Rock and Roll
Rock and Roll

Top 10 Rock and Roll Songs of All Time

Kaylee Heath
By Kaylee Heath, Associate Writer
Published December 4, 2017Updated March 13, 2020

Most of us have a favorite rock song (even classic music fans). The best rock songs act as a type of keystone in our lives, a keystone that embodies memories, emotions, and nostalgia from our lives. From “Smoke on the Water” to “Stairway to Heaven,” rock your way through some of the greatest rock songs of all time, and see if your favorite makes our list.

  • Stairway to Heaven, Led Zepplin[1][3]
  • Led Zeppelin Rock
    Over one million copies of the sheet music for Stairway to Heaven have been sold. For other popular songs, the number is between 10,000 and 15,000 copies.

  • Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen[1]
  • Queen Rock Songs
    When Freddie Mercury began to write this song, he referred to it as "The Cowboy Song" because of its western feel

  • Hotel California, The Eagles[1]
  • Hotel California
    The founder of the "Hotel California" the Eagles sang about was a Chinese immigrant named Mr. Wong. He changed his name to Don Antonio Tabasco, wanting locals to believe he was Mexican

  • Free Bird, Lynyrd Skynyrd[1][3]
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd Albums
    MCA Records didn't want to include this song on the band's first album; they thought it was too long for radio stations to play

  • Purple Haze, Jimi Hendrix[2]
  • Jimi Hendrix Illustration
    Jimi Hendrix's public career lasted less than four years total, but his music still remains popular today

  • Comfortably Numb, Pink Floyd[1][3]
  • David Gilmour Vocals
    David Gilmour, the lead singer of Pink Floyd,  performed two hugely popular shows in 2016, 45 years after the band first formed

  • Start Me Up, The Rolling Stones[2]
  • Rolling Stones Tour
    The Rolling Stones put this song on the back burner for four years before adding it to an album; they couldn't initially find a good beat to match the lyrics

  • Back in Black, AC/DC[1][2][3]
  • ACDC Album Cover
    Back in Black is a tribute to AC/DC's former lead singer, who  "died of misadventure" after a night of partying

  • Carry on Wayward Son, Kansas[1]
  • Guitarist Kerry Livgren
    Kerry Livgren, a guitarist for Kansas, wrote this song about his spiritual search for meaning (Keenanrocks / Creative Commons)

  • Smoke on the Water, Deep Purple[3]
  • Deep Purple Rock
    This song was inspired by a fire at a Switzerland rock concert (from a flare gun) which started on stage shortly before Deep Purple was meant to perform


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