Top 10 Greatest Classic Rock Songs

Classic rock has given us some of the most iconic anthems ever to grace the airwaves. Think screaming guitar solos, emotional power ballads, and lyrics that resonate deep within your soul. These are the tracks that have weathered the storm, surviving every musical fad and trend to remain on heavy rotation on your turntable.

We're talking about the songs that have not only stood the test of time but have become the cornerstone of rock 'n' roll history. You've heard them covered by up-and-coming bands, sampled in today's hits, and spun by DJs around the globe. They're the tunes that have ridden shotgun on your cross-country adventures, pumped through your old-school speakers, and united us all in a sea of lighters and air guitars at live gigs. This is your essential classic rock playlist, a must-listen for anyone who truly bleeds rock 'n' roll.
The Top Ten
1 Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin

Definitely Led Zeppelin's best song. There should be more Zeppelin on the list, though. Everything about it is great.

John Paul Jones's keyboard playing is beautiful. Jimmy Page made the guitar sound amazing. The way he took the slow beginning and turned it into a wailing solo and outro is incredible.

John Bonham's drums make my heart stop. Robert Plant's vocals are probably the best ever. It's the song to end all songs. The best song in existence. It's perfect in every way. They couldn't possibly make it any better because it is already a perfect song. And that's all I have to say about that.

2 Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen

The musicality, complexity, vocals, and layering make this not only a true original that no one will ever duplicate, but also a true piece of art. Even if you don't understand classic orchestrations, this song makes it current and worth researching the history of both modern and classic music. This song should be number one.

Under Pressure should also be in the top ten, as it has a feeling and complexity that both compare and complement Bohemian Rhapsody. Just my opinion, and I know for that reason it's right.

3 Hotel California - The Eagles

This song is far better than Bohemian Rhapsody. To be honest, Bohemian Rhapsody is far overrated, as is Queen. The band would have been far less successful if they weren't carried by Freddie Mercury. This song is mesmerizing, and the guitar solo is incredible. This should be a far second to Stairway to Heaven.

From an amazing guitar solo, great guitar and drum chemistry, memorable vocals, to great songwriting, this is one of the best rock songs of all time. I'd say it's second to Stairway to Heaven. Bohemian Rhapsody isn't as well-written, and neither is Free Bird, so this song should be ahead of them.

4 Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd

If people could have been up close and seen this song played live, they would easily vote this song as number one. I have seen Jimmy Page perform his solo, and although iconic and legendary, it pales in comparison to Allen Collins and Gary Rossington's live performance of Free Bird's guitar lead. What few people know is that they played those parts simultaneously and seamlessly, creating the sound that most people believe is just one lead guitar playing.

If you listen closely, you can hear two distinct guitars from the beginning, and about midway through, they split into their own tracks. Had I not witnessed this firsthand, standing less than 10 feet away with Ronnie Van Zant standing between them, I would have continued to believe it was one guitar lead with another playing rhythm. It was an awesome concert back in 1975 in Brussels, Belgium, on their world tour.

5 Carry on Wayward Son - Kansas

This song just doesn't get old. Icarus (Borne on Wings of Steel), Journey from Mariabronn, and Miracles out of Nowhere are the same way for Kansas. Kansas of the '70s is just so timeless and beautiful.

Most bands have hits that get duller the more you hear them. Kansas' songs only get better. I think it's due to an extra layer or two of complexity, which makes the songs just too much to completely predict and know too well after repeated listening.

This song will never get old. Although there are many songs on this list that I also love, this is the song that first popped into my brain when I thought of great classic rock. It perfectly encompasses that intangible sound of awesome '70s hard rock. It truly is a flawless gem, which makes me feel stuff in my...uh, emotions.

6 Baba O'Riley - The Who

Baba O'Riley is way better than Hotel California, in my opinion. This song is just more memorable, catchy, and has more feel to it. Roger Daltrey's unique vocal range and screams, especially in Won't Get Fooled Again, Pete Townshend's and John Entwistle's intricate, electrifying bass playing that gives you goosebumps, along with Keith Moon, the mad, wild genius killing it on the drums, make The Who one of the Top 10 Greatest Rock Bands of All Time, for me at least. Who's Next is in my Top 10 Greatest Rock Albums of All Time.

7 Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd

There is no better-written, arranged, and performed song in the history of classic rock than Comfortably Numb. It truly is the perfect song. As usual with The Floyd, it is not a song about love, women, or sex. It is part of Waters' visions of his early life colliding with his visions of his adult life.

And yes, lest we forget, Gilmour's contribution with the greatest guitar solo of all time (twice in the same song). Gilmour added the soul to Pink Floyd's sound - both early and later Pink Floyd. And even though music writers usually list Hendrix as number one, Page as number two, and Clapton as three (and they should all be at the top, and I love their music), Gilmour, with the most soulful and powerful guitar playing ever, could and should be listed at the top of simply the greatest classic rock guitar soloists of all time.

8 A Day in the Life - The Beatles

Greatest song ever. Easily the best Beatles song, and if it's the best song by the greatest and most inspirational band out there, then it must top the chart. Even Rolling Stone magazine says it's number one!

American Pie is the best song of all time, but I picked this one because it's the most significant song of all time. It was the last true John-Paul collaboration and the peak of the Beatles' career.

It's the Beatles. They changed rock music from Buddy Holly and the Crickets to the rock music we know and love today. Not only is this one of their best songs, but it's also from their best album.

9 Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones were the greatest band in their time, surpassing the Beatles. The Stones had the greatest song - Satisfaction. But the Beatles were a greater band. Were they really Rock and Roll?

The sitar intro is uniquely epic. The lyrics hit home, and the beat never goes wrong.

I remember first discovering this song. The day I fell in love was that day too - with the song.

10 Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd

Lyrically, this is the best song ever. I'm a huge rock purist, and I love all the songs on this list except Free Bird, which sounds cool. Bohemian Rhapsody and this song should be numbers one and two. I love Pink Floyd. In fact, I'm listening to Shine On You Crazy Diamond right now.

I will never stop listening to this song. My father showed me them when I was only 10, and since that time, I've totally loved them. They are so amazing, and this is one of the best songs because it has this amazing intro, which always blows my mind. I cannot stop listening to it. I will love this song forever.

Thank you, Pink Floyd, for creating this amazing song!

P.S. Sorry for my bad English. I'm German.

The Contenders
11 Dream On - Aerosmith

No matter what people say about other songs, Dream On will always be my most favorite. This is how a true rock song should be. I can't describe how much I love and enjoy this song every time I hear it.

I have many songs that are special to me, but this one always stands a bit higher than any other, even though I am not a die-hard Aerosmith fan. I am just so thankful to them for creating such a masterpiece.

This song speaks to you on so many levels and really defines what a rock song should be. Today's music focuses on individual stories and fantasies, but what Dream On does best is offer different meanings from each and every perspective. This is from a time when music was about we, not just me.

12 Layla - Derek & The Dominos

This song is so good there are actually two great versions of it, both almost completely different. How many songs can you say that about? How this isn't in the top 5 is beyond me.

How is this song never considered number 1? It's a masterpiece, from that iconic Eric Clapton/Duane Allman guitar lick to Jim Gordon's emotional piano coda.

This is miles better than some of the others above it. Top ten, come on. Talk about a real gem of a song, especially when played live and used in the film Goodfellas.

13 Thunderstruck - AC/DC

Thunderstruck is undoubtedly the best AC/DC song. The guitar is crazy, and the singing is awesome. Every time I hear the guitar, I get the chills.

How is this so far down? This has to be on par with the already mentioned Back in Black. Where is Highway to Hell, etc.? Vote this bad boy right up there!

From the start of the song, you can already recognize Angus Young and his famous guitar riff. It is a rock and roll landmark and should be higher than just the top 20.

14 More Than a Feeling - Boston

Boston and Tom Scholz completely changed the way people approached music production. Even if some critics thought the production was computer-generated, you had to live through the '70s to understand how different Boston's music was and how far Tom took things from where other bands had dared to go. Note: This was accomplished on their debut release, unlike Guns N' Roses, whose claimed debut release was not their first, despite what the music industry wants to ignore regarding their earlier EP.

Both Brian May and Tom Scholz were ingenious, and although they may not be the most technically talented players, both have produced incredible music. I've always preferred musicians who are more creative than technical. I know Tom taught himself as he was mainly a keyboard player, but I am not sure about Brian May. Even Hendrix had lessons and played with earlier bands before his solo work later on.

15 Back In Black - AC/DC

A pure classic in rock history, it starts off in classic AC/DC fashion, continues with timeless hard rock vocals, and features that classic guitar riff that people who don't even know what this song is will recognize. This is definitely a top ten pick for rock songs, without a doubt. Although Stairway to Heaven is definitely better than this, it's still a great contender for the top three. I feel all of these songs are great.

Awesome song. Awesome guitar riffs, solo, and vocals, which make you play the song over and over again! It is one of the best AC/DC songs ever and will always be one of the best rock songs of all time.

16 (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones

Achievements of Bohemian Rhapsody: Made the Billboard Top 40 three times, climaxed progressive rock, and got a really good movie named after it.

Achievements of Stairway to Heaven: It is considered Led Zeppelin's best song even though it was never released as a single. It spat progressive rock out of its womb, clearing the path for Bohemian Rhapsody, and produced one of the greatest guitar solos in history.

Achievements of Satisfaction: Made highly distorted electric lead guitars a mainstream phenomenon and popularized blues rock. It drew the blueprints of hard rock, topped both the US and UK charts despite basically being banned from most legal radio stations, and shot the Stones into popularity. It gave rock its signature sex appeal, created the sexy frontman persona that many rock bands have used, made about five thousand girls faint, could be perfectly recreated live, and opened the doors for the careers of Led Zeppelin, the Yardbirds, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, and basically every other blues rock act that came after it. If only people actually cared about a song's influence or story instead of looking at the song by itself.

17 Won't Get Fooled Again - The Who

This song should be in the Top 10, to be honest. Even though it's 8 minutes long, it stays intriguing the whole time. Pete Townshend's groovy guitar playing with Keith Moon's fast-paced drums are all you need.

Roger Daltrey's high-pitched screams just add exactly what the song needs to be a legendary song. The fact that Baba O'Riley is in 4th is ridiculous. That song is so overrated and doesn't match the quality of this album-closer.

One of the best. This is a great song that closes off a great album. It was one of the first classic rock songs I really liked. Roger Daltrey's scream will be forever etched in my mind, as well as the drum solo, the synth solo, and everything else that makes this song amazing to me.

18 You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC

AC/DC is the best band ever! They define classic rock. They started hard rock as we know it, and it worked. They are one of the highest-grossing bands ever.

They have made more money in their history than any other band on this list. This is one of their best songs and it should be #1 because "Stairway to Heaven" is not nearly as much fun to listen to.

No holds barred. This is the most awesome song ever. It should be in No. 2, behind Stairway to Heaven. Even though the duration of the song is shorter compared to Stairway to Heaven.

19 Another One Bites the Dust - Queen

How? How? How? Number 32? Are you guys insane? Everything about this song is at its maximum greatness! It was the number one selling song overseas! The beat, vocals, melody - just great. Top 20 at least!

This song set me in a good mood with its awesome rhythm.

20 Paranoid - Black Sabbath

"Paranoid," a masterpiece, is the spontaneous product of the human mind. Did you know that "Paranoid" was created as a 'filler'? Here's what Geezer Butler said: "The song 'Paranoid' was written as an afterthought. We basically needed a 3-minute filler for the album, and Tony came up with the riff. I quickly did the lyrics, and Ozzy was reading them as he was singing." Remarkable.

Paranoid is Europe's Free Bird. Classic song by the originator of "heavy metal" guitar - Tony Iommi. It's a must-play song for classic rock cover bands. Long live Black Sabbath.

21 All Along the Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix

How can you turn a brilliant Dylan song into something that is a work of art in its own right? Others have tried, but not like this - ever!

This is one of the best songs of any genre. It was an okay song to start with, but Hendrix turned it into a masterpiece. The guitar work is brilliant as well.

The fact that this song isn't in the top 5 is a disgrace. You get one of the greatest guitar solos of all time, along with Jimi's psychedelic vocals. It's simply perfection.

22 Kashmir - Led Zeppelin

This is a menacing and powerful track. Go listen to it right now! While it's only slightly better than anything the Beatles did, just listen to the first five seconds. You'll want to hear the entire eight-minute song.

When you hear this song, you feel empowered. It features the greatest band and riff ever. The song creates an exotic atmosphere, and the lyrics are exceptional. The drums are magnificent. It's like a song dedicated to God.

This is the best song ever written, bar none. Its epic scope and vastness never get boring. It surpasses even Stairway to Heaven, and any true Zeppelin fan will tell you that.

23 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

Nirvana is definitely more on the grunge side, but in this particular case, it's very similar to many classic rock songs. I think it should have been ranked higher than 31. Do you know how many people know this song? However, I agree that it belongs on this list.

How is this song at 25? This song is absolutely iconic. The fact that Kurt Cobain just randomly put some words and chords together without even trying just makes this song even better. It has to be in the top 5.

Seriously, this is the greatest song ever! You will hear the first chords of this tune and immediately, you are hit with Nirvana. No other band sounds like them, let alone tries hard to sound like them. They are totally original and timeless.

24 Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple

Smoke on the Water is the most well-known song in the world. Most Americans are lightweight rockers. Deep Purple ruled in most corners of the world.

They were the most influential, with the most history, and spawned other great bands that came from the Purple tree with the best guitarist in the business. Ritchie's peers will tell you he was the best and influenced more guitarists worldwide. He also had a much longer career than all those other guys.

This is an insult to the most known riff ever.

When you think of a rock anthem, the first notes of Smoke on the Water come to the minds of 90% of the population. You really have to think hard to come up with anything else. The beginning hit of Jealous Lover by Rainbow is a close second. Words can't even describe it. Blackmore is king.

25 Livin On a Prayer - Bon Jovi

This song is legitimately awesome, and Bon Jovi is one of the greatest rock bands of all time! So, yeah, this is one of the best out there.

One of my favorite songs of all time. Some people say that it's overrated, but I don't think so.

I'm glad this song is high up, but it should at least be in the top 10. Best song of all time!

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