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The Top 100 Classic Rock Songs Of All Time

Updated on May 14, 2013

The Best 100 Classic Rock Tunes List

To some degree this is a hubcaps to ice cream comparison, each song having its place in our lives, with likeability highly subject to personal taste. Should Bruce Springsteen's "Born To Run" be ranked higher than Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild"? I suppose it depends on what the criteria are, and most assuredly, who you ask. And that means any list like this is sure to be controversial. But it's darn fun so let's get on with it anyway!

This roots of this project extend to when I inquired, via e-mail, of a girl I met from an online dating site, LeeAnn, what her top ten classic rock picks would be. I sent her a relatively lame list I'd found online to choose from (no Springsteen or Doobie Brothers at all, for example).

Her response:

Layla

Magic Carpet Ride

Behind Blue Eyes

Whole Lotta Love

Black Dog

Don't Fear the Reaper

Let it Be

Crazy on You

Thank You

Bad Moon Rising

I had already picked mine:

Crazy On You

Pinball Wizard

Back In Black

Radar Love

All Right Now

Dream On

Life In The Fast Lane

You Shook Me All Night Long

La Grange

The Joker

hmmm... only one match. I could have saved some bucks if I'd have heeded the warning: we dated a couple times and in spite of some serious chemistry, it fizzled out to an occasional e-mail exchange. Oh well, the way I see it women come & go but music is 'till death do we part, lol. .. The important thing is dating her got me thinking about making a better list!

Public Domain Photo
Public Domain Photo

Top 100 Classic Rock Songs of All Time

A work in progress

1. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin

2. All Right Now - Free

3. Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo- Rick Derringer

4. Bad To The Bone - George Thorogood

5. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - Rolling Stones

6. Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry

7. Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress) - Hollies

8. Rocky Mountain Way - Joe Walsh

9. Good Vibrations - Beach Boys

10. The Boys Are Back In Town by Thin Lizzy

11. I Feel Good - James Brown

12. We're An American Band - Grand Funk Railroad

13. Purple Haze- Jimi Hendrix

14. (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay - Otis Redding

15. Magic Carpet Ride - Steppenwolf

16. Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen

17. Layla - Derek & the Dominos

18. Long Train Runnin'- Doobie Brothers

19. Dream On - Aerosmith

20. Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd

21. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On - Jerry Lee Lewis

22. When A Man Loves A Woman - Percy Sledge

23. Hey Jude - Beatles

24. Life In The Fast Lane - Eagles

25. Rock Around The Clock - Bill Haley & His Comets

26. You Really Got Me - Kinks

27. American Pie - Don McLean

28. I'm Eighteen- Alice Cooper

29. La Grange- ZZ Top

30. Sympathy For The Devil - Rolling Stones

31. Brown Eyed Girl- Van Morrison

32. Louie Louie - The Kingsmen

33. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

34. Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley

35. Yesterday - The Beatles

36. My Generation - The Who

37. Smoke On The Water - Deep Purple

38. Don't Be Cruel - Elvis Presley

39. Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin

40. Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd

41. Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix

42. Old Time Rock & Roll - Bob Seger

43. In The Midnight Hour - Wilson Pickett

44. Money- Pink Floyd

45. Oh Pretty Woman - Roy Orbison

46. Sunshine Of Your Love - Cream

47. Walk This Way - Aerosmith

48. Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N' Roses

49. A Whiter Shade Of Pale - Procol Harum

50. What's Goin' On - Marvin Gaye

51. Crazy On You- Heart

52. Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd

53. You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet- BTO

54. Radar Love- Golden Earing

55. Good Golly, Miss Molly - Little Richard

56. Everyday People - Sly & The Family Stone

57. Roundabout - Yes

58. Sledgehammer - Peter Gabriel

59. Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf

60. Free Ride - Edgar Winter Group

61. Voodoo Child - Jimi Hendrix

62. November Rain - Guns N' Roses

63. You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC

64. The House Of The Rising Sun - Animals

65. Mr. Tambourine Man - Byrds

66. Let's Go Crazy - Prince

67. Please, Please, Please - James Brown

68. Iron Man- Black Sabbath

69. Walk On The Wild Side - Lou Reed

70. Won't Get Fooled Again - Who

71. Slow Ride - Foghat

72. Crossroads - Cream

73. Blue Suede Shoes - Carl Perkins

74. With Or Without You - U2

75. More Than A Feeling - Boston

76. We Will Rock You - Queen

77. Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac

78. Proud Mary - Creedence Clearwater Revival

79. Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley

80. Lola - Kinks

81. Show Me The Way - Peter Frampton

82. White Rabbit- Jefferson Airplane

83. Southern Man - Neil Young

84. Money - Pink Floyd

85. Jump- Van Halen

86. Master of Puppets - Metallica

87. One Way Out- The Allman Brothers

88. Rock and Roll All Night - KISS

89. That'll Be The Day - Buddy Holly & The Crickets

90. Brandy - Looking Glass

91. Roadhouse Blues- The Doors

92. Every Breath You Take - Police

93. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen

94. The Joker - Steve Miller Band

95. All Day And All Of The Night - Kinks

96. Fly By Night - Rush

97. Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan

98. Hound Dog - Elvis Presley

99. Jumpin' Jack Flash - Rolling Stones

100. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John

As to the question: Should we replace What I Say in slot 10 with The Boys Are Back In Town by Thin Lizzy? 70% of you said "yes" 20% "no" so it's a done deal.

As To Radar Love Occupying Slot 54?

See results

Should we bump 52. Comfortably Numb and add the Springsteen penned Blinded By The Light-Manfred Mann's Earth Band?

See results

By The Way, If You Enjoyed This You Might Just Like My Lens On The Eagles:

Poll on Bruce & The Beach Boys

Switch #16 Born To Run- Springsteen with #9 Good Vibrations- Beach Boys?

See results
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Should we add Godzilla (Blue Oyster Cult) and/or 157 Riverside Avenue by REO Speedwagon?

See results

Yes, we have no instrumentals!

Add Peter Gunn?

See results

BTO is now on the list - Yes, there was some debate...

...as to which particular song but almost everyone wanted some BTO. "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" has entered mid-list.

So what about Heart? We already have Crazy On You. But does Magic Man gets your blood pumping enough to let the Wilson sisters get the double whammy?

Add Heart's Magic Man?

See results

David Bowie

I watched a free documentary the other night about David Bowie. It shed a lot of light on someone who has always seemed mysterious and odd to me. Post-vid, I'm a much bigger fan than I was previously.

He's much warmer and more likeable than I imagined. And he went through more personally as well as career-wise than most people know: near bankruptcy after years of hits and touring, a constant fear of the mental illness that ran in his family, the suicide of his brother in a mental hospital, yet through it all Androgynous Man's constant dedication to pushing the envelope on his art was, and is, surely unparalleled among rock & rollers.

His old hit songs are great, he should at least have the opportunity to be on the list. I'm sure he'll be disappointed if we don't see fit to include him when he checks in every day, lol.

If you have a couple hours to spare anytime soon spend it watching this doc, I believe you'll be glad you did:

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/david-bowie-sound-a...

Add some David Bowie?

See results

Changes

Journey

Add Don't Stop Believin'?

See results

When You've Had Enough Classic Rock... - Maybe try some C.C.?

If you're like me you love classic rock and listen to it regularly. But there are those moments when hearing the guitar solo on Free Bird for the 2000th time fails to generate every ounce of excitement it did the first 1,999! A little diversity is a good thing and don't worry, you'll come back to Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo with fresh ears, fully ready for another go-round.

So here I'm offering up for your listening pleasure some C.C. and no, I don't mean Credence Clearwater.

I'm talkin' Christian Contemporary. If you never listen to it you'll be shocked at just how good the best of it is. I doubt these songs will turn you Christian if you're not just from listening and they're great.

You like classic rock so maybe at least give "He Reigns" by The Newsboys a listen. Or maybe check out the Third Day video or perhaps some Sidewalk Prophets. No, I don't get paid for you clicking on any of this stuff.

What are you afraid of? A Christian lyric won't hurt you near as much as you fear, LOL.

In this section you can make suggestions such as recommending that a certain song be rated higher than another or suggesting a song & artist to replace one already on the list.

Criteria? This is not about how much you like a certain artist or group, it's about the song and performance itself. Most important, when you happen to catch it on the radio, do you drive a little faster, lol? Does it get you excited?

If I think a suggestion is valid I'll put it on the poll question and if there are more "yes" votes than "no", the change is made, it's that simple! Hopefully we'll boil this down to the definitive, killer list.

Be sure to subscribe to the e-mail notifications available so you can stay updated. No, you're NOT too busy! Reduce your time on Fox and CNN and all that news crap, this is music we're talking about!

You Can Help Pick!

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    • alienbritt profile image

      alienbritt 3 years ago

      I absolutely love this list! Though i was born in the 90's, classic rock remains my favorite!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      free bird should be higher than #20.... for its guitar solo, it should be put in like the top 10 at least. And bohemian rhapsody by queen should be at least in the top 15 (my opinion top 5 haha)

    • GoodinDevelopme profile image

      GoodinDevelopme 6 years ago

      Great lens, really put together killer songs. Enjoyed it!

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 6 years ago from Liverpool, England

      Great lens, apart from BOTW being called a rock song! Put Jumping Jack Flash in instead.

      I'd suggest you post this in the Spotlight forum.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great and thought provoking lens. Can't offer any alternatives to what you have, because as you've pointed out, the subject is highly subjective. Everyone has a song that they irrationally love or hate, no matter what its merit! Love this lens, though!

    • fbaum818 profile image

      fbaum818 6 years ago

      Like this. Thank you!

    • Writingmystory1 profile image

      Writingmystory1 6 years ago

      Great list but I think Pour Some Sugar on Me - Def Leppard, Is This Love - Whitesnake, Three Times A Lady - Commodores, Your Mama Don't Dance - Loggins and Messina should all be on your list somewhere.