“Let There Be Rock” AC/DC, 1977
Where AC/DC let loose the most. It has a Detroit, Stooges-MC5-style type of total energy.
“So What?” Anti-Nowhere League, 1981
This record took punk lyrics and attitude to a place no one else would go. When Animal, the singer, says he “sucked an old man’s cock,” that’s the bonus.
“Don’t Get Yourself in Trouble” Bachman-Turner Overdrive, 1973
My father went to America a lot, and he would bring home 45s. That’s how I got into BTO. This is their heaviest track, with a great groove and a simple riff.
“Tattoo Vampire” ” Blue Öyster Cult, 1976
Listen to this back-to-back with BTO and AC/DC — it has that repetitive feel in the riff. And the drummer does a banging half-time on the cymbal, beating the shit out of it to get that sizzling effect.
“Silver Lightning” Bow Wow, 1977
Being from Japan gave these guys a chance to come up with their own sound: English blues rock with American flash and punky uppityness.
“Child in Time” Deep Purple, 1970
I was nine years old when my father took me to see Deep Purple. It put me on a different path. This is their “Stairway to Heaven.”
“Helpless” Diamond Head, 1980
The cornerstone of our sound: riff and energy, but also a high regard for arrangement.
“Free Speech for the Dumb” Discharge, 1982
I’ve never been able to figure out this guitar solo. It shows up with no rhyme or reason.
“Prowler” Iron Maiden, 1980
It’s got it all — energy, rawness, song structure.
“Evil” Mercyful Fate, 1983
They were ridiculed for the makeup and theatricality. But the singer was very serious — and the sweetest guy.
“Overkill” Motörhead, 1979
When I heard those double-bass drums pumping away, it blew my head off. And underneath is this giant middle finger trying to get out.
“Commando” The Ramones, 1977
It was a tossup between this and “Cretin Hop.” I always thought they were closer to hard rock than to the Sex Pistols.
“Jumpin’ Jack Flash” The Rolling Stones, 1968
My assignment was the Seventies and Eighties hard rock and metal, but “Jumping Jack Flash” fits on this list. After the . . . And Justice for All tour, when we wanted to pull back from the progressive side to something simpler, we talked about this song. It’s the blueprint for what is possible in a hard rock song in two minutes.
“Forty-Five Hundred Times” Status Quo, 1973
This is an epic — their “Free Bird.” The guitar solos are less about ability and showing-off, more about fitting into the track. And John Coghlan, the drummer, flips the rhythm two or three times ? effortlessly so.
“The Rocker” Thin Lizzy, 1973
This track links their early progressive and Irish-folk side with their later stuff. This was my introduction to Thin Lizzy, and I ended up seeing them a hundred times. They would play Denmark every six months.
“Killers” Tygers of Pan Tang, 1980
This was about the guitars. Robb Weir should do ads for the wah pedal. He bent the strings while stepping on the wah to get the solos to cry out. This sounds as good in 2010 as it did in 1980. And spelling Tygers with a ‘y’ — that was cool in itself.