There’s something primal and raw about rock and roll. It not only speaks to men in a specific way that connects us with our fathers, but it’s also the perfect mood setter for any given situation. Whether you’re lying on the beach or hosting a party, rock music can bond all different types of people with varying musical tastes. We shouldn’t have to tell you, but if you have yet to check out these five iconic bands, you’ve been missing out. It’s never too late.
1. Led Zeppelin
How much more classic could you get? Led Zeppelin is the forefather of several modern rock subgenres. They’ve inspired generations of musicians and systematically revolutionized the industry with powerhouses like Led Zeppelin IV and Physical Graffiti. Part of the band’s draw is its unparalleled ability to cross genres and style, making it impossible to find a Led Zeppelin song that doesn’t fit any situation. So if you plan on playing football in the park and need to get your blood pumping, look no further than “When the Levee Breaks” or “The Wanton Song.” If you’re looking for a calmer playlist, we suggest checking out “Over the Hills and Far Away” or “Stairway to Heaven.”
2. The Grateful Dead
For anyone going on a road trip this summer, The Grateful Dead offers the perfect vibes. The psychedelic, folk rock juggernauts made a name for themselves with American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead, and they’ve been a staple of every great American cross-country road trip since the 1960s. So if you’ve got everything ready to travel coast to coast but can’t find the right music to go along, let The Grateful Dead take the wheel.
3. Lynyrd Skynyrd
Everyone knows “Sweet Home Alabama.” It’s a fun song that’s easy to learn and plays at every summer barbecue. But that doesn’t mean you should stop there—Lynyrd Skynyrd’s entire discography is the stuff of legends. “Gimme Three Steps,” “That Smell” and “Free Bird” are all definitive southern rock cornerstones, perfect for sitting on a boat or throwing back a beer at a backyard party. And remember: Lighters are optional while listening to “Free Bird,” but they’re highly encouraged.
4. The Strokes
Though relatively new, The Strokes’ sound is unmistakably rock; it bridges the gap between those who prefer classic and modern styles. If you’re planning an eclectic gathering for a New York City apartment party, chances are not everyone’s going to be on board with blasting “Free Bird” all night. From the light and airy “Someday” to the grungier, distorted “Reptilia,” a Strokes playlist is sure to have something for everyone.
5. Foo Fighters
I spent most of last summer listening almost exclusively to There Is Nothing Left to Lose and obsessively watching Sonic Highways, so this entry might be biased. But Foo Fighters are some of the best goddamn musicians this side of Woodstock. They’re certainly the most chaotic entry on this list with installments like “Best of You” and “All My Life,” but Foo Fighters also manage to play with sensitivity with “See You” and “Learn To Fly.” Let the Foo Fighters pump you up before a pregame, or serenade you while you’re trying to go to sleep. Either way, Dave Grohl will be there for you.