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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.
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.
Music scholar Jon Stratton traced classic rock’s origins to the emergence of a classic-rock canon.[20] This canon arose in part from music journalism and superlative lists ranking certain albums and songs that are consequently reinforced to the collective and public memory.[21] Robert Christgau said the classic-rock concept transmogrified rock music into a “myth of rock as art-that-stands-the-test-of-time”, and believed the canonizing of certain rock artists by critics, major media, and music establishment entities such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was inevitable.[22] Media academic Roy Shuker said classic-rock radio programmers largely play “tried and proven” hit songs from the past based on their “high listener recognition and identification”; he identified white male rock acts from the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper era through the end of the 1970s as the focus of their playlists.[19] As Catherine Strong observed, classic rock songs are generally performed by white male acts from either the United States or the United Kingdom, “have a four-four time, very rarely exceed the time limit of four minutes, were composed by the musicians themselves, are sung in English, played by a ‘classical’ rock formation (drums, bass, guitar, keyboard instruments) and were released on a major label after 1964.”[21]
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.
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.
^ 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.
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
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The sound of a band who have nothing left to prove. Apparently written in minutes on a tour bus, this remains one of the all time great driving songs. It is also pretty notable for containing not only an enormous keyboard solo but also an outrageous guitar solo from Ritchie Blackmore.
When you consider that this song is made up of a simple riff repeated many times over, a pretty non-existent chorus and a drum solo which lasts for half the song, it really is spectacularly brilliant.
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!
If you look at a list of songs that specifically define each rock band, most like Queen, Rush, Pearl Jam, U2 or Nirvana have roughly ten notable songs that fans or non fans recognize. Beyond those ten songs the list drops off considerably.
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.
Anyone can cover another artist’s song, but few are able to take that song and truly make it their own. In the case of ‘All Along The Watchtower,’ there is no doubt that Jimi Hendrix most certainly turned the Bob Dylan composition into not only a Hendrix song, but into a true classic.
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…
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.
Debbi Calton (weekdays 9a-2p) plays the perfect mix of classic rock to make sure your workday is an enjoyable one. She also gives you the chance to win concert tickets in her Connect 3 feature – she’ll play you 3 songs centered around a common theme….
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.
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.
There could be only one, couldn’t there? We asked Planet Rock listeners to name the Greatest EVER Rock Song and Zeppelin’s ’71 classic came out on top. Stairway To Heaven was, in the end, one of TEN Zeppelin songs that appeared in the top 100.
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.
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.

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?
Writer Jim Sullivan talks to rock drummers who followed in Ringo Starr’s wake and discovers a unanimous praise for his skills, groove, swing and time on the kit – a too often overlooked secret to the success of The Beatles.
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.
Classic rock is a radio format which developed from the album-oriented rock (AOR) format in the early 1980s. In the United States, the classic rock format features music ranging generally from the mid-1960s to the late 1980s, primarily focusing on commercially successful hard rock popularized in the 1970s.[1] The radio format became increasingly popular with the baby boomer demographic by the end of the 1990s.[2]
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
Producing great music from the first minute, these guys took it to the limit! Made many legendary songs like Hotel California, Take It Easy, One Of These Nights etc. Etc. One of the best bands ever in rock, true legends!
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. …
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31 Alice Cooper Alice Cooper was an American rock band formed in Phoenix, Arizona in 1964. The band consisted of lead singer Vince Furnier, Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, and Neal Smith.
Beatles-A-Rama!!! The Show! with host Pat Matthews takes you on an incredible journey through the better known Fab 4 classics to their most obscure musical works, along with some great interviews and studio sessions making this show a must for any…
Classic Rock was a genre mostly defined by US FM radio formats in the 1970s, growing out of the earlier Album Orientated Rock format. It was a harder, often Blues and Prog influenced style and was a reaction against both Punk / New Wave and Disco. This style is not correctly applied to sixties or 70s Pop Rock, Beat or Garage Rock bands, such as The Beatles, The Yardbirds or The Rolling Stones (pre 1970).
These top classic rock bands were all hit-makers of their time and have rightfully earned a spot on this list of legends. Some of these famous bands have devoted followers decades after they called it quits (Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd), some are considered icons of music (singers like Eric Clapton and bands like The Beatles, Queen), and some are even still touring (Rolling Stones, Aerosmith) despite the AARP status of their core members. These old school rock bands are still rocking, what have you done with your life? 
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.
Boston I think in my opinion is a great classic rock band because Boston isn’t too hard rock but just enough classic rock and rock and roll to create the perfect combo. Plus their first and second album were definitely the best. After that it was ok, with the exception of Amanda, that was a great 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.
In the mid-1980s, the format’s widespread proliferation came on the heels of Jacobs Media’s (Fred Jacobs) success at WCXR, in Washington, D.C., and Edinborough Rand’s (Gary Guthrie) success at WZLX in Boston. Between Guthrie and Jacobs, they converted more than 40 major market radio stations to their individual brand of classic rock over the next several years.[11]
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.
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!!!
The critics say AC/DC songs sound the same. Tell me, does BACK IN BLACK (1980), For Those About to Rock (1981) sound like Rock and Roll Train (2009) and Rock Or Bust(2014)? Their sound is theirs. It’s that AC/DC sound that only the Young brothers can produce. It’s actually a subset of rock n roll. You have metal, blues, Rock, Pop, and AC/DC. Plus, they have never made music for the critics. They make it for their Fans. Put it this way: if AC/DC ever listened to their critics at least ONE TIME, I believe they wouldn’t be where they are today. Still making music for soundtracks. Still selling out stadiums at world record pace. I get a kick out of those who say “oh they’re losing a step. They’re getting old”. Haha! Of course! They’re human! But losing a step? I disagree. If they lose a step then they’re hiding it very well. Not bad for guys in their 60’s pushing 70! I can barely get out of bed at 40 sometimes but here they are rocking still. Numbers don’t lie and neither do the …more
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.
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