Tuesday, March 1, 2016

New York's Q104.3 Presents Their Top 1,043 Classic Rock Songs of All Time

Not sure why I never actually got around to publishing this when it first came out (they do this as an annual Thanksgiving weekend tradition), but I am doing so now.

New York's Q104.3 touts itself as the area's classic rock station, and they do their annual list of the greatest 1,043 songs of all time, according to the amount of votes received. So far, every single year, Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven wins the top spot for greatest song of all time. Not surprisingly, this tradition continued again this past year, as well.

There is always a bit of debate as to if another song can possibly remove Stairway to Heaven from the top spot and, if so, which one it might possibly be. The Beatles have a couple that might be able to do it, including Hey Jude, and I personally think another strong candidate would be A Day in the Life. One song from a solo Beatles that I always thought should be one of the very elite candidates to take the top spot some time would be John Lennon's Imagine. There are other potential prospects to take that number one away from Stairway to Heaven, including Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, Eric Clapton's Layla, The Eagles Hotel California, and I think a case can be made for the Rolling Stones Let It Bleed.

This is what I wrote just prior to the release of the list by Q104.3. It should be remembered that all of this took place in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, where one particular version of the song became hugely popular after some guy decided to carry his piano neat the spot of one of the attacks in the city, and he now famously played a beautiful version of John Lennon's Imagine.

John Lennon's Imagine was only #15, even though I personally think it should easily be in the top ten, if not the top 5. Frankly, I think that song can even challenge Stairway to Heaven for the top spot, particularly after it was given extra added meaning following the Paris attacks earlier this month.

The Top 1,043 Classic Rock Songs of All Time Check out the Top 1,043 Classic Rock Songs of All Time (2015 edition):


  1. Any such list is inevitably going to spark lots of debate, which I suppose is part of the fun. But as difficult a task as it is to select a song that should ranked above all others, I too agree that "Stairway to Heaven" is overrated and overplayed. Which isn't to say I don't like it - it's a great song. But as with certain other classic rock staples by bands I happen to love - the Stones' "Satisfaction", the Kinks' "Lola" and Sabbath's "Paranoid", just to name a few examples off the top of my head - I could go a long time without hearing them again and not miss them. There are any number of songs by those bands I'd rather hear than those. I think it should also be noted that classics from rock's infancy - "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry, "Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis Presley, "Blueberry Hill" by Fats Domino, "Blue Suede Shoes" by Carl Perkins, "Long Tall Sally" by Little Richard, "Somethin' Else" by Eddie Cochran, "Be-Bop-A-Lula" by Gene Vincent, "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and the Comets" and "Great Balls of Fire" by Jerry Lee Lewis, just to name a few - are, to my knowledge, excluded, and therefore conspicuous by their absence.

  2. Good point about those classics, although I admittedly did not peruse the entire list, but really only glossed at the top 100 or so. It would be interesting to see if those did indeed make the list, although it should also be noted that this was a fan-based poll, which simply means that the voting audience (which I was not a part of) simply do no view those artists and songs as favorably as they do the ones who wound up on top of this list.

  3. There's no accounting for taste, as the saying goes. In light of the fact that these lists are compiled by fans, it almost seems pointless to go through that whole charade year after year, since the odds of there being any major changes from preceding years are slim to none. These are, after all, *classic* rock songs - it's a genre that doesn't lend itself to major paradigm shifts in public opinion the way mainstream pop music does, with its endless barrage of flavor-of-the-month novelties. If people didn't want great songs such as "The Long and Winding Road" or "Gimme Shelter" at the top of the list last year, they probably won't this year either. Nor is a dark horse likely to take the world by storm like some previously unheralded tennis prodigy rising out of obscurity: "As you just heard, folks, 'Stairway to Heaven' has been knocked off its pedestal and relegated to number two! Now, without further ado, the moment you've all been waiting for - the number one song of all time, as voted by Q104.3 listeners!" *Cue "Cherry Pie" by Warrant* Thank God for small favors, right?