The Beatles changed the whole landscape of pop and rock as we know it during their short but monumentally remarkable era. Each one of their albums — from their first LP Please Please Me in 1963 to their last album Let It Be in 1970 — is considered a classic. Every Beatles fan knows that. And even if you’re not much of a fan, you otherwise recognize their enduring influence that extends beyond music, even several decades past their prime.
So what makes any rock music classic? Is it in the artist, the high amount of radio plays, the millions of records sold, or musical styles and subjects tackled in the lyrics? Actually, none of these things are required for music to be considered “classic rock.” “Classic rock” doesn’t mean the 70s rock records became automatically a classic by the time they were released. Nor an artist that releases these records doesn’t necessarily become a classic rock artist. A record’s huge sales don’t mean that record instantly becomes classic rock. The Beatles and Led Zeppelin have different musical styles and themes from each other, but both of them are nevertheless considered classic rock artists because they released classic rock albums.
Acts to have appeared on the front cover three times or more to date include Queen, Guns N’ Roses, Black Sabbath / Ozzy Osbourne, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page has been on the cover on his own right at least 4 times), Metallica, Thin Lizzy, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Genesis, AC/DC, and Mötley Crüe. More recent acts to have been on the cover include The Darkness and Velvet Revolver have been on it twice.
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.
U2 is one of the best bands ever! With or Without You, One, Where the Streets Have No Name… Really guys. Lots of the higher-ranked bands are mildly painful to listen to. U2 has way more good songs than some of those bands. Bono is the best, the Edge is fabulous on guitar. If you really listen to some of their songs, not just their most recent album, you would agree with me.
The era of metal’s mainstream dominance in North America came to an end in the early 1990s with the emergence of Nirvana and other grunge bands, signaling the popular breakthrough of alternative rock. Grunge acts were influenced by the heavy metal sound, but rejected the excesses of the more popular metal bands, such as their “flashy and virtuosic solos” and “appearance-driven” MTV orientation.
Over the years my taste in music has been redefined many times. It all came to a rest at Queen. The pure musicianship of every single member of this band shows that they are the greatest band ever. Each member is credited for writing at least one #1 hit, even the bass and drummer. That is no surprise when you look at each one though. John Deacon has some of the most iconic bass lines ever. Roger Taylor with his intricate drum fills and an incredible voice which could have (and did) front a band of his own.
4 Pink Floyd Pink Floyd were an English progressive rock band formed in London. They achieved international acclaim with their progressive and psychedelic music. The band consisted of 5 members – David Gilmour (Vocals and Guitar), Syd Barrett (Vocals and Guitarist), Nick Mason (Drums), Roger Waters (Vocals and Bass), …read more.
40 The Stooges The Stooges, also known as Iggy and the Stooges, are an American proto-punk band from Ann Arbor, Michigan, first active from 1967 to 1974, and later reformed in 2003. Although they sold few records in their original incarnation, and often performed for indifferent or hostile audiences, the Stooges are …read more.
Green Light’s popular classic rock bands can boost the level of fun at any party or event. High energy dance bands that play classic tunes from decades past can bring back memories of the good ole days. If you’re in charge of hiring a dance band for an upcoming special event, one of our “classic hits” bands will fill the bill perfectly. Everyone knows and loves the oldies. Whether you like Beatles’ hits from the 60s, disco from the 70s, or chart-toppers from the 80s or 90s, our classic rock bands will deliver.
Classic rock was borne out of a radio format that used to be named as “album oriented rock,” also known as AOR. While classic rock leans more on the whole album, “oldies” on the other hand is primarily geared towards singles that became successful on the music charts. You could say that “classic rock” is also a marketing ploy to help “immortalize” sales as well as glowing perceptive memories of rock music from the late 1960s to early 1980s.