Playlist: Classic Rock Radio Is The Best Radio

This weekend we went upstate for my girlfriend’s 30th birthday and while driving home along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway we stumbled upon a fantastic radio station straight out of Mendocino County called “The Coast.” We decided it was the best radio station ever for driving down the coast but also the best radio station ever for our parents because it played almost exclusively music that our parents first introduced us to. (I was born in 1981, my parents were 50s-born hippies.) We then agreed resolutely that the music our parents raised us on is still The Best Music Ever. Also everybody knows that Classic Rock Radio Is Always The Best Radio.

This is the playlist I wish was always playing.

Wild World – Cat Stevens
Lyin’ Eyes – The Eagles
Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton
Baba O’ Riley – The Who
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da – The Beatles
Ramble On – Led Zeppelin
Wouldn’t It Be Nice – The Beach Boys
I Feel The Earth Move – Carole King
Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
Moondance – Van Morrison
Me and Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin
The Dangling Conversation – Simon & Garfunkel
Graceland – Paul Simon
Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix
Ruby Tuesday – The Rolling Stones
For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield
Break On Through (to the other side) – The Doors
Like a Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan
Carolina on My Mind – James Taylor
Casey Jones – The Grateful Dead
Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
A Day in the Life – The Beatles
Teach Your Children – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Going to California – Led Zeppelin
American Pie – Don McLean
Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
Son of A Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield
Imagine – John Lennon
Ramblin’ Man – The Allman Brothers Band
The City of New Orleans – Arlo Guthrie
I’ve Got My Mind Set On You – George Harrison
Carey – Joni Mitchell
You’ve Got A Friend – James Taylor
Ever Since I Put Your Picture In A Frame – Tom Waits
Let’s Get Together – The Youngbloods
Mr. Bojangles – The Nitty Gritty Dity Band
You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet – Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Boys of Summer – Don Henley
Maybe I’m Amazed – Paul McCartney
Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
Cheap Sunglasses – ZZ Top
You Don’t Know How It Feels – Tom Petty
The Chain – Fleetwood Mac
Fly Like An Eagle – Steve Miller Band
The Weight – The Band
Shine On You Crazy Diamond – Pink Floyd

What songs do you wanna hear on your Classic Rock Radio station when you’re on the road?

Want to suggest a playlist theme? Hit Crystal up on Formspring and someone from the team will make it for you, if you’re lucky.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3179 articles for us.


  1. Amen Rebecca! And let’s not forget Derek and the Dominos, “Layla”, The Band’s, “the Weight”, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young “Carry On” and Richie Havens with his performance of “Freedom”.
    What I’m trying to say is I AM OLD.
    But also that I spent every summer in upstate ny where the airwaves provided either classic rock or bible thumpers. You can see where I strayed.

    • yes we were stuck in a rut of bible thumpers and contemporary country when suddenly the radio scan landed on a station playing Paul Simon live at graceland and we were like WE HAVE FOUND OUR SALVATION

  2. BUT! ALSO! So much love for this list and the instigation of this conversation. Way to blaze the trail, (again and as always) Riese. :)


    This is the playlist/radio station I am always searching for an hoping gets played in clubs! Downloading and using forever, thank you Riese!

  4. OMG THIS PLAYLIST! I spent my middle and high school years listening to all these songs on the records handed down to me by my 50s-born hippy parents. So many memories :) Thanks Riese!

  5. Yes! This is so perfect, I was just listening to a Steve Miller Band station at work and mentally thanking my parents for raising me on such good music. You should add the Joker or Fly Like An Eagle.

  6. Best playlist ever. I grew up on this music too, and a lot of it is still my favorite (Grateful Dead). Good job!

  7. we have a quiet war at my job between the top 40 station and the classic rock station, and I nearly gave all the ex hippies coronary incidents because I knew every word of an eleven minute Grand Funk Railroad song and I had to explain to them again that just because I wasn’t there doesn’t mean I didn’t hear it

    • “just because I wasn’t there doesn’t mean I didn’t hear it”

      you fucking preach

    • Haha this. I was in line once at CVS idly singing along under my breath to “Sister Goldenhair”, and the woman in front of me turns around and goes, “you’re WAY too young to know all the words to this song.”
      And I stammered something incoherent because I’m bad at abrupt stranger interactions, I think. Your line was much better :P

  8. This playlist is the best! My friends always make fun of my music taste, but you just can’t beat the classics. Also ramble on is one of my favorite zeppelin songs. Gotta love LOTR inspired music.

  9. Perfect playlist is perfect!

    It is a scientific fact that classic rock is the best for road trips and any other occasion.

  10. THIS IS IMPORTANT! If you get the CBC Radio 3 app on your iphone there is this bmw-sponsored stream (i don’t know) called Road Songs. listener voted ‘best driving music’: classic rock + random expansive emo songs + sometimes something random by mumford and sons.

    it’s the best.

  11. I was born in 85 and throughout high school classic rock is all I listened too. I still and have always gone through phases where I listen to top 40/ pop/ hip hop music… I view that stuff as living in the moment… 20 years from now [insert any pop star here] won’t be around, but this list will still be classic and accessible.

    One note on the list… where is the Tom Petty?!

  12. Perfect playlist! I just wish I could add it on Spotify!! (well.. i can.. and i will. It just takes a little time)

  13. Jethro Tull and ZZ Top are missing, I think. A little more Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Stones would be nice. Agree with Susi that The Chain would be perfect. Excellent Zeppelin ratio.

  14. My grandpa has a saying that goes: “all the great people […]” and would finish it with whatever he was doing at the time (all the great people eat mustard on their sandwich, or all the great people go fishing on Sundays, or all the great people do crossword puzzles in pen…)

    I remember EVERY time I would get in the car with him, he’d always have the radio on and would say, “you know, Brooke- all the great people listen to classic rock”

    Riese, my grandpa would undoubtedly know you’re one of the great people. Thanks for this playlist – I know he would enjoy it.

  15. ok i’ve added what i have access to which is: zz top, tom petty, the chain by fleetwood mac, steve miller band, the band & more pink floyd!

  16. Ah, neat, but I prefer NPR when driving (it’s really the only radio I listen to).

  17. Tiny Dancer by Elton John!! How is this not on the list?
    Also, Bang a Gong (Get it On) By T-Rex would be a pretty sweet addition.

  18. You were within radio-wavitude of my humble abode! Love The Coast, though I have to hold the antenna and a piece of metal to get it reliably. Was noting the other day that I’m old enough to remember when all this was just “rock,” as Journey activated my Glee rash in the background. Great list.

Comments are closed.