Top 10 Best Rock Songs of All Time (As of 2015)

The discussion on the top rock songs is a continuous debate. There are many greats from over the decades which endure and that have been remade into audible covers. If you’re looking for some of the best rock songs of all time, here’s a look at a few contenders.

Gimme Shelter (1969)
The Rolling Stones

The shelter is that from a storm of political and social unrest, making this one relevant in numerous ways. Just about anything from the group can be a top rock tune. This song’s driving groove puts it up there.

Fortunate Son (1970)
Creedence Clearwater Revival

Often misinterpreted as patriotic, this rockin’ tune has been covered by Death Cab for Cutie, Sleater-Kinney, U2, Kid Rock, and Bruce Springsteen. It is about the Vietnam War, but the theme of the poor being most likely to fight still resonates today.

Helter Skelter (1968)
The Beatles

Paul McCartney’s loud and dirty rock ‘n’ roll song was inspired by a Pete Townsend interview. Named after an amusement slide in Britain, it is mentioned in Don McLean’s American Pie and is thought to have influenced later heavy metal music.

Don’t Stop Believin (1981)
Journey

This is one of the band’s most well-known song. Its unique arrangement for a pop-rock song doesn’t bring the chorus in until the end. A notable performance appeared on Glee in 2009 while it was performed in Carnegie Hall by Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga, Sting, Elton John, and others in 2010.

Dream On (1973)
Aerosmith

Aerosmith’s first single, it enabled them to remain signed with Columbia Records. It’s been heard on TV and in movies, as well as in commercials for Buick and Adobe Photoshop. The song features some of Steven Tyler’s most signature vocals.

We Won’t Get Fooled Again (1971)
The Who

The lyrics and the music represent a revolution and politicians of the early 1970’s. It’s known for its synthesizer sound and Roger Daltrey’s scream. Rock radio stations still play this regularly and the song is used at the opening of the TV show CSI Miami.

Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)
Nirvana

Covered by Tori Amos, Patti Smith, and Joan Jett, the song has endured well past Kurt Cobain’s death and was performed during the band’s 2014 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Hey Jude (1968)
The Beatles

Written for John Lennon’s son Julian, it was the longest single at the time (over seven minutes). It was the most downloaded song the day it became available on iTunes. There are many covers of this and references in modern literature.

Bohemian Rhapsody (1975)
Queen

Despite its meaning being illusive, this song has endured in pop culture. The video was often seen on MTV following its 1981 launch and was part of a major scene in Wayne’s World in 1992. There have been many covers, parodies, and pop culture references.

Because the Night (1977)
Bruce Springsteen

A hit for Patty Smith in 1977, the song wasn’t released by Bruce until his Live 1975-1985 album came out in 1986. It’s a fan favorite at Springsteen’s live shows. Jimmy Iovine credits this with launching his career. Popular covers were done by 10,000 Maniacs, Cascada, Garbage and Screaming Females, Michael Stipe, and KT Tunstall.

No Free Bird or Stairway to Heaven? On almost every top rock song list, these deserve an honorable mention. We tried to mix it up and hope this list gives you at least a good listen.

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