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. The radio format became increasingly popular with the baby boomer demographic by the end of the 1990s.
In 1968, the sound that would become known as heavy metal began to coalesce. That January, the San Francisco band Blue Cheer released a cover of Eddie Cochran’s classic “Summertime Blues”, from their debut album Vincebus Eruptum, that many consider the first true heavy metal recording. The same month, Steppenwolf released its self-titled debut album, including “Born to Be Wild”, which refers to “heavy metal thunder” in describing a motorcycle. In July, the Jeff Beck Group, whose leader had preceded Page as The Yardbirds’ guitarist, released its debut record: Truth featured some of the “most molten, barbed, downright funny noises of all time,” breaking ground for generations of metal ax-slingers. In September, Page’s new band, Led Zeppelin, made its live debut in Denmark (billed as The New Yardbirds). The Beatles’ White Album, released the following month, included “Helter Skelter”, then one of the heaviest-sounding songs ever released by a major band. The Pretty Things’ rock opera S.F. Sorrow, released in December, featured “proto heavy metal” songs such as “Old Man Going” and “I See You”. Iron Butterfly’s 1968 song “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” is sometimes described as an example of the transition between acid rock and heavy metal or the turning point in which acid rock became “heavy metal”, and both Iron Butterfly’s 1968 album In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida and Blue Cheer’s 1968 album Vincebus Eruptum have been described as laying the foundation of heavy metal and greatly influential in the transformation of acid rock into heavy metal.
Introducing the world to hardcore southern rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd was at the top of the mountain until a plane crash in 1977 prominently influenced the band to break up. Ten years later the band reformed with the former lead singer, Ronnie Van Zant’s brothers taking over the vocal duties. –
The Silvertones are four piece Blues band that also does classic rock songs from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. They were founded in 1993 by Brian Wicker and Kyle Copeland. Their inaugural gig was at The Filling Station in Terrell , Texas. Like all bands, The Silvertones have had several line-up changes through the years. The Silvertones’ music, over half of which is original, reflects the various influences that the band members grew up with. It’s primarily blues, with hints of jazz, swing,… (more)
Choice Classic Rock is a commercial-free online Radio Station – featuring music from the Classic Rock decades – including all the hits and lots of deep tracks. It is free – with no catch of any kind – just great music! Listen now and you’ll hear Classic Rock – like you’ve never heard it before …
Glam metal fell out of favor due not only to the success of grunge, but also because of the growing popularity of the more aggressive sound typified by Metallica and the post-thrash groove metal of Pantera and White Zombie. In 1991, the band Metallica released their album Metallica, also known as The Black Album, which moved the band’s sound out of the thrash metal genre and into standard heavy metal. The album was certified 16× Platinum by the RIAA. A few new, unambiguously metal bands had commercial success during the first half of the decade—Pantera’s Far Beyond Driven topped the Billboard chart in 1994—but, “In the dull eyes of the mainstream, metal was dead”. Some bands tried to adapt to the new musical landscape. Metallica revamped its image: the band members cut their hair and, in 1996, headlined the alternative musical festival Lollapalooza founded by Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell. While this prompted a backlash among some long-time fans, Metallica remained one of the most successful bands in the world into the new century.
^ Elovaara, Mika (2014). “Chapter 3: Am I Evil? The Meaning of Metal Lyrics to its Fans”. In Abbey, James; Helb, Colin. Hardcore, Punk and Other Junk: Aggressive Sounds in Contemporary Music. Lexington Books. p. 38.
I have done songs from pretty much every major guitarist of this era. In addition, there will always be more classic rock songs added to this page so make sure you check back here often if you don’t see something you would like to learn. It will probably make it onto to this page sooner or later. 🙂
40 Slayer Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California, formed in 1981 by guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. They rose to fame with their 1986 album Reign in Blood, and is credited as one of the big four of thrash metal bands, the others being Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax. …read more.
Within months of recording their fifth album Highway to Hell, lead singer Bon Scott died in early 1980 due excessive alcohol consumption. In grief, the band considered splitting up but changed their minds, eventually hiring British singer Brian Johnson to replace Scott. With Johnson as new front man, AC/DC recorded Back in Black which turned out to be their most commercially successful album — in fact, it became one of the best-selling albums of all time. The formula has not changed since the band’s genesis, and that even helped them sell millions of records worldwide.
The Doors should definitely be higher on this list. Morrison gets all the hype, but Ray Manzarek is one of the greatest musicians to play rock and roll to this date. Just listen to there last song ever recorded (Riders on the Storm) and tell me they should still be #12.
Queen is no question the best band ever. They have the greatest singer ever, Freddie Mercury, also a amazing piano player. For example, Bohemian Rhapsody, Killer Queen, Seven Seas of Rhye, and The March of the Black Queen. One of the best guitarists ever. For example, Bohemian Rhapsody, Killer Queen, The Prophet Song, Hammer To Fall. One of the best bassists. For example, Another One Bites The Dust, Killer Queen. Queen is my favorite band ever! I am in a queen cover band! – CalebMusic
African heavy metal Argentine heavy metal Australian thrash metal Australian heavy metal Bay Area thrash metal Brazilian thrash metal Chinese heavy metal Hungarian metal Japanese metal Les Légions Noires New wave of American heavy metal New wave of British heavy metal Norwegian black metal Swedish death metal Teutonic thrash metal Ukrainian metal
Seriously? Forty-seven? Why is this song at 47? This song belongs in the top 10. Amazing vocals, an unforgettable chorus, a memorable guitar solo, terrific all-around performance, and everything else required for a song for the ages. Why this song clocks in at 47 simply defies belief.
^ “Riffs”. Lucian K. Truscott IV for the Village Voice. January 22, 1970. “Led Zeppelin, popularly looked on as an English version of Blue Cheer, given to Vanilla Fudgeish heavy-handedness in all that it does, has come out with a good album, ‘Led Zeppelin II’ (Atlantic SD 8236). Sure, it’s ‘heavy.’ Sure, it’s volume-rock at a time when the trend seems to be toward acoustical niceties of country music”.
In addition to The Kinks’ Dave Davies, other guitarists such as The Who’s Pete Townshend and The Yardbirds’ Jeff Beck were experimenting with feedback. Where the blues rock drumming style started out largely as simple shuffle beats on small kits, drummers began using a more muscular, complex, and amplified approach to match and be heard against the increasingly loud guitar. Vocalists similarly modified their technique and increased their reliance on amplification, often becoming more stylized and dramatic. In terms of sheer volume, especially in live performance, The Who’s “bigger-louder-wall-of-Marshalls” approach was seminal.
The Golden Hits and stage giants of America’s most popular genre, playing non-stop 24/7 on 1.FM’s Classic Country channel. The many shades and moods of Country Music are all here, from poignant crooners to bouncy entertainers and from Tennessee to Australia – this is our Southern Belle, always on the air. Station website
You have got to be kidding me. Boston is higher than U2? At least U2 did something different to music! Boston made 5 hits. U2 made 15! Name a Boston song more successful than I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. Plus, U2 was in the rock hall their first year of eligibility. Boston isn’t even it it!
41 Bon Jovi Bon Jovi is a hard rock band formed in 1983, which had a streak of successful albums in the late 1980s. The band originally consisted of lead vocalist Jon Bon Jovi, guitarist Ritchie Sambora (left in 2013), bassist Alec John Such (left in 1994), keyboard David Bryan, and drummer Tico Torres. The band’s …read more.
America, Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, Chicago, Todd Rundgren, Bee Gees, Bread, Steely Dan, Loggins & Messina, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Harry Chapin, Carly Simon, Hall and Oates, Paul Simon, David Soul, Carole King, Anne Murray, James Taylor, Janis Ian, Barry Manilow, Harry Nilsson, England Dan & John Ford Coley, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Jim Croce, Dan Fogelberg, Christopher Cross, Cat Stevens, John Denver
Of all the acts on our countdown of the Top 100 Classic Rock Songs, none gave us a bigger challenge than the Beatles. Although the decision to only include one song per act allowed for a greater range of bands, it also meant that the entire catalog of the Beatles, the greatest and most diverse in al…
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.
This song and “Stairway to Heaven” are usually competing neck-and-neck for the greatest classic song of all time. With operatic and hard-rock influences, as well as its iconic music video, “Bohemian Rhapsody” became one of the best-selling singles in the world by the time it was released, as well as growing to become a classic rock staple.
The Eagles also enjoyed astronomical commercial success during their 70s-80s heyday. In 1971 the founding members started out as a backing band for singer Linda Ronstadt; with her blessing, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon decided to start their own band.
If people could have been up close and seen this song played live, they would easily vote this song #1. I have seen Jimmy l’ve do his solo and although iconic and legendary, it pales in comparison to Alan Collins and Gary Rossington’s live performance to Freebird’s guitar lead. What few people know is that they played those simultaneously and seamlessly giving the sound of what most people believe as one lead guitar playing. If you listen closely you can here two distinct guitars from the beginning and about midway through they split into their own tracks. Had I not witnessed this first hand standing less than 10 feet away with Ronnie Van Zant standing between them I would have continued to believe it was one guitar lead with another playing rhythm. It was an awesome concert back in 1975 Brussels, Belgium on their world tour.
Tribute Kings…..Floyd, Stevie, Eric, Zepplin, Stones, Prince etc. many tributes in one night, from classic rock to soul and motown We are a friendly group of musicians doing business for ourselves. We feature John Sprott on guitar and are a four piece group. John and I have been working together 8+ years. We would be happy to be of service. We will even work up particular songs if needed. Feel free to contact us to speak about details. Mark Austin (more)
The Beatles are considered the first group to have played classic rock. At that time they began to gradually move away from using the simple song structures and harmonies that characterised the music of their early years, as they increasingly developed a rockier sound. However, classic rock only first became famous thanks to the wild guitar sounds produced by bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Animals and The Rolling Stones. The latter is attributed with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, widely considered the first, best and one true classic rock hit of all time. In general, classic rock hits are referred to as “the best” and “most original” songs in rock music.
These guys were basically the first to introduce synthsisers, something that most everyone else has relied on in their music. This band has tested rock time and time again and they have revolutionized it, creating some of the best and most favorite Classic Rock songs of all time. It is even said that Led Zepplin and many other British originated groups and singers, including U2, were influenced by these guys. The band includes one of the greatest guitarist, greatest drummer, and greatest bassist of all time. There is a reason they have been around for nearly fifty years and continue to perform.
The first generation of metal bands was ceding the limelight. Deep Purple had broken up soon after Blackmore’s departure in 1975, and Led Zeppelin broke up following drummer John Bonham’s death in 1980. Black Sabbath plagued with infighting and substance abuse, while facing fierce competition with their opening band, the Los Angeles band Van Halen. Eddie Van Halen established himself as one of the leading metal guitarists of the era. His solo on “Eruption”, from the band’s self-titled 1978 album, is considered a milestone. Eddie Van Halen’s sound even crossed over into pop music when his guitar solo was featured on the track “Beat It” by Michael Jackson (a U.S. number 1 in February 1983).
The Joe Friday Band is one entertaining Utah band that specializes in classic hits and top 40 favorites. They will add fun to any event by playing tunes from the Beatles, Elvis, Blink 182, Cheap Trick, Green Day, Jimmy Eat World, Queen, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Led Zeppelin, Chuck Berry, the Doors, Cream, Rolling Stones, the Monkees, Van Halen, and many others.
There are bands that don’t have a single other band to even come close to them. Led Zeppelin had some of the greatest guitar solos the world has ever seen. Jimmy Page re-defined the way people play the guitar. Robert Plant is the greatest screamer ever. He actually sounds good. John Paul Jones was the fastest bassist trying to keep up with Jimmy when he did a guitar solo. Not many people could do that. And then you’ve got the greatest drummer ever who sat behind a drum kit. His solo in Rock and Roll is one of the greatest I’ve ever heard. And that brings me o my final quote: LED ZEPPELIN RULE!
Scott, thanks for the note. Specialty shows are a great way to pepper in material. And of course, any station that music research can test these titles to ascertain their familiarity and popularity with their audiences. Appreciate the comment and thoughts.