If “Classic Rock” Now Extends All the Way into the 1990s Then What is the New Top 20 Best Songs?

There’s a “new” radio station on the FM dial here in the ‘burbs of Greater Boston and its billing itself as an update on the vaunted “Classic Rock” format. They still play your typical 60s-70s fare, your Led Zep and Pink Floyd, but they also include 80s Hair Metal staples as well as grunge classics.

By these calculations the era of “Classic Rock” now goes from roughly 1965-1995 (ish).

That’s 30+ years of music (why this station which shall not be named – no free publicity here at Hi-Top but we do take Ad $$ no questions asked – can only manage to play about 15 different songs and insists on playing Ozzy’s “Bark at the Moon” 5 times a day is another discussion completely…) which means it’s due time to reevaluate the much heralded Top 20 Classic Rock Songs of All-Time.

Hi-Top Updated Top 20 “Classic Rock” Songs of All-Time (1965-1995(ish))

*Rules & Regulations – We are putting the “Rock” in “Classic Rockhere folks so that means you won’t see the overrated hack thief Paul Simon or Bob Dylan or any 70s Singer-Songwriter and we are also leaving out most 80s New Wave bands unless I decide otherwise (it’s my list dammit) and the same goes for punk as well.

20. The Boys are Back in Town

Just pure classic rock riffage right here. Perhaps the greatest duel guitar attack ever put to tape?

19. Train in Vain

Punk is not classic rock but The Clash were never punk. They were always more. A personal fave gets the nod as The Clash track to make this list.

18. Friend of the Devil

Don’t worry Hi-Top Nation the Lil’ Dogg won’t go on too long about America’s Greatest Band The Grateful Dead and I swear I won’t wax poetic about how The Dead and their music are an experience, a consciousness, a state of being that truly transcends mere “music” and this pup won’t say that The Dead’s merits can hardly be constrained by the limits of a single traditional song and that really the entirety of their music is all one song but I will say that “Friend of the Devil” just plain kicks ass.

17. Won’t Back Down

Tom Petty reaching “Classic Rock” Status was a forgone conclusion from the first note of his first song. Petty has always been “Classic Rock”. Any number of Heartbreaker jams could be on this list but I’ll limit myself to just one and “Won’t Back Done” gets the nod as the quintessential Petty rocker.

16. Dr. Feelgood

I’d put the Feelgood riff up against anything Led Zep or AC/DC ever did. No joke. It’s a monster.

15. Owner of a Lonely Heart

If you look up “Classic Rock Song” in the dictionary you get a YouTube link to this song.

14. Interstate Love Song

Yes I am saying a Stone Temple Pilots song is as Top 15 song of All-Time. If it were not for Weiland being an absolute colossal ass of a drug addict STP would rightly be remembered as the Second greatest Grunge Era band. Yeah I said that too.

13. Mr. Blue Sky

Not much to say about ELO other than this song is stunning.

12. In a Big Country

It’s my list. And this is some of the best 4 minutes in music history.

11. She’s a Beauty

Oh yeah. This song. Who sang this? Who? Okay well this song is AWESOME.

10. Paradise City

More about Guns in a moment.

9. You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Epic. Paul McCartney wishes WISHES wishes he could have written anything like this.

8. The Weight

Levon Helmes, ladies and gentlemen. Levon Motherfucking Helms.

7. Don’t Stop Believin’

Unfortunately yes. Over played. Over used. Yet still. Here it is.

6. Live Forever

The Brothers Gallagher at their best. Bloody brilliant.

5. Your Love

Believe it or not there was actually a time before every bar and wedding and sports contest blasted out Your Love endlessly. A time when The Outfield were a forgotten band with one forgotten hit. The annals of history will someday find that a certain group of drunk twenty somethings in and around Boston in the early 2000s were THE FIRST PEOPLE to resurrect this musical gem and bring it back to its rightful spot in musical history.

4. Let’s Spend the Night Together

If the world was an honest place then we would all agree to admit that “Satisfaction” has been vastly overrated for forever and “Let’s Spend the Night Together” is not only a far superior song but actually contains the a much better Keef Richards musical composition. But since the world is not an honest place let the Lil’ Dogg be your eternal voice of reason.

Side Tangent – The Stones ARE “Classic Rock” and The Beatles ARE NOT! That’s cuz The Beatles are a crappy children’s band only slightly better than The Wiggles.

3. Sweet Child O’ Mine

Yes GnR ABSOLUTELY deserve two songs in the Top 10. Coulda been half the damn list to be honest. We go deeep on Guns here.

2. Smells Like Teen Spirit

Not my favorite Nirvana song but certainly the forever Nirvana song. It’s almost impossible to listen to Teen Spirit with fresh ears at this point but if you can you’ll remember just how huge the riff and drums are. Just epic.

1. Bohemian Rhapsody

Unstoppable really. Rhapsody has everything. Just an absolute marvel that could never happen again.

That’s it. That’s the list. Facts is facts and these are right now at this moment in the Lil’ Dogg’s impeachable impeccable opinion the greatest Top 20 Classic Rock Songs of All-Time. Obviously the biggest losers of Classic Rock’s expansion into the 90s are Pink Floyd and Led Zepplin. No doubt some Zep and Floyd songs would be in the 20-30 range but I think with hindsight right now they’ve been bumped. Disagree if you must at your own peril and once again ITS MY DAMN LIST.


  1. My opinion: The “classic rock” era is defined by two dates. It starts the day the Beatles landed at JFK and ends the day Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham died. To be considered in this era, you had to have released at least one record during that time.


  2. No CCR?!? The lack of that and Led Zeppelin on this list is disgraceful. But at least your egregious oversight compelled me to comment.


  3. No CCR?!? The lack of that and Led Zeppelin on this list is disgraceful. But at least your egregious oversight compelled me to comment.


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