Depending on how loosely you define “Rock,” I would place Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” in the Top 10. Others might be “Heartbreak Hotel” - Elvis; “Stairway To Heaven” Led Zep; “Born To Run” - Springsteen; and others depending on my mood.
Not a great song, not THE greatest, just “that song from Wayne’s World” for me. It’s that funny WW scene and MTV that gave BR the reputation it seems to have. Like Stairway and, to a lesser degree, Freebird, I think people say “it’s the best rock song ever!” because it’s a long song with multiple sections. That doesn’t even make it interesting, let alone great.
I’ll try to come up with some other nominees in a minute.
All the technical aspects of Bohemian Rhapsody aside, I find it too unfocused. Give me something crispt and tight, like “You Really Got Me,” by The Kinks. Not that that’s the greatest song in rock history, but it’s just an example of the type of song I’d nominate.
Of course, this kind of debate is pointless without some sort of system that allows us to objectively determine the greatest song ever. Something like album sales. But then a rigid rule like that pretty much defies the very essence of Rock ‘n’ Roll. What are we to do?
Well, I have no answer to that question, but I just came up with my nominee: “Lovefool,” by The Cardigans.
I’ll go with “All Along The Watchtower”.
It’s Dave Mason
It’s Stevie Ray Vaughan
It’s poetry and madness
It’s powerful and glorious
It’s mocking and stone serious
It’s style and substance
It’s passion and grace
It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it
It’s Rock And Roll
Nah - I wouldn’t even nominate it (or [especially] “We Will Rock You”) as the greatest Queen song - that honor would go to “Somebody To Love”.
I pretty much hate all “classic” rock (Led Zep, Pink Floyd, Hendrix, anything involving Eric Clapton, any post-60s Who or Stones - although, oddly, I always liked Queen), so my pick would probably be something more punk or post-punk-oriented, but I doubt it would be what the OP’s looking for, so I’ll refrain.
Almost any song you can nominate has been played so many millions of times that it loses the edge that makes for great rock. If woodstockbirdybird was thinking of nominating Holiday in Cambodia, I’d say go for it. Or even Maggie’s Farm, although I’m sure many people have heard it to death. I just haven’t.
I love BR, but I can’t say that it is the greatest rock song ever. By any qualification I can think of, there are other songs that I think surpass it’s greatness.
In terms of Operatic grandeur I think that the Who and Jethro Tull have it beat hands down. It terms of sheer rockinness I don’t think it is even the best queen song.
In terms of musical complexity within the Pop song format (i.e. multiple interlocking parts, and under 5 minutes long) I think that Radiohead have gone one step further with Paranoid Android (which would be my nomination for possibly the greatest rock song ever).
The Beach Boys had more intricate harmonies, Pink Floyd has better guitar solos, every song the Beatles wrote was more influential.
The only thing that BR has going for it that is arguably better than anything anyone else has done is Freddy’s lead vocal. But I don’t think a lead vocal is enough to qualify it as the greatest rock song ever.
Normally this is the point in the post where I would make the case that **Radiohead ** wrote the greatest rock song ever, and that it is a crime that people only look to the 70’s to find these songs. But after reading
I think I have to agree…Creed are the forgotten rock heroes, and With Arms Wide Open is the greatest rock song ever. Truely Creed are gods among rock stars.