1. NIGHT RANGER : You Can Still Rock in America
There is no other passionate anthem I’ve ever heard that can top or replicate this song. It has everything required to be a top hard rock song, majestic solo guitars, the powerful vocals, great keyboard intro, big chorus, and the driving lyrics. “You can still rock in America, oh yeah, alright!”
2. DEEP PURPLE : Highway Star
A song born by a simple jam, the power is so strong that one might want to quickly go the road and drive his 55 or Ferrari as fast as he could.
3. SLADE : Run Runaway
Starting with the marching and infectious intro then the recognizable riff kicks in, but it is topped by distorted bagpipes melody that echoes the song’s tune. Then comes the ask-reply type verse with huge backing vocals accompanied with steady marching drums. Everything’s already hard rock, who needs a chorus?
4. JOURNEY : Escape
When most people associate Journey with those pop ballads / AOR Top Ten / corporate rock shits, this song show the world what the members of Journey capable of. It is epic from the beginning, with different second part which nicely sequenced from the 1st part of the song. Steve Perry sang his lungs out on this one.
5. BOSTON More Than A Feeling
Started with melodic clean guitar licks and smooth verse, then it explodes into full chorus accompanied by high-pitched screaming only Brad Delph can do. I can’t get the overall melody especially the brilliant guitar riff before the chorus. It is the haunting arrangement of the song, soft-loud-soft-loud which I believe made it one of the greatest rock song ever written. Even I find it hard to realize that the song came out in 1975 where blues-rock and progressive/art rock are still on full ammunition.
6. SCORPONS Rock You Like A Hurricane
This song is born to be an anthem, a signature glam-metal 80’s. You can feel the poison from the guitar riff intro and steady powerful drum kicks, to the haunting voice of Klaus Meine, one of the greatest rock vocalist. Being one of the biggest hit, the always-concert-closer of German band Scorpions, this cracking song is timeless.
7. COLLECTIVE SOUL : Gel
Did hard rock still alive in the 90’s? Yes it is, and here’s the one from my favorite grup. Just hearing the electric double guitar intro I know I’m gonna ride another headbanging rocker. Recommended to hear it in high volume, beware of excessive headbanging 🙂
8. DEF LEPPARD : Photograph
Back when Def Leppard were still a full-frontal, all-out rock band, this song epitomizes their hard rock influence. Catchy is the keyword, everything from the guitar riff, the verse, the big-backing-vocals on the chorus, high-range screaming of Joe Elliot at his best (which he admittedly feels hard to sing this song nowadays due to the almost no-space-to-breath character of the song vocals). While singing it, you will unconsciously shake your head and stomp your feet.
9. AC/DC : Highway to Hell
What would be hard rock best list without AC/DC??? And the forever anthem of rock’ roll? Yes, none but Highway to Hell. Should I describe this song for you?
10. QUEEN : Now I’m Here
I love the teasing Brian May guitar intro (which he improved during Queen’s live concerts) and operatic Mercury’s verse to begin the song, then it explodes into high voltage on the chorus. While hearing this, you can easily imagine many pyros and fire during the long built-up into the chorus.