Classic rock is a genre that has produced some of the most iconic and beloved songs in music history. However, not all classics are created equal. Some songs have achieved such legendary status that their actual quality is often overlooked. In this list, we’ll take a closer look at 5 classic rock songs that are criminally overrated and explore why they may not deserve all the hype they receive.
The Beatles – ‘Penny Lane’
Although it’s undeniable that The Beatles’ “Penny Lane” played a role in driving the psychedelic revolution of the 1960s, the song is overrated and unpleasant with its repetitive plunking piano track. The horn solo is also quite cheesy, reminiscent of Elvis Presley’s Vegas period. Despite Paul McCartney’s inspiration from The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, the song falls short of capturing the brilliance of that album or even Paul’s other psychedelic works. It’s perplexing how this tune continues to drive so much tourism.
Green Day – ‘Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)’
Although Green Day’s “Good Riddance” is a departure from their usual hits and a decent folk-rock ballad, it relies heavily on Billie Joe Armstrong’s voice without the backing of their typical hard rock sound. However, the problem with this song is that it never faded into obscurity and has strangely become the unofficial anthem for American graduation ceremonies. Despite its enduring popularity among both the alternative and easy-listening crowds, “Good Riddance” should have lost its appeal by now. Fortunately, Green Day demonstrated their ability to create a great radio ballad with “Wake Me Up When September Ends.”
The Rolling Stones – ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’
The Rolling Stones’ song “Let’s Spend the Night Together” was a controversial release in the 1960s, resulting in most radio stations banning it, according to the 2013 book 50 Licks: Myths and Stories From Half a Century of The Rolling Stones. However, the song’s edgy title has lost its shock value over time. Without it, the track is primarily a basic groove that doesn’t rank among The Rolling Stones’ greatest hits. Thankfully, its B-side “Ruby Tuesday” far surpasses it in quality.
Three Dog Night – ‘Joy to the World’
During the 1970s, Three Dog Night had multiple hits, but “Joy to the World” distinguished itself from the others. Regrettably, the song is not notable for its quality. While there were many songs during the ’60s and ’70s with nonsensical lyrics, the combination of sex, a talking bullfrog, and Christmas references in this song is unusual in an uninteresting way. It is unclear what the song is attempting to convey or accomplish. Is it intended to be sexy or humorous, or is it just a hodgepodge of unrelated phrases set to a decent beat? Regardless of its purpose, it failed to achieve its intended effect. Essentially, this is a children’s song that, for some reason, managed to achieve the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Carl Perkins – ‘Blue Suede Shoes’
Credit must be given to Carl Perkins for writing the original version of “Blue Suede Shoes”. However, it was Elvis Aaron Presley who made the song unforgettable. While Perkins’ original is decent, it was Elvis’ charm and vocal abilities that made the song exceptional. The first version is not always the best, which is why this song will forever be linked to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll for many generations to come.