The Ten Most Important Songs In Rock & Roll!



Smells Like Teen Spirit

Little could anyone have known that a little-known rock trio from Aberdeen, Washington would quite literally change the world.  It wasn't their looks, or their playing, but Kurt Cobain's ability to write unabashedly catchy pop songs. Sure, he wrapped them in layers of lascerating guitars and pummeling drums, which main influences like the Pixies and Cheap Trick had done, too, but they hadn't had the good fortune to write a song like "Teen Spirit".  Ah, the power of a great song.



My Generation

Rock has always been about rebellion and nothing fuels youthful rebellion more than having your car towed, right?  Yep, seems the Queen of England was so offended by the sight of Townshend's car on a London street that she had it towed away, leading Townshend to write the best anthem of teenage rebellion and disenchantment...on a train.



Tutti Frutti

We're not old enough to have heard the song when it came out in 1955, but, even today, whenever we hear that iconic "A-wop-bom-a-loo-mop-a-lomp-bom-bom", our pulse can't help but quicken.  To have heard the tune blaring out of a radio next to songs like "Mr. Sandman" and "The Ballad Of Davy Crockett" must have been exhilarating because, even today, there are few songs that can match this one for sheer subversive rock perfection.  Even the U.S. Library of Congress National Recording Registry added the song to its registry, citing that it heralded a new era in music.



More Than A Feeling

Rock in the 70's was all about sex, drugs and excess until a little band from Boston came along with an album the guitarist had written and produced in his own basement recording studio.  None of this would have mattered to anybody had there been no "More Than A Feeling".  How great is this song, you ask?  Great enough that over ten million folks bought the album when it came out and then RE-BOUGHT the album when the industry switched over to the CD format.


(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

Thanks to a portable cassette recorder that was all the rage at the time, Keith Richards' iconic guitar riff was not forgotten once he passed out in his hotel room.  It would become the first original composition for the Stones to top the charts in the U.S., but was initially baned from commercial radio play in the UK due to its "suggestive lyrics".



(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)

Rap had been a part of the musical underground for a decade before Rick Rubin and the Beastie Boys decided to meld rock and rap, creating one of the most popular party rock anthems of all time.
The song was initially sen as a bit of a novelty hit at the time, but has gone on to be hailed as one of the Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll by the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.



Another Brick In The Wall Part 2

Pink Floyd had already dominated the music charts for years with Dark Side of The Moon, but subsequent albums had failed to build on that success until Roger Waters unveiled his rock concept album The Wall, which featured the ultimate song of "us" vs. "them" in the form of this ambitious, razor-sharp indictment of the establishment, reminding us all that the best rock and roll was still built on good old-fashioned youthful rebellion.



You Really Got Me

This song is so monstrous that it not only launched the career of the Kinks in 1964, but also Van Halen in 1978.  In both cases, it hit the kids where they live on both sides of the pond and has enjoyed a lengthy shelf life due to the fact that just about any band on the planet can "make it their own" without fucking it up.  Now, THAT's a great song.



Tie: Wild Thing/Louie, Louie

Sometimes, one song is all you need.  The Troggs found that one out the hard way, as none of the songs on their ten other albums have come close to matching the immediacy and cultural impact of this Chip Taylor-penned tune that the band made their own back in 1966.



The Kingsmen, who would later cover "Wild Thing", know a bit of what the Troggs were going through as they encountered their own brick wall of resistance after "Louie, Louie" became a hit for them in 1963.  Quick trivia question: Which tune was the subject of an FBI investigation concerning potentially obscene lyrics?  (Answer: "Louie, Louie")



She Loves You

Oh, the Beatles would go on to have a few more hits, but it was "She Loves You" that very decidedly separated them from every other band on the planet upon its release in 1963.  With its primal beat and super-catchy "yeah, yeah, yeah" refrain, this song's cultural impact is still being felt today.

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