Billboard magazine’s Kim Freeman posits that “while classic rock’s origin’s can be traced back earlier, 1986 is generally cited as the year of its birth”. By 1986, the success of the format resulted in oldies accounting for 60–80% of the music played on album rock stations. Although it began as a niche format spun off from AOR, by 2001 classic rock had surpassed album rock in market share nationally.
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!
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…
2 The Beatles The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The members consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. They were soon known as the foremost and most influential act of rock era. Rooted in skiffle, beat, and 1950s rock and roll, the Beatles later experimented …read more.
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.
During the mid-1980s, the classic rock format was mainly tailored to the adult male demographic ages 25–34, which remained its largest demographic through the mid-1990s. As the format’s audience aged, its demographics skewed toward older age groups. By 2006, the 35–44 age group was the format’s largest audience and by 2014 the 45–54 year-old demographic was the largest.
Written in minutes and with a riff born out of a guitar warm up exercise, this song most definitely had inauspicious beginnings. It remains the greatest example of why rock ballads don’t have to suck.
Played by masters of metal AC/DC, “Back in Black” has an incredibly infectious beat nobody can resist. (Listen to it right now and see if you can keep from gleefully jumping up and down.) Appearing on an album of the same name, the album sold 50 million copies – the second highest selling album ever – while “Back in Black” the song peaked at #37 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. A tribute to former lead singer Bon Scott, who died young at 33, Brian Johnson, Scott’s replacement, was asked to write the song and then the band created one of the most memorable hard-rock tunes of all time.
Kick back to some magic mix Jones, in his beer and cigarette haze, concocted to feed our Sinatra and 80s technopop…jones. And we turn it waayyy up during the mics, just to see the Drone fume at the banter between Glen and the Shakespearean wise…
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!
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.
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. 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. Similarly, WMET called itself “Chicago’s Classic Rock” in 1981. In 1982, radio consultant Lee Abrams developed the “Timeless Rock” format which combined contemporary AOR with rock hits from the 1960s and 1970s.
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!
“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.”
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.
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.
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!
Give me a break. Why is The Who anywhere close to Rush? Same with Heart, Journey, and the Beatles, I just don’t understand how any band especially the ones I’ve listed, could top off Rush. The only band that comes anywhere close to Rush is Van Halen, but they’re half as good at best. Rush has by far the most variety, The most music, and I honestly haven’t heard a rush song that I don’t like. RUSH FOR LIFE!
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.
Classic rock was originally conceived as a radio station programming format which evolved from the album oriented rock (AOR) format in the early-1980s. In the United States, this rock music format now features a large playlist of songs ranging from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, with some stations including a limited number of current releases.
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.
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.
5 AC/DC AC/DC are a Australian hard rock band, formed in November 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, who continued as members until Malcolm’s illness and departure in 2014. They were fronted by Bon Scott until his untimely death due to alcohol poisoning in 1980, after which they hired Brian Johnson to …read more.