Ask 700 music experts to vote on the greatest Rock and Roll songs of all time and you get a hybrid opinion. Something everybody can argue with. Such is the nature of opinion.
here's my choice for the top twenty rock songs:
1. Johnny B Goode, Chuck Berry.
Richards what the greatest Rock song is and perhaps he'll name a Chuck
Berry Song! Indeed Keith has made remarks in the past as to Berry's influence
on his style. Being a big Stones fan, I was glad "Satisfaction"
ranked number one in VH1's poll, yet could there be "Satisfaction" without
first having Chuck Berry ?
2. She Loves You, The Beatles.
"RESPECT" as number two but "She Loves You" with
its "yeah, yeah, yeahs" characterized the band that would change the music industry
and lead the British Invasion.
3. Good Golly Miss Molly & Tuti Fruti, Little Richard.
Little Richard claims
he invented rock and roll. Indeed his influence is undeniable so much
so that two of his songs tied for the number three position as opposed
to VH1's pick, "Stairway To Heaven." One must wonder if Robert Plant's
wailing vocals owe a debt to Richard's screaming deliveries. Covered by so many bands including The Beatles, Elvis, Mitch Ryder and Bruce Springsteen, the stars themselves endorse
4. Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley.
The beat and the guitar riffs were unmistakably ahead of their time. Covered, converted and even ripped off, Bo may have been the first "Hard" rocker.
The Stones credit him as an influence. Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Burden, The Doors, The Band (as The Hawks) and others give the musical nod to BO.
you don't know Bo - you don't know Diddley!"
5. Be My Baby, The Ronnettes.
Phil Spector's Wall of Sound made this girl group the archetype for the Supremes.
folks at MOTOWN did their best to emulate the sound. Had Ronnie continued her career
rather than marrying Phil and being locked away, she might have given
Diana Ross a run for the money. The Supremes went on to become the most successful American
vocal group often
challenging The Beatles for the Number one slot on the charts.
6. Blowin' In The Wind & The Times They Are A Changin', Bob Dylan Two ties in the top ten ? These two "protest songs" seemed to inject seriousness into pop music.
Dylan proved to the folk world that success could be achieved in writing fresh new viable material.
Rock and Roll a consciousness that inspired John Lennon and others to
write socially relevant lyrics giving the genre artistic credibility. Dylan has been attributed
with starting the counterculture.
Either of these two songs were far more influential than VH1's pick
"Hotel California" by the Eagles.
7. Purple Haze, Jimi Hendrix
From his debut album, the guitar playing and suggestive lyrics turned the music world upside down.
and masterful the entire album constitutes 90% of Jimi's greatest hits.
A definitive high point in the psychedelic era which inspired every guitar player to follow.
8. Boogie Chillun, John Lee Hooker.
This song from 1948
qualifies as one of the earliest rock recordings even if the term hadn't
been invented yet. Note the similarities between "Hipshake" off Exile On
Main Street by the Stones, " La Grange " by ZZ TOP and Hooker's Boogie. VH1 has the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" at this position.
9. Shake Rattle & Roll, Bill Haley & His Comets.
For years Bill Haley was attributed as the founder of Rock and Roll. While musicologists place Rock's origins a bit earlier, a case can be made that Bill Haley gave us rockabilly.
as Alan Freed was concerned, Bill was the boss. "I'm like a one
eyed cat peeking in a seafood
store.." The Beatles' "Hey Jude" was VH1's entry at #9.
10. Satisfaction, The Rolling Stones.
The Stones have said Keith laid down the chops for Satisfaction in Tampa Fla which indeed is where the airport was but the motel they stayed in was actually in Clearwater. It was there that Richards came up with the opening chords. Early social commentary in the lyrics and a harder tone became this band's calling card. They opened with this song on their last tour.
this at number one.
11. Stairway To Heaven, Led Zeppelin.
requested rock song in the 70's according to FM jocks. VH1 placed it
at #3 while
"Louie Louie" came in at #11.
12. Louie Louie, The Kingsmen.
rumored for years that the inaudible lyrics were allegedly obscene.
Still this song became a party classic. When the words were finally published in the mass media
it's lyrics were revealed to be quite aboveboard. "Yesterday" by The Beatles
took this spot in VH1's poll.
13. Layla, Derek & The Dominos.
Recorded in Miami with
Eric Clapton, Duane Allman and members of Bob Seger's band, the song
stands as Claptons' "Stairway".
14. Tangled Up In Blue, Bob Dylan.
A triumphal epic for Dylan. Significant because of it's complex story line and brilliant verse.
his best selling album "Blood On The Tracks' many consider it Dylan's
greatest. In so many songs Bruce Springsteen has attempted to capture the movie-like feel of Bob's
lyrics earning him the title "the new Bob Dylan."
15. Ohio, Crosby Stills Nash & Young.
Powerful protest at a time when it was needed. Anthemic in proportion.
pick - "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry.
16. Gimme Shelter , The Rolling Stones.
60's ended with a bang at Altamonte. It was "Satisfaction"
for a new violent time. The song VH 1 pick for this slot is my next pick.
17. Won't Get Fooled Again & Baba O Reilley, The Who.
Another Tie. Both from Who's Next. DJ's got lots of calls requesting a song called " Teenage Wasteland" which was titled "Baba O' Reilly."
"Jailhouse Rock" took this VH1 position.
18. Walk Like A Man & Sherry, Franky Valli & The Four Seasons.
Talk About high notes.
VH1 picked "American Pie" as 18.
19. My Girl & Just My Imagination, The Temptations.
Both the Temptations
and the Four Seasons had phenomenal success and influenced
pop and rock to such an extent that their inclusion in the top twenty
is a must. Groups like the Backstreet Boys, Boy's To Men and a
handful of similar sounding vocalists owe their existence to these two originals.
20. American Pie, Don McClean.
It would be sacrilegious
not to include this brilliant musical history of rock in the
top twenty. Like the VH1 list, which placed the Beatle's "A Day
In The Life" at number 20, you probably can argue with my picks as well....
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