Written by Emilee Lindner • April 11, 2017
The Classic is an epic two-day concert event taking place on the East and West Coasts in July, and six iconic bands are going to rock it. The lineup includes Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, Journey, Earth, Wind & Fire, and The Doobie Brothers. And while you’re grabbing your tickets, get prepped for the show by revisiting these hits, both nostalgic and new.
Learn more about The Classic, which goes down at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium (July 15, 16) and New York City’s Citi Field (July 29, 30).
Nostalgic favorite: 1979's "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'"
Journey are known for putting their expert ethereal touch on power ballads, but 1979's "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" has a more bluesy feel -- it's like you're listening to it at a biker bar, rather than in an arena. Nevertheless, the iconic cut still has those legendary Steve Perry vocals, along with drums that will kick you straight in the gut. And be sure to pay special attention to Neal Schon’s guitar playing.
New classic: 2011's "City of Hope"
Knowing very well that they had an abundance of ballads, Journey decided to go in the hard rock direction for their 14th album, Eclipse. Progressive guitars blossom throughout the track, layering upon each other to create a cosmic atmosphere to cradle singer Arnel Pineda's howls. "City of Hope" is anthemic, don't fret, but the piano lies lower in the mix, compared to their most famous ballads. With a little strings involved, too, Journey's new sound was more badass than ever.
Nostalgic favorite: 1976's "Go Your Own Way"
As Fleetwood Mac's first hit, "Go Your Own Way" had to grab new fans right away with its unconventional drumming, acoustic sheen, blaring guitar solo and all-hands group-sung chorus. Released in 1976 to pique interest for their upcoming Rumours album, "Go Your Own Way" became an instant classic, blending together a web of sonic intricacies with relatable lyrics about a very real breakup.
New classic: 2003's "Say You Will"
Fleetwood Mac's resurgence in 2003 earned them a Top 3 album with Say You Will. The album's title track, written by Stevie Nicks, was perfect for pop radio with an earworm melody and Nicks' signature piercing vocals. As the band morphed over the years, relying on acoustic and synthy facets in varying proportions, they were able to fit into trends. But "Say You Will," with its melodic charm and exuberant vibes, has that forever-a-hit feel to it.
Nostalgic favorite: 1972's "Reelin' in the Years"
You know this song as soon as the distorted guitar hits, piano chugging along with a wall of chords below it. The beginning of "Reelin' in the Years," from 1972's Can't Buy A Thrill, is a tune in itself, but the chorus is what will get stuck in your head. "Are you reeling in the years / Stowin' away the time / Are you gathering up the tears? / Have you had enough of mine?" The whole thing is littered with bass, lilting piano and, most importantly, various iterations of guitar solos -- spanning from the virtuousic dueling guitars of the bridge to the whining, yet daring monologue of another distorted guitar.
New classic: 2003's "The Last Mall"
After taking 20 years off from making music, Steely Dan came back with 2000's Two Against Nature and 2003's Everything Must Go -- the latter is classic Dan, and if you close your eyes and just listen, you can imagine some of album getting a spin back in the 1970s. "The Last Mall" has every element we love from the band -- satirical, tongue-in-cheek lyrics; Donald Fagen's scattered jazz piano; carefully pegged female harmonies and Walter Becker's bobbing bass. The whole production is so tight, but then again, you wouldn't expect anything less from these studio dwellers.
Nostalgic favorite: 1975's "Shining Star"
There's almost no Earth, Wind & Fire song you can't get down to, but "Shining Star" is one of the funkiest. The song starts off in a blues-chord structure, but a blast of brass quickly interrupts all that. Maurice White was inspired to write "Shining Star" when he was stargazing, taking a walk during a recording session. When he took the idea to his bandmates, the track came together with each instrumentalist getting their highlight. There's sassy trumpets, a very clear rhythm guitar, two basslines and -- the track's signature touch -- a cappella harmonies to abruptly cut the party off.
New classic: 2013's "My Promise"
On their 20th album, Earth, Wind & Fire said they'd bring back some old-school EWF to their sound. That's exactly what you get with "My Promise," their second single off Now, Then & Forever. The title of the LP really says it all: along with their long history, they're ever-present, and they'll continue to live on. The high-powered track has trumpets doing calisthenics, climbing up and down hills in small sprints. And the energy doesn't stop there -- you get a crisp drum beat and love-song lyrics radiating with top-register harmonies.
Nostalgic favorite: 1973's "Long Train Runnin'"
"Long Train Runnin'" is all about Tom Johnston's rhythmic guitar, which rolls the ditty along just like, well, a long train. "Keep on movin', got to keep on movin'," he ad-libs near the end of the 1973 track, off The Captain and Me. The song is everything the Doobie Brothers embodied in their early era -- light, love and happiness, with a folk-rock edge. With harmonies to boot, it's fun to listen to this song a few times and try to sing along with a different vocal line on every replay.
New classic: 2010's "World Gone Crazy"
While the band could very well cruise along just playing their giant catalogue, The Doobie Brothers decided to head back to the studio for 2003's World Gone Crazy. The album was inspired by turmoil depicted on the news and the daily struggle of achieving the American Dream. "Trying to make my pay, trying to make my monthly rent / Working real hard for the US dollar / Living real poor gonna make me holler / I don't wanna live in the street like some folks do," Johnston sang, without losing any the hearty husk he's known for. Johnston shared vocal duties with original Doob Pat Simmons, while Michael McDonald made a cameo as well.
Nostalgic favorite: 1976’s “Hotel California“
You can’t think of the Eagles without the slow burn of “Hotel California” coming to mind, an eerie but “lovely place” where you can “check-out any time you like, but you can never leave.” “It’s a journey from innocence to experience. It’s not really about California; it’s about America,” Henley told CBS recently. “It’s about the dark underbelly of the American dream. It’s about excess, it’s about narcissism. It’s about the music business…. It can have a million interpretations.”
New classic: 2007's "How Long"
Eagles closed a gap on their recording hiatus by dropping their first studio album in 28 years with 2007's Long Road Out of Eden. As a double LP, it went seven times platinum. "How Long," a J.D. Souther cover, was the album's standout, winning the band a Grammy for Best Country Performance By A Duo. The track had Don Henley and Frey leaning into their country roots and harmonizing in Southern twang.