Table of Contents
Incase you’ve missed it (and you still have a few days left to pick it up as a particularly excellent Christmas present for that special rock fan in your life), the new issue of Classic Rock is an end of year spectacular, celebrating the great, the good and the newsworthy from the last twelve months in rock.
As part of the 2022 celebrations, earlier this month we asked the experts – that’s you lot – to vote for the very best rock songs of 2022. And vote you most certainly did – tens of thousands of votes were cast, in fact, as rock fans from around the world rushed to crown their very favourite anthem from the past year.
So, without further ado, here are the 50 best rock songs of 2022, in ascending order, as voted for by the fine readers and online followers of Classic Rock, with some extra room afforded to that all-important Top 10. And if you want even more list-based shenanigans in your life, don’t forget to also check out Classic Rock‘s 50 best rock albums of 2022.
1. Sophie Lloyd – Do Or Die (feat. Nathan James)
It’s been an absolutely blockbuster year for the Youtube guitar heroine-turned-arena-dominating shredder. Not only did she join Machine Gun Kelly’s band for a blockbuster world tour and release her solo single Do Or Die, featuring Inglorious frontman Nathan James, but she was crowned the best rock guitarist of 2022 by the readers of Music Radar. Now, she’s been afforded another almighty honour by the powers of rock’n’ roll democracy – you’ve voted Do Or Die as the best rock song of 2022! The fact that we strongly suspect Lloyd is only just getting started makes this feat all the more impressive – and her future all the brighter.
2. Stryper – Transgressor
Who says The Devil has all the best tunes? Everyone’s favourite Christian heavy metallers released latest album The Final Battle back in October, and its opening track, Transgressor, has evidently struck a major chord with fans this year. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised: Transgressor is a rollocking, old school metal banger with all the histrionics and gung ho mayhem you’d expect from the Californians, who will be soon entering their fifth decade together. Not bad.
3. Nita Strauss – The Wolf You Feed (feat. Alissa White-Gluz)
Nita Strauss jumping ship from Alice Cooper’s band to play alongside alt-pop star Demi Lovato may have been seen as a controversial move by some, but anyone doubting where the guitar virtuoso’s heart truly lies was put firmly in their place by this heavy, crunching extreme metal anthem. Bringing in the formidable vocals of Arch Enemy frontwoman Alissa White-Gluz proved to be a masterstroke – the two have made magic together.
4. Muse – Kill Or Be Killed
Muse reminded everyone this year that when it comes to melding eccentric, left-field musical turns with colossal hooks and even bigger riffs, there are few who do it better. Picking up the anti-authority sentiment and future paranoia that has been stamped across the Devon trio’s recent material, Kill Or Be Killed is a bouncy stadium rock banger ready-made for massive crowds to eagerly devour live. With a 2023 tour planned, it seems we’ll all get a chance to do exactly that soon.
5. The Bad Day – Devil’s Lullaby
Bluesy London rockers The Bad Day make the first real underdog appearance in this year’s Top 50 list, but with a song as catchy and earnest as Devil’s Lullaby in their back pocket, it’s very understandable as to why. In this year’s Classic Rock end of year special edition issue, the four-piece’s self-titled debut album was named as the third best blues album of 2022, so if you’re liking what you hear here – as many people clearly already do – make sure you go check the full-length record out and catch them live soon.
6. When Rivers Meet – He’ll Drive You Crazy
Essex-based husband and wife duo Grace and Aaron Bond formed blues/rock outfit When Rivers Meet in 2016, and they’ve since risen to become one of the UK’s most enticing young rock bands. Between Grace’s warm, soulful vocals and Aaron’s groove-driven, bluesy riffs, He’ll Drive You Crazy might not be rewriting the rulebooks of rock ‘n’ roll, but it’s definitely giving them a nice bit of polish. As it happens, it appears plenty of you agree!
7. Elles Bailey – Riding Out The Storm
Another young devotee of the blues to appear very high up in this list, Elles Bailey may be from England, but her classy, honey-sweet voice and Americana-tinged tunes could have been smuggled straight from the Deep South. Riding Out The Storm, taken from Bailey’s latest studio album Shining In The Half Light, was released all the way back in February, but judging by it breaking into the top 10 of your rock songs of the year, it’s clearly left a long-lasting impact that we suspect will linger for some time yet.
8. Def Leppard – Take What You Want
We boldly stated that Diamond Star Halos was the best Def Leppard album in 30 years when it came out back in May, and it’s a statement we stand by. Want evidence? Wrap your ears around the bluesy, irresistible stomp of Take What You Want, which has barely been off our playlists since it first landed and proves, once again, that while form is temporary, class is indeed permanent.
9. Alter Bridge – Pawns & Kings
Alter Bridge’s seventh studio album Pawn & Kings showed that the beloved arena rockers are often at their best when merging the metallic might of Metallica with the soulful introspection of the likes of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. The title track and lead single showcased a band in particularly imperious form, Mark Tremonti’s big, crunching riffs smashing down around the reliably epic vocal prowess of Myles Kennedy to create one of Alter Bridge’s all-time great singles. And it’s not like it hasn’t had stiff company over the years.
Be honest: who was expecting this? Not only did Metallica blindside us all with the surprise drop of a brand new single right at the end of the year, but they delighted fans with a hearty return to the old school speed metal trappings of the Kill ‘Em All era. Celebrating the emotional highs of big-ass heavy metal live shows, Lux Æterna is an absolute ripper of a song, bolstered by some of the best production Metallica have had on a new track since the 90s.
The 50 best rock songs of 2022: 11-50
11. Alter Bridge – Silver Tongue
12. Rival Sons – Nobody Wants To Die
13. Erja Lyytinen – Bad Seed
14. Ozzy Osbourne – Patient Number 9
15. Billy Idol – Cage
16. When Rivers Meet – Christmas Is Here
17. Ghost – Call Me Little Sunshine
18. Eric Gales – Death Of Me
19. Devin Townsend – Call Of The Void
20. Massive Wagons – Please Stay Calm
21. Halestorm – The Steeple
22. Halestorm – Wicked Ways
23. Kris Barras Band – These Voices
24. Larkin Poe – Georgia Off My Mind
25. Ghost – Spillways
26. The Damn Truth – Only Love
27. Joe Lynn Turner – Tortured Soul
28. Joe Lynn Turner – Black Sun
29. Megadeth – We’ll Be Back
30. Dan Reed Network – Starlight
31. ZZ Top – Blue Jean Blues
32. Scorpions – Rock Believer
33. Megadeth – The Sick, The Dying…And The Dead!
34. ZZ Top – Brown Sugar
35. Slash ft. Myles Kennedy 7 The Conspirators – The River is Rising
36. Dorothy – A Beautiful Lie
37. Dirty Honey – The Wire
38. Ghost – Kaisarion
39. Bonnie Raitt – Living For The Ones
40. Ozzy Osbourne – One Of Those Days
41. The Struts – Fallin’ With Me
42. Skid Row – The Gang’s All Here
43. Those Damn Crows – Man On Fire
44. Rammstein – Dicke Titten
45. Thunder – The Western Sky
46. Porcupine Tree – Harridan
47. Rammstein – Zeit
48. Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown – Bare Bones
49. Laurence Jones – Anywhere With Me
50. Whiskey Myers – The Wolf
Get the new issue of Classic Rock (opens in new tab)