(Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

I was asked recently to curate a winter-themed playlist with no Christmas songs.

Please keep in mind this is a ROCK ONLY, deep cut laden list really only intended to suit my taste so not all of these will be recognizable and perhaps not even palatable.

With that said, happy winter one and all and I hope these 20 songs will make your winter a little more tolerable.

Ghost of Winter – Lillian Axe

(Why not start with a song you’ve never heard from a band you don’t know. This is a song about sleeping through winter and finding warmth in dreams to avoid the cold ghosts lurking in winter’s icy winds.)

World So Cold – Three Days Grace

(You might actually know this one, and I’m pretty sure Canada invented winter, so a song from 3DG seems appropriate.)


Edge of Darkness – Greta Van Fleet

(Another outstanding song from the Michigan band, a song that embraces waking up every day to seek new ways of “Finding out what it means to love”.)

Yesterdays – Guns N’ Roses

(In nature’s cycle of life, winter is associated with death as spring is the representation of rebirth. Guns N’ Roses are able to acknowledge these annual passages of time with lyrics like “Yesterday, there were so many things I was never told. Now I’m starting to learn (but) I feel I’m growing old.”)

Long Cold Winter – Cinderella

(A self-expiatory track from the 80s.)

White Bear – The Temperance Movement

(You may not know this band yet, but I suspect you will in the years to come. “White Bear” takes a few listens before it sinks in but it is among my favorites on this list)

Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding – Elton John

(Hey we have an actual hit here. Another song concerning time, love, change and reflection, all of which lie within winter’s traditional domain. And the wicked wind and instrumental lead-in screams cold and dark)

Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground – The White Stripes

(A simple concept of happy thoughts when you are near and the opposite as the lyrics state “Dead leaves and the dirty ground when you’re not around.”)

Seasons of Wither – Aerosmith

(A fan favorite from the Aerosmith catalog, and yet another that works in the wind sound effect to help set the mood.)

Touch of Gray – The Grateful Dead

(Spring can’t be too far away, so sing along “I will get by, I will survive”.)

The Frozen Man – James Taylor

(Sweet Baby James’ dark tale of a sailor born in 1843 who is frozen at sea and revived into a cold mechanical world. A world where his family has all died of old age and human connection has largely disappeared. It begs the question is The Frozen Man the one who is cold, or is it the modern age that has no warmth left to share?)

Winter – Rolling Stones

(An old song from The Stones wishing to spend the winter in California, instead of being stuck in the cold, snow and winds of the north.)

Too Cold In The Winter – Cry of Love

(What from who? Yep another song/band you’re not likely to be aware of and another of my personal favorites on this list. Good old greasy, blues inspired southern rockers with blood too thin to stand up to our winters.)

Cold as Ice – Foreigner

(I know, way too obvious, but one must have balance in all things.)

December – Collective Soul

(Also from the obvious category and also quite worthy of a winter-time listen)

A Winter’s Tale – Queen

(One of the few things Americans seem to agree on these days…Queen are indeed rock & roll royalty)

Yellow Snow – Frank Zappa

(“Watch out where the huskies go…and don’t you eat that yellow snow” Need I say more?)

Old Man – Neil Young

(Wisdom can only be earned by life’s experiences, and this may be the ultimate tale of perception and reflection.)

Winter Time – Steve Miller Band

(This was the very first song I thought of when the winter theme was suggested. It IS winter.)

Time – Pink Floyd

(“When I come home cold and tired. It’s good to warm my bones beside the fire”)


30 years on the radio. 16 at WRIF and 15 of those as a national radio personality as host of The Chop Shop. Co-Host of The Sound Of...Podcast.