Classic rock is a radio format which developed from the album-oriented rock (AOR) format in the early 1980s. In the United States, the classic rock format features music ranging generally from the mid-1960s to the late 1980s, primarily focusing on commercially successful hard rock popularized in the 1970s. The radio format became increasingly popular with the baby boomer demographic by the end of the 1990s.
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!
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.
In addition to being a founding member of Toto, Jeff Porcaro was one of if not the most-recorded drummers ever. That’s because he added magic to whatever he played on by many major pop and rock acts, says fellow drummer Dony Wynn, who Porcaro mentored in the early years of his career.
KRBE, an AM station in Houston, was an early classic rock radio station. In 1983 program director Paul Christy designed a format which played only early album rock, from the 1960s and early 1970s, without current music or any titles from the pop or dance side of Top 40. Another AM station airing classic rock, beginning in 1983, was KRQX in Dallas-Fort Worth. KRQX was co-owned with an album rock station, 97.9 KZEW. Management saw the benefit in the FM station appealing to younger rock fans and the AM station appealing a bit older. The ratings of both stations could be added together to appeal to advertisers. Classic rock soon became the widely used descriptor for the format, and became the commonly used term, among the general public, for early album rock music.
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.
40 The Stooges The Stooges, also known as Iggy and the Stooges, are an American proto-punk band from Ann Arbor, Michigan, first active from 1967 to 1974, and later reformed in 2003. Although they sold few records in their original incarnation, and often performed for indifferent or hostile audiences, the Stooges are …read more.
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. 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.
“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.”
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.
The words “somebody to love” make a popular song title, and this list includes the song recorded by the Jefferson Airplane. If there’s a song that’s redolent of the Haight/Ashbury subculture of the San Francisco Bay Area in 1967, it must be the Airplane’s “Somebody to Love.” The lead sang by Grace Slick, former sister-in-law of Darby Slick who wrote the lyrics, the tune has a driving, acid-rock tinged favor with a screaming guitar solo at the end. If there’s an anthem for the free-love movement, this may be it.
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.
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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
If you’re particularly observant, you might also notice that a whopping 55% of the top 100 songs were recorded in the 70s and not a single song features from past the year 2000, proving that these songs really do get better with time.
21 Motley Crue Mötley Crüe was an American metal band formed in Los Angeles, California on January 17, 1981. The group was founded by bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee, lead vocalist Vince Neil and lead guitarist Mick Mars.
Bon Jovi has and still is putting out the best rock music in the world. His most famous songs from Livin’ on a prayer is expected to be heard by. Not listening to this and another couple songs are not like watching the Matrix or like not hearing Don’t stop believin’. The lyrics of Bon Jovi speak truth and encourage many people. Unlike some other bands Bon Jovi are still living and playing. Not only does Bon Jovi make a ton of great hit songs they are aslo activist’s and help the community. Bon Jovi sold many, many, many records when recording and was said to put on some of the best concerts of that time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
39 U2 U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. U2’s early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music. Throughout the group’s musical pursuits, they have …read more.
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.
42 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are an American rock band from Gainesville, Florida. In 1976, the band’s original lineup was Tom Petty as the lead singer and guitar player, Mike Campbell as the lead guitarist, Ron Blair on bass, Stan Lynch on drums, and Benmont Tench on keyboards.
19 Bon Jovi Bon Jovi is a hard rock band formed in 1983, which had a streak of successful albums in the late 1980s. The band originally consisted of lead vocalist Jon Bon Jovi, guitarist Ritchie Sambora (left in 2013), bassist Alec John Such (left in 1994), keyboard David Bryan, and drummer Tico Torres. The band’s …read more.
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.
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.
A Grateful Dead concert is unlike any other. I saw then in the form of Dead & Company, and it was awesome! Every song is complimented by a long, improvised jam while the deadheads with dreadlocks dance. I’ve seen more dudes on acid that night than I will ever see again – ryanrimmel
Beatles-A-Rama!!! The Show! with host Pat Matthews takes you on an incredible journey through the better known Fab 4 classics to their most obscure musical works, along with some great interviews and studio sessions making this show a must for any…
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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!
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.
WMGK’s internationally recognized Beatles expert, Andre Gardner (weekdays 2p-7p) rocks you with the perfect classic rock soundtrack for your work day and the trek home. He plays 3 songs in a row from one of his favorite artists at 3p in the 3 for 3. …
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.
The impetus for this song is that Paul McCartney wrote it for Julian, John Lennon’s son, after John had filed for divorce from Cynthia and struck up a romance with Yoko Ono. Paul felt sorry for kids in broken homes, ya know? Funny thing is, John thought the song was about him! Anyway, the single lasts seven minutes, long for the time, and who can forget the four-minute, orchestral coda? By the way, “Hey Jude” was the first single produced by Apple Records; it also stayed at number one on the US charts for nine weeks, topping all other Beatles’ singles; and in 2013 Billboard named it the tenth best song ever.
31 Alice Cooper Alice Cooper was an American rock band formed in Phoenix, Arizona in 1964. The band consisted of lead singer Vince Furnier, Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, and Neal Smith.
“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.”
3 Queen Queen are an English rock band formed in 1970. Members were Freddie Mercury (Vocals and Piano), Brian May (Guitar, Vocals), Roger Taylor (Drums, Vocals), and John Deacon (Bass Guitar, Vocals). Before forming into Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor had played together in a band named Smile. Freddie Mercury …read more.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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” .
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.
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. 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.
One of the most brilliant bands, and also the most under appreciated. Ann’s crazy voice combined with Nancy’s amazing guitar skills! What more could you want? Heart should definitely make the top ten. They gave us barracuda. Need I say more?
I have seen them forgotten for the most part in the new generation. They are a great band to listen to because they can rock hard like led zepplin or play soft relaxing songs like pink floyd based on which of they’r 3 singers is singing. They are a top 25 band and hope they won’t be forgotten in this generation
No matter which line-up of the band you hear, the music is cohesive and stellar. David always surrounds himself with top-notch musicians. Haven’t heard a song I don’t like. Even the most recent albums sound better than anything else out at the moment. The purple album rules! I loved the Mach 3 & 4 line-up’s of deep purple. My son who is 6 years old has watched Whitesnake – made in Japan every night at bath time for over a year. Another generation of Snake fans is born!
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.
Queen is no question the best band ever. They have the greatest singer ever, Freddie Mercury, also a amazing piano player. For example, Bohemian Rhapsody, Killer Queen, Seven Seas of Rhye, and The March of the Black Queen. One of the best guitarists ever. For example, Bohemian Rhapsody, Killer Queen, The Prophet Song, Hammer To Fall. One of the best bassists. For example, Another One Bites The Dust, Killer Queen. Queen is my favorite band ever! I am in a queen cover band! – CalebMusic