Iconic Rock Songs

Natan Solomon and Marcus Concepcion, Staff Writers

If you walk into a guitar store, there is a set of songs and riffs that are constantly being played. From “Stairway to Heaven” to “Highway to Hell”, certain masterpieces are continuously strummed due to their catchy hook, great level of skill required, and even just to rekindle old memories.

“Dark Side of the Moon” is an incredible concept album by Pink Floyd that is generally known for its cover art of a prism emitting beams of color. The concept of the album involves mental health and the things that will drive a person mad. One of these things is time, specifically, running out of it. The song “Time” is notorious for its slow build up that dominated progressive rock and roll at the time. The electric guitar solo that follows is the meat and potatoes of the song and represents how fast time moves once one realizes so much has passed . The song is iconic due to the fact that it holds a long lasting message that can connect with everybody and is a memorable part of arguably the greatest album of all time that was on the billboard top charts for a record 741 weeks.

Similar to “Time”, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” carries a cutting message about how money isn’t everything and surely won’t get you a ticket to heaven. Written by Robert Plant, the song is arguably one the most recognizable of all time. Within the first riff, every rock and roll listener in the room is surely singing along. This was alluded to in the comical movie, Wayne’s World. In the scene, Wayne walks into a music store to buy a guitar and sees a large sign on the wall saying “NO STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN”. This is due to the fact that it is the most played song in a guitar store when people are trying out the instruments.

Jimi Hendrix is in a different tier of his craft and is often referred to as god himself by his supporters. Hendrix revolutionized the guitar and the way it is played, turning it into an art form. In doing this, he created “All Along the Watchtower”, his biggest hit. If somebody was to summarize Hendrix’s music, all they would have to do is play this song. It embodies his dynamic guitar solos that seemingly tell a story on their own and his psychedelic imagery that he pioneered. Originally written by Bob Dylan, “All Along the Watchtower” was made famous by Hendrix and Dylan liked the cover of it so much that at his own concerts he would try to play it like Hendrix. The song touches on the topic of societal values, represented in the song by a joker and a thief conversing about how they dread where they stand in the kingdom and want reform regarding this. This is a concept that is still pertinent in today’s society as certain races and cultures are subject to racism and rally together for the change they seek.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” is a more well spoken tale than that of some movies. Most known for the opera-like chorus, Queen created this as an anthem that could be sung by all and it is one of the most recognizable songs ever due to the back and forth nature of the lyrics. “Bohemian Rhapsody” can also be considered iconic due to the reach it has on the current generation of music listeners that don’t necessarily listen to old school rock music. This was made evident when the show Glee, a show about singing, made their penultimate moment based off of this song. The song won them their competition and stuck with most people viewing the show forever.

“Californication” by Red Hot Chilli Peppers is the closest thing we have to classic rock in our generation. Since the song was made in 1999, it is a culmination of the many styles of rock that preceded it such as punk and alternative. “Californication” is a song that speaks directly to the many people that travel to the City of Angels with high hopes of becoming famous. The Red Hot Chilli Peppers describe Los Angeles as the final location for said dreamers and is where their dreams finally culminate or crumble. This introspection is accompanied by a catchy hook and epic guitar solo and was eventually portrayed in an award winning music video. This song is iconic due to the fact that it acted as a revival to the classic rock genre that was slowly diminishing.

Black Sabbath has been a genre defining band since its inception in 1968 and has released multiple platinum albums. One song that has stood out among a long list of great hits is “Iron Man”. This track has strong psychedelic sound, an extremely catchy bass line, and  Ozzies iconic, melodic lyrics that tells the tragic story of a man who travels to the future and witnesses the destruction of mankind but on his way back he is transformed into a mute metal man and is ridiculed when he tries to warn humanity and in his frustration and humiliation he causes the very apocalypse he witnessed before.

Everybody has had dreams to become greater at some point in their life and that’s what this next songs about. “Dream On” by Aerosmith, is about dreaming to be somebody and in the words of Steven Tyler himself, “Dream until your dreams come true”. Ironically Tyler thought the song would never come to be but in fact it became the song that stopped the band from being dropped by their label. “Dream On” is a very uplifting song that gives a person the feeling of strength and makes you feel like no dream is too big and to just dream on.

Unlike the last song on our list “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult is about Death and is a little less uplifting. Donald Roeser, the lead singer, describes the song as being about death and eternal love. Although the songs meaning is kinda grim it brings a hopefulness about dying by telling the listener about how two people can love each other forever after death. The song itself has a very soothing and melodic sound which gives it an interesting contrast with its subject matter.

In 1991 on of the most iconic metallica songs ever was released, “Enter Sandman”. “Enter Sandman” talks about fears and nightmares through the eyes of a child afraid to go to bed. The songs legendary guitar riffs were written by Kirk Hammett at 3 in the morning after being inspired by Soundgarden’s second album. This track has a pretty simplistic story but its catchy lyrics and iconic guitar riffs makes for one of metallica’s most recognizable and entertaining songs the band has released.

From the Australian band behind “Back in Black” and “Thunderstruck”, AC DC has released some of the best and most iconic classic rock songs and albums of the 70’s and 80’s. One of their great hits is “Highway to Hell”, an instantly recognizable and entertaining track from their 1979 album by the same name. This track is a super fast hype song that has been used in pop culture countless times due to its unique sound and melody.