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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.
The variety, however, is staggering. There are some defined by songs, and others by the way other artists rushed to sound just like them. A few figures trace through multiple entries, showing up alone and in larger groups. Some remained steadfast in their musical convictions, playing with a remarkable consistency; others seemed to change directions as often as they switched venues on a cross-crossing world tour. Then there are those who appear like shooting stars, burning brightly but gone far too soon.
Yes deserves to be on this list because, like Queen, they were totally unique and very talented musically. Hard to believe bands like Motley Crue are above them. Any decent cover band can play a Motley Crue song as well as the original, but no one even attempts Yes songs because you have to be great musically.
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.
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.
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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Rob Berg is a self-proclaimed classic Rock “lifer”. What does that mean exactly? It means we built the station around him. And the Led Zeppelin tees he sports are all originals.Every weekday at 3pm K-97’s Rob Berg hosts AC/D3… 3 back-to-back-to-back…

Van Halen has some of the most infamous songs in rock history out there, but we do have to remember, this is one of those rare bands that have more than one hit. In fact, they have a good handful of songs that you can call your favorite, definitely not a one hit wonder!
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. –
28 Yes Yes are an English rock band formed in 1968 by bassist Chris Squire and singer Jon Anderson. They first achieved success in the 1970s with a progressive, art and symphonic style of rock music.
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.
“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.”
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!!!
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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.
We’ve had an amazing response to the new issue of Classic Rock and to our new interviews with @DefLeppard. Pick up yours at https://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/Classic-Rock-Print-Back-Issues/classic-rock-print-issue-248/ …pic.twitter.com/Sl0dXv1lc8
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…
For some of those featured in the list below, fame was fleeting – though their impact certainly was not. Bands may have broken up, careers may have derailed, lives may have been tragically lost, but one thing defines these great 100 acts, some of which came and went, and others that stayed remarkably durable: They are unforgettable, a lasting part of our lives.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
49 Blue Oyster Cult Blue Öyster Cult is an American rock band from Long Island, New York, whose most successful work includes the hard rock and heavy metal songs “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”, “Godzilla” and “Burnin’ for You”.
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.
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.
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?
For instance, the song “Going For The One” was a good song and had moderate success on the radio during that time. YES had a whole host of songs with similar recognition, which is more than most of the bands on this list.
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?
One of the most influential acts of the 20th century. This band left its brutal mark on the music industry and metal as a whole and it is still there today. Without a doubt one of the greatest bands to have ever existed.
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.
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.
“Freebird,” a power ballad by Lynyrd Skynyrd, quickly became a rock and roll classic, particularly its long three-part guitar solo at the end of the tune. Released as a single and also as a longer version on the album, “Freebird” has become the band’s signature song and is generally played at the end of each concert appearance, lasting as long as 14 minutes, give or take. The group solo itself rose to #3 on Guitar World’s 100 Greatest Guitar Solos. Interestingly, the song is dedicated to Duane Allman and Berry Oakley, members of the Allman Brothers who died in motor cycle accidents in the early 1970s, and then became “freebirds.”
I just saw Alice Cooper in concert (August 2016) in Huntsville AL and he was absolutely awesome! If you ever have a chance to see him, DO NOT MISS OUT! It will be the experience of a lifetime. What a show!
Who would have thought that the story of a burning casino would have become the most recognisable rock song in history? Undeniably iconic, and a brilliant song to boot. That opening riff will be inspiring wannabe guitarists for the rest of time.
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.
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.
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.[5] 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.[6] Similarly, WMET called itself “Chicago’s Classic Rock” in 1981.[7] In 1982, radio consultant Lee Abrams developed the “Timeless Rock” format which combined contemporary AOR with rock hits from the 1960s and 1970s.[8]
“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.”
This is another song with a true story behind it. The name Layla relates to a book entitled The Story of Layla and Majnun, which tells the tale of Majnun, who falls in love with a beautiful young woman; but her father rejects Majnun and he goes crazy with desire. In real life, guitarist Eric Clapton, the co-writer of “Layla,” fell in love with Patty Boyd, who had married George Harrison. Eventually, though, Boyd and Harrison got a divorce and Clapton then married Boyd. How sweet! Anyway, over the years “Layla” has garnered great popular and critical acclaim. Interestingly, Both Clapton and Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers wrote and played the famous guitar licks throughout the song.
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.
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.
Should be #1. Not only Ozzy but also the Heaven and Hell days with Dio and even the Martin era wasn’t bad. Nobody has this longevity and still making great music. What other band here put out an album as recently as Devil You Know that is near that quality?
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
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
Perhaps the greatest compliment you can pay Free Bird is that when that fade starts to happen about 30 seconds before the end you simply don’t want it to end. It’s like five minutes of foreplay followed by an almighty explosion of duelling guitar solos and Southern rock brilliance.
Musicians better than most of their peers, one of the best front man ever and lyrics socially relevant on a higher intellectual level than the dungeons and dragons fantasy lyrics of groups like Led Zeppelin. The doors are the greatest band of all times!
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