Best 70’s Rock Songs (Music from the 70s)

The 1970s was a decade that saw the rise of some of the greatest rock bands and artists of all time. From Led Zeppelin to Queen, Pink Floyd to Aerosmith, the ’70s produced many classic rock songs that have stood the test of time.

In this post, we’ve compiled some of the best rock songs of the 1970s, which continue to inspire and move generations of music lovers. So sit back, turn up the volume, and take a trip down memory lane with these timeless classics.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” By Queen

This operatic rock masterpiece, released in 1975, is an actual work of art. Freddie Mercury’s stunning vocals and the band’s innovative harmonies create a musical journey that takes the listener on a rollercoaster of emotions.

The song’s structure, featuring multiple sections and complex vocal arrangements, was groundbreaking at the time and remained a testament to Queen‘s musical genius.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” topped the charts in the UK and is one of the best-selling singles ever. Its popularity has only grown since its release, thanks partly to the iconic scene in the movie of the same name.

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“Imagine” By John Lennon

This iconic song, written by former Beatle John Lennon, is a simple yet powerful plea for peace and unity. The sparse instrumentation and Lennon’s heartfelt vocals give the song a raw, emotional quality that has resonated with generations of listeners.

The lyrics, which imagine a world without religion, borders, or possessions, have become an anthem for peace activists worldwide. “Imagine” has been covered by numerous artists since its release date in 1971 and remains a timeless classic that continues to inspire hope and positivity in troubled times.

“Paranoid” By Black Sabbath

An iconic heavy metal track, “Paranoid,” written by the members of Black Sabbath, features a powerful guitar riff and the distinctive vocals of lead singer Ozzy Osbourne.

The song’s lyrics, which describe anxiety and paranoia, have resonated with fans and helped establish Black Sabbath as one of the pioneers of the heavy metal genre.

Released in September 1970, “Paranoid” has become one of the band’s signature songs, and its influence can be heard in the work of countless heavy metal and hard rock acts that followed.

The track’s hard-hitting sound and haunting melody make it a classic of the genre and a testament to the enduring power of Black Sabbath’s music.

“Hotel California” By Eagles

This hauntingly beautiful song tells the story of a weary traveler’s experience at the mysterious “Hotel California.” With its memorable guitar riff and intricate vocal harmonies, the Eagles‘ “Hotel California” is a masterpiece of 1970s rock. It was released in 1976.

The song’s lyrics have been the subject of much speculation and interpretation, with many theories about its meaning. But there’s no denying the impact of the song’s imagery and atmosphere. “Hotel California” is one of the Eagles’ most enduring and beloved songs and remains a staple of classic rock radio.

“Carry On Wayward Son” By Kansas

This progressive rock classic “Carry On Wayward Son,” written by the members of Kansas, features complex instrumentation and powerful vocal harmonies that have made it one of the band’s most beloved and enduring hits. It was one of the tracks on Kansas’ album “Leftoverture” from 1976.

The song’s lyrics, which describe the struggle to find meaning and purpose in life, have resonated with fans and made “Carry On Wayward Son” a staple of classic rock radio.

The track’s soaring guitar solos and intricate keyboard work have earned it a place among the greatest rock songs of the 1970s, and its themes of perseverance and hope continue to inspire fans today.

“Go Your Own Way” By Fleetwood Mac

Lindsey Buckingham wrote this 1976 iconic rock anthem, “Go Your Own Way,” which features his distinctive guitar work and signature harmonies with Stevie Nicks.

The song’s rhythm and melody have made it popular among fans and a mainstay on classic rock radio. It is regarded as a fan favorite due to its driving beat and catchy tune.

With lyrics about breaking free from a toxic relationship, “Go Your Own Way” has become an anthem for personal empowerment and independence. The song is a testament to Fleetwood Mac‘s unique sound and enduring popularity, and it remains one of their most beloved and recognizable hits.

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“Smoke On The Water” By Deep Purple

The iconic hard rock song “Smoke on the Water,” written by the members of Deep Purple, features one of the most recognizable guitar riffs in rock history. The song’s driving rhythm and powerful vocals have made it a genre classic and a rock radio staple.

The lyrics describe the band’s experience of witnessing a fire at a concert venue in Switzerland, which inspired the song’s title and iconic riff.

“Smoke on the Water” has become a cultural touchstone and a testament to the enduring popularity of hard rock music. Released in 1976, it remains one of Deep Purple’s most beloved and recognizable hits.

“Another Brick In The Wall” By Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall” is a three-part rock opera that tackles the themes of authoritarianism and oppression. Its catchy chorus became an instant anthem for anti-establishment youth.

The song, released in 1979, features a children’s choir singing the unforgettable lyrics “We don’t need no education,” which perfectly captures the frustration and rebellion of young people.

With its complex instrumentation and David Gilmour’s blistering guitar solo, “Another Brick in the Wall” is a masterful example of Pink Floyd‘s musical and lyrical prowess.

To this day, the song’s influence can still be heard in modern rock music, and it remains a powerful symbol of youth resistance against oppressive authority.

“Sultans Of Swing” By Dire Straits

This debut single from the British rock band Dire Straits in 1978 showcases frontman Mark Knopfler’s distinctive guitar style and storytelling lyrics. The song’s catchy melody and vivid imagery have made it a fan favorite and a classic rock staple.

The band’s unique blend of rock, jazz, and blues influences, combined with Knopfler’s virtuosic guitar playing, make “Sultans of Swing” a standout track that has stood the test of time. The song’s popularity led to the band’s breakthrough success and solidified its place in rock history.

“Barracuda” By Heart

The hard-hitting rock anthem “Barracuda,” written by the members of Heart, features powerful vocals and a driving guitar riff that have made it one of the band’s most recognizable and beloved hits.

Heart’s second album, “Little Queen,” featured “Barracuda,” which peaked at #11 on the Billboard‘s pop chart when it was released in May 1977.

The lyrics, which describe the music industry’s exploitation of female artists, have made the song a feminist anthem and a testament to the strength and resilience of women in the face of adversity.

“Barracuda” is a shining example of Heart’s unique blend of hard rock and folk influences, and it remains one of the most popular and enduring rock songs of the 1970s.

“Stairway To Heaven” By Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin’s epic ballad “Stairway to Heaven,” released in 1971, is regarded as one of the greatest rock songs ever written. It was even added to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2003.

“Stairway to Heaven” starts with a gentle acoustic guitar intro before building a powerful crescendo featuring Jimmy Page’s iconic guitar solo.

The mystical lyrics have been the subject of much debate over the years, but there’s no denying the emotional impact of Robert Plant’s soaring vocals.

“Stairway to Heaven” remains a staple of classic rock radio and continues to captivate new generations of listeners with its timeless beauty.

“Dream On” By Aerosmith

Released in 1973, “Dream On” by Aerosmith is a soaring ballad that showcases the powerful vocals of lead singer Steven Tyler and the band’s impressive musicianship.

With its haunting piano intro, driving guitar riff, and passionate lyrics, “Dream On” captures the hopes and fears of young people trying to make their mark on the world.

The song’s climactic final chorus, with Tyler’s wailing vocals and Joe Perry’s blistering guitar solo, is one of rock music’s most iconic moments.

“Dream On” remains a staple of classic rock radio and a fan favorite that continues to inspire and move audiences with its timeless message of hope and determination.

“Born To Run” By Bruce Springsteen

This high-energy anthem captures the restless spirit of youth and the desire for freedom and escape. With its driving rhythm, soaring saxophone solo, and Bruce Springsteen’s passionate vocals, “Born to Run” became an instant classic and helped launch the singer-songwriter’s career to new heights in 1975.

The vivid lyrics of “Born to Run” paint a picture of young lovers chasing their dreams while trying to outrun the mundane realities of everyday life. The song remains a beloved and timeless rock song that inspires and inspires listeners with its energy and passion.

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“Roundabout” By Yes

A progressive rock masterpiece written by the members of Yes, “Roundabout” features intricate instrumentation and soaring vocals, making it one of the most iconic and enduring songs of 1972.

The song’s complex time signatures and virtuosic instrumental passages have earned it a reputation as one of the most fantastic examples of progressive rock. Its lush production and intricate arrangements have influenced countless artists in the decades since its release.

“Roundabout” peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 when it was released, and today, it remains a favorite of classic rock fans and a testament to Yes’s creative and technical prowess.

“Black Dog” By Led Zeppelin

The 1970s were good for Led Zeppelin as we have another hard rock classic from them. “Black Dog” features one of the most iconic riffs in rock history and a thunderous rhythm section that has made it a fan favorite for decades.

The song’s memorable chorus and dynamic shifts between its heavy and light sections showcase the band’s mastery of dynamics and the unique chemistry between its members.

“Black Dog” landed at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart back in 1971. Now, it remains a staple of classic rock radio and a testament to the enduring power and influence of Led Zeppelin’s music.

“Layla” By Derek And The Dominos

The rock ballad “Layla” was written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon and performed by their band Derek and the Dominos. It is a love song of unrequited passion and heartbreak.

With its unforgettable guitar riff and Clapton’s soulful vocals, “Layla” has become one of rock music’s most enduring classics. The song was released in December 1970The song’s second half features an extended guitar solo, known as “Layla’s Theme,” that builds to a fever pitch before returning to the song’s haunting melody. It is a testament to Clapton’s musical genius and remains one of his most beloved and iconic songs.

“Sweet Emotion” By Aerosmith

Yet another song by Aerosmith, “Sweet Emotion,” is a hard-driving rock song that perfectly showcases the raw energy and power of the band.

With its instantly recognizable guitar riff and catchy chorus, “Sweet Emotion” quickly became a fan favorite, and though it was released in 1975, it remains a rock radio classic.

The lyrics to “Sweet Emotion,” which touch on lust and desire, add to its allure and make it a staple of the band’s live shows. It is Aerosmith’s signature song and a testament to their status as one of rock music’s most enduring and influential bands.

“Free Bird” By Lynyrd Skynyrd

Released in 1973, the epic Southern rock ballad “Free Bird,” written by the late Lynyrd Skynyrd lead vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, features a stunning guitar solo and emotional lyrics that have made it a fan favorite and a classic of the genre.

The song’s iconic extended guitar solo has become a signature moment in live performances, and its message of freedom and self-determination has resonated with generations of fans.

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“More Than A Feeling” By Boston

Written by Boston‘s guitarist and founder Tom Scholz, “More Than a Feeling” features the band’s signature harmonies and soaring guitar riffs. The song has become a beloved song among fans of classic rock radio due to its memorable chorus and catchy melody.

The lyrics, which describe the euphoria of hearing a great song on the radio, have made it an anthem for music lovers and a testament to the power of rock and roll.

A 1976 classic rock hit, “More Than a Feeling,” is a shining example of Boston’s unique sound and influence on the rock music of the decade.

“Bridge Over Troubled Water” By Simon & Garfunkel

A timeless classic, “Bridge over Troubled Waters” has transcended generations. The song’s powerful lyrics, soothing melody, and haunting harmonies make it a moving and unforgettable tribute to the human spirit.

The ballad was written by Paul Simon and performed by the folk-rock duo Simon & Garfunkel. The 1970 album of the same name, the band’s final studio effort, was also their most popular.

“Bridge Over Troubled Water” has been covered by countless artists, including Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash, and it remains one of the most beloved songs ever. Its love, support, and unity message resonates with listeners worldwide.

“All Right Now” By Free

English rock band Free created the classic rock anthem “All Right Now” in 1970. It features a driving beat and catchy guitar riff that has made it one of the most recognizable and beloved songs of the era.

The song’s infectious energy and sing-along chorus landed it at #2 on the UK Singles chart, #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 in Sweden. It was a staple of rock radio in the 1970s.

“All Right Now” remains a favorite of classic rock fans and a testament to the power of a great hook and a killer riff. It is also a timeless example of the genre’s enduring appeal.

“American Pie” By Don McLean

A 1971 folk-rock classic, “American Pie” is a nostalgic reflection on the music and culture of the 1950s and 1960s and the tragic deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper in a plane crash in 1959.

With its memorable chorus, catchy melodies, and evocative lyrics, “American Pie” became an instant hit and has remained a beloved classic of rock music ever since.

The song’s enduring popularity is a testament to Don McLean’s skill as a songwriter and his ability to capture the essence of a generation in his music.

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“Heart Of Gold” By Neil Young

Written by Neil Young, “Heart of Gold” is a 1972 folk classic that features the singer-songwriter’s distinctive vocals and acoustic guitar work. With its memorable melody and heartfelt lyrics, the song quickly became one of Young’s most popular and enduring songs.

The song’s message of seeking inner peace and contentment has resonated with generations of fans, and its simple beauty and elegance have made it a timeless classic of rock music.

“Heart of Gold” is a shining example of Young’s unique talent and musical vision, and it remains a beloved classic of rock radio to this day.


What was the #1 rock song of the ’70s?

Determining the “#1 rock song of the 70’s” can be subjective and may vary depending on different charts and sources. However, one of the most iconic and widely regarded rock songs of the 1970s is “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin.

This epic rock ballad was released in 1971 as part of their untitled fourth album, commonly referred to as Led Zeppelin IV. It remains a timeless classic and a defining piece of rock music from that era.

Who was the biggest rock band in the 70s?

The biggest rock band of the 1970s is often considered to be Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin was formed in 1968 and consisted of Robert Plant (vocals), Jimmy Page (guitar), John Paul Jones (bass/keyboard), and John Bonham (drums).

They achieved immense commercial success and critical acclaim during the 1970s, becoming one of the most influential and iconic rock bands in history.

Why is the 70s the best decade for rock?

The 1970s is often regarded as the best decade for rock due to its unparalleled creativity, diversity, and lasting impact. Iconic bands like Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Queen, Pink Floyd, and more emerged, defining the genre’s golden era.

The decade saw the rise of various sub-genres, including progressive rock, punk, and glam rock, offering something for every listener. Musicians pushed boundaries, creating experimental and groundbreaking albums that continue to influence artists today.

The ’70s exemplified a fusion of raw energy, storytelling, and musical talent, cementing its reputation as the pinnacle of rock’s evolution, captivating generations of fans and forever leaving its mark on music history.

Summing Up Our List Of Great 1970s Rock Songs

The 1970s was a decade of groundbreaking music and cultural revolution. The rock genre, in particular, saw an explosion of creativity and experimentation as artists pushed the boundaries of what was possible with their instruments and lyrics.

The songs on this list represent some of the era’s most iconic and influential tracks. Each one caught the ears and hearts of fans the world over and continues to this day.

Whether you grew up in the ’70s or are discovering this music for the first time, these songs are a testament to the power of rock and roll to move and inspire us.

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