The top 10 classic rock songs to play at every party feature a list of songs that focus on having a good time. These are songs that opt to keep the troubles of the world out while inviting rockers who want to party in without having to worry about political and social prejudice. Usually, when people go to parties the desire is to enjoy good company, good times, and, of course, good music. These songs have been regarded as party favorites for a reason and why they deserve to be played at every single one of them.
Top 10 Classic Rocks Songs to Play at Every Party
#10 – Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting (performed by Elton John)
In 1973, Elton John released his seventh studio album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. This became his best-selling album and for good reason. “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” became a cult classic the moment it was released as a single. This, as well as “Crocodile Rock,” deserves to be played as a classic rock song at every party as there are few songs that can pump up an audience like this one. While the song brought up a piece of Elton John’s days as a teenager who witnessed fistfights and other rambunctious behavior, it also served as a great party song to just get loose and let the music do its magic.
Where “Crocodile Rock” behaved as a “let’s have fun and dance” type of rock song, “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” kicked things up a notch by putting the party mood into overdrive. While fighting may not be considered a great party favor for guests, the energy sparking out of Elton John’s signature classic is. Whenever party events are held and the guests have a tracklist of favorite rock songs to choose from, “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” usually wins out as a “must play” before the night is over.
#9 – Rock and Roll All Nite (performed by KISS)
When Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons wrote “Rock and Roll All Nite,” these two icons from KISS had the right idea when it came to strumming up a good party tune. Released as a studio version single in 1975, this perfect rockin’ party song peaked as high as number sixty-nine on the US Billboard Hot 100. As for the live version that was released later in the year, it performed even better on the same music chart as it peaked as high as number twelve going into 1976. This became one of KISS’s signature songs, as well as an unofficial party anthem for rockers who shared the desire to “Rock and Roll All Nite” and “party every day.”
As it turned out, the American audience wasn’t the only fans of a classic rock song that makes a great choice to play at every party. In Australia, the live version peaked as high as number eighteen while the Canadian Top Singles Chart had “Rock and Roll All Nite” peak as high as number thirteen. In the UK, this song became certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). “Rock and Roll All Nite” was a song that came from KISS’s third studio album, Dressed to Kill. While the studio version could also pass as a rock classic, nothing truly beats the live version. The energy from the riffs, the drumming, and the vocals in that performance was more than enough motivation to get up and get moving.
#8 – The Ballroom Blitz (performed by The Sweet)
“The Ballroom Blitz” was a single recorded in 1973, then released in 1975 by the British-based glam rock band, The Sweet. The inspiration for the song came after Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn were forced off the stage while performing a concert in Scotland. As it turned out, members of the audience took it upon themselves to hurl random objects at them as they didn’t seem to care for the music that was played before them. Luckily for these men as The Sweet, “The Ballroom Blitz” was highly favored by the fans as soon as they heard it as a single.
It became a number-one hit on the Canadian Top Singles Chart, a number-two hit in Australia and the UK, as well as a number-five hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. To this day, “The Ballroom Blitz” remains an all-time favorite as Spotify reported there have been more than ninety million streams on its platform by the end of 2022. Also titled “Ballroom Blitz,” this is an incredibly fun song to listen to and has been a party favorite for rockers since it was first released from The Sweet’s third studio album, Devastation Boulevard.
#7 – We’re an American Band (performed by Grand Funk Railroad)
Released as a single in 1973, “We’re an American Band” by Grand Funk Railroad became the group’s first number-one hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. Performing the lead vocalist to this iconic rock song was the band’s drummer, Don Brewer. It was he who wrote it and it was his penmanship to this song that made it such a huge hit. Also titled We’re an American Band, the seventh studio album from Grand Funk Railroad owed its success to a single that would become one of the all-time greats as a classic rocker ideal to play at every party. As the lyrics in the song stated, Grand Funk Railroad was coming to your town and was going to “party you down” as they proudly proclaimed “We’re an American Band.”
Between the lyrics, the awesome riffs, and the equally awesome piano play, this was a song easy enough to win over Canadian fans as it peaked as high as number four on its Canadian Top Singles Chart. “We’re an American Band” also became certified platinum as a single by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Between the cowbell opener, the drum roll, and the guitar riffs, what a great song “We’re an American Band” was to listen to, as well as a party favorite that was guaranteed to get the guests moving.
#6 – Nothin’ But a Good Time (performed by Poison)
“Nothin’ But a Good Time” should be a classic rock party anthem, as well as a standard to play each time there is a gathering of people with fun in mind. This hard-rocking song was a single released by the glam metal band, Poison, in 1988. It came from its second studio album, Open Up and Say… Ahh!. On the US Billboard Hot 100, “Nothin’ But a Good Time” peaked as high as number six. On the US Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart, it peaked as high as number nineteen.
It was even popular enough in Australia to peak as high as number ten, and in the UK at number thirty-five. In Canada, it was a number thirty-six hit. If some of the riffs in this song bear a resemblance to KISS’s “Deuce” that’s because we’re dealing with a rock group here that were big fans of the heavy metal version of the “Fab Four.” This was a song that simply invited everybody to kick off their shoes and simply have a “rockin'” good time.
#5 – Start Me Up (performed by The Rolling Stones)
When it comes to starting a good party loaded with rock music, “Start Me Up” by The Rolling Stones would be the way to do it. Originally recorded in 1978, it wouldn’t be until 1981’s Tattoo You would “Start Me Up” be released as a single from the UK-based rock group’s sixteenth studio album. Led by the iconic Mick Jagger, this became a huge hit around the world as shot straight to the top in Australia, peaked as high as number two in Canada and on the US Billboard 100, and at number seven on the UK Singles Chart.
“Start Me Up” also became certified platinum in Italy and in the UK and it remains one of the most popular classic rock songs of all time. What “Start Me Up” also demonstrated was the lineup of Jagger, Brian Jones, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Bill Wyman were far from done as party-hard rockers who knew how to rev up a good crowd. For fans, the moment the opening riff to “Start Me Up” lets loose, they instantly become pumped for an incredible rock song that still holds its ground as a party favorite.
#4 – Rock This Town (performed by Stray Cats)
Released as a single in 1981 by the Stray Cats, “Rock This Town” became a retro-style rockabilly song that took the music industry by storm. This explosive debut by an American band from New York did more than just release a great party tune for rockers. What Brian Setzer, Lee Rocker, and Slim Jim Phantom did was release a cult classic that would earn its place as one of the 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll, according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. What makes this song so great to play at every party as a classic rocker is it can work as a retro favorite for fans opting to celebrate the 50s or as a modern gem to just kick up and dance. In the lyrics, it was all about having a great time and using rock and roll music to do it.
#3 – Footloose (performed by Kenny Loggins)
As a movie, Footloose was all about allowing a small town to let the teenagers play rock and roll music at their leisure. There was even a court battle for it to be played at the high school dance. Kevin Bacon was the star of a 1984 blockbuster that became a timeless cult classic. The theme song for it, “Footloose” experienced the exact same thing as Kenny Loggins turned this into what became the biggest hit of his career. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it became a number-one hit for three weeks. It was also a number-one hit in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa.
At the very least, it was a top-ten hit in Argentina, Austria, Ireland, Switzerland, and the UK. “Footloose” also became certified platinum in Australia, Canada, Denmark, and the United States. In the UK, it was certified platinum twice. With Germany and Italy, the song was certified gold. In 2018, “Footloose” was recognized by the Library of Congress as a culturally, historically, or artistically significant song deserving of preservation in the National Recording Registry. As far as an ideal rock song to play at every party, “Footloose” earns its place as it promotes “kicking off those Sunday shoes” and just dancing the night away to some really great tunes.
#2 – Rock Around the Clock (performed by Bill Haley & His Comets)
Although “Rock Around the Clock” may be the oldest song on the list with the Bill Haley & His Comets 1954 version, it remains a must-play favorite at parties wanting to kick things up with some great rock music. Written in 1952 by Max C. Freedman and James E. Myers, Bill Haley & His Comets rocketed “Rock Around the Clock” straight to the top of the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart as the first rock song in history to do so. Already successful with another great party favorite, “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” “Rock Around the Clock” became an unofficial anthem for the younger generation of the 1950s to branch out and rock on as rebels.
This was the song regarded as rock and roll’s official breakthrough into the mainstream music culture around the world. As of 2018, it was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress in the National Recording Registry as a song of cultural, historical, and artistic significance. This golden oldie utterly defines what classic rock music is all about. It catapulted the genre of rock music to a whole new level that would dictate the course of history where the music industry was concerned.
Prior to “Rock Around the Clock,” the idea of rock music played at any party event seemed unfathomable. Nowadays, it’s mostly a standard. “Rock Around the Clock” performs as a rock song that every party-goer should just kick off their heels and dance the night away as if there’s no tomorrow. If there is ever a classic rock song that deserves to be played at every party, it is this one. It works as a nostalgic favorite, as well as paying homage to a song that best defines what rockin’ at a party is all about.
#1 – Old Time Rock and Roll (performed by Bob Seger)
The beauty of “Old Time Rock and Roll” was Bob Seger’s passionate performance as a fan of classic rock music as he knew it. The unforgettable riffs and piano performance were among the highlights that turned this song into a cult classic the moment fans heard it on the radio, as well as on Seger’s tenth studio album, Stranger in Town. When it was released for the first time in 1979, it became a number twenty-eight hit on the US Billboard Hot 100.
When it was released a second time after 1983’s Risky Business, it became a hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 again, this time at number forty-eight. If there was ever a prime example of what makes a good rock song to play at every party, Tom Cruise demonstrated this very well when he danced around in a house he had all to himself. At the time, it was just a party for one as Cruise celebrated as soon as his parents went away for the weekend.
Overall, “Old Time Rock and Roll” became a party favorite when it was first released in 1979, and then again in 1983. Since then, it has consistently remained at the top as one of the most requested songs at social events that has rock music on a DJ’s tracklist. In 1996, “Old Time Rock and Roll” was voted the second most popular song on the Top 40 Jukebox Singles of All Time. Consistently, Bob Seger’s signature classic has become a staple favorite at party events that share a love for good rock music.
10 Classic Rock Songs To Play At Every Party article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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