Top Ten Most Important Rock Songs

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

My number two

5 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
6 Back In Black - AC/DC
7 Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys
8 (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones
9 Hotel California - The Eagles
10 Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd

The Newcomers

? Love is the Drug - Roxy Music
? Jump - Van Halen

The Contenders

11 Baba O'Riley - The Who
12 Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd
13 Rock Around the Clock- Bill Haley & His Comets
14 Respect - Aretha Franklin
15 She Loves You - The Beatles

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.

16 Hotel California - Eagles
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 All Along the Watchtower - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
20 Rocket 88 - Ike Turner

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

21 Heartbreak Hotel - Elvis Presley

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

22 Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath

The first metal song.

23 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.

24 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.

25 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.

26 Maybellene - Chuck Berry

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

27 The Exorcist - Possessed

The first death metal song.

28 Rock This Town - Stray Cats

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

29 Rock Awhile - Goree Carter

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

30 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

31 Gimme Shelter - The Rolling Stones

Best live performance in concert by the Rolling Stones.

32 You Can't Always Get What You Want - The Rolling Stones
33 Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones
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List Stats

35 listings
3 years, 98 days old

Top Remixes

1. Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry
2. Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys
3. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin
Skylanderlord3
1. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin
2. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
3. Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry
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