10 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time

March 13, 2009

This is a Cross-post from my Facebook account:

Now for those who, like my Youth Pastor in 1973, think that all rock-and-roll is of the devil, do not read any further. For those of us who love that “african devil beat” and aren’t convicted by Holy Spirit there is anything sinful about it, here is my current top ten.

Just a few explanations. Everyone has their own idea of what a rock song is. Here are my criteria:

1. Beat is everything. Therefore, the beat and the drummer must be important to the song. Jimi Hendrix and Eddy V.H. solos won’t make the cut.
2. Rhythm guitar trumps everything.
3. Pop music doesn’t get included.
4. You must be able to workout on a treadmill going faster than 6 mph to these songs.
5. Everyone smiles when they hear these songs (except my aforementioned Youth Pastor).
6. They are in no particular order, since there really is no way to compare one song to another.

If you feel I have left one out that meets all my criteria, please enlighten me.

10 Greatest Rock Songs of All time

Smoke on the Water – Deep Purple
Taking Care of Business – Bachman Turner Overdrive
China Grove – Doobie Brothers
Vertigo – U2
More than a Feeling – Boston
Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N Roses
Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
Layla – Derek and the Dominos
I Want You to Want Me – Cheap Trick
Radar Love – either Golden Earring or White Lion

Almost made the cut:

Crocodile Rock – Elton John (too much piano)
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen (song has too many slow parts to qualify)

Carry on my Wayward Son – Kansas (drums aren’t noticeable…but may be one of the greatest songs of all time).

Stacy’s Mom – As a favor to my friend Stacy, I left it off.

Now you know.



  1. The only one on your list that I love is “I Want You to Want Me” by Cheap Trick. Used to love this band, until I saw them in person. Love the song though… David Cook, of American Idol fame, has a great song on his first albumn — #6 — called Bar-ba-sol (don’t know why). It has a great rockin’ beat. Check it out!

  2. ‘more than a feeling’ – awesome!

  3. Thanks Sandra…I will definitely check it out.

  4. I don’t associate rock with beat. Soul music has a beat. For me, songs are great that take me back to special moments in time. I’m not much of a rocker, so I really have to think hard. No Eagles (blech!). No Kansas, No Queen, No The Who, No Uriah Heap, No Deep Purple, no Pink Floyd, no Yes, and definitely no Robin Trower. No Zeppelin (I’ve never been a fan). And no Bob Seger (ugh).
    I thought I’d have a hard time even coming up with ten, but it’s hard to stop.

    in no particular order:
    1. Traffic, “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” (one of my favorites)
    2. AC/DC “Back in Black”
    3. Bon Jovi has to be in there, maybe “Wanted Dead or Alive”
    4. Surprisingly, I do like Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”
    5. “A Whiter Shade of Pale”, by Procol Harum (I had to look that one up)
    6. Jimmy Hendrix, “Little Wing”
    7. Poison, “Every Rose has its thorn”
    8. Grateful Dead, “Sugaree”
    9. I love me some Whitesnake, “is This Love”
    10. Is Santana considered rock? So many good ones, but I think I’ll choose “Samba Pa Ti”

    oh crap, I forgot Greg Allman, “I’m no Angel”

    runners up (oh forget it, let’s do top twenty)
    11. something by Cinderella. “Don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” (or Gypsy Road)
    12. The Zombies, “She’s not there”
    13. Simon and Garfunkel, “the Boxer”
    14. Donovan, “Atlantis”
    15. Pearl Jam, “Yellow Ledbetter” (I love love love Temple of the Dog, but would call them alternative, not rock. Pearl Jam, for whatever reason, is called rock)
    16. Elton John, “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
    17. Elvis Costello, “Alison”
    18. Van Halen (with Sammy Hagar), something from OU812. Maybe “Black and Blue”
    19. Scorpions, “Wind of Change”
    20. Duh….Jan and Dean, “Barbara Ann”

    runners up (yeah, I know I’m not done)
    Boston, America, CSN (no Young), Jackson Browne, The Animals, The Everly Brothers, The Righteous Brothers, Otis Redding, the Mamas and the Papas, and of course Ray LaMontagne. If Michael Jackson is considered rock, then “Thriller” had to be considered.

  5. Barb…too bad you had trouble coming up with 10. 😉

    The Boxer would definitely be up on my next 20 list of rock songs. I am a drum, rhythm guitar fanatic, so that is what I look for in rock songs. I also have lists of my favorite folk songs, favorite disco songs (that would be an interesting list), favorite jazz, classical, CCM etc.

    Thanks for adding to the list.

  6. Definitely no Bob Seger…I agree completely.

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