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.

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2 Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen UListen to Sample
3 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.

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4 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana UListen to Sample
5 Smoke On the Water - Deep Purple

My number two

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6 Back In Black - AC/DC

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

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7 Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys UListen to Sample
8 Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd UListen to Sample
9 Hotel California - The Eagles UListen to Sample
10 (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones UListen to Sample

The Newcomers

? Sweet Child O'Mine - Guns N' Roses

One of the most famous guitar solo of history

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The Contenders

11 Baba O'Riley - The Who UListen to Sample
12 Respect - Aretha Franklin UListen to Sample
13 Rock Around the Clock- Bill Haley & His Comets

The song that started it all

14 Hotel California - Eagles UListen to Sample
15 Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd UListen to Sample
16 Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan

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

17 Rockin' In the Free World - Neil Young UListen to Sample
18 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.

19 Love is the Drug - Roxy Music

This is so good. - Userguy44

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20 All Along the Watchtower - The Jimi Hendrix Experience UListen to Sample
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 Rocket 88 - Ike Turner

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

24 You Can't Always Get What You Want - The Rolling Stones UListen to Sample
25 Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones UListen to Sample
26 Jump - Van Halen UListen to Sample
27 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.

28 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.

29 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.

30 Maybellene - Chuck Berry

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

31 The Exorcist - Possessed

The first death metal song.

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32 Rock This Town - Stray Cats

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

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33 Rock Awhile - Goree Carter

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

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34 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

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35 Gimme Shelter - The Rolling Stones

Best live performance in concert by the Rolling Stones.

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36 I Want You to Want Me - KSM UListen to Sample
37 Eminence Front - The Who UListen to Sample
38 Layla - Eric Clapton

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

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List Stats

100 votes
39 listings
4 years, 40 days old

Top Remixes

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


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