Bruce Springsteen is a household name at this point. With iconic American songs such as “Born in the U.S.A.” and “Streets of Philadelphia,” the singer, songwriter, and musician has been rocking for the last five decades and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. What makes Springsteen’s songs so unique and relatable is the way the songs relate to working-class Americans who are proud of their country.
His songs include a vast array of social, religious, and political themes, but are all approached with true respect and love for man and country.
Recommended Listening: Written in a rented cottage in New Jersey and worked on for six months until perfection, the song “Born to Run” is known by many to be one of Springsteen’s best works.
This Canadian-American band was the shortest-lived on our list, spanning a life of only two years, from 1966 to 1968. Buffalo Springfield was formed in Los Angeles by Stephen Stills, Bruce Palmer, Dewey Martin, and Neil Young. The band evolved in their two albums from folk-rock to psychedelia and hard rock. Also, the band grew to include Richie Furay, David Crosby, Jim Fielder, Ken Koblun, and Jim Messina.
The band's members disbanded in 1968, with Stills going on to form Crosby, Stills & Nash, and the others forming their own bands. The band has since done a 2011 reunion tour which was planned to continue until the end of 2012 but was put on pause and inevitably led to an indefinite hiatus. However, back in 1997, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Recommended Listening: With only three official albums spanning from 1966 to 1968, there is, unfortunately, not a great deal of choice for those who want to enjoy the band to the fullest. Regardless, we highly recommend listening to "For What It's Worth," a song that still gets played to this day as a protest song.
Although Heart originally came from the United States, the band ironically found its success when the members moved to Canada to avoid the draft. The band rose to fame for their folk-rock and light metal music themes. The heart was formed in Seattle by Steve Fossen, Roger Fisher, David Belzer, and Jeff Johnson, and its female sister vocalists, Ann and Nancy Willson. The band has sold over 35 million records worldwide to date and has been ranked as one of the greatest hard rock bands of all time. Also, in 2013, Heart was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
One of the band's main features is its diverse set of musical styles, which caused the band to be labeled as everything from heavy metal to easy listening, and more. Their famous album, Dog and Butterfly, was a mix of hard rock tunes on the "Dog" side of the album and folk ballads on the "Butterfly" side.
Recommended Listening: Our favorite Heart song is 'Barracuda.' An angry ballad with galloping folk beats about Ann Wilson's rage over Mushroom Records’ publicity stunt that involved putting out a rumor about a romantic relationship between Ann and her sister. It's a must-listen if you're looking for some good old heavy rock.
Charles Edward Anderson Berry, known short as Chuck Berry, was one of the fathers of rock and roll. Born in 1926 in St. Louis, Missouri, the rock and roll pioneer had an interest in music from an early age, doing his first performance while still in high school. Due to some drama involving being convicted of armed robbery, when Chuck returned to normalcy, he chose to live a normal life, getting married and working at a car factory.
In the early '50s, Berry was pulled back and re-inspired into music by blues musician "T-Bone Walker." This was a story of great success, with the singer and guitarist being one of the first to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in 1986 for having "laid the groundwork for not only a rock and roll sound but a rock and roll stance." Unfortunately, Berry lived a life of ups and downs, which also included jail time for multiple reasons at various times. We guess it’s not a surprise that the “father of rock and roll” had some problematic habits.
Recommended Listening: Chuck Berry's 1969 hit song, 'Tulane,' was one of his later gems. The lyrics tell a funny story about two hippies who run a novelty shop, get thrown in jail, and are released by a lawyer "in the clique of politics." The whole thing is a fun, rebellious poke at the American judicial system and works fantastically on a musical level, which is what rock and roll were all about in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Often cited as the first true punk rock band, the Ramones band members were known, all of them using pseudo-names ending with the surname "Ramone." The band was formed in Queens in 1974 and disbanded in 1996 at an incredible farewell concert. The Ramones are often mentioned as one of the greatest rock bands of all time and were even ranked second on the 'Greatest Bands of All Time list by Spin.
The group was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. The band's musical style was loud, fast, and straightforward, primarily as a reaction to the heavily produced music that dominated pop charts in the '70s. "We decided to start our own group because we were bored with everything we heard," Joey once explained. "In 1974, everything was tenth-generation Elton John, or overproduced, or just junk. Everything was long jams, long guitar solos… We missed music like it used to be."
Recommended Listening: One of the best-recognized songs in the world is the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated." With a simple but unforgettable beat, this song will be remembered in history as one of their best.