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This is a list of classic rock songs from the 1960s through the 1990s that are heard on classic rock radio stations.[1][2] 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.[3]
Acid rock Anatolian rock Art rock Baroque rock Beat music Blues rock Boogie rock Christian rock Comedy rock Country rock Electronic rock Experimental rock Folk rock Flamenco rock Garage rock Hard rock Heavy metal Jam Jazz rock Krautrock Power pop Progressive rock Psychedelic rock Raga rock Roots rock Samba rock Southern rock Space rock Surf music
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.
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 Doors should definitely be higher on this list. Morrison gets all the hype, but Ray Manzarek is one of the greatest musicians to play rock and roll to this date. Just listen to there last song ever recorded (Riders on the Storm) and tell me they should still be #12.
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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”.
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.
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.
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.
They were highly regarded by very positioned and prestigious musicians 40 years ago and now they are revered as the greatest musicians of all time by not their fans but by the most credible critic’s… Real iconic musicians that do not have one small complaint. Who dare would cast doubt on the greatest musicians of all time hand’s down. Rush humbly continues to be even better after 47 years… No other act on the entire list can lay claim to that longevity of commercial success… No one… Not even close no matter how l9ng you try to explain… Rush is still there turning out new and full studio albums then backing them up with sold out shows at the highest dollar around the world… Beatles never done that… Stones never done that… U2 never done that… Acdc never done that… Aerosmith never done that… Metallic never done that… Maiden never done that… Hendrix never done that cream never done that the who never done that… Only one I would consider close would be Neil …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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
^ Jump up to: a b Strong, Catherine (2015). “Shaping the Past of Popular Music: Memory, Forgetting and Documenting”. In Bennett, Andy; Waksman, Steve. The SAGE Handbook of Popular Music. SAGE. p. 423. ISBN 1473910994.

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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.[18] 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 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.
The mindset underlying classic rock was regarded by Christgau as politically regressive; he said the music eschewed ironic sensibilities in favor of unintellectual, conventional aesthetics rooted in Victorian era Romanticism, while downplaying the more radical aspects of 1960s counterculture, such as race, African-American music, politics, and pop in the art sense. “Though classic rock draws its inspiration and most of its heroes from the ’60s, it is, of course, a construction of the ’70s”, he wrote in 1991 for Details magazine. “It was invented by prepunk/predisco radio programmers who knew that before they could totally commodify ’60s culture they’d have to rework it—that is, selectively distort it till it threatened no one … In the official rock pantheon the Doors and Led Zeppelin are Great Artists while Chuck Berry and Little Richard are Primitive Forefathers and James Brown and Sly Stone are Something Else.”[22] Regarding the development of classic rock, Christgau points to the compromised socioeconomic security and diminishing collective consciousness of a new generation of listeners in the 1970s and on, who succeeded rock’s early years during baby-boomer economic prosperity in the United States. “Not for nothing did classic rock crown the Doors’ mystagogic middlebrow escapism and Led Zep’s chest-thumping megalomaniac grandeur. Rhetorical self-aggrandizement that made no demands on everyday life was exactly what the times called for.”[22] Shuker attributed the rise of classic-rock radio in part to “the consumer power of the aging post-war ‘baby boomers’ and the appeal of this group to radio advertisers”. In his opinion, classic rock also produced a rock music ideology and discussion of the music that was “heavily gendered”, celebrating “a male homosocial paradigm of musicianship” that “continued to dominate subsequent discourse, not just around rock music, but of popular music more generally.”[19]
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