10 Overlooked Masterpiece Songs By Legendary Hard Rock Bands

The greatest hard rock songs you might have missed.

Judas Priest Steeler

Certain bands, understandably, become indelibly linked to certain songs, most usually their biggest, most radio-friendly hits.

These are the tracks that even the most casual fan will know and enjoy; the ones which will show up at the top of any online search and, to a certain extent, define a legacy. However, hardcore fans will appreciate that such numbers often only scratch the surface of what any particular group is about and/or capable of.

That's not to say that these well-known concert staples aren't great, of course, but time invested brings its own rewards. When it comes to legendary bands such as those presented here, it's almost invariably true that, for every chart-busting hit, there exists an equally brilliant, more nuanced and more slow-burning song which will never enjoy the same amount of time in the sun.

The list served up here is dedicated to all those who are never satisfied with a 'greatest hits' collection; those music lovers who mine tirelessly and joyously though a band's complete discography to absorb the hidden gems, the quirky left-turns, the works-in-progress and, yes, even the misfires.

You won't find any misfires among these ten, though, just hidden delights to lie back and absorb at your leisure.

10. ZZ Top - Master Of Sparks

"We could tell we had something special," said ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons of the band's 1973 album, Tres Hombres. Indeed, they had.

Tres Hombres remains one of ZZ Top's best-loved records for good reason. You could take your pick from any number of terrific songs here, including the group's first top ten US single, La Grange, and the wonderful blues rocker Jesus Just Left Chicago. Nestling no-so-innocently near the end of side one, the swaggering delight which is Master Of Sparks has arguably been overlooked.

There's an incredible backstory to this song, which perhaps sums up the wild humour of the band to a tee.

As Billy Gibbons told Sound Magazine in a 1976 interview: "A good friend and I put our heads together one day to weld a bunch of sucker gauge, which is the kind of pipe they use to build windmills, into a steel cage, a ball of sorts. We put a door on it, a seatbelt on a bucket seat. It even had shock absorbers to cushion the points of impact. Then we'd get drunk and roll this thing out of the back of a pick-up truck at 'bout fifty miles an hour and when it would hit the ground it'd send up a rooster tail of sparks a hundred feet in the air."


Chris Wheatley is a journalist and writer from Oxford, UK. He has too many records, too many guitars and not enough cats.