Classic Rock Classics: Exploring 5 Songs That Never Get Old

Classic rock is a wide, somewhat fluid music classification that evolved from the album-oriented rock (AOR) format of the 1970s. The evolving genre started with the core of popular hits that got the most airplay from the mid-’60s through the ’80s. It includes British and American artists and has recently expanded to include songs into the nineties.

Videos by American Songwriter

What makes a song timeless? What is it that can reach listeners of different generations? These five songs continue to resonate with listeners as they are about feelings and emotions.

1. “More Than A Feeling” by Boston, written by Tom Scholz.

The lead single from the self-titled debut album by Boston, ”More Than a Feeling” was the result of five years of work by Tom Scholz. Written about the idea of losing someone close to you, Scholz wanted to convey how music can connect a listener to memories of the past. According to Scholz, “Walk Away Renee” by The Left Banke was the main inspiration for “More Than A Feeling,” which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I looked out this morning, and the sun was gone
Turned on some music to start my day
I lost myself in a familiar song
I closed my eyes, and I slipped away

2. “Love is a Battlefield” by Pat Benatar, written by Mike Chapman and Holly Knight.

One of two studio-recorded songs on Pat Benatar’s Live from Earth album, “Love is a Battlefield” was released in September 1983. Initially written as a mid-tempo song, producer Neil Giraldo adjusted the tempo to make it a more up-tempo song. “Love is a Battlefield” peaked at No. 5 on Billboard‘s Hot 100, and Benatar won her fourth consecutive Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.

We are young
Heartache to heartache
We stand
No promises
No demands
Love is a battlefield
We are strong
No one can tell us we’re wrong
Searching our hearts for so long
Both of us knowing
Love is a battlefield

3. “Feel Like Makin’ Love” by Bad Company, written by Mick Ralphs and Paul Rodgers.

Paul Rodgers began writing the lyrics when he was a 19-year-old member of the band Free. Several years later, he shared the song idea with Bad Company guitarist Mick Ralphs, who added percussive guitar parts. “Feel Like Makin’ Love” reached No. 10 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 in 1975 and was covered in 1976 by Millie Jackson, in 1993 by Pauline Henry, in 1995 by Philip Claypool, and in 2003 by Kid Rock.

Baby, when I think about you
I think about love
Darlin’, don’t live without you
And your love
Feel like makin’
Feel like makin’ love
Feel like makin’ love
Feel like makin’ love
Feel like makin’ love to you

4. “Is This Love” by Whitesnake, written by David Coverdale and John Sykes.

Whitesnake’s lead singer, David Coverdale, was asked about song ideas for Tina Turner to record. As he worked on the song, Coverdale played it for label head David Geffen, who instructed the frontman to keep it the song himself.

“Before I’d left [for the south of France] a friend at EMI had asked me for any ideas that would work for Tina Turner” Coverdale shared in Whitesnake’s 20th anniversary edition booklet. “So that was where the original idea for ‘Is This Love’ came from.

“Is This Love” was the second single from Whitesnake’s eponymous debut. The song reached No. 2 on Billboard‘s Hot 100.

Is this love that I’m feeling?
Is this the love that I’ve been searching for?
Is this love, or am I dreaming?
This must be love
‘Cause it’s really got a hold on me
A hold on me

5. “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen, written by Freddie Mercury.

Recorded in 1979 and included in the film The Game, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” was Queen’s first song to hit the top spot on Billboard‘s Hot 100.

Mercury recounted the song’s origin in a Melody Maker interview from 1981, “‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ took me five or ten minutes. I did that on the guitar, which I can’t play for nuts, and in one way, it was quite a good thing because I was restricted, knowing only a few chords. It’s a good discipline because I simply had to write within a small framework. I couldn’t work through too many chords, and because of that restriction, I wrote a good song, I think.”

I gotta be cool, relax
Get hip and get on my tracks
Take a back seat, hitchhike
And take a long ride on my motorbike
Until I’m ready
Crazy little thing called love

Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

Leave a Reply

The Devil Ashley McBryde Knows

3 Music Moments That Turned Jimmy Carter Into the “Rock and Roll President”