We’re in that glorious final stretch of the Rock 2000 Countdown, with the winner set to be revealed this week.
To get us all in the mood, we thought it would be a great time to go back and look at what songs have taken out the top spot over the last decade.
Every song on here is a fkn tune and obviously beloved by Rock listeners. Will 2023 crown a new champion or will a previous winner sit on the throne?
Find out this Friday when the top 20 songs are broadcasted at a live event at Auckland’s Spark Arena. The night finishes with an epic concert featuring Jimmy Barnes, Racing, Voltz, and more.
Every number one song from the last ten Rock 2000 Countdowns
2022: ‘Simple Man’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Last year ‘Simple Man’ from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s debut album ‘Pronounced 'LÄ•h-'Nérd 'Skin-'Nérd’ shocked everyone went it took out the #1 spot. If you’d been paying attention though, it wouldn’t have surprised you.
After a late debut in 2016 (#263), the track had slowly but surely been creeping up the countdown, achieving a higher place from the year before every year. In 2019 it was #24, in 2020 it was #10 and in 2021 it was #3.
The band’s lead singer Ronnie Van Zant wrote the song as a message to his younger brother and actually cried when he first heard the track in its final form (the finished track was also recorded in one take).
2021: ‘Killing In The Name’ by Rage Against The Machine
Rage Against The Machine’s most famous track taking out the #1 Rock 2000 song should never take anyone by surprise. ‘Killing In The Name’ hasn’t dropped out of the top ten since 2006, making it a consistent threat to take home the crown.
The loud, powerful and always relevant protest track has resonated with fans worldwide since day dot, despite TV and radio censorship. Will Zach de la Rocha’s intense vocals and Tom Morello’s ‘kill switch’ guitar method reign in another top finish this year?
2020: ‘Everlong’ by Foo Fighters
Dave Grohl has said that ‘Everlong’ by the Foo Fighters was inspired by a recurring dream he had about a woman, which he described as "the most beautiful, heartwarming, and smile-inducing experience."
In 2020 Rock listeners found listening to the track a beautiful, heartwarming, and smile-inducing experience as it came in at #1. It’s the only time the track has ever won it but it did come close in 2010, 2011, and 2022, where it placed third, second, and third, respectively.
2019: ‘Black’ by Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam are always massive players in the Rock 2000 Countdown and ‘Black’ is their best-performing track. Besides winning it all in 2019, the track has placed in the top ten the past six years and has only fallen out of the top 20 seven times in the countdown’s history.
It really is not the Rock 2000 without the ballad, which deals with Eddie’s personal experience of heartbreak.
2018: ‘Chop Suey!’ by System Of A Down
New Zealand resident Serj Tankian and his band System Of A Down’s incredible tuuuunne ‘Chop Suey’ wrapped up 2019’s Rock 2000 Countdown. For such a popular track, it hasn’t seen immense success in the countdown, with the #1 spot being its only top ten appearance ever.
Sounds like Rock listeners were craving a bitta chop suey in 2018 (the song is named after the dish, despite the lyrics having nothing to do with it).
2017: ‘Killing In The Name’ by Rage Against Machine
I told you it’s always a threat to win, and it did so twice in four years.
The track is actually the second-best performing Rock 2000 Countdown song of all time. Its three victories (the third came in 2010) are the second most amount, behind Metallica’s ‘One’, which has four.
2016: ‘Master Of Puppets’ by Metallica
Metallica had an impressive showing in 2016. They claimed the top two spots in the countdown, with ‘One’ coming second and ‘Master Of Puppets’ taking out number one.
In 2015, the track ended up at the #17 spot so it made quite the jump to the top spot. Last year, off the back of featuring prominently in Netflix’s TV show ‘Stranger Things’, the tune finished in the runner-up spot.
2015: ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC
Aussies winning a New Zealand competition is never great, but we’ll let it slide if it's AC/DC. Their iconic track ‘Thunderstruck’ took out the 2015 countdown, interestingly also jumping up from #17 the year before.
I don’t know who’s winning it this year (only three people do) but last year’s #17 spot was ‘Hunger Strike’ by Temple Of The Dog. If it wins this year we might have a formula on our hands.
2014: ‘Stinkfist’ by Tool
Rock listeners froth ‘Stinkfist’ by Tool, culminating in the track winning the countdown in 2014. Throughout the Rock 2000’s history, the song has never dropped out of the top 80.
The song is a tool (if I may) used to express the band’s thoughts towards society’s desensitisation and sensory overload, and was a commercial success, despite its controversial title and subject matter.
2013: ‘Sober’ by Tool
Ten years ago, in the year of Lord 2013, Tool won the Rock 2000 Countdown with their renowned track ‘Sober’.
It’s the band’s best-performing song in the countdown’s history, appearing in the top ten eight times, never dropping out of the top #50 and tending to place around the newly-discovered-to-be-magical #17.
The reveal of 2023’s Rock 2000 winner is merely days away. If you wanna be surrounded by other avid rock listeners for the top 20 songs, get your tickets here. As a bonus, you'll get to see some of New Zealand’s best bands live, as well as the one and only Jimmy Barnes.