It’s That Time of the Year Again for a Rock Marathon

Next Wednesday morning, right before Thanksgiving, classic rock radio station Q104.3 starts their annual marathon of counting down the “Top 1,043 Classic Rock Songs Of All Time.” The list, which takes a broad definition that goes beyond classic rock in the traditional sense, is based on listener submissions of their top 10 favorite songs.

Playing the entire list from song no. 1,043 all the way down to no. 1 will take from Wednesday, November 25, 9:00 a.m. (EST) until Sunday, November 29, sometime in the evening, usually between 9:00 – 10:00 p.m. On Thanksgiving Day at noon, the countdown is interrupted for Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant.

This year marks the 20th time of Q104.3’s holiday tradition. Each year, Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven has been the eternal no. 1. While the station doesn’t disclose actual vote counts, each year I’ve listened they said Stairway won by a substantial margin.

Rigged voting? I don’t think so. Q104.3 plays plenty of Zep as part of their regular rotation. One of their DJs, Carol Miller, who has been on the air since 1973, is a huge Led Zeppelin fan, and hosts the long running segment Get the Led Out. As such, I think it’s safe to assume many folks who listen to Q104.3 dig Zeppelin. And, honestly, if I could only choose one classic rock song, I also would go with Stairway.

Admittedly, the entire exercise is a bit nerdy but quite appealing to a music nut like myself. BTW, each submission is weighted equally, so the order of the picks doesn’t matter. But think about it, when can you ever hear 1,043 different songs in a row on the radio? Most stations tend to play a limited set of tracks over and over again.

Above is an image of my picks for this year and below are clips of the corresponding tunes. While I still dig all of my picks from last year, this time, I deliberately decided to shake things up and submit an entirely new list. And it doesn’t even include two of my favorite bands of all time, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, not to mention Led Zeppelin. Here are my choices without further explanation, other than these are all songs I dig, though they aren’t necessarily my all-time favorites.

The Jimi Hendrix ExperiencePurple Haze (non-album single, March 1967)

Creedence Clearwater RevivalBorn on the Bayou (Bayou Country, January 1969)

The Allman Brothers BandBlack Hearted Woman (The Allman Brothers Band, November 1969)

The WhoThe Seeker (non-album single, March 1970)

Bruce SpringsteenBobby Jean (Born in the U.S.A., June 1984)

Tom Petty and the HeartbreakersMary Jane’s Last Dance (Greatest Hits, November 1993)

Lenny KravitzRock and Roll Is Dead (Circus, September 1995)

Sheryl CrowIf It Makes You Happy (Sheryl Crow, September 1996)

PretendersHate for Sale (Hate for Sale, July 2020)

AC/DCShot in the Dark (Power Up, November 2020)

Sources: Wikipedia; Q104.3 website; YouTube

17 thoughts on “It’s That Time of the Year Again for a Rock Marathon”

    1. Thanks, I really felt the latest AC/DC and Pretenders albums are worthy additions.

      It’s kind of funny that this year I almost entirely skipped the ’70s, one of my favorite decades in music.

      I didn’t do that on purpose. It just came out that way.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s good to include some other stuff. With doing new music reviews regularly, I find the stuff I always skimp on is new albums from veteran acts. I’m not always keen to cover the new Springsteen, for example, even though it seems like it’s pretty well loved, because then I’ll feel like I’ll need to cover all his releases from the last 15 years that I haven’t heard.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ha, I guess it’s impossible to keep up with everything. That being said, I feel your blog is a music encyclopedia! I generally feel I don’t have the time to go as deeply. Maybe it’s also short attention span and the urge to be on to the next thing!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. They start providing the list as the countdown goes on, but there’s a time lag. Eventually, they post the entire list. At the end of the day, what they really want is that you listen!

        It’s fun, even though it’s somewhat predictable, since many of the songs land in the top 20 year after year. For example, you know Stairway will be no. 1, and other tunes like “Hey Jude”, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Layla” and “Hotel California” will make the top 20.

        Still, it’s fun listening and following along. In years past, usually, I tuned in for an hour or two every day, including Sunday night when they’re getting to the top 20.

        “Alice’s Restaurant” at noon on Thanksgiving Day is also a fun highlight!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. If I voted I don’t know if I would have chosen any of you ten- BUT- I like all ten songs you voted for. I always like countdowns- even ones which have Stairway To Heaven at #1.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s tricky, since obviously there are so many choices. Plus, to some extent, it also depends on the day and how you feel. Last year, I submitted the following:

      – Buddy Guy/Whiskey, Beer & Wine
      – Cream/Politician
      – The Who/Won’t Get Fooled Again
      – Stevie Ray Vaughan/Cold Shot
      – Steely Dan/Reelin’ in the Years
      – The Rolling Stones/Dead Flowers
      – Neil Young/Rockin’ in the Free World
      – The Beatles/While My Guitar Gently Weeps
      – The Allman Brothers Band/Whipping Post
      – The Animals/Don’t Bring Me Down

      I still love all of these songs but wanted to shake things up a little by leaving out some of my all-time favorite artists, including The Beatles, the Stones, Steely Dan, Cream and Neil Young.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s really fun. In years past, I usually caught a couple of hours each day it’s on. I also listened on Sunday evening just to see whether Stairway will finally be knocked out of its eternal no. 1 spot. I doubt it’s ever going to happen! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to listen to rock stations in L.A., Sacramento and St. Louis (all cities where I used to live) play similar countdowns – one station calls it their “Firecracker 500” – and nearly all of them had “Stairway to Heaven” at #1, which has also been my favorite song for the past 47 years!

    If I had to pick my top 5 all-time favorite ‘rock’ songs, they’d be:
    1. Stairway to Heaven
    2. the extended version of Light My Fire
    3. Every Breath You Take
    4. Losing My Religion
    5. Gimme Shelter

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  3. I can’t believe that woman’s been on the air since 1973. That is some great longevity in a business where DJ’s come and go. One quibble with your list – I think you know the level of Allmans madness I aspire to. I always kinda saw “Black Hearted Woman” as a B-song. There’s a classic rock station here that you can send your top ten list to and then they pick one listener/day and then you get to DJ it. I sent in list after list but got nowhere. I think they hate me.

    Liked by 1 person

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