The best rock songs ever, according to Stephen King

Lists are fun, people! A couple weeks ago we incurred your wrath with our Top 25 sci-fi list; now, in his Pop of King column in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King wants to be starting somethin’ with his list of the 24 greatest rock songs ever made.

Clearly, your Uncle Stevie likes the boogie — just not the disco kind (he eliminated that genre entirely, along with ballads, soul, and overplayed tunes like "Stairway to Heaven," from consideration). Instead, you’ll find tunes by Chuck Berry, the Dominoes, and Little Richard. Also making the cut: Elvis (Presley gets three mentions; Costello, one), Bruuuuuuce, the Stones and the Beatles, and two rocking ladies (Connie Francis and Wanda Jackson).

So… have at it. What’s missing? The most recent song in King’s countdown is from 1983 (that would be the Lyres’ "I Want to Help You Ann")… is that an appropriate commentary on the state of modern rock, or are there glaring omissions? Discuss!


Comments (421 total) Add your comment
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  • AuggieDoggie

    How in the world does Mr. King leave off the band he features in so many of his books–The Ramones?!? “Bonzo Goes To Bitburg,” “Swallow My Pride,” “Commando” or “She’s The One” would have fit just fine.

  • Nix

    Dear Lord, it’s the soundtrack to the R-rated Lionsgate version of “The Body”… I can’t fault Uncle Steve’s taste when it comes to the music of his youth. But since I was in first grade in 1983, I mostly have no idea who the heck he’s talking about.

  • Bob Weber

    Nah. Satisfaction is still #1. Period.

  • Shannon

    The three rules of true song appreciation is version, version, version. Jumpin’ Jack Flash would have been a great addition, BUT the Leon Russell version from the concert from Bangladesh.
    Nix, if you were in 1st great in 1981, then use this list as a starting point and jump in to some truly awesome music. No Buddy Holly – but a solid list nonetheless.

  • JB

    Sorry, but you must have a Jimi Hendrix song in there. He changed the way electric guitar was played from then on in rock music (and other genres, too!) Take your pick of songs, with distortion/feedback and a great blistering solo, but without one of his songs this list truly cannot be correct.

  • knos8nt

    I won’t stop reading your stuff but how, just HOW could you leave off “Green Grass and High Tides” by the Outlaws?

  • Victor M

    Ok, even though we know these lists are ALWAYS subjective, how can you leave anything off just because you’ve heard it a million times? And if you haven’t heard ‘IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA a million times you haven’t been paying attention.
    60 Minute Man may be great, but it’s not rock and roll. No Supremes? You have no soul.
    What about the Door’s LA Woman? Steven, Steven, Steven….

  • Maria D.

    Kudos to Stevie for an awesome list! Couldn’t have compiled a better list myself….. although I would have added a few more blues greats. Loved the clip of Gary U.S. Bonds…… I bought the Blues Brothers 2000 movie only to have the last 15 minutes….. if you don’t know what I’m talking about, go rent it and see what I mean.

  • Sid

    Where’s Radar Love?

  • Chris

    C’mon, Steve–no Sweeet Home Alabama (best song ever!), no Lynrd at all????!!!! Puh-lease!

  • nemesis

    I believe any song of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” or any song of the soundtrack “Tommy” could knock of at least 10 songs fo the list.

  • Nick

    I echo the previous commenter’s post: Where’s The Ramones?
    For that matter, where’s The Clash? Talking Heads? REM? U-friggin’-2?
    But then, I’m not familiar with all the songs he mentioned, so I look forward to checking them out.

  • Fernando

    Just four words: Great Balls of Fire

  • Jenni

    Old Man by Neil Young

  • Kristin

    Thank you for a list that actually has variety! I can’t wait to check out some of the songs that are new to me.
    Mr. King, you rock (& roll): )

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