The Top 40 Charting Hard-Rock Songs: Part 2

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Welcome back to the show! We're counting down the Top 40 hard rock songs of all time, according to Billboard (sort of...). I'll take a moment to recap Nos. 40-31.

40. "Don't Tell Me You Love Me," Night Ranger 39. "Cumbersome," Seven Mary Three 38. "Trampled Underfoot," Led Zeppelin 37. "Back In Black," AC/DC 36. "Sweet Emotion," Aerosmith 35. "One," Metallica 34. "Black And Blue," Van Halen 33. "Live And Let Die," Guns 'N Roses 32. "Everybody Wants You," Billy Squier 31. "Metal Health (Bang Your Head)," by Quiet Riot

If you're in the dark as to what's going on, please refer to Tuesday's first half of the show for the qualifications and my self-imposed limitations during the selection process and breakdown of my results.

REWIND: The Top 40 Charting Hard-Rock Songs: Part 1

30. "Cat Scratch Fever," Ted Nugent "Comedown" by Bush is fantastic song, but that swaggering riff from Uncle Ted remains one of the best ever.

29. "Are You Gonna Be My Girl," Jet Much better than the Gunners "You Could Be Mine" and Autograph's "Turn Up the Radio."

28. "Foolin'," Def Leppard While Cream's "Crossroads" is hard to pass over, I think Joe Elliott and crew beat both it and Metallica's lackluster "The Memory Remains."

27. "Kickstart My Heart," Motley Crue It stomps out its contemporaries "Down Boys" by Warrant and "Up All Night" by Slaughter.

26. "I Can't Drive 55," Sammy Hagar I'll take this one over Winger's "Seventeen" and Foreigner's "Juke Box Hero."

25. "Rock You Like a Hurricane," Scorpions I could only find this one and the KISS classic "Christine Sixteen." There could have been 100 eligible for this position to go up against this riff and it wouldn't have mattered.

24. "Fat Bottomed Girls," Queen This one trumps the other eligible stadium-rocker released in the same year, Heart's "Heartless."

And now it's time for our Long Distance Dedication. This letter comes from A&M records in Hollywood, Calif., and it reads: Dear Casey -- during the '90s, Billboard had an Airplay chart that tracked songs that were getting heavy airplay but not released as singles. Although this song topped the Album Rock chart for seven weeks and earned song of the year on Modern Rock tracks, it failed to make the Top 40 due to timing issues regarding the release of the single.

Despite all this success, it only charted at No. 24 on the Airplay chart. Casey, would you please play "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden and dedicate it to all their fans as an apology from us for depriving them of what would've been their only Top 40 hit? We know it would have represented that position here if it were No. 24 on the Top 40 charts.

A&M, here's your Long Distance Dedication.

The countdown continues on the next page.

And now, back to the countdown.

23. "Fantasy," Aldo Nova Beats the weaker competition of Aerosmith's "Come Together" and AC/DC's "Moneytalks."

22. "Bullet With Butterfly Wings," Smashing Pumpkins A great song whose only competition for this slot is Aerosmith's "The Other Side."

21. "We're Not Gonna Take It," Twisted Sister '80's glam-rock beats out the '70s entries "Blue Collar Man" by Styx and "Last Child" by Aerosmith.

20. "Run Runaway," Slade The band that is often covered beats out the artist that covers often, Joan Jett doing Gary Glitter's "Do You Wanna Touch."

19. "Don't Treat Me Bad," Firehouse Here's another battle between contemporaries. I'll eliminate Def Leppard's "Animal" (need them later in the list) and I like it better than Motley Crue's "Don't Go Away Mad."

18. "Far Behind," Candlebox Only two eligible for this position but the candidates are strong. This selection could be easily interchanged with Ram Jam's "Black Betty" depending on the mood.

17. "The Stroke," Billy Squier Another weak position, but this one is much better than Aerosmith's "Rag Doll."

16. "Enter Sandman," Metallica Can we all agree this one is a slam-dunk? I wish it would have charted at No. 17 for this list's sake; otherwise it's between "Calling Dr. Love" by KISS and Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" for this position.

15. "Black Dog," Led Zeppelin Zep stands alone over Def Leppard's "Let's Get Rocked" after getting trounced for the No. 16 position.

14. "Summertime Blues," Blue Cheer The first heavy-metal single to chart back in 1968. Its only other competition is Aerosmith's "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)."

13. "Cult of Personality," Living Colour It was almost a coin flip between this one and "Panama" by Van Halen. They both beat out Bad Company's "Rock And Roll Fantasy."

12. "Rock And Roll All Nite (Live)," KISS The studio version of this song originally peaked at No. 68 a year earlier, but the live version reached No. 12. Also contending for the spot are Ratt's "Round and Round" and Def Leppard's "Photograph."

11. "Barracuda," Heart Another weak position but the competition wouldn't have mattered. Heavily beats out Collective Soul's "Shine" and Kix's power ballad "Don't Close Your Eyes."

10. "Call Me When You're Sober," Evanescence One of the best songs from the last decade. It edges out both Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" and Warrant's "Cherry Pie."

9. "Hocus Pocus," Focus The riff, the drums and the yodeling by the Dutch group edges out Poison's "Talk Dirty To Me" and beats Ugly Kid Joe's "Everything About You."

8. "Close My Eyes Forever," Lita Ford & Ozzy Osbourne It could easily be either the Clash classic "Rock the Casbah" or White Lion's "Wait," but I'll take two artists represented for the price of one song.

7. "Fight For Your Right," Beastie Boys A strong position which also includes Alice Cooper's "School's Out" and GN'R's "Welcome to the Jungle". I'm reserving G'N'R for higher up, though.

6. "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Nirvana Three viable candidates but I'll take this one over both "Dr. Feelgood" by Motley Crue and Poison's "Nothin' But a Good Time."

5. "Bring Me to Life," Evanescence Heavier than both but just as enjoyable as "Cum On Feel the Noize" by Quiet Riot and "Paradise City" by GN'R. Amy Lee's vocal performance on this track is one of the best I've ever heard.

4. "Smoke On the Water," Deep Purple This timeless riff beats out another, Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love," and both beat out Skid Row's "18 And Life."

3. "Why Can't This Be Love," Van Halen This one beat out Poison's "Unskinny Bop" by a coin flip. Lengthy power ballad "November Rain" by Axl & crew also qualifies here.

2. "Pour Some Sugar On Me," Def Leppard This high position happens to be a weak field for hard rock, this timeless singalong beats out the Steppenwolf anthem "Born To Be Wild."

1. "Sweet Child O' Mine," Guns N' Roses This spot is a wasteland for hard-rock acts not named Bon Jovi. I would've liked to put Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again," but it's the horrible watered-down remix that charted No. 1, not the heavier version. While Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Living On a Prayer" are great No. 1 songs they both seem interchangeable to me so the Gunners get the top spot.

And that's my list of the Top 40 Hard Rock songs according to Billboard (...sort of). Don't like it? Tough. My effort earns me a 'W' whether you like it or not.


The Ask Willie D Archives Houston's 10 Coolest Bar Names A Handy Guide to the Band Tool in 2014 Top Five Artists You Need to Stop Hating Houston's Top 10 Cougar Bars

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.