Classic rock isn’t just a throwaway term for guitar music of a certain vintage. It’s an era, a lifestyle and a sound all its own. To paraphrase one of its great practitioners, classic rock songs will never die. Even as the 60s and 70s fade into history, classic rock’s greatest contributions still have the power to make your fist and feet beat. While making you want to push back a cold one.
In a way, putting together our list of classic rock’s greatest hits was an exercise in exclusion. While rock-adjacent genres like punk, new wave, psychedelic, garage, and pop are indeed classic, here we define “classic” as thunderous, arena-ready, guitar-driven compositions, from late 60s to early 80s pre-hair metal. Yes, you’ll find Talking Heads, The Police, The Clash and Blondie on classic rock stations, but you won’t find them here. They’re classic, but they’re not classic rock, no matter what your radio station thinks.
Prepare to raise your fists: these are the 28 essential classic rock songs.
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