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by Justin Farrar

October 1, 2014

Radio: Big Classic Rock

by Justin Farrar  |  October 1, 2014

Rhapsody has officially declared it Classic Rock-tober! That means it's time to crank things up to 11, as we travel back in time to salute the finest in classic rock. Stay tuned each day of October for a new reason to rock out.

Since we all know what classic rock is, I've spared you the chore of reading some long-winded definition of what is surely America's most beloved radio format. Rather, here are 10 inarguable reasons why Rhapsody's Big Classic Rock rules.

(1) Just the hits ... not. I've always hated that concept. Who wants to hear the same 20 cuts from the same 20 artists over and over? I surely don't, and I bet you don't either. On Big Classic Rock radio, expect to be blown away by an array of deep cuts from your favorite artists. After all, the rest of Thin Lizzy's Jailbreak is just as good as the singles "The Boys Are Back in Town," "Jailbreak" and "Cowboy Song."

(2) Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, AC/DC. Let's clear up this bit of confusion. While these groups don't make their music available for Rhapsody's subscription service, all of them appear on our radio stations. So yeah, your faves are present, such as "Hey Jude," "Black Dog" and "Highway to Hell."

(3) Keeping current. Traditional radio formatting has a nasty habit of atrophying. Not here at Rhapsody. For us, classic rock is a living, breathing entity that evolves over time. Thus, be prepared to encounter tracks from U2, The Black Crowes, Pearl Jam, The Police, Guns N' Roses, the Pretenders and R.E.M., all of whom have made vital contributions to the classic rock canon since the 1980s.

(4) Keeping really, really current. Even I have to admit the classic rock canon gets awfully contentious post-'90s. That said, how are Wilco, The Black Keys and the White Stripes not classic rock?

(5) Sensitive fare. Loudness rules: The squall of feedback announcing "Foxy Lady," Robert Plant's banshee wail on "Immigrant Song," the way Macca shreds his vocal chords throughout "Helter Skelter." Every now and then, however, each and every one of us craves some tranquil reflection and tender melancholy. That's why Big Classic Rock also contains a smattering of acoustica from such singer-songwriter icons as Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and Van Morrison.

(6) Classic rockers who didn't score big hit singles. Trad classic rock radio often overlooks great artists from the '70s who didn't score big hits. This is absurd, considering artists as diverse as Cactus, Little Feat, Mason Proffit and Montrose recorded some of the very best rock of the decade.

(7) Vintage country rock. A lot of the very best classic rock is country rock. And Big Classic Rock is full of it, from New Riders of the Purple Sage and The Flying Burrito Bros. to Pure Prairie League and Poco.

(8) Speaking of country rock ... I recently had a debate with a friend about whether The Grateful Dead were classic rock. He said no. I said, in certain instances, WITHOUT A DOUBT. Sure, their freaky, lysergic jams aren't really classic rock, whereas American Beauty and Workingman's Dead totally epitomize classic rock. Longhairs be sparking jays to these landmarks!

(9) Where oldies end and classic rock begins. A nebulous border for sure. But there are a handful of older '60s outfits that exerted a massive influence on the development of classic rock. These include The Byrds, The Zombies and garage-rockers The Seeds. Then there are those oldies bands whose personnel went on to form many of the biggest bands of the '70s: Small Faces (Humble Pie, Faces), The Yardbirds (Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck), Vanilla Fudge (Beck, Bogert and Appice) and Buffalo Springfield (CSN&Y, Neil Young).

(10) Boston's first album in its entirety. From beginning to end, Boston is classic rock in its purest essence, and that's why every single track can be heard on Big Classic Rock Radio!

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