The top rock songs/ballads

Here are just 137 of my favourite rock songs and (rock) ballads. Apart from the first one, the rest are in no particular order.

Please feel free to debate/disagree, discuss and add to the list etc. To be honest, I could have added hundreds more.

Are these good choices? Could they be better? Do they inspire you? Do you have instances, images in your head when you think of, or sing them? Are these the types of songs which can entertain a nation, compared to what the current music scene offers today?

Perhaps you can find out more about the chosen artists and would they inspire people to write music and sing today in your opinion?

Enjoy...I hope:

 

JUST SOME OF THE TOP ROCK SONGS/BALLADS

1. Van Halen – Jump

2. Foreigner – That Was Yesterday

3. Genesis – Invisible Touch

4. Eric Clapton (Derek & The Dominos) – Layla

5. Starship – Sarah

6. Van Halen – Dreams

7. Whitesnake – Is This Love

8. Fleetwood Mac – Everywhere

9. Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World

10. Huey Lewis & The News – The Power Of Love

11. Bryan Adams – Summer of 69

12. Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer

13. Foreigner – I Want To Know What Love Is

14. Genesis – Tonight, Tonight, Tonight

15. David Bowie – Let’s Dance

16. Def Leppard - Animal

17. Marillion – Kayleigh

18. Ultravox – Vienna

19. Belinda Carlisle – Leave A Light On

20. Heart – These Dreams

21. Roxette – It Must Have Been Love

22. The Cars – Drive

23. David Bowie – China Girl

24. AC DC – You Shook Me All Night Long

25. Whitesnake – Here I Go Again '82 and '87

26. Starship – We Built This City

27. Fleetwood Mac – Little Lies

28. Genesis – Hold On My Heart

29. Bryan Adams – Everything I Do (I Do It For You)

30. ELO – Mr Blue Sky

31. Supertramp – Cannonball

32. Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes – Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong

33. Chicago – If You Leave Me Now

34. Starship – Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now

35. Heart – All I Wanna Do (Is Make Love To You)

36. Prince – Purple Rain

37. Aerosmith – I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing

38. Eric Clapton – You Look Wonderful Tonight

39. Phil Collins & Eric Clapton – I Wish It Would Rain Down

40. Guns N Roses – November Rain

41. REM – Everybody Hurts

42. Bryan Adams – Thought I’d Died & Gone To Heaven

43. Bon Jovi – You Give Love A Bad Name

44. Def Leppard – Photograph

45. Van Halen – Panama

46. Whitesnake – Guilty Of Love

47. Guns N Roses – Estranged

48. Fleetwood Mac – Don’t Stop (Bill Clinton's favourite song. A Mac fan AND he supports Chelsea)

49. Pink Floyd – Take It Back

50. Guns N Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine

51. Foreigner – Waiting For A Girl Like You

52. Chicago – Hard To Say I’m Sorry

53. Aerosmith – Love In An Elevator

54. Heart – Alone

55. Jefferson Starship – Jane

56. Bon Jovi – It’s My Life

57. REM – Shining Happy People

58. David Bowie – Life On Mars

59. Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight

60. Queen – We Are The Champions

61. Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb

62. Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar On Me

63. Whitesnake – Still Of The Night

64. Eric Clapton – It’s In The Way That You Use It

65. Foreigner – I Don’t Wanna Live Without You

66. U2 – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

67. Roxette – Listen To Your Heart

68. Yes – Owner Of A Lonely Heart

69. Asia – Heat Of The Moment

70. Aerosmith – Crying

71. Meat Loaf – I’d Do Anything For Love

72. Genesis – I Can’t Dance

73. Queen – Somebody To Love

74. Freddie Mercury – The Great Pretender

75. Pink Floyd – Money

76. Yes – I Would Have Waited Forever

77. The Cars – Magic

78. David Bowie – Ashes To Ashes

79. Meat Loaf – Bat Out Of Hell

80. Foreigner – Feels Like The First Time

81. Supertramp – The Logical Song

82. Asia – Only Time Will Tell

83. Europe – The Final Countdown (Ex-Chelsea winger Arjen Robben's favourite song - albeit him being a bit of a diver)

84. Chicago – You’re The Inspiration

85. Rolling Stones – I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

86. U2 – Beautiful Day

87. Meat Loaf – Dead Ringer For Love

88. Bon Jovi – Bad Medicine

89. Whitesnake – Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City

90. Phil Collins – Another Day In Paradise

91. Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way

92. Asia – Don’t Cry

93. Starship – Wild Again

94. Van Halen – Love Walks In

95. Moody Blues – Nights In White Satin

96. Procul Harum – Whiter Shade Of Pale

97. Eric Clapton – Tears In Heaven

98. Phil Collins – Do You Remember

99. Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out For A Hero

100. Simple Minds – Don’t You Forget About Me

101. Genesis – In Too Deep

102. Fleetwood Mac – The Chain

103. Huey Lewis & The News – Happy To Be Stuck With You

104. Meat Loaf – No Matter What

105. Simple Minds – Alive & Kicking

106. Asia – Never In A Million Years

107. Genesis – Abacab

108. Michael Jackson & Eddie Van Halen – Beat It

109  Celine Dion - It's All Coming Back To Me Now (sorry I couldn't resist) 

110. Chicago – Will You Still Love Me?

111. Bruce Springsteen – Dancing In The Dark

112. Sinead O’ Connor – Nothing Compares To You (again, I couldn’t resist)

113. Meat Loaf – I’d Lie For You

114. Lionel Richie – Say You, Say Me

115. Fleetwood Mac – Tango In The Night

116. Eric Clapton – Hung Up On Your Love

117. Extreme – More Than Words

118. Boston – More Than A Feeling

119. Tina Turner – What’s Love Got To Do With It

120. Alannah Myles – Black Velvet

121. 4 Non Blondes – What’s Up

122. Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run

123. Chicago – I Don't Wanna Live Without Your Love

124. Phil Collins – Sussudio

125. Supertramp – Take The Long Way Home

126. Yes – Big Generator

127. Rush – Roll The Bones

128. Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms

129. Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes – I’ve Had The Time Of My Life (again, I couldn’t resist)

130. Dire Straits – Money For Nothing

131. The Police – Every Breath You Take

132. Genesis – Jesus He Knows Me

133. Dire Straits – Love Over Gold

134. U2 – Stuck In A Moment

135. Chicago – Along Comes A Woman

136. Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon

137. Sparks - This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us

Comments

By the way, apologies to the lecturers if this type of blog isn't appreciated. Just I thought it might inspire people and inform, or open debate for people to discuss their passions, or question what I have on my list, allowing entertaining thought?

By stuartwilson

This thread is in fact exactly the kind of thing we lecturers were hoping to see when we set up the site.

By richardpendry

We can all look forward to 137 Best Comedy Moments courtesy of Stu, then!

By Nick Poskitt

This must be included or it's not a legitimate list!

By robhayes

Just in case you wondered, Asia aren't a cheap rip off of Europe :). They're a group who did well in the US in the eighties. I did couple Asia and Europe next to each other though...

By stuartwilson

It made me giggle that you put Celine Dion on your list!
 
Thumbs up for Bruce Springsteen - I think that you should check out "Mary's Place". It's one of my favourite Springsteen tracks! I think you'll like it. 
 
I was also deeply upset that you didn't put "Like a Rolling Stone" on your list after I showed it to you!
 
As for "I don't want to miss a thing" and "Everybody Hurts" - they make me want to throw up. They're both largely overplayed/overrated. 
 

P.S. Glad to see I'm not the only one who stayed in with the intention of starting the reading for the essay and has yet to actually start!

By Rebecca Hughes

Haha yeah well it has to be done. There's probably a few people who do like it, but won't admit it, so I thought I would. Haha, at least I hope they like it (cue embarrassment).

 Yeah too right "The Boss" has that country twang we all love to hear. I haven't heard Mary's Place, I think I'll "endeavour" to have a look. I'm sure I will!

Haha, sorry Bob Dylan nearly got there, but not quite. I did like it after the other day though, cheers. Oh my God, I can't believe I forgot to put The Who on my list. Disgraceful!

I take your point with both of those which you've mentioned to be overplayed. Just, even though I wouldn't play them everyday, if you hear them on the radio, even if you don't love them that much - they just seem to make an impact. Perhaps that's taking it too far?

Haha yeah well it's raining, I've done Sarah's stuff at least. Yeah, good that I'm not the only one either, I was beginning to think I was.

By stuartwilson

Led Zeppelin off your list! 

I'd pick Jeff Buckley's, Hallelujah over those two songs any day.  

By Rebecca Hughes

I knew someone would mention old Plant head and company.

Led Zeppelin for me I'm not bothered about. They're okay, but like Doritos, you can take them or leave them. A bit overrated in my view, however, Whole Lotta Love is a good song.

I just can't stand Robert Plant to be honest. Whenever I've heard him interviewed on the BBC (particularly Breakfast, when he's plugging a new experimental bluesy album), he has this arrogance that every chord he'll strum and every note he'll sing is the perfect one. I mean I'm not saying Phil Collins isn't a bit like that, but at the same time, you don't see him on TV as much as you do with Plant.

Sorry I don't know Jeff Buckley particularly. I'll have to have a listen at some point. Although I suppose I should know Jeff Buckley, as it seems like someone people of our age listen to.

By stuartwilson

Here is my really-bad-I-shouldn't-admit-this- guilty pleasure... Dixie Chicks, Can't Hurry Love. Oh the shame!

I strongly suggest getting his album "Grace". Strangely enough Jeff Buckley was singing Whole Lotta Love just before he disappeared and died.

Right, now I should actually go and blow the dust off those books! 

By Rebecca Hughes

Haha don't worry that just equals my Celine Dion admisssion. I'll have to find out about the Dixie Chicks version. I've sung the Phil Collins version doing karaoke before.

Interesting that Jeff did the same? The death/disappearance thing is weird admittedly.

Haha, yeah I know what you mean about dusting off books. Mine look like they've been in a basement, or in the loft.

By stuartwilson

Can I make the point that although some of these on my list are incredibly cheesy and mainstream and invite mass commerce, they're in some respects brilliantly catchy and effective, i.e. Fleetwood Mac - Everywhere, Genesis - I Can't Dance, Starship - We Built This City and Van Halen - Jump. I mean, we all have our guilty pleasures, we just don't often admit them.

By stuartwilson

bit of a random number haha.

Don't Wanna Miss A Thing.. is worse than hearing Chasing Cars now, it's always being played, always!

I think saying Led Zeppelin were over rated is a bit... harsh. Look when they were around. If The Beatles were a new band today and released 'Love Me Do' I don't think it would be number one somehow.

Songs like Kashmir, Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love and Black Dog, immense songs. Obviously it's a matter of opinion but I feel Van Halen were awfully over-hyped. Saying that, I am very much into alternative music, so I like strange sounds, sort of sounds Zep made... and Radiohead... By the way, where is Karma Police and Street Spirit!? haha.  

By robhayes

It's my new lucky number.

Haha I suppose I can see your point, just that as I explained to Becci, even if you don't love it, it does end up getting stuck in your head and being sung too if you hear it, even if you like it or not. Believe, me there are far better songs!

Oh too right, I can't STAND The Beatles anyhow - the only one who had talent was Lennon and look how he ended up - typical! I prefer Led Zeppelin, but I just dislike Plant to be honest. Don't worry I give the impression that I love Van Halen, but to be honest I only like a few of theirs.

Street Spirit and Karma Police are some of Radiohead's better songs, as are Creep and Nude. Haha thanks for your contributions though. The problem is, I don't know about you, but I'm not sure whether the rock songs of today are as good as those pre-circa-1995 (when Britpop came along). I have a theory that although Britpop was brilliant, it inspired a lot nasal emo/indie tossers to write songs and perform them in a very naff, angst-ridden, teen-marketed way.

That's partly one of the reasons why I think rock of the 60's, 70's 80's and early 90's is now dead. That may sound cynical, but I just think it's not as good as it used to be. Harsh?

By stuartwilson

I have that same theory. But as I also said there's not much more you can do in music that hasn't already been done... but the likes of The Kooks and Fratelli's could at least try!!  

At V Festival when I sat through the Kooks agonisingly bland set I seriously couldn't tell when one song ended and another began sometmes, it's utterly ridiculous. The bands that class themselves as Indie don't understand the true meaning of that is in fact 'Independant'. There's nothing less independant as sounding almost identical to the group of kids in the garage a few doors down from you. 

And this new 'Indie Kid' and 'Emo' culture has got to stop. It's a constant competition to find the most unheard and obscure bands and tell all your friends about them and take group trips to Camden to see them play and as soon as they get signed they're labelled 'Sell-Outs' 

And anyone over the age of 16 attatching 'Fuck Off' badges to their bags should be shot immediately. Anyone over 18 going into the shop 'Rocket' (if it's still there) on Rochester High St should be as well! 

Rant Over. 

 

By robhayes

Glad to hear someone's got life sussed. True, I mean they're annoying croons and repetitive riffs just piss me off. The Kooks are quite frankly one of the worst groups ever, as are The Hives, The Holloways, Plain White T's, The Libertines, The Futureheads, Dirty Pretty Things etc. Moronic, noisy and uncultured in my opinion, which sums up Pete Doherty mostly.

Haha, V Festival sounds a right waste of time. The Big Weekend at Maidstone was a bit like that to be honest, the skinny jeans and stupid shoes brigade were sweating and talking crap about life, as if they're experts on music, philosophy and god knows what else.

EXACTLY, I'm glad someone has mentioned about the 'Independent' thing. I mean independent is meant to be a band being part of their own independent record label, but now they're in fact being 'labelled' indie in a completely different way.

Too right, if I get one more emo who giggles inappropriately, goes on about how good Scrubs and The Ting Tings are, I think I might have to brandish a right hook. Haha your description of emos is perfect.

Haha 'fuck off', 'emotional' and all the rest of the stupid badges are terrible admittedly. Yes the abomination IS still there unfortunately. I think a Magnum 44 is necessary to rid the world of such rubbish.

I enjoyed your rant, well done.

By stuartwilson

was awesome, in my opinion. Obviously there were a lot of crap bands playing though, which was a slight problem. But The Verve/Kings of Leon - yum!

Rob, did you see Lenny Kravitz's set?! I accidentally fell in love with him after he started talking to me when he was onstage. This was seconds before he sung Pink Floyd because I "looked like the type of girl that liked 70s/80s rock." I don't care if it was all pre-planned, it made my day!

By Rebecca Hughes

Right before another brick in the wall? haha, crazy!

Yeah I mainly went for the big 4 really: Muse, S'Phonics, KoL and The Verve. I did see a bit of sugarbabes though, but I was so drunk and I fancied a change lol.  

By robhayes

But he said something very similar at Staffordshire too. =[ 

What was with the crowd throughout The Verve?

You fancied a change or you fancied them, Rob?! 

By Rebecca Hughes

Probably envied Staffordshire for getting Muse to close their weekend ;) had the strops on.

Yeah it was a bit small, I'll admit I would have preferred Kings of Leon to close, but Verve probably wouldn't have played if they got anything other than the headline slot. 

Hey-ho, it's all good. We're the ones that got to sing to Lucky Man :D 

I resent the accusation that I went to see the Sugarbabes for any other reason than the music. I was gutted I missed Girls Aloud, they have good songs too. 

By robhayes

Chasing Cars is worse, I've heard that song SO many times.

Anyway, good list Stuart, nice to see you're spending your time productively with that essay deadline looming!

By AlanMcGuinness

I do love the way you say Just 137!!!

Im happy with the amount of Pink Floyd present, however where is the acknowlegement of 'The Wall'??? Its deffo one of the best Rock songs!!!

Amusing list tho stu!

By rebekahfloyd

Love the Bon Jovi, The Police, Aerosmith stuff...good you got some Foreigner in there too. Not sure about Celine Dion or the "Van whatever his name is" though. Some good choices.

By KathrynCain

Quick mention to the cheesey ballard masters that are Manowar, none of their songs seem to be in there... you only have to see the titles to know they're epic classics:

Battle Hymn

Brothers of Metal

Hymn Of The Immortal Warriors

Black Wind, Fire and Steel.

 

If you want to see grown men cry at the RAW POWER of Manowar, look no further than Youtube.

 

Disclaimer: I am not a fan of Manowar. I am not even sure whether they take themselves that seriously I think they started out as a joke and just ran with it, it is funny listening to the songs and ridiculously masculine lyrics though.

By robhayes

It's not really rock, but Tim Buckley's 'Song to the Siren' must be one of the most beautiful ballads ever. That's my opinion, anyway.

As for what's inspiring in your list, it's got to be Aerosmith's Don't Want to Miss a Thing, for me. Many a rockin' tennager has had their heartstrings tugged by that one. Good Stuff.

By johnsaunders

I agree John, 'I don't wana miss a thing' is a classic, always brings a tear to my eye

By KathrynCain

Thanks for all the contributions to the list and I'm glad this list has opened up such great debate - despite my rather ridiculous number of songs, which in hindsight was pretty excessive :).

Can I please point out that this is not a definitive list of songs and it was never meant to be and it is just my personal choice. Can I also note that the cheesy Celine, Jennifer Warnes, Sinead etc are not my favourites and I really don't listen to them often, but for their emotional meaning (their lyrics), they're well written. And finally, I'd like to stress that this is a collection of rock songs, power ballads (in a rock format) and ballads (which aren't rock). I don't think I made myself clear when I wrote the original list.

And don't worry, I don't think I'll be doing a list like this ever again :).

By stuartwilson

You want emotional, powerful and all-out inspirational lyrics... look no further than 'Gloves of Metal' by the almighty Manowar:

Hear the pounding army of the night
The call of metal summons us tonight
And gather we on this site
To behold the power and the might
We wear leather, we wear spikes, we rule the night
Off with the lights, hear the screams
See the banging heads awaken to their dreams.

(Actual song lyrics, awesome i know!)

By robhayes

Thanks for the post Rob. I looked on You Tube, they remind me of Spinal Tap, i.e. piss-take esque of the metal bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden etc and the lyrics are indescribable. I love the calming seagull at the start of the video, which then just reverts to metal carnage and then men on horses galloping and the great mad guitar solo later on. Not something I'd listen to, too often I think, but very entertaining. Cheers :).

P.S. the lead vocalist reminds me a bit of Ronnie James Dio in terms of vocals. The trademark mad hair too.

By stuartwilson

To know that they released a live dvd called 'The Absolute Power: The Day the Earth Shook"

They were once the loudest band in the world, again, no surprise there! haha

My days at college were well spent, as you can probably tell.

By robhayes

Aww bless, the sheer power of public scrutiny has driven Stu into hiding. It's ok, we're all just trying to find reasons not to write 2500 words!

By KathrynCain

Stu has taken it all very well indeed :D I know we've been poking a bit of fun at how small the list is but it's all in good fun.

Just try and be a bit more expansive next time young stuart, no more rushing and cutting corners. Or i will sing 'she moves in her own way' at you for the rest of forever!  

 

By robhayes

For about a year I've been harbouring this shameful love for "This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us", and now I'm pretty glad I can come out of the closet, since obviously no one has lynched Stu for it. Though I'm still in "The Darkness Fan" closet. Still, thanks for lifting the burden =]

By James Woodcock

Haha don't be ashamed James, Sparks are great. The Mael brothers are probably one of the most unique duo's in music (due to their bizarre image on stage, with Russell wearing no trousers and Ron sporting a deadpan facial expression and sporting a wonderful moustache) and their music in the 70s, 80s and 90s is brilliant. My parents own a Sparks album from the 90s and that's how I got to know of them. The 90s album by Sparks is surprisingly synth-laden (despite them using synths in the 70s, for example on Beat The Clock and the aforementioned track This Town...) and is a development of their earlier work. It is likened to those groups of the "synthpop" genre in the 70s, 80s and 90s, like The Cars, Depeche Mode, OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark), Simple Minds and Ultravox etc, who often fused guitars with synthesizers

James, the reason I've not been lynched for the Sparks reference, is due to people's lack of knowledge as to who they actually are haha (which isn't surprising, as why should people of our generation know really?). Otherwise, like you've seen with Aerosmith and all the other cheesy rubbish on my list, I've been lynched. I Believe In A Thing Called Love is catchy, although I didn't like Don't Let The Bells End by The Darkness.

I'm only too happy to help lift the burden haha :).

By stuartwilson

Tim, can you please remind me of the word you used to describe my music tastes? Haha I've forgotten it, but it sounded bloody good (even though I think it was quite negative haha).

By the way Tim, I do like My Best Friend's Girl by The Cars and I have also heard material like Just What I Needed, Moving In Stereo et al and like their music before they became mainstream in the UK particularly. By the way, I meant that The Wombats had a song "Let's Dance To Joy Division", rather than what I actually said, which was "they sound like Joy Division", which is actually not at all what I meant haha. Although I do know what Joy Division sound like, as I like them and New Order and I also have David Nolan's book on Bernard Sumner (Joy Division, New Order, Electronic).

If you like them, you may like Razorlight, The Killers, The Kaiser Chiefs etc, though I'm probably insulting your intelligence by assuming that you haven't heard of them...

Tim, I also reckon you're a closet Fleetwood Mac and Phil Collins fan? Come on, admit it :).

By stuartwilson

I just love how they managed to get "Bells end" to be aired so much! It's such a catchy tune though in my opinion. To be fair, alot of people think that The Darkness are a bit of a joke, seeing as all their videos are a bit weird, but that was only to make some decent rock tracks relatable to the general public. Aerosmith are supreme my friend, and that song has got to be the best part of Armageddon. Other than that incredible CJ piece when the nuke went off.

By James Woodcock