Top 10 Greatest Classic Rock Songs

If you're a fan of classic rock, you know these artists have produced some of the most timeless and beloved songs in music history. From electrifying guitar riffs to soulful ballads, classic rock songs have captivated listeners for decades, standing the test of time and remaining popular to this day. And while it's hard to pick just a few favorites from such a vast and diverse catalog of music, we've compiled a list of the top classic rock songs that we believe are essential listening for any fan of the format.

These songs are the ones that have inspired countless cover versions, sampled by modern-day artists, and played endlessly on radio stations across the world. These songs have been the soundtracks to our lives, accompanying us on road trips, blasting from our boomboxes, and bringing us together in the mosh pit at concerts.
The Top Ten
1 Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin

Simply, "Stairway to Heaven" is the best rock song ever written and performed by a Top 3 Classic Rock Band. The rankings are #1 - The Beatles, #2 - The Doors. I went very far down the list and never saw "Light My Fire" by the Doors. Had I found it, it would be on this list as #2. At this point, I'm not sure which of the other great tunes I would remove - probably, reluctantly, "More Than a Feeling" by Boston.

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.

Greatest ever. Led Zeppelin combines the best aspects of every necessary component of rock and roll. From Robert Plant's wonderful vocals to Jimmy Page's astounding guitar, John Bonham's drums that remind everyone why they're voting for Stairway to Heaven, and John Paul Jones's low, sweet-sounding bass - the collaboration is simply unreal. Bohemian Rhapsody may be good, but this song makes me do some serious soul searching. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin should never be beaten. Anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves.

Really amazing songs, maybe even masterpieces (I think). The guitars and vocals are perfect. At the beginning, it's a calm rock ballad. Then, toward the end, the guitars get heavier and Mr. Plant's voice changes too. It goes from a soft, sad tone to his original, typical tone, with a bit of anger. It's an absolute masterpiece! And please, PLEASE, guys: both Bohemian Rhapsody and Stairway to Heaven are masterpieces, but they can't compete with each other. Queen and Led Zeppelin have two different styles, both in instrument playing and especially in vocals. Everyone has their own taste, but don't say that one is worse or doesn't deserve its place in the ranking. Thanks.

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.

This song, in my opinion, is the best rock song out there. Brian May's guitar work gives it that special sound, and the tone is just right at just the right time. This really sets the standard for what a guitarist should be like. Freddie Mercury is one of the best singers, not only in the rock community but in the singing community in general. The overall tone of the song is great. It combines all of Queen's styles to create a beautiful song. It really pushes the boundaries of what a rock band can be.

This is a song with absolutely no chorus, an operatic section, a ballad in the beginning, and hard rock at the end. Freddie Mercury is by far the best singer/performer of all time, with his attitude, ability, and passion. I'm not trying to knock Stairway to Heaven, but it is nowhere near as complex or beautiful as Bohemian Rhapsody. Also, the greatest and most important performance ever was done by Queen at Live Aid.

Rock music is not only about heavy music. It's also about the variations it uses and the story it tells. Bohemian Rhapsody is like Beethoven's Symphony Number 9 (if you know what I mean). The song starts with a slow, soothing piano solo, amazing vocals, opera-like singing patterns, an amazing guitar solo, and outstanding lyrics. The story will never get old. This Rhapsody should be the number one rock song of all time.

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.

Sorry, Zep fans, this one is haunting, smoky, sexy, seductive, and has the better guitar solo. And Don Henley is a way better singer than Robert Plant. Bohemian Rhapsody is just a mess. What the hell is it? Confusion does not lead to greatness. Hotel California is the greatest song ever.

Most beautiful classic rock song ever. Haunting, mysterious, cool rhythm, poetic lyrics, great solo. Simply the best. Chilling on the beach, drink in hand, watching the sunset with this playing. No better than that.

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.

There is a distinction between the greatest recorded song and the greatest live song. As someone else said, if you were lucky enough to have seen the original Skynyrd, there was NOTHING like Free Bird live! I have seen them all, and while I actually enjoy other bands' music more, NOBODY could touch Free Bird live. I saw them when I was 17 for the first time, 40 years ago, and I have still never seen anything like Free Bird.

I go back and forth between Free Bird and Stairway as my top of all time. I can listen to either over and over - the soft vocals and gripping guitar solos. What does it for me with Bird is the live version. The guitar banging away, then at about the 9:40/45 mark, it's like they seamlessly roll right into a different song. Chilling! Can't ever go wrong with Stairway as a top pick, though.

Free Bird is one of the most fantastic songs ever written. It's absolute musical genius in my mind, and I absolutely love the sliding intro and the quick solo with that awesome tone. Truly an amazing, beautiful song.

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.

This gets my vote as the greatest classic rock song of all time. It's so full of power, passion, and poignant lyrics. The music stops and turns on a dime, then redirects itself. This is one of the few radio songs I never get tired of.

My grandkids, who range from 7 to 13, get excited when the acapella intro starts. They sing it word for word at the top of their lungs with Steve, Robbie, and me, and then scream, Play it again, when it's done. Now that's a great song that can do that with today's kids.

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!

Deserves the number 2 spot. As has been said many times, the opening keyboards are the sound of freedom. The piano/guitar riff is so great, and the violin solo really caps it all off. The WHO!

Probably one of the best songs of any genre. It would be more fitting for it to be in first place here on this list.

Favorite synth riff of all time, and this song is really fun to play on drums. Everything about it is incredible.

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 PF's sound - both early and later Pink Floyd. And even though music writers usually list Hendrix as number 1, Page as number 2, and Clapton as 3 (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.

Best song ever. I'm a guitarist going to school for music, and I can say with a good amount of education behind it that Gilmour/Floyd has done something that few other guitarists/musicians can do. To this day, he is the only musician to bring me to tears through his playing alone. Listen to the live version off of the Pulse tour. It's the best all-around solo I've ever listened to.

I don't mean to hop on the bandwagon, but Comfortably Numb has the greatest guitar solo ever. Apart from that, I love the overall creepiness of this song. It makes you feel like you're in an upside-down world. This song should be in the Top 5, to be honest. It's not my favorite Pink Floyd song, but I have to acknowledge its greatness.

Brilliant. Pink Floyd is clearly the best and most progressive band ever. Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall are just spectacular. I'm listening to Shine On You Crazy Diamond right now. A study has also shown that Pink Floyd fans are patient, very deep and hard-thinking, and strong in spirit. Go Pink Floyd!

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's got to 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 their best album.

An absolute writing and production masterpiece. The verse, the orchestral break, and the bridge - everything in this song is perfect. This is probably the best John/Paul-written song.

9 Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones were the greatest band in their time, leaving out the Beatles. The Stones had the greatest song - Satisfaction. But the Beatles were a greater band. But 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.

Great song. It's a song that makes the listener think.

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.

I've been scrolling through a lot of songs on this list and realized that many of them deserve to be number one. I voted for this one because I think Pink Floyd is definitely the best band ever. They changed music forever and completely changed my life, too.

This has got to be the best song out there! It made me cry the first time I listened to it. Whoever else likes this song has good taste. This song is not too long, and it is not too short either. It is the one and only perfect song.

The Newcomers

? There She Goes - The La's
The Contenders
11 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.

This is the only guitar riff that somehow makes you feel something. The lyrics are beautiful, and the piano part at the end makes this song one of a kind.

12 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.

I will always sing along to this song. It is absolutely amazing, especially when compared to other songs by Aerosmith. The music is great and the lyrics are astounding. I never skip it when it comes on, and I think everyone else should give it a listen as well.

Even the latest song currently topping the charts can't surpass this one. Though it may be old, this song is a legendary rarity that remains refreshing as time goes by. Rock on and Dream on!

13 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.

This song has literally no flaws at all. The famous guitar riff, the unique vocals, and the kick-ass solo just make this an incredible rock song. It should be in the top 5, at least.

One of the best songs AC/DC ever wrote, next to Highway to Hell. I cannot watch any music show without hearing the famous guitar riff.

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

Achievements of Bohemian Rhapsody: Made the Billboard Top 40 three times, climaxed progressive rock, got a really good movie named after it.
Achievements of Stairway to Heaven: Is considered Led Zeppelin's best song even though it was never released as a single, spat progressive rock out of its womb, clearing the path for BoRhap, produced one of the greatest guitar solos in history.
Achievements of Satisfaction: Made highly distorted electric lead guitars a mainstream phenomenon, popularized blues rock, drew the blueprints of hard rock, topped both the US and UK charts despite basically being banned from most legal radio stations, shot the Stones into popularity, 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 ...more

When this came out in 1965, I remember that it was the lyrics more than the melody (which is, of course, a great melody) that moved me. This was really a song about the "Them against Us" generation. No satisfaction to find in TV, commercials, radio, and yes, no satisfaction in girl action. All American garage bands in 1965-66 were suddenly trying to write lyrics about unsatisfying subjects. Really a classic song.

Not only is it a better song than Paint It Black, it's also way catchier and better-crafted than Don Henley's morose and bloated Steely Dan knockoff, Hotel Can-I-Bore-Ya.

Should be in the top ten. Just remove any Pink Floyd song. The Stones are far more talented.

15 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 Daltry'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.

This is the best song from a very long list of songs from The Who. It never gets old and has every element you look for in a classic: top-notch vocals, great guitar, and premier bass and drums. I love, love this song.

I should've expected Stairway to be #1, but this at #19? This has everything: a drum solo, a synthesizer solo, and THE most recognizable scream in rock and roll history.

16 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 play. It is a rock and roll landmark and should be higher than just the top 20.

This song will get you going no matter where you are, what you are doing, or how you are feeling.

17 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'm not sure about Brian May. Even Hendrix had lessons and played with earlier bands before his solo work later on.

Seriously? Forty-seven? Why is this song at 47? This song belongs in the top 10. Amazing vocals, an unforgettable chorus, a memorable guitar solo, and a terrific all-around performance - everything else required for a song for the ages. Why this song clocks in at 47 simply defies belief.

Incredible 12-string riff with electric harmonies. Tom Scholz is an absolute genius, and Brad Delp is one of the most underrated singers of all time. This song is an absolute classic and is for sure in my top 10.

This song is at least in the top 20. As the years have passed, each time you hear this song, it still makes you sing along and play air guitar. It was the first LP I ever purchased, and I used to play it on my Mickey Mouse record player. (Remember those?) Lol. This band, before they split up, was truly one of the all-time greats!

18 Another One Bites the Dust - Queen

How? How? How?!? #32? Are you guys insane? Everything about this song is at its maximum greatness! It was the #1 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.

It is a great song.

19 Paranoid - Black Sabbath

Paranoid, a masterpiece subjective to 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. Must-play song for classic rock cover bands. Long live Black Sabbath.

How is this song at 26? "Paranoid" was one of the first songs that got me listening to rock & metal back in middle school. This song is a legendary masterpiece.

I think something that makes me love this song even more is that this was originally planned to be a random filler song for Sabbath.

20 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!

One of the best songs of any genre. Was an okay song to start with but Hendrix turned it into a masterpiece. The guitar 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, and jimi's psychedelic vocals. simply perfection

I am officially out! I give up! #98? Really? You must be kidding me. Again, easily Top-20 or 25 (at minimum)! Come on people!

21 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 has the greatest band and riff ever. The song creates an exotic atmosphere, and the lyrics are exceptional. The drums are so 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.

This song is just epic. You can't overcome its greatness. It features the coolest drums and melodies that run throughout this whole piece. Truly a celestial hymn from the greatest band of all time.

22 Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple

Smoke on the Water is the most well known song world. You know most Americans are light weight rockers. Deep Purple ruled in most corners of the world. They were the most influential with the most history and the 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 guitarist world wide. And a much longer career than all those other guys. This is a insult to the most known Riff ever.

When you think rock anthem, the first notes in Smoke On The Water are the ones who come to the mind 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... You can't even describe it.. Blackmore is king.

The best text, the most realistic story, the most exciting rhythm, the precision of orchestral interpretation, the most exciting solo voice, the most virtuous solo guitar. The number one rock anthem.

Smoke on the water has to be the most known song ever created.. Everyone knows the riff.. Its on the dodge commerical. Barracuda is the worst song I have ever heard. What arr you people smokin'?

23 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

So, Nirvana is definitely more on the grunge side, but in this particular case, it's very similar to lots of classic rock songs. I do think it should have been higher than 31. Like, do you know how many people know this song? But I agree that it should be one this song.

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, the greatest song ever! You will hear the first chords of this tune and wham, you are hit with Nirvana. There is no other band that sounds like them, let alone tries hard to sound like them. Totally original and timeless.

What? I don't get that this is not in the top 5 or even top 10. A rank of 63 is way too low for such a great, catchy song and doesn't give enough credit to Nirvana.

24 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!

How can this be overrated? This should be in the top 5. I love you, Bon Jovi!

25 Highway to Hell - AC/DC

Best song of the best band ever!
With best intro and best...
Okey, I stop saying the word "best".
But men, is there any other word that can describe this song?

Bon Scott's masterpiece before he died, this song is his legacy.

109!? This is a top 3 song of a top 3 band

I listen this on my way to school.

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