Classic Rock That Radio Forgot

While I love dubstep and electro-house and mash-ups and all the other robot-inspired future music that’s coming out nowadays, I still have a soft spot for classic rock. And while I love this music, there should be a law against classic rock radio stations endlessly playing the same crusty old “Layla” and “Smoke on the Water” shit.

Here are some tasty classic rock song that you don’t hear much anymore. I wouldn’t call any of them “obscure,” exactly. More like… mostly forgotten.

“Endless Highway” by The Band
Not only is The Band criminally underrated, but their album “Cahoots,” which this song appeared on, is absolutely full of great, great songs. In a more fair world, no one would know who Steve Miller is, and The Band would be a household name.

“New Minglewood Blues” by The Grateful Dead
I know anyone who’s ever liked punk rock must take a blood oath to hate this band, but they really do have an honest-to-god cowboy shit-kicker side to them that I’ve always liked. Here’s an early version of one of their best Old West-themed songs. This song makes me want to ride a horse and shoot Pancho Villa and shit.

“Bold as Love” by Jimi Hendrix
I heard John Mayer has been covering this song live for the past few years, but we won’t hold that against Jimi. Sometimes Hendrix’s guitar simply overpowers the song itself to the point that they become a bit harsh to really listen to. Fortunately this one achieves that perfect, tender balance between the great guitar playing, the wonderful song structure and excellent drugged-out 60s lyrics. I love it.

“Bike” by Pink Floyd
This one was included on the band’s debut album “Piper at the Gates of Dawn.” This was before Syd Barrett went nutso. Ok, probably not really before he went nutso, but before he was kicked out of the band and began living in a magical treehouse full of friendly leprechauns, or whatever.

“Jam in E” by Santana
This song is just fast as fuck and makes me want to run through a brick wall. This shit came out WAY before Carlos ever even conceived of starting his own private label Champagne.

“Medicated Goo” by Traffic
I’ve always considered Steve Winwood to be one of the cheesier of the 60s/70s rock gods, but this song is full of bad-assitude. (I have no idea why the youtube video has random images like that, but I assume it’s meant to throw off the RIAA copyright Stasi.)

“Sound and Vision” by David Bowie
Has everyone in the world already heard this tune? Maybe. But it came out on 1977’s “Low” Album, which for most casual fans, is pretty much completely below the fucking radar. Though it was named the greatest album of the 70s by Pitchfork. It’s a very cool little album, but…. coddamn Pitchfork hipster fucks.

“Speed King” by Deep Purple
I know Deep Purple is basically the real life version of Spinal Tap, and even hearing the first five notes of “Smoke on the Water” makes you want to stab a baby dolphin… but once in a while they came up with some good stuff. I’m also fairly sure they popped a bag full of trucker speed before performing this song.

“To Love Somebody” by Eric Burdon and The Animals
Eric Burdon is another rocker who’s just been criminally overlooked as the years pass. I think that’s possibly because a lot of his songs sound REALLY dated now. He captured the whole Crazy 60s Vietnam thing so well, but not many people really still want to listen to that. Anyway, here’s a great ballad that really does capture what it feels like to be crazy in love. Also, all the YouTube commenters on this song seem to be Spanish speakers. Is EB huge in Paraguay or something? I like to think so….

“I’m the Slime” by Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention
Here’s the band playing live on SNL, with subtitles in Spanish. (Seriously, is 70s guitar rock popular in Latin America? Why didn’t I know this?) The use of the satirical chalkboard is clearly ahead of its time. How did Zappa foretell the rise of Glenn Beck?

“All the Way From Memphis” by Mott The Hoople
Why exactly hasn’t Mott ever gotten its due? Maybe their shit is just too British for anyone with good teeth and a working liver to understand. Not exactly sure….

“Black Cow” by Steely Dan
Fun trivia: A black cow was an old-timey soda fountain drink with (I believe) Coca-Cola and vanilla ice cream. This tune has been sampled by numerous hip-hop songs. Also… Steely Dan’s music sounds exactly how cocaine feels.

“My Wife” by The Who
Like more or less every other rock band ever, The Who never let their bassist (John Entwhistle) write the songs or sing lead vocals. So here’s basically the only song he ever contributed to their catalog. I’m pretty sure it’s a story about the time he posted some comments about body image issues on Jezebel and had to make a quick getaway. We’ve all been there, dude.

Photo courtesy of

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

110 thoughts on “Classic Rock That Radio Forgot”