What are the Top 15 Most Played Classic Rock Songs?


Led Zeppelin
What constitutes “Classic Rock”? As it turns out, the answer to that question has been shaped by careful data collection and even a few algorithms. Data-centric blog FiveThirtyEight put the numbers to the test and found that although New York stations seem to play more Led Zeppelin than their counterparts in KISS-loving Charlotte, North Carolina, the twenty-five most played classic rock artists nationwide – such as Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, and the Rolling Stones – make up half of the plays on classic rock stations. This explains how the same song seems to surface on classic rock radio again, and again, and again…

The following is a list of the top 15 most played Classic Rock Songs:


So who defines the parameters of this seemingly genre-free category? It’s actually  you – the listener. Very little is played on classic rock stations without extensive market research to find a niche amongst their audience, and that’s how regional popularity will always trump age or genre in defining the musical category of classic rock. Read more here about the carefully crafted classic rock subset and how age alone isn’t the only thing that can make a song truly “classic.”


  1. Led Zeppelin doesn’t have any songs on that list, but they get the photo and a name drop in the first paragraph. That’s because Led Zeppelin is hot, hot, hot right now and everyone who writes an article about music squeezes Led Zeppelin in there to draw readers who otherwise wouldn’t give a hoot about it. Makes you wonder about the value of radio stations’ marketing research.

  2. I don’t think this list is correct… maybe for one or 2 radio stations in the US but not all of it. Definitely doesn’t consider other countries such as the UK (where I live). I mean, I am a massive fan of classic rock, and am surrounded by many others who feel the same, yet if I asked any of them who they thought was in this list, half of these wouldn’t be considered! To be honest, I don’t think they’d know some of them… and Led Zeppelin and the Stones should be on here, no question.

    • Well the website posting the story is ‘American Songwriter’, so naturally it’s all about US classic rock stations. I live in the UK too, and as far as i’m aware there are no terrestrial classic rock stations in the UK anyway (only digital) so I’m not sure what you’re on about.

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