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Don Henley of the Eagles wanted to write a song about life in Los Angeles, California, particularly its emphasis on fame, hedonism and money. Henley wrote, “It’s basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America, which is something we knew a lot about.” Henley wanted the song, decidedly somber, and played in harmonic minor, seem like an episode of the Twilight Zone, which it certainly does. Apparently the song worked on many levels, because it won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1978. And the dueling guitars coda was rated the greatest guitar solo by Guitarist magazine in 1998.
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?
Aerosmith is still my favorite classic rock band by far, their variety in musical tone in their songs is what stands out he most from “Dude Looks Like A Lady” to “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” just amazing music top to bottom!
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!
The greatest classic rock bands of all time embody the spirit of a generation of people who just wanted to rock. These top classic rock bands include some of the best live acts of all time and man, did they rock hard. For those who got to see these amazing classic rock bands live, you’ll surely understand how they earned the title of best classic rock band; for those who missed out, they’ll simply remain the bands you wish you could have seen live.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time Must-Hear New Male Artists Must-Hear New Female Artists Modern Voices You Wish You Had Songwriters We Would Bring Back from the Dead The Absolute Worst Bands Ever Greatest Artists Without Grammys History’s Worst Grammy Winners
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.
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.
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
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.
39 U2 U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. U2’s early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music. Throughout the group’s musical pursuits, they have …read more.
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.
WMGK’s internationally recognized Beatles expert, Andre Gardner (weekdays 2p-7p) rocks you with the perfect classic rock soundtrack for your work day and the trek home. He plays 3 songs in a row from one of his favorite artists at 3p in the 3 for 3. …
Wonderful 1970’s rock, soul and country; Tom Johnstone’s wonderful vocals gave the Doobies their unique sound. They lost it a bit when Johnstone left in 1976 and was replaced as vocalist by Michael MacDonald, a great singer, but he just didn’t fit the sound.
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
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.
Charlie Starr’s track-by-track guide to @blackberrysmoke’s Find A Light, out today! https://www.loudersound.com/features/charlie-starrs-track-by-track-guide-to-blackberry-smokes-find-a-light …pic.twitter.com/S4lBvArr5G
Just listen to Sharp dressed man, trust me it might even be the greatest Song ever put to paper, let alone the greatest rock song. Add to that Billy Gibbons was Jimi Hendrix’s favorite guitarist, his sound is utterly epic and his vocal range immense! Dusty Hill is a great bassist and Frank Beard’s drumwork is masterful. Add to that the sheer longevity and range of their music, they formed in 1969 and are still going! Every album is an evolution and a masterpiece! Enough said…
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.
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!
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.

Led Zeppelin earn the penultimate spot on our Top 100 Classic Rock Songs list with ‘Kashmir,’ a stately, epic masterpiece that refuses to acknowledge that rock music should have any uncrossable boundaries.
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.
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.
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.
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.
16 Van Halen Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California, in 1972. From 1974 until 1985, the band consisted of guitarist Eddie Van Halen, vocalist David Lee Roth, drummer Alex Van Halen, and bassist Michael Anthony.
Chuck Berry – Another one of the pioneers of rock and roll was the exciting Chuck Berry, who got started in his career in 1953. He got his big break in 1955 with “Maybellene” and “Ida Red”, but his biggest hits came in 1956 with “Roll Over Beethoven” and then later with a series of top 10 hits including the iconic “Johnny B. Goode.”
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