Origins of rock and roll Electronics in rock music Social effects Rock Against Communism Rock Against Racism Rock Against Sexism Rock music and the fall of communism Rockism and poptimism Women in rock
45 The Ramones The Ramones were an American punk rock band that formed in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, in 1974. They are often cited as the first band to define the punk rock sound.
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.
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.
First played by Richard Berry and the Pharaohs, “Louie Louie” is one of the most played rock tunes of all time. In the old days, this was usually the first tune learned by rock guitarists (the chords A, D, Em,D). Often considered a dirty song, though it isn’t – but you know how inventive kids can be – a seemingly endless number of bands have covered this song, often adding a guitar or saxophone solo, but The Kingsmen in 1963 may have produced the most popular version, though the lyrics are barely intelligible, as they often are in rock songs.
Roger Waters is one of the few true musical geniuses. Acompanied by a great guitarist in David Gilmour, along with Richard Wright and Nick Mason. Pink Floyd ruled the sound waves of the 70’s with top notch albums and unforgettable live performances. –
Then we come to Freddie Mercury. A legend among legends. Freddie’s voice was so powerful and had a range that most singers only dream of acquiring. He is listed as one of the greatest frontman in history, which is no surprise to anyone who has seen it in person or on video. His death will be mourned for many more years.
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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.
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
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.”
The closest thing to a pop song that Zeppelin ever did – three and a half minutes of raw rock fire-power which does exactly what it says on the tin. It also has the greatest drum intro to any song EVER.
Dark Side of the Moon. The Wall. Wish You Were Here. Animals. Meddle. Pink Floyd was at the top of the pack thematically, musically, and lyrically. Their music is enjoyable to listen to and often requires many listens to discover it’s meaning. The Dark Side of the Moon is hailed as one of the greatest albums of all time and has themes of insanity, death, wasted time, and materialism. The Wall is very different than TDSoTM, but just as good, in it’s own way. It is a long album that follows a singer named Pink as he isolates himself and builds a metaphorical wall between himself andd the outside world. The rock opera also features the crowd favorites Comfortably Numb and Another Brick in the Wall pt. 2. Animals is only 5 tracks long but full of good music. It has roots in the book Animal Farm by George Orwell and it basically compares Brits to Dogs, Pigs, and Sheep. Wish You Were Here is essentially dedicated to Pink Floyd’s first lead singer Syd Barrett, who tragically went insane. The …more
Historical retrospective collection! Rare tapes of the 70’s radio show that recorded the world’s punk bands as they crashed into San Francisco … hosted by Ruth Schwartz of Mordam Records and Tim Yohannan of Maximum Rock’n’Roll. With new intros by…
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!
What makes them great? Their shows and their longevity. While other older bands understandably slow down over the years, this group keeps pumping out anthem like music. Catchy rock music that could have been hits in the Rock n Roll heyday of the 80’s and 90’s. With that said, in the 21st Century alone they’ve won a Grammy and the Black Ice Tour was the 4th largest tour in HISTORY. Black Ice sold more albums world wide besides Cold Play. In 2007 AC/DC sold 3 million albums yet hadn’t produced new songs in 8 YEARS at that point. If you don’t think these aging rockers are still relavent then please check out the Live @ Rivee Plate. Their stage presence is as good as ever. Johnson is in terrific shape and they play to the frenzied crowd like never before. And, This is the AC/DC that could be retired and people would understand. Now: they have Rock Or Bust. Tickets sold so fast for European tour that it broke Guinness world records for most sales in least time. 1.75 million tickets in less …more
One of many Aerosmith hit singles in the 1970s, “Walk This Way” is a hard rock tune appearing on the band’s third studio album, Toys in the Attic, which is their highest selling album to date. “Walk This Way” jumped to #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Then, during the 1980s, when Aerosmith hit a lull in popularity, the rap group Run-D.M.C re-made the song, with Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry making guest appearances in the tune and on the video. Surprisingly, this version of the song did even better on the Billboard Hot 100, climbing to #5, and also helped spawn a new genre – rap rock.
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.
Originally recorded by the Arrows in 1975, “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” was catapulted to the level of rock anthem by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts the following decade. Eventually climbing to number one for seven weeks on the US Billboard Hot 100, The Blackheart’s version of the tune has received many accolades, one of which a ranking of #56 on Billboard’s list of the 100 Greatest Songs of All Time; also, in 2016, it was inducted into the Grammy’s Hall of Fame.
Easily in the top 10 of all time. Probably the best collection of musicians playing challenging rock music we’ll ever see or hear. Although the music is difficult to play, it is a joy to behold. If you aren’t familiar with Yes do yourself a favor, sit back and enjoy Close to the Edge, Fragile, the Yes album, Relayer or Big Generator…Easily one of the finest bands ever.
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.
One of the top rock bands in 1980, Journey produced a classic tune for their seventh album, Escape. Sometimes referred to as the perfect rock tune, “Don’t Stop Believin’” is a song with a complex structure, awesome guitar runs, and sang by a Steve Perry, who may have one of the greatest voices in the world of rock. The song smashed the charts in the US, UK and many other parts of the world, and its subsequent popularity throughout the world cannot be overstated. Also, in 2009, the Glee TV series version of the song did very well. Among many other tunes on this list, this song is a solid gold rock favorite.
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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.
There are bands that don’t have a single other band to even come close to them. Led Zeppelin had some of the greatest guitar solos the world has ever seen. Jimmy Page re-defined the way people play the guitar. Robert Plant is the greatest screamer ever. He actually sounds good. John Paul Jones was the fastest bassist trying to keep up with Jimmy when he did a guitar solo. Not many people could do that. And then you’ve got the greatest drummer ever who sat behind a drum kit. His solo in Rock and Roll is one of the greatest I’ve ever heard. And that brings me o my final quote: LED ZEPPELIN RULE!
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.
Classic Rock was owned by British bands and a band doesn’t get more British than The Who. With amazing songs such as ‘Pinball Wizard’, ‘My Generation’ and ‘Baba O’Riley’ The Who are one of the best in the genre. Due to death in the band they didn’t make they greatest impact but showing that they can still rock they are still amazing now as they were in the 70s and 80s.
The Beatles are THE best band in history. Rock and roll was slowly disappearing, but then The Beatles started. These guys just about saved rock and roll. If you like The Rolling Stones, then you’ve got to like The Beatles. I mean, The Beatles and The Stones were friends, and The Beatles gave The Stones their first single. Every song by The Beatles is excellent (even Revolution 9 and Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey). The Beatles had enough songs to keep them rolling ’till TODAY. I mean, just imagine if Imagine, Live And Let Die, and My Sweet Lord were Beatles songs. These are some of the biggest songs in history, and they would have been Beatles songs had The Beatles not split up. It’s obvious: THE Beatles SHOULD HAVE BEEN #1 ON THIS LIST. THEY ARE THE BEST BAND IN HISTORY. PERIOD.
Appearing on The Who’s spectacular album, Who’s Next, “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” was written by guitarist Pete Townshend, who said the song seeks to make a connection between music – highlighted by the use of a synthesizer throughout the song – and the teachings of Meher Baba and Inayat Khan. Thereafter, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” became a song The Who usually played at the end of their live performances, when Townshend destroyed his guitar and Keith Moon kicked over his drums, as the crowd squealed and hooted with delight.
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?
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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.
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.
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.
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
I suppose it’s just a generation gap speaking, but I wouldn’t have included most of the 80s songs that you did. I’d have included songs like My Generation, Respect, What I’d Say, and Like A Rolling Stone. This list just goes to show that rock has a lot of classics.
Anyone can cover another artist’s song, but few are able to take that song and truly make it their own. In the case of ‘All Along The Watchtower,’ there is no doubt that Jimi Hendrix most certainly turned the Bob Dylan composition into not only a Hendrix song, but into a true classic.
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.
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. –
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.