100 Greatest Rock Musicians (Plus 50 Honorable Mentions) & Their Hits


By David Barwinski

There is nothing like rock and roll. The sound, the lyrics, the dress, the attitude, the live performances, forever changed the world. Rockabilly, rock and roll (a genre of rock and one of its earliest forms, from which the umbrella term “rock and roll” originates), beat, surf, garage, psychedelic, progressive, hard, metal, Southern, electronic, glam, heartland, punk, new wave, alternative — it’s all great. And any combination of rock with folk, classical, blues, jazz, country, rhythm and blues (rock’s closest relative), pop, soul, and funk works nicely, too.

Rock was born in New Orleans in the late 1940s, moved up the Mississippi to Memphis in the 1950s, and by the 1960s had spread like wildfire to hotbeds of creativity New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and, of course, London, England. Americans invented rock but the British perfected it. Seven of the top 10 best rock acts are from in and around London, including #5 to #1.

“A hit is a hit,” music producer Hesh once said on The Sopranos. In that spirit and for the purpose of this article, a hit is not necessarily a song which made the Billboard Hot 100, nor is it necessarily not a hit if it didn’t. Rather, a hit is a masterpiece, a perfect or near-perfect amalgamation of songwriting and musicianship.

Hits transcend genre. Even the most diehard rock fans, if they are honest and understand music, will have to admit that “Stayin’ Alive” is a hit. You may not like it, but that’s irrelevant. Pop fans may not like “Stairway to Heaven,” but it doesn’t matter. Objectively, it’s a hit. The hits of each band are listed and are the primary factor in selection and placement. In an effort to keep the article centered on rock, songs which are clearly of a different genre are eliminated.

Likewise, legends such as B.B. King (blues), Miles Davis (jazz), Ray Charles (rhythm and blues/soul), Aretha Franklin (soul), and James Brown (funk) are out. Others who were active in multiple genres but whose rock output was significant are included, like Fats Domino and Bo Diddley, but their non-rock work is excluded.

Besides songwriting and musicianship, originality and influence carry weight, yet to a lesser extent. Longevity is not considered as it’s better to be around for a few years, produce great music, and have a lasting impact, than make music for 30 years that is mediocre and inconsequential. Commercial success is not taken into account.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, despite the name, is not the definitive source for the best rock musicians ever. Some of the acts they let in and some they do not are questionable to say the least. Similar criticism can be leveled at the associated Rolling Stone. See their 2011 “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” and 2021 “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” for proof. And while lists such as these abound on the Internet, there don’t appear to be any standout ones and many are downright poor.

There is, to be sure, an element of subjectivity in these selections, as there is with any art. What an artist says (songwriting) may be meaningful to some but not to others, although it is easy enough to separate great writing from the not-so-great. It is also feasible to objectively critique a band as technical skill (musicianship) can be readily determined. Additionally, originality and influence are measurable. Therefore, when compiling all of the components, subjectivity is minimal.

Rock is not dead as is often claimed, but it has been on the decline for 40+ years. It was inevitable and indeed has occurred to every art form as innovation is exhausted. In rock’s case, the high point was the 1960s to 1970s. A preponderance of the greatest musicians ever did their best work during that period.

The much-maligned 1980s still had some great music and the early-1990s was a bright spot. The less said about the last 25 years or so, the better. You can count on one hand how many all-time greats emerged then.

In short, it’s quite clear the halcyon days of rock are well behind us. But as long as people can access and enjoy the music it will never truly die. So, rock on!

Let’s work our way down, starting with position 100.


100. Blondie – One of many groups to break out from New York’s Lower East Side, Blondie is an early punk band but better known for their later new wave sound. Led by Debbie Harry (the eponymous blonde), they fused rock with disparate genres such as reggae and funk. Hit songs: “Call Me,” “Dreaming,” “Hanging on the Telephone,” “Heart of Glass,” “One Way or Another” Best song: “Heart of Glass”

99. The Cure – Like fellow English rival The Smiths, The Cure specialize in a particular type of low-key, emotive alternative rock aimed especially at teenagers. But their hook-filled songs featuring Robert Smith’s melodic lead guitar and vocals have a widespread appeal. Hit songs: “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Friday I’m in Love,” “Just Like Heaven,” “Lovesong,” “Pictures of You” Best song: “Just Like Heaven”

98. Santana – The first of many acts on this list from San Francisco, Carlos Santana’s merging of Latin music and blues/psychedelic rock is a testament to the universality of rock. With his soaring guitar, he put on one of the most celebrated shows at Woodstock (pictured, see “Soul Sacrifice”) and 30 years later introduced himself to a new generation with the modern classic “Smooth.” Hit songs: “Black Magic Woman,” “Evil Ways,” “Oye Coma Va,” “Smooth,” “Soul Sacrifice” Best song: “Black Magic Woman”

97. The Smiths – Morrissey’s commiserative lyrics and melancholic voice speak to embattled youth like few can and guitarist Johnny Marr’s jangly chords recall The Byrds. Despite a brief career, The Smiths influenced major alternative bands to follow. Hit songs: “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now,” “How Soon Is Now?,” “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out,” “This Charming Man,” “William, It Was Really Nothing” Best song: “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out”

96. The Animals – Growling-voiced Eric Burdon and his Animals, like many British Invasion groups, were strongly influenced by American blues and rhythm and blues (R&B). While not achieving the stardom of similar bands like The Rolling Stones and The Who, they were very influential in their own right. Their masterwork “The House of the Rising Sun” is one reason Bob Dylan decided to go electric. Hit songs: “Don’t Bring Me Down,” “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” “The House of the Rising Sun,” “It’s My Life,” “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” Best song: “The House of the Rising Sun”

95. Big Star – Big Star is the greatest band you’ve never heard of. The first power pop group, a subgenre of pop rock, their debut album #1 Record and follow ups Radio City and Third all attained critical acclaim but were commercial flops. Regardless, their influence on new wave and alternative is noteworthy. Hit songs: “The Ballad of El Goodo,” “In the Street,” “Kanga Roo,” “September Gurls,” “Thirteen” Best song: “September Gurls”

94. Carl Perkins – Carl Perkins is merely a step below Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley in importance to the development of rock. Along with Presley, he helped invent rockabilly (country/R&B with rock) and largely stuck with it throughout his career. Perkins was part of the “Million Dollar Quartet,” the legendary 1956 jam session with fellow luminaries Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash at Sun Studios in Memphis. Hit songs: “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Boppin’ the Blues,” “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby,” “Honey Don’t,” “Matchbox” Best song: “Blue Suede Shoes”

93. Steve Miller Band – Best known for pop rock staples such as “Take the Money and Run” and “Rock’n Me,” San Franciscans the Steve Miller Band also produced more blues/psychedelic rock in their early days. Their best song, also their most popular, combines both. Hit songs: “Fly Like an Eagle,” “Jet Airliner,” “The Joker,” “Living in the U.S.A.,” “Rock’n Me,” “Take the Money and Run” Best song: “The Joker”

92. The Doobie Brothers – Hailing from the San Francisco area, The Doobie Brothers were a 1970s fixture. Led by Tom Johnston and later Michael McDonald (also of Steely Dan), their music has endured owing to an easygoing folk, country, soul and soft (a subgenre of pop rock) rock sound not unlike the Eagles. Hit songs: “Black Water,” “China Grove,” “Listen to the Music,” “Long Train Runnin’,” “Takin’ It to the Streets,” “What a Fool Believes” Best song: “Listen to the Music”

91. Pearl Jam – Pearl Jam are purveyors of the wildly popular, yet short-lived type of Seattle-born alternative rock called grunge. Their hard-driving sound recalls 1960s garage rock, but with reflective lyrics which helped elevate the subgenre. Ten is one of the great debut albums and they enjoy a reputation as a dynamic live act. Hit songs: “Alive,” “Black,” “Even Flow,” “Jeremy,” “Rearviewmirror,” “Yellow Ledbetter” Best song: “Black”

90. Boston – Boston are arena rockers through and through, but they are a cut above the rest due to the talents of lead guitarist Tom Scholz and vocalist/rhythm guitarist Brad Delp. And their inaugural album Boston is a hard rock classic. Hit songs: “Amanda,” “Don’t Look Back,” “Foreplay/Long Time,” “Hitch a Ride,” “More Than a Feeling,” “Peace of Mind” Best song: “More Than a Feeling”

89. Alice Cooper – The first of many acts on this list from Laurel Canyon, the Los Angeles base of the 1960s counterculture, Alice Cooper is the progenitor of shock rock and helped fashion hard, metal, and glam rock. His anthems speak to malcontented youth like few others. What kid isn’t thrilled by, “School’s out forever!”? Sort of like Kiss, but with real talent. (“We told Kiss where to buy their makeup,” Cooper said.) Hit songs: “Elected,” “I’m Eighteen,” “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “Only Women Bleed,” “School’s Out,” “Welcome to My Nightmare” Best song: “I’m Eighteen.”

88. Bob Seger – Bob Seger is of the heartland rock genre, which is folk, country, R&B and garage rock with Midwestern sensibilities. He is one of the more underappreciated songwriters, dealing primarily in nostalgia. Who can’t relate to coming of age classics like “Night Moves” and “Against the Wind”? “Turn the Page,” about a rock star on the road, not so much. Hit songs: “Against the Wind,” “Hollywood Nights,” “Night Moves,” “Old Time Rock and Roll,” “Still the Same,” “Turn the Page” Best song: “Against the Wind”

87. Traffic – Traffic was an eclectic, improvisational English band fronted by prolific Steve Winwood (even Jimi Hendrix wanted him in his band), also of The Spencer Davis Group and Blind Faith (with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker). Fusing rock with folk, jazz, R&B, soul, psychedelia, and world music, they offer something for everyone. Hit songs: “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” “Feelin’ Alright,” “Freedom Rider,” “John Barleycorn Must Die,” “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys,” “Rock & Roll Stew” Best song: “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys”

86. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Angelenos the Red Hot Chili Peppers didn’t invent funk rock by a long shot (see Sly and the Family Stone, Funkadelic) but they added their own imprint and brought it to a new generation. Flea is on the short list of the greatest bassists ever and John Frusciante is a dexterous guitarist. Hit songs: “Californication,” “Give It Away,” “Otherside,” “Scar Tissue,” “Snow (Hey Oh),” “Under the Bridge” Best song: “Californication”

85. Peter Gabriel – After departing English progressive rock giant Genesis, Peter Gabriel embarked on a solo career, furthering his reputation as a creative mastermind. His unconventional pop/electronic/world music rock helped expand the definition of rock and roll. Hit songs: “Digging in the Dirt,” “Games Without Frontiers,” “In Your Eyes,” “Red Rain,” “Sledgehammer,” “Solsbury Hill” Best song: “Solsbury Hill”

84. ZZ Top – It’s those guys with the sunglasses and beards! Gimmicky, sure, but ZZ Top can back it up with their blues, boogie and hard rock sound — no-nonsense, unplug your brain rock. No, their lyrics won’t ever be mistaken for Neil Young’s, but they can jam with the best of them. Hit songs: “Cheap Sunglasses,” “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “La Grange,” “Legs,” “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Tush” Best song: “La Grange”

83. Joni Mitchell – Joni Mitchell is the queen of Laurel Canyon. A key figure of the hippie movement (she penned Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s encomium “Woodstock”), she also vilified it as a “ruse.” Mitchell is one of the great lyricists who incorporated folk, classical, and jazz into her soft rock sound. Hit songs: “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Both Sides Now,” “A Case of You,” “Free Man in Paris,” “Help Me,” “River” Best song: “A Case of You”

82. Roxy Music – Looking for something out of the ordinary? Give Roxy Music a listen. The Guardian went so far as to name them the second-most influential band after The Beatles. Certainly an exaggeration, and they remain relatively obscure in the U.S., but they did help advance electronic and glam rock and lay the groundwork for punk, new wave, and alternative. Hit songs: “Do the Strand,” “In Every Dream Home a Heartache,” “Love Is the Drug,” “More Than This,” “Re-Make/Re-Model,” “Virginia Plain” Best song: “Do the Strand”

81. Jefferson Airplane – One of the developers of psychedelic rock, Jefferson Airplane was a vital part of the 1960s counterculture movement, centered in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury. They were very active, releasing five albums in three years and playing Monterey, Isle of Wight, Woodstock, and Altamont. Grace Slick helped establish the prototype for the female rock star. Hit songs: “Crown of Creation,” “Embryonic Journey,” “Somebody to Love,” “Volunteers,” “We Can Be Together,” “White Rabbit,” “Wooden Ships” Best song: “Somebody to Love”

80. Johnny Cash  – Before there was Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Neil Young, David Bowie, and Bruce Springsteen, there was “The Man in Black.”  Johnny Cash’s lyrics speak to the oppressed, abused, lonely, and otherwise down and out. With simple guitar chords, steady bass, and subdued drums, he let his baritone voice carry the song. Setting aside his country work (and blues and folk), Cash’s rock output is still enough to secure his place. Hit songs: “Big River,” “Cocaine Blues,” “Cry! Cry! Cry!,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Get Rhythm,” “Hurt,” “I Walk the Line” Best song: “I Walk the Line”

79. Dire Straits – One of the biggest acts of the 1980s, Dire Straits is by far the greatest of the pub rock groups. The genre formed in London in the 1970s as a response to what was perceived as the bombasity of progressive and glam rock. Songwriter and singer Mark Knopfler is one of the preeminent guitarists. Hit songs: “Brothers in Arms,” “Money for Nothing,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “So Far Away,” “Sultans of Swing,” “Tunnel of Love,” “Walk of Life” Best song: “Sultans of Swing”

78. Radiohead – Pink Floydish avant-garde rock for the 1990s, English band Radiohead is marked by an ethereal, plaintive sound and keen lyrics. OK Computer has been named one of the greatest albums ever, although similar ground was covered by The Dark Side Of The Moon 25 years prior. Hit songs: “Creep,” “Fake Plastic Trees,” “Karma Police,” “No Surprises,” “Paranoid Android,” “Reckoner,” “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” Best song: “Paranoid Android”

77. Prince – Prince was acclaimed for his lyrics (wrote his own songs), versatility (played every instrument on his first record!), guitar playing (drew comparisons to Hendrix, but preferred Santana), singing (could hit the low and high notes), and for being exceedingly creative (produced 39 albums and a host of unreleased material). In short, he was practically a one-man band. Also noted for his eclecticism, Prince fused rock with R&B, pop, soul, and funk. But it’s also what hurts his ranking as he often produced music strictly in these genres.  Hit songs: “1999,” “Kiss,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Little Red Corvette,” “Purple Rain,” “Raspberry Beret,” “When Doves Cry”  Best song: “When Doves Cry”

76. Patti Smith – Another Lower East Side alum, Patti Smith’s proto-punk sound and acerbic lyrics delivered rapid-fire was novel and edgy, a sort of a combination of Lou Reed and Bob Dylan. Her influence extended beyond the New York punk scene to bands like R.E.M. and U2. Hit songs: “Because the Night,” “Beneath the Southern Cross,” “Dancing Barefoot,” “Free Money,” “Gloria,” “Piss Factory,” “Redondo Beach”  Best song: “Gloria”

75. The Everly Brothers – Beatles, anyone? Paul McCartney recently said, “The biggest influence on John and me was The Everly Brothers. To this day, I just think they’re the greatest.” Active in rockabilly and originators of pop rock and country rock, The Everly Brothers boasted crisp acoustic guitars, perfect vocal harmonies, and the most top 100 singles of any duo (31!) — although many were pop and country. Hit songs: “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” “Bye Bye Love,” “Cathy’s Clown,” “(Till) I Kissed You,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Walk Right Back,” “When Will I Be Loved” Best song: “All I Have to Do Is Dream”

74. Sex Pistols – With an uncompromisingly aggressive sound, harsh lyrics, and names like Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious, the Sex Pistols were labeled a legitimate threat to British society. “Anarchy in the U.K.” is the punk song and their sole album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols, was very influential and is considered among the greatest. Hit songs: “Anarchy in the U.K.,” “God Save the Queen,” “Holidays in the Sun,” “No Feelings,” “Pretty Vacant,” “Problems,” “Seventeen” Best song: “Anarchy in the U.K.”

73. Supertramp – Pop/progressive rockers Supertramp may seem like a surprising entry at #73, but these Brits knew how to write a hit. With their talented musicians and sharp lyrics, they were perhaps the biggest band in the world in 1979 following the release of their masterpiece album Breakfast In AmericaHit songs: “Bloody Well Right,” “Breakfast in America,” “Crime of the Century,” “Give a Little Bit,” “Goodbye Stranger,” “The Logical Song,” “School,” “Take the Long Way Home”  Best song: “The Logical Song”

72. Janis Joplin – Like friend and fellow female trailblazer Grace Slick, Janis Joplin found a home in blues/psychedelic rock and was a Haight-Ashbury alum. Mainly backed by Big Brother and the Holding Company, her hoarse, powerful voice and intense, magnetic performances are legendary (her rendition of “Ball and Chain” at Monterey is stunning). Many of her songs are covers, but they are hits all the same. As with Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison, Joplin was only 27 when she died. Hit songs: “Ball and Chain,” “Cry Baby,” “Down on Me,” “Kozmic Blues,” “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Move Over,” “Piece of My Heart,” “Summertime” Best song: “Me and Bobby McGee”

71. Talking Heads – Still cool after all these years, Talking Heads was a new wave band which melded rock with funk and world music and exported it globally direct from the Lower East Side. They were led by creative songwriter, singer and guitarist David Byrne, a mashup of Andy Warhol and Peter Gabriel. Hit songs: “And She Was,” “Burning Down the House,” “Life During Wartime,” “Once in a Lifetime,” “Psycho Killer,” “Road to Nowhere,” “Take Me to the River,” “Wild Wild Life” Best song: “Once in a Lifetime”

70. King Crimson – King Crimson is an all but forgotten English group who nevertheless kicked progressive rock into high gear with their 1969 record In The Court Of The Crimson King, which also included proto-metal song “21st Century Schizoid Man.”  When Yes saw King Crimson play, they told themselves they had to practice. Hit songs: “21st Century Schizoid Man,” “The Court of the Crimson King,” “Epitaph,” “I Talk to the Wind,” “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part One,” “One More Red Nightmare,” “Red,” “Starless” Best song: “21st Century Schizoid Man”

69. George Harrison – Just how great were The Beatles? Three of their four members had individual careers notable enough for the top 100. For most of his time with the group, George Harrison was overshadowed by the Lennon-McCartney songwriting team and underrated as a guitar player (he mastered the slide technique). But he really came into his own in their waning days and carried that momentum into his solo output. Hit songs: “All Things Must Pass,” “All Those Years Ago,” “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth),” “Got My Mind Set on You,” “Isn’t It a Pity,” “My Sweet Lord,” “What Is Life,” “When We Was Fab” Best song: “My Sweet Lord”

68. Roy Orbison – Before Bob Dylan in New York, The Beatles in London, and The Beach Boys in Los Angeles were elevating rock to a serious art form, Roy Orbison was doing the same in Memphis and Nashville with his classical and operatic arrangements, somber vocals, and sensitive lyrics. For this, he was referred to as “The Caruso of Rock.” Orbison’s voice, in particular, is incredible and his influence was huge.  Hit songs: “Crying,” “Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream),” “In Dreams,” “It’s Over,” “Oh, Pretty Woman,” “Only the Lonely (Know the Way I Feel),” “Running Scared,” “You Got It” Best song: “Oh, Pretty Woman”

67. Yes – Yes is one of several English progressive rock bands on this list not named Pink Floyd you’re vaguely familiar with whose hipness markedly declined circa 1976 when punk hit the scene. Trends come and go, but their superior musicianship, odd time signatures, extended instrumentals and suites, and penetrating lyrics, the hallmarks of progressive rock, are timeless. Hit songs: “And You and I,” “Close to the Edge,” “The Gates of Delirium,” “Heart of the Sunrise,” “I’ve Seen All Good People,” “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” “Roundabout,” “Starship Trooper,” “Yours Is No Disgrace” Best song: “Roundabout”

66. The Cars – Akin to a lighter version of the Ramones with better lyrics (frontman Ric Ocasek even resembled Joey Ramone), Bostoners The Cars rode the new wave movement of the late-1970s and early-1980s. Their debut album, The Cars, is chock-full of pop rock standards. Hit songs: “All Mixed Up,” “Drive,” “Good Times Roll,” “Just What I Needed,” “Let’s Go,” “Moving in Stereo,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “You Might Think,” “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” Best song: “Just What I Needed”

65. Electric Light Orchestra – Synthesizing rock with classical and pop, it was Electric Light Orchestra’s grand ambition to, “Pick up where The Beatles left off.”  Jeff Lynne and his ELO are not in the same league as their countrymen, but their proficient songwriting, luxuriant symphonic arrangements, and layered vocal harmonies make them a standout group just the same. Hit songs: “Can’t Get It Out of My Head,” “Do Ya,” “Don’t Bring Me Down,” “Evil Woman,” “Livin’ Thing,” “Mr. Blue Sky,” “Strange Magic,” “Telephone Line,” “Turn to Stone.” Best song: “Mr. Blue Sky”

64. Van Halen – Take one of the most revered guitar players in Eddie Van Halen, a charismatic lead singer in David Lee Roth, an authoritative drummer in Alex Van Halen, and a solid bassist in Michael Anthony, and you’ve got one of the great hard rock bands. Van Halen didn’t take themselves seriously and were far more accomplished than the legion of 1980s hair metal bands they spawned (save fellow Hollywood stars Guns N’ Roses). Hit songs: “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love,” “Eruption,” “Everybody Wants Some!!,” “Hot for Teacher,” “Jump,” “Mean Street,” “Panama,” “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “Unchained” Best song: “Jump”

63. T. Rex – English band T. Rex were massive in their time but are well-nigh forgotten now, at least compared to contemporaries David Bowie and Elton John, even though frontman Marc Bolan co-founded glam rock with Bowie. A throwback to early rock, their sound and lyrics are elementary, unrestrained, and compelling. Beyond glam, T. Rex helped shape hard rock and heavy metal, and were critical to the emergence of punk, new wave, and alternative. Hit songs: “20th Century Boy,” “Children of the Revolution,” “Cosmic Dancer,” “Get It On,” “Hot Love,” “Jeepster,” “Metal Guru,” “The Slider,” “Telegram Sam”  Best song: “Get It On”

62. The Moody Blues – Derided as Beatles copycats upon their arrival in the British R&B scene (early guitarist Denny Laine would later join Paul McCartney’s Wings), The Moody Blues paved their own way with a seemingly incongruous marriage of rock and classical. The pinnacle of this, “Nights in White Satin,” is one of the most beautiful songs ever composed.  Their 1967 Days Of Future Passed is regarded as an early concept album and the first progressive rock album. Hit songs: “Go Now!,” “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band),” “Isn’t Life Strange,” “Nights in White Satin,” “Question,” “Ride My See-Saw,” “The Story in Your Eyes,” “Tuesday Afternoon (Forever Afternoon),” “The Voice” Best song: “Nights in White Satin”

61. Eric Clapton – Eric “Slowhand” Clapton has had an extraordinary career. Two bands he was in are on this list (Cream, The Yardbirds), one created an all-time great song (Derek and the Dominos — “Layla”) and another one of the most hauntingly beautiful songs (Blind Faith — “Can’t Find My Way Home”), one produced several of the leading groups of the 1960s and 1970s (John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers), and his solo output is still enough to land him a very respectable individual spot. One of the “Big Four” guitarists, along with Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck, Clapton is among many British musicians strongly influenced by American blues. Hit songs: “After Midnight,” “Cocaine,” “Further on Up the Road,” “I Can’t Stand It,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Layla” (acoustic), “Let It Rain,” “Tears in Heaven,” “Wonderful Tonight” Best song: “Cocaine”

60. Fats Domino – Pianist Fats Domino’s collaboration with Dave Bartholomew led to an entirely new sound: a high-spirited fusion of blues, jazz, and R&B.  It would later be given the name “rock and roll.” Fats modestly said, “It wasn’t anything but the same rhythm and blues I’d been playing down in New Orleans.”  Domino’s innovative musicianship, comforting vocals, tender lyrics, and inimitable charm are why Elvis Presley called him, “The real king of rock ‘n’ roll.” Released in 1949, “The Fat Man” is widely recognized as the first rock single. His legacy is incalculable. Hit songs: “Ain’t That a Shame,” “Blue Monday,” “Blueberry Hill,” “The Fat Man,” “I Want to Walk You Home,” “I’m in Love Again,” “I’m Walkin’,” “My Blue Heaven,” “Whole Lotta Lovin’” Best song: “Ain’t That a Shame”

59. The Stooges – Detroiters The Stooges and especially their hit, “Search and Destroy,” created the template for punk rock. While not punk themselves (rather, proto-punk), their raw sound, antagonistic lyrics, and unhinged, combative shows orchestrated the genre, in addition to influencing hard, metal, and alternative rock (esp. grunge). Many bands on this list owe a debt to the “Godfather of Punk” Iggy Pop and his Stooges. Hit songs: “1969,” “1970,” “Down on the Street,” “Gimme Danger,” “I Got a Right,” “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” “No Fun,” “Search and Destroy,” “T.V. Eye” Best song: “Search and Destroy”

58. Jerry Lee Lewis – Aptly dubbed “The Killer,” Jerry Lee Lewis’s frenzied performances embodied the spirit of rock. (In 1958, a decade before Jimi Hendrix, he set fire to his piano. And continued playing.) “Great Balls of Fire” is an early masterpiece and while he later pivoted to country, his initial output is straight rock. Lewis’s influence was enormous.  Hit songs: “Boogie Woogie Country Man,” “Breathless,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “High School Confidential,” “I’m on Fire,” “Mean Woman Blues,” “What’d I Say,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Wild One” Best song: “Great Balls of Fire”

57. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Direct from Laurel Canyon, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young are noted for their politically charged lyrics and vocal harmonies, serving as the foremost musicians of the late-1960s/early-1970s hippie/folk rock scene with hits like “Woodstock” and “Ohio.”  Famed promoter Bill Graham called them the “American Beatles.”  That’s a real stretch, but they are one of the great supergroups — David Crosby (of The Byrds), Stephen Stills (of Buffalo Springfield), and Graham Nash (of The Hollies), later adding on-again off-again Neil Young (also of Buffalo Springfield). Hit songs: “Carry On,” “Helpless,” “Helplessly Hoping,” “Long Time Gone,” “Ohio,” “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” “Just a Song Before I Go,” “Teach Your Children,” “Wooden Ships,” “Woodstock” Best song: “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” Runner-up: “Ohio”

56. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Along with The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd (pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd) rules Southern rock. “Free Bird,” “Simple Man,” and “Tuesday’s Gone” are ballads done right — clever rather than cloying lyrics and sufficiently forceful guitar. Yes, “Free Bird” is overplayed, but classics are ubiquitous for a reason. Hit songs: “Call Me the Breeze,” “Free Bird,” “Gimme Back My Bullets,” “Gimme Three Steps,” “Saturday Night Special,” “Simple Man,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” “That Smell,” “Tuesday’s Gone,” “What’s Your Name” Best song: “Free Bird” Runner-up: “Sweet Home Alabama”

55. Genesis – Those who only know Genesis from radio favorites like “Land of Confusion” and “Invisible Touch” are in for a surprise when they dig deeper. They are in all but name two bands: the later, pop rock, Phil Collins-led period and the earlier, progressive rock, Peter Gabriel-led period (although prog continued for a while under Collins). The former is very good, the latter is great. Like their peers King Crimson and Yes, expect euphonious, elaborate, looooong tracks. Hit songs: “The Carpet Crawlers,” “The Cinema Show,” “Dancing with the Moonlit Knight,” “Firth of Fifth,” “The Knife,” “Land of Confusion,” “The Musical Box,” “Supper’s Ready,” “That’s All,” “Watcher of the Skies”  Best song: “Supper’s Ready.” Runner-up: “Firth of Fifth”

54. Bo Diddley – With his blues and R&B background, Bo Diddley helped fashion them into the newfangled rock and roll sound and so is regarded as one of the developers of the genre. He created the “Bo Diddley beat,” a standard musical pattern in rock, pop, and hip hop. He also devised reverb (echo) and tremolo (trembling) effects with his unusual rectangular-shaped guitars. And he was funny! Diddley’s self-referential, blustering, conversational vocals was like nothing the music world had seen. Hit songs: “Before You Accuse Me,” “Bo Diddley,” “Bring It to Jerome,” “Diddley Daddy,” “Hey! Bo Diddley,” “I’m a Man,” “Mona (I Need You Baby),” “Pretty Thing,” “Who Do You Love?,” “You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover”  Best song: “Who Do You Love?”  Runner-up: “I’m a Man”

53. Billy Joel – The blue collar man’s Elton John. Billy Joel has a knack for writing broad, singable lyrics and setting them to catchy jazz/pop rock melodies. Which translates perfectly to his intimate, highly entertaining live shows. Joel frequently betrays his New York roots, an unabashed booster for The Greatest City in the World. Ironically, his best song was written during and about his time in Los Angeles.  Hit songs: “Captain Jack,” “Just the Way You Are,” “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song),” “My Life,” “New York State of Mind,” “Only the Good Die Young,” “Piano Man,” “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant,” “She’s Always a Woman,” “The Stranger,” “Vienna,” “You May Be Right”  Best song: “Piano Man”  Runner-up: “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant”

52. Eagles – Yes, they are one of the biggest selling acts ever, but commercial success does not equate to comparable greatness. (See Kiss, Status Quo at one extreme, The Velvet Underground, Big Star at the other.) Los Angeles soft/country rockers the Eagles are great enough, though. Part of the problem was that they hated each other. Just look at that photo!  Notwithstanding the turmoil, Don Henley is a gifted songwriter and Joe Walsh a gifted guitarist, their vocal harmonies are consistently outstanding, and “Hotel California” is one of the very best songs. Hit songs: “Already Gone,” “Desperado,” “Hotel California,” “I Can’t Tell You Why,” “Life in the Fast Lane,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” “New Kid in Town,” “One of These Nights,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” “Take It Easy,” “Take It to the Limit,” “Tequila Sunrise” Best song: “Hotel California”  Runner-up: “Take It Easy”

51. Guns N’ Roses – Guns N’ Roses earned their reputation as “the most dangerous band in the world.” With their debut, landmark album Appetite For Destruction, they broke free from the trappings of the hair metal genre and achieved true greatness. Rose’s voice is among the best in rock and Slash is an impressive guitarist. Hit songs: “Civil War,” “Don’t Cry,” “Estranged,” “Mr. Brownstone,” “Nightrain,” “November Rain,” “Paradise City,” “Patience,” “Rocket Queen,” “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” “Welcome to the Jungle,” “You Could Be Mine” Best song: “Welcome to the Jungle”  Runner-up: “Sweet Child o’ Mine”

50. Elvis Costello – The other Elvis, who looks like Buddy Holly. Influenced by both, he even hired The King’s backing group, TCB Band. English songwriter/singer/guitarist Elvis Costello is a new wave pioneer, providing a crucial link between 1960s pop rock and 1980s alternative rock. He is known for his minimalist sound, sarcastic lyrics, and quirkiness — the glasses, the mod attire, his fondness of parentheses. Hit songs: “Accidents Will Happen,” “Alison,” “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes,” “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea,” “I Want You,” “Less Than Zero,” “Man Out of Time,” “Oliver’s Army,” “Pump It Up,” “Radio Radio,” “Watching the Detectives,” “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding”  Best song: “Alison” Runner-up: “Man Out of Time”

49. Paul Simon – New Yorker Paul Simon’s stellar solo career demonstrated his creativity beyond the folk rock sound of Simon & Garfunkel, as he increasingly incorporated pop and world music into his rock. Simon is one of the all-time great songwriters, who can tell a story like Bob Dylan, as well as a soothing vocalist and skilled guitarist. Hit songs: “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” “Duncan,” “Graceland,” “Kodachrome,” “Late in the Evening,” “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” “Mother and Child Reunion,” “The Obvious Child,” “Slip Slidin’ Away,” “Still Crazy After All These Years,” “You Can Call Me Al”  Best song: “Kodachrome”  Runner-up: “Still Crazy After All These Years”

48. R.E.M. – While not the first, R.E.M. served as the paradigm for alternative rock bands — complex arrangements, wistful vocals, and introspective lyrics. With Michael Stipe’s melancholic singing and Peter Buck’s jangly guitar, they ruled college radio in the 1980s with hits like “Radio Free Europe” and “Fall on Me,” and went mainstream in the 1990s with megahit “Losing My Religion.” Hit songs: “Drive,” “Everybody Hurts,” “Fall on Me,” “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine),” “Losing My Religion,” “Man on the Moon,” “Nightswimming,” “The One I Love,” “Orange Crush,” “Radio Free Europe,” “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite,” “What’s the Frequency Kenneth?” Best song: “Losing My Religion” Runner-up: “The One I Love”

47. Paul McCartney – Another solo career by an ex-Beatle, this one by far the most productive. Paul McCartney is a top three songwriter of all time and a master at composing hooks. “Maybe I’m Amazed” and “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” sound an awful lot like Beatles songs, which makes sense as they were released shortly after the group’s demise.  Next he formed Wings, from which came much of his best “solo” work, although it was undoubtedly his band. Hit songs: “Another Day,” “Band on the Run,” “Here Today,” “Hi Hi Hi,” “Jenny Wren,” “Jet,” “Let ‘Em In,” “Let Me Roll It,” “Live and Let Die,” “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” “Venus and Mars/Rock Show”  Best song: “Maybe I’m Amazed”  Runner-up: “Band on the Run”

46. The Yardbirds – English phenoms The Yardbirds counted in their ranks three of the four greatest guitarists ever: Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck (although not concurrently). Clapton left when their sound veered too far from the blues. He recommended Page replace him and Page suggested Beck also be brought on board. It was Beck’s experimentation with guitar distortion and feedback that is credited with helping give rise to psychedelic, progressive, hard, metal, and punk rock. And so The Yardbirds were hugely influential. Page would go on to found The New Yardbirds, renamed Led Zeppelin. Hit songs: “Dazed and Confused,” “For Your Love,” “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago,” “Heart Full of Soul,” “I Ain’t Got You,” “I’m a Man,” “My Girl Sloopy,” “Over Under Sideways Down,” “Shapes of Things,” “Smokestack Lightning,” “Train Kept A-Rollin’,” “You’re a Better Man Than I”  Best song: “For Your Love”  Runner-up: “Shapes of Things”

45. Rush – Rush was a Toronto-based hard/progressive rock trio featuring bassist and high-pitched vocalist Geddy Lee (top 10 bassist), notable guitarist Alex Lifeson, and one of the great drummers Neil Peart (top five drummer). As is typical with progressive bands, their sound is marked by unusual time signatures, protracted instrumentals, and perceptive lyrics.  Rush also produced many radio-friendly songs, including their two best. Hit songs: “2112 Overture/The Temples of Syrinx,” “Closer to the Heart,” “Fly by Night,” “Freewill,” “La Villa Strangiato,” “Limelight,” “Red Barchetta,” “The Spirit of Radio,” “Subdivisions,” “Tom Sawyer,” “Working Man,” “Xanadu,” “YYZ” Best song: “Tom Sawyer” Runner-up: “Limelight”

44. Deep Purple – Along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, Deep Purple are part of the “Unholy Trinity,” England’s godfathers of hard rock and heavy metal. Master guitarist Ritchie Blackmore plays probably the most famous guitar riff in history on “Smoke on the Water” and lightning-quick solos on “Highway Star” and “Burn.” Ian Gillan (later David Coverdale) has one of the great voices, Roger Glover is a capable bassist, Ian Paice is a monster on the drums, and organist Jon Lord united rock and classical. Hit songs: “Black Night,” “Burn,” “Child in Time,” “Fireball,” “Highway Star,” “Hush,” “Into the Fire,” “Lazy,” “Smoke on the Water,” “Soldier of Fortune,” “Space Truckin’,” “Speed King,” “Woman from Tokyo” Best song: “Smoke on the Water” Runner-up: “Highway Star”

43. The Clash – What distinguishes English band The Clash from their counterparts the Ramones and the Sex Pistols is their versatility and songwriting. Beyond punk, they were active in rockabilly, garage, and new wave. They also mingled rock with R&B, reggae, and funk, and occasionally shifted entirely into these genres, somewhat hurting their ranking.  Frontman/angry young man Joe Strummer and lead guitarist Mick Jones wrote anti-establishment lyrics — the essence of punk.  Hit songs: “Career Opportunities,” “Clampdown,” “Complete Control,” “Death or Glory,” “I Fought the Law,” “London Calling,” “Lost in the Supermarket,” “Rock the Casbah,” “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” “Straight to Hell,” “Train in Vain,” “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais,” “White Riot” Best song: “London Calling” Runner-up: “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais”

42. The Police – Led by songwriter, singer and bassist Sting and founder and drummer Stewart Copeland, The Police integrated rock with jazz, pop, and reggae. Similar to their contemporaries Blondie across the pond, but with a more accessible sound and incisive lyrics. With a string of hits, there was maybe no bigger band in the world in the late-1970s and early-1980s. Hit songs: “Can’t Stand Losing You,” “De Do Do Do De Da Da Da,” “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” “Every Breath You Take,” “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” “Invisible Sun,” “King of Pain,” “Message in a Bottle,” “Roxanne,” “So Lonely,” “Spirits in the Material World,” “Synchronicity II,” “Walking on the Moon,” “Wrapped Around Your Finger” Best song: “Message in a Bottle”  Runner-up: “Roxanne”

41. Metallica – As the name suggests, Metallica is a metal band. From Los Angeles and San Francisco, their sound is heavy and fast (thrash metal) but also melodic, and James Hetfield/Lars Ulrich can write. Kirk Hammett is a well-regarded lead guitarist, Hetfield a suitably throaty singer and undervalued rhythm guitarist, Ulrich a deft drummer, and Cliff Burton was a forceful bassist. Hit songs: “…And Justice for All,” “Battery,” “Blackened,” “Creeping Death,” “Enter Sandman,” “Fade to Black,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Harvester of Sorrow,” “Master of Puppets,” “Nothing Else Matters,” “One,” “Orion,” “The Unforgiven,” “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” Best song: “One”  Runner-up: “Master of Puppets”

40. Buddy Holly – Despite his short life, Buddy Holly is a giant of rock due to his unique country/R&B/ pop rock sound.  He is credited with creating the traditional lineup of two guitars, bass, and drums. Holly influenced a slew of major acts to follow, most notably The Beatles (“At least the first 40 songs we wrote were Buddy Holly-influenced” Paul McCartney once said). He tragically met his end in a 1959 plane crash at the tender age of 22, immortalized by Don McLean as “The Day the Music Died.” Who knows how much more timeless music he would have produced?  Hit songs: “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” “Crying, Waiting, Hoping,” “I’m Gonna Love You Too,” “It’s So Easy!,” “Maybe Baby,” “Not Fade Away,” Oh, Boy!,” “Peggy Sue,” “Peggy Sue Got Married,” “Rave On,” “That’ll Be the Day,” “Think It Over,” “Well…Alright,” “Words of Love” Best song: “That’ll Be the Day”  Runner-up: “Not Fade Away”

39. Fleetwood Mac – Los Angeles by way of London group Fleetwood Mac is the ultimate relationship band: easygoing music belying troubling lyrics, derived from notorious romances in the group. Playing folk, blues, and soft rock, they are loaded with talented musicians — Peter Green on guitar in their early days (later Lindsey Buckingham), Mick Fleetwood on drums, John McVie on bass, and singer-songwriters Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie. Fleetwood Mac’s rhythm section and female harmonies are superb, while Rumours is possibly a top 10 album. Hit songs: “The Chain,” “Don’t Stop,” “Dreams,” “Go Your Own Way,” “Gold Dust Woman,” “Gypsy,” “Landslide,” “Never Going Back Again,” “Oh Well,” “Rhiannon,” “Sara,” “Say You Love Me,” “Second Hand News,” “Silver Springs,” “You Make Loving Fun” Best song: “Dreams” Runner-up: “Go Your Own Way”

38. The Band – Toronto/Woodstock band The Band earned their reputation as Bob Dylan’s backing group before embarking on their own in 1967. Their distinctive Americana sound (folk, jazz, country, R&B) combined with rock was made by some incredibly skilled musicians: lead guitarist and songwriter Robbie Robertson, drummer and vocalist Levon Helm, keyboardist Garth Hudson, pianist and vocalist Richard Manuel, and bassist and vocalist Rick Danko. The Band’s influence was significant. Hit songs: “Acadian Driftwood,” “Chest Fever,” “I Shall Be Released,” “It Makes No Difference,” “King Harvest (Has Surely Come),” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “Ophelia,” “Rag Mama Rag,” “The Shape I’m In,” “Stage Fright,” “The Unfaithful Servant,” “Up on Cripple Creek,” “The Weight,” “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” “Whispering Pines” Best song: “The Weight” Runner-up: “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”

37. AC/DC – “I’m sick to death of people saying we’ve made 11 albums that sound exactly the same. In fact, we’ve made 12 albums that sound exactly the same,” guitar Angus Young once said. If the formula works, why mess with it? Young’s guitar shredding and Chuck Berry-like moves, complemented by Bon Scott and Brian Johnson’s guttural screams, equals straightforward hard rock perfected by Australians AC/DC. They have served as the archetype for just about every hard/metal/grunge rock group to follow. Hit songs: “Back in Black,” “Dirty Deeds Done Cheap,” “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You),” “Hells Bells,” “Highway to Hell,” “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll),” “Let There Be Rock,” “Moneytalks,” “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution,” “Shoot to Thrill,” “T.N.T.,” “Thunderstruck,” “Who Made Who,” “Whole Lotta Rosie,” “You Shook Me All Night Long” Best song: “Back in Black” Runner-up: “Thunderstruck”

36. Little Richard – Another frenzied piano player who broke out a couple years before Jerry Lee Lewis (and a few months before Elvis Presley), Little Richard had a visceral quality which encapsulated rock. With his fast tempo, screaming vocals, suggestive lyrics, and flamboyance, he was nothing short of a revelation. Kids were roused, parents were alarmed.  Little Richard helped shape R&B into rock, which as he defined it, is simply R&B played faster. He referred to himself as, “The Architect of Rock and Roll” and stated winkingly, “Elvis may be the King of Rock & Roll, but I am the Queen.” When “Tutti Frutti” was released in the fall of 1955, not long after Chuck Berry’s seminal “Maybellene,” it signaled to the world that rock was here and here to stay. Hit songs: “All Around the World,” “Bama Lama Bama Loo,” “The Girl Can’t Help It,” “Good Golly Miss Molly,” “Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey,” “Jenny Jenny,” “Keep A-Knockin’,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Lucille,” “Ooh! My Soul,” “Ready Teddy,” “Rip It Up,” “Send Me Some Lovin’,” “Slippin’ and Slidin’,” “Tutti Frutti” Best song: “Tutti Frutti” Runner-up: “Good Golly Miss Molly”

35. Grateful Dead – The pride of Haight-Ashbury, the Grateful Dead were the ultimate “jam band.” Their live shows were marked by improvisation, extended playing, and technological innovations which modernized the concert experience. Led by iconic songwriter, singer and lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, they embraced a multitude of genres, blending rock with folk, blues, jazz, country, and psychedelia. Hit songs: “Althea,” “Bertha,” “Box of Rain,” “Casey Jones,” “Dark Star,” “Fire on the Mountain,” “Friend of the Devil,” “Playing in the Band,” “Ripple,” “Scarlet Begonias,” “St. Stephen,” “Sugar Magnolia,” “Touch of Grey,” “Truckin’,” “Uncle John’s Band,” “U.S. Blues” Best song: “Truckin’” Runner-up: “Casey Jones”

34. The Allman Brothers Band – The Allman Brothers Band invented Southern rock, a mix of rock with blues and country, and remain its greatest practitioner.  Like the Grateful Dead, they were fond of jamming and some of their best songs are instrumentals. Their album At Fillmore East, recorded live at the fabled New York venue, is the stuff of legend.  Duane Allman, a top 10 guitarist noted for his slide technique, was yet another star to pass at a young age. Hit songs: “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More,” “Black Hearted Woman,” “Blue Sky,” “Dreams,” “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” “Jessica,” “Little Martha,” “Melissa,” “Midnight Rider,” “No One to Run With,” “One Way Out,” “Ramblin’ Man,” “Revival (Love Is Everywhere),” “Southbound,” “Statesboro Blues,” “Whipping Post” Best song: “Whipping Post” Runner-up: “Ramblin’ Man”

33. Tom Petty – Tom Petty is second only to Bruce Springsteen as the greatest of the heartland rockers, despite spending most of his life in Los Angeles. (Then again, Springsteen is from a New York suburb.) His elementary sound is a throwback to Chuck Berry, his jangly guitar recalls The Byrds, and at his best he could tell a story like friend and collaborator Bob Dylan. Hit songs: “American Girl,” “Breakdown,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “Even the Losers,” “Free Fallin’,” “Here Comes My Girl,” “I Need to Know,” “I Won’t Back Down,” “Into the Great Wide Open,” “Learning to Fly,” “Listen to Her Heart,” “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” “Refugee,” “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” “The Waiting”  Best song: “American Girl.”  Runner-up: “Free Fallin’”

32. Creedence Clearwater Revival – For a band whose sound and lyrics evoke the South, it may come as a surprise that Creedence Clearwater Revival originated in the San Francisco area. CCR are of the swamp rock genre (blues/country/rockabilly) and are noted for the twangy guitar and vocals of songwriter/singer/lead guitarist John Fogerty. Hit songs: “Bad Moon Rising,” “Born on the Bayou,” “Down on the Corner,” “Fortunate Son,” “Green River,” “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “I Put a Spell on You,” “Lodi,” “Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” “Midnight Special,” “Proud Mary,” “Run Through the Jungle,” “Susie Q,” “Up Around the Bend,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain” Best song: “Fortunate Son” Runner-up: “Proud Mary”

31. Aerosmith – New Yorkers/Bostoners Aerosmith are sort of the American Rolling Stones (though not in the same league) due to their similar blues/hard rock sound and bad boy image.  They peaked early in their career in the 1970s, had a strong run in the late-1980s, but by the 1990s were releasing mostly uninspired ballads. In spite of that, Aerosmith’s best work is more than sufficient to cement their status as one of the greats.  Frontman Steven Tyler is a born rock star with the requisite attitude, moves, and screeching vocals, Joe Perry is a competent guitarist, and “Dream On” is one of the all-time great songs. Hit songs: “Back in the Saddle,” “Draw the Line,” “Dream On,” “Dude (Looks Like a Lady),” “Janie’s Got a Gun,” “Kings and Queens,” “Last Child,” “Love in an Elevator,” “Mama Kin,” “Rag Doll,” “Same Old Song and Dance,” “Seasons of Wither,” “Sweet Emotion,” “Toys in the Attic,” “Walk This Way,” “You See Me Crying” Best song: “Dream On” Runner-up: “Walk This Way”

30. Van Morrison – There’s much more to this Irish singer-songwriter than “Brown Eyed Girl,” although it is one of the best songs of the 1960s (which is really saying something).  Van Morrison’s sound is a wondrous confluence of rock and folk, classical, blues, jazz, R&B, pop, and soul, his lyrics draw inspiration from the Romantic poets, and his voice matches the beauty of the words. His Astral Weeks is considered one of the great albums.  Hit songs: “And It Stoned Me,” “Brown Eyed Girl,” “Caravan,” “Crazy Love,” “Cyprus Avenue,” “Days Like This,” “Domino,” “Have I Told You Lately,” “Into the Mystic,” “Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile),” “Listen to the Lion,” “Madame George,” “Moondance,” “T.B. Sheets,” “Tupelo Honey,” “Wild Night,” “You Don’t Pull No Punches but You Don’t Push the River” Best song: “Brown Eyed Girl” Runner-up: “Into the Mystic”

29. The Byrds – Another Laurel Canyon alum, The Byrds were a 1960s counterculture fixture. They pioneered folk rock, psychedelic rock, and country rock, with their jangly lead guitar (Roger McGuinn) and vocal harmonies (esp. David Crosby) proving highly influential. Their impact on pop rock and alternative rock is also evident. The Byrds really admired Bob Dylan, covering many of his songs, the greatest of which is “Mr. Tambourine Man,” the first folk rock hit. But they reached their apex with “Eight Miles High,” the first psychedelic rock hit. Crosby would later form supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Hit songs: “5D (Fifth Dimension),” “All I Really Want To Do,” “Draft Morning,” “Eight Miles High,” “Have You Seen Her Face,” “Hickory Wind,” “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better,” “Lady Friend,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “My Back Pages,” “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star,” “Tribal Gathering,” “Turn! Turn! Turn!,” “Wasn’t Born to Follow,” “Why,” “The World Turns All Around Her,” “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”  Best song: “Eight Miles High”  Runner-up: “Mr. Tambourine Man”

28. The Velvet Underground – Andy Warhol’s house band and another great act from the Lower East Side, The Velvet Underground were largely ignored during their time but have come to be recognized as one of the greats. Songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Lou Reed sang about people on the margins of society, and with fellow experimentalist and guitarist, violaist, pianist and organist John Cale established their raw, dark, groundbreaking sound (atonality, feedback, drones, improvisation). To counterbalance this, they also produced several pop hits, which slightly hurts their ranking. The Velvet Underground influenced every major glam, punk, new wave, and alternative group that followed. Hit songs: “All Tomorrow’s Parties,” “Beginning to See the Light,” “Heroin,” “I Heard Her Call My Name,” “I’m Set Free,” “I’m Waiting for the Man,” “New Age,” “Ocean,” “Oh! Sweet Nuthin’,” “Rock & Roll,” “Sister Ray,” “Some Kinda Love,” “Sweet Jane,” “Venus in Furs,” “What Goes On,” “White Light/White Heat,” “Who Loves the Sun”  Best song: “Heroin”  Runner-up: “Sweet Jane”

27. Elton John – The white collar man’s Billy Joel. Flamboyant English pianist Elton John raised the bar for rock and roll outrageousness. With a pop/glam rock sound, he has given voice to some of the most thoughtful lyrics ever, written primarily by partner Bernie Taupin. John and Taupin were a singer-songwriter hit factory in the 1970s, crafting as many masterpieces during the period as fellow glam rocker David Bowie. Hit Songs: “Bennie and the Jets,” “Candle in the Wind,” “Daniel,” “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Harmony,” “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues,” “Levon,” “Madman Across the Water,” “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters,” “Rocket Man,” “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,” “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word,” “Take Me to the Pilot,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Your Song” Best song: “Tiny Dancer” Runner-up: “Rocket Man”

26. Ramones – The best act coming out of the Lower East Side, the Ramones brought rock back to the 1950s basics — guitar-driven, hook-filled, two-minute songs — eschewing expansive genres like psychedelic and progressive. As a result, they practically reinvented rock and influenced almost every punk, hard, metal, and grunge band to follow. Vocalist Joey Ramone, guitarist Johnny Ramone, songwriter and bassist Dee Dee Ramone, and drummer Tommy Ramone (no relation) didn’t invent punk but are deemed the first genuine punk group and remain the best. Hit songs: “53rd & 3rd,” “Beat on the Brat,” “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg,” “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?,” “Glad to See You Go,” “I Just Want to Have Something to Do,” “I Wanna Be Sedated,” “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend,” “Judy Is a Punk,” “The KKK Took My Baby Away,” “Pinhead,” “Questioningly,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School,” “Rockaway Beach,” “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker,” “Teenage Lobotomy,” “We’re a Happy Family” Best song: “Blitzkrieg Bop” Runner-up: “I Wanna Be Sedated”

25. John Lennon – A top three songwriter of all time, still in his prime, after leaving the world’s biggest band, is bound to have a brilliant solo career. John Lennon’s sound is certainly Beatlesque while his poetic lyrics are both intensely personal (“Jealous Guy,” “Mother,” “Woman”) and broadly societal (“Gimme Some Truth,” “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” “Imagine”). “Imagine” is one of the greatest songs ever and he surely would have continued producing amazing music if not for his tragic death in New York in 1980. Hit songs: “#9 Dream,” “Cold Turkey,” “Gimme Some Truth,” “God,” “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” “Imagine,” “Instant Karma!,” “Jealous Guy,” “(Just Like) Starting Over,” “Love,” “Mind Games,” “Mother,” “Nobody Told Me,” “Oh My Love”, “Stand by Me,” “Watching the Wheels,” “Woman,” “Working Class Hero” Best song: “Imagine” Runner-up: “Instant Karma!”

24. U2 – In effect the popular face of rock for 25 years from the mid-1980s to the late-2000s, Irish band U2 are a critical darling, as well. Known for their solicitous lyrics and passionate vocals (Bono), idiosyncratic guitar chords (the Edge), and constant reinvention, they remained relevant even as rock largely fell out of fashion. That said, U2’s earlier new wave/alternative rock is much stronger than their later electronic/pop rock. Hit songs: “All I Want Is You,” “Bad,” “Beautiful Day,” “Bullet the Blue Sky,” “Desire,” “Even Better Than the Real Thing,” “Gloria,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “I Will Follow,” “Mysterious Ways,” “New Year’s Day,” “One,” “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Vertigo,” “Walk On,” “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “With or Without You”  Best song: “One”  Runner-up: “Sunday Bloody Sunday”

23. Nirvana – Seattleite grunge/hard rock band Nirvana’s arrival in the early-1990s was a clarion call to youth and aspiring musicians. Like the Ramones before them, theirs was a back-to-basics, visceral sound to counteract the excesses of the 1980s. Nevermind is one of the watershed albums in rock history and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is one of the all-time great songs. Nirvana came to a sudden end in 1994 following the death of frontman and gifted lyricist/vocalist/guitarist Kurt Cobain. Highly-rated drummer Dave Grohl would subsequently found the Foo Fighters. Hit songs: “About a Girl,” “All Apologies,” “Aneurysm,” “Breed,” “Come As You Are,” “Drain You,” “Dumb,” “Heart-Shaped Box,” “In Bloom,” “Lithium,” “The Man Who Sold the World,” “Pennyroyal Tea,” “Sliver,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Something in the Way,” “Territorial Pissings,” “Where Did You Sleep Last Night,” “You Know You’re Right” Best song: “Smells Like Teen Spirit”  Runner-up: “In Bloom”

22. Steely Dan – Perhaps another surprising entry at #22, but this Los Angeles by way of New York band were hitmakers, even if that wasn’t their aim.  Intelligent and quirky, Steely Dan’s meticulous, mellifluous, catchy jazz/soft rock music belies cynical, subversive, oblique lyrics.  A two-man outfit for most of their career, consisting of songwriter, singer and keyboardist Donald Fagen and songwriter and guitarist Walter Becker, they hired rotating session musicians to help attain their famously polished sound, including killer guitar solos from Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Larry Carlton. Can’t Buy a Thrill is one of the best debut albums and they have maintained a cult following since their 1970s peak. Hit songs: “Aja,” “Any Major Dude Will Tell You,” “Babylon Sisters,” “Black Friday,” “Bodhisattva,” “Deacon Blues,” “Dirty Work,” “Do It Again,” “Don’t Take Me Alive,” “FM (No Static at All),” “Hey Nineteen,” “Josie,” “Kid Charlemagne,” “Kings,” “Midnight Cruiser,” “My Old School,” “Peg,” “Reelin’ in the Years,” “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” “The Royal Scam” Best song: “Do It Again” Runner-up: “Reelin’ in the Years” Second runner-up: “Deacon Blues”

21. The Doors – Laurel Canyon’s The Doors had the quintessential frontman Jim Morrison, leading keyboardist Ray Manzarek, distinguished guitarist Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore. Their peculiar lyrics are outshined by their innovative sound, which is an exhilarating combination of rock with blues and psychedelia. The Doors swung between 2- to 3-minute poppy, melodious rockers and 7- to 11-minute avant-garde, dissonant fever dreams. Morrison died at only 27, another icon gone too soon. Hit songs: “Alabama Song,” “Break on Through (To the Other Side),” “The Crystal Ship,” “The End,” “Five to One,” “Hello I Love You,” “L.A. Woman,” “Light My Fire,” “Love Her Madly,” “Love Me Two Times,” “Love Street,” “Peace Frog,” “People Are Strange,” “Riders on the Storm,” “Roadhouse Blues,” “Soul Kitchen,” “Strange Days,” “Touch Me,” “Waiting for the Sun,” “When the Music’s Over”  Best song: “Light My Fire” Runner-up: “Riders on the Storm” Second runner-up: “Break on Through (To the Other Side)”

20. Black Sabbath – More than any other group, Black Sabbath are the godfathers of heavy metal and still the exemplar of the genre, with only Metallica coming close. Their tempo is slower than the bands they inspired and yet nobody is heavier (doom metal), courtesy of bassist Geezer Butler, premier guitarist Tony “Riff Master” Iommi, and drummer Bill Ward, while Ozzy Osbourne is an appropriately insane frontman delivering fervent vocals. Paranoid is easily the greatest metal album.  Hit songs: “Black Sabbath,” “Changes,” “Children of the Grave,” “Electric Funeral,” “Fairies Wear Boots,” “Hand of Doom,” “Into the Void,” “Iron Man,” “A National Acrobat,” “N.I.B.,” “Paranoid,” “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” “Snowblind,” “Spiral Architect,” “Supernaut,” “Sweet Leaf,” “Symptom of the Universe,” “Under the Sun,” “War Pigs,” “The Wizard”  Best song: “War Pigs”  Runner-up: “Black Sabbath”  Second runner-up: “Iron Man”

19. Neil Young – Los Angeles by way of Toronto songwriter/singer/guitarist Neil Young has enjoyed an illustrious solo career while also having played in two of the best groups ever (CSNY, Buffalo Springfield), placing him in the same rarefied category as Eric Clapton. He is one of the great songwriters, as exhibited by such affecting folk rock ballads as “Old Man” and “The Needle and the Damage Done.” He also lets his guitar do the talking on hard rock jams like “Cortez the Killer” and “Cowgirl in the Sand.” Young’s influence is vast as he is honored as a godfather of alternative (esp. grunge). Hit songs: “After the Gold Rush,” “Cinnamon Girl,” “Cortez the Killer,” “Cowgirl in the Sand,” “Down by the River,” “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere,” “Harvest Moon,” “Heart of Gold,” “Hey Hey My My (Into the Black),” “Hey Hey My My (Out of the Blue),” “Like a Hurricane,” “The Needle and the Damage Done,” “Old Man,” “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” “Powderfinger,” “Rockin’ in the Free World,” “Southern Man,” “Sugar Mountain,” “Tell Me Why,” “Tonight’s the Night” Best song: “Old Man” Runner-up: “Heart of Gold”  Second runner-up: “Cortez the Killer”

18. Simon & Garfunkel – The only serious rival to Bob Dylan in the Greenwich Village folk rock scene, Simon & Garfunkel produced hit after hit thanks to Paul Simon’s poetic songwriting and Art Garfunkel’s haunting vocals (Simon has a beautiful voice, too). Objectively, Dylan will always be the #1 folk rocker, but it’s easy to see why some prefer this celebrated duo. Hit songs: “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy),” “America,” “April Come She Will,” “The Boxer,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Cecilia,” “El Cóndor Pasa (If I Could),” “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her,” “A Hazy Shade of Winter,” “Homeward Bound,” “I Am a Rock,” “Kathy’s Song,” “Leaves That Are Green,” “Mrs. Robinson,” “My Little Town,” “Old Friends,” “The Only Living Boy in New York,” “Scarborough Fair,” “Song for the Asking,” “The Sound of Silence” Best song: “The Sound of Silence” Runner-up: “Bridge Over Troubled Water” Second runner-up: “The Boxer”

17. Bruce Springsteen – Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen is the preeminent heartland rocker and entertainer, and one of the all-time great songwriters. “Born in the U.S.A.,” an indictment of the American power elite, was ironically co-opted by the same leaders the song condemns.  Is there a greater hero to the forgotten working class? See “Atlantic City,” “Youngstown.” Or to restless youth dreaming of a better life?  “Born to Run” is “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” for a new generation.  Indeed, Springsteen was heavily influenced by The Animals and, obviously, Bob Dylan. Hit songs: “Atlantic City,” “Backstreets,” “Badlands,” “Born in the U.S.A.,” “Born to Run,” “Dancing in the Dark,” “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” “Glory Days,” “Hungry Heart,” “I’m on Fire,” “Jungleland,” “The Promised Land,” “Prove It All Night,” “Racing in the Street,” “The River,” “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight),” “Spirit in the Night,” “Streets of Philadelphia,” “Thunder Road,” “Youngstown” Best song: “Born to Run” Runner-up: “Thunder Road” Second runner-up: “Born in the U.S.A.

16. Jethro Tull – Hard/progressive rockers Jethro Tull were as big as their English compatriots The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and The Who in their prime (1969 to 1972), and had a series of hits to match. They may be the most musically complex and lyrically intellectual group ever, playing an eclectic mix of folk, classical, blues, jazz, hard and electronic rock. Led by eccentric genius songwriter, singer, acoustic guitarist and flautist Ian Anderson, formidable lead guitarist Martin Barre, and a semi-rotating roster of exceptionally talented musicians, Jethro Tull’s concept albums Aqualung and Thick as a Brick and their animated live act are highly revered. Hit songs: “Aqualung,” “Baker St. Muse,” “Bourée,” “Cross-Eyed Mary,” “Heavy Horses,” “Hymn 43,” “Life Is a Long Song,” “Living in the Past,” “Locomotive Breath,” “Minstrel in the Gallery,” “My God,” “A New Day Yesterday,” “Nothing Is Easy,” “Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day,” “A Song for Jeffrey,” “Songs from the Wood,” “Sweet Dream,” “Teacher,” “Thick as a Brick,” “To Cry You a Song,” “We Used to Know,” “With You There to Help Me” Best song: “Thick as a Brick” Runner-up: “Aqualung” Second runner-up: “Locomotive Breath”

15. David Bowie – In a career spanning over 50 years, English musician David Bowie proved his versatility in a variety of genres. His avant-garde, otherworldly sound is rock coalesced with folk, blues, pop, psychedelia, electronic, glam (which he co-founded), soul, and funk. His existential lyrics and melancholic voice reveal a vulnerability which speaks to all of the misfits out there (that is to say, everyone). The personages Bowie created — Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke — and his theatrical live shows were groundbreaking. He was a major influence. Hit songs: “Ashes to Ashes,” “Changes,” “Fame,” “Five Years,” “Heroes,” “The Jean Genie,” “Life on Mars?,” “The Man Who Sold the World,” “Moonage Daydream,” “Queen Bitch,” “Rebel Rebel,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide,” “Sound and Vision,” “Space Oddity,” “Starman,” “Station to Station,” “Suffragette City,” “TVC 15,” “Under Pressure,” “Young Americans,” “Ziggy Stardust” Best song: “Life on Mars?” Runner-up: “Space Oddity” Second runner-up: “Changes”

14. Queen – Opera and rock?? Why not? In addition to opera, English group Queen mixed rock with pop and helped develop hard, metal, and glam rock. Freddie Mercury has perhaps the most magnificent voice of any rock singer, Brian May is an accomplished guitarist with a distinct sound, and they were an electric live act (see esp. 1985’s Live Aid). Their best song is one of the greatest ever, a revolutionary, complex mishmash of styles never before or since executed so well. If not for a relatively weak 1980s output, Queen is easily a top 10 band. Hit songs: “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Brighton Rock,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” “Fat Bottomed Girls,” “I Want It All,” “Keep Yourself Alive,” “Killer Queen,” “The March of the Black Queen,” “The Millionaire Waltz,” “Now I’m Here,” “The Prophet’s Song,” “Seven Seas of Rhye,” “Somebody to Love,” “Stone Cold Crazy,” “Tie Your Mother Down,” “Under Pressure,” “We Are the Champions,” “We Will Rock You,” “You’re My Best Friend” Best song: “Bohemian Rhapsody” Runner-up: “We Will Rock You” Second runner-up: “Under Pressure”

13. Elvis Presley – The “King of Rock and Roll,” Elvis Presley helped create rockabilly and was the face of rock in its formative years. His arrival was earth-shattering — he had the look, the attitude, the moves, and the voice. On the other hand, he was only a satisfactory guitar player and most of his songs were written by others. But Presley was a hitmaker extraordinaire (18 #1s!), so much so that even though he produced many pop and country songs, his rock output is sufficient to ensure his lofty position. He was also critical in blending rock with pop and country. Hit songs: “A Little Less Conversation,” “All Shook Up,” “Always on My Mind,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Burning Love,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Hound Dog,” “In the Ghetto,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Kentucky Rain,” “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear,” “Little Sister,” “Mystery Train,” “Promised Land,” “Return to Sender,” “Stuck on You,” “Suspicious Minds,” “That’s All Right,” “Viva Las Vegas,” “(You’re the) Devil In Disguise” Best song: “Hound Dog” Runner-up: “Jailhouse Rock” Second runner-up: “Heartbreak Hotel”

12. Frank Zappa – By far the most bizarre and probably the most misunderstood musician on this list, iconoclast Frank Zappa was a true original and one of the very few geniuses in the business. He expanded the limits of popular music with his experimental/progressive sound, combining rock with classical, blues, jazz, doo-wop, pop, and comedy. A phenomenal composer and guitarist, his absurd and satirical lyrics elicit bemusement, admiration, and indignation. Zappa created the first concept album (Freak Out! with his Mothers of Invention — leading to Sgt. Pepper’s the following year) and was astoundingly prolific (releasing 62 records in a nearly 40-year career). He established the Laurel Canyon scene from which so many elite bands emerged and remains its greatest product. Hit songs: “Black Napkins,” “Bobby Brown (Goes Down),” “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It,” “Camarillo Brillo,” “Cosmik Debris,” “Dirty Love,” “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow,” “I’m the Slime,” “Inca Roads,” “Joe’s Garage,” “Montana,” “Muffin Man,” “My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama,” “The Ocean Is the Ultimate Solution,” “Peaches en Regalia,” “Shut Up ‘n Play Yer Guitar,” “Tell Me You Love Me,” “Trouble Every Day,” “Watermelon in Easter Hay,” “Willie the Pimp,” “Zomby Woof.” Best song: “Joe’s Garage” Runner-up: “Montana”  Second runner-up: “Cosmik Debris”

11.  Chuck Berry – Fats Domino may have invented rock (as far as any one person can), Elvis Presley is nominally the “King of Rock and Roll,” but Chuck Berry is indeed the “Father of Rock and Roll.”  He shaped it into the sound (guitar-driven), storytelling (lyrics as narrative), and swagger (attitude and showmanship) that defines it, and impacted everyone to come after him. “Johnny B. Goode” is one of the greatest and most influential songs ever (1955’s “Maybellene” was even more pivotal), and it remains as brilliant now as when it was first released in 1958, the true mark of excellence. Hit songs: “Around and Around,” “Back in the U.S.A.,” “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” “Carol,” “Down Bound Train,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “Little Queenie,” “Maybellene,” Memphis, Tennessee,” “Nadine,” “No Particular Place to Go,” “Promised Land,” “Reelin’ and Rockin’,” “Rock and Roll Music,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “School Days,” “Sweet Little Rock and Roller,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “Thirty Days,” “Too Much Monkey Business,” “You Never Can Tell” Best song: “Johnny B. Goode” Runner-up: “Maybellene” Second runner-up: “Roll Over Beethoven”

10. Bob Dylan – Bob Dylan pushed the boundaries of rock with his insightful, discontented, often lengthy songs about relationships and society, and as a result forever changed popular music.  It may seem odd that a musician with a nasally voice, merely adequate guitar skills, and a dearth of hooks is the voice of a generation, not to mention that some of his most well-known works were rendered better by other artists. But Dylan is probably the greatest lyricist ever. Even disregarding his earliest folk work, there remains an abundance of folk-rock masterpieces, while he also merged rock with blues, jazz, country, and pop. His best song is possibly the greatest of all time (Frank Zappa wanted to quit after hearing it, thinking there is nothing more to be said) and he influenced basically everyone who followed. Hit songs: “All Along the Watchtower,” “Ballad of a Thin Man,” “Blind Willie McTell,” “Desolation Row,” “Forever Young,” “Highway 61 Revisited,” “Hurricane,” “I Shall Be Released,” “I Want You,” “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding),” “Just Like a Woman,” “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Maggie’s Farm,” “Mississippi,” “Positively 4th Street,” “Simple Twist of Fate,” “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” “Tangled Up in Blue,” “Visions of Johanna,” “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” Best song: “Like a Rolling Stone” Runner-up: “Tangled Up in Blue”  Second runner-up: “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” Honorable mention: “All Along the Watchtower”

9. Cream – Before Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath, there was Cream. The first supergroup: Eric Clapton on guitar (top five), Ginger Baker on drums (top three), and Jack Bruce on bass (maybe top five). Not only that, but Bruce’s lyrics and vocals were first-rate, as well. They were the cream of the crop and they knew it, thus the name. Cream was at the forefront of a number of burgeoning genres, including blues rock, psychedelic rock, and hard rock. Unfortunately, it was a short-lived affair (Baker and Bruce despised each other), lasting merely two years. But it was a very productive two years and their innovative sound changed rock from that moment on. Hit songs: “As You Said,” “Badge,” “Born Under a Bad Sign,” “Crossroads,” “Dance the Night Away,” “Deserted Cities of the Heart,” “I Feel Free,” “I’m So Glad,” “N.S.U.,” “Politician,” “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” “Sitting on Top of the World,” “Spoonful,” “Strange Brew,” “Sunshine of Your Love,” “Sweet Wine,” “SWLABR,” “Tales of Brave Ulysses,” “Toad,” “We’re Going Wrong,” “What a Bringdown,” “White Room,” “World of Pain.” Best song: “Sunshine of Your Love.”  Runner-up: “White Room”  Second runner-up: “Crossroads” Honorable mention: “Tales of Brave Ulysses”

8. The Kinks – What might have been? The Kinks were a British Invasion band whose invasion faltered, failing to establish themselves like their contemporaries The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who. (They were banned from touring in the U.S. from 1965 to 1969 because of constantly fighting with each other and everyone else.)  You know their hits but may not know the name of the group behind them.  “You Really Got Me” was a turning point in rock, Ray Davies is one of the all-time great songwriters, and brother Dave is an underappreciated guitarist. The Kinks are one of the most influential musicians who never quite got their due. Their adherents include nearly every major act to follow, as they left their mark on rock in nearly all its subsequent forms — garage, psychedelic, hard, metal, glam, punk, new wave, and alternative. Hit songs: “All Day and All of the Night,” “Apeman,” “Autumn Almanac,” “Celluloid Heroes,” “Come Dancing,” “Days,” “Dead End Street,” “Destroyer,” “Do It Again,” “Do You Remember Walter?,” “Juke Box Music,” “Living on a Thin Line,” “Lola,” “Picture Book,” “A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy,” “See My Friends,” “Shangri-La,” “Sunny Afternoon,” “Tired of Waiting for You,” “Victoria,” “The Village Green Preservation Society,” “Waterloo Sunset,” “A Well Respected Man,” “Wonderboy,” “You Really Got Me” Best song: “You Really Got Me” Runner-up: “Waterloo Sunset”  Second runner-up: “Lola” Honorable mention: “All Day and All of the Night”

7. The Beach Boys – The Beach Boys are the American Beatles, or are The Beatles the British Beach Boys? Notorious rivals with somewhat similar sounds, they influenced each other and as a result took popular music to new heights. Rubber Soul led to their Pet Sounds, which in turn led to Sgt. Pepper’s – the latter two of which are two of the five greatest albums. The Beach Boys didn’t invent surf rock/California sound but they made it their own, and also impacted the development of pop, psychedelic, baroque, progressive, electronic, punk, new wave, and alternative rock. Brian Wilson, the long-suffering prodigy, was the group’s primary lyricist/composer/arranger/producer and so largely responsible for their success, with Mike Love helping write some of their classics. Their irresistible melodies, impeccable vocal harmonies, buoyant and poignant lyrics, early innovation, and wide-ranging influence make them the greatest American rock band ever. Hit songs: “409,” “All I Wanna Do,” “All Summer Long,” “Barbara Ann,” “Do It Again,” “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder),” “Cabinessence,” “California Girls,” “Caroline, No,” “Don’t Worry Baby,” “Forever,” “Fun Fun Fun,” “God Only Knows,” “Good Vibrations,” “Help Me Rhonda,” “Here Today,” “Heroes and Villains,” “I Get Around,” “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times,” “I’m Waiting for the Day,” “Little Deuce Coupe,” “Sloop John B,” “Surf’s Up,” “Surfin’ Safari,” “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” “‘Til I Die,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “You Still Believe in Me.”  Best song: “Good Vibrations” Runner-up: “God Only Knows” Second runner-up: “California Girls.” Honorable mention: “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”

6. Jimi Hendrix – The Beach Boys are the greatest American rock band, but Jimi Hendrix is the greatest American rock solo artist and rock solo artist period. Hendrix is, by all accounts, the best guitarist ever. The way that Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck tell it, he was in a class by himself. “You never told me he was that good!” Clapton said when first seeing him play. Rooted in the blues, Hendrix showed the world what was possible with rock’s signature instrument, taking previous experiments with distortion, feedback, the whammy bar, and the wah-wah pedal to another level. He was also an adept songwriter and soulful vocalist, betraying his youth. He put on phenomenal shows at Monterey (pictured), Woodstock (where he played a transcendent version of “The Star-Spangled Banner”), and Isle of Wight (just weeks before his death). Churning out an uncanny number of hits in a mere 3-year period, Hendrix inspired a legion of rockers to follow. Hit songs: “1983…(A Merman I Should Turn to Be),” “All Along the Watchtower,” “Are You Experienced?,” “Bold as Love,” “Burning of the Midnight Lamp,” “Castles Made of Sand,” “Come On,” “Crosstown Traffic,” “Dolly Dagger,” “Fire,” “Foxy Lady,” “Freedom,” “Gypsy Eyes,” “Hear My Train A Comin’,” “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun),” “Hey Joe,” “Highway Chile,” “If 6 Was 9,” “Little Wing,” “Love or Confusion,” “Machine Gun,” “Manic Depression,” “May This Be Love,” “Night Bird Flying,” “One Rainy Wish,” “Pali Gap,” “Purple Haze,” “Somewhere,” “Spanish Castle Magic,” “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “Stone Free,” “Voodoo Chile,” “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” “The Wind Cries Mary” Best song: “All Along the Watchtower.” Runner-up: “Purple Haze” Second runner-up: “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” Honorable mention: “Little Wing”

5. The Rolling Stones – Critically speaking, The Rolling Stones are the only serious rival to The Beatles. They released four consecutive albums which are considered among the top 50 or so greatest ever (Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, and Exile on Main Street), a feat which not even The Fab Four can claim. The Rolling Stones mainly play straightforward blues and hard rock (occasionally folk, psychedelic and country rock), but it’s a style they perfected, producing hit after hit from the mid-1960s to the early-1980s. The classic lineup had bad boy Mick Jagger as the songwriter and singer, bad boy Keith Richards as songwriter and lead guitarist, Bill Wyman on bass, and Charlie Watts on drums.  Founder and lead guitarist Brian Jones was the most creative of the group but by 1969 he was out. Jones was replaced by Mick Taylor, the best guitarist of the group, but by 1974 he was out, too. Guitarist Ronnie Wood (of the Jeff Beck Group and Faces) joined in 1975 and is still with the band, while Wyman is not. In 2021, Watts passed away. Despite these shakeups, The Rolling Stones are still rolling 60 years later. Hit songs: “19th Nervous Breakdown,” “2000 Light Years from Home,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “Angie,” “As Tears Go By,” “Beast of Burden,” “Bitch,” “Brown Sugar,” “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” “Dead Flowers,” “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker),” “Emotional Rescue,” “Get Off of My Cloud,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Have You Seen Your Mother Baby Standing in the Shadow?,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “It’s All Over Now,” “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It),” “I’m Free,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “The Last Time,” “Let It Bleed,” “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” “Loving Cup,” “Memory Motel,” “Midnight Rambler,” “Miss You,” “Monkey Man,” “Moonlight Mile,” “Mother’s Little Helper,” “Paint It Black,” “Play with Fire,” “Rocks Off,” “Ruby Tuesday,” “Salt of the Earth,” “Shattered,” “She’s a Rainbow,” “She’s So Cold,” “Shine a Light,” “Start Me Up,” “Street Fighting Man,” “Sway,” “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Time Is on My Side,” “Tumbling Dice,” “Under My Thumb,” “Waiting on a Friend,” “Wild Horses,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” Best song: “Gimme Shelter”  Runner-up: “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” Second runner-up: “Sympathy for the Devil” Honorable mention: “Paint It Black”

4. Pink Floyd – Psychedelic and progressive rockers Pink Floyd are one of the few acts who can legitimately be compared to The Beatles in terms of creativity. They helped develop a multitude of genres (psychedelic, progressive, hard, metal, electronic rock), experimented extensively with studio technology (ambient music, sound effects, tape splicing), and put on extravagant live shows, all of which inspired a generation of musicians to rethink what was possible with rock. Songwriter, singer and bassist Roger Waters is a brilliant lyricist, responsible for the quintessential concept album The Wall. And it’s not even Pink Floyd’s finest work. That would be The Dark Side of the Moon, which was much more of a group effort.  Both are among the very best records ever, as is Wish You Were Here.  David Gilmour is a top 10 guitarist and smooth vocalist, while Richard Wright on keyboards and Nick Mason on drums round out this legendary group. Co-founder Syd Barrett didn’t last long, but he haunted the band for years afterwards — the entire album Wish You Were Here is effectively dedicated to him. Hit songs: “Another Brick in the Wall Part 1,” “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2,” “Arnold Layne,” “Astronomy Domine,” “Atom Heart Mother,” “Bike,” “Brain Damage,” “Breathe,” “Careful with That Axe, Eugene,” “Childhood’s End,” “Comfortably Numb,” “Cymbaline,” “Dogs,” “Echoes,” “Eclipse,” “Fearless,” “Free Four,” “Goodbye Blue Sky,” “The Great Gig in the Sky,” “The Happiest Days of Our Lives,” “Have a Cigar,” “Hey You,” “High Hopes,” “In the Flesh,” “In the Flesh?,” “Interstellar Overdrive,” “Is There Anybody Out There?,” “Learning to Fly,” “Lucifer Sam,” “Money,” “Mother,” “The Nile Song,” “Nobody Home,” “One of My Turns,” “One of These Days,” “Pigs,” “Run Like Hell,” “A Saucerful of Secrets,” “See Emily Play,” “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” “Sheep,” “Shine on You Crazy Diamond Parts I-V,” “Shine on You Crazy Diamond Parts VI-IX,” “Time,” “The Trial,” “Us and Them,” “Welcome to the Machine,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Wot’s…Uh the Deal?,” “Young Lust.”  Best song: “Wish You Were Here”  Runner-up: “Comfortably Numb”  Second runner-up: “Time”  Honorable mention: “Shine on You Crazy Diamond Parts I-V”

3. The Who – One of the godfathers of hard, metal, punk, new wave, and alternative rock, The Who are like a more innovative, harder, yet more introspective version of fellow British Invasion act The Rolling Stones. They produced some of the all-time great youth anthems (“My Generation,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” etc.), concept albums Tommy and Quadrophenia, and possibly the greatest hard rock album, Who’s Next. Few songwriters can compare to Pete “Windmill” Townshend and he plays (and destroys) a mean guitar, also contributing vocals. Keith “Moon the Loon” Moon was the craziest rock star ever (destroying everything) and perhaps the greatest drummer. Roger “Tommy” Daltrey is one of the great lead singers and microphone swingers. John “The Ox” Entwistle was perhaps the greatest bassist, showcasing the overlooked instrument to a wider audience. The Who may be the best live act ever, wowing audiences at Woodstock, Isle of Wight, and Leeds. Moon passed in 1978 and Entwistle in 2002, but Townshend and Daltrey continue on to this day. Hit songs: “5:15,” “The Acid Queen,” Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere,” “Baba O’Riley,” “Bargain,” “Behind Blue Eyes,” “Blue, Red and Grey,” “Christmas,” “Doctor Jimmy,” “Eminence Front,” “Getting in Tune,” “Going Mobile,” “Guitar and Pen,” “Happy Jack,” “Heaven and Hell,” “How Many Friends,” “I Can See for Miles,” “I Can’t Explain,” “I Can’t Reach You,” “I’m a Boy,” “I’m Free,” “I’m One,” “Join Together,” “The Kids Are Alright,” “A Legal Matter,” “Let’s See Action,” “Long Live Rock,” “Love Reign o’er Me,” “Magic Bus,” “My Generation,” “Pictures of Lily,” “Pinball Wizard,” “Pure and Easy,” “A Quick One While He’s Away,” “The Real Me,” “The Seeker,” “Slip Kid,” “So Sad About Us,” “The Song Is Over,” “Sparks,” “Squeeze Box,” “Substitute,” “Tattoo,” “We’re Not Gonna Take It/See Me Feel Me,” “Who Are You,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “You Better You Bet” Best song: “My Generation”  Runner-up: “Won’t Get Fooled Again”  Second runner-up: “I Can See For Miles”  Honorable mention: “Baba O’Riley”

2. Led Zeppelin – What do you get when you take four of the top musicians in their respective roles for a period of 10 years?  No, not The Beatles. It’s Led Zeppelin and the second greatest rock band ever. They didn’t have the sublime songwriting of The Beatles, The Who, or Pink Floyd, but what they had was unparalleled musicianship. John Bonham on drums (maybe #1), Robert Plant on vocals (top three), founder, songwriter and guitarist Jimmy Page on lead guitar (top five), and John Paul Jones on bass (top five).  This was the supergroup to end all supergroups, and they weren’t even technically a supergroup as only Page was previously in a successful band (The Yardbirds). Led Zeppelin were characterized by their primarily blues, hard, and metal rock sound, the latter two of which they basically established the framework for, while they also experimented with folk, jazz, country, soul, funk, reggae, and electronic rock. “Stairway to Heaven” is the ultimate hard rock song and their first six albums are bona fide classics.  Bonham passed in 1980, but unlike The Who (who also lost their drummer around the same time), Led Zeppelin decided to end it there. Hit songs: “Achilles Last Stand,” “All My Love,” “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” “The Battle of Evermore,” “Black Dog,” “Bring It on Home,” “Communication Breakdown,” “Dancing Days,” “Dazed and Confused,” “D’yer Mak’er,” “Fool in the Rain,” “Four Sticks,” “Friends,” “Gallows Pole,” “The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair,” “Going to California,” “Good Times Bad Times,” “Heartbreaker,” “Hey, Hey, What Can I Do,” “Houses of the Holy,” “How Many More Times,” “I Can’t Quit You Baby,” “Immigrant Song,” “In My Time of Dying,” “In the Evening,” “In the Light,” “Kashmir,” “The Lemon Song,” “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman),” “Misty Mountain Hop,” “Moby Dick,” “No Quarter,” “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” “The Ocean,” “Out on the Tiles,” “Over the Hills and Far Away,” “The Rain Song,” “Ramble On,” “Rock and Roll,” “The Rover,” “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” “The Song Remains the Same,” “Stairway to Heaven,” “Tangerine,” “Ten Years Gone,” “Thank You,” “That’s the Way,” “Trampled Under Foot,” “Travelling Riverside Blues,” “The Wanton Song,” “What Is and What Should Never Be,” “When the Levee Breaks,” “White Summer,” “Whole Lotta Love,” “You Shook Me,” “Your Time Is Gonna Come” Best song: “Stairway to Heaven” Runner-up: “Kashmir” Second runner-up: “Whole Lotta Love” Honorable mention: “Black Dog”

1. The Beatles – Well, no surprise here and it’s not even close. It’s not hyperbole to say The Beatles are in a league of their own, as evidenced by the wide gap between the #1 and #2 spots — 76 hits vs. 56 hits.  Indeed, they were an absolute hit machine during the core members’ seven years together. Pink Floyd, The Beach Boys, Frank Zappa, and The Velvet Underground were at least as creative; Bob Dylan was the more sagacious lyricist; Led Zeppelin, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, and Cream had more talented instrumentalists; The Beach Boys had superior vocalists; and many bands were greater live, while they stopped touring entirely about midway through their career.  But no group brought all of these components together like The Beatles. They were greater than the sum of their parts — John Lennon (songwriter, singer, and rhythm guitar), Paul McCartney (songwriter, singer, and bass guitar), George Harrison (lead guitar), and Ringo Starr (drums). Starting out playing beat rock (thus the name), The Beatles helped forge pop, folk, country, psychedelic, baroque, progressive, hard, metal, and electronic rock, nearly all of their 13 albums are masterpieces, and they revolutionized music with their advancements in studio technology (credit must also be given to their producer George Martin).  In short, their innovative sound and constant evolution, incredible melodies, (later) profound lyrics, and massive influence are more than sufficient to forever secure their legacy as the greatest rock group ever. Hit songs: “Abbey Road Medley,” “Across the Universe,” “All You Need Is Love,” “All My Loving,” “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” “Blackbird,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Come Together,” “A Day in the Life,” “Day Tripper,” “Dear Prudence,” “Don’t Let Me Down,” “Drive My Car,” “Eight Days a Week,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “For No One,” “Get Back,” “Girl,” “Good Day Sunshine,” “Got to Get You into My Life,” “Happiness Is a Warm Gun,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Hello, Goodbye,” “Help!,” “Helter Skelter,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Here, There and Everywhere,” “Hey Bulldog,” “Hey Jude,” “I Am the Walrus,” “I Feel Fine,” “I Me Mine,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” “If I Fell,” “If I Needed Someone,” “In My Life,” “I’m a Loser,” “I’m Looking Through You,” “I’m Only Sleeping,” “I’ve Got a Feeling,” “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” “Lady Madonna,” “Let It Be,” “The Long and Winding Road,” “Love Me Do,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Money (That’s What I Want),” “No Reply,” “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown),” “Nowhere Man,” “Oh! Darling,” “Paperback Writer,” “Penny Lane,” “Please Please Me,” “Rain,” “Revolution,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “She Loves You,” “She Said She Said,” “She’s Leaving Home,” “Something,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Taxman,” “Things We Said Today,” “Ticket to Ride,” “Tomorrow Never Knows,” “Twist and Shout,” “Two of Us,” “We Can Work It Out,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “With a Little Help from My Friends,” “Yer Blues,” “Yesterday,” “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” Best song: “A Day in the Life” Runner-up: “Strawberry Fields Forever”  Second runner-up: “In My Life” Honorable mention: “Yesterday”



Alice in Chains “Down in a Hole,” “Man in the Box,” “Rooster,” “Would?”

Bachman-Turner Overdrive “Let It Ride,” “Roll on Down the Highway,” “Takin’ Care of Business,”  “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”

Bee Gees “How Deep Is Your Love,” “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You,” “Massachusetts,” “New York Mining Disaster 1941”

Bill Haley “Rock Around the Clock,” “Rock-A-Beatin’ Boogie,” “Rocket 88,” “Shake Rattle and Roll”

Blue Öyster Cult “Astronomy,” “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” “Godzilla,” “Veteran of the Psychic Wars”

Buffalo Springfield “Bluebird,” “Expecting to Fly,” “For What It’s Worth,” “Mr. Soul”

Carole King “It’s Too Late,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got a Friend”

Cat Stevens “Father and Son,” “Moonshadow,” “Peace Train,” “Wild World”

Cheap Trick “Dream Police,” “ELO Kiddies,” “I Want You to Want Me,” “Surrender”

Chicago “25 or 6 to 4,” “Beginnings,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?,” “Saturday in the Park”

Coldplay “Clocks,” “Fix You,” “The Scientist,” “Yellow”

Del Shannon “Hats Off to Larry,” “Keep Searchin’ (We’ll Follow the Sun),” “Little Town Flirt,” “Runaway”

Dion “Abraham, Martin and John,” “Ruby Baby,” “Runaround Sue,” “The Wanderer”

Donovan – “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” “Mellow Yellow,” “Season of the Witch,” “Sunshine Superman”

Eddie Cochran “C’mon Everybody,” “Somethin’ Else,” “Summertime Blues,” “Twenty Flight Rock”

Emerson, Lake & Palmer “Fanfare for the Common Man,” “Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 2,” “Lucky Man,” “Tarkus”

Faces “Cindy Incidentally,” “Miss Judy’s Farm,” “Ooh La La,” “Stay with Me”

The Four Seasons “Dawn (Go Away),” “Rag Doll,” “Sherry,” “Walk Like a Man”

Grand Funk Railroad “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home),” “Inside Looking Out,” “Shinin’ On,” “We’re an American Band”

Green Day “Basket Case,” “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” “Longview,” “When I Come Around”

The Guess Who “American Woman,” “Laughing,” “No Time,” “These Eyes”

Heart “Barracuda,” “Crazy on You,” “Dreamboat Annie,” “Magic Man”

The Hollies “The Air That I Breathe,” “Bus Stop,” “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” “Look Through Any Window”

Iron Maiden “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” “Run to the Hills,” “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son,” “The Trooper”

The Isley Brothers “Ohio/Machine Gun,” “Shout,” “That Lady Pts. 1 & 2,” “Twist and Shout”

Jackson Browne “Doctor My Eyes,” “The Load-Out/Stay,” “Running on Empty,” “Somebody’s Baby”

James Gang “The Bomber,” “Funk #48,” “Funk #49,” “Walk Away”

James Taylor “Carolina in My Mind,” “Copperline,” “Fire and Rain,” “Sweet Baby James”

Jeff Beck “Beck’s Bolero,” “Freeway Jam,” “Going Down,” “I Ain’t Superstitious”

John Mellencamp “Hurts So Good,” “Jack & Diane,” “Pink Houses,” “Small Town”

Joy Division “Atmosphere,” “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” “Shadowplay,” “Transmission”

Judas Priest “Beyond the Realms of Death,” “Breaking the Law,” “Electric Eye,” “Victim of Changes”

The Lovin’ Spoonful “Daydream,” “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?,” “Do You Believe in Magic,” “Summer in the City”

The Mamas & the Papas “California Dreamin’,” “Dedicated to the One I Love,” “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” “Monday, Monday”

MC5 “The American Ruse,” “Kick Out the Jams,” “Looking at You,” “Shakin’ Street”

Neil Diamond “Cherry Cherry,” “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon,” “Sweet Caroline”

New York Dolls “Jet Boy,” “Personality Crisis,” “Stranded in the Jungle,” “Trash”

Nine Inch Nails “Head Like a Hole,” “Hurt,” “Something I Can Never Have,” “Wish”

Oasis “Champagne Supernova,” “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” “Live Forever,” “Wonderwall”

Procol Harum “Conquistador,” “A Salty Dog,” “Whiskey Train,” “Whiter Shade of Pale”

Ricky Nelson “Garden Party,” “Hello Mary Lou,” “Stood Up,” “Travelin’ Man”

Rod Stewart “Maggie May,” “Mandolin Wind,” “Reason to Believe,” “You Wear It Well”

Slade “Coz I Luv You,” “Cum On Feel the Noize,” “Gudbuy T’Jane,” “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”

Steppenwolf – “Born to Be Wild,” “Magic Carpet Ride,” “The Pusher,” “Rock Me”

Stevie Ray Vaughan “Cold Shot,” “Crossfire,” “Pride and Joy,” “Texas Flood”

The Strokes “Hard to Explain,” “Last Nite,” “Reptilia,” “Someday”

Television “Friction,” “Marquee Moon,” “Prove It,” “Venus”

Thin Lizzy “The Boys Are Back in Town,” “Emerald,” “Jailbreak,” “Whiskey in the Jar”

The White Stripes “Ball and Biscuit,” “Fell in Love with a Girl,” “Icky Thump,” “Seven Nation Army”

The Zombies “Care of Cell 44,” “She’s Not There,” “Tell Her No,” “Time of the Season”

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