This article contains a list of the best classic rock songs ever made.
If you are a classic rock lover, then chances are you have been looking for a list of the greatest hits of all time. Music has a lasting impression on many people because of its impact on their minds and mood. This article explores some of the best rock songs ever made.
To give you a list of the greatest songs ever, we have chosen the best classic rock songs of all time.
1. Baba O’ Riley – The Who
If something needs your attention, you should attend to it first before listening to this song. The song will have you hooked from the beginning to the end. A violin solo gives you a reviving effect as you catch your breath, ready again for the guitar’s thunder. The Who’s Meher Baba is responsible for the first part of the title. It was Pete’s way of recognizing his spiritual guru. Baba O’ Riley has an energetic and dynamic sound. It is a fusion of rock, folk, and roots music with a touch of jazz.
2. Smoke on the Water – Deep Purple
This song was inspired by an actual fire when the band was about to record their album. The song narrates their experience during the incident. The beats and cords make it memorable, not to mention the raspy vocals. Who knew a casino fire would be responsible for giving out one of the greatest hits in classical rock? The music has a lot of cool retro vibes to it, which you’re sure to recognize when you play it!
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3. Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd
This song gives a relaxing feeling, so this is your choice if you want to chill out with some slow music. It is like Floyd’s quest for calmness after a raging storm. The vocals are top-notch and it has one of the best guitar solos in classic rock. It is not your traditional fast tempo kind of song and lacks the typical screaming and shouting, but you will love it regardless.
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4. Roadhouse Blues – The Doors
This is a great song to listen to when you’re driving. Remember, a drunk is telling you to keep your eyes on the road, which is a great safety tip, by the way. If you can’t listen to sober minds, then a drunk one will do. The tunes of this song will give you great company as you sing along. In the book ‘Light My Fire’, they state that this song is about Morrison waking up after nearly three weeks of drug-induced sleep. He was shocked to find out that he had a beard when he woke up, and this made him realize how long he must have been out for this to happened. Morrison may have allegedly used beer sometimes when singing the song due to this incident with Cooper.
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5. Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix
You have to love Jimi Hendrix’s faith because even in dreams, he still believes Jesus saved him. A purple haze dream inspired the song that he had. His superb guitar skills were all he needed to make the strong sounds that make the song great. You will realize that the dream was an excellent experience for Jimi since he came up with a classic hit.
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6. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
Bohemian Rhapsody is an odd song but one of the best. It is a combination of three pieces that Freddie put together. The band did a great job in making this masterpiece, and as their norm, the listener is free to interpret the song in their way. Bear in mind that there was much speculation behind the song since some of its contents are found in the Quran. It doesn’t matter, though; it is excellent to listen to.
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7. Another Brick on the Wall Pt. 2 – Pink Floyd
The message of the song is straightforward and doesn’t sit well with most people. However, the reality of life is to live your own life the way you want. Don’t allow anyone to control your thoughts. Be your person. This song is a masterpiece from the beats, vocals, and lyrics.
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8. Rock You Like a Hurricane – Scorpions
If you are looking for something loud and energetic, then this is the right song for you. It has powerful vocals, and you can headbang to it. It makes for a perfect rock anthem. This track is ideal for getting your energy levels up the roof.
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9. You Shook me All Night – AC/DC
They wanted their listeners to hear all about the best woman they have ever seen and they did so loudly… very loudly. This was the first single featuring Brian, who had replaced Bon. It made for a remarkable comeback since they had to move on and keep going after Bon’s death.
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10. Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses
Despite the opening riff being a warm-up, Axl loved it so much that they incorporated it into the song. The song is best played loud, and you can scream or sing along. The song hit number 1 on the chart list in 1988. The lyrics came from a poem.
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11. Tom Sawyer – Rush
The lyrics are based on a character in Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The song has been a hit and used on a couple of TV shows and cartoons. It is by far the band’s most famous song.
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12. Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin
The band’s intention was for the song to be seen as comic, but they forgot one thing, they always came out as a serious band. Their fans took the narrative of their adventures on the road, and people assumed it to be like the Vikings fighting the hordes. This is a strong song with great beats.
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13. Just What I Needed – The Cars
You can’t deny that this is a catchy song, though the lyrics give a weird sense of humor. The good thing is that it is all fiction. Regardless, it is something you will enjoy listening to and singing along to.
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14. Under Pressure – Queen & David Bowie
You can feel the pressure coming from the song when you listen to it. It’s either their way or the highway. The lyrics expound on how stress can ruin lives, but as usual, love is the answer. The bass line gives the song a powerful effect making it great to listen to.
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15. Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin
The ’70s were great years for Led Zeppelin as they achieved world-renowned fame. The compositions were great, and they brought a whole new meaning to rock blues. The band works together with excellent coordination in syncing their different roles to produce great tracks. It will be a while before they are forgotten.
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16. La Grange – ZZ Top
The song was about illegal activities that were taking place in Texas. It brought a lot of attention to the commercial sex business that was taking place openly. The band caught the attention of many people as they described the kind of girls available in the den. It is catchy and easy to dance to but remember, and some people lost their job because of it.
17. Hotel California – Eagles
You have to admit the ending guitar solo is incredible. The song is about the dark parts of a glamorous life that many people tend to ignore. The beats have been blended in perfect harmony. You will love listening to this song, especially if you love songs about California.
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18. Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
This song never made it to the charts because it wasn’t released as a single. It starts softly and swiftly picks the pace to a tempo rock song. The lyrics were written by Plant, who said the song was about a woman who got everything she wanted without giving out anything.
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19. Sympathy for the Devil – The Rolling Stones
This is one of their songs in which they got everything right. From the tunes, you can feel their talents being showcased as they play it. They have always been extreme in their performance but somehow toned it down a notch in Sympathy for the Devil.
20. Sultan of Swing – Dire Straits
This classic rock song is a great way to start up a party. It has a great solo with rhythmic drum beats. The song is about a group of guys who go to a club after work. Mark’s inspiration came from observing regular activities. At the time, their debut record, Sultans of Swing, was at number 29 on Billboard’s hot top 100 charts; a little over five weeks later, on April 1st, it picked up at number four for two weeks, and it stayed on the chart for 15 weeks. Between 1979 and 1986, the group had seven top 100 records and 3 made it to the top 10. The other two top 10 records were Money for Nothing at number 1 for three weeks on September 15th, 1985, and Walk of Life at number seven for one week on January 19th, 1986.
21. Rockin’ in the Free World – Neil Young
This is an intense track, no matter how you look at it. It spoke about the current administration with all the vices that were escalating under it. It made an impact by being famous. It was hard to ignore the beats and the lyrics. Many people believe that Neil observed all the tragedy in the country, such as people sleeping in their shoes and homeless junkie mothers, and while all this was going on, nothing was being done about it. You are just keeping on “rocking in the free world”, driving the big gas-guzzling cars as if everything was okay. It’s a bit of a spoof, and very few people understand what a biting parody it is of our life in the so-called free world where so many unfortunate are anything but free.
22. Fat Bottomed Girls – Queen
This song spreads some much-needed positivity. It showcases the importance of self-love and embracing your body. Everyone has a role to play in making the works go round. It is an excellent classic from Queen. It was written by Brian May, and it follows the storyline of a young man learning to appreciate plus-size women.
23. The Boys are Back Together in Town – Thin Lizzy
The title says it all. If you haven’t seen each other in a while, this is the song you should dance and sing along to. It has excellent vocals and tunes, and you will enjoy unwinding in front of familiar faces. Most people admit it’s great for a high school reunion. Maybe it’s because back then, life was easy. The song has received different interpretations over the years, with some linking it to gang activities.
24. Born to be Wild – Steppenwolf
This was the first song to use the phrase “heavy metal” to imply what is currently known as hard rock. It is an energetic track that will leave you feeling like you should be breaking the rules. If you are feeling down, this track will lift your mood. It was written by Mars, who was the drummer’s brother. He was inspired by a motorcycle poster when he was coming from purchasing his car. It symbolized freedom for him and a chance to be wild with no restrictions.
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25. Funk #49 – James Gang
They are known for their guitarist Joe Welsh; his exemplary skills on this song established him as a top guitar player in Ohio. His skills are undeniable, and you will love this song. The song is about an untamable girlfriend who isn’t keen on changing for the better and is the female version of Joe’s character in his solo hit. He admits the beats were okay, but the lyrics didn’t impress him.
26. My Sharona – The Knack
They did a fantastic job of starting the song with strong drum beats since they immediately capture one’s attention. It is unique and exciting, and you will find yourself warming up to it. It makes a great addition to a collection of power songs that you should have. It was written by the lead singer Doug. It was about a girl he was crazy about (dated her eventually), and despite being in a relationship, he was willing to go all out to win her over. He was crazy enough to write a song about her despite not being in a relationship.
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27. Barracuda – Heart
The story behind the song is unthinkable, for lack of a better term. Some people thought the two sisters were in a sexual relationship, and out of anger, they came up with the lyrics. No wonder it has fierce guitar sounds. You can feel the rage from the instruments being played. What an excellent way to vent out. If you want to let out the anger inside you, maybe you should give this song a try. Make it loud enough and ensure you are alone to avoid casualties.
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28. Black Magic Woman – Santana
Who doesn’t love Latin? This song gives out a perfect Latin rock feeling. You can come up with different dance moves to fit the cultures blended in. It is considered one of Santana’s best performances. The smooth guitar will have you swaying your hips in tune. This was an original Fleetwood Mac song written by Peter Green. It was just a basic track on their English Rose album. Santana took it and did a great job of revamping it.
29. American Girl – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
This was one of their most popular songs. Everyone wants to know something about the American girl if they are not one. It makes for a great piece that keeps up with changing trends. Maybe in the lyrics, Tom was referring to forbidden love. It makes you wonder. Is there one? What is causing the separation? But the beats bring you back to reality.
30. I Love Rock ‘N Roll – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
How can you not say you love rock n roll? This is a familiar rock anthem with repetitive lyrics. Joan’s quest to make it a danceable tune was a huge success. Just move along with the beat. The song entered the Billboard’s top 100 in 1982 at position 63. After six weeks, it became no.1 and stayed in that position for seven weeks.
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31. Hound Dog – Elvis Presley
Elvis had a talent for turning something into a masterpiece. This song was originally a blues song, but he made it into a famous classic song. He gave it a total makeover and turned it into a masterpiece. You will fall in love with the beats and also acknowledge why he deserves the title of “The King of Rock n Roll.” The song set the pace for rock music and changed rock forever.
Everyone enjoys listening to great music because of the therapeutic benefits it offers. Music can uplift your mood in just a few seconds. Rock music can either be soft or hard, depending on your preference.
A fantastic song can brighten up your day or even reduce your tension. An excellent piece of music can also make you very nostalgic for times gone by. It also can make you want to sing along in the car.
It is pretty impossible to describe the feeling that is felt after listening to a killer guitar solo. It’s a feeling that not just anyone can create; one that only a skilled musician can deliver.
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As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.