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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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35? You’re joking right? This band is one of and will always be one of the greatest Rock bands out there. I literally cringed when I saw this at 35. This band is better than most that are higher up in this chart. With songs like For Whom The Bell Tolls, The Unforgiven, Wnter Sandman, whiskey in the jar and covers such as Am I evil? And Tuesdays Gone this band seems to be FAR MORE UNDERRATED than it should be. Outstanding vocals, Bass, guitar and drums I see no reason why this band isn’t a great one. Metallica!
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…
Beach Boys – While The Beatles broke boundaries with their version of British rock, The Beach Boys were hitting it big at the same time with music labeled as Americana. The songs were about surfing, cars and girls and the band remains one of the most popular in the history of music over 50 years later, as they still tour the country.
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!
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.
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 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.
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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…
Bon Jovi is my favourite band of all time. I have not found a single Bon Jovi song that I don’t like, loads of their songs have got me hooked and its mainly the reason I got into rock. They are the reason rock is my favourite genre of all time and I’m into a lot of 80’s and 90’s hard rock. They have had me hooked for over a year and I can’t get enough. Jon Bon Jovi is one of the nicest guys you could meet. They are a talented group of gentlemen that have given us the greatest music for 30 years and I hope to see them around for many years to come.
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.
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 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.
They where stuck in CBS so they had to feel in the dark side a touch. I think the difference between Sad Wings of Destiny and Sin After Sin shows the compromise of more radio friendly songs CBS demanded. Good thing Rob Halfords has one of the great voices in Rock music not just metal. Everyone from King Diamond to Dream Theater owe great debts to the mighty Priest. Power metal is the Halfords imataters club.
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.
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.
.@BonJovi and Richie Sambora play together for the first time in five years @TheRealSambora https://www.loudersound.com/news/richie-sambora-plays-with-bon-jovi-for-the-first-time-in-five-years …pic.twitter.com/QGUXu5QFIF
^ 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.”
“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!
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
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.
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.
The sound of a band who have nothing left to prove. Apparently written in minutes on a tour bus, this remains one of the all time great driving songs. It is also pretty notable for containing not only an enormous keyboard solo but also an outrageous guitar solo from Ritchie Blackmore.
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.
44 ZZ Top ZZ Top is an American rock band that formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. The band is composed of bassist and lead vocalist Dusty Hill, guitarist and lead vocalist Billy Gibbons, and drummer Frank Beard.
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.
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.
This list tries to include some of the greatest rock tunes ever, all of which are classics; that is, songs released before the year 2000. Also keep in mind it only includes mainstream rock and roll (and we all know what that is, right?) whether soft or hard rock, but certainly not pop, R&B, soul, funk, blues, hip-hop, disco, jazz, country, bluegrass or classical – just good ol’ rock and roll, period, okay?
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.