Free Bird (album version)These first two were difficult to choose between; both have been played out equally severely. The deciding factor was that any musician who ever played local dive bars can tell you about at least one time in which this song's name was drunkenly bellowed through the smoky darkness. Musically it is fairly inoffensive (save for the overwrought dual guitar solo at the end that seems to drag on for ten minutes), but the lyrics are about as hokey and cliche as they get. No doubt Ronnie Van Zant wrote them from the heart and his death at the age of 29 in a plane crash that also claimed the lives of guitarist Steve Gaines and his sister Cassie indeed give them a measure of poignancy. but it doesn't mean this song has had more use than a public restroom.
Stairway To Heaven By Led ZeppelinMany Zeppelin songs could go here, but this one was an easy choice. Any song worthy of being banned in music stores (even if it was just in a movie) has to hold one of the two top spots. Long, overwrought, over analyzed and over-rated to the very end, even forty years after its release it remains almost an hourly staple of classic rock radio.
- 4Simplistic, silly, and full of what would become heavy metal cliches, this song's lunkheaded riff is instantly recognized, and instantly annoying.
Smoker on the WaterAnybody who has ever worked at a music store can tell you what's wrong with this one; Richie Blackmore may have been essential in the development of the power chord with this song's opening riff, but it is amazing how many different ways it can be played incorrectly. It is not a bad song, but it is still played way too much on modern radio.
- 6This rock anthem contains one of the most rebellious and awesome screams in the history of rock. Its impact (for me anyway) has been dulled by its association with the insufferable David Caruso and his Ray Bans. It may have made for a great internet meme, but it is not even the Who's best song.
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