Choosing the top 100 best classic rock songs is difficult, but trying to narrow it down to the 10 best classic rock songs of all time would be next to impossible; however, we think we have taken on this lofty endeavor magnanimously. Opinions vary on what makes a rock song a classic. Most think it’s when the majority of the people feel the same way about a song as when it was first recorded. See if we came close.
- Another Brick in the Wall:In 1980, Pink Floyd struck a chord of anger with this anti-establishment classic rock song. Teachers hated it, but high-school students strongly identified with it. Although banned in South America, mysterious graffiti could be found with unsettling enthusiasm saying, “We don’t need no education.”
- Hotel California:The rock magazine, Rolling Stone, hailed this ginormous classic song as #37 the top- selling rock song out of 500,000 albums sold, but this conscientious band of geniuses worked for it. In pursuit of the perfect rock song, the Eagles would lock themselves in the studio for three days at a time for eight months; and it worked. They were the top-selling rock group of all time, coming in only after Led Zeppelin and the Beatles.
- Smoke on the Water:When this monster classic rock song was recorded in 1973, Deep Purple never really believed it would be a hit. It wasn’t even released in the UK; however, Americans went wild. It’s hard-driving guitar rift is usually one of the first rock songs a guitar novice learns to this day.
- Cocaine:This was a huge rock hit for guitarist, Eric Clapton in 1977. Most don’t realize that it actually is an anti-drug song. Check the lyrics: “If you want to get down, down on the ground, cocaine.” It’s pretty clever, really. Hipsters think they are sharing drug love, when they are actually denouncing it. In live shows Clapton adds, that “dirty” cocaine to the song.
- Maggie May: In 1971, British rocker Rod Stewart recorded this classic that topped the charts in both the UK and the states. It was about the first time he had sex with what is known as a “cougar,” by today’s standards. No one dreamed how successful it would be. To this day, it is still the “B” side of “Reason to Believe.”
- Walk This Way:In 1975, Aerosmith taught us how to strut correctly with this classic rock song from the “Toys in the Attic” album. A cheerleader leads a teenager through his first sexual encounter. Hey, happens all the time! Yeah, dream on. Perhaps the teen also knew Maggie May.
- Bohemian Rhapsody:Written for his band Queen, even the dramatic Freddie Mercury could not have imagined how this classic rock song of a “song within a song” would change the face of music. Headbangers wait patiently for “we will not let you go” to let it loose.
- Stairway to Heaven:If you’re over the age of 30 and this is not in your top 10 best classic rock songs of all time, reconsider your musical tastes. Page slowly builds it up for us on the acoustic; then Robert Plant finishes us off with a gratifyingly orgasmic explosion. Zeppelectic fans know why it’s one of the best representations of a classic rock song ever recorded. And it makes me wonder…
- Bobbie McGee:One of the greatest songwriters in the world, Kris Kristofferson, wrote this originally for Roger Miller. While he, Gordon Lightfoot and others enjoyed minimal success, the song never took off until Janis Joplin recorded it just days before her death in 1970. It ranks #148 in Rolling Stone’s top 500 greatest songs list.
- Free Bird:Thankfully, this song didn’t die on that fateful night in 1977 along with three members of the Lynyrd Skynyrd band. No other band created such an impact in the rock world in such a short amount of time. Moreover, what rocker worth his salt hasn’t lustfully yelled out “FREE BIRD” a time or two in their lifetime? This is our rock anthem, for Woodstock’s sake!
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