Monday, March 25, 2019

Classic Rock Update #1

Remember that whole big “Rock The Vote” campaign from a few decades ago? 

Well, this time around we’re asking you to Vote The Rock … 
By naming your all-time favorite Classic Rock Tracks.

And the immediate response has been very good …

Just over 12,000 votes came in this weekend …

So not a bad start to this at all.

But the concept has also spurred a few questions that we’ll try to clarify here today.  (Hopefully this will help some of you to select your own favorites!)

In the meantime, keep the votes coming, folks … we’re just getting started … and, in order to do this right, we’ve got to bring other partners on board in order to reach the largest possible audience of Classic Rock Music Fans.

So be patient … and, like ALL elections held here in Chicago, Vote Often!!!

Some of your Comments and Questions so far ...

It begins and ends with "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones.   
End of discussion.
Pete Adler

I’ll chime in with my songs later but where were “Layla” and “Jessica” and “Ramblin’ Man?”  They are all worthy. 
This list was compiled by people who love metal and very hard rock. 
Also, where was “Smoke On The Water?”
Charlie Ricci
The very first vote we received was for “Layla” … it came in at #3 on The Sirius / XM List … VERY worthy … right behind “A Day In The Life” (#2) and “Stairway To Heaven” (#1) and just ahead of the Jimi Hendrix version of “All Along The Watchtower (#4) and “Knocking On Heaven’s Door (#5).
As for your other queries, “Jessica” came in at #209, “Ramblin’ Man” (a Classic Rock Favorite) at #255, another one that makes absolutely NO sense at all in their tally.  In what world does “Ramblin’ Man” finish lower on the list than “Jessica”?  And, quite honestly, how does “Rambin’ Man” NOT make The Top 25???
As for “Smoke On The Water,” it came in at #121, probably a bit lower than it deserves to be, too.  (See … this is why we need YOUR votes!!!  To make things right!)  kk

You have opened up a can of worms.
I've thought about such a list many times in the past, but never got past what to me is Classic Rock, as opposed to Oldies?
Is Satisfaction classic rock, or oldies? How about Hey Jude? Should the song be uptempo? After all, isn't that what rock is all about?
Can stuff bordering on MOR (half the Beatles catalog) be included?
The definition of classic would refer to something that happened in the past.
Now read the title of today's posting ... The Greatest Classic Rock Tracks Of All Time. Should that even include any song that was issued commercially on 45 RPM?
For that matter, what time period are we talking about?
I, too, am opening up a can of worms here, but to me, classic rock is pretty much a specific 18 year time period from 1972 - 1989, give or take a year on either end. That means the entire Beatles catalog is eliminated, as is much of the Rolling Stones.
On the other end it eliminates Nirvana, Pearl Jam and most alternative music. 
Now define the term greatest? Are we talking in terms of sales? Are we talking the contribution the song made to the art form of rock? If it's an open ended time period, then any rock and roll song is fair game.
Rock is rock. Most of it is the same three chord structure.
Is who singing it important? I'll take Goodbye To Love, over half the songs on any classic rock list. Same goes for a couple Abba songs. Neither act comes to mind when discussing classic rock (nor should they). But there are hundreds of one off songs like that, by acts that aren't considered rock acts, classic or otherwise. Should they be included? Just looking for some clarifications before I start my list. 
Finally, how many songs should be on this list? If everyone sends you 1,000, you'll need to hire a secretary. I would think just a random list of a few songs would suffice, with one song - one vote, being the determining factor. Then the "winner" is the song receiving the most mentions. However, I don't want to make assumptions.
I’ll address as many of your points as I can here in this posting … and will continue to clarify as other questions come up moving forward … but as to my take and intentions on of all of this, here goes.
Yes, I thought long and hard about what I was opening myself up to by presenting such an opportunity to vote for the best … but the more I listened to the Sirius Countdown, the more aggravated I got … and just knew I had to do something to make things right.
What makes our brand new tally so important and significant is the fact that this won’t be a list of MY favorites (although a good number of them will appear) … and it won’t be a list of YOUR favorites (although if most of us are like-minded, I think you’ll be happy at which of your choices made the final tally.)
This list will represent the consensus of ALL of Classic Rock Listeners from coast to coast.  (Actually, around the world ... that very first vote we received for "Layla" came from The UK!!!)
Should 200 Beatles songs be on the list?  Of course not.  But I’ll betcha 50 of them will be.  Same with The Stones.
The Beatles covered SO many different genres of music during the course of their career that we can't possibly limit it to any one category.  
Think about it … I probably hear “Eleanor Rigby” (a string ballad), “Drive My Car” (an album cut rocker) and “I Saw Her Standing There” (a rocker written by a fourteen year old kid that only achieved B-Side status here in The States … and didn’t even get THAT kind of treatment back home in the UK) as much as any of their so-called Greatest Hits.  (You rarely hear “I Want To Hold Your Hand” or “She Loves You” on the Classic Rock stations … in fact, I’ll betcha that for every time I hear “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” I hear “I Saw Her Standing There" at least 300 times … yet it was “Hand” and “She Loves You” that broke the band here in America … but those songs rarely get played anymore.  “Drive My Car” airs on virtually EVERY radio station (Classic Rock or otherwise) these days as a lead-in the each hour’s traffic report … it’s become the universal theme for this daily function and, as such, has become one of their most popular and easily recognizable tunes.
And The Rolling Stones have long been billed as The World’s Greatest Rock And Roll Band … how can they NOT be well represented on the list?  (They led the Sirius chart with 36 tunes.)
It’s true, I drawing a definite line between Classic Rock and Oldies … but some will cross over.  “Born To Be Wild” will make this list … odds are records like “Wild Thing” and “Bang A Gong” and “Amie” by The Pure Prairie League, another track you hear daily on these stations, will, too.
But there’s really no place on this particular list for artists like Dion or The Four Seasons or Bobby Darin … they belong on ANOTHER list … but not this one … and I don’t care HOW many weeks these records spent at #1, you’re not likely to find “Sugar Sugar,” “Physical,” “Theme from ‘A Summer Place,’” “Endless Love” or “Bette Davis Eyes” here either.  (Sadly, your Carpenters track probably won’t make the cut either!)  kk

Here's my advise to EVERYONE voting

Look at Classic Rock as a GENRE of music … put the oldies connection out of your minds for this one … because a song like “All Right Now” by Free absolutely belongs on this list.  So does “Walk On The Wild Side” by Lou Reed … because Classic Rock Radio has embraced these tunes … and so many others like them.  (“Spirit In The Sky,” “One Thing Leads To Another,” “Hello, It’s Me,” the Rare Earth version of “Get Ready,” "Stuck In The Middle With You," etc.)

Try this approach … you’ve just been hired to program your city’s Classic Rock Station.  You already know who and what they’re playing.  Use that as your starting point.  Now, how much of that do you agree with?  And what would you change?

I have to believe on a list that contains 3333 titles, there is most certainly a spot for “Bo Diddley” … and probably at least three for four spots for Chuck Berry … because without Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry, there are no Rolling Stones.

Motown stuff?  Some of it … if The Stones’ version of “Ain't Too Proud To Beg” can make the list, certainly there must be room for The Temptations’ original version.  Ditto for other great Motown tracks like “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” and Marvin Gaye’s version of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.”  (The Creedence version made the Sirius list … and it doesn’t even come close to doing the song justice … but if fits the mold.)  

Consider the usual suspects when it comes to Classic Rock Artists:  The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty, Bob Seger, The Doors, The Eagles, AC/DC, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Eric Clapton, Journey, The Doobie Brothers, Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, U2, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Queen, Foreigner, Boston, Steely Dan, Heart, ELO, Styx, Cream, The Moody Blues, The Kinks, Santana, Yes, Foghat, Kansas, Asia ... does that help you narrow down the list a little bit?  

And then you’ve got to add in some of the second and third tier artists like Eddie Money, Heart, Grand Funk Railroad, Deep Purple, Supertramp, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and The Guess Who, Dylan, Billy Idol, Lynyrd Skynyrd and .38 Special, Genesis, The Police and The Cars … the list of potential artists goes on and on.  (Cheap Trick, Blondie, Alice Cooper, Peter Frampton … you get the idea!)  

And don’t forget the one-offs like Thunderclap Newman and Molly Hatchett and Nazareth … Thin Lizzy, The James Gang, Blue Oyster Cult, Blind Faith, Toto, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and The Traveling Wilburys … not to mention John, Paul, George and Ringo’s solo work.  Bet you can come up with a thousands tracks just using this list above with virtually no effort at all.  

As for how many to send?  That’s up to you … right now we’re just building the list.  Once we’ve done that, we’ll begin presenting the final ballot for the votes that really matter.  However, if you feel that a particular song or artist belongs on this list, NOW is the time to nominate them … because not everybody’s going to make the final cut.  Better to plant the seed NOW and see if we can get other Classic Rock Music Fan onboard with these choices before we start the final voting.  (kk)

A list of "Classic Rock" as defined by FM today or even in the 70's when it began being an alternate oldies format is hard to make. 
To me, these songs cannot include 60's because no one considers them "Classic Rock" but does consider them "oldies." 
"Classic Rock" to me is likely late 70's and onward to the 90's, ending there somewhere. 
I really don't like categorizing songs that way because it usually means heavy guitar work when there are SOOOO many songs that are just great rock songs that don't fit. 
I would NOT consider "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You" or "WOLD" or "I Dreamed Last Night" or "Fox on the Run" or "Listen to What the Man Said," "Magic" (Pilot) or "Wall Street Shuffle" or "Sugar Baby Love" or "Bad Time" or "I'm on Fire" or ANY Bee Gees song as classic rock, but they ARE rock and classics and faves and from that period. 
I consider "Classic Rock" as "Dream On," "Fantasy Girl," "Rock On," "Cocaine," "Midnight Rider," "Good Lovin' Gone Bad" "Never Been Any Reason" or ANY Eagles song as this genre. 
It's a pretty weird classification, IMO, usually leaving out almost ANY soul artists, too.  I just like what I like and hate calling "Satisfaction" an oldie instead of classic rock, or "Eye Of The Tiger" as classic rock instead of an oldie or "Show And Tell" as either or as a soul record -- I just wanna call them top 40 -- THAT is MY format of choice!!! 
I think the strongest music from the ‘60’s has held its own in the Classic Rock Format.  That’s why you still hear songs like “House Of The Rising Sun” by The Animals and “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield and “Somebody To Love” and “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane (alongside their ‘70’s Starship stuff.)
I agree that “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You” does not belong on this list … but “Green Eyed Lady” sure does!  So does “I Got A Line On You” by Spirit.  (And, believe it or not, I did get one vote for WOLD this weekend!!!)
When we do our Top 40 List, ALL of these songs that you mentioned (and so many more) will be represented … but for the purposes of THIS list, we need you guys to focus on those tracks that “sound right” and “fit” within the context of Classic Rock programming.  So today, set aside the “Satisfaction” / oldie connection and just agree that “Satisfaction” is a great song that has stood the test of time and absolutely belongs as part of today’s programming on a multitude of radio platforms.
“Eye Of The Tiger” absolutely belongs here, too … as do several other Survivor songs that continue to live thru this format.  And you can’t leave out “Vehicle”!!!
Maybe for the purposes of making this list successful we have to do the exact opposite of what we’ve always instructed radio programmers to do … this time, put ON the blinders … and only focus on the genre that fits … and I promise you, we will come up with the ULTIMATE list of music for Classic Rock Programming.
Let’s face it … this music isn’t going anywhere anytime soon … so let’s give them the very best of what we’ve got to offer.
And by the way, from your list of “ineligibles,” “Listen To What The Man Said” placed at #680.  I’m not sure that I feel this one belongs on the list … but tracks like “Another Day” (#183) and “Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey” (#167) DEFINITELY don’t fit the Classic Rock mold in my mind and they made the Sirius / XM list, too.  Yet you HAVE to include things like “Jet” and “Band On The Run” (already reaching over-played status) and “Helen Wheels” and “Junior’s Farm,” “Live And Let Die” and “Hi Hi Hi” among Paul’s best rockers.  (Even “Too Many People” made the Sirius list, coming in way down at #992!)  kk

And, since it’s on my mind, we are going to restrict the final countdown to only one version of the same song by the same artist.  For example, for “Maybe I’m Amazed” (which is certain to make the list), we will feature the STUDIO version and not the live version.  On the other hand, it’ll be the live version of “Free Bird” that will be counted down (since that’s the one that got the most airplay), as will the live version of Cheap Trick's “I Want You To Want Me” and all of the Peter Frampton “comes alive” stuff.

We’re already getting votes for different versions of the same song, recorded by different artists.  (Our suggestions above would indicate that this will quickly happen with “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” and “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”!)  This we will allow … but keep in mind that by “splitting the vote,” you may actually weaken the position of BOTH tracks, depending on where they fall during the final tally.  (More rules and clarifications as necessary as we go on.)  kk

Of course Sirius / XM’s Channel 30's "Top 1000 Classic Rock Songs Of All Time" is sheer subjective nonsense -- reflecting only the personal opinion(s) of whomever assembled it.  Anyone can make up their own list of equal validity. 
I chafe at the term "classic rock."  "Classic" by what and whose definition? 
Chuck Berry's "Johnny B Goode" is a rock 'n' roll classic.  Is it not "classic rock"? How about Danny and the Juniors' "At The Hop"?  Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues"?  Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"?  Wynonie Harris' "Good Rockin' Tonight"?  Bill Haley and his Comets' "Rock Around The Clock"?
The phrase "classic rock" evolved out of what was called "progressive rock" in the late '60s -- a loosely defined category of recordings made by acts lauded by Rolling Stone and other youth culture elites as superior to Top 40 music (even though a lot of them were also Top 40 hits).  The output of acts like The Beatles, The Stones, Jefferson Airplane, etc. were hailed as "progressive rock" and featured on "progressive" FM stations -- while equally rocking tracks by other artists not among the selected elite were ignored as insufficiently hip and thus heard only on Top 40 radio.   
Among the rock acts shunned by Rolling Stone and progressive rock radio was a band from Boise, Idaho, which had committed the unpardonable sin of recording, in 1965, an anti-drug abuse song ("Kicks").  Well!  In mid-'60s hippie culture, to come out against mind-altering substances was simply unforgivable -- and therefore this band's records, no matter how hard 'n' heavy they might be, were considered too darn square to ever air on progressive / classic rock radio.   
But then -- in 1969 -- a mysterious new group appeared: Pink Puzz.  Rolling Stone and FM rock radio loved their album --and gave heavy support to such rockin' tracks as "Let Me."   Well, they did at first -- until it was revealed that Pink Puzz was really -- oh my God! -- Paul Revere & the Raiders (!) -- those same guys who had recorded "Kicks."  Suddenly "Let Me": and the other Pink Puzz tracks vanished from progressive / classic rock radio.  
Was that because the audio content of those tracks has suddenly deteriorated?   
No, they remained exactly the same. 
But what Paul Revere & the Raiders had done was unmask the pretentious snobbery inherent in the category known as progressive / classic rock. 
The ultimate critic remains you the listener.  You know better than anyone else what moves you and speaks to and for your heart.  It doesn't matter one whit what any published or broadcast opinion maker writes or says in attempting to make your mind up for you.   You know what YOUR "Top 1000" is.   Enjoy every track. 
Gary Theroux
"The History of Rock 'n' Roll"
Well said … now SHARE that list of Top 1000 Favorites with US so that we can determine the ULTIMATE list determined by the ONLY people who matter … the listeners!  (Not the programmers … not the know-it-all consultants … YOU GUYS!!!)
We want to hear from YOU so that we can assemble a list that tells THEM what people REALLY wanna hear!  (kk)

Like you and others, I find myself agreeing to disagree with these numberless lists. It is their opinion … or maybe it is their set lists from a new channel or an upcoming program. They are just prepping you to say, “Wow! They are playing the greatest rock tracks of all time on this station!” 
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano  

Hi Kent,
Of course, this is intellectually an impossible task.
First, you have to identify what "classic rock" means … and then ask if you are looking for most influential or most rocking' songs.
That said, here is my first batch of votes for consideration with hopefully many more to go: 
No particular order meant here: Satisfaction, Yesterday, For What It's Worth, My Generation, Light My Fire, Purple Haze, The Weight, Respect, Hotel California, Whole Lotta Love, Sunshine of Your Love. 
Yes, sort of all over the place.
Some based on influence and some based on setting the stage for further development of music.
For example, which Yardbirds song really set the table for Led Zep ? I'm A Man ? Over, Under, Sideways, Down? Just not sure.
Roundabout ? Absolutely ...
So many ways to go.
Thanks for taking this on. It's going to be a monumental undertaking.   
Jim Hill
I can already see that!  I can’t even begin to guess how many hours I spent working on this over the weekend … and we’re just getting started!!!

So let's break it down again ... to ALL of you out there …

Think of Classic Rock as a GENRE … and figure out what belongs.

You’re programming your own Classic Rock Radio Station.

What is your recipe for success?

What songs HAVE to be there to draw in listenership?

What songs would you like to add as “Wow Factor” songs?

How are you going to keep the advertisers happy by playing the right mix of music to keep folks tuned in and hearing about what they have to sell?  (This might mean you have to feature some music that you yourself are not particularly fond of … yet acknowledge as fitting the criteria of what belongs on a Classic Rock Radio Station.

Tougher than you thought, isn’t it?  And a bit of compromising, too.

To build a data base, I first started with all one thousand songs that made the Sirius / XM list, whether I agreed with them or not … but then reset their counts to zero, so as to eliminate any rank influence from their chart to ours.

I next added every new nomination that our readers sent in … easily HUNDREDS more than what made the Sirius list (yet surprisingly not one single vote for an Ozzy Osbourne or Black Sabbath song came in all weekend long.  Gee, what a shocker!)

Next, I’ve been tediously going thru the Joel Whitburn books to see what else might belong … also giving consideration to my OWN Classic Rock Radio Station were I to build one.

I believe that several months from now we will have the ULTIMATE Play List for this genre of music.

Yes, MOST of it will be obvious … because there are just certain songs that are “locked in” to the mix.

But you’ll also see these songs ranked the way the listeners REALLY want to hear them … and again, I cannot believe that we will find a single Ozzy song in The Top100, much less The Top 500 or 1000.

Our list will represent Classic Rock the way it SHOULD be … and my hope is that some of the radio stations will respond as our method of research will poll a FAR larger audience than anything they’ve attempted to date.
Stay tuned, folks … this is gonna be a good one!!!  (kk)

REMINDER:  We have set up a special email address to accomodate all of the votes coming in ... 
Please send your responses to  Thank you!