Rock music has changed and grown immensely over the decades. Its explosion began with classic feel-good rock in the 1960's and continued through the British Invasion, the trippy detours of the 1970's, the emergence of punk rock and heavy metal, and today's wide variety of acts ranging from hard rock to electronic rock. The term "rock music" encompasses many sounds now and the best of rock isn't just one thing. Here are the songs that AXS has selected for our best rock mixtape.
Modern rock fans might not immediately key on The Beach Boys, but they were one of rock's biggest acts back in the days of surf rock. "Wouldn't It Be Nice" is one of their best known songs and comes from their 1966 album Pet Sounds, which is now in the Library of Congress and was named second on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Rock has come a long way since this song but it's acts like The Beach Boys that got it all started.
It's impossible to have a best rock mixtape without the inclusion of The Beatles, who are not only one of the best rock acts but one of music's most iconic acts in history. They led the British Invasion that changed the sound of rock as we knew it, throwing the doors wide open for acts that originated outside the United States and shifting the way the genre was viewed. Without The Beatles and everyone who journeyed over with them, who knows where rock music would be right now?
Aside from being one of Styx's best songs "Come Sail Away" represents the experimentation that happened in rock through the late 1960's and into the 1970's. Not only were there new sounds, but there were also new ideas, like writing a song that ends with an alien abduction. Both in the music and in ideas rock has never hesitated to push the envelope.
Skipping forward in rock history, much harder rock acts began to rise up in the 1980's. Is there a bigger rock anthem than Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It"? This song remains one of the fist-pumping classics of the genre, and came out around the same time as other acts like Guns 'N' Roses and Bon Jovi were putting the edge back into rock music. But Twisted Sister makes this list to represent all of them because they created the definitive single for open rebellion.
Heading into the 1990's and beyond there's been a subsection of punk rock and what's been described as emo rock. It was Green Day that helped to launch the punk rock portion in the mid 90's and they've carried the torch for that ever since. And when one considers Green Day their best single is easily "American Idiot," which is the perfect sample of their rage against the system combined with one of the best drum tracks in a long time. It's no wonder that it was the title track for their album and that album went on to launch a successful Broadway musical.
Of all the rock music on the market right now the one song that deserves a spot on anyone's mixtape is Skillet's "Feel Invincible." The song has gotten plenty of exposure from its placement as the introductory music for TBS's "ELeague" broadcasts, and with good reason. This is the kind of loud, proud and challenging single that is best when it's blasted - the epitome of rock. And it has an outstanding message about not giving up and taking strength from those around you. Put it together with the above songs and take a trip through the best that rock has to offer.
For more on any of the artists featured on our best rock mixtape, click their names above to visit their artist pages at AXS.