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.
They’re sparky, spiky and disgustingly young, and just to rub it in they’ve got the chops to back it all up. We enjoyed 2017 singles Ants, Let Her Be and I Love LA – not to mention the band’s blood-spattered live shows in London, spearheaded by gurning beanpole singer Arrow De Wilde (described, aptly, by Classic Rock’s Dave Everley as “what would have happened if Ozzy Osbourne and Patti Smith had got together sometime in 1975 and had a kid”).
We’ve gathered songs from sixteen of the most influential rock artists of all time, from The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to Queen and Led Zeppelin. Pick your favorite from each band’s fist-pumping anthems, hummable hits, and sing-along standards from the years spanning the ’60s to the ’80s.
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 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.
They broke new records in record sales as well as in concert tours. The band is also legendary when it comes to indulgence in their lifestyle. However, every rock fan knows that behind the personal excess, Led Zeppelin was earnest in their own craft and pushed themselves to the limit musically. From the blues rock of their eponymous debut album in 1969 to the seamless energy of Led Zeppelin IV in 1971 to the mind-blowing double-album Physical Graffiti in 1975, it seems that Led Zeppelin knew that their records would stand the test of time. Their golden era ended when drummer Bonham died in 1980 due to excessive alcohol consumption, but their legend lives on.
Writer Jim Sullivan talks to rock drummers who followed in Ringo Starr’s wake and discovers a unanimous praise for his skills, groove, swing and time on the kit – a too often overlooked secret to the success of The Beatles.
Most songs on this list were singles but, at least at first, this one wasn’t. Hey, the Zep didn’t do singles! Yet Atlantic Records released it as a promotional single in 1972. Appearing on Led Zeppelin’s fourth album, “Stairway to Heaven” is a song in three parts, each one increasing in tempo and volume, until the thunderous crescendo, punctuated by guitarist Jimmy Page’s orgasmic trills, and then the tune slowly fades away with an acoustic coda. This breathtaking tune was picked as #3 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Rock Songs compiled in 2000. Incidentally, the rock band Spirit claimed it had created the song’s signature riff, but Spirit lost the copyright infringement lawsuit in 2017.
23 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.
‘Sweet Emotion’ by Aerosmith earns the top spot on our Top 100 Classic Rock Songs list by embodying such an overwhelming portion of the intangible things that make the rest of the songs on our countdown so timeless. It also rocks to high heaven.
Although a number of metal musicians cite classical composers as inspiration, classical and metal are rooted in different cultural traditions and practices—classical in the art music tradition, metal in the popular music tradition. As musicologists Nicolas Cook and Nicola Dibben note, “Analyses of popular music also sometimes reveal the influence of ‘art traditions’. An example is Walser’s linkage of heavy metal music with the ideologies and even some of the performance practices of nineteenth-century Romanticism. However, it would be clearly wrong to claim that traditions such as blues, rock, heavy metal, rap or dance music derive primarily from “art music’.”
The first track of The Who’s Who’s Next album is sometimes otherwise known as “Teenage Wasteland.” Taking the name from Pete Townshend’s influences, the spiritual guru Meher Baba and minimalist music genius Terry Riley, whose work was the inspiration of the song’s hypnotizingly repetitive electronic textures. It is one of The Who’s greatest legacies to classic rock.
This list tries to include some of the greatest rock tunes ever, all of which are classics; that is, songs released before the year 2000. Also keep in mind it only includes mainstream rock and roll (and we all know what that is, right?) whether soft or hard rock, but certainly not pop, R&B, soul, funk, blues, hip-hop, disco, jazz, country, bluegrass or classical – just good ol’ rock and roll, period, okay?
One of the most influential bands in forging the merger of psychedelic rock and acid rock with the blues rock genre was the British power trio Cream, who derived a massive, heavy sound from unison riffing between guitarist Eric Clapton and bassist Jack Bruce, as well as Ginger Baker’s double bass drumming. Their first two LPs, Fresh Cream (1966) and Disraeli Gears (1967), are regarded as essential prototypes for the future style of heavy metal. The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s debut album, Are You Experienced (1967), was also highly influential. Hendrix’s virtuosic technique would be emulated by many metal guitarists and the album’s most successful single, “Purple Haze”, is identified by some as the first heavy metal hit. Vanilla Fudge, whose first album also came out in 1967, has been called “one of the few American links between psychedelia and what soon became heavy metal”, and the band has been cited as an early American heavy metal group. On their self-titled debut album, Vanilla Fudge created “loud, heavy, slowed-down arrangements” of contemporary hit songs, blowing these songs up to “epic proportions” and “bathing them in a trippy, distorted haze.”
Dubbed as an anthem for apathetic kids, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is arguably Nirvana’s greatest hit and perhaps the greatest one of Grunge or alternative rock. It’s so popular, even now, that college marching bands sometimes play it. Moreover, the intro guitar lick, played with power chords, has become one of the most iconic riffs in rock and roll history. It seems every rock guitarist can play it to some degree. How about you? Anyway, the song blasted to #6 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1991 and 1992, shaking up the entire world of rock.
“Sweet Home Alabama” is probably the most well-known song by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Combining hard rock music with some touches of country as is typical in Southern rock genre, the song went to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.
It’s impossible not to include the Rolling Stones in this list of classic rock artists. With over 50 years in the business and still going, the Rolling Stones are obviously a living testimony to rock music’s staying power.
These top classic rock bands were all hit-makers of their time and have rightfully earned a spot on this list of legends. Some of these famous bands have devoted followers decades after they called it quits (Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd), some are considered icons of music (singers like Eric Clapton and bands like The Beatles, Queen), and some are even still touring (Rolling Stones, Aerosmith) despite the AARP status of their core members. These old school rock bands are still rocking, what have you done with your life?
Just the best! The pioneers of Hard Rock.. With Robert Plant’s vocals and Jimme Page’s heavenly guitar.. With Bonham on drums and JP Jones on bass.. None of even todays greatest have a chance against them.. Led Zep forever!
Should easily be in the top twenty probably the top 10 of all time. Tom Petty’s career and the people he played with and who lived him and mourned his death is a whose who of the greatest in Rock of all time. Plus the Heartbreakers are all fantastic musicians and band. RIP legend.
The Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards are an annual awards program established in 2004. Winners of the awards are chosen by the awards team and voted on by readers of the magazine. Winners are announced at an annual awards show and featured in the magazine.