From day one, rock and roll was never meant to be the most comfortable of genres. Since this was the kind of music that made parents think that Elvis Presley was the devil incarnate, we weren't listening to these records just to have some easy listening in the background. This kind of music had the power to change the world, and some may have tried to use that power for evil.
Outside of the genesis of rock and roll, there have been plenty of tracks that fall on the more ominous side of the spectrum. Whether it's the story taking place in the lyrics or the way the song is constructed, these are a lot more bonechilling than the traditional party songs that many of us were used to back in the day. And funny enough, not all of them necessarily fall into the category of metal either.
Whereas some of the greatest metal acts of all time have earned a spot on this list here and there, the harshest songs don't need to rely on distortion and screaming vocals to actually get their point across. All they need is the music to make you feel truly unsettled. Music is always meant to put you into a certain headspace when you're listening to it, and we're about to tread into some dark material on the horizon.
10. Something Big - Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
When talking about the most dangerous rock and roll ever made, Tom Petty doesn't automatically spring to mind. For most of the new school, this is the kind of heartland rock that you'd expect out of someone like Bruce Springsteen from back in the day. Then again, even the Boss never had the guts to take on a track like Something Big.
From the opening licks, this is a far cry from something like Here Comes My Girl, with the whole thing feeling like you're in some sort of drunken haze. Once Tom opens his mouth though, the lyrics are deadly serious, talking about a man on the wrong side of the tracks who has finally had his demons catch up with him. Even though he was working to build himself up, his shady practices have come back to bite him, leaving him completely helpless in a motel room.
This isn't some sort of metaphor on Petty's part either. Just wait until the last verse and you actually get the man's corpse being autopsied and the authorities chalking it up to just another sucker who was working on something big. Since a song like Refugee was the album before, this may as well be a song lifted out of some old Western. In just a few short years, Petty grew up and inherited the kind of songwriting reserved for someone like Johnny Cash.