The 50 Most Underrated Rock Songs of All Time

*Editors Note: This is the compressed list version of this feature. Click here for the full version with videos.

There are some songs that everyone knows and love. There are rock songs that have become more of anthems than just tracks. We covered most of those during our 80s Hard Rock Fantasy Draft and Cory Jones broke down the indie side of rock, but what about those rock songs that are truly underappreciated? If we were going to put together the 50 most underrated rock songs of all time, I wanted to bring in help from guys who definitely knew the genre.

I asked my pal, and drummer, Bob Bryar to help me out with some of the picks as well as Rob Zombie bassist Piggy Demon to contribute some suggestions. With their assistance, we put together the 50 most underrated rock songs of all time. Enjoy!

50. Alice Cooper – Halo of Flies

Year Released: 1971

Album: Killer

Why It’s Awesome: It was only released in the Netherlands so not only is it awesome, it was extremely hard to find.

49. Jimi Hendrix – Lover Man

Year Released: 1971

Album: Isle of Wight

Why It’s Awesome: There are four different versions of the song, but the earliest was performed at Woodstock in 1969.

48. Black Label Society – Bleed For Me

Year Released: 2002

Album: 1919 Eternal

Why It’s Awesome: As hard as Black Label Society rocks, this might be one of their hardest, and most underappreciated, tracks.

47. The Animals – It’s My Life

Year Released: 1965

Album: Television Show Hullabaloo

Why It’s Awesome: The song premiered with a live performance that featured women sticking their heads through a wall like mounted animals, which was quite progressive for the time.

46. Mountain – Nantucket Sleighride

Year Released: 1971

Album: Nantucket Sleighride

Why It’s Awesome: How many other songs do you know about being towed in a boat by a harpooned whale?

45. Butthole Surfers – They Came In

Year Released: 2001

Album: Weird Revolution

Why It’s Awesome: Listening to this song is like doing a bunch of drugs without the consequences of doing a bunch of drugs.

44. New Order – Bizarre Love Triangle

Year Released: 1986

Album: Brotherhood

Why It’s Awesome: While it never saw much success in the US during its initial release, it was a top five hit in Australia. It paved the way for a series of top 40 hits for New Order.

43. System of a Down – Innervision

Year Released: 2002

Album: Steal This Album!

Why It’s Awesome: It was the only single released from the album to be non-airplay only and it’s only been played live on rare occasions.

42. Ramones – Commando

Year Released: 1977

Album: Leave Home

Why It’s Awesome: Commando was one of the best tracks off the Ramones second album that showed so much growth and improvement from the band’s first release.

41. Cream – Take It Back

Year Released: 1967

Album: Disraeli Gears

Why It’s Awesome: With so many big hits, somehow Take It Back gets completely forgotten even though the style and sound define everything that was Cream.

40. The Doors – End of the Night

Year Released: 1967

Album: The Doors

Why It’s Awesome: Lyrically it’s one of the best songs Jim Morrison ever penned and that’s coming from a huge fan of The Doors.

39. Deep Purple – Speed King

Year Released: 1970

Album: Deep Purple in Rock

Why It’s Awesome: It’s more metal than almost anything in the 70s and is still harder than most of the songs released today.

38. Nirvana – Breed

Year Released: 1991

Album: Nevermind

Why It’s Awesome: As amazing as the entire Nevermind album is, this may be the most musically complex track of them all.

37. Black Sabbath – Sweet Leaf

Year Released: 1971

Album: Master of Reality

Why It’s Awesome: You know it’s going to be awesome as soon as it starts and you hear Tony Iommi coughing after hitting a joint. Ah, the 70s.

36. Poets of the Fall – Late Goodbye

Year Released:

Album: Signs of Life

Why It’s Awesome: You may recognize the Finnish rocker’s track from the video game Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne.

35. Led Zeppelin – Achilles Last Stand

Year Released: 1976

Album: Presence

Why It’s Awesome: It’s the third longest studio song ever recorded by Zeppelin and features some of the best drumming of John Bonham’s career.

34. Tool – Eulogy

Year Released: 1996

Album: Enima

Why It’s Awesome: It’s one of the best Tool songs ever recorded, plus Danny Carey claims it’s a jab at Scientologist founder L. Ron Hubbard.

33. Ozzy Osbourne – Miracle Man

Year Released: 1988

Album: No Rest for the Wicked

Why It’s Awesome: Just like Tool’s Eulogy, Miracle Man was considered a shot at evangelist Jimmy Swaggart.

32. Billy Idol – Eyes Without a Face

Year Released: 1983

Album: Rebel Yell

Why It’s Awesome: Idol’s vocals are perfectly complimented by guest vocalist Perri Lister who sings background on the chorus.

31. Pink Floyd – Echoes

Year Released: 1971

Album: Meddle

Why It’s Awesome: It’s 23:31 of pure Pink Floyd in a track written by all four members that features massive instrumentals. It actually took up an entire side of the record.

30. Guns N’ Roses – Civil War

Year Released:

Album: Use Your Illusion II

Why It’s Awesome: War protest songs rarely rock this hard. The track went from being a riff they played during sound-checks to one of their most powerful anthems.

30. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Readymade

Year Released: 2006

Album: Stadium Arcadium

Why It’s Awesome: Off a double album filled with incredible solos, it’s impossible to listen to John Frusciante shred at the 2:31 mark in Readymade and not get goosebumps.

28. Avenged Sevenfold – Second Heartbeat

Year Released: 2003

Album: Waking the Fallen

Why It’s Awesome: If you’re even the slightest bit of an Avenged Sevenfold fan, you need this song in your library. It hits as hard as anything they’ve ever made.

27. Soundgarden – Spoonman

Year Released: 1994

Album: Superunknown

Why It’s Awesome: I have no idea what a Spoonman is, but it’s an incredible song that’s even more fun to play on Rock Band.

26. Judas Priest – Beyond the Realms of Death

Year Released: 1978

Album: Stained Class

Why It’s Awesome: The dual guitar solo will literally melt your face off of your body. Just be warned before you listen.

25. Rainbow – A Light in the Black

Year Released: 1976

Album: Rising

Why It’s Awesome: It’s one of the best songs on an album that was voted the best album of all time by Kerrang! magazine.

24. Duran Duran – New Religion

Year Released: 1982

Album: Rio

Why It’s Awesome: The band described it as a dialogue between the ego and alter-ego, but it still has the feel and vibe of the most popular Duran Duran songs ever released.

23. Rainbow – Stargazer

Year Released: 1976

Album: Rising

Why It’s Awesome: How can you possibly go wrong with a rock song featuring an orchestra that’s about a wizard that’s enslaving people to build him a tower?

22. The Animals – Around and Around

Year Released: 1964

Album: The Animals

Why It’s Awesome: Originally a Chuck Berry song, The Animals’ cover isn’t necessarily better, but they put a unique touch on it and made it completely their own.

21. R.E.M. – What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?

Year Released: 1994

Album: Monster

Why It’s Awesome: Michael Stipe says the song is about trying to understand what motivates the younger generations, but no matter what the subject is, the guitar solos may be the best that R.E.M. has ever produced.

20. The Beatles – Happiness is a Warm Gun

Year Released: 1968

Album: The White Album

Why It’s Awesome: Some people think the song is about sex while others think it’s about shooting up heroin. Most likely it’s a reference to a Peanuts comic that claimed happiness is a warm puppy.

19. Sevendust – Live Again

Year Released: 2001

Album: Animosity

Why It’s Awesome: It’s not just Sevendust’s most underrated song, it’s, without a doubt, their most underrated video as well.

18. Metallica – Hit the Lights

Year Released: 1983

Album: Kill ‘Em All

Why It’s Awesome: This is the song that technically started it all for Metallica. It’s the very first track on their very first album and hits just as hard as anything they’ve made ever since.

17. George Harrison – Wah Wah

Year Released: 1970

Album: All Things Must Pass

Why It’s Awesome: After Harrison left the Beatles he started getting slammed by McCartney and Lennon. This was his response to their criticism and it’s simply fantastic.

16. Danzig – Long Way Back From Hell

Year Released: 1990

Album: Danzig II: Lucifuge

Why It’s Awesome: Just listen to the intro of this song and what John Chris does with his guitar and you’ll understand exactly why this song is awesome.

15. Andrew WK – She Is Beautiful

Year Released:

Album: I Get Wet

Why It’s Awesome: No one goes harder than Andrew WK and while the title sounds like a love ballad, this is one of his best songs to date.

14. Between the Buried and Me – Astral Body

Year Released: 2012

Album: The Parallax II: Future Sequence

Why It’s Awesome: This is the most recent song on the list, but that doesn’t make it any less deserving. The guitar solos are ridiculously good plus the video is a perfect accompaniment to the amazing track.

13. Queen – Stone Cold Crazy

Year Released: 1974

Album: Sheer Heart Attack

Why It’s Awesome: This was the first song that Queen performed live in 1970 and, while it was never released as a single, it was performed at almost every live show the band did from 1974-1978.

12. The Stooges – No Fun

Year Released: 1969

Album: The Stooges

Why It’s Awesome: Even if you aren’t a fan of The Stooges, you should recognize this track as it’s been covered by everyone from The Black Keys to The Sex Pistols.

11. Cheap Trick – Hot Love

Year Released: 1977

Album: Cheap Trick

Why It’s Awesome: The lyrics aren’t the strongest that Cheap Trick has produced, but vocally and melodically, it’s one of the best tracks on the album.

10. Roky Erickson – Two-Headed Dog

Year Released: 1977

Album: Two Headed Dog

Why It’s Awesome: The entire album is based on sci-fi and horror movie themes so there’s a dark, somewhat futuristic tone to the track. It’s more of an experience than simply a song.

9. Husker Du – Makes No Sense At All

Year Released: 1985

Album: Flip Your Wig

Why It’s Awesome: The band that started out as hardcore punk showed they could be melodic and pop with this track that is considered by some to be the greatest fusion of punk and pop to date.

8. Hot Water Music – Alright For Now

Year Released: 2001

Album: Caution

Why It’s Awesome: I know we throw the word epic around way too lightly, but there is no other word that could describe Hot Water Music’s most underrated track.

7. Queens of the Stone Age – First It Giveth

Year Released: 2002

Album: Song For The Deaf

Why It’s Awesome: Listen to it. That’s why.

6. Metallica – Trapped Under Ice

Year Released: 1984

Album: Ride the Lightning

Why It’s Awesome: It’s probably the most forgotten Metallica song since it’s only been played 21 times live by the band and was not played at all from 1985 to 1999. That doesn’t make it any less awesome and is still a requirement for any Metallica fan.

5. Thrice – The Earth Will Shake

Year Released: 2005

Album: Vheissu

Why It’s Awesome: Lyrically, this may be the strongest track in Thrice’s catalog and that’s saying something considering their growth as musicians and the number of fantastic songs they’ve put out.

4. Led Zeppelin – Fool in the Rain

Year Released: 1979

Album: In Through the Out Door

Why It’s Awesome: This was the last U.S. single the band ever released and to say they went out on top is an understatement.

3. Rush – YYZ

Year Released: 1981

Album: Moving Pictures

Why It’s Awesome: Name me a better instrumental track than this. I’ll give you all the time you need. You can’t do it, can you?

2. The Replacements – Bastards of Young

Year Released: 1985

Album: Tim

Why It’s Awesome: The song became a college anthem and was accompanied by a now famous black and white music video of a speaker that ends with someone getting up and destroying the speaker. It’s a perfect video that doesn’t get in the way of an amazing song.

1. Van Halen – D.O.A.

Year Released: 1979

Album: Van Halen II

Why It’s Awesome: It wasn’t a popular radio song like so many other Van Halen tracks, but there isn’t a better song for rolling down your windows and listening to loudly.

*Editors Note: This is the compressed list version of this feature. Click here for the full version with videos.


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