Classic rock is a super popular genre with numerous much-loved bands, iconic figures, and chart-topping hits. Throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s numerous musical geniuses flourished with hit songs that inspired and moved generations and even changed the world. They had a deep influence on today's popular music and culture. Many are still loved by millions and millions around the world to this day.
Whether you love glam rock, hard rock, stadium rock, prog rock or anything in between, classic rock is a rich genre full of amazing musicians and artists who took influence from all sorts of diverse places. Whether you love a rough and dirty jam or Eastern-inspired compositions that are a half hour long, classic rock has got it. From the catchy and accessible to the experimental and truly weird, classic rock truly celebrates a lot of the best musical minds of the 20th century.
Whether you love Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones more, there is no denying that they all left their unique mark on music forever. See if you can name the biggest hits of rock's biggest and baddest stars with this hard-hitting musical quiz!
The Who's 1971 album "Who's Next" actually came from the pieces of a failed rock opera Pete Townshend had wanted to create called "Lifehouse." While it never came together, it did lead to the creation of one of rock's most powerful anthems.
"Walk On The Wild Side" was a song off of the 1972 Lou Reed album "Transformer." This album was co-produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson, who had previously worked together on Ziggy Stardust.
Heart featured siblings Ann and Nancy Wilson. "Barracuda" was hit single off of their 1977 album "Little Queen." This powerful song is about the misogyny they faced as young famous women in the music industry in the 1970s.
Metallica's 1991 self-titled release featured the hit song "Enter Sandman" as a single. While it was a big departure in sound for the band, over 15 million copies have been sold of the album in the US alone.
This folk standard dates back to the early days of blues, and was covered by numerous people over the years, including Bob Dylan. Released in 1964, The Animals' rendition of this song topped US and UK charts.
Former Beatle George Harrison released this song on his debut solo album "All Things Must Pass" in 1970. It was the first hit single by a former Beatle, and the biggest solo hit of any of them in the 1970s.
This single was a part of the 1971 T. Rex album "Electric Warrior." Released as "Bang A Gong" in their native UK, it was a hit there first. This song was produced by Tony Visconti, who is famous for his work with David Bowie.
Released in 1969, Bowie's "Space Oddity" came to fame as a sort of anthem of the moon landing, which occurred during the same year. Ironically, this song tells the tale of a lonely astronaut dying in space as a metaphor for alienation and loneliness.
"Comfortably Numb" was originally released on the 1979 Pink Floyd album "The Wall." Despite being one of the band's biggest songs, they struggled to agree on how to arrange and perform it.
"Rock You Like A Hurricane" was released in 1984 and was a part of the band's album "Love At First Sting." This song helped to make this German metal band's album crack the Billboard Top 10.
"Don't Bring Me Down" was a 1979 smash by the band Electric Light Orchestra. It was recorded in Munich. This song was composed, performed in studio and recorded almost entirely by band member Jeff Lynne.
"Renegade" is the third single from Styx's 1978 massively popular album "Pieces of Eight." It was written by the band's guitarist Tommy Shaw. This song is commonly used in films and TV shows and at football games.
"Born To Be Wild" was a song on Steppenwolf's 1968 debut album. However, the world would not go nuts for it until a year later, when it was featured in the film "Easy Rider." Since then, it has become a ubiquitous pop culture staple.
"We're An American Band" was the first No. 1 hit single of Grand Funk Railroad, who had previously been an album band. It was written by the drummer and vocalist of the band Don Brewer.
"Black Betty" is a 1977 song off the album "Ram Jam" by the band Ram Jam. Despite being an odd song that starts with a hard rock edge sharply veers into musical freakout half-way through. It was a hit in the US, UK and Australia.
"Somebody to Love" was a massive 1967 smash hit for the San Francisco psych rock go-to group Jefferson Airplane. However, prior to its success, Grace Slick had recorded a less hard-hitting version with her previous band, Great Society.
This single was released in 1980 by Pete Townshend, who is best known as the lead guitarist and main songwriter of the band The Who. Despite becoming a hit, his manager hated it and didn't want it to be released at all.
Manfred Mann's Earth Band was a British jazz-blues band formed in 1971 that was known for covering Bob Dylan. "Blinded By The Light" was actually also a cover, with the original being written by Bruce Springsteen.
"Juke Box Hero" was a hit off the band's 1981 album "4." One of the band's biggest songs, it was a concert staple. When they played it live in the '80s and '90s, a giant inflatable jukebox would appear.
With the group Big Brother And The Holding Company, Janis Joplin belted out this iconic track on their 1968 album "Cheap Thrills." It peaked at No. 12 on the U.S. pop chart and helped to define acid rock.
Famous as the frontman of Genesis, Phil Collins' solo effort "In The Air Tonight" is one of the most iconic songs of the 1980s. Part of his debut solo album "Face Value," it draws inspiration from his tough divorce from his first wife.
"Edge Of Seventeen" was the third single off Stevie Nicks' 1981 debut solo album "Bella Donna." It has one of the most recognizable guitar riffs in rock, and was sampled in the song "Bootylicious" by Destiny's Child.
This is Billy Joel's most famous song and an iconic classic rock staple. He wrote it based on the time he spent as a piano player in a Los Angeles bar between recording contracts.
"Slow Ride" is a 1975 hit off the Foghat album "Fool For The City." At over eight minutes in length, it was a lengthy hit. It became popular again in the 1990s, when it was used in the closing credits of the film "Dazed and Confused."
This primal and raw 1964 rock hit was an incredibly influential song. While many more popular acts at the time, like The Beatles, were releasing more polished material, The Kinks kept it fast and dirty with this two-minute track, which some consider to be at the roots of punk.
"Brass In Pocket" was the third single and first No. 1 for the band "The Pretenders." However, by this point they had already changed their lineup multiple times. This is one of the new wave era's hits.
1973's "Joker" was the band's biggest hit. It is undoubtedly one of the catchiest and most endlessly quotable songs in all of classic rock. It was a hit in both the US and The UK.
The song "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" is off the band's fourth studio album, 1976's "Agents of Fortune." It was an instant radio hit that was later parodied on "Saturday Night Live."
"School's Out" was an instant smash when it was released in the summer of 1972. It was a hit in the US, but an even bigger one in the UK where Alice Cooper became an instant sensation.
Fleetwood Mac's 1977 "Rumours" is an iconic classic rock album that has sold nearly 20 million copies in the US alone. It explores the complicated interpersonal and romantic relationships the band members had with each other, as they broke down.
"LA Woman" was a 1971 song off the album of the same name by The Doors. This was the last album that the band made with Jim Morrison, and many consider it to be one of the most iconic in rock.
The song "Like A Rolling Stone" was the opening track of Bob Dylan's 1965 LP "Highway 61 Revisited." Many consider this to be the song that married rock and roll and poetry for the masses, opening the doors for generations of more literate rockers and singer-songwriters.
"Carry On Wayward Son" was the first major hit of the band Kansas. It is from their fourth album, 1976's "Leftoverture." The initial idea for the song came from the band's guitarist Kerry Livgren.
"Smoke On The Water" was released on the 1972 album "Machine Head." It references a real-life event. They were recording near the Montreux Jazz Festival when a concertgoer set off a flare at a Frank Zappa concert and ended up burning the casino where the show was taking place down.
This track was from the Talking Heads' 1983 album "Speaking In Tongues." The song's innovative and unique music video was featured heavily on MTV, which helped to propel it to hit status.