They say that rock and roll never dies, but these songs are unforgettable. This here is the Top 10 List for the Best Classic Rock Songs of All Time. It’s a difficult challenge to narrow the best rock songs to just ten in a genre brimming with memorable classics, but here they are:
10. Fortunate Son-Creedence Clearwater Revival
Even after half a century, this classic is still the ultimate protest song. Written during the Vietnam War, this strikingly iconic tune opposed America’s sending young men to blindly fight for their country, reflecting the people’s anger towards an unjust system. As this song has been repeatedly used in pop culture to depict the Vietnam War, Fortunate Son has gone down in history as the perfect antithesis of war itself.
9. Free Bird-Lynyrd Skynyrd
This lengthy song captures the purest musical form of American freedom. While lasting a whopping nine minutes, Lynyrd Skynyrd keeps the audience hooked the whole way through, with the song’s timeless guitar solo sending you flying into the air and burning through the sky like a phoenix.
8. American Pie-Don McLean
We’ve all heard about “the day the music died” at least once. Don McLean immortalized the tragic death of Buddy Holly and co. with this classic song. At the same time, the song evenly blends numerous aspects of American history, expressing the loss of innocence in a chaotic and everchanging country. Amazingly, American Pie transforms a story of sadness into the ultimate celebration of America itself.
7. Life on Mars?-David Bowie
This is arguably David Bowie’s strangest song, but it is also his best. This psychedelic masterpiece sends the audience on a cosmic odyssey in signature Bowie style. As Bowie constructs a surreal, dreamlike realm in his lyrics, he also delivers a wondrously poignant escape from our grim reality.
6. Layla-Derek and the Dominos
Co-written by the legendary Eric Clapton, this song expresses the singer’s unrequited love for George Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd, whom he ended up marrying years later. Every note of this moving song captures the agony of Clapton’s aching soul, and that memorable piano solo that takes over the second half is arguably the best part.
5. All Along the Watchtower-The Jimi Hendrix Experience
While this song was written by the legendary Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix elevated this song into the stratosphere with his own groovy style. Every strum of his guitar shakes the air like a bolt of lightning hammering through the desert sky. Hendrix thus transforms Dylan’s haunting folk song into an apocalyptic storm that’s entirely his own.
4. Stairway to Heaven-Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin is basically the Pied Piper of classic rock, renowned for taking fans on mystical journeys with their now-iconic songs. Stairway to Heaven is arguably the band at their best, as this slow but soothing tune practically carries the audience to the heavens, topping it with a triumphant cry of salvation.
3. Gimme Shelter-The Rolling Stones
Rolling Stone magazine claimed that the band has “never done anything better” at the time of this song’s release, and they still haven’t topped it. As a product of its own chaotic era, this apocalyptic song perfectly reflects the Stones’ loud and rebellious nature while chanting this exhilarating ode to anarchy that still connects the world today.
2. Hey Jude-The Beatles
Among the Beatles’ long list of spectacular songs, this simple one stands above the rest. Written by Paul McCartney to comfort Lennon’s son, Hey Jude is one of those songs that not only makes you feel better, but also loved. As everyone joins in and sings with the band, you can’t help but feel like everyone’s singing for you.
1. Bohemian Rhapsody-Queen
This song has to be Number 1. Freddie Mercury’s magnum opus embodies Queen’s passionately operatic sound and rock and roll itself. This song has everything: love, tragedy, and epic poetry, making it an outstanding experience for just about anyone. While critics were divided when it was first released, Bohemian Rhapsody has gone on to be Queen’s most famous song. Without a doubt, Wayne’s World has proven that this is the perfect song for people to rock out to.