The 10 Best Songs About Rock 'N' Roll

And so we reach the last – and without doubt the most important – subject in our three-part feature on sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, the rock ‘n’ roll part. As you might imagine, there are literally thousands of songs to choose from (the term itself predates what we know as rock ‘n’ roll and shows up as early as 1922), so we’ve simply gone with ten of the best.

AC/DC – It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Want To Rock ‘N’ Roll)

Okay, so we could have gone with For Those About To Rock, Rock ‘N’ Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution, Rock ‘N’ Roll Damnation, or even Rock ‘N’ Roll Train, but this has Bonn Scott playing bagpipes in a Superman shirt! Enough said. It also reminds us that this whole rock ‘n’ roll malarkey is indeed “harder than it looks”. They sell out stadiums these days, but even the mighty AC/DC once played to no one but the bar staff.

Motörhead – Rock ‘N’ Roll

We make no excuses or apologies for including songs written by Lemmy in all three categories. Lemmy was rock ‘n’ roll! Granted, he did more than his fair share of sex and drugs, but as you’ll find on this track from the 1987 album of the same name, it was rock ‘n’ roll that defined his very being. Like it says of a popular meme of recent months, if you don’t like Motörhead, you may as well just fuck off.

Supersuckers – The Evil Powers Of Rock ‘N’ Roll

It was once said, by none other than Lemmy himself, that if you don’t like the Supersuckers, you don’t like rock ‘n’ roll. Trust us, he knew what he was talking about! As evidenced by this, the title track of their finest album, the ‘Suckers have been kicking ass for over 25 years, and thanks to frontman Eddie Spaghetti recently kicking cancer’s ass we hope they’ll be around for many more!

Rose Tattoo – Rock ‘N’ Roll Is King

Quite why Aussie yobs Rose Tattoo aren’t one of the biggest bands on the planet is a bigger mystery than what lies beneath the surface of Loch Ness. Sadly, despite being covered by the likes of Guns N’ Roses and Nashville Pussy, they’re better known for frontman Angry Anderson’s role as Ironbar in Max Max Beyond The Thunderdome, but having just announced a world tour it’s not too late to find out what you’re missing.

Joan Jett – I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll

Like most of us, you were probably under the impression that I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll was written by Joan Jett, but in fact it was a cover of a band called Arrows first released in 1975. Having recorded the song in 1979, with Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook, it was put out as the b-side to You Don’t Own Me before being rerecorded in 1981 and reaching number one on the Billboard charts, where it remained for seven weeks.

Rainbow – Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll

The title track of Rainbow’s third album – and their last to feature vocalist Ronnie James Dio before he joined Black Sabbath – Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll is arguably one of the best songs they ever recorded, and without doubt the best on the album. Previously known for his ‘dungeons and dragons’ lyrics, Dio keeps it simple here, repeating the words “long live rock ‘n’ roll” no less than 27 times.

Led Zeppelin – Rock ‘N’ Roll

Instantly recognisable from John ‘Bonzo’ Bonham’s opening drum beat, no list of songs about rock ‘n’ roll would be complete with out this Led Zeppelin classic from 1972, which went on to be covered by everyone from Kid Rock to Alvin And The Chipmunks (sadly, we’re not joking). It goes without saying that nothing touches the original, apparently written in just half an hour, and, quite rightly, inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall Of Fame.

Queen – We Will Rock You

Two minutes and fourteen seconds of absolute foot-stomping genius. Frankly, if you don’t know this one then there’s something wrong with you. Seriously, even if you don’t listen to rock music and have stumbled across TeamRock thinking it’s a geology website, you’ll have heard this Queen mega-hit at some point, unless you happen to be living under said rock. Covered by everyone from U2 and Nirvana to The Simpsons, it remains, quite simply, one of the greatest songs ever written.

Anti-Nowhere League – Can’t Stand Rock ‘N’ Roll

And so from the sublime to the faintly ridiculous, in which biker/punk hooligans the Anti-Nowhere League offer a rather excellent rock ‘n’ roll song about how much they hate rock ‘n’ roll. “The man who made it was big and fat/And oh my God, what d’you think of that?” growls frontman Animal, before suggesting, “Stuff it up your arsehole, rock ‘n’ roll!” To this day the band are still putting the iron in irony.

Marilyn Manson – Rock ‘N’ Roll N*gger

Ever since the very beginning rock ‘n’ roll has always courted controversy and this Patti Smith song from 1978, covered by Manson in 1995 on the Smells Like Children EP, is no exception. Despite the liberal use of the ‘N Word’ it is not intended to be racist, but rather a metaphor for society’s outsiders. It should also be noted that any racists who listen to rock ‘n’ roll should probably research it’s origins and either A) stop listening to it, or (preferably) B) stop being such twats.

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A veteran of rock, punk and metal journalism for almost three decades, across his career Mörat has interviewed countless music legends for the likes of Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Kerrang! and more. He's also an accomplished photographer and author whose first novel, The Road To Ferocity, was published in 2014. Famously, it was none other than Motörhead icon and dear friend Lemmy who christened Mörat with his moniker.