Music playlist #33 (The Classic Rock edition)
We take the phrase “classic rock” for granted. It’s one of music’s most casually deployed phrases, yet unlike “indie rock” or just plain “rock,” we rarely see diatribes about the term “classic rock” being reduced to something meaningless. There is a certain identifiable essence to it.
However you want to quantify it, it does seem to be the one "genre" of music that is universally loved around the world. And for good reason.
What are the greatest "Classic Rock" tracks of all time? You can make your own mind up, but nonetheless, enjoy this playlist of our favourites...
Led Zeppelin - Immigrant Song
"Immigrant Song" has had a real resurgence in popularity in recent years thanks to Taika Waititi including it in the fantastic "Thor: Ragnarok" movie. It's easy to see why he used it, as the lyrics are inspired by Norse mythology. We would have included any Led Zeppelin track in this list, but for the fact that this rattles around in your head for days after hearing this, we had to include it.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - All Along The Watchtower
Anyone can cover someone else's songs. God knows plenty have over the years, but few are ever able to take an already great song and make it their own. Yet, that is exactly what Jimi Hendrix did with this Bob Dylan composition. Not only was it an improvement, but it was also an instant classic and remains to this day one of the most iconic guitar parts ever.
Dire Straits - Sultan's of Swing
This was Dire Straits' FIRST single. Let that sink in for a moment. They came straight out of the gates with this fully formed rock/blues classic. Not bad at all. Mark Knopfler's voice may have been compared to the likes of Lou Reed and Tom Petty, but the music was unlike anything else people heard at the time. As great as they are, they may never be better than they were with this release.
AC/DC - Highway To Hell
Classic Rock Magazine called this "Not only AC/DC's greatest song but the ultimate rock anthem, period". It's hard to agree with a glowing endorsement from those guys. It is though, for sure, incredible. It's just a shame that it came from the last album Bon Scott was involved in before his untimely death.
The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter
The opening song from the incredible "Let It Bleed" album, this was then The Rolling Stones were just starting to hit their creative peak. It was also their first album since Brian Jones has mysteriously died and their final release of the 1960s. You can sense the world-weariness in the lyrics. Any song that Martin Scorcese has used in so many movies must have something about it.
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
Bohemian Rhapsody must be one of the oddest songs to not just become a huge hit, but also be practically a part of every day life. It has no chorus. It has an opera section. The lyrics are CRAZY. But, for whatever reason, it all works like a dream. It's basically three songs in one, and is easily one of the most recognisable and memorable songs ever written.
Deep Purple - Smoke on the Water
Rumour has it that this is written about a totally factual event where a rogue flare set off during a Frank Zappa set at Montreux Jazz Festival set a casino roof alight. Singer Ian Gillan said: "It was an inferno. The wind was coming down off the mountains and blowing the flames and smoke over the lake. And the smoke was just like a stage show and it was hanging on the water". So there you go.
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
By modern rock standards, "Paranoid" is a slow song. The revved engine feeling of the guitars is complimented by Bill Ward's impeccable pace-keeping drumming. Ozzy Osbournes punk styled yelps are never more recognisable than they are here. If a track is covered by the likes of Queens Of The Stone Age, Megadeth, and Green Day, it must be pretty bloody good. And it is.
The Who - My Generation
Taken from the album of the same name, there's an argument to be had that this is the first-ever true punk song. Referencing counter-culture and teenage angst, it's understandable why people would say that. It's crazy to think that this is the highest-charting song they ever released, and only ever got to number 2 in 1965. One of the best sing-along tracks of all time.
Motley Crue - Home Sweet Home
This track became a cultural phenomenon, kick-starting the power ballad trend. Although on first listen, "Home Sweet Home" is more notable for its tender piano intro, it wasn't the guys abandoning their hard rock/glam rock roots. Upon further listens, Mick Mars' unbelievable guitar solo in the second half of the song is evidence of this.
April 2, 2020