The 100 Greatest Rock Songs Ever: #'s 20-1

Mar 9, 2003 (Updated Nov 29, 2003)

The Bottom Line N/A

Well, here we are, at the end of this long journey to figure out exactly what the best rock song ever is. I'm sure I've omitted some of your favorites, and well, that's too bad. I won't sit here and trot out certain songs just because everyone else would have them on their list (*ahem*, Rolling Stones/Beatles, although that's not to say I don't have cliche songs on here). Anyways, on to the list...there are some eye openers, I promise you.

20.Beatles: Revolution: A strong melody, good playing, and a song that actually has something to say. For a very long time, it was the only Beatles song I could stand, which is saying a lot given how much I used to just despise them.

19.Buffalo Springfield: For What It's Worth: AKA the "stop, listen, what's that sound" song. Just a fun pop rock song with a memorable hook and a nice easy hummable melody. The Fraggle Rock version kicked a*s too :)

18.The Who: Won't Get Fooled Again: That scream towards the end is piercing in the best way possible. The song also has one of the best recorded jam sessions for a "regular" rock band ever.

17.Lynyrd Skynyrd: Free Bird: There is always some drunk a*s at just about every rock show who screams out either: A)"play some Skynyrd dude!" or B)"FREE BIRD!" And with good reason. Free Bird is probably the quintessential southern rock song.

16.Rolling Stones: Street Fighting Man: I'm sorry, but Jumpin Jack Flash and Brown Sugar have NOTHING on this song. This song just makes me want to get up and DANCE, which granted, is not a pretty sight. This song embodies the best of the Stones' uptempo numbers, period.

15.Black Crowes: My Morning Song: No, not Hard to Handle, or Angels, or Twice as Hard. This song sounds like it was sent from heaven above. I love the guitar riff, and that bridge is positively one of the best bridges ever written. If you need a pick me up, you should look no farther than this song.

14.R.E.M.: Everybody Hurts: I'm not a huge R.E.M. fan. For every song that I think is great, I can find one that's awful. However, even I must admit that I can't find a song that's as bad as this one is good. Such a great emotional number, with Michael Stipe giving probably the best performance of his career.

13.Tom Petty: Free Fallin: I don't know a solitary soul who hates this song. That alone is enough to get it on the list. The fact that it's just 3 simple chords strummed over and over for the most part means that Petty basically took the old adage and did the most he could with it: Keep It Simple Stupid.

12.AC/DC: Highway to Hell: Those opening chords just sound like you're starting on a trip to hell. This is probably the song that most influenced the Back in Black album's sound. And let's face it, a whole lot of people can relate to being on a highway to hell.

11.Pearl Jam: Better Man: I struggled and struggled with where to put this song. The reason I place it so high, besides the fact that I think it's the best song Eddie Vedder ever wrote in regards to hook, is that almost nine years since I first heard it (Easter Sunday 94, the Atlanta concert on the radio), I still have never ever gotten sick of it at any point. Not after 275+ bootleg versions, not after the radio play, not after the whining by other fans. I guess that's enough to put it this high.

10.U2: All I Want Is You: I honestly feel that this is the most romantic, sweetest song ever written. My only complaint is that the production on the Rattle and Hum version blows...otherwise, this might be even higher.

9.Kiss: Rock and Roll All Nite: What is undoubtedly the greatest pure rock and roll anthem ever written and put to record. Can't we all relate to "rock and roll all nite, party every day?" Party on!

8.Bruce Springsteen: Born to Run: Probably the greatest epic "story" song ever written, Born to Run feels alive, passionate, and full of life.

7.Rolling Stones: Wild Horses: This, folks, is by far the best song the Stones ever wrote. It has a country blues feeling to it in a lot of ways, and Mick Jagger doesn't try to over-emote in his singing. Just a great great simple song.

6.Led Zeppelin: Over the Hills and Far Away: One of the best acoustic guitar lines ever. And when the rest of the band kicks in, it's a moment that few rock bands could match. It's just a splendidly put together song.

5.Aerosmith: Walk This Way: On influence alone, this song is top 10. That is probably the best known guitar riff ever. And while some people would say that what it did for rap/rock was a bad thing, most people realize that the doors it broke down was huge. Did I mention that guitar riff kicks a*s?

4.Lynyrd Skynyrd: Sweet Home Alabama: This is probably the song that most challenges Walk This Way for the best known guitar riff or line ever. It's a direct response to Neil Young's "Southern Man," and the fact that it makes such a b*tch out of Young makes it even higher in my book.

3.The Clash: London Calling: If there was nothing else the 2003 Grammy Awards accomplished, it was a reminder that this song was the most urgent and important anit-war song ever put to tape.

2.The Who: Baba O'Riley: From the keyboard/synthesizer introduction, to the power chords, to the drumming of Keith Moon, to the unforgettable lyrics inspired by Woodstock ("teenage wasteland...we're all wasted!"), Baba O'Riley is an anthem that will forever live on.

And the greatest rock song ever, numero uno, is:

Party on Wayne, Party On Garth


#1.Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody: In terms of scope, silliness, fun, and bravado, NO song has it over this one. To be honest, I had Baba as #1, but after watching Wayne's World recently, I had to bump this up. It is by far the most fun song to sing along to at the top of your lungs while driving.

Well, that was rather anti-climatic, wasn't it? Oh well, thank you for reading anyway. Maybe I'll someday get the motivation to do the 100 best albums or something. For now, I'm heading to bed, because I'm exhausted.

The rest of the list:
The Near Misses

Related Reviews:
The Fifty Greatest Rock Albums of the 1990s Part One: #'s 50-41

The Fifty Greatest Rock Albums of the 1990s Part Two: #'s 40-31

The Fifty Greatest Rock Albums of the 1990s Part Three: #'s 30-21

The Fifty Greatest Rock Albums of the 1990s Part Four: #'s 20-11

The Fifty Greatest Rock Albums of the 1990s Part Five: #'s 10-1

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Member: Matt Aucoin
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