Which Rock Bands Of Today Will Be The Classic Rock Bands Of Tomorrow?

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By Zachary Swickey

The classic rock sounds of The Eagles and Steely Dan are what I grew up on. Other than the occasional Enya or Kenny G album (help me!), my dad was constantly playing me songs from his youth. I recall him putting on “Be True to Your School” by the Beach Boys and commenting that his parents must’ve loved that. I even argued that Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett’s solo in “Fade to Black” was the greatest of all time … until my father proved me wrong by playing Eric Clapton’s guest guitar-work on the Stephen Stills solo tune “Come Back Home,” which remains my favorite solo to this day.

This had me wondering, in 40 year’s time what music from today will be considered classic rock? Here are five rock acts that I think won’t be leaving the radio anytime soon.

Red Hot Chili Peppers
There are few rock outfits that people have as much admiration for as the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their spastic funk jams are the perfect happy-go-lucky music for road trips. (Do you think we’ll still have those in the future?) The band dates back to the ‘80s yet remains as relevant as ever today. Songs like “Scar Tissue” and “Under the Bridge” have become automatic sing-a-longs, and even less popular hits like “Zephyr Song” have a great timelessness to them. I anticipate my future children knowing every word to “Can’t Stop” like I do.

Kings of Leon
If the Kings of Leon don’t disband and keep churning out the radio hits we love, then you can count on them still being on the airwaves in 40 years. With the exception of their recent tour cancellation, the guys are masters of the road. If they aren’t in the studio, then they are usually on tour somewhere in the world, which helps them stay in the spotlight. My prediction is “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody” will be sung at karaoke bars and danced to by strippers for many more years to come. (Personally, I’d dance to “Crawl.”)

Foo Fighters
Dave Grohl is a living legend of rock – the dude was the drummer for a band that changed the face of music – yet he was still able to pick up a guitar and start another very successful rock band. Similar to the Peppers, people just love the Foo (the two even went on tour together in ‘99). Their music videos always have us grinning and their songs always get us rocking. If their more somber tunes like “My Hero” and “Everlong” are not enough to cement their place in future classic rock radio, “The Pretender” and “Best of You” certainly are.

Tool
Straight-up, there is no band with fans as cult-like as Tool. They move in large droves, donning their Maynard-related (A Perfect Circle, Tool, Puscifer) apparel and scooping up autographed Tool concert posters for several hundred bucks a pop. Tool have essentially become the modern day Pink Floyd with their mysterious personalities and intense live performances that feature dazzling light shows. As big of a fan as I am, even I was sick of hearing “Schism” being played on the radio when the group returned with Lateralus. One of the band’s first hits, “Sober,” is from 1992, but I won’t be surprised when rock fans are still loving it in 2032.

Metallica
I mean this a huge no-brainer. How many metal acts are still around today that can still pack a freakin’ football stadium? Cliché I know, but “Enter Sandman” was the first metal song I ever heard, and I specifically recall asking my friend with delight, “What is this?” I had never heard anything like it, but it immediately captivated me and thus began my affinity for the louder rock music. It goes without saying that Metallica have been the dominant force of rock music for 30 years now. Heck, their name alone makes them sound like a classic rock band. With iconic songs like “Unforgiven” and “One,” even piracy couldn’t stop the force that is Metallica.

Which of your favorite bands have what it takes to go down as classic rock acts? Let us know in the comments.