10 Greatest Tribute Songs In Rock History

Some fond farewells to some of the genre's greatest.

Slipknot Band

For as long as the human race has existed, it has used music to express itself.

Whether we're happy, sad, hungry, or some combination of all three, us humans have always been drawn to chords and melodies as methods of getting our emotions out there.

Of all the feelings to be felt, perhaps none are as strong or as a long-lasting as grief.

The loss of a loved one can be devastating and there is no handbook on how to deal with such a tragic event. Music can offer some solace though, either as a listener or a creator.

That's the certainly the case with these ten rock and metal tracks, which were all created to celebrate the life of a person who either passed away or was forced to move on in some form.

There's more than one way to honour someone, so don't expect all of these tracks to be soppy ballads.

We should warn you that this won't be always be a happy list (obviously), but if you'd like to join us in journeying through some of the sweetest homages in all of rock history, then we'll gladly have you along for the ride.

10. Oh, Thank You Great Spirit - Chicago

On September 18th 1970, the music world lost one of the greatest and most idolised talents it has ever known.

Jimi Hendrix passed away at the age of just 27 in his London apartment, after a short life lived to the max. His unique style of guitar playing had revolutionised the musical landscape and he is still regarded as one of the greatest axe-wielders of all time.

So, who was the obvious choice to step up and write a tribute song for the great man?

Soft rock afficionados Chicago, of course!

The group behind If You Leave Me Now gave us Oh, Thank You Great Spirit on their 1975 album Chicago VIII.

It was written and sung by guitarist Terry Kath, whom Hendrix allegedly called a better player than himself during his lifetime. Clearly wanting to pay the favour back, Kath created this winding seven minute long ode to Jimi's various musical styles, performed in the likeness of the fallen legend.

It's clear from this loving imitation that Kath had a great respect for the man. Hopefully that's the case, and he wasn't just trying to cash in on a death that happened five years earlier...


Jacob Simmons has a great many passions, including rock music, giving acclaimed films three-and-a-half stars, watching random clips from The Simpsons on YouTube at 3am, and writing about himself in the third person.