The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


10 Essential Songs :: Blog

10 Essential Jimi Hendrix Songs

Sunday, November 27: 9 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The Jimi Hendrix Experience

More than any other musician, Jimi Hendrix realized the fullest range of sound that could be obtained from an amplified instrument. His boundless drive, technical ability and creative application of such effects as wah-wah and distortion forever transformed the sound of rock and roll. Hendrix helped usher in the age of psychedelia with his 1967 debut, Are You Experienced, and the impact of his brief but meteoric career on popular music continues to be felt. With such an incredible catalog of work, it's impossible to overstate the impact of the 1992 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. The Rock Hall selected 10 songs that we feel are essential listening. What songs would be on your list?

10 Essential Jimi Hendrix Songs:

1.

"The Wind Cries Mary" (Are You Experienced, 1967)

2.

"Hey Joe" (Are you Experienced, 1967)

3.

"Red House" (Are You Experienced, 1967)

4.

"Little Wing" (Axis: Bold As Love, 1967)

5.

"Castles Made of Sand" (Axis: Bold As Love, 1967)

6.

"If 6 was 9" (Axis: Bold As Love, 1967)

7.

"All Along The Watchtower" (Electric Ladyland, 1969)

8.

"Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" (Electric Ladyland, 1969)

9.

"Crosstown Traffic" (Electric Ladyland, 1969)

10.

"Machine Gun" (Band ...


continue Categories: 10 Essential Songs

10 Essential Ozzy Osbourne Songs

Saturday, December 3: 12 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Ozzy Osbourne / photo by Andrew King

Born in Birmingham, England, on December 3, 1948, John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne started his carreer as a musician in the late 60s, as he, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward banded together, seeking to escape the trappings of factory life in their shared hometown. The foursome began to take shape as a blues band – influenced by the likes of Led Zeppelin and Cream – calling themselves Earth Blues Company (later shortened to Earth). Osbourne channeled his love of soul music (particularly Sam and Dave) to his duties as frontman, but the group took a tectonic shift after Osbourne penned a song about Butler's encounter with a sinister spectre, calling the song "Black Sabbath." The band eventually took Black Sabbath as their name – and the title of their 1970 debut album. The group would go on to release such heavy metal classics as Paranoid, Master of Reality, Black Sabbath, Vol. 4 and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, effectively defining the heavy metal genre and making Osbourne the voice of it. Osbourne's delivery was melodic and well-pitched, and he never resorted to the sort of histrionic screaming that became a hallmark of metal’s lesser lights.

Osbourne took his heavy metal charge ...


continue Categories: Inductee, 10 Essential Songs

10 Essential Elvis Presley Songs

Saturday, January 7: 12 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Elvis Presley

See the NEW Elvis Presley exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! 

Elvis Presley is the undisputed King of Rock and Roll. He rose from humble circumstances to launch the rock and roll revolution with his commanding voice and charismatic stage presence. In the words of the historical marker that stands outside the house where he was born: “Presley’s career as a singer and entertainer redefined popular music.”

As far as his stature as a cultural icon, which continues to grow even in death, writer Lester Bangs said it best: “I can guarantee you one thing - we will never again agree on anything as we agreed on Elvis.”

In celebration of Presley's January 8 birthday and his contributions to rock and roll, we chose 10 essential Elvis Presley songs. Presley built arguably the most impressive catalog of recordings in rock history, so it was understandably difficult narrowing the list down to 10 essential tracks. Let us know what songs would be on your list.

10 Essential Elvis Presley Songs

1. "That’s All Right"

Released in the summer of 1954, "That's All Right" was Presley's first commercial single and a fairly faithful version of ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, 10 Essential Songs

Women Who Rock: 10 Essential Punk Songs

Monday, January 30: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Siouxsie Sioux

Many women found a new voice and musical identity during the punk-rock explosion of the Seventies. The anti-establishment philosophy of the punk rock movement was the perfect fit for those female musicians who still felt like outsiders in the male-dominated music industry. Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth said, “I think women are natural anarchists, because you're always operating in a male framework.” Patti Smith paved the way at legendary punk venue CBGB in New York City with her fusion of experimental poetry and garage rock. British female punk rockers, such as the Slits, Raincoats, Siouxsie and the Banshees and X-Ray Spex responded to working-class discontent and racial division in Britain. Across the Atlantic, in the United States, musicians including Deborah Harry of Blondie, Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads and Poison Ivy of the Cramps added new sounds and ideas to the punk rock formula. “That was the beauty of the punk thing: [sexual] discrimination didn’t exist in that scene,” once noted Chrissie Hynde. Here the Rock Hall presents Women Who Rock: 10 Essential Punk Songs. 

1. Patti Smith – "Piss Factory"

Patti Smith was dubbed the "godmother of punk," a moniker with merit. Smith's debut single was ...


continue Categories: 10 Essential Songs

10 Essential Nirvana Songs

Monday, February 20: 5:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Kurt Cobain (album art from Nirvana's 1989 album Bleach)

Kurt Cobain was born on February 20, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington. The songwriter/guitarist emerged from the nascent grunge movement of the early 80s – an alternative sub genre that incorporated elements of indie, punk, hardcore and heavy metal – to become the reluctant "voice of a generation." As the frontman for Nirvana, Cobain's esoteric lyrics and ability to craft indelible hooks with a uniquely metallic resonance fueled the band. Backed by the core of Krist Novoselic's steady bass and the thundering percussion of Dave Grohl, Cobain's songs almost single-handedly changed not only the musical landscape of the 1990s, but also the cultural landscape. Released in 1991, Nirvana's second album, Nevermind, was a landmark recording, bringing once-alternative sounds to the mainstream and tuning the world in to a Seattle scene that had gone largely unheard to that point. Nirvana led a charge that unseated the hedonistic values, flamboyant acts and slick production of hair metal at the top of the rock throne and replaced it with less scripted, more dynamic arrangements, introspective lyrics and more universally identifiable, laid-back style – including a flannel-clad fashion prerogative that was soon adopted from coast to coast, seen everywhere from dive bars ...


continue Categories: 10 Essential Songs

10 Essential Red Hot Chili Peppers Songs

Monday, April 2: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

The Red Hot Chili Peppers merged the sounds and sensibilities of punk, funk and hip-hop to become an iconic and hugely popular group. Their music and lifestyles reflect the Southern California milieu in which they were born. They have been a band given to extremes, from thrashy, funky noise and personal excess to sunnier music and healthier living.

They formed in Los Angeles in 1983 as a foursome with Anthony Kiedis, Michael "Flea" Balzary, Hillel Slovak and Jack Irons. The last two left before the recording of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' self-titled 1984 debut and were replaced by drummer Cliff Martinez and guitarist Jack Sherman. Slovak returned for Freaky Styley (produced by George Clinton), and Irons rejoined for 1987's The Uplift Mofo Party Plan. After Slovak's 1988 death by heroin overdose, guitarist John Frusciante was recruited, and drummer Chad Smith replaced Irons.

This was the lineup that recorded the classic albums Mother's Milk (1989), Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991), Californication (1999), By the Way (2002) and Stadium Arcadium (2006). Frusciante took a hiatus from 1993-1997 and left for good in 2009, replaced by Josh Klinghoffer, who'd been the band's auxiliary tour guitarist. The ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, 10 Essential Songs

10 Essential Small Faces/Faces Songs

Monday, April 2: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Small Faces/Faces are 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

The Small Faces’ career occurred in two distinct stages that saw a partial realignment in personnel and pronounced shift in style. They began as the Small Faces, a band of mod rockers who embraced soul and psychedelia in the Sixties. Then they became the Faces – though their first release was credited to the "Small Faces" – a rollicking band of roots rockers who took the Seventies by storm. The change occurred in late 1969, when Steve Marriott left the Faces to form Humble Pie and was replaced by Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood.

With the British Invasion in full swing, the Small Faces formed in 1965. Much like the Who, they were a band of sharp-dressed, soul music-loving mods. Marriott's electrifying voice lent its energy to a string of high-energy singles. Their turn to psychedelia resulted in the hit “Itchycoo Park” and the concept album Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake.

The Faces played a rowdy, disheveled brand of rock that could make a large arena seem like a corner bar. With Stewart’s raspy vocals and the loose yet muscular playing of Wood, keyboardist Ian McLagan, bassist and vocalist Ronnie Lane and drummer Kenny Jones, they rivaled the Rolling Stones ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, 10 Essential Songs

10 Essential Beastie Boys Songs

Monday, April 2: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Beastie Boys are 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

Taking influences from hardcore and hip hop, the Beastie Boys mixed and mashed musical styles to deliver infectious grooves and wickedly funny lyrics. Like fellow New Yorkers Run-D.M.C., they disregarded the color line dividing rock and rap in the Eighties. The roots of the Beastie Boys date back to 1981, with the definitive trio configuration of ADROCK (Adam Horovitz), MCA (Adam Yauch) and Mike D (Michael Diamond) coalescing at mid-decade. After a series of 12-inch records, the Beastie Boys brashly announced themselves to the world with the full-length Licensed to Ill (1986). While it typecast the Beastie Boys as beer-swilling party animals, the group exploded any notions of one-dimensionality with its ambitious followup, Paul’s Boutique (1989). On Check Your Head (1992) and Ill Communication (1994), the Beastie Boys – who are capable instrumentalists – performed most of the music while integrating an array of samples, beats and witty wordplay into an ever-intriguing sonic smorgasbord.

Subsequently, the Beastie Boys have issued three full-length albums of words and music – Hello Nasty (1998), To the 5 Boroughs (2004) and Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (2011) – along with a few EPs and 2007’s all-instrumental The Mix-Up. With each release, the Beastie ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, 10 Essential Songs
Page 1 of 2. next