10 Perfect Songs That Started Hard Rock

Getting More Dangerous.

led zeppelin
Atlantic

Rock and roll always had a lot more to offer past the Summer of Love. Though the era of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones making one classic after the next felt like it could have gone on forever, there was a bit of a nastier streak coming from the newer bands on the scene, looking to bubble up from underneath the surface. It was time for rock to grow up, and it was about to get a lot heavier.

While metal had not yet reared its head at this point, there were the building blocks of what would become hard rock being planted around this time as well, taking the main tropes of what rock and roll stood for and blowing them up to mammoth proportions. Even though not all of these bands could have been called sophisticated in the technical sense, their desire to create something deliberately nasty was a breath of fresh air for fans that were looking for something with a little more edge than what your average British Invasion band was giving them.

In the wake of these songs, fans hit the ground running with bands of their own, jamming together in garages across the world with cheap guitars trying to play songs that had the same impact as these. Rock and roll had been around for a while at this point, but the adolescent phase was where the genre really started to get some teeth.

10. Gimme Shelter - The Rolling Stones

The kind of excess that comes with rock and roll was starting to catch up with everyone by the late '60s. As much as the peace and love of the '60s may have seemed like a utopia, the aftermath of the Vietnam War was making things look that much more dismal, with carnage going on at every corner. The world seemed on fire half a world away, and one of rock and roll's most dangerous bands helped shine a little light on it.

Though the Rolling Stones have more than a few contenders for hard rock songs back in their '60s prime, there's a certain aura surrounding Gimme Shelter that's a lot different than the likes of Paint It Black, with Keith Richards's wall of guitars putting you right in the middle of an acid nightmare. Even with all major chords leading the charge, this is not a song to make you feel happy, as Mick Jagger talks about a storm coming to blow away everything and guest vocalist Merry Clayton sounding like she's on the verge of tears singing the bridge section of the track.

For all of the sinister edge that you got from something like Mother's Little Helper or even Let's Spend the Night Together, the sounds coming out of this one record signaled what the next phase of rock and roll was going to be like. The Summer of Love had had its time, and it was time to come back to reality where we were left to deal with the destruction.

 
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