Top Ten Most Important Rock Songs


The Top Ten

1 Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin

Shouldn't be on top. Good song, also influential but not that important. I mean not like that deserves the first spot. - zxm

Great song, super popular, probably the most popular in the rock era. Not nearly as important as some of the groundbreaking songs that came earlier. Interestingly it is back in the news, as the estate of Randy California [Spirit] sues LZ because the intro is a pure ripoff of Spirit's "Taurus". Supposedly Randy gave verbal permission, but there is no record of it. The lawyers will be the only ones who win in the end.

2 Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry

I think this song should be numbers one. Without Chucks licks that rest doesn't happen. Great guitarist and entertainer.

3 Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
4 Smoke On the Water - Deep Purple

The easiest bassline ever!

My number two

5 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
6 Back In Black - AC/DC

The best of the best is with AC/DC!

What about “highway to hell”.and “hotel California” is not a rock song.

7 Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd
8 Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys
9 Hotel California - The Eagles
10 Baba O'Riley - The Who

The Contenders

11 (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones
12 Respect - Aretha Franklin
13 Rock Around the Clock - Bill Haley & His Comets

The song that started it all

14 Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd
15 Hotel California - Eagles
16 She Loves You - The Beatles

She Loves You should be in the top 5
Because that song was ahead of its time it skyrocketed the Beatles to cyberspace compared to all the other groups

The most prominent song when the Beatles debuted in American on the Ed Sullivan Show. Easily the single most important moment in rock history, as rock was fading away after its initial surge; Elvis was in the Army and then Hollywood, Buddy Holly died, and Little Richard & Chuck Berry were in big trouble with the law.
Music was moving away from rock, with surf music spinning away from it, and folk music the polar opposite. What we would call AC today, like Tony Bennett and Tom Jones were also prominent, with Frank Sinatra as the elder statesman.
Then suddenly, this musical Tsunami came in, so huge and powerful that it swept away everything that came before it, establishing rock as the dominant music format for the next 4 decades.
Over 50 years later now, and there is still nothing that comes remotely close to the musical importance of what the Fab Four did as they lead the British Invasion.

17 Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan

This song was kind of a landmark in music. Personally, it's one of my favorites. - MontyPython

18 Rockin' In the Free World - Neil Young
19 Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley didn't write his own songs. But his vocal was one of the most unique vocals at that time. - zxm

20 Love is the Drug - Roxy Music

This is so good. - Userguy44

21 All Along the Watchtower - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
22 Heartbreak Hotel - Elvis Presley

First hit by the most important, most popular, and biggest selling solo act in the history of rock.

23 We Will Rock You - Queen

It has got to be this one, surely!

24 Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath

The first metal song.

25 Rocket 88 - Ike Turner

Generally considered to the be the very first rock-n-roll song.

26 Imagine - John Lennon
27 London Calling - The Clash
28 Don’t Stop Believing - Journey
29 You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC
30 You Can't Always Get What You Want - The Rolling Stones
31 Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones
32 Jump - Van Halen
33 Tutti-Frutti - Little Richard

First big hit for "The Architect of Rock and Roll", though he had been regionally popular in the deep south for several years.

34 That'll Be the Day - Buddy Holly and the Crickets

Buddy Holly was the first music artist who was allowed [he forced the issue] to write, produce, arrange, and play the instruments on his own records. This artistic freedom was crucial throughout the history of rock to keep the music moving forward.

Buddy Holly was the first artist to be allowed [he forced the issue] to write, produce, arrange, sing, and play instruments on his own records. This artistic freedom was crucial to the future of rock-n-roll, as it kept the music fresh and new every time.

35 Heart Full of Soul - The Yardbirds

This is the first song purposely featuring a psychedelic sound, predating the other early numbers by more than a year.

36 Maybellene - Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry is often called The Father of Rock-n-Roll, and this was his first big hit.

37 The Exorcist - Possessed

The first death metal song.

38 Peggy Sue - Buddy Holly

Finally, someone put Buddy Holly on this list! He's so underrated.

39 Nights in White Satin - The Moody Blues
40 Purple Haze - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
41 I Want to Hold Your Hand - The Beatles
42 Good Golly Miss Molly - Little Richard
43 Highway Star - Deep Purple
44 Rock This Town - Stray Cats

Rock This Town rejects the '70's disco scene and just rocks. It's Stray Cats biggest hit.

45 Rock Awhile - Goree Carter

Although I know about the distortion experiment in early 40s but haven't heard any distorted song before this. - zxm

46 Anarchy in the U.K. - Sex Pistols
47 Gimme Shelter - The Rolling Stones

Best live performance in concert by the Rolling Stones.

48 I Want You to Want Me - KSM
49 Eminence Front - The Who
50 Layla - Eric Clapton

Can't have this list without the post played rock song in human history.

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