This is a list of classic rock songs from the 1960s through the 1990s that are heard on classic rock radio stations. Classic rock emerged as a programming format on American FM radio in the mid-1980s—over time, the format evolved to accommodate the shifting demographics of its audience, with programmers including more recent releases to supplement the original songs from the 1960s and 1970s.
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.
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
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!!!
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.
Sometimes the best songs have the simplest licks. Guitarist Keith Richards created the main guitar lick in “Satisfaction,” a three-note riff played with a Gibson fuzzbox, which made the guitar sound like a saxophone, with which Richards hoped to replace it at some point – but the producers said no way Jose. Anyway, the song was performed live for the first time on Shindig!, an American TV show on which everything was performed live. You gotta love it! Many Boomers probably remember watching this memorable show. Not surprisingly, Rolling Stone magazine picked “Satisfaction” #2 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Buffalo Tom will play dates across Europe later this year – watch video for their cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s The Only Living Boy In New York: https://www.loudersound.com/news/buffalo-tom-announce-european-tour …pic.twitter.com/TRoBXkquV4
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What’s the recipe for becoming one of the Top 100 classic rock artists? It takes sweeping influence, longevity, groundbreaking importance and a certain indelible quality. But being a huge presence doesn’t necessarily mean that all of these qualities must be present at once.
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.
Journey is one of the most under rated bands. Neil Shone, Jonathan Cain & Steve Perry wrote some of Rock’s best known hit’s. Perry has been called “The Voice”. Neil Shone is as good a guitar player as any & Cain a master on keyboards. Journey is Rock & Roll!
Dubbed as an anthem for apathetic kids, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is arguably Nirvana’s greatest hit and perhaps the greatest one of Grunge or alternative rock. It’s so popular, even now, that college marching bands sometimes play it. Moreover, the intro guitar lick, played with power chords, has become one of the most iconic riffs in rock and roll history. It seems every rock guitarist can play it to some degree. How about you? Anyway, the song blasted to #6 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1991 and 1992, shaking up the entire world of rock.
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.
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
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.
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.
One of the greatest artists of the 20th century. the only artist to be honoured in both the Jazz and Rock and Roll hall of fame. Deep in a mess of dissonant Avant Garde notes, biting satire and a cynical sneer existed of the greatest rock guitarists of all time with a timeless classical sensibility.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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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!
You have got to be kidding me. Boston is higher than U2? At least U2 did something different to music! Boston made 5 hits. U2 made 15! Name a Boston song more successful than I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. Plus, U2 was in the rock hall their first year of eligibility. Boston isn’t even it it!
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.
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…
The Who’s defining moment closed their greatest album. Eight and a bit minutes of incendiary guitars, synthesisers, drums and vocals combining to provide one of the most euphoric rock songs of all time.
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.
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.
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. –
17 The Jimi Hendrix Experience The Jimi Hendrix Experience was an English-American rock band that formed in Westminster, London, in September 1966. Composed of singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jimi Hendrix, bassist and backing vocalist Noel Redding, and drummer Mitch Mitchell, the band was active until June 1969. During this time …read more.
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.
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.
Graveyard return with video for Please Don’t – taken from their forthcoming album Peace: https://www.loudersound.com/news/graveyard-return-with-video-for-new-song-please-dont …pic.twitter.com/mcEFn3JZbV
Many forget about this band, Eddie Van Halen Is One Of The Greatest Guitarists Ever, When They had David Lee Roth, They Were Unbeatable…. Many #1 Hits, Inducted Into the Rock N’ Roll Hall Of fame… Greatest Band Ever – VanHalen88
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…
36 Foreigner Foreigner is a British-American hard rock band, originally formed in New York City in 1976 by veteran English musician Mick Jones and fellow Briton and ex-King Crimson member Ian McDonald along with American vocalist Lou Gramm.
Best band Ever. Some of the other bands are okay. Some I’ve never heard of. Their music creates the most unique and amazing sound ever that no band could ever recreated. First 2 seconds I hear them, I know for a fact its them. I could literally listen to their music all day everyday without ever getting sick of it. That’s when you know a band is good. When you don’t get tired of hearing them. Sib Hashian, greatest afro in history. Rest in peace Brad Delp. Any true Boston fan will remember you forever.
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.
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!
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.
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