greatest rock tune

this question has caused many a scuffle–
which song is better?

2.stairway to heaven
3.hotel california

please feel free to add another if you believe it’s a better song.

Well, out of those three, I’d have to say that “Stairway to Heaven” is a better song, and was performed by a band light-years ahead of Lynrd Skynrd (at least musically, if not in a pop-appeal sort of way, and they might have even been ahead of them in pop-appeal). While I like it, I can’t believe that you’d put “Hotel California” in the same question.

If you’re looking at “rock anthems,” I’d suggest “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” “Baba O’Riley,” from the same album, is probably better known, but it doesn’t have the length to fit in the same category.


“Tiptoe through the tulips” by Tiny Tim.

Jacques Kilchoer
Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.


i live in the south (texas) and the reason i picked these three songs is b/c we have no shortage of classic rock stations. and every year, the have a countdown of the best tunes ever. these three continue to be the top three songs, order depends on which station. sometimes ‘satisfaction’ will beat one, but rarely

“Er, Der Herrlischte von Allen” from Frauen Lieben und Leben by Robert Schumann.

Back when I lived outside of Dayton (And I prefered it that way…Outside of) Won’t get fooled again and Stairway to heaven were the two that always fought for dominance…I prefer The Who to Led Zepplin so you can guess which one I consider to be the greatest.

(Hope the underline works. :> )

>>Being Chaotic Evil means never having to say your sorry…unless the other guy is bigger than you.<<

—The dragon observes

“Hot for Teacher”

In this area (SW VA/NE TN) we have the same unfortunate problem - too much classic rock for our own good. I would have to say “Time” by Pink Floyd is the greatest rock song ever. Many times I’d rather listen to something else, but it’s still at the top.
Yessir, that’s my vote.

“2112” by Rush.

CRAZY TRAIN! It’s not really considered a “rock anthem”, but it just rocks. Heck, it was in a car commercial.

As for anthems, I’d have to go with Bohemian Rhapsody, Freebird (heard it last night when I was really drunk, made my day), or Stairway.

There’s always another beer.

I liked all three of those songs the first 5 trillion times I’ve heard them, but they lost something after that. And actually, I never even considered “Stairway to Heaven” one of the 4 best songs on Side 1 of “Zoso,” so it sure isn’t the greatest rock song ever.

Actually, the REAL test of how great a rock song is may be this: does it STILL sound great after I’ve heard it 5 trillion times? By that standard, numerous classic rock songs outrank those 3. Including:

“Layla” (the Dominos version… I got bored with the slow, bluesy version in a hurry)

“Jumping Jack Flash”

“Ticket to Ride”

“Sultans of Swing”

“Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd
Mind you, there are LOTS of songs I like better than any of these, but I feel compelled to stick with the songs you’d hear in heavy rotation on classic rock stations (like “Freebird,” “Stairway,” etc.)

“Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On” – by The Killer

“Louie Louie”

Yer pal,

I’ll give a rousing “it depends”. Of the three songs you mentioned I’d rather listen to Freebird, so long as it is the live, 15 minute version recorded in Atlanta. Otherwise it would have to be Stairway to Heaven.

Outside those three I would also nominate Black Blade by Blue Oyster Cult, Radar Love (best of the one hit wonders), and Hair of the Dog by Nazareth, just to name a few. I’m really no good at the favorites game.

The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. – E. Grebenik

“My Pal Foot Foot” by the Shaggs.

The subject line sez, “Greatest rock tune”, but the actual post asks, “Which song is better?” These are two different things.

To answer the second question, you have to define “better”. What objective criteria must we use? If the message is most important to me, I might choose “Stairway to Heaven”, but if it’s guitars that I’m into, then I’d probably go with “Freebird”. I’m sure I could find a criteria to prefer “Hotel California”, as well… Maybe you meant to ask, “Which song is most popular”?

The first question clearly has no answer. There can be no greatest. Hell, I can’t even decide what my favorite is… it changes with my mood, but just to state my personal top ten (mostly for my own edification):

“I Believe” - Joe Satriani
(Great guitar - makes my head swim; great pick-me-up for when I’m down)

“Who Wants To Live Forever” - Queen
(I often wonder what Freddy Mercury knew when he wrote those lyrics)

“Blue Powder” - Steve Vai
(I get chills every time I hear this guitar solo)

“A Change Of Seasons” - Dream Theater
(This song has something for everyone, no matter your mood, no matter your musical taste)

“Might As Well Be On Mars” - Alice Cooper
(For when I’m feeling entirely unappreciated and just a little bit psycho)

“The Muffin Man” - Frank Zappa
(Mostly because I saw Frank do this live at the Armadillo in Austin and it was one of my favorite life experiences!)

“More Than Words” - Extreme
(Just a great love song…)

“Comfortably Numb” - Pink Floyd
(How many other songs can you name where so many people sing the lead guitar parts?)

“Paranoid” - as performed by Type-O-Negative
(Scary, scary stuff…)

“Exile” - Enya
(OK, technically it’s not rock, but I still felt compelled to include it in my top ten…)

IF you’re just talking about the tune, I’ve got two candidates that haven’t been mentioned yet: Come Sail Away by Styx, and St. Elmo’s Fire.

Chaim Mattis Keller

“Sherlock Holmes once said that once you have eliminated the
impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be
the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it that the merely improbable lacks.”
– Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently, Holistic Detective

“Whole Lotta Smoke on the Stairway to Freebird”

Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower.” “Freebird” and “Hotel California” shouldn’t even make the top fifty, in my opinion.

On registration day at taxidermy school
I distinctly saw the eyes of the stuffed moose

  • Gavin Gunhold