The best classic rock songs are some of the most enduring in music. Thanks to their superb musicianship and unforgettable composition, these songs possess a timeless quality. As a result, the best classic rock songs still hold up against anything released today.
- “Born To Be Wild” – Steppenwolf From the self-titled 1968 album comes this classic rock song, a theme for bad boys and outlaws everywhere. Since its release, this song has been used in countless movies and TV shows, thanks to its gritty guitars and lyrical homage to being a badass.
- “Stairway To Heaven” – Led Zeppelin As the most recognizable member of the best classic rock songs, this tune can still be heard practically anywhere. After being featured on 1967’s “Led Zeppelin IV,” this song instantly became the stuff of legend, thanks mostly to Jimmy Page’s creative guitar riffs and Robert Plant’s soaring vocals.
- “All Along The Watchtower” – Jimi Hendrix Written by the immortal Bob Dylan, this classic rock song was originally released on his 1967 album “John Wesley Harding.” When Hendrix included his version on 1968’s “Electric Ladyland,” the song took on a whole new life. Hendrix’s innovative guitar work and screeching vocals somehow meshed perfectly with Dylan’s lyrics, and the result was one of the best classic rock songs ever.
- “Born To Run” – Bruce Springsteen Featured on the 1975 album of the same name, this was the classic rock song that finally showcased the young Springsteen’s talent as a musician. Lyrically, it’s an urgent love letter of desperation. The lines “We gotta get out while we’re young, ‘cause tramps like us / Baby, we were born to run” fit perfectly with the song’s bustling instrumentation.
- “Free Bird” – Lynard Skynard From the 1974 album “Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd,” this classic rock song is a sweeping epic. The album version is over nine minutes long, allowing ample time for the song to transition from smooth ballad to pulsating rock masterpiece. This classic rock song’s final guitar solo is the stuff of legend, providing a nearly tactile sensation rarely seen in music.
- “Let It Be” – The Beatles Frequently topping many music buffs’ lists of the best classic rock songs ever, this timeless tune is fondly remembered as one of The Beatles’ greatest. Released on the 1970 album of the same title, this song showcases the band’s many musical gifts, fitting right in alongside lyrics like “And when the broken-hearted people / Living in the world agree / There will be an answer / Let it be.”
- “Light My Fire” – The Doors As the band’s signature tune, this classic rock song has become a radio staple in the years since its release. First seen on the 1967 album “The Doors,” this song is a psychedelic declaration of love. The lyrics “Come on baby, light my fire / Try to set the night on fire” set the tone while the melodic keyboard riff carries the song.
- “Johnny B. Goode” – Chuck Berry Way back in 1958, this classic rock song first appeared on the album “Chuck Berry Is On Top.” Since then, it’s become one of the most influential songs in rock history. Even today, Berry’s blues-influenced guitar riffs and raspy vocals inspire kids to become musicians.
- “Don’t Fear The Reaper” – Blue Oyster Cult As haunting as it is sentimental, this classic rock song is an inspired comparison of love and mortality. From the 1976 album “Agents Of Fortune,” it’s the rare song to prominently feature a cowbell and still sound awesome. Lines like “Baby, take my hand / Don’t fear the reaper” showcase the intense lyrical content.
- “My Generation” – The Who British rockers The Who gave theme music to restless American youth with this classic rock song. Featured on the 1965 album of the same name, this song is as volatile as it is passionate. The lyrics “Hope I die before I get old” show the band’s cavalier attitude.
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