-metal – and this list ties together all of those various threads. It makes for quite a journey. Find out how they stack up, as we count down the Top 100 classic rock artists.
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.
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…
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.
12 Lynyrd Skynyrd Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American rock band best known for popularizing the Southern rock genre during the 1970s They are known for songs like “Free Bird”, “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Tuesdays Gone” .
^ 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.”

43 Ozzy Osbourne John Michael “Ozzy” Osbourne was born on December 3, 1948. He is also known as ”The Prince of Darkness”. Ozzy is an English singer, songwriter, and television personality. He rose to prominence in the early 1970s as the lead vocalist of the band Black Sabbath. Osbourne was fired from Black Sabbath …read more.
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,…
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.
Perhaps the first great acid rock tune, “Purple Haze” was written by guitar god Jimi Hendrix and performed by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Hendrix, a blues and R&B guitarist by trade, quickly learned to play psychedelic blues, essentially inventing the style as he produced the album, Are You Experienced, on which “Purple Haze” appears. The words for the song, seemingly about a man tripping on acid, are simply about a young man going crazy for this foxy lady. No drugs required for that, right?
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.”[22] 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.”[22] 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.”[19]
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.
Rock rocks with The Rock!! The Friday Rock Show hosted by the Rockmeister is 4 hours of Classic Rock with lots of great features, including “Classic Album” & “Battle of the Bands” as well as as many listener’s requests we can squeeze in!!!
35 The Cars The Cars are an American rock band that emerged from the new wave scene in the late 1970s. The band originated in Boston, Massachusetts in 1976, with singer, rhythm guitarist and songwriter Ric Ocasek, singer and bassist Benjamin Orr, lead guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes and drummer …read more.
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.
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.
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There could only be one, right? Being “banned in guitar shops” and subsequently covered by Rolf Harris doesn’t alter the fact that this epic from Zep’s fourth album is undeniably better than ANY other song because it somehow manages to cram pretty much every single rock genre into one sprawling eight minute slice of brilliance. Oh, and don’t forget THAT guitar solo…
Every instrumentalist is top-notch; writing and lyrics are fantastic, and no other vocalist could ever beat Steve Perry in his prime. Their songs usually carried a good message which I appreciated. Arnel is good, too, but Perry hit it out of the park every time.
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.
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.
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
During the mid-1980s, the classic rock format was mainly tailored to the adult male demographic ages 25–34, which remained its largest demographic through the mid-1990s.[15] As the format’s audience aged, its demographics skewed toward older age groups. By 2006, the 35–44 age group was the format’s largest audience[16] and by 2014 the 45–54 year-old demographic was the largest.[17]
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.
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]
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
Writer Jim Sullivan talks to rock drummers who followed in Ringo Starr’s wake and discovers a unanimous praise for his skills, groove, swing and time on the kit – a too often overlooked secret to the success of The Beatles.
“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.”
14 Rush Rush is a Canadian progressive rock band that was formed in 1968. Even though the only founding member still in the band is Alex Lifeson (Guitar), the band is most well-known for their current members Neil Peart (Drums) and Geddy Lee (Bass, Vocals). …read more.
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.
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.
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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]
22 The Grateful Dead The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. Ranging from quintet to septet, the band is known for its unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of country, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, rock, improvisational jazz, psychedelia, space rock, for live performances …read more.
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.
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…
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.
Included in Pink Floyd’s rock opera, The Wall, “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” spawned a single that became Pink Floyd’s only number one hit in the US, UK and other countries. Subtitled “Education,” it’s a protest song about the strict schooling in the UK, particularly as it relates to that in boarding schools. Part 2, written by bassist Roger Waters, as well as all the other “parts” of the song, contains a school choir, a searing and poignant guitar solo by David Gilmour and a disco drum beat, of all things. Members of Pink Floyd resisted making this a single, but we’ll all lucky they changed their minds.
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.
If anyone ever asks you to “explain rock music” then – without saying anything – dig out your copy of Highway To Hell, turn the volume up loud and press play. That moment when the drums first kick in remains one of the most thrilling in the history of music.
Don Henley of the Eagles wanted to write a song about life in Los Angeles, California, particularly its emphasis on fame, hedonism and money. Henley wrote, “It’s basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America, which is something we knew a lot about.” Henley wanted the song, decidedly somber, and played in harmonic minor, seem like an episode of the Twilight Zone, which it certainly does. Apparently the song worked on many levels, because it won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1978. And the dueling guitars coda was rated the greatest guitar solo by Guitarist magazine in 1998.
Debbi Calton (weekdays 9a-2p) plays the perfect mix of classic rock to make sure your workday is an enjoyable one. She also gives you the chance to win concert tickets in her Connect 3 feature – she’ll play you 3 songs centered around a common theme….
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.
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