Ronnie Van Zant said it best, “Turn It Up.” We all remember those words at the start of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classic track “Sweet Home Alabama.” It is one of those songs that we turn up immediately when we hear those opening guitar chords. Of course, there are hundreds of songs that we hear on the radio or on random play on our iPhones or cd players or whatever it is you listen to music on. WE CRANK the volume up immediately when we hear that special song that gets the blood flowing better than a little blue pill. Sometimes, all it takes is one or two notes to recognize the song, and we turn it up to 11 baby! That’s what this article is really all about. It’s kind of like the game show Name That Tune, but instead, we already know the name of the song. We crank it. It’s about the ones that leave no doubt instantly that it’s time to start banging our heads against the wall or steering wheel or when we hear those wonderful classic rock and roll notes that signify this is one of our favorite songs of all time. Turn it up!
These are in no particular order, just the first ten that came to mind;
# 10 – Fool For The City
We open up our 10 Classic Rock Songs That You Turn Up To Eleven list with the high-spirited Foghat song entitled “Fool For The City.” This one gets you on the first beat of the song with that roaring guitar lick. Foghat opened up their Fool For The City album with this cut, and they’ve been opening up their concerts ever since with the famous track. When I was interviewing Roger Earl the other day and asked him what song they would be opening up their new shows with, I tried getting that question back into my mouth before I let it out because I realized they always open up with “Fool For The City.” Roger Earl and Brian Bassett just looked at me like, “really, why would you ask us that?” Because I’m a fool for the city, that’s what I felt like saying. Anyway, this one gets me; it’s been getting me since I was 16 and still does.
# 9 – The Ocean – Led Zeppelin
Continuing with our list, we turn to the greatest Rock Gods of all time, Led Zeppelin. I think, in fact, I know that we want to turn up pretty much every Led Zeppelin song immediately. It’s incredible how many times we have listened to every single Led Zeppelin album, and we never ever get tired of any of the songs. Of course, there are some we love more than others, but this one has a special place in our hearts. It’s one of John Bonham’s greatest moments on record.
# 8 – Unchained – Van Halen
Like Led Zeppelin, just about every Van Halen song in the band’s catalog, we want to turn up when we hear them play unexpectedly out of nowhere. We happen to be fans of both the Hagar and Roth years. How could you not like both catalogs? They released so much great stuff. Nonetheless, our favorite Van Halen album will always be Fair Warning. This song gets you charged up and ready for action instantly.
# 7 – There’s Only One Way To Rock – Van Halen Live Version Of Sammy Hagar’s Solo Track
And speaking of Van Halen…… We were huge Sammy Hagar fans before he ever joined the band. Sammy Hagar’s Standing Hampton album will always be our favorite Sammy Hagar record. This Killer cut, “There’s Only One Way To Rock,” was featured on the album. The version we really love the best is the live version of what Sammy did with Van Halen. They used to play the song second in their live shows. It was very cool to hear Eddie Van Halen play this lick. The live version was released on the Van Halen Live: Right Here, Right Now. The two CD set was released in 1993.
# 6 – That Smell – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Landing in the number six spot on our 10 Classic Rock Songs That You Turn Up Immediately list, we present Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classic track “That Smell.” Released on their final studio album issued just days before the crash, “That Smell” showcased that the band was indeed about to embark on a new chapter. With Steve Gaines in hand, the band had released an album that had taken Southern rock to a new level of depth. No song on the album demonstrated it more than this one.
# 5 – Roadhouse Blues – The Doors
If there ever was a Doors song that fueled your passion for getting into some good clean trouble, it was The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues.” Jim Morrison gets in your face instantly with his roar circling around Robby Krieger’s furious blues guitar lick. Let it roll baby. “Roadhouse Blues” was released on The Doors’ fifth studio album, Morrison Hotel. When you hear Morrison reference Lonnie before that solo, he was referring to Lonnie Mack, who played on the cut.
# 4 – Rosalita
Bruce Springsteen’s standout live performances of “Rosalita” will forever be known as some of the most spectacular highlights of his performing career. Usually performed at the end of his shows in the 1970s, the album version released on the Wild, Innocent, and E Street Shuffle sounded like a live version itself, even though it was recorded in the studio. I never get tired of this one. The second I hear that guitar, everything else around me stops existing.
# 3 – We Gotta Get You A Woman
Todd has had a lot of great moments on vinyl between his catalog of solo songs, his work with his band Utopia, and, of course, all the great albums he has produced with other artists. This has always been my favorite Todd song. The chorus is to die for. It also has one of the best closing lines in pop music history. It may not be heavy duty rock and roll, but it is pop music at its best and most clever.
# 2 – Separate Ways – Journey
I could listen to Steve Perry sing all day and night. From 1976 to the early 80s, Journey released some of classic rock’s all-time great albums. It was spectacular how the band could rock hard yet still deliver near-perfect pop rock music gems that became big-time radio hits. This song blew me away the first time I heard it. The sound quality was striking. Neal Schon’s guitars up against Jonathan Cain’s keyboards, all being pushed hard by Steve Smith on drums and Ross Valory’s bass was mind-blowing. Yet, it was the sound of Steve Perry’s voice engineered perfectly to cut across that powerful instrumentation that made this one jaw dropping.
# 1 – Draw The Line – Aerosmith
We close out our list of 10 classic rock songs that you turn up immediately with our favorite Aerosmith song, “Draw The Line.” I think the Draw The Line album has always been the band’s most underrated record. It was released in the shadows of Toys In The Attic and Rocks, which were classic rock gems. So is this one. That bass line gets me every time. I can’t believe I haven’t blown my speakers playing this one.
10 Classic Rock Songs That You Turn Up Immediately article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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