Big 10: Epic / Classic Songs

I’ve compiled a list of the ten songs I think are the most
epic/classic…EVER. How do you define “epic/classic”? An excellent
question. It’s one of those things you just know. Maybe it’s just a
really long amazing song…after all, at least seven of these songs
are six minutes or longer. But I don’t think. You might notice that
just about all of these songs are classic rock. That has nothing to
do with my personal choice–I believe that in order for a song to
truly be a classic it has to stand the test of time: at least twenty
years. If it’s still a hit and people are still amazed then the
musician has created a classic. This could easily be retitled
“Overrated” songs, I know, but if the song isn’t mainstream enough,
there’s no way it can ever be a classic…I dunno…try to enjoy.

10. Born to Run (Bruce Springsteen): Not only a song with a
message (like most of The Boss’), Born to Run boasts an amazing
saxophone solo and the breakdown in the middle of the song where he
yells, “1…2…3…4” and it goes up an octave gives me goosebumps.
Like all of these songs, if you haven’t heard it you should buy it on
iTunes right now. My dad might argue that Thunder Road or another
Springsteen song should be here (heck, if this were him it would be a
whole Springsteen list) but Born to Run fits my criteria and nicely
starts off my countdown.

9. Layla (Derek and the Dominos): Just the first 3 minutes
of this song make it good, the last four on the other hand, elevate it
to Epic status. From Eric Clapton’s screaming guitar riff to kick
things off all the way down to the soft piano solo that winds out the
song, every second of this track feels like it’s apart of something
bigger.

8. Come Sail Away (Styx): Everyone who’s heard this song
knows what I’m saying when I say this song KICKS ASS.
Different from Layla in that the piano bit starts it out it soon is electrified with
some great drums and a tasty…synthesizer, probably. I’ve said it
before and I’ll say it again…when this song comes on, you sing to
it. I don’t care who you are.

7. Hey Jude (The Beatles): Did you really think I could
compose a list of classic songs and not have The Beatles on here
somewhere?? Instead of beating you into submission like some rock
songs, it lulls you into a sort of romantically hypnotic state. All
the way through the “Naaa na na na na na naaaaa”s and out into the
sunset, Hey Jude will always be a classic song no matter what music
genre is currently popular.

6. Paint it, Black (Rolling Stones): The only thing cooler
than a classic song is one with dark, almost malevolently vague
lyrics. Just the fact that no one knows exactly what he’s talking
about (“I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes / I
have to turn my head until my darkness goes”?!) makes this song at
least five times cooler than it was.

5. Freebird (Lynyrd Skynyrd): Now were getting down into
the absolute can’t-live-withouts. I wouldn’t exactly consider
Freebird a song you shouldn’t die without hearing but it’s not far
off. Everyone everywhere knows of it’s legend and for that reason I
don’t even need to say another word.

4. Don’t Stop Believin’ (Journey): The ultimate karaoke
song. Everyone and their cousin knows the lyrics to it. The Sopranos
ended with it. Steve Perry’s penetrating voice and it’s catchy tune
make everyone pay attention. What more can I say? Everyone
(rightfully) loves this song and that’s that. Finite.

3. Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen): The best group song of
alltime easily. I think it’s programmed into our brains as humans
that when we hear “Is this the real life?” we have to reply with “Is
this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.”
It’s not up to us, it’s hardwired into our brains at a young age.
Also, I’m sure many teenagers have hurt their necks when the
headbanging part kicks in. Thank you, Wayne’s World!

2. Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin): Let me put it to you
this way: If you know music, you know Stairway. If you don’t know
music, you know Stairway. It’s gone from the last dance at Prom to
the last dance at Prom over a thirty year span. It just gets better
with every listen. You may think I misnumbered. You’re like, wait a
minute, Matt. There must be some sort of mistake…. You have
Stairway at two. That’s correct my friends, you better brace yourself
for one helluvan upset.

1. American Pie (Don McLean): I put this song at the top of
my list because it epitomizes everything a classic/epic song should
have. Great melody, great vocals, and most importantly a great story.
I’ve literally spent hours picking apart all his references to his
culture within the song. For instance, the line “I met a girl who
sang the blues / and I asked her for some happy news / but she just
smiled and turned away” is about Janis Joplin, the great blues
vocalist who killed herself. See? This music is the stuff of
legends.
Honorable Mentions:

Welcome to the Jungle
Wish You Were Here
Under Pressure

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Big 10: Epic / Classic Songs

  1. Mike

    Yea good… but the two most epic songs ever crafted in the history of music are:

    Hungarian Rhapsody – Franz Liszt
    Piano Concerto No. 3 – Sergi Rachmoninoff

    Listen to these piano epics and realize that nobody nowadays – even from the 50’s onwards can produce a true musical epic. I mean these songs have “movements” and “codas” and opuses…. cant beat that – also these two songs are display incredible instrumental ability with the Rach 3 probably being the most difficult piano song to play ever. Put that in your back pocket.

  2. I will admit that I have never thought of it that way before.

  3. Your list is genius! I couldn’t agree any more. But I would add Baba O’Reily by The Who and All You Need Is Love by The Beatles. I mean, that’s the ultimate hippie motto, lol! Good work.

  4. Absolutely Baba O’Riley should’ve been on here. That was a critical oversight. Good to point out.

  5. Dawala

    ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon (?) Come on, this song stopped a whole way (nearly).
    What about Jimi Hendrix (?) A true pioneer. Along the Watchtower is another one that nearly stopped a war too.

  6. You may have a point with Lennon, but not with Hendrix. If you’ve read my other posts, I already have All Along the Watchtower as one of my top Cover Songs and i left it out to be fair to other songs.

  7. Bakus

    I was wondering…err…where are the classical songs???

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