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VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Rock N' Roll

Reverend Jax

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OK, the Pop Culture Icons one we all agreed was rediculous, but this one isn't all that bad, or at least not as bad as the pop culture icons one. Making a list everyone can agree on is really hard, and this one hits on or near the mark more tiems than I could have. It's obviously sad to see no songs by Pink Floyd, U2, Fleetwood Mac, REM, Black Sabbath, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Janis Joplin, or Joni Mitchell, but it's hard to associate anyone those artists with a single defining song.


1. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - Rolling Stones

2. Respect - Aretha Franklin

3. Stairway To Heaven - Led Zeppelin

4. Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan

5. Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen

6. Hotel California - The Eagles

7. Light My Fire - The Doors

8. Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys

9. Hey Jude - The Beatles

10. Imagine - John Lennon

11. Louie Louie - The Kingsmen

12. Yesterday - The Beatles

13. My Generation - The Who

14. What's Going On - Marvin Gaye

15. Johnny B Goode - Chuck Berry

16. Layla - Derek and The Dominos

17. Won't Get Fooled Again - The Who

18. Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley

19. American Pie - Don McLean

20. A Day In The Life - The Beatles

21. I Got You (I Feel Good) - James Brown

22. Superstition - Stevie Wonder

23. I Want To Hold Your Hand - The Beatles

24. Brown Sugar - Rolling Stones

25. Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix

26. Sympathy For The Devil - Rolling Stones

27. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen

28. You Really Got Me - The Kinks

29. Oh, Pretty Woman - Roy Orbison

30. Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel

31. Hound Dog - Elvis Presley

32. Let It Be - The Beatles

33. (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay - Otis Redding

34. All Along The Watchtower - The Jimi Hendrix Experience

35. Walk This Way - Aerosmith

36. My Girl - The Temptations

37. Rock Around The Clock - Bill Haley & His Comets

38. I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Marvin Gaye

39. Proud Mary - Creedence Clearwater Revival

40. Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf

41. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

42. Every Breath You Take - The Police

43. What'd I Say - Ray Charles

44. Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd

45. That'll Be The Day - Buddy Holly and The Crickets

46. Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin

47. Dream On - Aerosmith

48. California Dreamin' - Mamas and The Papas

49. Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison

50. Wild Thing - The Troggs

51. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes - Crosby, Stills and Nash

52. Beat It - Michael Jackson

53. Great Balls Of Fire - Jerry Lee Lewis

54. Stayin' Alive - Bee Gees

55. For What It's Worth - Buffalo Springfield

56. Blowin' In The Wind - Bob Dylan

57. Twist And Shout - The Beatles

58. Piano Man - Billy Joel

59. She Loves You - The Beatles

60. Space Oddity - David Bowie

61. Strawberry Fields Forever - The Beatles

62. Kashmir - Led Zeppelin

63. Crazy - Patsy Cline

64. London Calling - The Clash

65. Jumpin' Jack Flash - Rolling Stones

66. Rock & Roll - Led Zeppelin

67. Let's Stay Together - Al Green

68. All Shook Up - Elvis Presley

69. Maggie May - Rod Stewart

70. Your Song - Elton John

71. Heartbreak Hotel - Elvis Presley

72. God Only Knows - The Beach Boys

73. The Twist - Chubby Checker

74. Good Golly, Miss Molly - Little Richard

75. Sunshine Of Your Love - Cream

76. California Girls - The Beach Boys

77. Summertime Blues - Eddie Cochran

78. Blue Suede Shoes - Carl Perkins

79. A Hard Day's Night - The Beatles

80. Fire And Rain - James Taylor

81. Gloria - Them

82. Sexual Healing - Marvin Gaye

83. Start Me Up - Rolling Stones

84. More Than A Feeling - Boston

85. Roxanne - The Police

86. We Are The Champions - Queen

87. Tangled Up In Blue - Bob Dylan

88. Somebody To Love - Jefferson Airplane

89. Stand By Me - Ben E King

90. Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On - Jerry Lee Lewis

91. You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC

92. When Doves Cry - Prince & The Revolution

93. In The Midnight Hour - Wilson Pickett

94. Gimme Some Lovin' - Spencer Davis Group

95. Jump - Van Halen

96. Thunder Road - Bruce Springsteen

97. No Woman No Cry - Bob Marley & The Wailers

98. La Bamba - Ritchie Valens

99. We've Only Just Begun - The Carpenters

100. Papa Was A Rolling Stone - The Temptations


So, firstly, what song that is here is the single biggest mistake/atrocity of this list? Is it Born to Run getting to #5? Is it the Carpenters getting ont he list at all? Is it David Bowie only appear once, and at #60? Is it Walk This Way at #35?


And secondly, what song that isn't here is the single biggest mistake/atrocity of this list? Is it that there's no Pink Floyd song? Is it that there's no Black Sabbath song? Is it the exclusion of the Isley Brothers' Shout? Or classic instrumentals like Wipeout or Tequila?

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Stairway To Heaven - Led Zeppelin

Okay, I'm probably alone here and I can see myself getting lynched for this one, but I just don't rate that song. I have no explanation, it's just one of those things.


Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen

Yeah, this was quite the strange choice for #5. The song is good, but I don't think it should've been in the top 100, let alone the top 5.


Won't Get Fooled Again - The Who

Baba O'Reilly, The Kids are Alright or Squeezebox shoulda been here instead. That being said it still is a great fucking song.


Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen

This is another song I don't rate. Sure I appreciate the structure but it's just another example of over indulgent 70s rock.


Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin

More Zeppelin. More over indulgent 70s rock. Good musicians and whatever but not my cup of tea.


Kashmir - Led Zeppelin

No point in stating the same thing three times in a row...


Crazy - Patsy Cline

Whoa - whoa - whoa...since when was "Crazy" a rock n' roll song? Did I miss something? That being said I like the song, it's just that I don't think that it should be on this list.


Rock & Roll - Led Zeppelin

For fuck's sake. What's VH1's love affair with Led Zeppelin?


More Than A Feeling - Boston

Hmmm...not too sure about this one. Didn't Kurt Cobain say that's where he stole "Smells like Teen Spirit" from? I guess it gets away safely because of that...


We Are The Champions - Queen

Stupid fucking Queen. The only time this song is good is when it gets played after you complete a "Pro Evolution Soccer 2" (or "Winning Eleven" to the U.S. gamers)

world cup.


Where are the Ramones? I'll be fucked if "Blitzkrieg Bop" isn't one of the greatest rock n' roll songs ever. Staying with Punk, what about "God Save the Queen" by the Sex Pistols. It woulda been nice if "Wouldn't it be Nice" was on the list (worst pun ever). I was happy to see "Louie, Louie" on the list though. When I saw the title that was the first song I thought of. I know my buzz-phrase for this post was "70s Over Indulgent Rock" but I'm still gonna ask where Pink Floyd were. "Money" shoulda been on the list. The rest of the shit was good and I agree with Jax's Carpenters (I left it alone due to that), Isley Brothers and Sabbath points so I'm gonna keep my mouth shut about them.


At lease there was one AC/DC song on the list - and to make it even better...it was my favorite one!

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Yeah I agree with most of what's been said, except for 2T's non-ranking of Zeppelin. I personally think I would've put Stairway to Heaven as number one, but that might just be because I was never a big fan of Satisfaction. (Shrug) Either way, I'm not gonna quibble over two spots. It's in the top three and that's good enough for me. There're a few other oddities already mentioned - The Carpenters, Crazy (and is Beat It really a rock n' roll song? How much more pop can you get than Michael Jackson?) but otherwise it's a damn good list, especially for VH1.

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I must say punk music as short changed here. The only real punk song here is London Calling.


And if GN'R would have benn on with list, Welcome To The Jungle would have been the song, not November Rain. I love November Rain, but Welcome To The Jungle is the definitive GN'R song.


And I don't think Born To Run belongs at #5, but it is Bruce's best song, and it does belong on the list, just farther down, like in the twenties.


And if Won't Get Fooled Again weren't the secong Who song on the list, it would have have to have been either Baba O'Reilly or Pinball Wizard, not Squeeze Box or The Kids Are Alright (Love 'em, but they aren't top 100 song material).


Speaking of the Who, how can you dislike Zep for being "overindulgent" but like the Who? Thay are so similar in their approach, musicanship and granduer. As for

What's VH1's love affair with Led Zeppelin?

It's not just a VH1 thing, Zep is loved by many, many, many people. By many standards, they are the second most popular band in the world, after The Beatles. They've sold more LPs than any other band/artist in the world, except for the Beatles. They have more consecutive LPs to hit #1 than any other band, except for the Beatles. Estimates show that Stairway To Heaven is the all time most radio requested song. They have 3 LPs on the 50 Highest selling LP list, more than anybody else except for the Beatles, who have 4 (2 of the 4 Beatles LPs on that list are greatest hits album, none of the Zep albums are).


Case in point: VH1 doesn't have some love for Zep disproportionate to that of the public.

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They've sold more LPs than any other band/artist in the world, except for the Beatles. They have more consecutive LPs to hit #1 than any other band, except for the Beatles. Estimates show that Stairway To Heaven is the all time most radio requested song. They have 3 LPs on the 50 Highest selling LP list, more than anybody else except for the Beatles, who have 4 (2 of the 4 Beatles LPs on that list are greatest hits album, none of the Zep albums are).

Sure they sold alot, but so has Brittany Spears. How in the fuck do they get 4 songs in the top 100 and the Ramones get none. I mean, the Ramones may not have sold half as many records as Led Zep (and the sales have only really been picking up recently - well, picking up as so far as Ramones sales go) but they did for the destruction of (lemme say that magic catchphrase again) 1970s over indulgent 40 minute guitar solo cock rock as Nirvana did for the destruction of pop and hair metal in the early 90s. The Ramones weren't arrogant "artistes", they were four bruddas from NYC who went out there and got the job done. They didn't give a rats ass about what anyone thought. They just played their tunes. They were pure and simple. Now THAT is Rock n' Roll.


Also, I know that being a U.S. list, there wasn't much of a chance of this being on the list but the song that infamous D.J. John Peel ranks as the greatest 45 ever "Teenage Kicks" by the Undertones would've been a nice addition.

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The members of Led Zeppelin weren't self absorbed arrogant "artistes", they were fucking supertalented musicans and fuckign supertalented songwriters, and they're music is still touching people's lives today and influencing countless musicans. I love the Ramones (I'll admit, I only have their self titled album and Rocket To Russia, but I love them both), but Zep made incredible music. With music, it's not about right and wrong style. You can't say simple is good and complex is bad. Do simple right, and it rocks, do complex right, and it rocks.


You mentioned Nirvana as deconstructing hair metal, well Kurt Cobain says he always wanted to make solid albums, and used Led Zeppelin II as an example of the kind of record he wanted to make.

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There's a world of difference between Led Zeppelin and Motley Crue, Twisted Sister etc. I wasn't saying that the bands were of the same genre, I was just making the comment that they were both cocaine and caviar types. As far the "arrogant artistes" I was not limiting this - or even including as part of this (in the post at least) - to just Led Zeppelin.


Yes, the Ramones, although my favorite band of all time, made some shitty albums in their later years, but if you look at Ramones, Leave Home, Rocket to Russia, Road to Ruin, Rock n Roll High School (kinda), End of the Century and Subteranian Jungle, you got some of the greatest rock n' roll ever commited to vinyl.

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No doubt. I think the Ramones got gipped in this list (not that they would care, being them). While it's impossible to credit one band with creating punk, the Ramones deserve more credit than anyone, even more than the New York Dolls or the Sex Pistols. I will not argue that the Ramones are awesome or that they deserve to have at least one son on this list, but Zep was incredible and still is to this day, and will be for a long fucking time. I still think you got the wrong impression of Zep with your "cocaine and caviar" notion of them. Just listen to Communication Breakdown and tell me they don't know how to rock balls out.

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35. Walk This Way - Aerosmith


Is this the Aerosmith original or the Run DMC/Aerosmith version? I really can't see it being the former, as although it's a good tune, it was the latter that really revolutionoised things.


I also wanna elaborate on my Ramones being a result of just the 70s indulgent rock bands, they were also trying to break away from all the peace and love hippy shit of the 60s, that although had it's moments throughout the decade, soon became vapid and repetitive. Also, I'm not denying Led Zeppelins ability to "rock", it's just that that kinda stuff never sat quite right with me. It's not hard to understand why people like 'em and yes they are talented musicians, but just not my cup of tea par se. I just like the more straight forward shit. AC/DC are a perfect example of this. They deserved to have more than one song on the list, although "Shook me all Night Long" is probably my favorite of their tunes, it shoulda been higher ranked.

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"You Shook Me All Night Long" is the favorite AC-DC song of everyone who doesn't know shit about AC-DC. Just like Purple Haze is the favorite Hendrix song of non-Hendrix fans. It's a fine song, but not nearly they're best. Compare it to any song of the US version of High Voltage, Let There Be Rock, Dirty deeds done Dirt Cheap or Highway To Hell, and even most of the songs of Powerage, and there's no contest. Best AC-DC song: It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock N' Roll), Whole Lotta Rosie, Let There Be Rock, Big Balls or TNT.


As for the lame peace and love hippy shit of the 60's, exactly what Zep song has any hippiness to it at all? Name one. I know you don't know much about Zep, but even if you did, you couldn't do it. Even Ozzy said "maybe it's not to late, to learn how to love And forget how to hate," but you won't find any of it in Zep songs.

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I only hold that as my favorite song as the first time that I ever heard them was when I saw the video. Thus, it holds a special place in m heart, much in the way “Buddy Holly” by Weezer does. Yes there are better songs. From the Bon Scott era, and don’t say that they weren’t giving the finger to all the bollocks that was out there when they first hit the scene, “Its A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock N Roll)” - as you said, “Ain't No Fun (Waiting Round To Be A Millionaire)”, “Love at First Feel” (love those school girls - love ‘em), and from the Brian Johnson years there’s tracks like “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)”, “What Do You Do For Money Honey?”, and “Hell’s Bells” (quite possibly the best song to listen to to get pumped before a game) to name but a few. Excuse me if I’m not up to your elitist rock n’ roll standards. I’m sure if I said that my favorite Stones song was “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction ” you would claim that only someone who knew nothing about the Stones would say that.


Also - I didn’t say that Led Zeppelin were hippy - I was saying that it wasn’t just Zeppelin and those type of bands that the Ramones wanted to get away from it was ALSO the hippy shit.


Then again, you don’t jump to conclusions now do you?

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Call me crazy, but my favorite ACDC song is "For those about to rock." The cannons at the end do it for me (Especially when i saw em live)

As for the best rolling stones song mine is probably Angie, but I'll admit I don't know em all that well. Satisfaction is a good choice just because of it's impact and all that shit.

I understand 2track's point about zepplin and stuff. Now, zepplin is one of my favorite bands ever, but I do know a lot of people that just can't get into bands that "space out" for like 20 minutes in the middle of a song or write 10 part rock operas full of motifs and progressions and stuff. They'd much rather hear a 2 minute ramones song. And of course there's people who think that the ramones song is simplistic shitty songwriting. I like both, but I can definately understand why someone would hate one of the extremes... that's why they're called extremes.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Yes, Zep had 10 minute plus songs (In The Evening, Achillie's Last Stand, Carouselambra), but they also had 2-3 minute rockers. I just don't see how you could lump Zep into a group like "cocaine and cavier astistes" or "hippy" or as writting a bunch of "20 minute songs" unless it's out of pure ignorance.


And fuck your "Excuse me if I’m not up to your elitist rock n’ roll standards." You Shook Me All Night Long ain't AC-DC's best song. It's the radio song that all those people that never listen to AC-DC album love to hear. The most popular radio song of any given band could be that band's best, or not. AC-DC is one of those bands that it's not.


And liking Statisfaction the best is fine. I can't understand how Sympathy For The Devil could fall below Satisfaction on anyone's list, but that's just my opinion.


And damn you Junker for seeing AC-DC live. For Those About To Rock is truely badass.

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