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Foxhound 05-28-2021 06:37 PM

The game changers for rock music!
I've compiled a list of the dozen hits from rock's formative years (1954-69) that expanded the boundaries of rock music. These were tracks that were so enormously influential that they impacted rock's future direction.

Here they are - my list of the game changers for rock music:

Rock Around the Clock - Bill Haley & His Comets

Tough to say whether it was the very first rock song, but it certainly launched rock music into pop culture consciousness.

Maybellene - Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry's first hit and a rare x-over hit at the time reaching #1 on the Billboard R&B chart as well as #5 on the Billboard Pop chart. "Rock & roll guitar starts here" according to Rolling Stone magazine.

Hound Dog - Elvis Presley

While not Elvis Presley's first hit, it was his biggest hit ever and set a record that stood for 36 years by topping the charts for eleven straight weeks. It was the release that made Elvis Presley "The King".

She Loves You - Beatles

The release that spearheaded the British Invasion of North America.

House of the Rising Sun - Animals

So powerful and evocative a statement in music that Bob Dylan pulled his car over to the shoulder of the highway to give it his complete attention when he heard it for the first time on his car radio.

(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - Rolling Stones

The track that brought a much harder edge to rock and made the Stones the longstanding (and still standing) rival to the Beatles.

I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night) - Electric Prunes

A seminal garage rock track and psychedelic rock track that's passed the test of time.

Light My Fire - Doors

Spellbinding! Like nothing I'd heard on the hit charts previously and I knew from the very first time I heard it that the boundaries of rock had been expanded.

Strawberry Fields Forever - Beatles

Groundbreaking! This was the song that demonstrated to parents and other naysayers that rock was indeed serious music.

Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix Experience

Unprecedented and absolutely wild! This one set the bar higher for both psychedelia and rock guitar. So different that I thought it was just a bunch of noise when I heard it for the first time on my little suitcase record player.

A Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum

Stunning! Like nothing hitting the charts previously.

Good Times Bad Times - Led Zeppelin

The track that introduced thunder to rock.


I'll be posting a separate list of the most influential folk-rock songs in a few days which is why none made this list above.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Complaints?


Foxhound 06-07-2021 12:32 AM

Re: The game changers for rock music!
Here are a few honourable mentions, i.e. the tracks that didn't quite make the above list because I was trying to limit it to twelve:

Rocket 88 - Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats (featuring Ike Turner)

Perhaps the first rock & roll record. It got to #1 on the Billboard R&B chart in June 1951 and stayed there for three weeks. It was also the #3 R&B selection in jukebox plays for the year as a whole.

You Really Got Me - Kinks

Early British Invasion but it set the table for the garage rock explosion of the sixties and is seen now as perhaps the earliest example of proto-metal. It later proved to be a seminal influence for the punk rock movement of the seventies as well.

Gloria - Them*

Perhaps the single most covered song of them all by aspiring rock musicians in garages across the depth and breadth of the States.

Born in Chicago - Paul Butterfield Blues Band

The track that acted to re-introduce the blues to pop music loving American teenagers.

Wild Thing - Troggs

So essential that I don't know if a British Invasion or Sixties music compilation is ever released without this song. Not only did it become a continuing favourite of garage rock bands, but it's a very early example of proto-metal and was a formative influence for the punk rock movement.

96 Tears - ? & the Mysterians

John Lennon once said that this was the best rock and roll song ever written. Right up there with Gloria as the most definitive garage rock track of them all!


* Interesting though that I actually prefer the Shadows of Knight's cover of Gloria to the original by Them. The beat of the Shadows of Knight's version is more pronounced and the lead guitar notes jump out better from the mix. But when it comes to "influential" I have to go with Them's original which was released more than a year before the Shadow of Knight's cover.

Here for comparison's sake anyway is the Shadows of Knight's version:


dr wu 06-07-2021 11:42 AM

Re: The game changers for rock music!
I saw Jerry McGeorge , guitar with Shadows, play with the Mystics his fist band in northwest Indiana at local high schools. He soon joined Shadows 1966 and later H P Lovecraft in 1967 to play bass with them. Sadly I never had a chance to see The Shadows even though they played often in the Chicago area.

Foxhound 06-07-2021 12:03 PM

Re: The game changers for rock music!
Ahhhhh, we always end up looking back with regret when we think of the bands/artists that for whatever reason we missed out on seeing in their prime. "Now why didn't I take in their show back then?"


Foxhound 06-09-2021 02:33 PM

Re: The game changers for rock music!
Here are the two tracks I dropped when I decided to make it easier to keep my initial list down to a dozen by limiting it to selections before 1970:

God Save the Queen - Sex Pistols

While Anarchy in the U.K. has the distinction of being the Sex Pistols first single in late 1976, God Save the Queen from early 1977 was far more successful in offending the straights and was as a result much more commercially successful. It was the Sex Pistols highest charting single reaching #2 and catapulted the Sex Pistols to international stardom. It was therefore seminal in turning the punk movement into an international phenomenon.

Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

For better or worse, this was the release that launched grunge as a rock music genre.


Foxhound 06-13-2021 02:32 PM

Re: The game changers for rock music!
Here in this other thread is my list of game changers for folk-rock music:


kw21925 06-14-2021 07:54 AM

Re: The game changers for rock music!

Originally Posted by dr wu (Post 1300399)
I saw Jerry McGeorge , guitar with Shadows, play with the Mystics his fist band in northwest Indiana at local high schools. He soon joined Shadows 1966 and later H P Lovecraft in 1967 to play bass with them. Sadly I never had a chance to see The Shadows even though they played often in the Chicago area.

I grew up in Arlington Heights, IL, the home base of the Shadows Of Knight. I saw them at The Cellar there many times. To be honest, they weren't very good, although quite popular once their cover of Gloria hit the radio.

The Shadows' singer became a drug dealer after the band broke up. I bought weed from him a couple times in the 70s.

Foxhound 06-14-2021 07:19 PM

Re: The game changers for rock music!
Cool story!


Foxhound 07-17-2021 09:30 PM

Re: The game changers for rock music!
Here are four tracks I briefly considered for my list but opted against for various reasons:

2000 Light Years from Home - Rolling Stones

Predated Pink Floyd's Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun and was thus instrumental in ushering in the space rock genre. It's also passed the test of time with flying colours as it seems to be better appreciated today than it was when it was first released. A murmur of appreciation always ripples through the crowd on those rare occasions when the Stones play it in concert.

Space rock isn't exactly that popular and therefore important a genre, however.

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - Iron Butterfly

A formative influence for the heavy metal genre that soon emerged.

It was neither the first nor the best (in my opinion) example of proto-metal, however. Just the longest and that wasn't enough to land it a spot on my list.

Some Velvet Morning - Vanilla Fudge

Early though not the earliest proto-prog. This one really resonated with me because by the late sixties I was all about album oriented rock, a.k.a. progressive rock. I still recall watching Vanilla Fudge performing this number on the Ed Sullivan Show. My very old school father was watching too and he atypically voiced nary a word of disgust. He must clearly have recognized the musicianship in their performance.

Overall though the track simply wasn't popular enough to be truly influential.

Child in Time - Deep Purple

This rock opus predated Led Zeppelin's much lauded Stairway to Heaven by a year and a half. It's certainly passed the test of time with flying colours since it seems to be more popular than ever on Youtube.

It wasn't that great a hit upon its release though. Moreover by the time of its release bands such as Procol Harum, the Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Vanilla Fudge and King Crimson had already laid the foundation for prog. Child in Time was just a continuation along the path blazed by others. And setting my cut-off date before 1970 clinched its status as an also ran.


dwill123 07-18-2021 06:34 PM

Re: The game changers for rock music!
If you use the term 'enormously influential' regarding changing and influencing rock music in the late 60s, then you must include Sly and the Family Stone.

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